First Place and the Credibility Gap

So we’re in first place, but why aren’t we happy? That’s the question nobody seems able to answer. Opinions vary from “well, that’s Met fans for ya,” to Matthew’s “Just Get Over It” rant earlier today. Last June 5, the Mets where 28-32 and in fourth place. I remember the big jump between 1983 and 1984 and how exciting that was. So why so much gloom?

I think I know why and it’s part statistical analysis and it’s part gut-feel.

So attend…

The Mets have four top-line players, all of them pitchers: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia and Bartolo Colon. Between them, Harvey, deGrom and Colon have 20 of the Mets 30 wins. They have a 1.19 WHIP in 305 innings, averaging a bit over one walk per 9-innings, while striking out a shade over seven batters over the same span. That is winning baseball. I am beginning to think that if Colon continues to perform at this level, he is worth being brought back for at least another year. I also loved his taking exception to his batting prowess recently in the Wall Street Journal. Colon’s physical characteristics aside, underneath beats the heart of a true warrior. Met history is somewhat light on this type of player.

Familia is in rarefied air right now. His WHIP is a microscopic 0.82 and he is averaging better than a strikeout per inning. Despite several five-out save assignments, he has allowed a grand total of one inherited runner to score on him. Walks are his only blemish, but he currently has the stuff to overcome these mistakes.

These four winning players are the reason the Mets hold a slim lead on the Washington Nationals. But its only four guys, not enough to push the team all the way into October. They will need more help.  Just where that help is going to come from is the reason that I think most observant Met fans are holding their collective breath.

We see the very unlikable, unsympathetic (some would say crooked) owners and a double-speak, mainly do-nothing front office that on occasions has alternated between a mocking and a condescending tone. Neither inspires much confidence and have in fact generated the reverse effect. We remember the recent past, starting in September 2007, which has been the darkest and longest in Met history since the early 1980’s. We have no doubt been influenced by a steady stream of 24/7/365 Mets coverage, most of it extremely negative and have observed that many of the team’s wounds are self-inflicted.

We look at the rest of the roster: yes, Lucas Duda is on the verge of becoming an elite player, if he isn’t already there. But, Juan Lagares is a gold glover who doesn’t hit and Wilmer Flores is a potential silver slugger who doesn’t field. Travis d’Arnaud can’t stay healthy and the more cautious among us are not ready to anoint Noah Syndergaard as the next anything until he pitches several more times through the rotation. These are the “potential guys,” each demonstrating some degree of elevated performance, just not consistently or over an extended period of time.

Then, we watch as Curtis Granderson, Michael Cuddyer, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee continue to underperform. None of these four belong on a team that considers itself a contender, let alone inserted into key roles. The first two are those albatross signings that perhaps a less hubris-driven front office would be looking to move on from. The latter two are symbolic of the sclerotic inactivity (indecision?) that has plagued the Mets since the Sandy Alderson Era began.

Worst of all, most of us already see the last scene in this David Wright tragedy: A tearful retirement ceremony sometime in the middle of 2017, when this all-time great finally hangs them up.

What we sense coming is a missed opportunity. The Nationals are staggering a bit and the rest of the division isn’t as good as the Mets are, at least on paper. A bold move is needed now. I can’t stand Alderson telling us that trades aren’t made at this time of the season. That is untrue, just ask Mark Trumbo. Do something to help this team make the next level, bring up Steven Matz and waive an ineffective starter. Hell, bring up Michael Conforto and banish an underperforming outfielder. Get Duda some protection. Add some speed. Trade for Wright’s replacement. Just do something to improve the team and do it now.

Instead, it feels as this is just another stage of the con: move the goal posts, using an 84-85 win season as the springboard for selling tickets for the upcoming 2016 season. Meanwhile, cut as much fat as possible away from the payroll. We came oh so close in 2015, if only those injuries, etc. hadn’t occurred, they’ll say, but this year will be better and you’ll be glad you are there to see it.

There is a major credibility gap between the people that run the team and a large contingent of the fanbase. Most of the damage can be laid at the feet of Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons. A hot start (followed by some pretty uneven play since then) just isn’t enough to repair this breach. The next few weeks will be very telling on just how committed they are to winning as opposed to just taking our money.

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. Extragooey June 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm
    Just those 4 huh? You do not think Duda’s .289/.387/.521 deserve a little credit for where the Mets are? You mentioned him later on in the piece, but don’t short change what he’s done so far this year.
  2. Dan Capwell June 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm
    I gave him his props later in the piece. As long as Cuddyer or some other weak bat hits behind him, opposing teams are going to find it easier to pitch around him as the season wears on.
    • Extragooey June 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm
      Duda’s numbers speak for themselves, regardless of what Cuddyer is doing behind him. If you believe in protection, then they speak even more loudly since Cuddyer isn’t providing much.

      What exactly is the con? To make money and don’t care about winning a championship? Is that what you think the Wilpons and the front office is all about? I’m not a big fan of the Wilpons. Yes, the Mets are operating a small budget for a big market team. But I do like Alderson. He’s rebuilt what was a dreadful farm system, into what was ranked the 4th best system by at the start of the year. Sure, not every prospect was his doing, but many were.

      Let’s see what can we criticize Alderson on… Granderson signing, Cuddyer signing, and not getting a shortstop? I wanted Choo instead of Granderson. But if the budget wasn’t there… Maybe you wanted Cruz instead of Cuddyer, once again, if the budget wasn’t there. If he wasn’t allowed to spend, what else can he do? It goes back to the Wilpons. I’m all for firing the Wilpons. How do we do that? Shortstop, let’s blame Alderson for not developing one or trade for one for this season. Who do you really want to trade for? Tulo? I don’t. To get him, you’ll need to give up Matz at least. I don’t wanna do that. Who else is out there you want? Okay, I give you the argument he should have developed someone better defensively than Flores. But if Flores hits 20+ home runs this year, maybe we can forgive him.

      In one of your other comments (I think it was yours), you said you can’t get excited over a 88 win season. I can’t believe it when I read that. 88 is contending for a wild card! How can you not get excited about that with this offense? Now you’ve down graded that to 84-85. I think even at 85 wins, it’s a good season. With better things to look forward to next year. I guess I’m that sheep that Joe says that the Wilpons and Alderson have convinced to accept the Mets the way they are.

      Even if Colon ends up with a good year, it’s time to let him go. There’s just no room for him next year. In fact, there’s probably no room for Niese or Gee either.

      The Mets have 6 of 8 position players home grown. Every starter is home grown except Colon. Their closer is home grown. There’s a certain amount of pride we should feel about this. Building through free agency is harder than ever. Teams are richer and keeping their own players more and more. The key lies in the farm and that may just take longer to realize. I enjoyed watching Parnell develop into the closer he was before he got hurt. There were many growing pains. Duda’s development is equally satisfying to see. But all this takes time. Hopefully Legares’ offense also works out. Let’s see if d’Arnaud continues to improve when he comes back.

      I get it, we’re Met fans. It’s always doom and gloom. But look at the exciting young pitching we have. We may not have the Bryants, Harpers, or Trouts on the offensive side, but we may just have enough offense to support the pitching for years to come.

      • Dan Capwell June 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm
        Pedro was right. We do settle.
        • Dan Capwell June 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm
          Plus you misquoted my original piece on the expected win total. Before Spring Training, I posted that Alderson’s inactivity the entire winter put the entire 2015 result squarely on him and that the team needed to win 89 games to qualify for the wild card. There can be no more excuses, as his near lack of any activity this winter was more akin to a GM of a team coming off a 95-win season than a GM with four straight losing seasons to his credit.

          There were plenty of players he could have/should have been in on. Instead he did nothing. Fast forward to now. The Mets have four (five if you count Duda) players performing a high level. There is a precipitous drop off after that. They are undermanned in the bullpen, on the field and in the batting order.

          The baseball season is a marathon and this near total lack of activity over the winter is beginning to catch up with them. what is their record since the 11-game win streak ended? I disagree with your last point that we may just have enough offense to support the pitching for years to come. Or perhaps you are salivating over Daniel Muno getting some more ABs?

        • Extragooey June 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm
          No, it’s was another user’s comment, another Dan, not you on the 88 wins. I apologize there.

          Let’s throw out some names. Who did you want the Mets to get in the offseason?

          The 11 game win streak is part of the season. You have to take the ups as well as the downs. I hate the games where we make mediocre pitchers into Cy Youngs as well as the next Met fan. Yes, the organization is lacking major league regular bats. You want to trade for them. You’re not gonna get good ones unless you give up the young pitching. Who do you want?

        • Extragooey June 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm
          Well, I’m looking forward to Conforto, Nimmo, Herrara, Cecchini, etc. I’m not saying we shouldn’t trade for bats. By all means, I’m all for trading young talented pitchers for young talented bats. But I don’t want to give up Syndergaard or Matz for Tulo. Young prospect for young prospect and let the dice roll on if they ever pan out. Or gimme someone on the right side of 20 if we’re to trade our top pitching prospects.
    • Bat June 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm
      Classifying Bartolo Colon as a “top-line player” is interesting.

      Wins is largely recognized as an outdated stat because the winning pitcher could (for example) pitch five innings and yield eight runs, yet simply because his team scored nine runs in those five innings and later went on to win the game, the pitcher is credited with a win.

      Colon has a bunch of the Mets wins, that’s correct, but his peripherals aren’t good and as I wrote before the season I think he’s out of the Mets rotation by the end of July at the latest.

      • Extragooey June 8, 2015 at 11:55 am
        Which peripherals are you referring to? Cuz they look pretty good:

        7.9 K/9
        0.7 BB/9
        WHIP 1.137

        ERA is a little high, but just like the W stat, ERA is outdated. His 3.80 FIP is decent, not great.

  3. Dave June 5, 2015 at 3:31 pm
    Well it’s always the multimillion dollar question, right? Who is available for trade and what are you willing to give up for him? There’s been lots of talk in the blogosphere about Ben Zobrist who…hasn’t been any better than anyone on the Mets this year AND would cost a Stephen Matz level prospect. Even Troy Tulowitzki has been barely above average offensively and would also cost a ransom. Ryan Braun could be had and only cost a Syndergaard + prospects but then we’re rooting for Ryan Braun.

    Maybe the Mets should have splurged big in the offseason like the Red Sox and brought in high-priced offensive stars like Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval! Then they could have Boston’s powerhouse offense which has produced a whopping -4 runs more than the Mets!

  4. Dan B June 5, 2015 at 10:55 pm
    For the record, I didn’t say winning 88 wins wouldn’t excite me, I said setting your goal as 88 wins and a wild card as not exciting me. It has been my feeling that the Wilpons have no desire to take the risks necessary to win the division and compete for a championship, that they see being slightly over mediocre as a safer long term business plan.
    • Extragooey June 8, 2015 at 11:26 am
      So you somehow expected the Mets to wave a magic wand and acquire the players needed to win close to 100 games and beat the Nationals in the NL East from a team that won 79 games last year? Who was available and on your wish list to do that? Hanley? Cruz? Scherzer? Lester?
  5. david June 6, 2015 at 4:19 am
    Its an interesting time to be a Mets Today blogger. Never can I recall so much hand wringing over Janish and Cappy’s critical articles or posts as we struggle with success and the worry of yet another false dawn.

    Why shouldn’t Cappy and Janish vent their spleens about the owners, the lack of impact trades, and the poor handling of the pen / bench whilst generally playing average to below average fundamental baseball?

    Let’s see this for what it is. The Mets are on the rise, and that is good. The hoarding of good, young, hard throwing pitchers is paying dividends. But we all know something is clearly missing in this team. One can argue its the injured players, and there is some merit in that argument. But to me, the 3 factors listed above (re: owners, GM and manager) are not new or recent.

    Cappy is 100% right about the opportunity that is presenting itself. I’d like to think Sandy has a master plan that goes something like this:- around the All Star Break he makes a serious trade, I won’ t speculate on who goes and who stays other than to say we will be trading pitching depth to improve on offense; Reynolds then gets added to the 40 man and called up to be a legitimate bench player who can play all over the field (remember his late inning hits in ST?); and Matz joins the big league club providing a real boost from the left side.

    Better days are ahead, as The Kinks famously sang, but let’s always be realistic in our admiration and criticism for our beloved Mets.

    • Dan Capwell June 6, 2015 at 10:38 am
      Agreed and like EG pointed out, I also can’t wait to see Conforto, Rosario, and Matz up here. But now you are starting to creep towards 2016 or 2017.

      What about this year?

      And, I’ll give you a name: Josh Reddick. 28 years old, outfielder, OPS+ of 142 in that ballpark. Arb eligible next year, FA after 2017. What would Beane want for him? Maybe an arm like Mejia or Black and a High OBP guy like Brandon Nimmo. Hell, I’d be selling high on Gavin Cechinni right now if Beane would take him. Other potential pieces are guys like Gsellman or Meisner from the farm. I’d see if Beane would take Cuddyer if the Mets tossed in enough salary to balance out Reddick.

      Here’s another: Dee Gordon. 27 years old, Arb eligible, FA after 2018. Looks to have finally put it together. Miami gave up a good prospect to get him, so the talks might start with Dilson Hererra. The Fish would be looking to sell high on him too, but as long as they don’t demand Syndergaard or Matz, I’d be willing to toss an arm or two mentioned in the Reddick proposal into the deal. I wonder if Kevin Plawecki’s lackluster performance has hurt his trade value.

      The point is that there are players out there that could be plugged into this lineup that could help. There are three sticking points (a) the Mets are unwilling so far to part with any of their apparent elite arms, (b) they appear to be laboring under the delusion that their current roster (or at least the one the envisioned before these injuries occurred) was settled and didn’t need improvement and (c) Sandy and the Wilpons don’t want to spend the money. I no longer think Alderson’s hands are tied as he had a chance last year to walk away and instead re-upped

      • Extragooey June 6, 2015 at 11:15 pm
        Both these trades are just not gonna happen.

        Who are you sitting when you acquire Reddick? The 15 million a year Granderson I’m assuming who has another 2 years after this year at that salary? Cuddyer, who has another year at what? 10 mil? Or Legares? Nimmo for someone like Riddick, Beane would take in a minute.

        Gordon? Good luck not having to give up Syndergaard or Matz. Miami sent their organization #1 prospect to the Dodgers for Gordon. And now that Gordon’s coming into his prime years, the price has gone up. By the way, is the BABIP still around .450?

        There are always players you can plug into this Met lineup. Getting them realistically is another question.

  6. Vilos June 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Your explanation might be correct about why Mets fans aren’t happy but it doesn’t reflect my personal opinion.

    I agree that the Wilpons are terrible owners but I don’t agree that the front office is “mainly a do-nothing front office”.

    I think the front office has a plan, and that they are executing their plan.

    For example, during the winter, I recall long discussions about SS and many writing that the Mets did nothing about the problem. But the Mets did do something. First of all, they declared that the deals they had on the table were either unaceptable or uninspiring. Therefore the chose to play out the Flores option, have Tejada as a backup and Reynolds in triple A. You might not like it, buts its a plan, and although it could read as a do-nothing move, they did make a move, a non-move.

    Two months into the season, is Flores the problem?

    Another example. Since the Beltran trade for Wheeler, and the RA trade for Thor, its been clear that the front office is aiming towards a SFG type model: strong home grown pitching.

    I’m no expert, but I see three distinct models: the Giants of the last five years, the Cardinals and the Yankees. You cant become the Cardinals until you win a couple and you cant become the Yankees with the Wilpons at the helm. Therefore, not a bad choice.

    Another example, how can you get offense without a true slugger and without the means to sign legit free agent all stars? Its obvious that they chose to sacrifice defense with the intention to field a team with slightly above average offensive capabilites at all positions except for maybe center.

    Think about it. Without injuries to TDA, Wright and Murphy they might have won even more games than they have. Pretty impresive for doing nothing.

    Their plan: excelent pitching, slightly above average offense at all positions, no long term contracts until who knows when, and let players develop.

    For the final stage of their plan, we’re all hoping the budget starts to rise, as the attendance continues to grow, and most of all, we’re all expecting a Carter/Piazza type deal.

    I really don’t know what to expect but it will be fun to watch.

    • DanB June 7, 2015 at 9:00 am
      The problem with the plan you lay out is if the Mets do not give out long term contracts, they will forever hover in the Wild Card race and never produce a championship quality team. By the time the Mets develop quality position players, Harvey and Wheeler and deGrom are playing for other teams. Staying put until the Mets find lopsided, safe trades is not a plan for a championship team.
      By the way, why would the budget rise when attendance goes up? If attendance goes up, you are only justifying the lack of need for increased spending. The budget will go up when the Wilpons are convinced they need to spend money to make money and I only see the opposite happening.
      • Extragooey June 8, 2015 at 11:21 am
        Because the number of long term contracts are the mark of a championship team? Tell me, how many players have the Mets passed up recently in offering a long term contract to that you would have liked to keep? Pagan? Pelfrey? The only player that warranted one was Wright, and they gave him one. The Cardinals passed on re-upping Pujols in a bold move and that’s looking pretty good so far. In hindsight, perhaps the Mets should have let Wright go. But maybe that’s the difference between the Mets and the Cardinals.
        • DanB June 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm
          If the Mets let their young pitchers (Harvey, deGrom, etc..) walk away as free agents, do you think the Mets will continue their upward projection? At some point, the Mets need to keep their talented players while also developing new players. I am not saying every player, but most. That is was the Cards do.
        • Extragooey June 8, 2015 at 1:09 pm
          Of course. But if the Mets don’t attempt to sign Harvey and deGrom, it would be a big mistake. Harvey is eligible for arbitration next year. I hope and expect some contract talks this off season.
  7. Jason M. June 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm
    When you say an all-time great will tearfully retire in the middle of 2017… who are you referencing? Certainly not David Wright.

    Wright is emblematic of *everything* wrong with this team. Wright was a *potential* superstar through 2008. Then the Mets destroyed their stadium, and moved into a more expensive boondoggle, with fewer and far more costly seats and, more importantly, a stadium that was specifically designed to turn David Wright from the next Mickey Mantle into the next Bobby Murcer.

    Wright has largely been a shadow of himself since April 2009, and the Mets’ woeful medical staff — whose sole motivation in life appears to be to destroy promising careers so that the Mets can collect insurance payments — has helped finish the job that Corporate Bank at Shea Bridge had started.

    The Mets’ tossing a 9-figure deal at a badly-fading Wright a couple/few years ago is another link in the chain of daily disasters that we call the Alderson regime.

    Wright is not an all-time great. He’s a cautionary tale, a tragedy. He’s not Mel Ott. He’s Don Mattingly. Maybe he’ll be a decent manager in Southern California in 20 more years.

  8. Colin June 8, 2015 at 9:45 am
    Its been a crazy, crazy baseball season. Think about the losses the team has suffered already, and I don’t mean games. The fact that we are battling for first place in our division is a credit to the team and, yes, the manager.

    Its time to bring Gee out to the woodshed. Its not fair to him to put him in the pen when the team has no long term plans for him. Trade him already. John Neise has to go to. The poor guy has no fortitude. Bad calls from the blue, an error, anything that goes against him induces a visible melt down on the mound. Cant have it. Both of those guys have talent and can be productive with a fresh start. Mr. Matz has waited long enough. If the plan is to depend on the pitchers you named to win the bulk of the ball games, I’d rather see Thor and Matz getting the starts than guys we know aren’t part of the long term plan.

    Guys like Byrd and Cuddy and, unfortunately Grandy, are not our answers. We need a young bopper who can stroke it. But how are they getting it?

  9. argonbunnies June 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm
    Completely agreed with your article, Cappy, with the exception that I’d place Duda in our big 4 and Colon outside it. Yes, K/BB is a great stat, and pitchers who refuse to ever walk anyone can post great numbers there, but Colon’s achilles heel is HRs, and a 4+ ERA in today’s game is well below average. I’m happy to have Bart on the team as an innings-eater, but if he were getting Harvey’s run support he’d be 3-8.

    Duda, on the other hand, has established himself as a well-above-average hitter. Which, as a slow first baseman with an up-and-down glove, he’d better be. He’s certainly not going to be racking up league-high WAR totals with that skill set, and he’s far from slump-proof, but still, he’s the best hitter on the team by a wide margin.

    I see the Nats’ awful start as an opportunity, but at the same time the Giants, Cubs and Cardinals are better than most expected, making the Mets’ wild card competition (which includes Pittsburgh, thanks to the Cards’ dominance) utterly brutal. So the Mets’ best chance for the 2015 playoffs may come down to winning the NL East… over the team with the best on-paper roster in baseball… while missing David Wright. Think about that for a minute, then think about the Alderson regime’s consistent refusal to bolster a roster with quick fixes and/or make midseason trades… and you can see management giving up on the 2015 playoffs already. Alderson’s going to get what he paid for (if not necessarily in the exact way we might have predicted): a slightly above .500 team that won’t be eliminated from contention until fairly late in the season, thus raising ticket sales and SNY views from their poor 2014 numbers.

    For those of us underwhelmed by that plan, well, we’ve chosen a tough team to root for.

    If I were in charge of spending the Wilpons’ money, I’d make the deals the Yankees always make, where they take on salary to get okay players for nothing (see their trade for Prado), and quickly cut bait on the guys who don’t work out, because another one inevitably will.

    The big thing I’d do differently than Alderson has done would be to sell high on guys before they lose their value — Ike and Niese after 2012, Gee after 2013, etc. This isn’t hindsight; I said so at the time. If Sandy had been the first to pounce on the Padres’ outfield glut, that might have been Vic Black heading to SD for Seth Smith (Black vs Maurer was a toss-up before Vic’s injuries this year), and we’d have a similar player in LF (Smith is a better hitter vs RH than Cuddyer but worse in other ways) plus a first-round draft pick.

    • Extragooey June 10, 2015 at 11:35 am
      I wanted Alderson to go after Kemp last year after Kemp’s very slow start. He was grumbling about playing time and the Dodgers already had a log jam in the outfield and Joc Pederson having a 30/30 season in the minors. Mets needed an outfield and it would have been a perfect time to strike and even make the Dodgers pay a huge chunk of this contract. Oh well.

      The “take on salary to get okay players for nothing” isn’t the Wilpon way. I think you should know that.

      • DanB June 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm
        According to the Met gamebook, if you have to pay for winning, it doesn’t count as winning. It will be interesting to see in a couple years if the Mets trade Harvey, sign him to a long term six figure contract, or let him walk for nothing into FA.
      • argonbunnies June 10, 2015 at 1:16 pm
        I wanted Kemp, but I didn’t want to give up a ton. Everyone assumed the Dodgers would get more than we’d want to part with. Then the Dodgers traded him plus a huge chunk of his salary for an inconsistent catcher. Seems like a level the Mets could have competed with…

        We always hear from Sandy about how it takes two to make a deal and other teams were asking too much or not offering enough, and we never hear an explanation for how OTHER teams are getting those deals done. *sigh* Maybe rival GMs just don’t like him.

    • DanB June 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm
      Hey AB, would you trade Colon in July? I would have to consider it. If you can’t get a hitter for him, get prospects for him and then use the salary savings and prospects for a hitter. If, like myself, you think the chances of winning a division small, what is the use of keeping him? Personally I don’t like making runs for the Wild Card. Don’t overspend for a one game playoff.
      • argonbunnies June 10, 2015 at 1:11 pm
        Agreed on all counts. They should be working on moving Colon non-stop from now until they find a solid deal. Don’t target a specific area, just get back the most talent you can, and use that to help fill needs when the Mets are finally ready to make a splash. You don’t become a better-than-wild card team with the position player talent currently in the Mets’ org; at some point, a trade for a major upgrade (one superstar, several very good guys, etc.) HAS to happen. I’m not saying it WILL happen, but it’s our only chance, as fans, to get what we want.

        I like watching Bartolo pitch, but it ain’t like he’s the key to a 2015 playoff run. We have plenty of pitchers; Matz may be up soon, and Niese or Gee can get in grooves that are just as useful as Colon. Plus, before his durable 2014, Bart’s health risk was rated as extremely high. Sell before he gets hurt! Niese and Gee aren’t the only ones with the chance to implode.

        • Jack Strawb June 10, 2015 at 6:40 pm
          Well said, but acquiring a superstar is unlikely–the Wilpons have decided to use the club as a cash cow, so the best they can do is move a promising pitcher or two for a comparably promising (cheap!) position player or two.
        • DaveSchneck June 12, 2015 at 11:08 pm
          I partially agree, deal the one of Gee-Niese-Colon that brings back the most. If there isn’t a big difference, keep Colon, I trust him more, even if only for 2015.

          I don’t subscribe to the “need a superstar” theory. The Giants and Cards have shown that a collection of above average players with no weak links can get it done (although Posey as a superstar is debatable). The Mets are not far from that model. In a strange way, David Wright may get in the way of this, based on how Flores works out defensively at SS.

        • argonbunnies June 13, 2015 at 2:55 am
          I dunno that superstars are an ABSOLUTE need, but there’s “above average” in Mets-land and then there’s “above average” in Cardinals-land. Who would you rather have, Daniel Murphy or Matt Holliday? On the Mets, Holliday would look like a superstar. Not to mention Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and Matt Adams / Allen Craig in their best years.

          If you define “superstar” as “Mike Trout”, then sure, no need to obsess over what we’ll never have… because if Buster Posey isn’t a superstar, then only 4 or 5 position players in baseball are. But, whatever you call them, the Mets need at least one Buster Posey or several Matt Hollidays.

          Jack, I think the Mets’ timing might be off; they might have started churning out pitchers right when everyone else realized that MLB can’t keep them healthy and so hitters are more valuable, and no one’s trading hitting for pitching. I was clamoring for them to trade Wheeler before he hurt himself, and there are 3 theories for why that never happened: (1) Alderson was too dumb to consider it, (2) Alderson did consider it but knew Wheeler’s elbow wouldn’t pass a physical and so couldn’t trade him but was too dumb to get the elbow fixed, or (3) a kid throwing 96 just ain’t what it used to be, and no one wanted to trade good position players for Zack.

          But ya never know; I’m sure there’s some kid out thee who’s just about ready to star in the middle of the lineup and diamond in AA whose team would rather have Syndergaard right this second. We shall see…

  10. Jack Strawb June 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm
    “So we’re in first place, but why aren’t we happy? That’s the question nobody seems able to answer.”

    Please. It’s nice, of course, but there’s little chance it will last. The club has a clear losing record after a lucky start, and would be 2.5 GB in any other division. 31 and 28 is better than the reverse, but no one really things this 30-30 (Pyth) team is going anywhere.

    • argonbunnies June 13, 2015 at 2:58 am
      Future predictions aside, I think it’s hard to stay enthused about a team that plays 8 under .500 for a 44-game stretch. There’s no happiness to be found there, regardless of what other teams happen to be doing at the moment.