The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the AL East Wednesday night after an 8-5 victory over the Mets at Citi Field. It was their first title in 10 years.
Impressive for a small-market team that boasts a payroll of over $28 million.
Meanwhile, the Mets clinched a losing record for the third time in four years and the 11th time in 18 seasons under the Wilpons. Remarkably, the Mets are still in the hunt for the playoffs, which they can make it by being in second place in the NL East. The Mets will play the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals for four games to finish the season.
Do the math, though. The Mets’ tragic number is one as in if they lose one more game or if the Phillies or Marlins win one more game. For the Mets to make the playoffs, they have to win all out and the Phillies and Marlins have to lose all out. Chasing two teams in the division and not much time put the Mets in a position to miss the playoffs altogether.
How sad is it that in a year Major League Baseball invited eight teams to play in the playoffs and the Mets likely will not make the cut? All the Mets had to do was be mediocre, and they couldn’t even do that.
This invites changes all across the board in the organization. This means a new manager and a new general manager should be hired as soon as MLB owners approve of Steve Cohen purchasing the Mets. The Wilpons approved his more than $2.3 billion offer last week.
I have to admit I am surprised the Wilpons decided to sell rather than keep the team. I figured they would hold on as best as they could, but apparently, Saul Katz wanted to sell his stake and he sought to get money out of Cohen on his way out the door, so Fred Wilpon relented.
Jeff Wilpon is out as CEO. Cohen requested that he buy the team with Wilpon not being in the way, and he received his wish.
Now, the prospective Mets owner must hope his sale is approved by October so he can make changes right away.
Even if the owners approved his sale late, he should still make changes no matter what. It can’t be more of the same after two forgettable seasons under Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. While no one can blame Mets manager Luis Rojas for how bad the team is with what he had to work with, he showed he is not part of the solution, either. Besides a new general manager should have the freedom of hiring his own manager, and if the Mets are getting an established general manager, there’s no question he will want his own guy.
Van Wagenen showed he had no clue how to build a baseball team by foolishly trading Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, and Gerson Bautista along with Anthony Swarzak and Jay Bruce for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Cano may be finished as a hitter, and he still is signed for three more seasons. Diaz blew too many saves to count, and he showed he may not have the mindset and stuff to pitch in New York. Oh, and he traded Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson for a mediocre Marcus Stroman, who opted out because of coronavirus fears rather than waste his time pitching for an awful team. Oh, and Stroman may have pitched his last game as a Met being that he is a free agent.
His free agency moves such as Jed Lowrie and Jake Marisnick flopped since they both have yet to play a game for the Mets being the injury-prone those two are.
Awful moves and horrible player development get a general manager fired, so Van Wagenen should be gone. He likely will resign rather than wait to hear his fate from Cohen according to New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
It’s hard to make an evaluation of Rojas after 56 games. It’s doubtful any manager would have made a difference with a flawed baseball team that can’t hit, pitch, and field. But it would be a hard sell for Cohen to keep this manager for next season.
Fans want changes. They hope Cohen’s first order of business is moving in another direction. The timing is right for this to happen.
Cohen knows he has to make an impression on a frustrated fanbase. This season represented apathy altogether. Not even Jacob deGrom’s starts were enough to watch this team.
Cohen can look at Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky as proof change can make a difference. Malkin and Ledecky listened to the fans about dumping Garth Snow as general manager and Doug Weight as a coach, and they hired Lou Lamoriello as the general manager and Barry Trotz as the coach. As a result, the Islanders came off an Eastern Conference finals appearance this season and an Eastern Conference semifinals appearance last season as a result of the accountability culture Lamoriello and Trotz created.
Cohen must do the same with the Mets. He must hire a general manager like Dave Dombrowski or Theo Epstein, who knows a thing or two about winning. Then he should trust either of them to find the right manager that can make a difference. An experienced manager such as Eric Wedge or Clint Hurdle would be the preference.
Things can’t be more of the same after four straight seasons of no playoffs.
It appears Cohen knows it.
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