Moments after Terry Collins told the media he was not embarrassed by the teams current starting lineup, the New York Mets manager penciled in John Mayberry Jr. as his cleanup hitter in the series opener against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the record: Mayberry Jr., who was signed last winter to bolster the teams bench depth, went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts dropping his batting average to .165.
The move prompted one Mets player to say, hitting one f-ing seventy. Well, after the game its a buck sixty-five.
The Mets offense is a liability. The team is last in runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage, hits, batting average and OPS. The Mets has been no-hit once and shut out 11 times this season.
There are two ways to improve the Mets offense right now:
Option 1: Promote from within
Option 2: Acquire a player (or players) from another organization.
Option 1 is not a solution to the problem. The Mets have exhausted their bench and most of their minor league options. Darrell Ceciliani, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mayberry Jr., Dilson Herrera, Eric Campbell, Johnny Monell, Danny Muno all, not an option.
There is another intriguing alterative, a fan favorite: Michael Conforto.
Think about the possibility for a moment. Conforto, while intriguing and arguably worth a look under the circumstances, is not going to solve the Mets inept offense. A No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, Conforto has never played above Double A and, despite short term success against minor league pitching talent, remember this: his entire professional resume consists of 200 at-bats. He’s never been asked to hit a Kershaw curveball, a Madison Bumgarner cutter or an Aroldis Chapman fastball.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media:
“One of the considerations is that most young players who come up aren’t terribly successful in the short term sometimes not being successful at the major league level can have a longer-standing impact on a player We have to take into account his own maturity and skill set and not be bound by some of these generalities about young players.”
If Conforto is one of a series of moves that include the return of Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright, along with a trade for a seasoned middle-of-the-lineup hitter (i.e. Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, etc.), then fine. In this scenario, promoting Conforto makes sense. Otherwise, no.
Which brings us to Option 2: Acquire a player (or players) from another organization. This is where the consternation begins. The Mets offense is a liability. The fans know it. The media knows it. The players know it. The manager knows it. The front office knows it. During a press conference at Citi Field yesterday, Alderson repeated what he said three weeks ago: He has the green light to spend ownership’s money to improve the team.
“We’re cognizant of our strengths and our weaknesses. We are looking hard to improve those weaknesses. But we’re realistic too It doesn’t mean we are not going to do anything, it doesn’t mean we are not trying to make a deal. We are certainly aware of the team we have and the imbalance we have now with pitching and offense. We’re not just looking at rentals. It could be a role player; it could be somebody more significant.’’
So, what gives?
Alderson barked at the media on Thursday when they pressed him on payroll specifics. When asked if the Mets had the budget to take on a major contract, Alderson snapped:
“I think the answer to that is yes. OK, now none of you will believe me. So, I’m not sure why you asked the question and insisted on the answer.’’
Why is it that Alderson feels no one believes what he says? He has lost his credibility over time. Alderson has asked, time and time again, for Mets fans to be patient while the team clears bloated contracts and restocks the farm system with young, talented players. Mets followers have stood by, patiently, as the organization traded R.A. Dickey for Noah Syndergaard and Travis dArnaud; dealt Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler and Marlon Byrd for Vic Black and Dilson Herrera; divested in aging players with bloated contracts; and groomed and promoted Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard, Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, Jeurys Familia, Kevin Plawecki, Jennry Mejia and Wilmer Flores. Meanwhile, the organization has made some highly questionable signings: Michael Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Mayberry.
But now that the Mets are on the verge of contention, expectations are high and patience is thin.
Alderson is officially on the clock. With one week until the trade deadline, his actions, not his words, will determine the Mets success.