Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Step Back Might Be the Best Way Forward

I'd love to see true creativity from David Stearns this winter in building a deep, competitive roster for 2024 rather than just handing out Steve Cohen's cash.

I'm 64 years old and have been a Mets fan since I was 10. After waiting for decades since the last championship, I'm selfish about wanting to be around for the next one. I'm not signing on for any 5-year plan back to the top for my team. Fortunately, that won't be an option for a club that now sports a deep farm system and an owner with a very big checkbook. On the other hand, I have nothing against the Mets taking a brief, strategic withdrawal to regroup. That may be their best plan of action for 2024.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The One That Didn't Get Away

Let the celebrations begin. David Stearns signing on as the new President of Baseball Operations signals the start of a new — hopefully much better — era for the New York Mets.

When last we met in this space, I wrote about my concerns that the hype surrounding David Stearns and the Mets was starting to feel like last winter's Carlos Correa debacle. Even though Correa is having a poor season in Minnesota, I never really got over the disappointment of how things turned out after the initial euphoria when the deal was announced. In my mind, there is a clear line of Mets misfortune running from Correa signing with the Twins through Edwin Díaz injuring his knee in the WBC, culminating in the front office finally bowing to reality at the trade deadline and acknowledging a failed season. Looking back, it feels like the baseball gods were sending a message: this ain't your year, Mets fans.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

All David Stearns All the Time

Rumors about David Stearns and the Mets swirl non-stop. I'm into all of it, but this reminds me a bit too much of last winter's sad Carlos Correa saga.

When this season began, I thought my September would be consumed by the Mets' playoff push. Instead, I'm watching a club playing out the string on a disappointing season and hoping that I might see an announcement soon concerning hiring a new person to run the Mets' baseball operations. In last week's post, I mentioned a Peter Gammons tweet stating that the employees who survived the organizational purge felt that a PBO would be "named within two weeks." I was skeptical then that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio would allow David Stearns out of his Brewers' commitment early. However, we subsequently learned that Stearns' contract stipulated that he was free to negotiate with other teams after August 1.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Mets Are Still Searching for Stability

The Mets' decision to let go of key personnel might be a sign that a President of Baseball Operations hiring is imminent, but it also signals that there is still a long way to go for organizational stability.

While the Mets were idle on Thursday, news came out that the club had fired several folks in their organization, including some who held high-ranking director roles. Among them were Kevin Howard, the Director of Player Development; Director of Pro Player Evaluation Jeff Lebow; Director of Performance Jim Cavallini; and Director of Baseball Development Bryan Hayes. I guess it's no surprise that heads were going to roll as the Mets wrap up possibly the most disappointing season in team history. That's quite an achievement, given how many hugely disappointing seasons Mets fans have lived through.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Building a Better Future for the Mets

This week, there is more great info on the Mets pitching lab and the young pitching prospects who will benefit from it.

In last week's post, I wrote about the Mets' new pitching lab in Port St. Lucie, based on Mike Puma's reporting in the New York Post. An excellent piece in The Athletic (subscription required) by Tim Britton and Will Sammon came out a couple of days later, which went into more depth on the subject. The Mets hope that taking advantage of the latest technology can help them catch up to more progressive organizations that have been using it for years.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Advanced Biomechanics, Meet the Mets

The Mets pitching lab is open for business in Port St. Lucie. Now the challenge for the club is to properly implement the expensive gizmos they invested in.

One of my biggest frustrations when the Wilpons owned the Mets was how far the team had fallen behind other, more progressive organizations in taking advantage of analytics and technology. Teams in much smaller markets operating under relatively small budgets were miles ahead of a team playing in the greatest city in the world. It's been reported that the Mets' front office was frequently frustrated by their inability to convince ownership that investing in technology would ultimately make the organization more efficient in developing ballplayers. This reluctance pre-dated the nosedive the club's finance took with the collapse of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The Wilpons were notoriously unwilling to spend on anything they couldn't understand.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Bad Actors

Bad Actor: a mean, ill-tempered, troublemaking, or evil person.

As the 2023 New York Mets' season grinds down to what surely will feel like a merciful death, most of us Mets fans are hoping and praying for a 2024 season that is at least compelling, if not triumphant. How that plays out depends on who suits up for the team next year, and that, of course, will greatly depend on who is making what is sure to be a series of significant decisions this offseason. David Stearns, or whoever calls the shots, must hit on most of those calls. The implications of those choices go way beyond 2024 for the Mets. The idea of sustained winning still feels like the ever-elusive white whale for long-time fans like myself. And even Steve Cohen isn't going to stomach massive deficit spending forever.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Lost Season

Losing sucks. The hope now is decidedly on the future as the current Mets' season completely unravels.

The idea of a "lost season" is nothing new to longtime New York Mets fans. I've lived through so many more than I would care to count. Some years, you knew the team was going nowhere before the season even began. Others began promising, but injuries and a perennial lack of depth derailed them. This year feels even more frustrating because the resources were in place for a successful season. While Billy Eppler's front office made some errors in constructing the roster, there still seemed to be more than enough for the team to at least compete for a playoff spot. Yet key players endured long, unproductive slumps, with the bats time and again falling silent against mediocre opponents, and the pitching staff seemed to save some of their worst efforts for games in which the offense finally did their part.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Mets' Remarkable 180-Degree Turn

The Mets' trade deadline "repurposing" of assets was even more stunning than their massive winter shopping spree. What happens next will decide how this is all ultimately viewed.

I must admit that I didn't foresee most of what happened with the Mets at this trade deadline. I knew David Robertson would be going and strongly suspected that Tommy Pham would be dealt. I was surprised when the Mets were willing to include so much cash in the Max Scherzer deal. I was less surprised when Justin Verlander was traded, although I had questioned whether owner Steve Cohen would invest millions more in acquiring more prospects. I am finally getting to the stage where I will no longer doubt the Mets owner's will to go to extraordinary lengths in doing whatever he feels needs to be done.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Some Thoughts as the Trade Deadline Nears

I don't enjoy watching my high-priced team sell at the deadline, even if I agree with the decision. I hope the players that remain and are unhappy with this sell-off find motivation to avoid another next season.

I was surprised to learn that the Mets had traded Max Scherzer to the Rangers on Saturday. I really wasn't expecting Steve Cohen to fork over the amount of money it would take to trade Scherzer for any worthwhile prospect return. The Mets ponied up over $35 million of Max's salary this year and next, while the Rangers are paying him $22.5 million. In return, New York received Luisangel Acuña from Texas, a 21-year-old currently in Double-A. From what I read, Acuña has a chance to be a really good player, if not quite a superstar like his older brother Ronald.

The Lost Season

Losing sucks. The hope now is decidedly on the future as the current Mets' season completely unravels. The idea of a "lost season&q...