Matthew Cerrone: I expect the Mets to get to the playoffs in 2015. I don’t know that it will happen. I don’t know if they’ll be good enough. However, given what I’ve seen, given what this franchise has done the last few years, it’s officially time to take a shot at the end zone.
This organization has spent the last year or so talking about turning corners and being “close.” This is nice. But, as Terry Collins said Sunday, “Talking is great, doing is the difference.”
The Mets finished 2014 with their sixth-straight losing season.
They have been to the post-season just once — once — in the last 14 years, during which they have a .486 winning percentage since 2000.
“The expectations we have on ourselves should be pretty high,” David Wright said last week, when asked about this year compared to next season (Vorkunov, Sept. 24). “I think there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” he said Sunday before packing up for the off season.
He’s right. However, there is still plenty to address…
For starters, I don’t know how a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons can justify bringing back its entire coaching staff. Nevertheless, it looks like that is exactly what they’re going to do (MetsBlog, Sept. 29). So, if it’s not the coaching, it has to be the players, which is why the overall roster has to improve.
Alderson does not need to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, nor should he, considering the cost (MetsBlog, Sept. 12). However, he does need to add more people who can put the ball in play (even if those balls do not land over the wall). Look, I’m all in favor of drawing a walk in the absence of a good pitch to hit. But, eventually, a team has to move runners along if they want to score more runs. The Mets were among the leaders in opportunities to score this year, they just did very little to capitalize on it or continue the rally. In this case, they can aspire to be the Cardinals and Giants, who pin people down with their pitching and needle them to death with their hitting.
Lastly, this isn’t Quadruple-A. I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty certain almost every Mets fan alive is tired of spending time watching extended Spring Training games in August. The auditions and learning curves need to end in 2015. Alderson and his staff have had four years to decide what makes a big-league caliber player. It’s time to draw the line. Yes, there are always going to be injuries and rookies breaking in to the roster. This happens for all teams, even those legitimately contending for the playoffs. However, it should happen on the edges of the roster and not in a third of the starting lineup.
As a Mets fan, I’ve operated with a certain level of tolerance and forgiveness the last four years, mostly because I understand the complete scope of what Alderson was asked to do when he accepted his current job. It was daunting. So, I said things like, “The goal this year should be to just get better,” or, “I hope they end the season with momentum.” Those days are over. The team’s business is more or less stable, albeit not generating as much revenue as it once did. The farm system is a well-oiled machine, not just producing real pitching prospects, but sitting on a crop of really talented young hitters. And there are smart and talented people throughout the entire organization, including parts of the 25-man roster. In other words, it’s time to expect more. It’s time to target October. And it’s time to build up the on-field product, because the best way to get to the MLB playoffs is to field a complete and talented MLB team.
Again, in the word’s of this team’s manager, “Talking is great, doing is the difference.”
Team reporter Adam Rubin speculates that next year’s payroll for the Mets will start around $100 million (ESPN, Sept. 29).
It was reported in early September that the team’s payroll might again be around $85 million, according to expectations within the organization (Olney, Sept. 10). However, last week, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said GM Sandy Alderson has room in his budget to make additions through trades and free agent signings this winter.
“I do not know if there will be a dramatic spike, but I will say this, I don’t think we’ll be constrained by the payroll next year,” Alderson said in a conference call. “We’re going to explore all options and see where it takes us.”
Alderson said in September that will need to add one or two veterans this winter when putting together next season’s roster.
The Mets started this season with an $89 million payroll, ranking 22nd overall in MLB (Deadspin, March 2014). They now sit around $84 million, dropping them to 23rd overall (USA Today, Sept. 5).
“We’re going to do it next year,” Matt Harvey told Terry Collins in the dugout during Sunday’s game.
“Matt doesn’t lie to me,” Collins said, relaying the story to reporters during his final press conference of the season.
Matthew Cerrone: The best part of yesterday, for me, wasn’t the win, it wasn’t Lucas Duda‘s 30th home run, it wasn’t having fun with friends and family in the stands for the last time in 2014. Instead, the best part of the day was seeing Harvey leave the ballpark…
He slowly rolled out of the player’s parking lot sitting behind the wheel of a gorgeous, carbon colored Maserati GranTurismo. His window was down just enough to see the sunglasses reflecting the glare off his face. The road was lined with Mets fans on both sides of the street. The engine of his car purred. He gave a wave out the window to fans on his left, a slight salute to fans on his right. He smiled, revved his engine and took off into the sunset. The crowd screamed, raised their hands to cheer him on, one lone voice yelled, “The Dark Knight rises,” and I got chills. It was pretty awesome and the perfect visual to further fuel my hope for 2015.
Meanwhile, in a post to Instagram this morning, Harvey posted this photo and said, “Day one of workouts to get ready for April 6th. Season is over, 2015 here we go.”
For the second time in a week, Sandy Alderson said the Mets must find a way to add 10-12 wins to next year’s team.
He said the organization has quality and depth in the starting rotation and bullpen. However, they need to move from a middle-of-the-pack offense to being in the top five teams in scoring.
“There are a couple of places in the batting order and in the field where we probably need to take a look at things,” he said. “At the same time, we’ve seen a lot of progress. … I’m very pleased with the way things ended this season.”
The Mets offense needs to be better in 2015, “but we don’t have to get a lot better,” Sandy Alderson told reporters Sunday after the final game of the 2014 season.
“First of all, look at where we are today, I think we finished probably middle of the pack in runs scored,” he said. “I know our batting average is low, but our on-base percentage relative to our batting average is fairly high. We’ve started to hit for a little more power. We’re basically in the middle of the pack runs-wise in the National League. If we’re going to be one of the top-five teams, we’ve got to be in the top five in run production, we’ve got to be in the top five pitching-wise. Do I think we can get from No. 8 to No. 5 with what we have? I think it’s possible. That doesn’t mean we’ll rely on what we have. I do think we need to get better in that regard, but we don’t have to get a lot better.”
Sept. 24: Interestingly, out of all NL teams this season, the Mets have hit the most home runs with runners in scoring position. However, while they are sixth in at bats during these situations, they are 10th in hits. They are 13 out of 15 NL teams in hits, and 12 out of 15 in total bases, with or without runners in scoring position. There’s a lot of talk about power, acquiring a ‘big bat,’ etc., but – in the end – more than anything – the Mets need more hitters that put the ball in play. That’s it. It should not be over complicated >> Read more.