Sunday, March 3, 2024

Lowered Expectations, Part Deux

A November parade is quite unlikely, but I'm oddly excited about the upcoming New York Mets season.

I was pretty confident in the Mets' chances heading into last season. While nothing is certain in baseball, I thought they were as close as it gets to a sure thing for making the playoffs. And that would have been a big deal. As I pointed out in a post that I wrote a year ago, the Mets have only made the playoffs in consecutive years twice in their entire history: 1999 and 2000 under Bobby Valentine, and 2015 and 2016 with Terry Collins running the show. And that 2016 appearance was a one-and-done Wild Card game ouster.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

On Prospects and Analytics

David Stearns has taken heat for moves he hasn't made this winter, but he is laying the groundwork for a transformational season.

The Mets organization has no history of being a player development juggernaut. There have been some good homegrown players over the years, even a few great ones. But there has never been a significant era in the Mets' existence fueled by a farm system continually delivering talent to the major league club. Over many decades, this has been a primary reason why the club has been unable to sustain winning.

Monday, January 29, 2024

The Defense Doesn't Rest

A renewed emphasis on defense would be a good thing for the New York Mets.

Mike Vaccaro had an interesting column in the New York Post about the rather dull first winter of David Stearns's tenure, compared with the splashier debuts of some other recent Mets GMs. Back in the offseason of 2004-05, Omar Minaya famously hit the ground running, signing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran in his first offseason in charge. In his inaugural hot stove as GM, Brodie Van Wagenen swung a deal for Edwin Díaz that, unfortunately, also saddled the club with the Albatross of Robinson Canó's contract.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What I'm Looking for in '24

Spring training is almost upon us. Here's what I hope to see from the New York Mets this season.

Here in New England, winter has announced itself rather loudly these past couple of weeks. It hasn't affected me as much as in a typical year. I'm stuck in the house the majority of the time, anyway, after hip replacement surgery. I can't drive yet, so I don't have to deal with the adverse conditions on the road. I can't go out and shovel after the relatively minor storms that have hit my area. Still, as someone who holds no love for the winter, I wouldn't be sorry to see Old Man Winter dial it back a bit.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Why 2024 Matters

Despite having to dig out of the mess created by the 2023 Mets, David Stearns and the Mets cannot afford to kick the can down the road to 2025.

I had hip replacement surgery last week. Just reading those words on the page makes me feel old. I turned 65 last October. I'm not at death's door, but I understand that the clock is ticking and I won't be around forever. I know this is somewhat of a cliché, but time really does go by remarkably quickly. I woke up one day, looked in the mirror, and was surprised at the old face staring back at me. It doesn't seem so long ago that I was still a relatively young man.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

(Really) Getting Better

Although it hasn't always been easy to believe, I have to admit it's getting better for the New York Mets.

When I was very young, The Beatles were still together making music. I remember when the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in May 1967 when I was 8 years old, just in time to dominate the airwaves in the ensuing summer, which would become famous as the Summer of Love. It was the first rock music I was ever aware of, living in a house where the music of my Mom's generation and my Grandmother's Italian music dominated our stereo. There were many classic songs on Sgt. Pepper's, including the title song, "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," and "A Day in the Life." When I got a little older and started acquiring my own music, the album remained in rotation of the stuff I listened to throughout my teen years.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Eating Your Vegetables Is Never Fun

Last winter was a blast for Mets fans, at least until the Correa deal fell through. This year is less about immediate gratification, with a significantly reduced level of fun.

What a difference a year makes. The Mets were quite active at the 2022 Winter Meetings, signing top free agents at a feverish pace. This year, the Mets departed Nashville with little to show for their time in Music City besides minor league deals to reliever Andre Scrubb and infielder José Iglesias, along with a split deal to reliever Michael Tonkin. Since then, most of the news has featured David Stearns doing organizational depth signings, primarily to minor league contracts with an invite to spring training. I certainly can't fault David Stearns for building as much depth as possible, but these aren't the sort of deals that will make Mets fans stand up and take notice.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Ground-Level Work

Can David Stearns build the deep, competitive 40-man roster that has eluded the Mets for so long?

Since the World Series ended, things have begun to heat up for the Mets. It kicked off with the news that Carlos Mendoza had been hired as the new manager, which became official at the news conference on November 14. On Friday of that week, we learned that the Mets had elected not to tender contracts to several of their eligible players: DH Daniel Vogelbach, Utitly Infielder Luis Guillorme, and relievers Trevor Gott, Jeff Brigham, and Sam Coonrod. Along with some of the moves made earlier in the month, the Mets 40-man roster is sitting at 28 players. We knew there would be massive changes to the team in David Stearns's first offseason calling the shots, and there certainly is plenty of roster room for those changes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Some Thoughts on Our New Manager

The new Mets manager had an impressive introduction to the fan base. Now the hard stuff begins.

I wasn't planning to watch Carlos Mendoza's introductory press conference but was home at noon, so I decided to tune in. He came across as knowledgeable and enthusiastic and has received good reviews in most things I've read. He clearly knows what he's getting into by taking a manager's job in New York. According to SNY, he'll make about $1.5 million per year for three years, with a club option for a fourth. So, even if Carlos lasts out his entire contract, he'll make less total money than Craig Counsell will make next year alone. Carlos Mendoza will need to enjoy some success as a manager if he hopes to get closer to Counsell's income level.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

I Asked for Craig Consell, But All I Got Was Carlos Mendoza

A few quick thoughts on our new manager.

I read this weekend how impressed David Stearns and his front office mates were with Carlos Mendoza, and I was pretty sure that Mendoza would be the next Mets manager. It's not that I'm clairvoyant or particularly smart. It's just that everything I read about Craig Counsell made me skeptical of his taking the Mets job. He seemed most interested in the Mets' interest as a device to push his value up, which is certainly his right. I didn't foresee the Cubs jumping into the fray while jettisoning their manager, but it made a lot of sense once the dust settled.

The Ground-Level Work

Can David Stearns build the deep, competitive 40-man roster that has eluded the Mets for so long? Since the World Series ended, things have ...