The New York Mets’ struggles again in 2017 show that their core is rotten. If the Mets are serious about winning a World Series anytime soon, they will need to allow a new core to rise.
New York Mets fans remember the end of the 2015 season like it was yesterday, with the bitter taste of a sloppy defeat still fresh in their mouths.
The acquisitions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera provided the Mets with a marginal upgrade up the middle, however, the Mets still entered the season with question marks, especially in the bullpen.
As the 2016 season progressed, while, granted, there were many key injuries, it was clear that the core of the Mets team was flawed.
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The Mets were relying on the elbows of five, still mostly unproven, young pitchers to make or break their season. When these pitchers were unable to hold up, the flaws in the philosophy of the New York Mets were exposed.
A lineup that relies on the presence of one man, Yoenis Cespedes, will not score at a sustainable pace. This holds especially true when a team that was once filled with aces is now giving up a more humane amount of runs every night.
The Mets making the playoffs despite their struggles last season is quite possibly the worst thing to happen to the team.
Because the team was able to reach October, albeit they did not make it out of the Wild Card game, Sandy Alderson entered the 2016 season with the impression that his core was good enough when healthy.
Sandy Alderson and Mets management proceeded to stand pat this offseason, and make no additions to a team that still had the same flaws that prevented the defeat of the Royals in 2015.
The Mets bullpen was still a question mark after Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. Proven by the 13 blown saves by Mets pitching this season, Sandy Alderson was foolish to think that Fernando Salas, Rafael Montero, and others could provide the Mets with a competitive bullpen.
The Mets plan to sacrifice defense for offense has also backfired miserably. Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, when healthy this year, are no longer what they once were up the middle, causing headaches for ground-ball pitchers like Robert Gsellman.
In addition, the Mets use of players in unnatural positions has not worked out. Jose Reyes at third base and a string of unnatural center fielders have created unnecessary hiccups for a pitching staff that has struggled enough on its own.
It is more likely that the Cleveland Browns will win a Super Bowl in the next five years than that the Mets will win the World Series this season, and the Mets would be wise to realize this sooner rather than later.
The Mets have a large stash of veterans who will be free agents at the end of the season, and it would not be wise for the Mets not to bring pretty much any of them back.
However, while players like Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera are no longer useful pieces to the Mets World Series puzzle, other contenders, and even rebuilding teams, could find good use for them.
The Mets could use the sale of these veterans to replenish a farm system that has been heavily depleted since the 2015 season.
It will also give the Mets an opportunity to assess what additions they need to make this offseason.
The Mets do have an onslaught of young position players looking to make their push into the big show.
If you need an example to understand, look at the Mets first base situation. For years we have known that Lucas Duda is a streaky, unreliable bat.
It is all but a foregone conclusion that for the Mets to move forward they can no longer rely on bats like that. However, lucky for them, they have an intriguing first base prospect, Dominic Smith, waiting in Las Vegas.
If the Mets can deal Duda, they have half of a season to see what Smith has at the Major League level. It doesn’t matter if the prospect fails completely because the team is already far out of it. It will only help prevent any mistakes in building the 2018 roster.
Failure from Smith wouldn’t even be that big of a deal to the Mets because Lucas Duda was never going to be the answer. Failure would merely allow the Mets to pursue a first-baseman, like maybe Eric Hosmer, and enter the season with one less question mark.
It is pretty clear the Mets are going nowhere in 2017, and they need to start the process now if they want a core ripe for 2018.