It’s hard to believe now, but back when the season began on April 3rd the New York Mets were considered to be legitimate World Series contenders. The Mets were healthy, adding several key components to a roster that won 87 games and a wild card berth in 2016, so people reasonably expected the added health would help lead to another 90 win season and a chance to get back to the World Series. The Vegas oddsmakers bought in as well, assigning the Mets an over/under number of 90.5 wins, the same number they assigned to the reigning National League East champion Washington Nationals. Now that the Mets have hit the All Star Break eight games under .500, that team has gone from being a title contender to an irrelevant pretender.
A lot of things have gone wrong for the Mets this year. Injuries have certainly been a factor, as the Mets have seen essentially everyone from the Opening Day lineup (minus Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Jose Reyes) spend time on the disabled list. The starting pitchers have also been bit by the injury bug, with six of the Mets’ seven projected starters all spending significant time on the shelf. Even when the Mets were healthy, however, the team has failed to live up to expectations and under performed. The Mets were given a gift by starting their season with 30 straight games against NL East foes, only six of which were against the Nationals, which should have set them up for a fast start. That didn’t work out as the Mets somehow went 14-16 against that weak slate, a warning sign of what was coming for the rest of the half.
The rest of the half saw the Mets play in fits and starts, putting together stretches of five wins in seven games, only to fall apart with a lengthy losing streak. The most telling statistic of the half for the Mets was their poor play against winning teams. The Mets faced four teams in playoff position during the first half: the Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Their record in 26 games against those four teams is 5-21. That record alone shows the simple fact that the Mets aren’t a very good team.
Even though the Mets still have a mathematical chance at a wild card with six games against the Colorado Rockies in the next few weeks, their season is essentially over. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the Mets, who look to be a complete non-entity by the start of NFL training camps for the first time in three years, but if they play their cards right this could simply be one down year. The Mets should take the opportunity to sell off veterans on expiring contracts, like Addison Reed and Jay Bruce, to help restock a farm system that has taken a ton of hits over the past few years due to trades and big league promotions. The second half should also allow the Mets to bring up some intriguing young players, like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, to help determine what roles they may be able to handle next season. The sooner the Mets wave the white flag and start transitioning to get ready for next season the better off they will be.