It feels like it was just yesterday when the New York Mets had World Series aspirations coming into the season. It feels like it was just yesterday when Noah Syndergaard pitched his team to a 6-0 Opening Day victory in Atlanta and gave everyone hope for a big season in Queens. It feels like it was just yesterday when the New York Mets were a competent baseball club.
The current date is October 2nd, 2017 and none of those feelings linger anymore. The 2017 New York Mets took the biggest 180-degree turn that I’ve ever seen by a major league team and all I can say is that I’m glad it’s finally over. The team tried to turn the other cheek while playing their games with some sort of hope up until June, and once they realized this wasn’t going to happen right now, the wheels immediately fell off. An opening day rotation consisting of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler was downgraded into the likes of Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero, Rob Gsellman, Chris Flexen, and Tommy Milone by the end of the first half.
This season also marked the end of Terry Collins’ tenure in Queens, as the team officially moved him out of the manager’s office and into the executive’s office right after the season concluded on Sunday. I would’ve had this done months ago, but I guess getting the team to their first World Series appearance in 15 years bought Terry some respect from the higher-ups. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but Terry was here for 7 years and although he finished with a 551-583 record in New York, it’s pretty clear that he helped the team turn it all around. I mean, 2011 was one of the worst seasons that I can remember to date. It doesn’t even seem like Terry was around for all of that. But if you are a real Mets fan, you are fully aware of the transformation this team made from 2011 to 2015. I’ve never even been a huge Terry Collins guy but I like to give credit where credit is due, and the way this team changed over the years is partially due to Terry.
As far as the players go, Michael Conforto was one of the lone bright spots for most of the year. He was so good at one point that people actually questioned who they’d take between him and Aaron Judge. Crazy stuff. Unfortunately he sustained a freak injury while taking a huge cut against the Diamondbacks and was forced to miss the rest of the season, yet still managed to finish with 27 homeruns and 69 RBI in only 109 games. He’s expected to miss the entire first half of 2018 which isn’t ideal but if and when he returns it’s pretty clear who the next Mets franchise player is.
Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes dealt with nagging injuries throughout the season, causing a giant vein in Fred Wilpon’s brain to nearly burst in utter disgust after coming to the realization that he actually got swindled by the fans into to signing a decent player with questionable motives to a hefty long-term contract. Despite this being true, one of the few positives to take away from this season was Cespedes’ production while healthy. Although he only played exactly one-half of a season at 81 games, he finished with a stellar .292 batting average, a .352 OBP, and 17 homeruns to go along with 42 RBI. Not exactly horrible when you consider the rest of the Mets’ lineup after the infamous firesale.
And speaking of firesales, let’s talk about the atrocity of a firesale that took place from July to September 2017. After barely moving anyone by the original July 31st trade deadline, Sandy Alderson suddenly got trade-happy and decided to unload Neil Walker to the Brewers, Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers, and Jay Bruce to the Indians, all for virtually nothing. Add in the weak returns the Mets received for both Lucas Duda to the Rays and Addison Reed to the Red Sox before the actual deadline, and you may have one of the worst firesales in MLB history on your hands. I totally understand gutting your roster and starting fresh during an off-year, but if you’re gonna do it then you better get something decent in return. I’m not even asking for a Top 100 Prospect or anything even close. I don’t even think the Mets received one position player back in any of those deals, leaving us with a bunch of mediocre minor league relievers to potentially backup a starting rotation that couldn’t pitch its way out of a paper bag this season. And speaking of meaningless relievers, Sandy also traded away Yoenis Cespedes’ 19-year old brother, Ricardo, to the Marlins for AJ Ramos. Nothing like a team contending for last place trading raw, young talent for a washed up closer that they absolutely do not need!
But the biggest problem I have with the 2017 Mets was the way things played out over the final few months of the season. First things first, absolutely FUCK the management and front office for shoving Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Nori Aoki down our throats and into the top 3 spots of the batting order for the last couple of weeks. With Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario finally in the majors, leave it to the incompetent management and three washed up veterans on the edge of retirement to slide in and snatch up potential major league at-bats from our two biggest prospects. The good news is that Rosario actually looks like a legitimate everyday major league shortstop. And a good one at that. Like, I genuinely think the Mets have a future star on their hands. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly say the same about Smith. He finished with 9 homeruns in 49 games while showing signs of pop throughout his short taste of MLB, yet his .198 batting average is little to get excited about. Obviously it’s a small sample-size and obviously he is going to improve but it’s never a good sign to see a big-name Mets’ prospect scuffling at the highest level. It’s something we’ve seen before and will see many times again. It’s just the life of a New York Mets fan.
Looking ahead, the Mets WILL have a better record in 2018. I’m going into the next few months feeling optimistic, even though I know that the Wilpons will probably only allow Sandy to sign one mediocre corner outfielder for one-year at $8M and call it an offseason. They might even say fuck it all together and slap Nori Aoki into RF and the leadoff role until Michael Conforto is healthy again. Classic Mets!
Regardless of what ends up happening, I legitimately think the 2018 Mets can be great. There’s obviously a lot of work to be done and moves to be made, but the bottomline is that 2017 is behind us and we can finally look ahead to next year! And as every Mets fan knows, NEXT YEAR IS THE YEAR!!!