The Mets are nearing the mid-way point of the 2017 campaign, and things are not rosy in Queens as the National League club is siting 10+ games out of playoff position. Although plenty of contests remain this season, the panic button should probably be pressed now before things get too out of hand.
What brought us into this dire situation? A number of poor decisions have, and Dr. Edward Honig takes a look at a few of big ones:
After the team played in the 2015 World Series, it let players such as Daniel Murphy go. Late that season, he moved into second place on the all-time doubles list in team history. He then put his name in the MLB record book by hitting a home run in six straight playoff games. But the Mets did not resign him, and he was off to Washington, a team that has essentially been in first place ever since.
Two years earlier, the club let Justin Turner provide his services to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his new team has participated in postseason play every year since. His numbers increased significantly since then as well as Turner hit at a .265 clip and had eight homers in four years in the Big Apple before improving those numbers to .308 and 54, respectively, after arriving in the City of Angels. His turning in a four-hit game in L.A.’s 10-6 win over New York on June 19 served as a painful reminder of what the team let go.
Most recently, Edward Honig points out that the Mets made the mistake of not making any significant additions to the team in the offseason and banking on keeping a healthy roster this season. That risk certainly backfired as the Mets have had injury problems and then some the first third of the 2017 campaign. Most notably, the team had focused its efforts on its pitching staff in the offseason after the hitters had ranked 25th in offense a year ago. What resulted were numerous pitchers getting hurt and those who were healthy not performing up to the level they should. The offense improving to 12th in the majors in 2017 was not enough to counteract the pitching plummeting to 28th.
What can be done to save this season Dr. Honig asks? Some will say nothing and that it’s time to be a seller in the coming months and look to the future. There’s merit to that argument. Conversely, June may be too soon to give up on a season as, in the past, teams have rallied from significant deficits at this point of the campaign to end up putting together decent campaigns. But if this season is not a lost cause, a major move – or several of them – need to be made soon. The obvious focus should be pitching as much stronger arms need to be starting games and coming out of the bullpen than has been the case the last few months.
However, Edward Honig feels a decision to become a seller does not need to be seen as a negative one as that move can really help the team’s fortunes in 2018 and beyond. Selling players such as Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce, all potential free agents, could help the team’s financial situation and also most likely bring to New York some top-notch prospects in return. Good defensive prospects, especially if they cover the middle positions, would help improve the team’s defense as well.
Another strategy in looking to the future would be to start calling up prospects who are already in New York’s minor league system. One option is 21-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario who has put together .300+ batting averages his past two seasons in the minors. Most of that time has been spent at the AAA and AA levels. Another possibility is bringing up Dominic Smith; he has had four straight .300+ seasons in the minors, most recently in AAA.
Although it may not be time to focus completely on being a seller, the window of opportunity for competing for a playoff spot in 2017 is quickly closing, and a run needs to start now. In lieu of that or perhaps instead of hoping for that unlikely scenario, perhaps a focus in 2018 and beyond would be the right move for the Mets’ front office.
Dr. Edward Honig is a lifelong Mets fan, from Long Island. Currently, Edward lives in Glen Cove and is a cardiologist at Glen Cove Hospital. He is one of the foremost cardiologists in the field today, and is well known for contributing articles about the latest in medical advice, techniques, and practices.