My intention here is not to harp on the Mets as a whole. I’ve done it too many times, I don’t feel like repeating myself, and it’s not all that relevant to the subject matter. One criticism the Mets have earned over the years is that they continuously bring back familiar names both in the front office and in the clubhouse. This offseason alone they fired Terry Collins but gave him a job in the front office. Omar Minaya was brought back into a front office role and has recently taken on some GM responsibilities; he’s probably being groomed to become the General Manager once the season over (classic Mets).
On the field, the Mets organization has shown loyalty to aging veterans within and outside the team. This offseason was no exception. A slow market benefited the Mets because they were able to wait and wait and wait and land players on affordable deals. It was a Fred and Jeff Wilpon wet dream. Almost every player on the 2018 Mets has underperformed, but the newcomers and offseason acquisitions really lead the pact.
The Mets have longed for an everyday third basemen since David Wright’s body started breaking down. They’ve plugged guys here and there but have yet to find a replacement, a long term one at least. Fans were infatuated with Mike Moustakas but feared he’d only settle for a hefty mulit-year deal after a career year in his contract season. The Mets chose Todd Frazier instead (Moustakas ultimately signed back with KC on a 1-yr/$6.5M deal with a 2019 option. Frazier was signed to a 2-yr/$17M deal. The “hometown kid” was leaving the Evil Empire to come across town (remember he’s from Toms River).
The main fears going in with Frazier were that he’s not young (32), goes through lengthy cold streaks, and strikes out a lot. The pros were that he’s an instant improvement defensively, he doesn’t come with much injury history, and has some real pop in his bat. The Mets have eclipsed the halfway point, and Frazier has 10 HRs 32 RBIs, a .222 BA (career .243 hitter), and a .302 OBP (career .320). His slugging percentage is a whopping .377; Frazier has a career .454 slugging and has never posted worse than .407. Todd Frazier has already missed 25 games this season and has been a massive disappointment. He was brought in to be a veteran leader but more importantly a big bat in the lineup; he has not done is job up to this point.
Boy oh boy where do we start with Anthony Swarzak? The Mets had no choice but to make some improvements in the bullpen. They should have gone and gotten several arms to add into the fold, but the reliever market is a strange one. These guys are so fickle year over year, yet the demand for solid pen guys has never been higher. Supply and demand, my friends. Basic economics. The Mets paid Anthony Swarzak $14M over 2 years. The jury is in: this was a grave mistake.
Swarzak got hurt after just two games and was out for all of April and May. And he’s been a total disaster since then. His ERA is 6.28 in 14 appearances. In 14.1 innings of work he as 10 earned runs and a 1.81 WHIP. Swarzak only has 2 clean outings (no walks/hits) since returning from injury. Every time he comes into the game, there is zero confidence he’ll be able to get it done. Another DL stint is probably in the cards, citing some mysterious injury (I’ll go with Arm Fatigue). The Mets bullpen is by far the worst in baseball, and Anthony Swarzak is a major contributor to that. I called him a “good addition” before the season; he was not. For the Mets, he was their one big addition, and therein lies the problem.
When the Mets re-signed Jay Bruce, I referred to him earnestly as “a good player who can help this team”. I did not want him back but felt comfortable with the price point of 3-yr/$39M. Bruce joined the Mets in 2016 and was traded away for pennies on the dollar last season at the Mets fire sale. What we’ve seen from Bruce has been less than unacceptable. He had 3 RBIs in all of May! Jay Bruce averages over 30 HRs a year and has 3 (THREE!!!) right now with only 19 RBIs. His glove has been atrocious and his arm is embarrassing. Jay Bruce has looked absolutely lost at the plate for virtually the entire season. He’s on the DL now with a sore hip, and there’s no timetable for his return as far as I know. At 31 years old, he’s not getting younger. I’m sure he can provide some more pop for the offense when fully healthy, but the doubts are there and warranted. Ideally, Bruce returns soon and starts to hit so the Mets can, once again, trade him for a bag of balls.
As bad as the former batting champ was last season, I had no issue with the Mets bringing him back for 1 year for $2M. Though I knew it was risky to bring back another utility infielder instead of adding outfield depth, I literally said “it could be worse”. I was wrong. It cannot be worse. Jose Reyes is the worst player in baseball. On May 1, I called out the Mets for not being serious about competing solely because of Jose Reyes occupying a roster spot.
I feel just as strongly today as I did then. Reyes has 7 errors in the field! Reyes cannot run the bases! Reyes has a NEGATIVE WAR! Reyes has 4 RBIs! Reyes is batting .173! Enough of this guy. There are better options in every direction. He serves no benefit to this team, but the Mets won’t cut him. They want to give him a “proper sendoff”. What are we talking about here?! A proper sendoff for this bum? We’re paying his bills, I think that’s more than enough of a sendoff considering he wouldn’t be on any other major league roster in baseball.
The A-Gonz experiment was short lived. He was brought in late to fill the gap at first until Dom Smith was ready. At 35, expectations were low and he delivered on that. Gonzo was relatively “fine” in his 2+ months in Queens but was cut on June 11. He gave the Mets a decent glove at first plus 6 HRs and 26 RBIs. The Mets got him on the cheap (league veteran minimum I believe) and hoped he’d pan out for longer than he did. I imagine the best case scenario was for him to be the main 1B for 2018. Instead he’ll go down as another veteran who had a lukewarm cup of coffee with the Mets.
Let’s cut right to the chase. Jason Vargas is turning out to be one of the Mets’ worst signings in a long, long time. There was a pretty decent starting pitching market in the offseason, but the Mets made it clear they weren’t interested in guys like Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and more. They signed Jason Vargas on a 2-yr/$16M deal, and I still remember scratching my head at how happy Mets fans were. “I’ll take it” was the theme. As Mets fans, we’ve been trained and brainwashed to accept settling for middle of the road guys because the owners won’t pony up.
Jason Vargas is 2-6 with a 8.60 ERA this season. He allowed 9 and 6 earned runs in his first 2 starts and 7 in his most recent before landing on the disabled list. Vargas has served up 11 home runs in his 9 starts with the Mets, and at this point he’s better off staying on the disabled list. They’re not going to cut him, but if they did not one person would feel an ounce of sadness. The Mets got what they paid for. They found a 35 year old coming off a career year on the clearance rack and couldn’t contain themselves. Hope it was worth it. This guy sucks.
The Mets flipped Matt Harvey for Devin Mesoraco. The catching position has been a major problem since the Paul Lo Duca days. Travis d’Arnaud was touted as one of baseball’s top prospects years ago and has proven nothing at the major league level. It’s injury after injury with him. When he does play, he doesn’t play well. Kevin Plawecki is nothing more than a subpar desperate option. And so the Mets made a move sending out a toxic guy for someone who should make an impact right away.
Looking at wins and losses, it’s hard to praise any one player, especially the every day players. Devin Mesoraco has been fine, and I think we won the trade no matter what Matt Harvey and Devin Mesoraco do moving forward. Nobody’s getting excited with him behind or at the plate, but he’s done a solid job in 36 games with the Mets (7 HRs, 18 RBIs). Is he a long term option for the Mets? If the team around him is good enough, then I think he’s a viable option. But the team is likely being sold off asset by asset, so Mesoraco’s time with the Mets will be all but forgotten.
Joey Bats was scooped up after being released by the Braves. It’s classic Mets to add an aging veteran whose best days are behind him, but there was really no risk here. I’ve always been a Jose Bautista fan so I figured “what the hell, why not?”. Bautista’s hit 3 HRs and has 14 runs batted in during his short tenure with the Mets. He has not been great, he has not been terrible. He’s certainly not helping them win games, but he’s also not the reason they’re losing. I actually believe in my heart of hearts that if the Mets were winning and playing meaningful baseball, then Jose Bautista could be a fun player to watch and possibly an important part of the offense. For now, he’ll be a guy who plays left field, right field, third base, second base, and wherever else the Mets decide to slide him in. He may be the best offensive player we have post-trade deadline, so that’ll be interesting.
It’s unfair to lump Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista into this conversation. They’ve been uninspiring to say the least, but they were brought into this mess after it was already a problem. And to their defense, they weren’t brought in to be heroes and saviors. For the time being I like them both, particularly Mesoraco, given the other options. Even Adrian Gonzalez is absolved of blame for the most part. But all in all, every single offseason move has been an unmitigated disaster. Todd Frazier has underperformed and underachieved. Anthony Swarzak is awful, and the fact that he was the only bullpen guy brought in speaks volumes about the Mets front office. Jay Bruce is in a rapid decline, but the Mets love him. Jose Reyes is the worst player in baseball. Jason Vargas is so bad. Swing and a miss on all of those guys. I guess Todd Frazier still may serve some purpose, but the other guys are finished. FINISHED. You get what you pay for. If you dumpster dive, you end up with trash. If you shop at the clearance rack, you get an old, outdated product. It’s the same story for the Mets year after year. And it’s a real shame.
PS – I forgot about Mickey Callaway. The new manager appears to be in over his head. He doesn’t seem to have any feel for the city or any idea what he’s doing on a daily basis. His talent is piss poor, but he’s done nothing to help the team. It’s one head scratching decision after another with him. People are calling for his head, and I don’t blame them. I’m a little more patient, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him be a one and done when the dust settles. It’s too bad too because we were all pretty pumped for him.
The Audio Of Terry Collins Flipping Out After Noah Syndergaard Threw Behind Chase Utley Will Bring A Smile To Any Mets Fans Face