I am writing this as a fan. I am also writing this as an extremely low level Internet sports opinion piece author whose articles are read mostly by friends and family. The Mets are in a terrible place for the rest of this season.
I’ll try not to knock the trade all that much because I have a very good friend in the Mets front office (I’m going to knock the trade), but Jay Bruce is not the answer. I could have told you before the trade that Jay Bruce was not the answer. I hope he proves me wrong, but what the Mets needed was not another hot/cold bat that hits for a mid-.200 average with a lot of home runs. They have plenty of that already. What the Mets needed was not a poor defensive outfielder to shake up the outfield positioning. What the Mets needed was not to rely even more heavily on the home run.They are incapable of stringing enough consecutive hits together to have a rally.
Right now, what the Mets need is a .300 hitter, a healthy Yoenis Cespedes, a Travis D’arnaud that remembers how to hit, and an adrenaline shot for the hitters before each game. As I wrote this, the news broke that Cespedes is being placed on the DL, so D’arnaud remembering how to hit is the most likely of those (or the adrenaline, but that was a joke). That’s bad.
In my opinion, if a trade was to be made, it should have been for Jonathan Lucroy. If the price was too high for him, and if you knew Cespedes was in bad shape, then the trade should have been for nobody. I say that because there are a few truths about this year’s Mets team that can allow me to live with a lost 2016 season:
- They are injured on many devastating levels. An ace. A shadow of an all star 3rd baseman that can still hit and boost the order. A newly acquired lead off man, Juan Lagares, who hasn’t been healthy since ’14. A power hitting 1st baseman (though his replacement has been nothing short of great). A starting SS that’s okay. And now their best hitter. That’s 7 significant injuries. That’s hard to win with.
Their amazing young pitching will still be here next year. You hate to say that, because you want to take advantage of every year you can with that staff, but they’re all under control for another year at the least. Down years happen, even when you have talent. It sucks, but look at this year’s Royals. Similar story.
The NL is really good. Better than last year. Even if the Mets, who are worse than last year, get really hot, they’d still have to contend with the Nats, Giants, and Cubs. With the pitching they have, it’d be possible. With the lineup they have, it’d be a whole lot harder than last year.
Lastly, Michael Conforto is having a sophomore slump like you read about. It has really hurt the team, but I’m confident it’s a typical sophomore slump. He had success last year so pitchers adjusted. If he’s a good player capable of maturation, and I believe he is, he’ll adjust back and become the hitter that we saw flashes of last year and early this year. This year is hopefully not representative of what he’ll be.
I want to clarify, I’m not giving up on this season. I hope people get healthy and Jay Bruce comes up huge, but I don’t think it’ll happen. And I’m historically as optimistic as they come for Mets fans. What I’m saying that I wish they hadn’t made a move for whom they did while trading away a potential future contributor. If this season’s lost, so be it, but there is too much to be excited about in the short term future for me to be completely disheartened.