Do these Mets losses even matter?

Citi Field during a recent Mets loss (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Citi Field during a recent Mets loss (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets lost their 21st game of the season Monday night, falling seven games below the .500 mark for the first time.

Only the most wildly optimistic fans expected the team to contend this year, and many felt the team would finish with a losing record for a fifth straight year. So it’s really not a surprise that the Mets are losing more often than they win.

The Mets will never use the term “rebuilding,” but everyone knew that 2013 was supposed to be a transition year. The last of the big Omar Minaya-era contracts are ending, the prospects we’ve been hearing about are here or arriving soon… it should seem like there’s a bright new future on the way.

And yet, on a day that Sandy Alderson signed 33-year-old journeyman outfielder Rick Ankiel to address one of the team’s glaring black holes, that future seems to be miles away.

The Mets lineup that lost on Monday night featured 28-year-old Mike Baxter and 27-year-old Lucas Duda in the outfield along with Ankiel. Neither player has accomplished much in the major leagues, though Baxter is at least guaranteed a place in Mets lore for saving Johan Santana‘s no-hitter at the expense of his rib cage last year.

The infield included 28-year-old Daniel Murphy (an average player who is two seasons away from free agency), 26-year-old Ike Davis, and 23-year-old Ruben Tejada along with team captain David Wright, 30.

I once expected Davis to be a cornerstone of the Mets’ resurgence, but we’re watching him get off to a dreadful start for the second year in a row now. It’s time to start questioning whether he is really an everyday major league player, or even a major leaguer at all.

Tejada is certainly young enough to be part of the future, but does he have the talent to be anything more than average?

John Buck, 32, is still better than the catchers the Mets have run out there over the last couple of years even though his amazing April did not continue into May, but he’s a free agent at the end of the year.

Will any of these guys be part of the Mets’ bright future when it finally arrives? I want to believe Wright will get another chance at the playoffs while he’s still an All-Star level player, but it’s hard to believe any of the others will have a role on the next Mets contender.

Losing games wouldn’t be so frustrating if it really felt like it was building towards something, but nearly everyone on the Mets roster makes me think of the so-called replacement-level player concept introduced by the sabermetrics community.

Sure, there’s Matt Harvey day once a week – but we build that up so much that it’s a huge letdown if he’s just “normal” or the Mets don’t score runs for him.

Zack Wheeler is coming… sometime this summer. Maybe he’ll even be as good as Harvey has been so far.

Travis d’Arnaud, delayed by a freak injury as well as major league service time considerations, might get here before the end of the season. If we’re really lucky, he’ll be as good as advertised too.

And then what? Four star players might be enough if you can surround them with a quality supporting cast, but does it really feel like the Mets are building a strong foundation for the future to you?

About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on May 14, 2013, in Baseball, New York Mets and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’m not sure what Sandy Alderson is getting paid for (not to mention the Mets hitting coach), but I would appreciate a bit more creativity on his part. Signing Ankiel is the opposite of creativity. It is sheer desperation.

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    • Dave Hudgens shouldn’t really be held accountable for the lack of talent he has to work with. The idea of taking pitches until you get one that you can hit (or until you get to two strikes) is sound; but too many of the guys in the Mets lineup don’t seem to have the skill to recognize those pitches (or a decent two-strike hitting approach).

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  2. I dunno. Sort of feels like 1982 to me. The Mets had been dreadful for more years than I like to remember. I still remember George Bamberger saying “I never knew it would be this bad.” Look at that ’82 roster. You couldn’t see any of those guys on a championship Mets team–you couldn’t see light in that tunnel at all–and yet some of them were. Did I look at Mookie and Backman and see them as champions in waiting? Not a bit of it. And there wasn’t even anyone on that team I’d compare to Wright in ability. But we had turned the corner and no one even realized it. It’s not easy climbing out of the hole the Mets have dug for themselves (and, yes, I blame Omar for a lot of it). I believe in Sandy’s plan. Maybe I’m naive, but I really do. George Foster was never the answer and Cashen knew that then. But Gooden’s on the horizon. Strawberry, too. And, when they arrive, THEN you go get Keith and you go get Gary. Patience, grasshopper. A real team is coming. It’s still a few years away, but its coming. You gotta believe! (P.S. I still like Ike, too. Slow starter, sure, but how can you forget that second half last year? He was superhuman in the second half.)

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  3. Will in Central NJ

    Paul, I’m looking forward to the start of the Newark Bears’ season, where I can watch inexpensive hustling baseball with only a fraction of the emotional investment on my part. Put it in the books!

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