The 2016 season is now in the “books” as we like to say in Mets-land. The boys failed to win the Wild Card game last night vs. San Francisco. But with the multitude of injuries this year it is hard to not feel like on some level the season was a success, just by virtue of playing in this playoff game last night. In fact, since the last time I wrote in this space, so much has transpired it’s strange to think where we were just sixteen months ago.
Winning the 2015 NL East, the NL Pennant, and playing in the World Series; were all wonderful things. The most wonderful things to happen to this franchise in fifteen years. We did it with the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, the Dark Knight of Gotham, the newly minted Thor, and of course Big Sexy Bartolo Colon. Even David Wright came back in September to bring the positive energy his presence usually produces. In the end, we fell just short of the ring, but something new had begin to appear in Queens that we have not seen in a long time. Something that typically shows up after seasons like this, as a precursor to next season. That something was hope.
2016 was a different animal though. Beginning of the year we had the whole staff. Harvey, deGrom, Noah, Matz and Colon filling in until Wheeler’s impending arrival. On the other side David Wright, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson were all healthy. We had youngsters like Michael Conforto and Dilson Hererra poised to start. And finally in the biggest of encouraging signs, Yoenis Cespedes was miraculously re-signed by the team. So as you can see there was every reason for hope. The 2016 Mets would pick up where the previous year’s squad left off. As with all runners-up, the words unfinished business appeared everywhere throughout spring training.
However, unlike 2015, its successor saw injuries like we have rarely seen. First, Wright, then Harvey, then deGrom and, Matz. Then Wheeler never recovered from his surgery, he was initially expected by mid-summer. After that, the backups brought in to replace these Mets, themselves started to go down. Neil Walker, Wimer Flores, Kelly Johnson, and so on and so forth.
Now coming of of last year’s trade deadline moves, the Mets were looking to make effective and productive acquisitions. On June 25th Jose Reyes was acquired and brought back to his beloved home squad. The next month the Mets dealt for NL RBI leader Jay Bruce, and veteran reliever Fernando Salas.
Then after these moves, the Amazin’ happened… Again.
After bottoming out at 60-62, the Mets finished 27-13 to come from 5 games out, to winning the top NL Wild Card spot. The guys played with fire, they played with pride and they played like they wanted to win. For all the continuous blunders Terry Collins commits, you have to admit the boys play hard for him. That is really all you can ask for from any manager really.
So with another year of meaningful September baseball, and consecutive playoff appearances now in the books, it would appear these Mets are poised to return for another great season next year. The rotation’s best arms should be back, the Captain should be back and of course, hope.