It's a difficult time to be a New York Mets fan, but isn't it always? This season began with such high expectations, but after the Mets became the trade deadline's biggest sellers, hopes for glory from this year's club have been all but extinguished.
After jettisoning Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, and Dominic Leone to greener playoff-bound pastures, it would be understandable for the fans, and the players left behind, to be feeling sorry for themselves. Patience is now the operative word in Flushing as the team shifts gears and looks to the future, and patience, especially in New York, is often in short supply.
It's encouraging then that we haven't seen any dissension amongst the ranks of the remaining Mets, even as the reality of a lost season surely must be weighing on them. Francisco Lindor, when asked on Tuesday, said the following:
Francisco Lindor is the leader the Mets need as they look ahead to the future, and his confidence should be shared by Mets fans.
In a season that has fallen so far short of expectations, Mets fans have twisted themselves into knots trying to pinpoint a reason for this team's shortcomings. Chemistry has been a popular scapegoat, even though we haven't seen anything that would suggest the players on this team don't like each other.
In reality, you don't play sub-.500 baseball for this long without there being many reasons behind it. Dwelling on them won't help though, which is why the trade deadline sell-off was so important. In one fell swoop, the Mets put their disappointing past behind them and turned the page to a brighter future.
Brandon Nimmo was extremely candid when talking to reporters on Wednesday night about the direction of the team, saying he lost sleep in the wake of the Max Scherzer trade. With his wide-eyed, "aw shucks" demeanor, Nimmo has always been one of the most relatable Mets, and watching him grapple with his conflicting emotions was heartbreaking in a way. In the end, Nimmo said he spoke to Billy Eppler and saw the light. “This is an opportunity for us to come out better as an organization on the other side of this,” he said.
Deep down, the players know that the reason these trades happened is simple: as a group, they weren't good enough. That's a tough pill to swallow for players like Lindor and Nimmo that are among the best players in the league at their respective positions.
Both Lindor and Nimmo are locked up under long-term contracts, so they both should be confident that they are two of the franchise's cornerstones moving forward. So are Jeff McNeil and Edwin Diaz, and young guns Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty will surely be around for the long haul, too. I'm also looking forward to proof that God is real, which will occur only in the event that Pete Alonso signs a long-term deal to stay in Queens.
Even if next year is a "transition year", there's more than enough talent to compete, and while Steve Cohen is unlikely to splurge in the way he did in signing Scherzer and Verlander each of the past two offseasons, it's a good bet that there will be new quality players on the roster when spring training begins next year.
Seeing Lindor and Nimmo, two of the Mets' leaders, speak openly about the experience of weathering this whirwind trade deadline, should make fans proud to support them. It's obvious that even with their rich contracts, winning is paramount. If they're confident in the direction of the team, the fans should be, too.