David Stearns confident Mets can fix recent struggles: 'We have players with track records'

Before their series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies and the culmination of a seven-game stretch against the Phillies and fellow division-rival Atlanta Braves where they’ve gone 1-5 so far, Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns spoke with reporters to chime in on what he’s seen out of the team’s recent struggles.

Here are the takeaways...

Evaluation of the team through 42 games

"I think we’ve had periods where we’ve been really good and we’ve had periods where we haven’t played well enough and that leads to the record we have which is probably pretty indicative of how we’ve played over this first quarter of the season," Stearns said. "I think we’re a good team. I think we have a talented group that has a run in it and we probably haven’t played our best baseball yet."

When pressed on why he believes the team has a run in it, Stearns said, "We have players with track records who have performed over the course of their careers. We’re gonna get a little healthier here as we go through the next month which I think helps. We’ve played a pretty tough schedule as well which is part of our story so far this year and look, we’ve got to play a little bit better. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter what I think or what anyone thinks – what matters is how we ultimately play."

What is/will be New York's trade deadline strategy?

"We’re not anywhere close to having discussions like that. We’re in mid-May, we’re focused every single day on trying to win baseball games. From a trade deadline strategy discussion, that’s something that we’ve got months to figure out and is not anywhere close to my thought process at this point."

On Wednesday night (while the Mets were losing to the Phillies, once again) owner Steve Cohen caused some inadvertent controversy on X (formerly Twitter) with a response to a post regarding blowing up the team, saying in a since-deleted post, "All in the future, not much we can do until trade deadline."

He cleared things up on Thursday morning with SNY's Andy Martino saying, "It's way too early to speculate on anything" and that he "expects to make the playoffs" while also adding that the response was meant to be sent as a direct message, not a public post.

On Kodai Senga's potential return and pitching staff getting healthier

"I think he is," Stearns said about Senga getting closer. "I think we had a good bullpen where he felt like he was making some strides. so yes, I don’t know exactly when we’ll get him out on a rehab assignment – clearly that’s the next big step here –  but I think we all feel better about it maybe here than we would’ve five or six days ago."

With pitchers like Tylor Megill (who will pitch on Monday) and David Peterson slated to come back in the near future, Stearns also spoke about the staff getting healthier as a whole.

"The good news is we’re getting healthier and that is gonna help us a lot. I think getting Tylor back, then Peterson and then ultimately Senga really lengthens out our rotation and it gives us some choices in how we structure our rotation, including a six-man.

"I think Christian Scott has come up and really helped us out two times through the rotation and we would expect him to continue to be able to do so. So, as we look at our rotation going forward, I’m very pleased that we’re gonna get healthier and have some choices there."

What has he seen from top prospects down on the farm?

"I think he’s playing really solid defense at three positions," Stearns said about Luisangel Acuna. "I mean we’ve got him playing at all three up-the-middle positions. He’s done a really nice job, especially [with] his past limited exposure to center field now getting out there a little bit more, he’s done a very nice job out there which is great to see. That gives you the sort of Swiss army knife capability on a roster.

"And his at-bats are getting better. This is a player who is going to continue to learn, going to continue to evolve as he gets more experience, learn how to control the strike zone a little bit better and we are seeing signs of that."

Other top prospects, Drew Gilbert and Jett Williams, are injured right now and the team still doesn't have a timetable on when they will return, although Stearns mentioned that Gilbert is probably ahead of Williams.

On Mark Vientos

"He’s here because we think he can help us. He’s gonna get some chances to play, particularly against left-handed pitchers and we see a bunch of them coming up so it made sense for him to be here right now and to Mark’s credit, whenever we’ve called upon him this year he’s come up with a tremendous attitude and performed."