Seconds after he joined the organization, David Stearns could do no wrong. It’s still kind of the case if you want to bend the truth. When we look at what he has done this offseason, he has done nothing but make good moves for the New York Mets.
But like any relationship, you can’t simply get by with taking out the trash, doing the dishes, or folding the laundry. If you’ve stopped holding hands, refuse to acknowledge your partner’s emotions, or you’re choosing co-workers with shady pasts over your family, the honeymoon phase can end pretty quickly in even the most blissful of marriages.
Stearns was a welcomed addition to the Mets organization. His small market success with a bigger budget was sure to translate into an epic offseason. His smarts combined with Steve Cohen’s dollars meant the Mets would be unstoppable. Stoppable, they are. The honeymoon phase is over.
The honeymoon phase with David Stearns is already over
The Mets have had a good start to the offseason, but what does the finish look like? He can’t be lambasted just yet with so many other opportunities still out there.
The first strike, a minor one truthfully, was the lack of persistence in signing Shohei Ohtani. It’s a called strike the umpire gifted to the pitcher. Ohtani was never interested in coming to the Mets. Holding the lack of pursuit against Stearns, Cohen, or anyone else isn’t fair.
Strike two comes when the Mets clobbered a long fly ball that missed the foul pole by a few feet. This comes courtesy of Yoshinobu Yamamoto choosing the Los Angeles Dodgers over them. The Mets gave their best effort. It just landed foul.
A hypothetical umpire points forward and then brings his arm back to signal “strike three.” Why? The Mets didn’t sign Lucas Giolito. A high changeup the Mets swung through off-balanced, the only thing they could have done with the pitch was to pop it up and hope there’s a collision on the pitcher’s mound.
The problem with missing on those three targets is there isn’t much left for them. The free agent starting pitching market is dry with the top featuring reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell and the qualifying offer rejection penalties. Behind him is Jordan Montgomery who will most assuredly get paid close to double what anyone would have predicted a year ago.
Stearns has done well with the moves he made. The trade with the Milwaukee Brewers was brilliant and didn’t feel like it cost a thing. Joey Wendle over Luis Guillorme? Michael Tonkin for only a million bucks? Luis Severino might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he clearly received a fair market value at $14 million for a season.
A large portion of the fans have left the honeymoon phase over what Stearns hasn’t done. There remains an abundance of questions with the starting pitching staff. The bullpen looks frightful. The Mets can regain some respectability this offseason with the addition of an outfielder and legitimate DH.
The Mets have had a good offseason for what they’ve done. They took out the trash, folded the laundry, and even hung up some new picture frames. What they haven’t done in this marriage is paint the bedroom or fix the broken cabinet door. The house we live in with Stearns is already nice, however, too many areas feel like you could sink through the floor if you have a heavy bag of groceries in your arm.