The New York Mets fan base would probably agree, and hopefully, the front office wouldn’t protest too much, that the team needs to hit the reset button and start over again. But what steps need to be taken to accomplish that Herculean feat?
I will state as fact, subject to argument, the New York Mets are in a state of disarray and have been for some time now. The organization needs to hit the reset button to fix the many areas that have reached the third rail, and they need to accomplish that feat sooner rather than later.
The team this organization put on the field in 2015 when they reached the World Series did them no favors, except to mollify their fan base and divert attention away from the brutal reality the organization was failing.
The Mets had no foundation
It was failing because there was no foundation. Their starting pitching was a house of cards, but no one knew it. They would let Daniel Murphy depart to Washington where he would emerge as one of the best hitters in baseball, and they would struggle even to this day to find a replacement for him at second base. (Neil Walker has enjoyed his moments, but simply cannot stay healthy.)
Hope beyond hope prevailed that David Wright would return somehow fully mended from injuries proved futile, and Yoenis Cespedes would prove to be too much to handle, just as he had been when he was with Oakland, Boston and Detroit before they came to their senses, unloading him to the Mets.
After that, under pressure to make a splash last offseason, the Mets signed Cespedes to a gaudy $86 million contract from which the team will not be freed until after the 2020 season while remaining under the influence of his on-today off tomorrow self-prescribed style of play.
Need we add more to this crushing chronology?
The thing is, as we all learned in physics class, a body in motion tends to stay in motion. And that’s the main problem for the Mets as we enter the 2018 season. You can’t stop baseball. It goes on with you or without you and there is precious little time to think long-range when the short-term means everything, especially when you play in New York City.
But if you believe this video and all is well in Metland, you are right where the Mets want you to be and you can stop reading now.
Change is derived from power
Change is derived from power. So, we need to first ask ourselves, if a difference is to come about, where does power reside in the Mets organization? The obvious answer is with ownership, which in this case belongs to the Wilpon brothers, otherwise known as Sterling Equities.
The latest check from Forbes places the value of the Mets at $2 billion. So unless you know of someone you can call with some pocket change to buy the team, the Wilpons are here to stay. So forget that.
So, you move down the line. And here is where we hit paydirt. The average age of general managers in baseball is forever decreasing. Jon Daniels was only 28 when he took over the helm of the Texas Rangers in 2005. The Boston Red Sox hired Theo Epstein when he was the same age. And in 2015, the Milwaukee Brewers tapped David Stearns at the age of 30 to run their team. Brian Cashman, the GM of the Yankees is only 50 and he’s been leading the team for more than a decade.
In direct contrast, the Mets have Sandy Alderson who has now reached the ripe age of 70.
Now, before you get on this age discrimination thing, I’m 70, and I consider myself smart as a whip (still). But the call and need for youth, even in my present day-job, is warranted. I can see with delight the ever-changing forces replacing what I once was as an active source of ideas which have naturally ebbed over the years.
And in that regard, baseball has changed, but the New York Mets haven’t. We’re in the era of analytics, whether we like it or not. And unless someone knows more than me, that was a foreign word to Terry Collins who, even if he wanted to, couldn’t have solicited the information he needed from the pared-down department within the Mets organization.
Since the Wilpons don’t have a baseball-savvy clue as to what the Mets are doing, it’s probably going to take a revolt in the streets among Mets fans, together with an onslaught from New York media to rid Alderson of his job.
But that has to be the first step to starting over. From there, the first charge of a GM must be to rebuild the Met’s farm system, which was once the pride of baseball. And to do that, the new GM will need to be a master communicator in his pleadings to the fan base that this is what’s needed — so, get over it!
Mets fans: Take it to the streets
Somehow, Mickey Callaway sneaked in there, and he has the opportunity to bring about small changes which can lead to big changes. He’s an “idea man” who, apparently, is not afraid to experiment. And if left alone, Callaway could be the one to break through where Collin’s wasn’t, by pushing and pushing against the tide, satisfied with small changes, which like a Lego set, eventually stand tall as something permanent in the Mets culture.
And that’s really what we’re talking about here. A change in the culture which brings about a proactive rather than a reactive team of leadership. And that’s why I say, let the revolution in the streets begin.
In the words of the Declaration of Independence, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary …”
That time, for the New York Mets and their fan base, is now.