By: Monte Perez
At the start of the Major League Baseball Season, the common theme amongst Mets fans on Talk Radio and social media was: “Let’s just play meaningful games in August.” Well, they got it, New York played meaningful games up until November 1st. The Kansas City Royals defeated the “Amazins” in 5 games to win the World Series (4-1).
Game 5/World Series: Recap:
When I was an assistant coach at Ramapo College we were down by 1 point with 14 seconds left to play late in the season. We called a timeout and I told the Head Coach to run a play called “Duke” I knew from scouting our opponent that we would get one of our best players open on a backscreen. The Coach told our players to run the play. We got a wide open layup but our Power Forward missed the shot and we lost the game. We finished that year 26-4 but not a week goes by where I don’t think about the call that I made. (Not because it was the wrong play to run we got a wide open layup). I think about that play because sometimes in sports, like in life, you can do the right thing but not get the results you want. Matt Harvey pitched in the 9th inning last night before being taken out for Jeurys Familia. Lucas Duda made an egregious throwing error and the Royals tied the game and went on to win 7-2. IT WAS THE RIGHT CALL BY TERRY COLLINS TO LET HARVEY GO BACK OUT. BUT… IT WAS THE WRONG RESULT.
The Royals are the first team in the history of the World Series to have trailed in every game and win the title. Going into the 9th inning of Game 5, the Mets had a lead for 43 out of 51 innings. This series reminded me of when the New York Rangers played the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers lost 3 out of 4 games in overtime and the Kings won in 5 games. The Mets could have easily been celebrating the championships last night if things went a little differently. There were too many errors, too many blown opportunities at bat and not enough production from batters 1-9. The Royals batted .239 in the WS and the Mets batted .193. With the bases loaded in Game 5 and no outs the Mets scored 1 run.
David Wright was 5-24 (.208) with 5 strikeouts
Yoenis Cespedes was 3-20 (.150) with 6 strikeouts
Travis d’Arnaud was 3-21 (.143)
Wright, Cespedes, d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda struck out a combined 74 times in the post-season.
Terry Collins made numerous mistakes all season and this continued in the World Series. Michael Conforto had two home runs in Game 4 but Juan Lagares should have been on the field. Forget about the fact that Lagares won a Gold Glove last year, He batted .348 and I thought he earned his spot in the starting lineup. Collins who admits to managing with his gut, not managing based on stats and analytics, kept going to Tyler Clippard. Collins brought Familia to pitch with 1 out in the 8th inning in Game 4. In a must win game Collins should have had Familia come in at the start of the 8th inning. The Royals brought their closer in to get 6 outs and it worked out perfectly for them. Ironically, the one right move Collins made was leaving Harvey in and that backfired. One of the biggest differences in this series was Ned Yost managed aggressively and played to win, where Collins managed not to lose.
Where do the Mets go from here…is the glass half full or empty?
Because of HGH and Steroids, MLB has banned over 50 supplements and offenses are down. In 2000, there were 20 teams that batted over .265 for the entire season. In 2015, there were only 6 teams that batted over .265. The Mets are built based on the pre-steroid era, they don’t manufacture runs (second to last in stolen bases on the year, 51) and they live and die based on the long ball. The Royals are built for now, they were 3rd in batting average (.269) and they were 5th in stolen bases (104). In 2016,the Mets pitchers should be one of the greatest staffs every assembled. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler (coming off an injury) and Steven Matz. Their 5th starter, Matz would be a #2 starter from almost any team in the major leagues. The problem here is every pitcher is now on a pitch count, so unless the Mets get some lockdown relievers they could have the same problem in the post-season next year. The Royals don’t have a great starting pitching but they have one of the best bullpens in the history of the baseball.
Moves to be made:
Great organizations, never overpay their players. The San Antonio Spurs, the New England Patriots and St. Louis Cardinals all build through the draft and don’t pay players for what they were, they pay them for what they are, now. The Mets have 15 homegrown players, this is how winning teams do it. They build through the draft. Here are what I would do with current Mets Roster:
Daniel Murphy: The Mets can tender Murphy a 1-year contract worth $15 million. Murphy will not take that offer. The best attribute that Murphy brings to the table is that he makes contact. Statistically he was the hardest player in the major leagues to strike out. He has been the most consistent offensive player that New York has and he can play 1st, 2nd and 3rd. He is a utility player that will give you 15 home runs 70 RBIs and bat about .270-280. I would offer Murphy a 3 year deal with an option for a 4th year worth $13 million per year, (3 year $39 million). I love Murphy’s competitiveness and feistiness.
Yoenis Cespedes: Mets fans are not going to like this, but I would not offer him a contract. Cespedes is looking for $100 Million and he will get it somewhere. He is a very good player but there is a reason he has been on 4 teams (Oakland, Boston, Detroit and New York) since 2012. Cespedes is a million dollar talent but makes boneheaded plays in the field and base running. If the Mets offer him I deal it shouldn’t exceed more than 4 years or $60 million.
David Wright: Coming off numerous back problems Wright can still be a good player. But I don’t think the Mets can expect him to play more than 110 games at 3rd base. I would move Wright down in the lineup to bat 6 or 7th. He is not the player he once was and doesn’t have the range or arm he used to in the field. He is a “poor man’s” Alex Rodriguez but there is no designator hitter in the National League.
Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud: With Confroto and d’Arnaud the Mets have a legitimate 3rd and 5th hitter, in their lineup, for the next 5 years. Both players can improve defensively. Every time the Royals got a walk or single it became a double because d’Arnaud couldn’t throw anyone out.
Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese: I want both of these pitchers back as spot starters and long relievers.
Terry Collins: I know this will not happen but I do not want Collins back in the dugout next season. Players seem to like him but he has proven time and time again he is a horrible game manager. During the season, New York made numerous errors, throwing and base running blunders and played sloppy baseball. This is directly on the manager. Well coached teams don’t beat themselves. At times, the Mets won despite Collins’ mistakes. If the San Francisco 49ers can move off of Jim Harbaugh after he coached them to 3 NFC Championships in 4 years, the Mets can move off of Collins after he took his team to the World Series.
Because of their pitching, the Mets future is bright. They should compete for a national league pennant over the next 5-7 years. This organization needs to go out and spend money wisely. Don’t spend just to spend, the Knicks have done this for year and it has gotten them nowhere. I wrote on July 29th that the Mets were on the precipice of a dynasty. I know New York is hurting right now because of this loss but, the Mets exceeded all expectations this year and now it’s time to continue towards the path of greatness. For the first time since the mid-1980s… Mets fans can realistically dream about a World Series title next year.
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