It’s never easy to admit defeat during a baseball season, especially when the year began with such high expectations. But that’s exactly where the New York Mets find themselves a little more than two weeks before the all-star break. Even with more than half the season left to play, it’s time to stick a fork in the Mets. After falling 10 games under .500 in late June, the team needs to admit that 2017 is a lost season and start looking toward 2018.
It’s easy to look at the barrage of injuries the team has suffered this season and blame them for the team’s poor record. Five of the seven starting pitchers the Mets had at the start of spring training have spent significant time on the DL, including ace Noah Syndergaard. New York has also seen Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, and closer Jeurys Familia spend time on the DL. Not to mention the continued absence of David Wright.
But the Mets dealt with injuries each of the past two seasons and still managed to reach the postseason. Injuries may be a viable scapegoat, but it’s more than that. The players who have managed to stay healthy have dramatically underperformed. Curtis Granderson’s patented April slump extended deep into May. Jose Reyes is still hitting under .200 but continues to play regularly. Michael Conforto and Wilmer Flores have both fallen into June slumps when the team has needed them the most. Only Jay Bruce, who Mets fans despised at the start of the year, has remained healthy and productive all year.
Beyond that, the 2017 Mets have lacked heart, hustle, and urgency all season. They assumed they had the talent to capture a postseason spot. When injuries hit, they assumed they had enough depth to survive them. The Mets have assumed all along that they’d be relevant the second half of the season. But they forgot that you actually have to put in the work, make the effort, and win the games.
“We love our fan base. We’re trying to give them something that’s fun to watch and compete. And every time we think we’ve got it going, something’s come up to bite us.”
When the Mets struggled, they showed no urgency in turning things around; they merely assumed it would happen eventually. But it hasn’t, and now it’s too late. The Mets are further behind in the wild-card race in the division; injuries won’t stop piling up; and they have displayed no signs of life or eagerness to break their season-long malaise.
Last year, the Mets were 60-62 before playing their tails off the last six weeks to claim a wild card spot. Even with a diminished pitching staff and a roster weakened by injuries, the Mets scratched and clawed and found a way. But they’ve displayed no such fight or resilience at any point this season, and it’s why the Mets are already poised to throw in the towel on 2017.
Sources: Mets open for business now, willing to listen to offers for Granderson, Addison Reed, Bruce, Cabrera, etc. Far behind in races.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 23, 2017
At this point, the Mets are better off trading away veterans like Bruce, Walker, Cabrera, Duda, and Granderson, many of whom will be free agents this winter anyway. It’s time for GM Sandy Alderson to start focusing on building a team for 2018. A team that’s strong defensively; a team that can keep the line moving rather than relying on the long ball; and above all, a team that plays like it has something to prove.