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Carroll’s Column: Drastic Changes for 2023 Mets

Three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer traded to Texas prior to MLB August 1 Trade Deadline - Image Credit: Simon Lisenblatt/Latino Sports

NEW YORK — Since MLB’s August 1 Trade Deadline last Tuesday, the New York Mets have lost six consecutive games — back-to-back three-game series sweeps in Kansas City and Baltimore, forced upon by the Royals and Orioles. 

The Mets drastically changed direction for 2023, and probably 2024, when they traded Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, David Robertson, and Dominick Leone for an array of minor league prospects. Any thought of competing for the postseason went out the window for this year and will necessitate big changes on the current roster for 2024, if the Mets are serious about playing next October.

Mets general manager Billy Eppler spoke with the press shortly after the August 1 Trade Deadline had passed. “It’s not a rebuild, or a fire sale. It’s a repurposing of assets,” Eppler said. While Eppler’s skills as a baseball general manager are debatable, there is no doubt he is great at semantics. Billy, it’s a rebuild.

Mets GM Billy Eppler and manager Buck Showalter – Image Credit: NY Post

In fairness to Eppler, the term “rebuild” generally means a baseball team will be bad for several seasons before they get enough good players through their minor league pipeline to be a World Series contender. Thanks to more teams qualifying for the playoffs, combined with Mets CEO Steve Cohen’s deep financial resources, the rebuilding process should be shorter than it was, for say, the Baltimore Orioles. 

Let’s keep in mind the reason Steve Cohen dismantled the 2023 Mets. Even though they had a mathematical shot at the playoffs, they are light years behind the perennial NL East kings, the Atlanta Braves. Cohen said last month the Mets’ farm system was threadbare. You cannot have sustained success without a productive minor league system. 

Steve Cohen meets with the media at Citi Field – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

It will take years for the Mets to become a legitimate threat to the Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins both have good farm clubs. They both have been ahead of the Mets in the standings for most of 2023.     

Thus, the decision to part with some of the best-known players on the Mets roster was not a difficult one for Cohen. He had seen enough this year. “Hope is not a strategy!” he told the media on Wednesday after flying to Kansas City.

The odds are Cohen did not know almost half of the Mets roster in KC. As Mets SNY television voice, and Flushing native, Gary Cohen candidly stated, “The Mets have many ‘quadruple-A’ players.” These are players who are better than most minor leaguers and have earned cups of coffee in the majors. The problem is they are not good enough to stay in the show. 

Brett Baty – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

While the Mets may have prudently planned for the future, the reality is they are currently an awful baseball team. Many Mets fans on social media have used the term “unwatchable.”  Steve Cohen should send bottles of champagne to the Mets clubhouse when, and if, they win their 63rd game. That would mean they can’t lose 100 games in 2023. 

Former Met reacts to 2023 Mets

Josh Satin was a light-hitting Mets infielder a decade ago. These days, he works in commercial and rental residential real estate development in the Los Angeles area. He still avidly follows the Mets. After seeing the Mets’ lineup on Wednesday night which included such journeymen as Rafael Ortega, Jonathan Arauz, and Danny Mednick, Satin quipped on social media, “This is a lineup I could have been of!”      

Answers for Anthony Rizzo’s struggles? 

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo was having a miserable season, and now there may be an explanation. Last week, he was placed on the 10-day injured list for a concussion which had been undiagnosed since a collision at Yankee Stadium in late May.

Anthony Rizzo attended by Yankees training staff following collision with Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. – Image Credit: Maz Adams/Latino Sports

Mets fans will remember how outfielder Ryan Church’s career went downhill fifteen years ago when the Mets medical staff mishandled his concussion. Hopefully, the Yankees medical staff will do a far better job with Rizzo. 

Domingo Germán put on Medical Leave – Out for rest of 2023 due to Alcohol Abuse

Just because someone is a successful professional athlete does not mean they enjoy carefree lives. Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán tossed a perfect game in late June, but last week he was placed on medical leave for the rest of the season because of alcohol abuse.

Domingo Germán – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

He had previously missed the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season because Major League Baseball suspended him 81 games for domestic violence issues. Germán needs to conquer his demons once and for all. 

ESPN dismisses Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson

Last month ESPN dismissed former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy from their NBA team as part of their well-publicized layoffs. Last week they let go of his partner, former St. John’s and Knicks star, Mark Jackson, who grew up in Cambria Heights.

Image Credit: ESPN

It will be interesting to see whether the YES Network invites him to return, or if MSG Network might be interested in him, given his Knicks/New York pedigree.

Pat St. John set to be inducted into Radio Hall of Fame on November 2nd

Congratulations to former WNEW-FM/WPLJ air personality Pat St. John who will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame on November 2. Pat has relocated to San Diego and currently holds down the weekday 3-7 PM shift on SiriusXM’s ‘60s Gold channel. He also hosts a terrific listener request show, “Feel Good Saturday Night,” which airs from 8 to 11PM. 

Check out PopGoldRadio, Internet Radio station ran by veteran DJ Don Tandler      

Fans of popular music from the 1950s through the 1980s should check out the Internet radio station, popgoldradio.com, run by veteran DJ Don Tandler, who hosts a Saturday 3PM countdown show reflecting the singles charts from that date in a past year.

Tom Natoli and Radio Hits 

Relieving Tandler on various Saturdays is Tom Natoli who hosts intriguing shows such as the top New York hits from past summers. He compiles charts which were used by the radio stations back then which played Top 40 music such as WABC, WWDJ, WXLO, and WPIX. Natoli also hosts a monthly show in which he asks listeners to list their favorite songs from a certain month and year which has nothing to do with sales or airplay when they were hits. It is a great concept.

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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