Mancuso: Mets Rebuild And Now

 

Passing grade does not apply with the first half disaster. At the All-Star break sharing last with the Marlins, and with fewest wins in the  National League, now is the time for the Mets to begin the rebuilding process. Sunday afternoon at Citi Field and one inning was the example of a season that was lost months ago.

Another bullpen implosion. Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak, two of the disappointing roster moves that were supposed to upgrade a bullpen that was a disaster form the prior year.  And most of the first half and again it was waiting for Yoenis Cespedes to return from another injury. Then Jay Bruce, another contract free agent signing that has backfired because of injuries.

Yes, they spent money, but not wisely. Even the acquisition of Todd Frazier, good at the time, but most of the time on the disabled list. Because the Mets need to get younger and more athletic, you can’t expect veteran players to remain healthy.

And please don’t place the blame on Mickey Callaway, the rookie manager for this misery. You did not hear for the ouster of Callaway when the Mets got off to  that 11-1 start, one that was a farce. That was April baseball when teams are finding themselves and the Mets would find out later.

They are not a good baseball team. Not like the Yankees across town, and in defense of Mickey Callaway, across town his counterpart, Aaron Boone the rookie, has a roster that leads to wins. And as they say in baseball, a manager looks good with the right players.

Not one Mets fan wants to hear that this disaster will turn around in the second half. Talking to various Mets in the postgame clubhouse after splitting four with the Nationals, there was the usual quiet as they packed and took off for their four day hiatus.

They feel, after a first half record of 39-55, that things will turn around. That they are better than the 55 losses that are the highest total for a Mets team and prior to the All-Star break since the 60 games for the 1993 team.

And that team did not turn it around, way before this era of spending money and the wildcard was not a factor. You had to win the division and if this Mets team was respectable, there would be talk at the break of being better than the Nationals and a part of a four team NL East race with the surprising Phillies and those young Atlanta Braves.

Instead, the second half that begins Friday night and three games in the Bronx with the Yankees to start. should be about rebuilding and doing it now. Also the emphasis should be to avoid a last place finish which would be humiliating and falling behind the Marlins.

“We have to come out and play the game in a better way,” Callaway said. “ The better way will come with evaluating who should be a part of this Mets future and rebuilding process.

And it could mean dealing Michael Conforto because patience is running thin with their young outfielder who continues to chase bad pitches and showing no signs of breaking out of a first half disaster at the plate.  It could mean parting with with Wilmer Flores, though one of the positive points of a first half, and because Flores may provide some good bargaining to get something in return.

But the Mets may not be as active as is thought prior to the July 31 non-trade deadline, and that amounts to this inept ownership looking to put a new and permanent general manager in the seat.

A few scouts the past few days were present at Citi Field. They were looking at Flores. They had their reports about Asdrubal Cabrera, also with all-star numbers at the break in a walk-of year. One hinted at Jacob deGrom, and the ERA that stands out as the best in baseball. But the Mets are not parting ways with Jake, or with Noah Syndergaard in this process to rebuild and get younger.

Jeurys Familia, a walk-off year and the scouts are looking. The Right-Hander finished the first half strong with 7.0 scoreless innings and expected to be packaged for prospects in this rebuilding process. Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, and attribute much of this to Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eisland, have turned the corner for the better.

And overall, the evaluations of Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman  out of the pen do deserve to be a part of the rebuilding.

Positives about Corey Oswalt, 5.0 innings on Sunday in his third Major League start and the first Mets pitcher to allow two or fewer hits in 5.0 innings in consecutive starts since Noah Syndergaard did that in 2016.

But no Mets fan wants to hear what Anthony Swarzak said, this after two batters walked and he allowed two more runs as the Mets, often as was in the first half, let another one get away. And the Mets are stuck with this ugly contract.

“It’s a long season and I think that from talking to other guys, everybody’s looking forward to it,” he said about the break. “Nobody’s giving up on each other. Everyone’s going to continue to work hard. And we’re going to have better results in the second half, we will.”

Oh, it will be a better second half if the Mets rebuild and bring up the youngsters, Peter Alonso and Jeff McNeil, two of the leading hitters in the PCL with the Mets Triple-A Las Vegas 51’s.

And more time for Brandon Nimmo, possibly the first half MVP. A future Mets captain. He says the right things.

“Definitely a lot different from the way it was supposed to be from the beginning,” he said.  No excuses from Nimmo. He knows this team has failed and is in the plan with this rebuilding process.

So don’t expect anything different in the second half for these Mets that begins Friday night in the Bronx. And before you say get rid of Jose Reyes, the point is understood, but the veteran continues to be a good tutor for Amed Rosario and Mickey Callaway wants him around to the end of this miserable season.

Miserable is is. But better it can be and the rebuilding will begin step-by-step. You heard this before and it will be said again: Patience is a virtue with or without the Wilpon’s in control.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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