Whether it’s the years of listening to Ron Santo‘s thinly-veiled disdain or my own aversion to any team from New York, I thoroughly enjoy watching the Mets suffer. With the way the team from Queens has provided an unending stream of hilarity as a result of its bumbling antics, you’d think the Farrelly brothers were running the front office. Even Steve Cohen’s tycoonery hasn’t been able to forestall his organization’s buffoonery, especially when the Cubs are involved.
The Mets led the NL East throughout much of the season, winning at a solid clip despite missing co-aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for a good chunk of that time. They held a 1.5-game lead on the Braves as of September 11, but it was down to 0.5 games three days later. Now the Mets are a Wild Card team after finishing with 101 wins and losing the tie-breaker to their division foes.
Some might say it’s because the more dysfunctional New York team dropped three straight to the Braves late in the season, but Pete Alonso knows the truth.
“Well, to be honest with you, people look at the Atlanta series and they think that was the determining factor,” Alonso told reporters on Thursday. “But to be honest with you, we got swept by the Cubs like three weeks prior. So if we didn’t get swept, if we had one more game — or if you look at, I don’t know, the 60-some other games where it was close, tough-fought game but we didn’t come through.”
He’s right, the Cubs were definitely the stumbling block that kept the Mets from a bye and now has them trying to kid-glove deGrom’s usage in an attempt to save him for a second round that might not even come. But it wasn’t the sweep in Flushing that sent the Mets’ division hopes down the toilet, it was the front office’s inability to make a move at the deadline.
The Mets looked like a perfect fit for Willson Contreras because their catching was so blatantly subpar and their offense needed a boost. Team leadership, however, was so paralyzed by the fear that they’d be fleeced again like they were in the Pete Crow-Armstrong deal at last year’s deadline that the Cubs had no choice but to break off talks. While the narrative coming from New York was that the Cubs’ asking price was too high, Jon Heyman tells a different story.
According to his latest for the New York Post, the Mets would only “offer the player they have ranked as No. 6 in their organization.” It had been reported that they weren’t willing to move either Francisco Álvarez or Brett Baty, both of whom have since been promoted to the majors, but not even offering any top-5 prospects in talks that included Contreras and closer David Robertson is completely unserious.
It’s nothing short of malpractice for a big-spending team in win-now mode to operate so cautiously with its prospect capital, to use front office parlance. To put it more bluntly, the Mets made some very stupid decisions that appear to have hamstrung them down the stretch and could end up having even more deleterious effects. If they don’t win this year and deGrom opts out to get a better deal elsewhere, hindsight will judge their deadline inactivity even more harshly.
The best part of this whole thing is that the Cubs, who used a hot stretch late in the season to reach 74 wins on the season, are at the heart of this latest example of Metsing. New York was so worried about being hoodwinked that they ended up doing virtually nothing, though we shouldn’t completely discount their acquisition of Mychal Givens. Except that the sidearming righty reliever has not pitched very well following the trade.
It seems like the only people across baseball who couldn’t see this coming were the same ones capable of preventing it. Never change, Mets, please never change.