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22.09.2018

The Mets’ 2017 misery could be saving them now.

You know what this year’s Mets have done? Confused me about last year’s Mets. I picked the 2017 Mets to win the NL East because I thought their late-season run to the wild card the previous season through some significant injury had shown them to have depth of character and unexpected talent depth, especially with...
Time: 15:57     Date: 16.04.2018
Last US Sport News: The Mets’ 2017 misery could be saving them now. NY Post 24 - US News

I picked the 2017 Mets to win the NL East because I thought their late-season run to the wild card the previous season through some significant injury had shown them to have depth of character and unexpected talent depth, especially with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo so valuable in the rotation.

Remember, part of the narrative of the 2016-17 offseason was that the Mets were going to revert to cheapness. But with all the talk of trading Jay Bruce and/or Juan Lagares and/or a starting pitcher, they kept the roster intact. They actually began the season with not just 25 players on the active roster who were with the team the previous season, but even the five players on their DL, plus Jeurys Familia out suspended.

Yet, by the end of the season, a common refrain was that the roster lacked fortitude and enough talent. And that explained largely how a club expected to contend — maybe even for a championship — won 70 games.

I have been thinking about this a lot as the Mets broke out to 12 wins in 14 games and — here we go again — there is general praise of both kinds of depth. I am trying to come to greater peace with what occurred last year as, perhaps, a better way to judge just how good this club is.

I play a game every season in which I imagine a team I am about to watch will play the season 100 times. What do I think are the most likely outcomes? For the 2018 Mets, I felt like 35 of those would be superb, 35 would look something last year and 30 somewhere in the middle.

And after making the postseason in both 2015 and ’16, there was — at least subtly, but probably more than that — a sense of accomplishment. There was a loss of edge.

In some ways, I think that has helped the 2018 Mets as much as anything. Last year went so poorly collectively for the front office and for so many individuals that it was a wide slap in the face. Changing the manager, much of the coaching staff, medical protocols and attitude was no longer something to discuss. It was something to do.

Todd Frazier and Mickey Callaway, two of the rare Mets newcomers this yearPaul J. Bereswill

Because essentially this is the same team again. Yes, Bruce is back, but he was a 2017 Met long enough to endure the disaster. Anthony Swarzak and Jason Vargas have combined for 2 1/3 healthy innings to date. Only Todd Frazier is new and making an impact in performance, leadership and with the whole organization finally accepting that David Wright is not walking through the door. But that alone does not explain a 12-2 start.

The reality might be that the 2017 Mets were a good team that played its worst possible season, and the 2018 Mets are benefiting from that. Certainly, so far, so good on how a pitching-centric manager such as Mickey Callaway has orchestrated his staff and perhaps helped — in conjunction with that re-ordered medical staff – keep the arms mostly healthy.

There is a long way to go, obviously, and the Mets already are playing their third- and fourth-string catchers. They still are worryingly thin in the upper minors in places to turn when injury hits. But, once Vargas returns, they will actually have tough rotation decisions about who stays. For now, they will battle to find at-bats for Wilmer Flores, Lagares and Brandon Nimmo, who help form one of the better bench contingents in the majors.

And, who knows, maybe the Mets will stay healthier than in recent years. Perhaps after having the worst kind of season they could have in 100 tries in 2017, they are poised to have the best of 100 this year.

Sport

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Opinion

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Living

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Business

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Metro

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Sport

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