Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…you might think this is some sort of a rant about the New York Mets almost always picking the short straw whenever they try to do anything right. Year one under Steve Cohen didn’t go as planned. The team failed to finish with more wins than losses and they are essentially starting from scratch with yet another coaching and front office rebuild.
The clowns to my left and jokers to the right are more of a homage to Stealers Wheel’s song Stuck in the Middle with You. The song may ring a bell to some who remember Mr. Blonde cutting off Marvin Nash’s ear in Reservoir Dogs while it plays in the background.
Nobody on the Mets is getting their ear cut off as far as I know. However, the franchise could get stuck in the worst place possible—smack dab in the middle.
Are the Mets all-in to win or playing the dynasty game?
Everything, everything’ll be just fine. Everything, everything’ll be all right.
Snagging the lyrics from another song with “middle” in it, this time it’s Jimmy Eat World’s song The Middle, we can tell ourselves these positive words as much as we want but it doesn’t make any of them true. Faith is as blind as justice. Having faith in the Mets having a better year in 2022 and even beyond takes a whole lot of it.
The Mets aren’t as much of a disaster as some may make you believe. They also aren’t as great as others preach. They’re somewhere in between—often the case with any argument.
This particular middle is fine because I think everything, from movies to food to people, is more of a balance between the cheers and jeers.
In baseball, actually falling in the middle is never great. The Mets were about as in the middle as you can get with a 77-85 record last season. They were actually in the bottom half, tied with two other teams with the 11th worst record in the game. If Major League Baseball had a 16-game playoff bracket, this would have made the Mets a number nine seed, just shy of the postseason.
What does this lead to? No postseason, a not-so-great draft pick, and less of a chance to take that next leap forward.
The Mets might be trying to do too much at once
Holding onto your top prospects and building the most talented major league roster possible is a tough game to play. Typically, at least a few of your best young players in the minors have to get traded in order to find those finishing touches. You don’t have to completely empty the farm in order to acquire the missing piece. Doing this isn’t wise and has too much of a touch of Brodie Van Wagenen.
Instead, the Mets have gone out and tried to do a little bit of both. They have traded prospects away to acquire guys like Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. They have also held onto other youngsters when they needed much more in order to compete. I can’t fault them for this. But it seems like the Mets are, at times, trying to play too many different hands.
Are the Mets ready to win a championship? They didn’t make nearly enough moves to suggest so last offseason. Their lack of win-now flexing at the trade deadline furthered this thought.
Under Cohen, the preference seems to favor consistency. This is only a good thing when you’re already at the top of the mountain.
In order to climb there, the Mets may need a clear direction. They’ve already committed to Lindor so doing whatever they can to win now is the easier step. Rather than wait for all of the kids to join him and his prime already be in the past, sacrificing a little bit of the future for the present makes a lot of sense.
It’ll be interesting to see if the club does anything differently this winter. Do they go after the biggest fish on the market or continue to make lesser but hopefully equally as effective additions?
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Whatever they do, getting out of the middle is what the goal should be. As a middle child, that has been my life’s mission.