For a season that started with such high hopes, it all came crashing down rather quickly and to be honest I blame myself. I was too confident in this team, more confident than any Met fan should be. I saw a world where the 5 aces ruled, where we’d go entire turns through the rotation giving up 2 runs total, where the 3-4-5 of Conforto Cespedes and Bruce would remind us of Keith Carter and Straw, where the back end of our bullpen would dominate and where the one major flaw could be covered up. I was dumb to think these things. Only one aces has been able to stay off the DL. Cespedes’ leg injuries cropped up again cause him to miss significant time. A blood clot has taken out the mostly reliable Familia, and that major flaw I mentioned Terry Collins has shown his how to really mismanage and get he least out of a bullpen. In this mess though, there have been a few bright spots.
The teams only all star has shown the talent we all knew was there from day 1. While he slumped a bit going into the all star break and even spent time on the DL, he proved he belongs hitting .284 with an already career high 14 homers, 41 RBI and a .945 OPS. As Gary Cohen has said many times the worst scouting report ever is that he couldn’t play defense. He’s never going to win a gold glove but he is above average with a strong arm. The one thing I’d like to see from him is another hot streak. It sounds obvious but he has yet to have a hot streak, cool down and then get it going again in his young career. Overall this guy is a stud and a future leader for this team.
From the time he got called up, Jake has been the most consistent starter on the team. From his Rookie of the Year award to his 13 strikeout game against he dodgers in the LDS, he has battled and showed he should be in the conversation for the best pitcher in baseball. He is 7th in baseball with 130 strikeouts and on pace for his first 200 inning season. With the uncertainty surrounding the entire pitching staff he has been the stabilizing force.
If you know me you knew I had to mention him. The man who was run out of town last year has come back to show that he is the 30 homer 100 RBI guy the Mets traded for and that New York was not too much for him to handle. He leads the team and is tied for ninth in baseball with 23 homers and in the top 20 with his 59 RBI. I spent most of this article saying I was wrong about a lot but Jay was the one thing I wasn’t wrong about. I said trading him would’ve been a mistake and without him a 39 win team might be a 29 win team.
There are still 76 games left in the season and I think we all agree the playoffs are a long shot. It would take a major turnaround from this team and a collapse from someone else. It’s not impossible but very unlikely so like look at 3 realistic goals for the 2nd half:
1. Aquire young talent
The Mets have multiple veterans on one year deal that could bring in a nice return. Granderson, Bruce, Duda and Addison Reed are all names that will be talked about at the deadline. Everyone always needs bullpen help so Reed will probably be the most valuable. After that the other 3 are about even value wise and could bring a similar haul to the one the Mets got for trading Marlon Byrd and John Buck in 2013 when they got Dilson Herrera ( who was eventually traded for Bruce) and Vic Black who was a solid middle reliever until injuries derailed his career. A few key moves can get them back to contention next season
2. Get to .500
There is too much talent here to be a 73 win team that they are pacing to be. I don’t think being 8 games over .500 in the second half is unrealistic. Getting there will show that there is still fight left in this team and that the young talent that will soon be arriving in Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are legit players. They should be fun to watch once they get here
3. Get Matt Harvey back on track….. and then send him out.
It’s over. No more Dark Knight. No more Happy Harvey Day. No more Tobacco chewing, hard throwing, intimidating ace. That guy doesn’t exist and the organization is clearly fed up with his off the field life. After already missing a start due to suspension for not showing up, Sandy Anderson was asked recently where Harvey was in the rehab of the injury that landed him on the DL and his response was “you mean besides page 6?”. Clearly not happy. So the goal should be to get him back and pitching as well as he can and then trade him in the offseason to someone who needs a starter and thinks he still has something left.
They say baseball season is like a book. It’s with you everyday and you follow it through the ups and downs. Well this is like a book that everyone said would be good but it’s really bad but you have to finish just because you got this far and you can’t stop now. So all we can do is strap in, hope for the best, and of course believe.