The Minimalist Mets

The New York Mets completed a series of trades involving impending free agents, which came as no surprise.  Lucas Duda was shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays, Addison Reed was sent to the Boston Red Sox and most recently, Jay Bruce was shipped off to the Cleveland Indians.  What the Mets received in return were a group of minor league relief pitchers who could be difference makers next season.  The Mets surprisingly made a deal for Marlins closer AJ Ramos, also with the focus being on 2018 since he is under contract next season.  All reasonable moves, but then came the deal for Jay Bruce, which proved to be the most questionable considering what they received in return.  The deal proved that the Mets front office isn’t as committed to winning as much as they say they are.

The return package wasn’t up-to-par if you ask any knowledgeable Mets fan.  The Yankees offer of two prospects for Bruce, which was leaked a few days back sounded a lot more enticing than the class A level, Ryder Ryan that they received from Cleveland.  The Mets front office appeared more motivated by finding a dance partner willing to inherit the remainder of Bruce’s salary.  All $4.2 million of it.  That’s nothing to sneeze at, but given the fact that Bruce was the Mets biggest trade piece along with the Mets’ impressive work in handling trades as of late, there was a lot left to be desired.  If fans were hoping for a potential reunion between the Mets and Jay Bruce in the offseason via a new contract, don’t hold your breath.  The Mets have done a nice job in establishing more depth to the bullpen, but the team is in need of more significant outside help if they intend on winning early and often.  The cheap route can only get them so far.

Speaking of winning, that’s what many expected out of the Mets this year, but the combination of injuries, key players’ failure to live up to expectations and more injuries proved to be detrimental.  The Mets’ reliance on the replacements they’ve reserved for the bench and for the bottom end of the bullpen proved that the team was unwilling to seek help outside of the organization before it was too late.  The season once filled with the expectations of reaching the world series was doomed by the reality of what is expected when an organization relies on an inexperienced starting rotation, a spotty bullpen and a streaky lineup.  The Mets had the opportunities to steer the ship the right direction or at least make an attempt to do so, but instead they appeared content on slapping on a band aid in the form of the Wilmer Flores’ and the Rafael Monteros’ of the world.  It didn’t get them far.  In an attempt to offer fans a glimpse of the future, or better yet a distraction from the mess that the 2017 season has become, shortstop prospect, Amed Rosario and first baseman prospect, Dominic Smith were called up from Triple-A.

Rosario and Smith, both 21 and 22 could have received a call up in September or even next season, but instead the Mets decided to call them up now that the roster space is made available.  Nowadays, it’s normal to call up a prospect after just one season or less time spent in Triple-A.  Michael Conforto is a good example of that as he was called up from Double-A in 2015.  Conforto would then go on to have a subpar 2016 season before being able to turn it around this year.  It’s difficult to predict the direction prospects will head, but by the looks of Rosario, he still appears to be growing into his frame.  Smith on the other hand made his major league debut on Friday against the Phillies and went 1-3 before being removed late in a one run game.  The move is yet another head scratching move by Terry Collins and further sums up the lost season.

The Mets are a month away from closing out the disappointing year and with nothing to show for it.  Seeing as the organization remains content on making a limited amount of transactions as long as it doesn’t cost them too much, there isn’t much to look forward to.  The few bright spots could make for entertaining seasons to come, but what the Flushing faithful long for is a championship.  In this lifetime at least.

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