You know those years when an organization will say things like “we saw a lot of growth” or “we put a good process together” or “this season was about developing our culture” and other garbage words or phrases? This isn’t something the New York Mets are allowed to do in 2021.
Coming into this year, the expectations were high. However, there was no playoff mandate. Fans were simply ready for competitive baseball down to the wire.
Those expectations have since changed. The Mets managed to stay atop the weakest division in baseball for months. Now, with these adjusted thoughts, a year for the Mets without playoff baseball is an utter failure.
The Mets players and front office have missed opportunities to close the gap
In mid-August, it’s nearly impossible to have the division wrapped up. You need to have a legendary team in a division with duds. Only the latter is true for the Mets in 2021. The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are fighting to finish above .500 as much as they are to earn a playoff berth.
In their late July five-game series versus the Braves, the Mets had a chance to really pull away. Instead, they got battered around and allowed Atlanta to convince themselves to buy rather than sell at the trade deadline.
The timing was terrible. Losses continued beyond just that series, too.
That series was on the players. Everything after it is still their responsibility but we can point our fingers at the front office, too.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you were born, or at what religious affiliation you follow. The Mets needed to do more at the trade deadline. Acquiring Rich Hill should have been the appetizer. Following his acquisition, all the Mets did was bring in Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. The latter of the two was immediately sent to the minor leagues for depth purposes; not that there’s anything wrong with that but shouldn’t your trade deadline moves have a big impact?
The front office is playing the long game which is wise. They didn’t deplete their farm system and make crazy trades for rentals. I get it. This is about sustained success.
But Mets fans know better than to let a single opportunity to make the playoffs slip by. The organization has been to the playoffs only four times in the last 30 years. The most recent trip was a one-game Wild Card matchup ending in heartbreak.
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Most fans realize this team probably isn’t good enough to win it all in 2021. Injuries have hurt the club possibly more than any other team. In the postseason, though, you never know what can happen. All you need to do is get there. Many teams have to dip their toes in the playoff water before winning it all.