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Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. Like our video-game posts of last year, these are best done in theme. This time? We’re going with “Game of Thrones.” Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment, tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again.
Sorry, New York Mets, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.
Instead, the Mets mostly sat on the trainer’s table. Injury after injury after injury plunged a team with World Series talent and aspirations to the bottom of the National League. The talent is there, but keeping it healthy has proven increasingly difficult the past two seasons.
The injuries and the controversies will be what people remember most about the 2017 season. There was Mr. Met flipping off a fan. Matt Harvey not showing up for a game and the entire incident unfolding on the gossip pages. The sex-toy-in-the-clubhouse thing that happened on Twitter. The year was a disaster from front to back in Queens.
If there’s any hope for 2018, it’s that it can’t be this bad again … right?! That or Tim Tebow.
UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
Michael Conforto performed like an offensive centerpiece, crushing 27 home runs and 20 doubles before a shoulder injury ended his season. Assuming the recovery goes well, he should slide to the middle of New York’s order next season after being miscast as a leadoff man this season. Jacob deGrom bounced back from his injury-riddled 2016 season to put up respectable numbers. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year won eight consecutive starts during his most dominant stretch of the season. (Mark Townsend)
THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
The injuries kept coming for the Mets and helped sidetrack another season in which many of their key players were in their prime. The rotation was again hit the hardest. Noah Syndergaard made only five starts while Matt Harvey and Steven Matz have combined for 30 to this point. In fact, deGrom was the only Mets starter to enter September with 20 or more starts. Between the injuries and the mounting losses, it’s no wonder Mr. Met went a little crazy. (Mark Townsend)
THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
It wasn’t all bad this year for the Mets. Not in mid-April at least. For a moment that Mets fans will remember fondly, let’s go all the way back to April 11, just a week into the season, before all the drama would overtake the team.
Ah yes, that’s Yoenis Cespedes hitting three homers in five innings. Everybody loves that, right? (Mike Oz)
WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
Oh, Mets. How can you fix fate? Well, first off, you need a manager who’s willing to tell his players that they shouldn’t be pitching if they’re hurting. You need an owner that doesn’t meddle in player injury decisions. The biggest problem with the Mets this season has been injuries, and while many couldn’t be prevented, everything you hear about how the Mets handle injuries makes you think that some of them could have been. The Mets front office has to get it together and figure out how to competently handle player injuries without landing on the front page of the New York Post. It shouldn’t be too hard since 29 other teams manage to do it just fine. (Liz Roscher)
A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith made their long awaited debuts this season, and should both be full-time starters next season. Other than that, the rest of the club’s major impact prospects remain in the lower levels of the minors. It may take a while before they reach the big leagues. Contention really depends on the health of the club’s pitching staff, and that’s impossible to predict. Things look far less rosy than they did in 2015 when the team went to the World Series thanks to Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. All of them have dealt with significant injuries by now, and they aren’t the only ones. Getting them all right would make the Mets relevant again, but if that’s out of the question, the team could be in rough shape for a while. (Chris Cwik)
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