November Surprise


I really wasn’t planning on awaking from my self-induced coma until at least February when pitchers and catchers report. That’s when the craziness around the Amazin’s usually begins.

But something unusual happened last week: the Mets became relevant in November. Who could have imagined?

First, Jacob deGrom wins the NL Rookie of the Year award. Not too surprising, but still big news around Flushing as he was the first Met to earn that honor since Doc Gooden in 1984. We all hope deGrom follows up with a sophomore campaign like Gooden had – and enjoys less drama in his hopefully long career than did Gooden.

Then the hot stove really heated up. First, the Mets sign Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal. Not bad, right? You address one of the much needed upgrades at corner outfield (right or left, who knows, and who cares) with the 2013 NL batting champion. Not so fast. The guy will be 36 in March and is coming off an injury plagued season. And he is moving from high altitude to the shores of Flushing Bay. I don’t care how much they’re moving in the fences in Queens. They did that a few years ago and so what?   The ball flies out in Denver because of the thin air. The summer air in Queens is as thick as Bolognese sauce. I suspect the Mets signed Cuddyer in part because he’s David Wright’s old buddy from Virginia. Fine. They can keep each other company on the DL next season.

Then there were the headlines about Jon Niese dropping the F-bomb on Terry Collins during a late season game. Terry should have clocked him, but that’s neither here nor there. How the heck did this leak out? Now Niese’s trade value will sink even lower than it was after another season where his health and consistency on the mound were again compromised. Maybe Sandy Alderson can package him, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon for a big bat like Giancarlo Stanton. Oh, I forgot! Stanton just finished second in the NL MVP balloting and is on the verge of signing a record  $300 million contract. Which means the Mets, were Stanton available, would have to throw in at least one other player to pry Stanton away from the Marlins. Like Babe Ruth or Willie Mays.

And to top things off, Collins was quoted the other day in the NY Daily News as saying that the Mets “should” be playing in October next season. Naturally, that made headlines (on a particularly slow news day). Not that he was going too far out on a limb with that one – “should” is one of the all-time great cover-your-ass words. But you’d think after Sandy Alderson’s 90-win prediction (or was it an “expectation?”) that “inadvertently” got hijacked by the media before last season, the Mets would impose a “no-predictions” policy across the organization.   Of course, if you’re Terry Collins — and there’s  a decent chance you’ll get fired if you don’t make the playoffs next year, which is kind of unfair when you consider there’s a decent chance they won’t make the playoffs next season despite all the tongues wagging about the Mets’ future Hall of Fame pitching staff led by a guy who is coming off Tommy John surgery – you better start believing that you’ll be skippering a playoff team next year.

I can’t wait until December.

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