Since November 2020, the expectations from Met fans have been extremely high; that’s when the Wilpon family sold their stake in the New York Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen.
The fan base was relieved to get rid of an ownership group who either refused or couldn’t spend the money expected from a franchise in a big market. They were thrilled to have an owner who outwardly said he expected to win a World Series within five years of owning the team.
Steve Cohen was a dream come true for Met fans. He hired former Mets General Manager (GM) Sandy Alderson as club president, and Alderson built a front office.
Jared Porter was originally hired as GM but was quickly fired after inappropriate actions at a previous job were discovered in January. Since then, Zack Scott has been listed as the “Acting” General Manager of the club.
The 2021 season has been a good one for Scott on the field. The Mets have been in first place for the majority of the season.
However, the Mets’ actions at the deadline and the mystery behind the Kumar Rocker draft pick have left many Met fans wondering if Scott is the right man for the job. These next two months are critical for his future with the club.
The Mets were not inactive at the trade deadline. They brought in a dynamic player in Javier Baez from the Cubs and also brought in pitcher Trevor Williams. In exchange, the Mets traded 2020 first-round draft choice, Pete Crow Armstrong. Baez will fill in at shortstop for Francisco Lindor until he returns from injury in late August or early September.
After that, though Baez’s position will be a mystery one, the Mets will figure out when the time comes. While bringing in Baez was a significant move, some wonder if it was enough to get the Mets to where they need to go.
There were issues with the team that the front office failed to address at the deadline.
The issues could cost them not only a deep run in the playoffs but the division crown in the National League East.
One issue is the bullpen, which has had some key figures struggle badly over the last month. Miguel Castro, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz all had a rough July. Diaz, the club’s closer, had a 6.55 ERA in July and a 1.71 WHIP. Lugo had a 5.73 ERA and a WHIP of 1.81 in July. Castro had his highest WHIP of any month of the season in July. They certainly could have used a late-inning bullpen arm to really help this club. Yet, Scott failed to do so.
They also failed to acquire a premier starting pitcher, which the team may need down the stretch. Instead, they added 41-year-old veteran Rich Hill, middle to back end of the rotation starter, and Trevor Williams, currently in Triple-A Syracuse. Those two starters provide some depth but are not guys that give the team what they need.
When you look at the Mets rotation and how it may playout for the rest of the season, it is full of question marks. Since early July, Ace Jacob deGrom has been out with arm trouble and had a setback this past week. He won’t pitch until at least September. Veteran Carlos Carrasco made his first start of the season on Friday night but won’t provide the Mets with length anytime soon, as he went just four innings and threw just 58 pitches.
Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker have been good this season, but they don’t go deep into ballgames even in their most effective starts. Stroman has thrown six innings or more in just six of his 21 starts in 2021. Walker has done that just six times in 19 starts this season. Rookie Tylor Megill has been great so far but has yet to pitch into the seventh inning in any of his first seven starts as a Met.
The biggest problem with that is the toll it will take on the bullpen. Recently, the Mets bullpen has had a ton of guys unavailable due to their workload.
As they get later into the season, the heavy workload on the bullpen could catch up with them. It is just another reason the Mets should have added a good starting pitcher to their rotation.
Failing to add a quality starter and a backend reliever could bite the Mets badly. It could also cost Zack Scott his job. The other thing that could is the situation with first-round draft choice Kumar Rocker.
The Mets drafted rocker in the 2021 player draft. He had fallen to the Mets after some teams had concerns about his workload and drop in velocity on his fastball. The Mets drafted Rocker but did not sign the right-hander, instead opting to get an additional first-round pick in the 2022 draft.
There have been mixed emotions about the Mets’ decision to draft Rocker. It affected how they constructed the rest of their draft choices, affecting the organization for years. It was not the ideal circumstance, and the organization admitted so. It’s another questionable decision by the Mets front office.
What it all means is that the next two months are pivotal in Zack Scott’s future with the organization.
If the Mets win the division, he will look like a genius because the organization accomplished their goal of winning the division and making the playoffs while hanging onto their assets in the farm system. However, if the season slips away and the Mets blow the lead in the NL East and miss the playoffs, questions about the front office competency will arise, and Scott may pay the price for it.
Featured Image: Corey Sipkin/New York Post