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The 2017 New York Mets are the Most Disappointing Mets Team since the 1987 New York Mets

By Danny Radical

by Danny Radical

The 2017 Mets are the worst baseball team I have seen since the 2003 Mets. That Mets team was bolstered by Jose Reyes as their only legitimate .300 hitter, and the pitching staff was led by the final decent season of Al Leiter, and the single greatest pitching season of Steve Traschel. Yikes.

Unlike the 2017 Mets who have a few all stars on their roster, the 2003 Mets featured big time starting players like Jeff Duncan and Vance Wilson, starting pitchers like Jae Weong Seo, a bullpen staring Graeme Lloyd, and had Armando Benitez pitch in 45 games only to close 21. And who can forget that the 2003 Mets had 5 pitchers with over 20 games played and ERA's over 10.00. Jesus. The 2003 Mets were an aging team, full of players exiting their primes or careers (Mo Vaughn, Jay Bell, David Cone, John Franco, etc), and were bound to be an expensive failure from day one. Why day one? Because awful Art Howe was their manager, who was so dull (how dull was he?), he couldn't pick up a chick if she was in Somalia and he had a sandwich, a bottle of water, and a spare plane ticket.

But worst is not the most disappointing. No, to go to the most disappointing Mets team, we can look past the blown amazing catch from Timo Perez team that ended with Carlos Beltran helplessly watching a called third strike to end the 2006 Mets season. To find the most disappointing Mets team, we have one year to look at- the 1987 New York Mets.

Carlos Beltran, after Paul LoDuca's walk, up with a chance to send the New York Mets to the 2006 World Series! Guess what happens!

The 1987 Mets? How can you call a team that won 92 games disappointing? Easy. There was no wildcard, nor was there a play in. This was a team that, in the previous season, had won 116 games between the regular season and postseason. 8-5 in the postseason, 108 regular season wins. Clinched the division before kids started back to school that September. Gave one of the entire greatest dramatic postseasons of all time. Billy Buckner may think his moment was the most dramatic, and it probably was, but the game 6 versus Houston that year was a game for the ages. I defy anyone watching a replay of that game to not sit on the end of their seats from the 8th inning on.


What made the 1987 Mets fall apart? That team started to dismantle in the offseason after the World Series, when Ray Knight refused a healthy offer from the Mets as the team World Series MVP to sign a smaller offer with Baltimore, where his batting average dropped almost 50 points, to a season later bringing the end of the career of Mr. Nancy Lopez. That same offseason saw Kevin Mitchell sent away to San Diego for Kevin McReynolds. Mitchell went on to win an MVP, and McReynolds was exposed to be unable to lay off of an outside curveball. Steady backup Ed Hearn was sent to Kansas City for David Cone, which was a long run great trade but a short run hello to a lesser player in Barry Lyons, at the same time the Mets star catcher and Hall of Famer Gary Carter was in decline.

Then there was time. Key players Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were a year older. They both saw batting averages drop around 15 points, and runs batted in about the same percent.

Were there improvements? Sure. After all, this team still did win 92 games. The Mets outfield in 1987 was led by Darryl Strawberry, who had over 100 RBI while launching 39 home runs and hitting close to .290, someone the Mets could use today. Kevin McReynolds also made an immediate impact with 29 home runs. The Lenny Dykstra Mookie Wilson tandem hit close to .300, and gave depth to the bench at the same time. Supersub Lee Mazzilli hit over .300 being back where he started his career.

So for the most part, 92 wins is a good season. And yes, I have heard the arguments that "If the playoff format was like today, the Mets would have made the playoffs from 1984 through 1990." Yet for the Mets, it was a 16 win dropoff from the previous season, and 8 wins less than the year after which was still largely fielding the same rosters. Why?

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Sinuses?

The first culprit was Dwight Gooden. Gooden was electric in his rookie year, had one of the greatest sophomore years ever as a pitcher, and in an "off" year in 1986 was 17-6. Gooden's first 3 years posted a record of 58-19. At the age of 21. 58 MLB wins by the age of 21! Damn. Gooden's next 58 wins took just 4 more years. Honestly, 116 wins by the age of 25 is still amazing. Sadly, 76 wins for the next ten years is what drugs does to such an amazing talent. Gooden's 1987 was 15-7. Gooden only topped 15 wins 2 more times in his career that lasted 12 more years. Gooden never came near 15 wins after he left the Mets, an only topped double digits wins once after he left the Mets.

Next, there was the rest of the pitching staff. Every starter watched their ERA jump up, some at more than one run per game. Ron Darling went from a to a 2.81 to a 4.29 ERA. Bob Ojeda went from a 2.57 to a 3.88, and from 18 wins down to 3, which forced a lesser pitcher into a starting role. While the Mets bullpen was still strong, they suffered a decline from 1986 hero "Messy" Jesse Orosco, and had to rush young pitchers David Cone, Randy Myers, and John Mitchell into major roles. Two of those guys ended out working in the long run, while Mitchell's 5 year career ended with a 9-14 record and an ERA of over 4 in 51 career games. Mitchells greatest career achievement may be surviving a boating accident by clinging to a bucket as a float for 22 hours.


Lastly, the 1987 Cardinals were a good team. Not great, but good. They had clutch hitting. Jack Clark went .286/36/105. And maybe my favorite stats about just flat out clutch hitting- Willie McGee had a line of .285/11/105. 11 home runs, 105 RBI. Such RBI numbers with so little power and not a .300 average behind it seems crazy, until you realize that it's easier to do when your leadoff hitter walks 70 times, steals 109 bases, and your number two hitter hits .303 with 89 walks.

Were the Cardinals a dominant team? No, they had 95 wins. But that's 3 more than 92. Now, you're probably saying, "the Mets would have been a wildcard team last year. Not a big deal." Except that would make you totally wrong, as there was no wildcard.

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Clank!


You may say that the 1962 Mets were more disappointing. WRONG. They were an expansion team. Yes, the expansion Houston 45's won 64 games in the same expansion year that the Mets won 40, but both records suck. 64 wins suck? Hmmm...what team has about 64 wins this season? Also, expecting world beaters from an expansion team is stupid. Yet a mere 7 years later, they were world beaters. By that growth rate, the 2010 Mets should have won the World Series. They didn't. And after that season, the General Manager, Omar Minaya, was fired.

Back to the present. The Mets were World Series contenders in 2015. They won an exciting series versus the Dodgers, and then brutally manhandled the Cubs on the way to a record setting "3 blown saves in one series" performance by their closer Jeurys Familia which cost the team a World Series. Some will blame bad defense on the loss, but if the other team isn't hitting the ball (see Rivera, Mariano), then no one is screwing up any plays.

They followed up their exciting World Series appearance by letting Daniel Murphy go- a key Mets player who has been an all star every year since leaving the Mets, nearly winning the 2016 National League MVP- for chronic Doans chugger Neil Walker. Also, Walker makes more money than Murphy.

Pay the man.

The 2016 Mets went through a rash of injuries, and yet still made the playoffs- where 87 wins qualified them for such, and a 3 game decline from their World Series season record- giving Mets fans hope that a healthy, rested pitching staff, some individual player improvement, and a few breaks could make this team win a division and end up right back into the World Series.

Instead, these Mets stink. Brutal, putrid, garbage, stank, bags of crap, pick the negative descriptor, it's not wrong. As of my writing this, the team has 63 wins. Their top two RBI guys are on other teams. Their star hitter has played half a season. The promising young outfielder blew his shoulder out swinging a bat. Their supersub infielder batted a baseball off of his own face. Their $17m second baseman has played LESS than half a season. The strength of this team- their starting pitching- has 1 guy with double digit wins, one starter with an ERA of under 4.00, and much like 2003, 3 guys in the bullpen with an ERA over 10, although to be fair, one is mainly used as a catcher.

WHAT HAPPENED??

This team is going to watch the Yankees make the playoffs, when the Yankees weren't expected to but the Mets were. This may or may not speak to the management and coaching staff, but if I were looking to assign blame for the Mets, I would start with the management and coaching staff.

"But what could Terry Collins do with all of these injuries?" Well, he could have started with firing the pitching coach, who has 2 all stars on his staff and only one starter with an ERA under 4. He could fire the hitting coach on a team where NOBODY was hitting .300, including an all star and a top 10 prospect in baseball.

And you may say "But the coaches only coach what they have. Isn't this all a result of how the team was built?" Yes, yes it is. Which is why it is past time to say goodbye to Sandy Alderson as a General Manager. Why does a respected baseball veteran like Alderson need to hit the bricks?

First off, Alderson must be actively looking to find the worst training staff in a city with the best medical professionals in likely all of North America. How else can you explain botched diagnoses, the same players consistently going down with the same injuries, and a pitching staff that hasn't been full healthy from April to September? Or a team that hasn't been largely healthy for any season since he took charge?

Shockingly in this age, the Mets are built for the 3 run home run. This is a philosophy preached by Earl Weaver back in the 1970's. You know, when players actually got on base so that someone could swat a 3 run shot. Also, a philosophy from the 1970's. Not that baseball has dramatically changed as a fundamental game. After all, pitchers are still throwing as many complete games as they did in the 70's, the relievers are still pitching 8 outs a game, and the 4 man rotation was the norm.

Also, the allocation of cash resources is mind numbing. Alderson took a lesser talent offer from Cleveland for Jay Bruce than he was offered by the Yankees because the Indians offered to pay Bruce all of his remaining salary. Alderson will not spend that entire difference- he has already declared so- so basically he stuck some of the fans money in the Wilpon's pocket, damaged the minor leagues, and hurt the teams future. Nice.

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CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP

Also, what GM lets his players tell them when they'll go see a doctor? Or when they'll get traded? Or when they'll take a roster spot? Because that's what Noah Syndergard, Zach Wheeler, and David Wright have all done. Here's what a GM with guts would have done: "Noah, see a doctor or you're suspended without pay. Zach, it's a business. When you're a unrestricted free agent and take a $1 million salary to stay here, we'll talk no movement clause. And David, you've been waived. Oh, and cut, too. No worries- no fan will have a memory of you playing in any other uniform, but feel free to pursue it."

Maybe this is a symptom of the management of a team where the starting pitcher in game 5 of the World Series told his manager to take a hike, then promptly went on to lose game 5 for the Mets. Not that I blame Matt Harvey. After all, his star closer blew 3 saves already. And even though Harvey's agent wanted to limit innings, who can blame Harvey for throwing almost 200 innings after throwing zero the year before? Clearly that's had no ill effects since.
Lastly, the game seems to have passed Alderson by. It seems that younger, more statistics driven executives are thriving in the sport. Alderson fits none of that. He does, however, fit the role of an old man looking for a senior citizen discount on all that he buys. Which is likely from the majority owner of the Mets, the Wilpon's, but may be from his own AARP card carrying mind.

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The ghost still lingers....the Wilpons must be charging it rent.


So, if you want to talk about the biggest Mets losers, clearly nothing tops a 40 win 1962. If you want to talk about a recent horrible Mets team, 2003 makes a strong case. If you want to talk most disappointing, the 1993 Mets can clearly throw their hat in the ring at 59-103, but they were sandwiched in between a 72 win team and a strike shortened 54 win team (that projected to be somewhere in the 70's). And these current Mets are clearly horribly disappointing. Just not as disappointing as being a book between the book ends of 108 wins and 100 wins and the hard earned playoffs.

In conclusion, the 2017 Mets are the most disappointing team since the 1987 Mets.

Follow Danny Radical on twitter at @JoshBarely