Thanks for subscribing, a Just Mets preview, and a rant about the club
A special sneak preview edition of Just Mets
First off, I wanted to personally thank each and every one of you for your support with this project. Without you, we wouldn’t have even conceived of this idea to bring Just Mets back.
I wanted to quickly talk to you about the vision and plan for the future of Just Mets…
We don’t just want to resume where we left off, or just be another blog. I’ve been there. Rich has been there. We don’t want that anymore. It’s a different time, we all have different attention spans, and we often drift off into our own worlds where we aren’t always knee deep in the minutia of the Mets. Some folks don’t even want to get carried away with some of the stats they don’t understand anyway. Don’t get me wrong — those stats are important, and they certainly are important contextually when trying to figure out what’s going on and why, and baseball has become a data driven sport at all levels. But sometimes, we just want to know what’s happening with the team, what’s going on with a player, and why — myself included.
That’s where Just Mets comes into play — it’s just the Mets, everything you need to know about where the team stands, and if you want more, we will provide more. Those extras include deeper dives into the storylines, player interviews, context to hot stove rumors, and more.
Here’s a sneak preview of what our plan is for the site. It’s not close to a finished product, but in short, we want you to be able to get all of the information you need about the Mets, and if you want to read more, there are contextual stories available (don’t get hung up on the post about Jeff McNeil — this is a mock-up from earlier this summer)…
It may not look like this out of the gate, but I think you get the spirit we are trying to capture.
More to come on this soon. Now, a little bit about the Mets…
I’ve really had a lot of trouble articulating the state of the current Mets lately. It’s more of the same every single day. They scratch out a few runs but because they miss their own opportunities to score, one or two mistakes costs them games. Rinse and repeat tomorrow.
It’s not very fun to watch, and it’s not fun to talk about, either. Right now, they look a lot like the 1979 Mets which is hard to believe considering what they looked like at the All-Star Game. Yeah, they haven’t hit at all this year, but their pitching was keeping them in games, they were winning a lot of one and two-run games, and their defense was air tight. You could make the argument that they were probably lucking out in a lot of those one and two-run games, but good teams are lucky much of the time. All they really needed to do was score four runs and they hardly ever looked back from there.
But then came that game against the Pirates, the Sunday before the All-Star break.
They jumped out to a 5-0 lead that day, but it was a bullpen game for what seemed like the 100th time already because of so many injuries and doubleheaders. The Mets literally did not have enough pitchers to fill out a rotation, and that meant they needed multiple innings from all of their relievers, most of which should not ever sniff a second inning in a relief outing. And the Mets paid the price — the bullpen allowed six runs to score and of course, the Mets didn’t have any kind of answer to the Pirates after the first inning.
That was that.
And that was the dividing line of the season from my seat. The cynical side of me circled that date on the calendar as a day to remember in 2021. Jacob deGrom hasn’t pitched since that turn in the rotation, Taijuan Walker, who’s probably been gassed all summer due to the number of innings he has thrown, has a 7.04 ERA in 11 second half starts since. Edwin Díaz has once again failed to close out big, must-win games (and please, spare me the peripheral stats as a defense to his performance). Sure, they finished July 14-13, but they’ve won 17 games since! 17! Since August 1st, they’re 13 games under the .500 mark.
There was also thumbs down controversy, Marcus Stroman walking out on a Zoom session with the media, and this strange “nothing to see here!” message being projected by the players through the media as the team just sank.
That’s just ridiculous.
You may not realize this, but they’ve actually hit a little bit better in the second half:
88 games before the All-Star Game: .232/.311/.375, 3.78 runs scored per game
63 games since the All-Star Game: .248/.321/.410 , 4.16 runs scored per game
The problem is, it’s only a small uptick which has not been able to pick up a pitching staff which has largely gone south without deGrom collectively:
88 games before the All-Star Game: 3.45 ERA, 3.7 runs allowed per game
63 games since the All-Star Game: 4.40 ERA, 4.7 runs allowed per game
So, what do they do from here? It’s not so clear, to be honest.
They first have to decide if they’re making qualifying offers to Noah Syndergaard and/or Michael Conforto. My hunch is they will, and it would be a logically advantageous move for Syndergaard to consider taking it. He may come back for an appearance or two this year, but he has missed basically all of the last two years and is coming off Tommy John Surgery with a setback. He could take a one-year overpay and look to re-establish his market next winter if he can come back strong in 2022. It would be hard for him to do a lot better in the open market now given the last two years, and the draft compensation sticker on his shrink wrap.
Conforto and the qualifying offer scenario is a little less obvious, because he’s rebounded in the second half to a degree. He has a .761 OPS in 63 games since the All-Star Game, but more recently, he’s posted a .799 OPS since August 2. That’s more like the Conforto from 2015-2020. That’s not to say Conforto will get the contract he might’ve envisioned last winter, but he is entering his age-29 season in 2022 and he could be an awesome buy-low guy in what really is a weak free agent market for outfielders this winter. Alternatively, like Syndergaard, Conforto could take the qualifying offer, bank on a big year in 2022 and go to the open market ahead of 2023 without the draft compensation associated with him.
This is just the scenario which could be clarified by November 15. Then there are the decisions around Javier Báez, the return (or not) of Robinson Canó, what to do with JD Davis, Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil, managing deGrom, deepening the rotation, the bullpen and all of that. A new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players also must be sorted out, and what that looks like — assuming they come to an agreement — could change the spectrum of the offseason plan. Time will tell.
Oh, did I mention Luis Rojas’ future as manager, and what Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson are going to do about fixing their front office which currently lacks clarity around a general manager and president of baseball operations entirely?
What a mess.
But we will talk soon about all of this as it becomes clearer.
Thank you once again for your support. Keep the faith. #LGM