Well the 2021 Mets certainly did not feel lucky after setting a major league record for the amount of days, weeks, and months leading the division only to finish with a below .500 record. That sounds about something only the Mets could pull off. With this depressing back drop, let’s enter the winter doldrums and do a quick snapsnot of the good, bad and ugly of the season while waiting 6 months for the 2022 season and all spring eternal to get this team back on track.
The day starts and stops with the best pitcher in baseball. We all couldn’t wait for his next start, the highlights from his 100MPH+ gas and to see if he would get more hits than give up runs. Jake was on a historic start with MLB.com doing a side by side comparison to track his progress against Gibson’s historic 1968 season. Unfortunately, DeGrom’s season was a microcosm of the entire Mets season where he and the team ultimately came to a halting crash.
After slow start in 2020, "Polar Bear" Pete quieted some critics with a resurgent second half albeit in a 60 game season, but there were still many that wanted to see if his magical rookie setting season of 53 home runs was an aberration. Although, Pete did not hit 53 home runs, he was the only consistent presence in the lineup all year and his production was relatively on par to what we hoped with 37 home runs, 94 RBIs, and an .864 OPS. It is fair to say that with minimal to no protection in the lineup, Alonso certainly did enough to earn his place in the Mets’ future plans.
Aaron Loup. Good gracious, I love that name. Who doesn’t love a side winding lefty who’s name conjures up a cheesy rhyme and reminds me of all the delicious Campbell’s chunky soups? Give it up to a man who in 65 appearances has put a sparkling state line of 0.95ERA, 1HR allowed, and 422 ERA+ (100 ERA+ is league average. That’s almost 4.5X more awesome…). And we only paid him $3 million dollars? That was about how much we wasted on the likes of Albert Almora Jr. and 7 million dollars less than the overpaid FA catcher which shall not be named.
I really am inclined to jump straight into the ugly and struggled with distinguishing between bad and ugly, but I managed to show some restraint.
Where to begin?
Let’s start with one of the smallest members of the Mets’ Zoo, the squirrel. I don’t know if the rats and raccoons scared off the real McNeil, but they certainly took a gigantic bite out of his bat that had proven to be almost Ichiro like over the past 3 seasons. This year however, McNeil took a massive step back with despondent 2021 campaign of .249BA, .674OPS, 7 HRs, and 35 RBIs. Most importantly, he essentially lost his starting job to the likes of Jonathan Villar and later Javy Baez. Because Jeff was such a late bloomer, he is going to be 30 years old next season and with a disastrous season, impending decision on Baez, his future is one of the keys to future of the team.
From one Zoo member to another, the "Silky Elk" (this moniker sounds more like a Gigolo calling, but I digress), no one suffered more long term and damaging repercussions than Conforto. After a brilliant 2020 campaign, here was a golden opportunity for a 28 year old, in his prime, Scott Boras client, to further add more 0’s to the fat check that awaited him in this upcoming FA off season. Unfortunately, he probably cost himself at least 0 zero if not 2. After a brutal 2021 season where he spent most of the time below the .200 Mendoza line, his year end numbers of .231 BA, . 729 OPS+, 14 HRs and 55 RBIs, will put into question if he played his last game for the 2015 rookie who burst onto the scene and hit post season home runs off Kershaw and Greinke. Like O’Neil, his future is another key to the Mets going forward.
Ok. Time to rip the band-aid off. Time to start breaking things and let it all out.
Mr. Smiles. Mr. 10 more years, $341 million dollar, way too sensitive, thumbs down, Francisco Lindor (I think I got most of the name calling out of the way).
Spring training looked great with him displaying his switch hitting power, showing up to camp in a jacket paying homage to "Coming to America", nothing could seem to go wrong for a consensus top 10 player superstar. Then the ghosts of Carlos Baerga and Roberto Alomar got restless and came back to haunt us once more. Listing his stats is only going to pour salt on the wound, but what is a bigger kick to the gut is the impending FA class of other SS’s we could have had at half the price. The only thing we can hope is that his blistering September is a sign that he needed a full season to adjust to the bright lights of New York, but I wouldn’t hold my breathe.
Traded along side Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, was suppose to be mainstay on top of the rotation and provided security and innings while Syndergaard worked his way back from TJ and the likes of Walker and Peterson were still unknowns (still are). After a seemingly harmless hamstring injury, he was expected to only miss a minimal amount of time, but in true Mets fashion, his first appearance was delayed until July 30th, and the narrative surrounding him only continued to crater. Finishing with a stat line of 6.04 ERA, 12 home runs allowed in 53 innings (projected 50 home runs in 200 innings), the man named a loveable "Cookie", needs to have a BIG bounce back.
Mets Front office. Sexual harassment, DUI’s, and trash banging. I think I managed to sum up the last two GM’s and managers of the team. Oh, I forgot. The last owner also was plagued by one of the most publicized Ponzi schemes in the last 50 years. Steve Cohen needs to channel his inner Bobby Axelrod and clean house. If he needs to give up part ownership to Theo Epstein do it. If he needs to hire an entire Hollywood production team to entice Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill to star in a "Money ball" sequel in hopes to stroke Billy Beane’s ego, do it. Whatever it takes. That should be our new slogan going forward.