Mets can’t just wait around for 2023 turnaround

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Buck Showalter Mets
Mets manager Buck Showalter.
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Mets manager Buck Showalter still believes that the karmic baseball gods he so often hides his plans from will intervene.

Following a fifth consecutive loss and a second straight defeat to the division-leading Atlanta Braves in which they jumped out to early leads, the veteran skipper opined that “our guys will get what they’re putting into this eventually.”

The problem is that “eventually” feels like it’s not coming in 2023.

A team with World Series aspirations, with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball sat at two games under .500 with 100 games to go. In theory, that’s plenty of time to turn it around.

But their lineup is out of sorts. They’ve averaged just 2.7 runs per game over their last seven — just the latest swoon for a team who is getting next to nothing from important bats.

Francisco Lindor was batting .204 over 45 games. Jeff McNeil, the reigning batting champion, is batting .210 over his last 11 games. Daniel Vogelbach, who was tasked to be the primary designated hitter heading into this season, pulled another 0-for on Wednesday night and is now batting a paltry .140 over his last 25 games. With just two home runs this season, it’s well past time for Showalter to turn to Mark Vientos as the everyday DH.

Daniel Vogelbach Mets
Daniel Vogelbach (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The starting rotation has been remarkably inconsistent. The bullpen has been unreliable.

Far too many holes for a team of this financial stature and, ultimately, that will fall on the general manager.

Rather than find the Mets a bona fide bat in the offseason to plug in at DH and lengthen the lineup, Eppler opted to give Vogelbach another chance despite the clear showing of a lack of power. 

After superstar closer Edwin Diaz went down in the World Baseball Classic with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, they’ve been stuck with a hodgepodge of mediocrity in the bullpen in front of another inconsistent arm in Adam Ottavino and stand-in closer David Robertson, who has performed admirably in the role. 

Tommy Pham has provided little as one of the notable offensive acquisitions of the season. Starling Marte owns a .635 OPS. Seven of the Mets’ usual starting nine within their lineup are batting under .250. 

All the while, they’ve dropped to 7.5 games back of the Braves for the NL East lead entering Thursday night’s play. 

Sure, there are 100 games left, but the clock is ticking. It has been — on the Mets’ season and Eppler’s standing — and moves must start being made.

Billy Eppler Mets
New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler, right, speaks while pitcher Justin Verlander looks on during a baseball news conference at Citi Field, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, in New York. The team introduced Verlander after they agreed to a $86.7 million, two-year contract. It’s part of an offseason spending spree in which the Mets have committed $476.7 million on seven free agents. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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