The Mets’ mantra going forward is simple.
Acquire athleticism, any way you can. Trade for it, draft it, sign it. That is the plan to make the Mets a contender for the long run.
In some ways they have accomplished the hardest part.
Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland have done a good job of getting the starting pitching going. That is what they were hired to do, and because of that even this season is salvageable to a degree if some of the most glaring problems are addressed.
Meet the Mets. Fix the Mets. And don’t even ask. The owners are here for the duration.
Don’t trade Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. Not yet. The timing is not right. It still all starts with pitching, and do you really trust Mets management to make a deal right now that brings back can’t-miss prospects?
For that pitching not to go to waste, the Mets and Sandy Alderson, for however long he remains GM, must go the athleticism route. Give pitchers some defensive help. An average offense would be successful if the defense were superior. It’s still a baseball game, not a home run derby.
Releasing Adrian Gonzalez was a plus. Gonzalez never should have been signed. It was a waste of time, and the Mets have a number of other players that are not producing.
Jose Reyes has had a long career but the way he is being used now is not working for him or the team. He has struggled when he has been used but the opportunities have been few and far between for a former everyday player to find his rhythm.
The Mets’ top prospect at shortstop, Andres Gimenez, is still a long ways away.
Make a small deal for someone like Toronto’s Yangervis Solarte. Solarte is not the answer in any way but he is functional. Trade Asdrubal Cabrera to a contender if you can. His legs and range are shot, but his bat may bring back help.
Remember 2015, when the Mets were hitting Eric Campbell and John Mayberry Jr. in the heart of the order, before Yoenis Cespedes was acquired? The Mets were back in that spot again when Kevin Plawecki was batting fourth recently. Kelly Johnson was picked up in July of 2015. You have to start somewhere just to shake it up.
Play Dom Smith at first. If he can’t handle it, bring up Peter Alonso and make sure you have a defensive replacement ready to go.
As soon as Jeurys Familia returns, Seth Lugo becomes a part of the rotation. I wrote that weeks ago. The only thing that has changed is that everyone sees now what I saw then.
Amed Rosario is making defensive strides under the tutelage of Gary DiSarcina, who has focused on teaching Rosario how to put his body in the best position to make a play so Rosario can make the routine play. That is what a shortstop must do. Move Rosario up in the order, too. Give him a shot at leadoff. Keep Todd Frazier second — that’s a good spot for him. He needs to be in the middle of things. More at-bats for him work.
Keep playing Brandon Nimmo in left and bat him first or third. The Mets need to do a much better job scouting within their own organization. Over the winter they should have known Nimmo was ready. They could have saved that Jay Bruce money and used that on a real first baseman.
Bruce is here and they are stuck, but the good news is that Bruce has been hitting the ball hard over the last few weeks, hitting into terrible luck. Maybe that will change.
Ride out the Michael Conforto situation. Opposing pitchers are pounding him with high fastballs. He needs to make the adjustment, use the entire field. Sending him to the minors is not the answer.
As for Cespedes, work on his head as much as his legs, keep him far away from the weight room. Get the hip healed as much as possible and then he must figure out how to play through it. He’s 32, he’s never going to be 100 percent again. Live with it and get back in the lineup.
All the while, keep improving the team’s athleticism.