This is a guest post by frequent commenter and occasional ranter MetStatHead. The non-waiver trading deadline always brings out some strong feelings in fans and this season is no different. Here are four ways to fix the Mets.
This team is in need of an overhaul. It starts with the GM Omar Minaya. For years the Mets have forgone the MLB draft and used its resources in Latin America and Asia. The MLB draft produces many Major League ready players and prospects. The team consistently ranks in the bottom third of Minor League systems because of the lack of Major League ready talent. Take a look at the Washington Nationals, they have on their team a handful of drafted players that have pitched and played in college. These players know how to play the game and win. Often times these players are polished and need little work before they climb the ranks in the minors. The Nationals are a team to be admired.
I would like to see the Wilpons clean house. A new GM, coaching staff, and medical staff. Bring in some former Mets that have experienced winning, either with the Mets or with other teams. Bring in a big name coach if needed, but this management needs to be released.
Hold players accountable
The Mets spent $12 million dollars on Oliver Perez this year. Jeff Francoeur is making $5 million dollars and Jason Bay is getting $8.6 million this season. Now Oliver Perez is 0-4 with a 6.15 ERA and has given the Mets 2 quality starts in his 7 starts. Jeff Fancoeur is hitting .248 with an OBP of .299, he is currently taking away playing time from Angel Pagan (.304 and .360) because he is too expensive to sit on the bench. Jason Bay was the big free agent signing of the summer and is currently hitting .259 and has struck out 91 times. He has a paltry 6 home runs and is receiving $7 million more than Angel Pagan and $8.2 million more than Ike Davis (.249 BA, 14 HRs, 46 RBIs).
These three players are not pulling their weight. I haven’t even brought up Luis Castillo ($6.25 million) or Carlos Beltran ($19.4 million). The Mets have so few major league ready prospects that they have no one to replace the players or give them days off to work on things. The team has spent their money poorly and it will continue until there are some changes in the mentality of ownership.
Stop competing with the Yankees
The New York Yankees have the biggest team salary, $206 million. The team revenues ($441 million) are more than any other team in Major League Baseball and the team ownership is willing to overpay for talent at the expense of their fans. The Yankees are coming off another World Series title and are leading their division yet again.
The New York Mets have the 5th largest salary, $136 million. The team revenues ($268 million) are 60% of what the Yankees are making. The team ownership is willing to overpay for talent that is past its prime at the expense of their fans. The Mets haven’t won a World Series since 1986 and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and are currently 3rd in their division.
The Mets cannot possibly compare to the Yankees. They lack the history, the fan base, and the money to compete. Management needs to stop competing with the Yankees and carve out a niche of their own.
Embrace the new statistical metrics
For years the Mets have gone after talent based on numbers that really are of no use in the game anymore. Moneyball has changed the game and has created new metrics in which to value players. Some of the best GMs in the game use these stats to value their current team, prospects and possible trade targets. The Red Sox, Mariners, Angels, Athletics, and Rays are all using these new metrics to stay competitive. Other teams are slowly adopting these new metrics and are beginning to see the advantages. The Yankees, Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Padres, and Giants have all gotten better using this tactic.
Team management has the money to get some of the best talent in the country, but they have failed. There have been many opportunities for the Mets to make moves to improve their minor league depth with talent that isn’t “sexy.” More and more teams have been holding on to prospects because of their talent and their future value. Talent evaluators are now looking at strikeout rates, flyball rates, walk rates, strike/walk rates, and more. Talent is no longer just a function of feel or sight. Many players are valued by the numbers they create.
3 thoughts on “4 Ways To Fix the Mets”
Although last year I agreed with your sentiments, this year I don't. The farm system has taken a big jump and some very nice prospects are showing up. The Mets haven't been able to part with the likes of Josh Thole, Jon Neise, and of course Ike during this deadline. The Mets have some very exciting players in the system and we're getting closer and closer to a homegrown infield.
I think it's easy to blame Minaya for Bay, but the guy has been nothing but consistent his whole career. He has done nothing but drive in runs every year he has played. This year is frustrating and confusing. I still do expect he will meet his contract in the 3 years remaining. If Minaya and the Wilpons didn't go and make a splash the ticket sales would be even worse than they already are.
Beltran needs to be given a break. He came off a knee injury that could quite possibly end a career. He has put up great numbers since coming here (except 05) and played a gold glove centerfield. We stole Francouer for a damaged Church. Although his Met days seem numbered, French was a bright spot last year and is much better than Church.
Castillo and Perez have been a disaster and there is no way around that, but the last thing the Mets should do is play money ball. If the Amazins' had Zito, Mulder, and Hudson in their prime and were dealing them I would personally boycott. Moneyball helps like small markets like Oakland compete every year but they will never be a favorite to do anything. Any player you fall in love with will most likely be shipped off before he has a chance to impact a World Series run. Any team that makes money, and our team does, their fan base will expect them to spend and put the best product possible out there.
While I will give you credit in that Niese and Davis have been successes out of the farm system, but you can not tell me that Thole is a high end prospect. Their next prospects are F-Mart, Flores, Mejia, and maybe Tejada… I don’t think any are truly ready… F-Mart has had some injury issues, we have seen Flores, Mejia and Tejada and none have impressed.
I think management needs to start going after major league ready talent instead of the long term hit or miss projects they have been bringing in… F-Mart has been their #1 prospect for 3 years now. There are other teams drafting players out of college and they are playing in year 1 or 2 of their contracts… That means 5 to 6 years of control of those players. The Mets get 18, 19 and 20 year olds that need 4 to 5 years to mature and only 20% of those players turn into full time major leaguers…
I am not saying don’t spend money and completely follow the Moneyball approach, but they need to spend money the right way. Jason Bay has a great career going, but he is 33 years old, he might have another year in his “prime” but why pay for a declining star? The Mets do not have enough juice to bring in certain players, so they need to learn who to target and how to grow a winning team.
Beltran needs to be traded for cap space and prospects. If he produces the rest of the year I think the team should move him. Pagan can play centerfield and with Bay in left they can go get a big bat in right field. That would improve the lineup and make it deeper. Beltran is a good player, but again he is 34 and on the decline. He could be a nice trading chip in the offseason.
Omar needs to put butts in the seats. I get that. But Mets fans are smart people, they know this team isn’t going to win as it is right now. They know we have some albatross contracts on our books and we will continue this way until there are some big changes.
I love the Mets and will forever be a fan. I just wish this team was on a better path.
In regards to your point on drafting, the Mets have made leaps and bounds recently in developing respectable prospects. The MLB draft is always a crap shoot and the Mets draft like everyone else does. Players out of college are rarely "MLB ready" right away and require development in the pros just like the Latin American players do. The Nationals appear to be so good at drafting because they are granted early first round draft picks because they are so bad every year. Strasburg and Storen were both 1st rounders and are special talents who needed little minor league seasoning before getting called up. Ian Desmond is 25 and was a 3rd round selection by the Expos in '04 and is just now breaking onto the scene. Ike Davis and Pelfrey were collegiate studs and first round selections. Reese Havens, our AA second basemen looks like he could be ready soon and was drafted right after Ike Davis in '08 out of college. We selected RHP Matt Harvey from a premiere program in UNC in the first round and based on his college career, he could project to be a power arm down the road. We also got OF Cory Vaughn who is raking for Brooklyn this year and is said to be a sure fire Major League prospect according to Wally Backman. We haven't seen Flores, he's 18, and we probably won't see him for a few more years. With Mejia and Tejada, its still too early to tell what they will amount to even though they haven't impressed in their brief time with the Mets. F-Mart has been a disappointment but who knows what will happen with him.