Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coupon & Cannatar on THE END

Cannatar -
Bad: Winter arrives 5 months early - it's July 21 and the Mets' season is pretty much over. The Mets are in 4th place, 9 games out of first. They're tied for 8th in the Wild Card hunt, 6.5 games behind the leader.

Good: Most of this lousy season can be blamed on injuries (Reyes, Beltran, Delgado), as opposed to poor performances. So, maybe things will be better in 2010.

Bad: Carlos Beltran is one of the most important players on the team and his injury prognosis looks bad. He's probably going to need knee surgery, which could mess with his ability to play centerfield effectively.

Bad: The two healthy stars on the team have both provided good overall production (.874 OPS for Wright, 2.92 ERA for Johan), but there's still reason to worry about serious performance declines. Wright is hitting far fewer homers than he ever has before (5 so far after averaging 30 per season over the last 3 years) and is also striking out way more often. Wright's K rate per season: 19.7%, 19.4%, 19.0%, 18.8%, 26.5%! Over his last 9 starts, Johan has 4.9 Ks per 9 innings along with 3.0 walks. His ERA over that span is 4.24.

Bad: Even when a team is having a terrible year, you can usually find one or two bright spots, something that gives fans a little bit of hope for the following year. Is there a single player on the Mets who we feel better about going into 2010 than we did coming into 2009? All I can think of is Pedro Feliciano, which is pretty slim pickings. Coming into 2009, our corner outfielders were Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy. Church was never a star, but at least we had an expectation of average production. Murphy gave a lot of fans (and front office members) hope that he'd be a .300 hitter. Now, Church is gone and it's clear Murphy's 2008 performance was a fluke. What's our outfield in 2010? Sheffield will be 41. Francouer is worthless. So, add RF and LF to our list of holes for 2010.

Conclusion: It's really, really hard to put any kind of positive spin on the team's current situation.

Fred Coupon -
The worst part about this particular lost season is that there aren't even that many pieces to peddle in trades for prospects. As a lefty specialist, Pedro Feliciano will be in demand (I predict White Sox), and both Gary Sheffield and Brian Schneider could be useful for some contenders, but that's it. One question is, will Omar even make these trades possibly knowing he could be fired at the end of the season? It seems unlikely now, but how will the Wilpons respond to empty seats in August -save for the 1969 reunion game- and September and total indifference from the media?

And if Omar is canned, do we have any confidence the Wilpons will hire the right type of general manager? Someone with an appreciation for sabermetrics and a broader vision than Omar's which involved patching up one hole at a time in the organizational dyke? On that note, almost every employee in the organization needs to go, from every scout, instructor, doctor, to even the people who run the ballpark. Of course, a complete reboot -including ownership- would be best, but that's not happening. I don't even know what to make of this offseason. As you've stated there are several voids all over the field, and judging by the success of Omar's recent callups, the prospects in low-A ball don't look promising at all.

Cannatar -
You're right - there's pretty much nothing for the Mets to trade right now. Maybe a B-level prospect for Sheffield. Or Feliciano, but he could still be a useful part of the 2010 bullpen. Unless there are really bad injury situations with the stars, I think the offseason will be about filling holes to make another run at the division. If the Mets can spend enough money to put average players at 1B, LF, RF, then they probably have enough support for Johan/Beltran/Reyes/Wright/K-Rod. It's not a surefire solution, but it seems much more likely than just imploding the team.

And no, I have absolutely no confidence in the Wilpons. If they fire Omar, they'll probably just promote some incompetent like Tony Bernazard instead of bringing in someone who would actually shake things up. They really need to bring someone in with experience from a better front office.

This is one of those moments when I question why I even root for the team anymore. Am I really going to spend the rest of my life rooting for a team owned by the Wilpons?

Fred Coupon -
Now I've poked fun at the Wilpons' judgment in the past, but if they promote Bernazard, I'm going to make it my life's mission to oust them. I actually do feel some guilt ripping into a family that probably means well, but just has no foresight or common sense. They seem to strive to be the 'anti-Yankees' in that they will not relentlessly (and sometimes recklessly) spend money to get the best available talent, in both the major league and developmental levels. It is very proper they cling to the Brooklyn Dodgers, because they embody the spirit of a second-rate team in a big city.

As far as rebuilding the team goes, you just ask for average players at 1B, LF and RF. That's going to require some draft picks. So sad no one from the minors can earn an everyday job or barely keep up a platoon role. Fernando Martinez should've been dealt before his latest injury, because he's just another name on the Met outfield bust list (Murphy, Milledge, Escobar, Jefferies, etc).

Cannatar -
The draft pick issue is a bit less of a concern this year because the Mets will most likely be among the top 15 teams in the draft next year, which will mean that they can't lose their first pick.

I think it's a little early to add F-Mart to the bust list. He's still only 20! He's the youngest position player in all of MLB. He's 2 years younger than top outfield rookies Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler, and Andrew McCutchen. I'm not promising results, but it's way too early to write him off.

Maybe the worst post-Omar scenario is that Jeff Wilpon takes more control of personnel decisions and they go back to the committee approach of the Jim Duquette year.


Fred Coupon said...

I don't know what to make of both the votes of confidence for Omar and Jerry as well as the alleged offer of Halladay from Ricciardi for Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell and Ruben Tejeda.

Speaking of bad GMs, why would Toronto let Ricciardi trade Halladay? I'd fire him and let the new guy trade the ace over the winter.

Bryan said...

Yeah, I think the new stadium is going to exacerbate an empty-seat phenomenon that's going to look baaaad... I mean at least when the Mets were out of it before the last two days of the year (actually have go to back a long time), I would go and plop down $2 to watch some games. Now... no, I'd probably go anyway. I'm a bad example. In every sense of the word.

Coachie said...

plus the tickets will still be cheap via stubhub or wherever. Coups and I caught a Friday nite Santana start back in late April for $15 at the ticket office itself.