The New York Mets reportedly sent a contingent to Florida to attend the annual Winter Meetings. Did Sandy Alderson make the flight?
If you pull up Google’s Mets news page, you’ll quickly notice a disappointing trend in nearly all of the stories. The Mets are interested in so and so, the Mets are interested in strengthening their bullpen, the Mets might be interested in trading Matt Harvey. And I have an interest in taking a cruise to Bermuda.
Less than a week ago, I wrote a piece anticipating what we might expect from the Mets during the Winter Meetings. It was an upbeat piece which pointed out some of the needs the team for the upcoming season, along with possible avenues of pursuit the team might take to fill those holes.
The story ended, though, with the thought that the Mets could sit back, using the Meetings as an opportunity to gather information they could use at a later time to make trades.
That was then, and this is now. In the space of the week since then, baseball, and in particular the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels have taken off on a trajectory which should automatically propel the Mets to Plan B. Except it doesn’t appear to be happening.
Don’t believe me? Hear it from the man himself as he “lowers expectations” for the Mets against the face of other teams trying to meet the challenge. Promise not to cry?
Let’s get real now with a case in point: the Mets desperately need some pop in their diluted lineup, correct? Wednesday, the Mets lost out on a chance to land Marcell Ozuna, who went to the St. Louis Cardinals. Ozuna, a promising outfielder, hit .312 for the Marlins last year with 37 home runs and 124 RBI to go along with an astounding .924 OPS.
The Mets did not make a play for Ozuna, even though he was being given away as part of the firesale Derek Jeter is conducting in Miami. Christian Yelich is another outfielder on the Marlins roster the Mets should be taking an interest in acquiring. The 26-year-old finished in the top 10 in RBI in 2016 with 98 and followed that up with a .282 BA and 18 home runs with 82 RBI last season. Yelich also walked 80 times, compiling a .369 OBP.
I try to be kind to the Mets, hoping beyond hope they will refrain from shooting themselves in the foot.
Try as I might, though, they always let me down. Sandy Alderson should be beating the door down to Jeter’s hotel room, refusing to leave until a deal is done for Yelich.
Beyond that, and despite resistance coming from Mickey Callaway, if Alderson is serious about trading Matt Harvey, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be, then pull out all the stops and make it happen. What’s the problem?
And what happened to all those stories about the Mets being interested (there’s that word again) in Jay Bruce? According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays, Rockies, and Mariners have joined the Mets in the fight to retain the services of the power-hitting outfielder.
Mets, rockies, jays and mariners are among teams eying jay bruce at present.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2017
This, when only two weeks ago, Bruce was seemingly there for the taking by Alderson. Good things come to all ye who wait does not work in baseball. Just ask all the teams who waited in vain for Shohei Ohtani or Giancarlo Stanton to come to them.
And sometimes, you fight the battle but still lose, as in the case of the Seattle Mariners, who did everything right in their pursuit of Ohtani but still lost out to the Angels. Did that stop the Mariners? Hell no, they went straight in on a deal for Dee Gordon.
The Mets have lost the pioneer spirit
The Mets? Oh yeah, I forgot I was talking about the Mets because I get carried away thinking about teams who have a forward-looking mentality and are willing to take risks to achieve the results their fans want.
A final word accents the point. New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was being interviewed Tuesday on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio as I was driving home. He was asked how he felt when he pulled the trigger on the Stanton deal. The question was a leading one, and the expected answer was, “Wow, I couldn’t believe I had done it.”
But instead, and I can only paraphrase what Cashman said, he replied that he “was nervous and unsure of himself because you always want to do what’s best for the franchise.” And yet, he signed the paperwork completing the deal.
These are the kinds of decisions general managers are paid to make. Owners and fans place their trust in these men to move the team forward.
The Mets still lack this spirit of adventure into the unknown. And at this point, it would be safe to say the Mets contingent will arrive back from Florida at LaGuardia Airport in a few days with their bags intact and no extra weight attached to them.
On the other hand, surprise me, Sandy. And more importantly, surprise the loyal fan base you barely deserve with a couple of moves that show you can still dance to the beat of major league baseball – today!