Mets blanked by the Royals, and Steve Cohen stopped by to chat with the team
Steve Cohen met with what was left of his Met team in the clubhouse before the game on Wednesday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets were shutout by the Royals 3-0 in Kansas City on Wednesday (Box)
Kodai Senga had to battle through 5.2 innings, allowing 11 hits but only two earned runs
Reed Garrett pitched well out of the bullpen for the Mets, striking out one over 1.1 IP
Phil Bickford made his Mets debut upon arriving in a trade from the Dodgers, and allowed a home run in his one inning of work
Jeff McNeil had a big night offensively, going 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot
The Mets were shutout for the 11th time, are now 5-6 against the AL Central, 12-19-4 in series, and 8-9 since the All-Star Game
News and Notes 🎵
Francisco Álvarez was named the National League’s Rookie of the Month for July
Pete Alonso was named National League’s Player of the Week for the week of July 24
David Peterson will join the rotation for Friday’s game against the Orioles
Max Scherzer echoed his remarks to the Athletic in a public press conference in Arlington on Wednesday
Injury Updates 🏥
Brandon Nimmo (mild quad strain) missed a second straight game but is close to returning
Roster Moves 🗞️
Selected the contract of INF Jonathan Arauz from Triple-A Syracuse
Activated RHP Phil Bickford
Optioned C Michael Pérez to Triple-A Syracuse
Optioned RHP Vinny Nittoli to Triple-A Syracuse
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (50-57) at Royals (34-75)
Starting pitchers: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-5, 6.40 ERA) vs. RHP Brady Singer (6-8, 5.46 ERA)
Where: Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City, MO
When: 2:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Steve Cohen’s post trade deadline remarks 📣
On Wednesday in Kansas City, Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen met with reporters and discussed the team’s strategy and decision-making process before the August 1 trade deadline.
The Mets parted ways with a total of eight players and as much as $108 million in present day and potential future salaries to other clubs to acquire prospects and restock their farm system over the last month…
He met with the players in the Mets clubhouse to check in and see how they were doing emotionally following the team’s massive sell off
He reminded the media what he said at the end of June about what they might do if the team didn’t turn it around
“I’m surprised you’d be surprised because I said I wanted sustainability, if we were in the same position I wasn’t going to add,” he explained
He intends to field a competent team in 2024, saying he doesn’t want a team out there that’s embarrasing
He used the trade deadline as an opportunity to drastically improve the farm system, noting it wasn’t to his satisfaction before the moves were made
He’s hopeful the Mets will be able to retain Pete Alonso on a long-term contract despite the shift in organizational strategy
Reaching the playoffs is not an acceptable goal for his organization
“Making the playoffs is not good enough. That’s not a high enough goal. OK, maybe I set high goals and I don’t reach them. But if you don’t set high goals, you’re never gonna get there. And the idea is to be in the playoffs a lot, so you have a shot at winning a World Series.”
He praised the job both Mets manager Buck Showalter and GM Billy Eppler have done, suggesting he is taking complete responsibility for the club’s decision making process on the roster construction before the 2023 season
“Spending a fortune doesn’t guarantee you a trip to the playoffs.”
Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen
The Mets look like they were hit by a truck… ✍️
Well, it’s almost pointless to talk about these games now that the team has officially punted the 2023 season. Win or lose, its a path to nowhere and, at least in these first two games after the trade deadline, what’s left of the 2023 Mets looks like it was hit by an 18-wheel truck.
I suppose that’s understandable. Yes, they’re professionals, yes there are still some highly-paid players on this roster and they have a responsibility to be at peak levels, but they’re still human beings in a game that has been dehumanized.
I think the Mets need to revisit the human side of the game in whatever path forward they choose to take.
Anyway, I’ll start by saying that I know what the front office did by selling off their assets for premium prospects - at a cost of as much as $108 million, by the way - is best for the long-term health of the franchise. Even if it means what’s left of the 2023 Mets is constructed of minor league pieces, mix and match parts off the waiver wire, and some players we’ve literally never heard of before. While they’re just prospects and, realistically, the Mets can only really hope for a 50% return at the major league level on their investment, their farm system left a lot to be desired (and still needs quite a bit of work in both stockpiling prospects and player development), and there was no real path to success for the club.
I’ve been saying for years and Mets GM Billy Eppler echoed the same thing the other day - spending money in free agency is not the path forward for any club, regardless of how much they decide to invest. Yes, it can result in short bursts of success - see the 2006 Mets and now, the 2022 Mets. It’s easy to pull the wool over our eyes with a mega-rich owner and believe he can outspend their gaps and deficits in the process.
But both of those bubbles burst very quickly, as we all know. And it’s now clear that no matter how much money one has and one is willing to spend, it cannot buy a World Championship.
The thing is, as Mr. Cohen seemed to suggest last night in Kansas City, we all wanted to believe they’d turn it around and get back into the thick of a race between his press conference at Citi Field in June and last Friday night, right? After all, its baseball, it’s the Mets, and sometimes, we think the baseball gods shine bright upon Flushing.
But, most of the time, it doesn’t. In fact, it never does. You make your own breaks.
Mind you, none of this is meant to excuse what has happened to the Mets in 2023. Their performance is both inexcusable and unacceptable. They went into this season with a poorly constructed bullpen (that was before Edwin Díaz went down) with a poor philosophy built in. They were counting on less regression in their lineup rather than building in protections by procuring a better solutions in their outfield and DHs, among other things. Of course, I can’t argue with the construction of their rotation - it just didn’t work out.
But the best Met teams (1969, 1973 to an extent, and 1986) were built on similar models which define the most successful teams in the sport today (Astros, Dodgers). And that is a rich and plentiful farm system graduating its elite core to the big leagues. Each of those teams in their respective generation used the external markets to supplement that elite core and fill those gaps accordingly.
Those gaps can either skill gaps (Donn Clendenon) or intangible gaps (Gary Carter) or a combination of the two (both players).
(Note: The above are just two of many examples that can be listed to demonstrate the point.)
And I know it’s a different era than those of yesteryear, but if there were the same number of opportunities for those clubs to play in the postseason, they would’ve made it several times between 1969-1975 and several times between 1984-1989. They had a lot of good teams in those long-stretches of time that should’ve been playoffs teams or at least contenders and weren’t because of the absence of a wild card.
And they were good because the core of those teams were planted, cultivated and grown from within. Not purchased after the age of 30 at the MSRP.
Now, I don’t think the Mets should pursue a model for their organization that mimics another club, mainly because I don’t think models are static because of the ever-evolving business and teaching methods at the amateur and professional levels. But also because the Mets have to find their own path and not play follow the leader.
One day, the Dodgers will hit a gap, as will the Astros. It’s inevitable in sports. Those gaps always seem to come sooner for the Mets than it does the Astros and Dodgers, but the gaps will come and they’ll have to redefine who they are and how they go about organizational building again.
How can the Mets define their own identity? Well, if I knew that, I would’ve been sitting there yesterday in Kansas City speaking to reporters, not Mr. Cohen.
None the less, the path forward is inclusive of a rebuild and inclusive of better organizational and player development, but also in defining their own identity and pioneering the next great strategy in team building.
Maybe that starts with this unprecedented amount of spending on elite prospects through these trades.
I guess we will know in 3-5 years.
Around the League 🚩
The Braves hit three more home runs, helping lead the way to a 12-5 win over the Angels
The Marlins won a wild 9-8, 12-inning game over the Phillies to help stop their second half spiral
Ian Happ accounted for two of the Cubs five home runs in their 16-6 rout of the Reds at Wrigley
Gerrit Cole out pitched Shane McLanahan, Anthony Volpe and Giancarlo Stanton homered, and the Yankees beat the Rays 7-2 in the Bronx
The Rangers built a 7-0 lead after two innings to send them on their way to an 11-1 rout of the White Sox in Arlington