r1191350 1296x729 16 9 - Replay Madness

The New York Mets might be seven games under .500, but general manager Billy Eppler is not rushing to make any big moves ahead of the deadline.

“We’ve got a decent amount of runway before the [Aug. 1] deadline,” Eppler said before Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, a 7-2 win that snapped a two-game losing skid. “We hope that we can change the story. If we can, then we can add. If it doesn’t, then we’ll just have to create other opportunities and see what else exists out there.”

Mets owner Steven Cohen, meanwhile, tweeted Tuesday that he will hold a news conference before Wednesday night’s game.

“I will be doing a press conference tomorrow before the game,” he wrote. “You will get it from me straight.”

The disappointments are starting to pile up with the team’s underperformance. The future Hall of Famers at the top of the Mets rotation — Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander — have been mediocre this season while making a combined $86 million. There’s the underperformance of star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is hitting .223. First baseman Pete Alonso has struggled in June hitting .157/.232/.431 since returning from a bone bruise and sprain in his left wrist.

As it stands, the Mets are 16½ games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and 8 games out in the wild-card race. The 2022 iteration of the Mets, which featured largely the same roster minus Verlander and some bench additions, won 101 games while finishing second in the division behind the Braves, notching a top-six offense, a top-five starting rotation and a top-10 bullpen. The 2023 Mets have taken a step back in every aspect of the game, managing the 16th-best offense, the fifth-worst starting rotation and eighth-worst bullpen.

The roster has dealt with injuries to key players. Closer Edwin Diaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating during the World Baseball Classic and Verlander missed the first month of the season with a low-grade teres major strain. Other expected contributors, like starters Carlos Carrasco and Jose Quintana, have also missed time.

But the Mets have seen declines in performance across the lineup, with Jeff McNeil, the reigning batting champion, hitting .257 and Starling Marte and Mark Canha also taking a step back offensively. Eppler took responsibility for the roster, but said the team needed to be better.

“I constructed the roster,” Eppler said. “We put this team together, a large part of it we put together last year. … But ultimately this is the club we have right now, and I think we expect them to be able to do more.”

The Mets have had initial conversations with teams about the trade deadline, but nothing specific. In regard to trading prospects, Eppler said the Mets will approach similarly to last year’s deadline, when they felt cautious about dealing away their organizational depth.

Eppler expressed his support for manager Buck Showalter, who has been the target of heavy criticism from Mets fans.

“Buck’s had a good amount of adversity heaped his way,” Eppler said. “I think Buck’s handled that adversity and he’s the guy to get us back on track.”

Showalter, meanwhile, struck an optimistic tone on Tuesday and said he feels supported by Cohen.

“He’s been great, very supportive – I couldn’t ask for a better owner,” Showalter said before the Mets’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers. “He gets involved, obviously, in whatever he wants to. It’s his team. I know how much the Mets mean to him.”

Despite the standing of the team, Eppler says he believes this team can still make the playoffs, citing the experience and track record of the roster, which is the oldest in baseball.

“I believe in the talent of this team,” Eppler said. “I believe they can play at that win percentage.”

Showalter agreed.

“I know what our job description is – to be one of the teams that gets a chance to roll the dice in October,” Showalter said. “And that’s still a possibility. So that’s what we’re going after.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Mets GM Billy Eppler not panicking, backs skipper Buck Showalter