Mets learn reset takes over a year

In the end, the Mets lost so stupendously that their elimination from the playoffs was an afterthought. When they fell to the Milwaukee...


In the end, the Mets lost so stupendously that their elimination from the playoffs was an afterthought. When they fell to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night, the Mets won their fifth straight season without a playoff spot. It was their 33rd loss in 50 games since the end of July.

“I wouldn’t say we didn’t fall without a fight,” outfielder Michael Conforto told reporters on a video conference. “I wouldn’t say that. I think we fought; we did not get the victories. But our guys – we fight every day.

Fair enough; no one would suggest the Mets haven’t tried. But anyone can try. It also takes talent, intelligence and luck to win, and other teams had more than the Mets.

This includes the Brewers, their hosts for the playoff night, who have flee with the Central National League clinch their fourth place in a row in the playoffs. The Mets have never had a streak of playoff appearances for more than two years and would surely love to snatch young Brewers architect David Stearns to run their baseball operations.

But Stearns, alas, has a contract with a stable, well-run organization in Milwaukee. The Mets organization still aspires to these traits. As the Mets struggled to make the most of the elite young pitchers who led them to the 2015 World Series, Stearns and the Brewers developed so much they could do a deep run in October.

For the Mets, of course, this pennant race was as good as it gets. Two of their prized mid-2010s starters, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, have had strong, healthy seasons – but neither are working for the Mets anymore. Right-handed people Jacob of Grom and Noah syndergaard do, but mostly like ghosts.

DeGrom’s stat line this season reads like a fantasy for a high-leverage reliever: 92 innings, 146 strikeouts and a 1.05 ERA Unfortunately for the Mets, deGrom is a starter who has compiled all of these. digits before the star break. His arm couldn’t withstand the effort of repeatedly whipping fastballs at 99 miles per hour.

With velocity, more heat can often mean less time on the mound – a lesson Syndergaard learned, painfully, in his lost second season to Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard and deGrom could return in the final week of the season, but it would be too late to help the Mets advance to the playoffs.

The fate of the team, missing the playoffs, looked unlikely on July 31, as the Mets were 56-48 and held a five-game lead in the NL East. A week later they had completely lost that lead, and when they were knocked out on Saturday they were nine games away from first place, a season-high. Milwaukee completed a three-game sweep against the Mets on Sunday.

The Atlanta Braves lead the division, in part because their general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, acted aggressively in the commercial market in July.

Like the Mets with deGrom, the Braves lost their best player to injury in mid-July. But when outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his right anterior cruciate ligament, the Braves knew he was finished for the season and traded for four outfielders: Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler.

The Mets lacked clarity on deGrom’s status and added a starter, Rich Hill, to the rotation. Hill presented well, and the Mets’ biggest commercial acquisition in July, infielder Javier Baez, was in tears in September as he auditions for a new contract. But the Mets didn’t help themselves enough, as manager Luis Rojas suggested after Saturday’s loss.

“The second half we played erratically, we made mistakes, not like we did in the first half,” Rojas said. “The throw was not the same, not like in the first half. We touched a bit, but the timing was different. We’ve met some growing teams who also did a good job on the deadline to bolster their offense. “

Rojas faces an uncertain future as the new owner of the Mets, Steven A. Cohen, is looking again – along with team president Sandy Alderson – for a baseball operations manager. It will be a critical recovery for Cohen, after the embarrassing episodes involving Jared porter and Zack scott. Porter was fired as chief executive in January for sending dozens of obscene and explicit texts to a reporter while working for another team, and Scott, his acting replacement, was put on administrative leave this month – here after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Perhaps Cohen’s wealth and motivation can attract an accomplished veteran executive, like Theo Epstein or Billy Beane, to Citi Field. May be his impulsive tweets – and the organizational dysfunction that survived the Wilpons – will make the job less attractive than Cohen thinks.

Either way, the Mets must determine why so many hitters, including Conforto, Francisco Lindor, James McCann, Jeff McNeil and Dom Smith, have been below expectations in 2021. Besides the bullpen and a handful of other players – starter Marcus Stroman, first baseman Pete Alonso, infielder Jonathan Villar – no one stayed healthy and gave the Mets what they wanted.

“We have great players,” said Conforto. “A tough year doesn’t define these guys.”

Say this for the Mets: they never lack confidence. But after another tough year, you have to ask yourself how good these players really are and who will be in charge of making them better.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mets learn reset takes over a year
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