Steve Gelbs dropped the news that many of us had felt was a problem for the New York Mets this year. During Saturday’s game, Gelbs shared an observation about the team’s chemistry from day one of the 2023 season.
Not too many people are as connected to the locker room as Gelbs. Although he doesn’t provide any specific examples of problem players, mentioning how the starting pitchers don’t have the same relationship this year definitely seems to be at the crux of what’s “off” with the ball club.
An injury to Jose Quintana in spring training distanced him from the team when he was meant to be such a big part of the starting five. There is no in-fighting that we know about, however, the friendships don’t sound quite as strong for one reason or another.
The NY Mets have a tall task to fix their alleged chemistry problem
How do you fix something like this when there are no statistics to back any of it up? You can’t just build a team of players with similar belief systems and life experiences. This is baseball, not a cult.
This is hardly the first challenge plaguing the Mets in recent years when it comes to the personality of players. Big personalities have come and gone in recent years. Under the watchful eye of the New York media and demanding fans, some have given in and bitten back. Javier Baez is more remembered for giving the fans the thumbs down instead of how well he played down the stretch. How will we remember Max Scherzer?
It’s, unfortunately, the endings we recollect most. Noah Syndergaard was hurt and struggled then hinted at a return only to then chase a slightly bigger contract elsewhere. Scherzer’s ending included a good outing followed by comments which most certainly pushed toward trading him.
In recent days we’ve heard from Mets players on the state of the team. This provides us with a little insight into the differences of opinions. Francisco Lindor has remained optimistic to an unbelievable level. Pete Alonso seems more defeated but not completely ready to give up. Then there are players like Mark Canha who’ve been honest and proclaimed the team should’ve played better if they wanted to be trade deadline buyers.
Mets players have done a good job of holding themselves accountable this year. Maybe the problem is they aren’t doing it to each other.
The Mets don’t seem to lack leadership. What might be missing is a smaller contingent of people in charge.
Who would the Mets put the Captain’s C on? Lindor? Alonso? Brandon Nimmo?
It can be difficult to have a Captain on a roster when there are players like Scherzer and Justin Verlander there, too. It’s not because they’re difficult people, but on a team with homegrown players who want to be leaders or stars like Lindor with leadership qualities, you might end up with a whole lot of personalities who think they’re in charge.
We saw the first cracks in the foundation for this current core back in 2021 when Lindor and Jeff McNeil had their infamous “ratcoon” incident in the tunnel. The pair’s relationship seemed to mend with Lindor even promising to buy McNeil a car if he won the 2022 batting title. He still hasn’t and if you lurk around social media or sports talk radio long enough, it’s another problem fans believe has led to some dismay.
What fixes the bad chemistry best is a winning team. It’s all the front office can attempt to build.