Mets offseason move #4: The Red Wedding
OK, here's a big one. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, which later became the Game of Thrones TV show, became known for its shocking twists and unsentimental treatment of its supposed main characters, often killing them off in violent and horrific ways.
At no time was this better epitomized than in Martin's most astonishing move, known as "The Red Wedding." If you're one of the four people that hasn't read or watched the series, you might want to skip to #5.
The Red Wedding saw the betrayal and slaughter of Robb and Catelyn Stark, plus most of their leading bannermen and allies. It's one of the most shocking moments in pop culture history, and it reshuffled the deck to create new villains and new paths for two of the remaining heroes, Arya and Sansa.
The Mets also need to reshuffle the deck and wipe the slate clean. The coaching staff needs to go.
For a while now I've believed that pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and hitting coach Jeremy Barnes should be on their way out. The Mets' ERA is nearly a full run worse than it was last year, and that's with the addition of the since-departed Justin Verlander. Kodai Senga and Brooks Raley are the only two pitchers still on the team that don't make the vein in my head twitch when they take the mound, and that falls on Hefner.
The offense is scoring .41 runs per game less than last year, and it seems no hitter on the team has improved upon their 2022 production. Barnes is in his first year on the job after succeeding now-bench coach Eric Chavez, and the team's approach has suffered as they've taken too many pitches and failed to drive in runners from scoring position.
Put this all together and the Mets are 1.38 runs worse per game than last year. In a league where so many games can be decided by the slimmest of margins, that's a massive number.
The Red Wedding didn't stop at two people, though. Seeing Robb Stark, the King in the North and the best hope to take down the Lannisters, taking multiple crossbow bolts to the chest was one of television's most tragic moments, but it was self-inflicted, as he had broken a promise of marriage to the daughter of Walder Frey, the man that presided over his death.
Buck Showalter, who I've defended during his entire tenure with the Mets, likewise has nobody to blame but himself. The team has lacked a spark since late May, and not once has Showalter used his position to rouse the team from the doldrums. Each postgame press conference after a loss has been filled with the same empty platitudes, the same bits of hollow praise for a team that hasn't earned them.
Steve Cohen has stated repeatedly that he soon intends to hire a President of Baseball Operations. The rumored man for the job is David Stearns, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers. If Cohen makes that happen, it's inevitable that Stearns will want his own guy at the head of the table. Whether that's Brewers manager Craig Counsell, Eric Chavez, or someone else, the faint strains of The Rains of Castamere you hear mean it's certain that it won't be Buck.
The Lannisters send their regards.