After suffering their fourth-straight loss on Saturday night to the Braves, the New York Mets need to get serious in the front office.
By Robby Sabo
Prior to the season if you were tell the average New York Mets fan their team would be 36-33 with a half-game lead over a struggling Washington Nationals, he or she would’ve signed off with full enthusiasm.
First place in the NL East through 69 games is, indeed, where the Mets stand. The problem is it doesn’t quite feel like it.
Saturday night was another tough loss for New York. It marked their fourth-straight loss, falling to the Atlanta Braves by the final of 6-4.
The starter of this one, Noah Syndergaard, wasn’t particularly solid. He yielded three-earned runs and six-hits in only four-innings of work.
This effort is the exception, not the norm for this team.
On Friday night, reigning NL Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom, pitched marvelous baseball. He made it into the eighth-inning without surrendering one-run. In the end though, the Mets defense let him down with bonehead mistakes and terrible awareness.
That last statement is the norm.
This has become the familiar narrative for this first-place ball-club. They walk their starter onto the mound to pitch brilliantly for as long as he can go, only to see the bullpen, the defense, or the lineup choke the win away.
Think about the two-halves of this team.
The pitching has been fantastic. They currently rank seventh in all the land with a 3.60 ERA. This is the case even with only one legitimate bullpen arm (Jeurys Familia).
On the other hand, the offense is downright dreadful. Their 256 total runs – placing them 26th in baseball – will simply not allow them to keep this first-place pace going.
There’s no question that injuries have derailed this lineup. In fact, with a completely healthy squad, their lineup wouldn’t look all too bad.
Mets Healthy Lineup:
- Curtis Granderson (L)
- Travis d’Arnaud (R)
- David Wright (R)
- Lucas Duda (L)
- Michael Cuddyer (R)
- Daniel Murphy (L)
- Wilmer Flores (R)
- Jaun Lagares (R)
The obvious problem is they cannot stay healthy, nor can the front office pretend they might be able to.
Kevin Plawecki is a nice long-term answer should d’Arnaud’s recent injury scare from Saturday turns into something. Still, if d’Arnaud misses any time again, it leaves a huge gap in the middle of the lineup for this season. He has truly become one of the best hitters on the team.
General manager Sandy Alderson needs to treat Wright as if he doesn’t exist. While it would be tough to trade for a third-baseman who cannot play secondary positions, it has almost come to the point that it should be considered.
It is time for Alderson to act.
The plan since he took the helm in 2010 has worked. The racking up of power arms in the farm and allowing them to come through the system is finally now starting to net results. The only who hasn’t shown his face yet is Steven Matz (which will change soon enough).
While that patient approach to build the core was the right move and will pay off in the long run, a quick reactionary move needs to happen now.
This doesn’t mean trading Syndergaard and/or Matz for a short-term fix. This doesn’t even mean going all-out for an oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki who would turn into a disaster in Floushing. What it means is that this lineup desperately needs a guy who can play multiple positions and contribute immediately.
It’s time for Alderson to put on his imagination cap and get to work if he wants his club to have a real shot of October baseball this season. The Mets have plenty of pieces – aside from the big power arms – to acquire a very necessary piece.
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