When it comes to the 2023 New York Mets, what more is there to say? We’ve just about found every way to describe that things are not going particularly well for the ‘Amazins. Despite a record $353 million Opening Day payroll, the team is just 46-53 on the year as of Monday. That puts them fourth in the National League East, 18.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves (whose Opening Day payroll was only $203 million). And After a 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball, any sense of urgency has evaporated.
The Mets fell to 4-5 since the All-Star Break, and as the trade deadline nears, it’s getting to be nearly impossible to think that this team has a run left in them.
The Mets have barely shown a sign of life since their June swoon. Yes, they had a six-game win streak to begin the month of July, but they can only parlay that into so much goodwill. After winning those six games, they stumbled into the break with consecutive losses to the San Diego Padres. And they’re 4-7 in their last 11 games.
“Nobody’s too down. Everybody’s just kind of even-keeled,” Mark Canha said via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. “Just kind of waiting for us to show a sign of life here.”
Mark Canha: "Nobody's too down. Everybody's just kind of even-keeled, just kind of waiting for us to show a sign of life here."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 24, 2023
How many times this season, whether it’s Max Scherzer or Francisco Lindor, has a Mets veteran player stood in front of the cameras and uttered the phrase: “We have to play better. I have to play better.”
It’s enough already. Seriously.
We’re all waiting for this team to show any signs of life, even a faint pulse. 63 games are remaining. Crazier things have happened, but does anyone foresee this team going 41-22 the rest of the way? Because that’s the pace they’d have to play to match the Philadelphia Phillies’ 87-75 record from a season before. And based on all the evidence in front of us, it’s hard to imagine the Mets could play 19 games over .500 the rest of the way.
The MLB (Lucy) pulls the football away from the New York Mets (Charlie Brown) right as they’re about to right the ship (kick the football). That’s happened so many times this season. So if they were to rifle off, say, five of the next six against the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, why should we believe that this time is any different?
Guess what? It won’t be.
As pointed out by The Athletic’s Will Sammon, just a few weeks ago, Steve Cohen called the idea of adding at the trade deadline “pretty silly” barring an unforeseen turnaround. When Cohen addressed the media, the Mets were seven games under .500 and 8.5 games out of a wild card spot. Well, the Mets remain seven games under .500 and have improved one game to be 7.5 out of a wild card spot.
So, Cohen’s press conference was a huge waste of everyone’s time, right? We can finally all agree.
You can give him props for his patience, but in sticking by his two trusted lieutenants — Buck Showalter and Billy Eppler — he risks not only further alienating an impatient fanbase but also hamstringing his team beyond this season.
Why should Showalter, who has proven at every turn this season that he isn’t the guy for the job, be entrusted with overseeing the day-to-day development of the likes of Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio?
Why should Eppler, who opted to bring in optionable arms rather than proven veterans over the offseason when constructing his bullpen, be allowed to oversee this year’s trade deadline? That’s not even mentioning last year’s horrendous trade deadline, in which Eppler threw several darts and not a single one hit the board.
Daniel Vogelbach. Darin Ruf. Tyler Naquin. Mychal Givens.
Yeah, we all know how that turned out.
Eppler has made two good trades during his tenure as general manager, and that was acquiring two, already proven veteran pitchers in Chris Bassitt and Brooks Raley. So, how should Eppler be entrusted to make several trades in the span of a few days, let alone hours, when his track record speaks for itself?
And just the latest notch on Eppler’s belt of misdeeds was spending $8 million to acquire Trevor Gott from the Seattle Mariners. Yes, the Mets can flex their financial might all they want to, but there’s a price to pay when you don’t spend your money wisely. Like when your general manager is spending that kind of money on a reliever that’s already been non-tendered twice, and that said reliever has allowed six earned runs in just 2 ⅔ innings spanning his last five games, you might have a problem.
And the Mets do. They have problems that go way behind Eppler, but hey the buck has to start somewhere.
At the end of the day, the Mets have to be sellers. There is no reason that Canha, Tommy Pham, David Robertson, or even Carlos Carrasco should be on the team after Aug. 1. The Mets are not going on some miraculous run. I would love to eat my words, but the team is so fundamentally flawed, poorly coached, and just doesn’t have what it takes to win.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
On a more serious note, Cohen has a serious problem on his hands. Eppler isn’t the remedy to fix it. Neither is Scherzer nor Justin Verlander, for that matter. Years of bad drafting and poor player development are why the Mets are in their current predicament. Yes, we can blame previous ownership (Fred and Jeff Wilpon) until the cows come home, but Cohen was the one who gave fans an expectation that a World Series could be had in 3-to-5 years.
With each passing day, that goal becomes increasingly more and more unlikely. And so do the Mets’ chances of even making the playoffs, let alone a World Series, in 2023.