Good news! Chris Young, one of the Mets big free-agent acquisitions of the winter, is close to making his return to the big club. Chris has recovered, rehabbed, and is set to be activated on April 18th against the Braves.
At the time of this writing, after just 10 games (not including last night’s game), the Mets are 4-6. While the starting pitching has been good, the offense has struggled.
Actually, “struggle” implies putting up a fight, so the connotation is all wrong.
More like: “rolled over in a ditch and drowned in a two-inch puddle of vomit.”
The numbers are offensive all right:
- Mets slash line: .204/.270/.331/.601
- Opp. slash line: .258/.324/.414/.738
A few quick facts:
- The Mets have 3 hitters above .250
- Curtis Granderson is hitting .135
- Travis d’Arnaud is at .129
- Ruben Tejada, .212
- Friday night’s clean-up hitter, .167
And on and on it goes.
So one would think that the arrival of Chris Young should be greeted with good cheer and light hearts. Yet if you cast your eyes around the blogosphere and print media, the overall tone from Mets observers is one of dread. A superficial glance at Sports Spyder reveals these articles, which do not begin to account for all the fretful tweets, comments, phone calls, and remarks by Mets announcers:
- Chris Young could return to Mets outfield by next week. Mike Puma writes, “Collins says it’s too early to say how playing time will be divided.”
- Chris Young nearer to return, leaving Mets outfield with potential tough decision. The tone here is that the Mets don’t “do” decisions well. Mike Vorkunov writes: “Young was signed this offseason with the understanding that he would get regular playing time, along with Curtis Granderson, while Eric Young Jr. and Juan Lagares would battle for the third starting position and splitting time.”
- TC preparing for 4-man rotation in outfield by Adam Rubin. He quotes Collins, “How’s it going to work? I don’t know yet.”
- Why Juan Lagares needs to stick as the Mets center fielder by Chris Strohmaier at Amazin’ Avenue. Strohmaier makes the unnecessary argument, partly out of desperation, that Juan Lagares deserves to play.
- Mets Don’t Need Repeat of 1st Base Sham, Name Lagares Starter Now, by Joe Giglio, who writes: “During the 50-plus year history of the New York Mets, public relations hasn’t been the strongest attribute of the organization. Lately, that thought has manifested itself with confounding and ridiculous day-to-day mixed message from unnamed front office sources and manager Terry Collins.”
In essence, how will Mets management handle the “problem” of a crowded outfield? Bubbling below the surface is the nagging fear that the club will bench Juan Lagares. Or, if not that exactly, just generally bungle and mishandle the situation, and screw over its most popular outfielder in the process.
(This is, by the way, before they call up Bobby Abreu to really make it interesting. And at that point, poor Terry Collins’ head will explode. Decisions, decisions.)
The normal Mets fan does some quick figuring. Let’s see, Curtis Granderson, $60 million. He’s gonna play. Sandy has “promised” — his word — Chris Young regular playing time. Terry seems to really value the speed of Eric Young. Uh-oh.
The crazy thing is, the return of Chris Young should absolutely be a plus for the NY Mets. It’s a good thing. Yet Mets fans have no faith in management making the right decisions. Ya gotta believe? No, we collectively don’t. Sorry, Sandy. Oops, Terry. Not anymore.
This condition is sometimes couched in terms that disrespect the “typical Mets fan.” We are too defeated, too negative, too programmed to expect the worst. As if this is our fault.
The truth is, we are right to wring our hands with worry. Look at the ridiculous, embarrassing, utterly doofus first base situation. Proof positive that this management group can’t make a decision, any decision. The Mets have had all three first basemen in the organization for a combined total of 19 years.
I repeat: 19 years!
Mets, thy name is Ditherment!
Even so, the spin is that it’s still a “competition.” These guys are 27, 28, and 29 years old.
It is insane. There’s no other word for it. But, okay, “incompetent” will also suffice.
So, yes, Mets fans know better. We’ve seen this movie before. It has a scary ending.
The anxiety associated with the impending arrival of Chris Young underscores that the average Mets fan no longer has faith in management’s ability to manage.
Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson, Dan Warthen, Dave Hudgens. Many of us don’t believe in these guys. We don’t trust their judgment. All they’ve ever done is lose.
You’ve heard of managers being fired for losing the clubhouse. Well, these guys have lost the fanbase. Look at the stands. The empty seats are far more eloquent than any written word. With this organization, that stuff earns extensions.
The return of Chris Young should not be a problem.
Actually, it’s a piece of cake.
The starting outfield: LF Chris Young, CF Juan Lagares, RF Curtis Granderson.
End of story.
But if you want more: Super sub, Eric Young, starting an estimated 4 games a week (he can play 2B, too), and a really useful weapon on the bench.
It’s easy. Yet many of us wait and wonder, thinking the same thing:
How are these guys going to screw it up this time?
Endnote: We are going to see this same problem — a failure of management to organize the roster for maximum value — to make deals, swap players, pick up and discard — at the starting pitching position.
It’s only a matter of time before we start reading about a 6-man rotation.