Be careful out there this winter.
Nowadays, you can enter a Mets discussion (argument) 24/7. You can get your fix on Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram apparently. TV and talk radio are churning out the Met offseason talking points and there is still a month of baseball remaining.
Sign Rendon. Sign Cole. Fire Mickey. Hire Girardi. Trade Syndergaard. Sign Wheeler.
Maybe one of the things listed above will happen. Anthony Rendon and Gerritt Cole will not be signing here in 2020. (Maybe in 2030.)
That’s the most common trap fans will fall into this season. They’ll get themselves all worked up over a pipe dream.
Let’s discuss some other traps Met fans should avoid this offseason.
2019 WAS EXCITING. THE METS STILL NEED TO IMPROVE DRASTICALLY.
Pete Alonso had a rookie season for the ages. Jeff McNeil emerged as one of the league’s best hitters. Amed Rosario led the major leagues in hits during the second half. Wilson Ramos had the best offensive year a Met catcher has had in a decade. Michael Conforto hit 30+ home runs. JD Davis showed everyone that he’s a professional hitter.
The Mets offense still ranked 13th in baseball. (Don’t forget that half of the league is tanking or rebuilding.)
The Mets had 4 starting pitchers (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler) make 30+ starts. Yet, the Mets missed the playoffs.
I don’t want to sound like Mr. Glass half-empty here, but how likely is that to happen again in 2020? What is likely to happen is Zack Wheeler departing for free agency. The Mets cannot adequately replace him this offseason. Do NOT say Gerritt Cole. We talked about this.
The Mets have to keep this rotation (which they’ve sold the fans on for the better part of a decade) intact to compete.
Listen. I’m human. The run the Mets went on this summer to get back into playoff contention was amazing. This is easily the most likable Met team in recent memory.
Facts are facts, though.
Mets went 8-11 vs ATL, 7-12 vs PHI, 2-5 vs CHC, LAD & STL, and 1-5 vs MIL. The Mets played well against Washington. Was anybody else in the NL actually trying to compete this year?
22-43 against playoff teams and fringe playoff teams in 2019. Not ideal.
In 2019, the Mets had a worse bullpen than the Miami Marlins. You cannot trust Jeurys Familia to be the set-up man going forward. Can you trust Edwin Diaz to be the closer? The Mets don’t think so. They literally hid him from game action the last two months of the season.
You can trust two men in the bullpen right now. Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson.
Again. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer, but don’t let them fool you into thinking they are a tweak or two away. There is serious work to be done here.
THE NEXT MANAGER IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN ACTUAL ON FIELD TALENT.
Did you fall into this trap in 2018?
Did you get caught up in the Mickey Callaway propaganda? The analytics. The “dirt ball reads.” Not “dry-humping” the pitchers.
Did you watch a first time manager struggle to adjust to the National League game? Were you frustrated by watching him learn on the job?
Did you blame him for the team’s shortcomings? Or did you blame the front office for giving everyday at bats to Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and José Reyes?
In 2019, do you think that Mickey Callaway improved in any aspect of managing aside from handing in the lineup card properly?
Now let me ask you this. If forced to choose between Tyler Bashlor and Jacob Rhame, will Joe Girardi always pick the right guy? Will he get Chris Mazza on the bullpen phone and tell him to have an effective outing? I know Girardi is a “winner” but Drew Gagnon can only take you so far.
If you want to argue that Mickey Callaway kept the team together, and they played hard for him down the stretch, that’s fine. I would actually argue that Pete Alonso was more responsible for the second half resurgence than Callaway.
There were many times in 2019 where I didn’t think Callaway put the Mets in the best position to win. However, if he had a bullpen that was halfway competent, the fan perception of Mickey Callaway would be quite different.
I’ll leave you with some other things you may read this offseason that are patently UNTRUE.
NOAH SYNDERGAARD ISN’T A GOOD PITCHER.
BRANDON NIMMO IS A FOURTH OUTFIELDER.
MICHAEL CONFORTO ISN’T CLUTCH .