Here are some scattered thoughts about the Mets as we wait for the second half to kick off on Friday:
Trade for Marlon Byrd
The Mets should give the Cincinnati Reds a call about acquiring old friend Marlon Byrd before the trade deadline. His 14 home runs and .212 isolated power would lead qualified Mets hitters. This lineup could use some big dong potential. Byrd provides an upgrade to Michael Cuddyer, and could give Curtis Granderson a break against left-handed pitching. The Reds aren't going anywhere in the NL Central and Byrd's contract is pretty reasonable; he is owed just under $4 million the rest of the season. He does have a 2016 option for $8 million that kicks in if he reaches 550 plate appearances in 2015, but he has just 266 right now so 550 doesn't seem likely. The cost likely wouldn't be much; the Reds probably won't be demanding Noah Syndergaard or Michael Conforto in return. The Mets probably won't make a Tulowitzki-sized splash at the trade deadline, but they can still upgrade their struggling lineup at a modest cost with Byrd.
Ron Darling's play-by-play work
Gary Cohen took a five-game break in June, and Ron Darling took over play-by-play duties. It did not go well. Not only did the Mets lose all five games, but Darling failed to acquit himself well in his new role. At times, it seemed like he forgot he was doing play-by-play, and his voice inflection didn't match the action on the field. He frequently misjudged fly balls as well. His discomfort with the role was evident. Darling put forth a valiant effort, and he is an excellent color guy, but SNY would do well to find an experienced play-by-play broadcaster the next time Gary Cohen takes a vacation.
Blame the Wilpons
Credit to Marc Carig of Newsday for going after the Wilpons in a series of tweets a few weeks back. Here is a sample:
It’s pro sports. Success begins and ends with ownership. If Mets falter again, it’s on the Wilpons. GM and manager, too. But owners first.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 25, 2015
Tee off on Sandy and TC. Fine. Heat is part of the job. But the universal truth of pro sports is this: the buck stops at owners’ box.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 25, 2015
Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins aren't infallible, but the Mets' struggles over the last few seasons don't fall at their feet. The Wilpons, and their bottom-third payroll in MLB, deserve the blame. For whatever reasons, it seems like the New York media would rather throw jabs at Alderson than ownership, so Carig's brief tweetstorm was a welcome sight. If the Mets make the playoffs this season, it will be in spite of the Wilpons, not because of them.
At least think about trading Matt Harvey
The Mets' offensive struggles, combined with an anemic payroll that seems here to stay, has me considering the unthinkable: trading Matt Harvey. Not at this trade deadline, but after the season, depending on how 2015 plays out. The Mets are stacked with pitching and hurting for offense, both at the major league level and the high levels of the minor leagues. A pitcher with Harvey's skills, age, and contract situation would return an enormous haul. If the Mets fail to make the playoffs this season, largely due to a piss-poor lineup, why not try to spread the team's talent over the entire roster? Obviously, Mets fans should want a pitcher of Harvey's caliber to be around forever, but if the Wilpons won't be able to afford him, the front office might consider maximizing the return Harvey brings in a trade.
The Four Horsemen
For Game of Thrones fans, this image from the Battle of Hardhome reminds me of Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey (if he's not traded!), Noah Syndergaard, and Steve Matz:
(Photo credit: HBO)
Winter is coming for the NL East.