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Behind Enemy Lines: Meet the Mets!

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They’re coming off a sweep, and the Tigers are coming off being swept... a lot.

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers are limping their way out of a three-game sweep at home against the Miami Marlins, and are making their way to the Big Apple with the hopes of breaking their losing streak. The Mets, on the other hand, just swept a series against the Washington Nationals and aren’t terribly interested in slowing down any time soon.

Since the Tigers only see the Mets every few years, we thought we’d take a moment to chat with an expert on the team about what we can expect. We spoke to Chris McShane, the managing editor of the SB Nation Mets blog Amazin’ Avenue about his thoughts on Robinson Cano, Tim Tebow, and if there’s a rebuild looming in the Mets near future.

BYB: How do you think Mets fans (including yourself) feel about the Diaz/Cano trade now?

CM: As a group, Mets fans seem to be somewhat divided on this one so far. Whether you loved him or not, Robinson Cano has struggled thus far in his Mets career and wound up on the injured list the other day. Edwin Diaz, however, has been every bit as good as advertised. Yes, Jarred Kelenic has been putting up gaudy numbers in the minors since the trade, but I’m still a fan of this trade—and think Cano has plenty more left in the tank once he returns to the field.

Do you think it’s time for the Mets to focus on a proper rebuild, or do you think there’s enough talent, especially with starters like Syndergaard and deGrom to build a winning franchise around in the short term?

Signing deGrom to an extension was a significant way for the team to give itself a realistic path to contention if the Wilpons are willing to spend enough money—whether it’s on payroll, analytics, player development, or whatever else—to complement the core pieces they have. With Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto among the best hitters in baseball so far this year, Amed Rosario seeming to have turned a corner offensively, and deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler, a full-on rebuild would seem like a bit of a waste. The team’s farm system is depleted, but restocking it right now with a massive fire sale? No thanks.

So. Tim Tebow. Is he ever going to get called up to the major league level and is this year his year?

Yes. He might have to get his OPS over .500 in Triple-A first, but he has always seemed like an inevitable late-season call-up in a year that the Mets have fallen out of any sort of playoff race. Here’s hoping that’s not this year.

Who would you consider to be a below-the-radar player that people outside the Mets fandom might not know about or appreciate?

I don’t know whether he’ll be active for this series or not, but I’d actually say Conforto flies somewhat under the radar. He’s an outstanding hitter, but he’s seemingly avoided being the guy in the spotlight, not through any actions of his own. The other guys mentioned above are great hitters, but it would not be even a little bit surprising if Conforto were the best hitter on this team on a regular basis.

Which Tigers player do you think is going to be the biggest problem for the Mets.

Admittedly, I’m no expert on the Tigers’ roster, but looking at things on paper, Spencer Turnbull seems like the most intimidating Tiger they’ll see this weekend. I know the Tigers weren’t expected to contend but was surprised to see they have just three hitters hitting above a 100 wRC+ this year, and with the information available on the probable pitchers, Turnbull seems like the right answer here.

How do you think the Mets are doing this season compared to how they were predicted to do, and how well do you think they’re going to do for the rest of the year?

It’s been a wild season, especially over the past week, but this is pretty much exactly what I expected coming into the season. It would still not surprise me if they finish the year with 71, 81, or 91 wins. I’ll go the optimistic route right now, coming off the four-game sweep of the Nationals, and predict that they remain relevant in the National League East until at least the trade deadline. As far as Mets fan takes go, that is on the optimistic end.

This isn’t a question, just feel free to brag about Pete Alonso.

It sure is nice to have someone with an absurd amount of power on your favorite team. He’s not Miguel Cabrera in his prime as an all-around hitter, but when he hits a home run, you usually know it immediately after it leaves the bat. Some of the angles he’s hit home runs at this year are just mind boggling, and I would not want to be a fielder standing in the way of one of his lower line drives.

Thanks so much to Chris for taking the time to chat with us. You can read more of his work over at Amazin’ Avenue.