I had the pleasure of chatting with Mike from the great Mets site 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball about the series in New York which begins tonight between the Brewers and the Metropolitans. We also discussed a variety of other topics, including some Mets fans’ unfulfilled wishes of landing Ryan Braun and the former Mets Carlos Gomez and Frankie Rodriguez, now with Milwaukee. You can find my conversation at 2 Guys Mets right here.
Mike kindly returned the favor at The Brewers Bar and filled us in on perceptions of the Brew Crew, Gomez, the Mets’ speedy centerfielder Juan Lagares, and the overall state of New York’s National League club. You can follow him on Twitter at @2GuysMets. Thanks again to Mike for sharing his insights on a team the Brewers don’t see very often.
The Brewers have become a bit of a national story due to their hot start to the season, but is there any chatter about them in Metsland?
To be honest, not really. For the most part Mets fans are more inwardly focused right now, as the team is just relevant enough not to give up. Last year the Pirates became a little bit of a story around here, but that type of thinking kicks in around August if the Mets are clearly done and a team like the Pirates or Brewers has stayed in the mix. The series this week will get them a little bit more on the radar. In general we have Cardinals fatigue, so most Mets fans will be happy to see Milwaukee have a successful season.
The Johan Santana trade was long ago now and didn’t involve the Brewers, but are there any regrets on your side about trading away Carlos Gomez now that he’s blossomed into a productive MLB player?
Oh, yes, I see real hand wringing from some people. That is always the nature of the beast, hindsight is 20/20. Personally, I have no regrets. The first few years with Santana, he was fabulous, and he was the number one reason we made it all the way to the last day of the season in 2008 with a shot to go to the playoffs (nudged out by a team from Milwaukee that year, thanks for nothing.) And the fact is we traded Gomez to the Twins, and it took a long time for Carlos to break through. There is a good chance he wouldn’t be a Met now, Santana trade or no. Lastly, as you know, Gomez really likes to swing the bat. The Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, hates players like Gomez; he is obsessed with players taking pitches. I strongly suspect Gomez could not succeed in the current Mets environment.
Brief Brewers fans on what’s up with the Mets these days. Is the pitching staff reeling from the loss of Matt Harvey to injury? How are Curtis Granderson and Chris Young working out in the outfield? What should we know about Juan Lagares, other than he’s good defensively?
Harvey would help, you always miss a guy like that, but the starting pitching is still the strength of the team. Jon Niese is having a true All-Star caliber year, and Zack Wheeler has been inconsistent, but when he has been on he has been great. Dillon Gee, on the DL right now, was very good, and Bartolo Colon has proved durable and above average (but pricey.) Jenrry Mejia, only 24 years old, has looked very good as a closer; he only got his shot in mid-May. There are also a lot of young arms coming through the system to augment the pitching staff even more.
The offense, though, is putrid. Granderson has just not hit very much, he had one nice three-week stretch in May, and that is it. Chris Young has been worse, he is under the Mendoza line and looks completely lost. Other than Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Lagares, there is no hitting. The easy but probably useless move has already been made, the batting coach, Dave Hudgens, was fired on May 27.
Lagares can go get it with anyone, he might be the best defensive centerfielder I have seen play for the Mets, and I have seen them all. He never seems to take a bad route, and he has a tremendous arm. His hitting has been solid, he has more gap power than home run power but he has hit the ball with authority. Like Carlos Gomez, he prefers swinging the bat to taking pitches, and that makes him more popular with fans than management. The team actually signed Chris Young to play instead of Lagares, but Young was injured right before Opening Day and Lagares forced their hand from there. Sadly he is on the DL this week, so you won’t see him.
Sandy Alderson reportedly said before the season that he was expecting 90 wins out of the Mets in 2014. Was that an accurate report, and regardless, what is your prediction for the Mets this year from here on out? It looks like they’re hanging around in the picture in a muddled NL East.
I am hard on Alderson on our site, but I will be fair. He issued the 90 win thing as a goal not an expectation, in a team meeting. Now, the owner supposedly replied, “We better win 90,” ha, so we will see if there is any fallout if the team does not succeed.
I predicted 84 wins, which was high, most people did not think this was a .500 team. After seeing this team play a third of the season I still think they could get to 84 or 85 wins, but not without a move for a bat. If they sit tight they just don’t score enough to win any easy games. Will they make that move? I seriously wonder, but hope so. The NL East is a mess and any team that can get over .500 will have a real shot. And once you are in the playoffs, hey, who knows?