Bill Madden: Phillies-Astros World Series exposes the issues within the Mets, Yankees


If nothing else, this Astros-Phillies World Series is serving as an eye-opener for the Yankees and Mets as to simply how a lot work they each must do to earn themselves a berth on baseball’s grand stage.

From April till the ultimate two weeks of the season, the Mets dominated the National League East and trailed solely the Dodgers for the perfect general mark within the NL. Then got here the three-game sweep by the Braves in Atlanta that dropped them out of first place on Oct. 1, adopted by their elimination from the postseason by the Padres within the wild card sequence. And with the Phillies knocking off each the Braves and Padres en path to the World Series, the case might be made the Mets are actually the third-best workforce in their very own division. At the identical time, the Yankees from April-July ran roughshod over the AL East, fashioning the perfect document in baseball earlier than encountering a hitting malaise in August that continued into the postseason and uncovered them as a decidedly inferior workforce to the Astros, who swept them within the ALCS.

So as they lick their wounds watching this World Series, the respective Yankee-Met excessive instructions should face the fact that they may very well be going backward in the event that they don’t repair a number of issues.

We begin with the Yankees who thought they’d sufficiently addressed the problems that plagued them in 2021 — shoddy protection, one-dimensional offense — solely to find they had been nonetheless there when Isiah Kiner-Falefa imploded within the postseason and their lineup was a galaxy of outs (particularly from Josh Donaldson) from the fifth gap on down. In the phrases of 1 veteran scout: “In reality the Yankees have only three hitters who really scare you — [Aaron] Judge, [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Anthony] Rizzo — and in the postseason Judge was largely marked absent.”

At the identical time, Bryce Harper was seemingly singlehandedly slugging the Phillies into the World Series with a mixed 5 homers and 11 RBI within the wild card sequence, NLDS and NLCS, and the media has renewed their bashing of the Yankees for passing on him as a free agent again in 2019. But what has been forgotten is that everyone handed on Harper, at the least on the numbers his agent, Scott Boras, was demanding, and the 13-year, $330 million supply from the Phillies was sitting on the market for weeks as Boras desperately tried to get the Yankees and Dodgers into the bidding. Clearly, Harper didn’t wish to go to the Phillies and I wrote on the time Phillies CEO John Middleton deserved to be the One Dumb Owner of the 12 months for bidding in opposition to himself with what even he admitted was “stupid money” for a participant who needed to play elsewhere.

At the final minute, the Dodgers glad Boras’ demand for the very best AAV (common annual worth) in historical past ($45 million) however it was just for 5 years. The cause the Yankees weren’t keen to go there was as a result of they’d already dedicated that cash to Stanton — and say what you’ll about Stanton and the variety of common season video games he’s missed, he’s at all times stepped up within the postseason (11 homers, 24 RBI in 27 video games). So a mea culpa is due right here to Mr. Middleton, who turned out to not be so dumb in spite of everything — though as one former Nationals exec just lately informed me: “Harper was a different guy with the Nationals, who beat to his own drum, wouldn’t take instruction from the coaches, and I think our guys were actually relieved when he turned down our offer. He’s really matured. He’s got a wife and kids now and become a real leader.”

As for the Yankees now, aside from deciding on Oswald Peraza because the on a regular basis shortstop and exploring commerce choices for Aaron Hicks, nothing can actually be carried out about enhancing this workforce till Judge’s contract is resolved. Contrary to varied media stories which have the Giants stockpiling a document sum of money to pursue him, or the Dodgers, who have to re-sign Trea Turner or a shortstop comparable, leaping in, it’s laborious to think about any workforce out-bidding the Yankees for Judge. After all, Judge might be 31 subsequent 12 months and Harper was 26 when he signed his take care of the Phillies.

On the opposite hand, whereas the Phillies and Braves are just about set, save for including some pitching items, the Mets are a serious rebuild of their pitching workers and difficult selections to be made with Jacob deGrom, Edwin Diaz, Chris Bassitt (difficult by his season-ending pratfalls in opposition to the Braves and Padres), Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, Seth Lugo, Trevor May — plus Brandon Nimmo — all free brokers. They will spend what it takes to retain Diaz, who has come to thrive in New York, however the others are problematic. Ordinarily, Nimmo can be a prime precedence however his agent is Boras and there’s concern about 2022 being the primary season he didn’t miss main time with accidents. In deGrom’s case, they don’t but know if he actually desires to remain in New York. At 34 together with his historical past of accidents, they are going to supply him a three-year take care of a probable $40-plus million AAV, but when a One Dumb Owner emerges to supply him 4 years, they may have to say no.

After all, wealthy as Steve Cohen could also be, there’s simply a lot cash to go round, and even when the Mets had been in some way capable of re-sign Diaz, Nimmo, deGrom and one of many different beginning pitchers, there nonetheless stays the necessity for an enormous bat in the course of the order to maintain tempo with the lineups of the Braves and Phillies.


The financially compromised Marlins in his rearview mirror, Don Mattingly is again dwelling in Evansville, Ind., spending his days taking part in yard baseball together with his seven-year-old son, placing collectively the ultimate particulars for his Mattingly Charities nation music live performance on Dec. 1 on the native Victory Theater, and dealing on a documentary on hitting. He doesn’t know if he’ll be again in baseball in some capability subsequent 12 months however he’s undoubtedly not carried out with baseball and, at 61, would nonetheless like yet another crack at managing. “It will have to be the right situation, but, yeah, I’d still want to manage,” Mattingly stated by telephone final week. He didn’t say it, however after seven seasons of managing the Marlins, he’d come to appreciate he was by no means going to have the ability to win there, not within the NL East the place the Marlins payroll was at all times going to be some $150 million lower than the Mets, Phillies and Braves. While he’s biding his time, Mattingly is placing collectively a documentary on hitting — as a result of he thinks it’s essential. “It concerns me that hitting in today’s game has gone backward at the same time the pitching is getting better. We have to get back to putting the ball in play.”…

We had been glad to see Adam Wainwright, one of many recreation’s nice opponents, determine to return again for yet another season with the Cardinals. After main the NL twice in each wins and innings and ending second twice and third twice within the Cy Young voting from 2007-2014, Wainwright, 41, has put collectively a second profession after lacking most of 2015 with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Wainwright is 195-117 with a 3.38 ERA lifetime, however as he stated final week there’s “unfinished business” — particularly reaching 210 wins which might put him second all-time on the Cardinals behind Bob Gibson.



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