Pro athletes have big egos. That’s part of how they got to where they are. When you’re an athlete, you need to believe you’re better than you are. It’s what keeps your competitive juices flowing. So when it comes to team sports, everyone wants to play. But in baseball, you have 25 men wanting 9 spots. So it is humbling, and in some cases humiliating, when you’re in a role you think you’re better than. But if you’re able to put the team first and let the pieces fall as they may, it will create great chemistry and better results. For those of you that never played sports, you will never get it, that it is more than just numbers.
First example: Asdrubal Cabrera – Last year he was a real bitch when it came to changing positions. He even went as far as to demand a trade or his option get picked up. However, after cooler heads prevailed, he finished the season strong, and eventually got his option. He has accepted his move to 2B and has come out the gates on fire. If he can stay healthy, he’s a very solid player, and a bargain at his $8 million price.
Example 2: Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo – When you’re a pitcher and you want to get paid, you’re either trying to be a starter or a closer. Middle relievers are a dime a dozen in this league. So Gsellman and Lugo, who both were starters, probably had to swallow some pride when it came to coming out of the bullpen, especially when the team signed Jason Vargas instead of putting faith in the,. However, both guys have been filthy so far this year, and have really solidified a bullpen that could have been a weakness for this team. Some players are better off in the pen. You can let it fly because you’re not conserving yourself. Both guys are throwing gas. And because of this, the depth in the bullpen is now a strength.
Example 3: Zack Wheeler – I’ve never been shy about my feelings about Wheeler, so I won’t rehash them. But my dislike for him doesn’t mean I’m rooting against him. It was obviously a kick to the dick to be sent to the minors. But he didn’t earn a guaranteed rotation spot. He went there, made some sort of adjustment, and it paid off last night. It was only the Marlins, yes. But he had very good command and his stuff was as good as it ever was, so hopefully its a glimmer of hope.
Example 4: Hansel Robles – Like Wheeler, I have stated my disdain for him in the past. And like Wheeler, he got sent down before the year. He didn’t go kicking and screaming though. It didn’t last long. And he seems to have figured something out in the short time that has translated to success. I still don’t trust him. But compared to what we are used to from him. I’ll take it.
Example 5: Adrian Gonzalez – For years, he showed up to the stadium knowing he was going to be penciled into the lineup. However, now at 35 and having suffered a back injury, he has settled into the first base platoon role smoothly. Another dividend paid to the Mets. He’s got a lot to prove still I think. Can he do it over 6 months? Maybe he saw the writing on the wall and knows he is better off getting more rest than he’s used to.
Think about it, the Mets are 10-1 and they’ve gotten shit out of Syndergaard, Cespedes, the catchers and Frazier (at least on the field Seems like hes great in the clubhouse). deGrom has been fairly pedestrian as well. So really, the sacrifices these other guys have mentally made have made them better players for their team. And that has been able to make up for the lack of production from the guys you’re expecting to rely on. Once those guys get going, then we won’t even know what the ceiling on this team is.