The Mets are 48-45, two games behind the Cubs for the second wild card spot and three games behind the Nationals for first place in the National League East. For the first time since 2008, they’re playing meaningful games in late-July. Their starting rotation is the envy of every team in baseball. And the fans are 10 days away from a revolt.
Why is that?
For the better part of five years, Mets fans have been patiently waiting for Sandy Alderson’s plan to materialize. For burdensome contracts to come off the books and recently-drafted players to develop.
Going into this season, instead of acquiring an actual shortstop, Alderson went with Wilmer Flores, who failed miserably (because he isn’t a shortstop) and has since been moved off the position. Instead of doing something creative to import offense, Alderson gave up a first-round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer, who is dealing with a knee injury that has rendered him unable to run. Instead of adding more offense after acquiring Cuddyer, Alderson did nothing.
More from New York Mets News
- NY Mets: Trade market for starting pitchers feels non-existent
- NY Mets need to call the Athletics about a Matt Chapman trade
- NY Mets dream starting lineup for the 2022 season
- NY Mets offseason makeover might be a simple “She’s All That” situation
- NY Mets: 8 Ex-Amazins who killed it with other teams in 2021
Shortly after the season started, David Wright — who has been dealing with spinal stenosis for two months and still hasn’t been cleared for baseball activity — was lost. Travis d’Arnaud, one of the most important bats in the lineup, has been limited to just 19 games. The players who make up the bench are hitting worse than the starting pitchers.
With all of that, on July 21, the Mets are in position to make the playoffs. However, whether it’s the refusal or inability of ownership to spend money, the refusal or inability of Alderson to do his job, or a combination of all of those things, the Mets have so far sat idly by as their season — the first hopeful one in seven years — hangs on the brink.
On Monday night in Washington, D.C., in arguably their most important game since September 28, 2008, the Mets trotted out a lineup that included Eric Campbell, Anthony Recker, and John Mayberry, Jr., players who are all hitting under .200. Players who don’t belong on a major league bench, let alone in a major league starting lineup.
The issues for the Mets are numerous, but the gist of it is this:
- Michael Cuddyer is dealing with a deep bone bruise behind his left knee, and is unable to run. He has started six out of 15 games so far in July, pulling himself from one of them. On Monday, he took anti-inflammatory medication in a last-ditch effort to avoid the disabled list. Instead of disabling Cuddyer, the Mets seem content to play a man short for the entirety of the most important series they’ve played in seven years. At that point, they’ll make a decision on Cuddyer.
- If/when Cuddyer winds up on the disabled list, the Mets are reportedly not going to call up top outfield prospect Michael Conforto, currently hitting .325/.407/.531 for Double-A Binghamton. Conforto, 22, is a top-20 prospect in all of baseball, and is someone who is viewed as a future middle of the order bat in the majors. If the Mets had any other viable options aside from Conforto, not promoting him would make sense. However, their options are the following: Kirk Nieuwenhuis and John Mayberry, Jr. at the major league level, Travis Taijeron at the minor league level. The reported unwillingness to promote Conforto is mind boggling.
- Even before the Mets lost Wright, d’Arnaud, and Cuddyer to injury, they needed more offense. Without them, the Mets have become one of the most anemic offensive teams in recent memory. Players who are reportedly available via trade include Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, and Carlos Gomez, but the Mets aren’t expected to trade for any of them. Whether it’s an unwillingness/inability to take on salary or an unwillingness to part with anything of value, it appears as if the Mets will be shopping at the bottom of the barrel for potential offensive improvements.
Fans, local writers, and national writers have all been saying for the last week or so that it would be negligent if the Mets allow the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to pass without making a trade to upgrade the offense. However, the anger and disillusionment coming from most Mets fans stems from the fact that we expect the Mets to do nothing. It’s something we’ve become accustomed to over the last five years — the expectation of disappointment.
I’ve been a Mets fan since I could crawl. The team won the World Series on my third birthday in 1986. I stood on line outside Shea Stadium in frigid temperatures every February in the late-90s for Opening Day tickets before the internet allowed people to not freeze their asses off. In 1999, when I was 15, I mixed coffee grinds with gatorade so I could keep myself awake for the Mets vs. Diamomndbacks playoff game that started after 11 p.m. ET.
I sat in Shea Stadium in disbelief after they lost to the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS in 2006, and sat there again on September 28, 2008 when their final-game loss meant the end of Shea. I’ve had a ticket plan since I was 17 years old, going to every game in my plan and watching or listening to every game not in my plan. I’ve sat through six consecutive losing seasons that consisted of plenty of unwatchable baseball. And it’s only now that I’m reaching my breaking point.
Now is a time when the Mets’ ownership and front office should be seizing an opportunity to reward the fans who have stuck with them and win back the fans who might have left during the lean years. Instead, they’ve so far turned themselves into a punchline. And what the hell could the players on this team possibly think? They’re right in the thick of a pennant race for the first time in forever, and support from ownership and the front office has been non-existent.
The non-waiver trade deadline is 10 days away, meaning the Mets have 10 days left to make potentially meaningful trades in an effort to help the offense and show the fans that they’re not the negligent disgraces they’ve so far made themselves out to be. If they do it, great. Everyone will be pleasantly surprised. If not, it may be the final straw for many of the diehard fans who have stuck with this team when every fiber of their being told them not to.