Oh, the Mets. They certainly don’t specialize in catching breaks, do they.
Entering this season, expectations were high. Probably higher than they should have been, but in New York, high expectations are the norm.
As of right now, the Mets sit at third place in the weakest division in baseball. They even trail the re-building Atlanta Braves, who are in second. That’s right, the team that won 87 games last season and made a World Series appearance in the previous season trails a team that has a combined record of 155-213 since 2015.
So, if that didn’t put it clearly enough, the Mets are off to a rocky start. The hole they’ve dug themselves into is already deeper than one dug by a child during a day at the beach [c’mon, we’ve all done it]. 8.5 games back of the division-leading Nationals, and 7 games back of the second Wild Card spot. Yes, it’s still early, but things just don’t look promising with the roster they’ve got.
They currently have seven players on the disabled list, and included are some pretty notable names like Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, Steven Matz and Yoenis Cespedes. Matz won’t be back until early June and that’s a hopeful timeframe, Syndergaard’s timetable was initially two to three months, Familia might not even pitch again this season, and Cespedes doesn’t even have a timeframe with his nagging hamstring.
On top of these injuries, there’s the well-documented Matt Harvey drama, a grossly over-worked bullpen, and the worst team ERA in the entire MLB. Not great stuff for a team who’s strongest asset is supposed to be pitching.
This team has virtually the same personnel as they did down the stretch in 2016, except with more injuries and a worse bullpen. They had trouble competing with the National League’s best then, and the Senior Circuit only got stronger this season. The Rockies have emerged as a serious threat, the Diamondbacks are 11 games over .500, and the Cardinals look to be a rejuvenated team.
With an injury-plagued roster, increased competition and an early 8.5-game hole, the Mets might want to play for 2018 and re-tool their team [coaching staff included] a bit. On the bright side, they do have a good amount of young talent, including Amed Rosario [baseball’s number three overall prospect], Michael Conforto, who looks like a better version of his 2015 self, and a great pure hitter in first base prospect Dominic Smith.
With the contracts of Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda and Asdrubal Cabrera [$2M buyout] set to roll off the books this offseason, the Mets will have room for their young guys to get steady playing time and have money to get free agents that can fill their remaining holes.
Although I sound harsh, I actually think if the organization realizes their 2017 fate early, they can get a jumpstart on their plan for next season and come back as a force to be reckoned with.