What the heck is going on in Queens? What happened to that “Best pitching staff in baseball” thing we were hearing from all the experts over the past few years?
Noah Syndergaard is out with Tommy John surgery, Marcus Stroman has opted out because of his family’s concerns over the coronavirus. Jacob deGrom hopefully is only out for a short time with neck tightness and then there is Steven Matz, who forgot how to pitch. Not resigning Zack Wheeler was a big mistake and Guys like Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha who 20 years ago would be relegated to the bullpen, are now the mainstay of their pitching staff. The whole starting rotation is a disaster. Bad luck or bad organization?
Let’s start with injuries. I’m not a doctor (I don’t even play one on TV) but common sense and baseball knowledge tells me that baseball injuries today, come from the lack of a proper conditioning program. The emphasis on weights is causing ball players to be less flexible. Those tight muscles are a disaster waiting to happen. Henry Aaron, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and many other great players were skinny and flexible. Plenty of their home runs went three rows back and counted the same as the 463-foot blasts of today, one run. None of these players had the injuries we see with players today.
The need to reinvent the game, for the sake of the unnecessary hype of monster home runs to excite a crowd, is a sellout to what baseball should be showcasing. Yes the new age technology that fans bring to the game distracts them from what is going on inning by inning, right in front of their faces. We should be excited about the Mets home grown 21 year old SS, Andrés Giménez. To me he is a real baseball player. Watching him lay down a few bunts for base hits? That to me is more exciting than a 430 foot home run.
Then there are the trades. The loss of three high ceiling prospects in trades for a declining veteran and Stroman, who opted out and is looking at free agency this winter, show me that this organization has not veered away from their bad decisions of the past. Think about this, the Mets traded their #4 prospect, Anthony Kay and sixth-ranked Simeon Woods Richardson to the Blue Jays for Stroman and cash considerations. Kay is already pitching in the majors and is projected to be a number 3 starter by most scouts.
Giving Woods Richardson to Toronto means that the Mets have traded both of their first two selections from the 2018 amateur draft. First-rounder Jarred Kelenic was sent to the Mariners in the December 2018 trade for Robinson Canó and Edwin Diaz. Add Anthony Kay and the Mets are not looking smart with the deals they have made recently. Stroman is a free agent this winter. Diaz and Cano have been a bust. In the meantime, Kelenic batted 364/.540 with 23 home runs, 68 RBIs, and twenty stolen bases in Single-A and Double-A last year. I tend to like going with home grown rather than another team’s castaways.
Top ML scouts and GM’s are very interested in Kay and the others the Mets have traded away. It’s almost as if the Wilpons wanted to get big name players on their roster to boost the value of their club that is for sale. Again probably trading away too much.
My friend John Roach sarcastically told me today, “I heard the Mets ownership was popping the champagne for having already guaranteed a new club record for the least amount of losses in a season. Maximum possible is now 51, beating the old record of 54 in 1986.” Woop-dee-do. Guess this season will be a success after all.