Baseball has generally developed younger.
Since the testing for steroids began in 2003 and amphetamines were banned three years later, the productivity and durability of players over the age of 30 has declined sharply. The economic model has adjusted accordingly. Off-season executives were reluctant to spend much money on free agents, who were typically 30 years old, and favored younger (ie, cheaper) players.
Except for the Mets.
Lacking resources to cram holes trades, the Mets spent $ 88.5 million in the postseason on six players 30 or older: first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, 35; third baseman Todd Frazier, 32; the right fielder Jay Bruce, who turns 31 on Tuesday; Relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, 32; Start pitcher Jason Vargas, 35; and Reyes
"It was about availability and a bit opportunistic," said General Manager Sandy Alderson.
Except for one of the contracts that the older players signed were one or two years and at manageable prices, Alderson said.
"It's a different game," said Frazier, who signed a $ 17 million two-year contract at a lower price than anyone expected until the week before spring training. "Teams want the younger ones, but we still have them, I know we do."
The players joined a cast that included the relief pitchers Jerry Blevins (34) and A. J. Ramos (31). the often injured team captain, David Wright, 35; Field player Asdrubal Cabrera, 32; and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, 32.
"There is always room for the mix of ages," said Bruce. "It's important to have experience, but the bottom line is that it's important to have good players, and if good players are 30 to 35 years old and show that they can stay on the pitch, I do not think that age important. "
The Mets have some teens, mostly on their pitching staff, with standouts like Noah Syndergaard, 25; Steven Matz, 26; and Jeurys Familia, 28. Unfortunately, they were often injured. Other younger players are the shortstop Amed Rosario (22) and the catcher Kevin Plawecki (27).
The Mets will rely on youngsters like Brandon Nimmo (25) and Juan Lagares (29) to share the midfield until young Michael Conforto, 25, returns from shoulder surgery.
Nevertheless, the older players will fill important gaps, which is fine for them.
Several argued that experience could help them overcome break-ins, the nerves of a potential playoff breed, and the aging deficiencies. Their lack of speed is a weakness, so the manager, Mickey Callaway, emphasized sound-base running in spring training. The Mets, who had one of the worst defenses in the majors last season, will take into account the data and player experience to better position them in the field.
"You get more on your cunning than muscle, raw power and speed," said team coach Gary DiSarcina.
Older players' bodies have more miles on them and tend to get injured more frequently. Poor performance and injury to players of all ages has brought the 2017 Mets season to a standstill. Some ailments are unavoidable, but Callaway and the new medical staff vowed to be vigilant about preventive measures, such as regular days off.
As he grows older, Frazier has reduced his weight and limited himself to the Italian food he loves. Cespedes took yoga this winter, hoping to keep his legs healthier.
When he was younger, Gonzalez rolled out of bed ready to play. Now the audition routine for his back is two hours. After averaging 159 games in a single season for more than a decade, Gonzalez played only 71 last year due to three bulging hard drives and scored a worst .642 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with his last team, the Los Angeles Dodgers , 19659025] "I can still adjust my momentum so that somebody throws something heavier or softens someone," he said. "That's something the experience will give you that will not be otherwise, I probably can not hit a 450-foot homer to the opposite field as before, but I can still make a home run."
Bruce, a consistent one Power-Hitter, sounded hopeful when he said future innovations in training or strategy could help players in their 30's to stay productive and slow down the aging process.
"You'll see a lot of people who can play longer, because they take better care of their bodies, because there's more information out there," he said. "The & # 39; youthfulness & # 39; will be relative. "
Continue reading the main story