Dark present and a future in question in Flushing
by Bryan Fonseca
Jun 25, 2018 | 2133 views | 0 0 comments | 168 168 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jose Bautista congratulates Michael Conforto on a diving catch he made in center field to end the inning. (Photos: Jeffrey Armstrong)
Jose Bautista congratulates Michael Conforto on a diving catch he made in center field to end the inning. (Photos: Jeffrey Armstrong)
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Cody Bellinger watches his grand slam leave the park in the sixth inning on Friday night. The weekend didn't get any better for the Mets after that.
Cody Bellinger watches his grand slam leave the park in the sixth inning on Friday night. The weekend didn't get any better for the Mets after that.
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In a rare appearance, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made himself available to the media prior to Friday’s home outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Later that night, the Mets suffered a fourth consecutive loss, already their fifth streak with as many or more defeats this year and their third in June, a month in which they only have four wins as of last weekend.

It’s only natural that sitting at over 10 games under .500 nearly mid-way through 2018, questions about competing, job security and the organization’s immediate future were brought to the forefront.

“We need some more wins,” offered Alderson, asked if competing for 2018 was still in the cards. “We need to see some improvement in our win-loss record almost immediately. I think we recognize that.”

That’s indisputable, though, it’s worth questioning if Alderson is actually the right man to bring the Queens-based club back to success and in the fans’ good graces.

Alderson, who joined the Mets in October of 2010, prior to the start of the 2011 season, has only oversaw two Met playoff runs: a World Series berth in 2015 and a Wild Card one-and-done outing in 2016.

Prior to 2018, the Mets have gone 374-436 in their non-playoff seasons, all of which have amounted to 79 wins or fewer. In 2015, the Mets finished 90-72, only with a slight drop-off to 87-75 the following year.

As far as successful seasons, the Alderson-led Mets are hitting .286 – great for a player, not so much for an organization.

But for one reason or another, it seems that the Mets, no matter how the team is constructed, face the same nagging injuries that ultimately sideline half the team.

This season alone, ten Mets (and counting) have hit the disabled list. And combined with all-around underperformance by the healthy players, it could force a complete roster overhaul within the next month or two, led by struggling relief pitcher Hansel Robles’ recent designation for assignment and subsequent claim by the Los Angeles Angels.

However, Alderson insists that, in spite of potentially enormous and attractive trade chips in starting pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the team has not committed to selling off assets, holding out hope that the bullpen tightens up and the delayed return of Yoenis Cespedes, among others, could jolt the largely inept (yet recently improved) offense.

“We have had conversations with teams, but nothing that I would call substantive and really just getting a sense of what direction they think they are headed,” said Alderson. “There are a few teams that are going to be buyers, there are a few teams that are going to be sellers — there are a bunch of teams in the middle — and I would put us in the middle.

“We know what we have in deGrom and Syndergaard. I don’t know that any team will tell you, ‘We are never going to do this or do that,’” he added. “If somebody came to us and said we’ll give you all of our top 20 prospects, it’s probably something you would have to at least consider, but we know what we have in those two pitchers.”

As far as injuries go, it’s been a recurring theme for the Mets, who on the surface appear to be Major League Baseball’s unluckiest team.

However, a FiveThiryEight study revealed that the catastrophic Met set-backs are aligned with the law of averages in the MLB, putting the Mets total wins above replacement lost at 31.9 (or 4.0 per campaign), only the eighth highest in baseball, and not by much, spanning from the years of 2010-2017 – in essence, the Alderson years.

Currently, the Mets also lack prospects with reputation, and are ranked 26 out of 30 in quality farm systems around the league by MILB. Following a 70-win season, their worst since 2009, and undergoing a league worst record since an 11-1 start to 2018, the Mets should probably be thinking about a shift in power in the near future, fair or not.

Alderson or not, someone will have to orchestrate what appears to be an inevitable rebuild, or at minimal, a vast retool.
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