You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Mets
What’s the point of trying to play at this point? — @jfc19622000
From the players’ perspective, there is the obvious incentive of getting paid a fraction of their salaries as compared to the $300,000 veteran maximum if the season is scrapped entirely. Players also have concerns about how a missed calendar year would affect their skills. It’s one thing to work out independently and quite another to participate on a daily basis in the heat of competition. The older players, especially, would have to worry about regaining their mojo from a year without baseball. (For somebody like Yoenis Cespedes, who will be trying to get a contract, the layoff would be close to three years since last playing).
Even if you buy the owners’ assertion they will lose money by playing a shortened season without fans, in the big picture do they really want to go 17 months without their product on display? That would be the length between the end of the last World Series and the first pitch of the 2021 season. The diehard fans will return regardless, but you risk losing a sizeable portion of your audience that could deem baseball “non-essential.”
Beyond the players and owners, there are thousands of people whose livelihoods are connected to the game who could have the terms of their employment affected by a canceled season.
Will the Mets re-sign Marcus Stroman? — @sweepsking61
Stroman should be general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s top priority, especially given the fact Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are the only healthy starting pitchers under contract or team control for next year. That said, the issue is complicated by the possible sale of the team, which might occur before or after the offseason. As we touched upon last week, the Mets could be facing a severe payroll crunch if the Wilpons and Saul Katz don’t complete a team sale before spring training. Stroman’s return would help validate Van Wagenen’s trade last July that sent pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson to the Blue Jays for the veteran right-hander.
How well-equipped is Citi Field to host spring training Part Deux? — @MetsDaddy 2013
It’s not ideal, but the Mets would have the option of staggering their workouts between morning and afternoon, and could explore using MCU Park in Brooklyn. The biggest concern, as always in a preseason camp, is building up the pitchers. There are two mounds in each bullpen at Citi Field and one on the main field. Team officials would have to decide if that is enough or whether additional bullpen mounds could be accommodated.
For the third straight year the Mets finished bottom five in the league in Defensive Runs Saved and bottom 10 in Ultimate Zone Rating per Fangraphs. How should the Mets fix this? — @AlbanyFrom
Any improvement will have to come incrementally. For instance, Robinson Cano can become the Mets’ permanent DH after this season (or maybe even in 2020 if Cespedes isn’t cleared to resume), allowing the team to shift Jeff McNeil to second and search for an upgrade at third, essentially strengthening two positions defensively. Does Andres Gimenez or Ronny Mauricio become the starting shortstop in 2021 or ’22, displacing Amed Rosario, for a potential defensive boost? Wilson Ramos is signed only through this season, but finding a defensive catcher who can bring anything offensively is like trying to unearth buried treasure. The Mets went for a defensive stud in center field in the first round of the draft, selecting Pete Crow-Armstrong, but we probably won’t see him for five years. Pete Alonso has set a Gold Glove as his next goal, so maybe there is still hope for defensive improvement at first base. If not, the Mets will gladly take the tradeoff of a player with the potential to hit 40-plus homers for the next several seasons.
How do we get our money back for the game we have already paid for, the night Jerry Koosman’s number was to be retired? — Ronald J. Bergeron
It’s disappointing the Mets, like many teams, haven’t treated their customers better. At this point, without certainty fans will be allowed in ballparks should the season occur, every ticket for 2020 should have been refunded by now. This is just another example of why it’s difficult to sympathize with the owners in their battle to reach a financial agreement with the players. Calling the Mets’ ticket office probably won’t get you anywhere, so we’ll send a message right here: Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz, give the fans their refunds.