Maybe it is a function of being a 12th round draft pick and coming from a school, Cal State Long Beach, which is not exactly a baseball hotbed. Perhaps, this is the result of being a player who has dealt with his share of injuries. Certainly, 26 year old rookies usually have a little extra to prove. It’s always possible this was instilled in him as a child, and he continues to play the game this way.
No matter what the explanation, Jeff McNeil never takes a play off, and he does all the things he can do to beat you.
At the plate, McNeil makes contact with nearly everything. He doesn’t get fooled making contact on nearly 90 percent of the pitches he swings at, and he has only struck out 10.6 percent of the time, which is the sixth lowest rate in the majors. He has improved his walk rates, and he is hitting the ball harder than he did last year.
In the field, he has not just been versatile, but he’s been good wherever he’s been put. So far this year, he has a positive DRS at second, third, and left field. This is partially due to his having good speed. It’s also the result of his hard work and dedication to getting better.
If you break it down, McNeil has been Ichiro Suzuki like at the plate, and he has been a better version of Ben Zobrist in the field. Given his hard nose mentality, his moving around the field, and his ability, it would not be a stretch to say McNeil is reminiscent of Pete Rose, you know, without the gambling and being a complete jerk.
With McNeil, it’s not just how he comes to beat you at the plate or in the field. He does the little things well too which mostly go under the radar. We saw that last night on Amed Rosario‘s game winning RBI single:
And they say Jeff McNeil isn't known for his defense. pic.twitter.com/ZvOMCSgTqs
— Roger Cormier (@yayroger) May 22, 2019
There’s a couple of things to remember here. First, McNeil didn’t have to move an inch on the play. With their being two outs, and Adeiny Hechavarria being on third base, his lone job was not to do something stupid and make an out. Taking that into account re-watch McNeil on that play.
The entire time he is facing Trea Turner. His eyes are fixed on Turner’s eyes, and he is shifting down the line. At the last moment he slides into Turner’s throwing path. Turner’s throw was a little high, and Rosario, who as David Sadler of MLB.com points out, was running at a speed equivalent to Billy Hamilton or Byron Buxton. Rosario deserves all the credit in the world, and if not for his hustle, there’s zero chance he’s safe.
That said, you can’t help but wonder what impact McNeil had on the play. Rosario beat out that throw by a hair, which means event he slightest hesitation by Turner could have led to his being safe. You could argue McNeil’s dancing around created that split second.
And maybe it didn’t. It doesn’t change the fact McNeil didn’t take that play off. Just like he does at the plate and in the field, he found a way to try to impact the game and give his team the best chance to win. In that moment, we saw just what a special player he is and just how lucky the Mets are to have him.
In tonight’s game, you got to see reasons why the Mets should and should not fire Mickey Callaway.
Over his first six innings, he allowed just two hits with one of those being a second inning Juan Soto solo homer. Entering the seventh, the score was tied 1-1 partially thanks to a Jeff McNeil fifth inning RBI single. With Wheeler at 99 pitches, you expected Callaway to pull Wheeler.
However, with Wheeler dominating and the Mets in a stretch of 14 straight games without an off day, Callaway pushed him. When Wheeler struck out Soto, you got a sense it was the right move. It probably still was even with Gerardo Parra hitting a single and Brian Dozier getting his first hit off a Mets pitcher this year. Unfortunately, that was a two run home run giving the Nationals a 3-1 lead.
While you may question sending Wheeler out for the top of the seventh, you have to give Callaway credit for utilizing his bench to take the lead in the bottom of the inning.
Wilson Ramos led off the inning with a single off Wander Suero, who was in his second inning of work. After Carlos Gomez struck out, Callaway sent up a pair of pinch hitters for Juan Lagares and Wheeler.
Dominic Smith walked putting the tying run on base. Then, J.D. Davis came up for Wheeler. Apparently, the Nationals are the only team who doesn’t have a scouting report on him because with two strikes against him, Suero didn’t throw a fastball to him. Nope, he hung a curveball, and Davis hit it off the top of the right field wall and out for a go-ahead three run homer:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 22, 2019
The Mets had a lead with an opportunity to win their first game when trailing in the seventh. For some reason, Callaway went to Jeurys Familia despite his pitching 1.1 innings yesterday and struggling in that second inning, and that’s nothing to say of his coming off the IL recently.
Familia didn’t have it. Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff single, and he scored on a Trea Turner RBI double. Kendrick was able to score there partially because Davis, who is not a left fielder, couldn’t handle a ball hit to the corner.
Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get Soto and Parra out. Soto jumped all over the first pitch hitting a go-ahead RBI double. After Zamora retired Parra, Tyler Bashlor came in and got Victor Robles out. Certainly, with how good Bashlor has been of late and with Familia going more than an inning yesterday, Callaway looked bad when Bashlor got that huge out.
We’d soon forget that as Callaway’s team played hard for him. That started with Pete Alonso, a player vocal in his support of Callaway, hit a mammoth homer in the eighth, tying the game:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 22, 2019
Seriously, no one could quite tell if that was fair or foul. What we do know was that was Tommie Agee-esque, and it’s a new Mets rookie record for most first half homers.
With that homer and Edwin Diaz pitching a scoreless ninth, the Mets had a chance at a walk-off win.
Kyle Barraclough came in and got deep into McNeil’s kitchen. McNeil hit a bloop toward second. Dozier got cut waiting on it. This led to getting Davis out at second easily, but Hechavarria and McNeil were easily safe. This put the game in Amed Rosario‘s hands . . . and feet.
METS WIN!!! pic.twitter.com/CQFdgKwmQM
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 22, 2019
Rosario hit a high chopper to short. Turner had to back up on it, and just as he was about to throw, McNeil jumped in his line. Maybe it made a difference, and maybe it didn’t. Whatever the case, the throw was a tad high, and with Rosario absolutely busting it down the line, he was safe by a half step, and the Mets won the game 6-5.
A week ago, the Mets lose this game. However, a team playing for a manager they apparently seem to like and respect, they pulled this one out. Even with a couple of questionable moves, maybe Callaway is the right guy for the job. He was at least for tonight.
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo was a late scratch from the lineup with a neck injury.
Last year, Yoenis Cespedes was activated after spending over two months on the Disabled List seemingly for the sole purpose of serving as a DH in a post All-Star Game series against the Yankees. A still clearly hobbled Cespedes came up in the top of the fourth and hit a home run.
In that game and in that moment, the well under .500 Mets had the most juice they had since, well, Cespedes landed on the Disabled List. At that time, the Mets were still over .500 and a viable contender in the division. In his time with the Mets, that is the way it has gone with Cespedes.
We first saw it in 2015. After the Mets acquired him at the trade deadline, Cespedes played the best baseball he ever played in his life. While many pinpoint the Cespedes acquisition as the point in which the Mets become contenders, Cespedes was more than that. Cespedes was the player who made the Mets interesting.
Cespedes hit prolific home runs, and when he hit them, he would occasionally have equally prolific bat flips. On the bases and in the field, when he turned on the jets, there were few quicker than him. When there was a chance to nail a base runner looking to get that extra base, Cespedes would unleash a laser. With the Mets, he was every bit the five tool player teams covet.
But, he was more than that. Cespedes was the player you had to watch. When he was up at the plate, you needed to see what he would. When the ball was hit to him, you needed to see if the base runner dared challenge him. When Cespedes was on the field, he not only made the Mets better, he made them more interesting.
He made them interesting with the antics. He had his car collection. There was his sending out clubhouse attendants to purchase the right waffle irons. He owned a ranch and used his money to purchase animals at state fairs. He loved playing golf and talked about how it helped his baseball swing.
With all due respect to the current Mets players, they don’t rise to the level of Cespedes in terms of attracting attention and intrigue. Jacob deGrom‘s starts came close last year. Noah Syndergaard does try by doing different things like his battles with Mr. Met and actually having ridden a horse next to Cespedes, but it’s just not the same. Pete Alonso does hit the tape measure shots, but he does not have the same flair Cespedes had.
Ultimately, when Cespedes underwent double heel surgery and now broke his ankle the Mets lost something. No, not the ability to sell him as a trade deadline “acquisition.” Rather, they lost just being that much more interesting and entertaining. If he was healthy, they did lose the chance to be better.
It’s a real shame because no matter what you thought of Cespedes, he did make the Mets more fun and interesting. We can only hope his rehabilitation from his surgery and broken ankle allows him to be that player in 2020.
Every so often, you hear a quote in a press conference which causes you to snap to attention so quickly you risk paralysis. You have to go back on multiple occasions just to make sure you heard it correctly because you cannot possibly believe it was said. Yesterday, Brodie Van Wagenen had one of those gems:
Van Wagenen, “I will be the one, along with the rest of the front office team, that will continue to make improvements to this roster as we go forward like we have today with the purchase of Hector Santiago’s contract.”
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) May 20, 2019
On a day where the Mets were starting Wilmer Font, announced Seth Lugo was heading to the IL, and Yoenis Cespedes broke his ankle ending his already tenuous ability to return this season, Brodie Van Wagenen stood up there and said he improved the roster by adding Hector Santiago to the roster.
We shouldn’t be too sure to dismiss this as a mistake. After all, in February, Van Wagenen said, “Hector Santiago is an All-Star at the major-league level.” (Matt Ehalt, Yahoo).
You can spin this however you want. You can say this is part of his sales job as the General Manager. After all, he did say the Mets were the team to beat despite not having a fifth starter or starting center fielder. You could say this was meant to say Santiago is an upgrade over what was already there. However, his comments do jive with what he said during Spring Training.
No matter how you look at it, Van Wagenen is once again over-selling us on a below replacement level player. He is doing it while the Mets are paying Santiago a pro rated $3 million instead of say using that money on Gio Gonzalez as the fifth starter. Of course, the Mets couldn’t do that because they’d have to guarantee him a spot in the rotation over Jason Vargas, and we know he can’t do that to a former client even if it meant improving the club.
In any event, maybe Van Wagenen was right. After all, the Mets are now 1-0 in the Hector Santiago era.
As if things weren’t bad enough with the Mets after losing five straight to two of the worst teams in baseball, the Mets were a full blown disaster before the game.
Yoenis Cespedes fell into a hole and broke his right ankle. This ensures he’s done for the year, and the team can no longer sell him as a “trade deadline acquisition.”
Van Wagenen, “I will be the one, along with the rest of the front office team, that will continue to make improvements to this roster as we go forward like we have today with the purchase of Hector Santiago’s contract.”
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) May 20, 2019
There’s probably a multitude of things overlooked here but it’s hard to keep track of the Mets drama and incompetence. The one thing we do know is for seemingly the first time in a week, the Mets were better off getting on the field and playing a game.
For the first time in nearly a week, the Mets played well.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 20, 2019
That lead grew to 4-0 in the third on a rally started with a Rosario lead-off walk. After a Wilson Ramos two out walk, Todd Frazier hit an RBI single. Carlos Gomez doubled scoring Ramos. It was Gomez’s first hit as a Mets in 12 years.
In the fourth, Font’s luck started running out. He was getting hit hard most of the night, and it would be Anthony Rendon who got the Nationals on the board with a homer. The Nationals rally continued, but Font was able to keep things at 4-2. He’d be done after the four.
Gagnon, who was supposed to start, was very good in two scoreless innings walking one and striking out two. With Font not lasting five and how well he pitched, he was in line for the win. That would become dicey.
After a scoreless seventh, Callaway pushed to see if Jeurys Familia could give him six outs. The answer was four.
Rendon hit a one out double chasing Familia from the game. Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get the left-handed hitting Juan Soto. Soto would punch a single to center. With Rendon getting an excellent read on the ball, he scored easily.
With Lugo on the IL, this meant Robert Gsellman had to step up and fill Lugo’s role. For a split second, it looked like he failed miserably when Howie Kendrick hit a rocket. Fortunately, it was hit right at Brandon Nimmo in left. Gerardo Parra grounded out weakly to end the jam leaving Edwin Diaz a one run lead to protect in the ninth.
Actually, it was two. Carlos Gomez earned a one out 10 pitch walk against Nationals reliever Joe Ross. Ross would then throw over what seemed to be at least three times that amount. Karma stepped in, and Ross threw it away putting Gomez in scoring position.
After Juan Lagares grounded out moving Gomez to third, the Nationals went to Tony Sipp to get the pinch hitting Dominic Smith. Smith jumped on Sipp’s first pitch for an RBI single giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.
For a moment, it seemed like a crucial insurance run. Diaz hit Victor Robles with his first pitch, and two pitches later Yan Gomes blooped a single. Diaz stepped up, and he made sure Gomes was the last National to reach. Diaz recoded his 11th save, and the Mets live to fight another day.
This was a much needed win for the Mets. They had an inexcusable five game losing streak, and just hours before the game, it seemed like the walls were closing in. Instead, the Mets win, so at least for a day, things are good in Flushing.
Game Notes: Cano made a pinch hitting appearance in the sixth. He hit a double beating out a throw from Adam Eaton. Cano was booed.
When Jim Riggleman was hired as the bench coach this past offseason, the running joke was the Mets hired their interim manager. With the Mets faltering, Mickey Callaway‘s seat grows hotter by the day, and it would appear this is less of a joke than it is becoming a reality. Or is it?
Not only is Rojas a rising star, baseball runs through his veins. From the moment he was born, baseball encapsulated his entire life. This is the way things are when you grow up in country like the Dominican Republic. It’s also that way when your father is famed player and manager Felipe Alou, and your brother is Moises Alou. Taking a look at the bloodlines, you could almost see being a Major League manager as Rojas’ destiny.
For his part, Rojas believed this upbringing has influenced not just his career choice but also his views. Rojas would tell Anthony Dicomo of MLB.com, “Growing up in that environment was very impactful, very influential in my baseball growth. Just being born in a baseball atmosphere, right away opening my eyes on baseball from the beginning of my understanding was just really helpful. Right away, I wanted to follow my brothers’ steps. I wanted to follow the family’s steps.”
Obviously, Rojas was never the baseball player he brother was. From 1999 – 2005, he was a part of the Orioles, Marlins, and eventually Expos farm systems. He’d play 37 games for the Expos Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2004 hitting .240/.315/.352. Two years later, Rojas would begin his managerial career for the Expos Dominican Summer League team.
After that one season, the Mets jumped on Rojas, and they made him their DSL Manager for one season. The team then brought him stateside to serve as a coach for two years in the Gulf Coast League. Finally, in 2011, at the age of 29, Rojas would be named the manager of that same affiliate. From that point until this year, Rojas has been a manager in the Mets farm system.
During his time as a manager in the Mets system, he has managed a number of Mets prospects including current Mets Pete Alonso, Tyler Bashlor, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Drew Gagnon, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, and Daniel Zamora. Put another way, Rojas has helped develop the current Mets core become not just Major League players, but in some instances, All-Star caliber players.
He’s certainly left an impression on each of these players. When hired, Alonso shared a story about Rojas’ enthusiasm for his players saying, “He was jumping up and down, arms waving in the air. I honestly think Luis was happier than [Nick Sergakis].”
But it’s more than enthusiasm and relationships, Rojas can coach. It’s one of the reasons why the Mets see him as a rising star and why they were so enthusiastic to name him the team’s first ever quality control coach. In addition to those duties, he is also the team’s outfield coach.
We are seeing his impact as an outfield coach right now. Entering this season, McNeil had played all of 26.1 innings in left field over a six year span. It was up to Rojas to get McNeil up to speed. As he explained, Rojas’ plan was to begin “with the basics: pre-pitch, stance, route, reads off the bat and we progress into other things that we are taking here into camp and then some of the drills that we bring in with some of the outfielders.” (NY Post).
With Rojas coaching McNeil, McNeil has quickly become good in the outfield with a 2 DRS, which is sixth best in the league. It’s also important to note when Conforto was drafted, the knock on him was his defense. He worked with Rojas on his defense, and he has been really good out there. Now that he’s reunited with Rojas, Conforto has a 3 DRS which is good for sixth best in the majors.Credit is due to the players, but they got to that point because they are working with an excellent coach.
Rojas is not just a coach who is able to connect with this players, he is also comfortable not just with analyzing advanced data, but also putting it in terms which are useful to the players. As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, it is Rojas’ responsibility to streamline the data to the players.
While comparisons of this nature tend to be unfairly lofty, in some ways Rojas does remind you of Alex Cora. Rojas has shown the ability to understand not just the fundamental aspects of the game, but he is also well versed and comfortable handling analytical data. He is an excellent communicator and coach. He loves the game, and he loves his players.
Whenever the time comes, Rojas should prove to be a good manager for the Mets. He is everything an organization and its players want in a manager. Being the communicator he is, he should also be able to handle the press well. Hopefully, another team doesn’t realize what the Mets have in Rojas and grab him before the time the Mets have a chance to elevate him into the manager’s role he was destined to be seemingly since the day he was born.
The New York Mets were swept/embarassed by the Miami Marlins, a team who is rivaling the 1962 Mets in futility. There doesn’t need to be anything else said, but here it is anyway:
1. Managers get fired for the way the Mets played this weekend, but if we are being honest, this has nothing to do with Mickey Callaway. This is all on the team Brodie Van Wagenen built.
2. Van Wagenen fled Miami before the series was over and was not present to answer one question about the team he built or their play. That’s absolute cowardice.
3. Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote an article finally directing the blame towards Van Wagenen. We also saw Mike Puma of the NY Post say attention will eventually need to turn to to Van Wagenen, but first, the media wants Callaway gone first. Where were these articles in March when Van Wagenen was mortgaging the future to build what projections had as a fourth place team?
4. We all knew Robinson Cano didn’t hustle. With his PED suspension, we knew there was a chance he would be a chance he regressed,especially with him turning 36 years old. Van Wagenen was the only person who dismissed this.
5. Too often, we make the mistake of confusing players struggling with them not caring. The Mets players are probably embarrassed and still trying hard. They’re just not good right now for a multitude of reasons.
6. Then again, it’s hard to make that claim with Cano when he just blatantly did not run. There’s not hustling, and then there’s what he did. While we thought he had his defenses, it turned out they were lies, at least the scoreboard one.
7. Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic were tow of the biggest risers on MLB Pipeline‘s updated Top 100. Also, Edwin Diaz hasn’t had a save opportunity in well over a week. It’s almost like trading two top 100 prospects and taking on a $100 million commitment for a closer is a terrible idea. Who knew?
9. To be fair to Frazier, he has been the Mets player during this five game losing streak. On the converse, it speaks volumes about this team that Frazier has been their best player during this losing streak.
10. The Mets trotted out a lineup on Sunday where the bottom four hitters were Adeiny Hechavarria–Juan Lagares–Tomas Nido–Noah Syndergaard. We’re really killing the manager for a lineup that noncompetitive lineup not scoring? That’s four straight 8/9 hitters!
11. The Mets have completely bought into Chili Davis, a man fired by the Red Sox and Cubs because of this philosophy. This is what happens when you make terrible hiring decisions.
12. Syndergaard deserves credit for how he pitched on Sunday. There is no reason whatsoever why he lost that game. In addition to that, the bullpen deserves a lot of credit for continuing to pitch well through all of this. This group is one of the few who deserves credit for actually showing up and performing anywhere close to expectations.
13. With is injury history and how abdominal injuries tend to linger, it’s great to see Jeff McNeil was able to play. Hopefully, we should not see any drop off from his level of play. The Mets can’t afford it.
14. Carlos Gomez was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and he airmailed a ball on Friday. That throw not only let the one run score easily, but it also put the batter into scoring position. Seeing Gomez play so far, he’s actually worse than what Keon Broxton was forever hammering home the point things can always be worse with the Mets.
15. So far, the Mets have held Broxton, a fifth outfielder, and Travis d’Arnaud, a back-up catcher, accountable for the team’s poor play. That’s obvious scapegoating, and it had no effect because things don’t change when you get rid of a fifth outfielder and back-up catcher to try to send a message to the everyday players you, as an organization, outright refuse to make accountable.
16. If Mike Francesa is going to genuflect when he has Jeff Wilpon in studio, he can’t suddenly rail on the Mets. Well, he can if he wants; it’s his show. Just know that when he does that, he exposes himself to be a fraud, and it helps Michael Kay catch up.
17. The Mets were completely dominated by the Miami Marlins. The Marlins.
18. Through all of this, don’t be confused. There are plenty of reasons to fire Callaway. Just don’t for a second believe firing him is the thing that is doing to turn this team around. It’s not.
19. When the Mets play tonight, Boo, don’t boo, who cares? If you’re in the park spending money, the Wilpons don’t care. They got what they want out of you. That’s not to say it’s the fans fault. The point is the Wilpons don’t care about contending. They only care about creating the appearance of it to generate revenues.
20. Through all of it, we can say a lot of things, but the most succinct thing to say here is the Mets suck.
When you are a parent who needs to send your child to daycare, there is a lot of unknowns. You spend a lot of time researching different places, but the information you want is not always available. For the most part, you are relying upon word of mouth, and you never know what the standards different parents have for a daycare center.
No matter what the case, parents everywhere have a problem with teachers not only bringing drugs to daycares, but them being so careless with them that they get into the hands of children. According to an ABC report that is exactly what happened at The Learning Experience in Whippany, New Jersey.
Aside from the obvious, what is really scary about this is the information was difficult to ascertain. When Googling “Learning Experience Whippany” this ABC report was not on the first page of results. What we did see was a Yelp review giving unspecified parent complaints.
On that first page, the results did pull up the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families Inspection Reports on the facility. The incident where drugs were brought to the school and fell into the hands of children there are not mentioned . . . AT ALL!
What was there was a September 2018 Report which indicated there was a failure to conduct fire drills and even worse the center was not undergoing proper background checks and training. However, despite this, the State did determine the center was “free of imminent hazards/risk of harm.” Seeing what happened only months later, this report and that determination was laughable.
Now, this is far from the only day care center to have an issue. Last July, there was an infant death at the KinderCare in Whippany. When you check the New Jersey State records of the facility, THERE IS NO MENTION OF THIS EVENT!
How in the world is drugs getting into the hands of children and baby deaths not inspected or reported upon by the relevant state agencies? This is a complete failure by the State of New Jersey. It is not giving parents the information they need to make sure they are putting children in safe environments, and as we see, it is putting children in harm’s way.
This is a complete abdication of duty by the State of New Jersey. It’s bad enough they don’t shut down these facilities, but to not even investigate or report on these actions is a complete dereliction of duty. Fortunately for me, I don’t live or work in close enough proximity to either center for either place to be a consideration for my children. Like everyone else, I had to find this out by word of mouth.
That’s not remotely acceptable, and the State of New Jersey has some explaining to do. I’d imagine this is the same situation in other states as well.
There’s no sugar coating it. The Mets flat out didn’t show up, and this is the type of game which gets managers fired. If Mickey Callaway was smart, he’d be reaching out to Terry Francona and his other friends around the game to get his next job lined up sooner rather than later.
Steven Matz was activated off the IL, and he allowed two earned over 3.2 innings. It might as well have been 50 runs because this team wasn’t even going to score one even if Lopez walked three straight, went 3-0 to the batter, and he threw a pitchout.
If you as a fan have a problem with any Mets player, they gave you reason to be more irritated with them. That includes Robinson Cano not hustling after yesterday’s snafu. Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos struck out two times a piece. List goes on and on.
We could talk about McNeil returning and the bullpen’s great work (Tyler Bashlor, Robert Gsellman, Edwin Diaz), but we’re not. This team didn’t show up, and they were terrible. They deserve nothing good to be said about them.
Recently, there has been a number of questions from the media regarding Mickey Callaway‘s job status. Based upon the roster and his statements yesterday, maybe the media should instead be asking Brodie Van Wagenen if he knows what he’s doing.
Back in January, the Mets obtained Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers for Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill, and Felix Valerio. In the press release announcing the deal, Brodie Van Wagenen said, “Keon is a dynamic athlete with the ability to impact the game in the outfield, on the bases and with his bat. He adds depth to our major league roster for 2019 and into the future.”
In 34 games that did not prove to be the case as Broxton was about as you can be. He had an 8 wRC+ while striking out 41.5 percent of the time while posting a -1 DRS in the outfield. Really, every time he took the field you failed to see not just how he could help the Mets, but also why the Mets would give up three players for him.
Everyone has been frustrated by it, Broxton included. After he struck out to end the game against the Nationals, he said, “From the start of the season I’ve been surprised. I haven’t been playing too much, I haven’t gotten as many opportunities. It’s not like I started out bad. It is what it is though. They got a plan and they’re working with it, so all I can do is try to be ready.”
With his being designated for assignment, he’s going to try to be ready somewhere else.
Van Wagenen addresses the decision before yesterday’s loss against the Marlins. In his comments, there was certainly a bit of revisionist’s history:
Clearly, we gave up a few players for Keon. We said publicly then, and I think it’s played itself out here now that Keon’s move was potentially redundant by design.
The Mets General Manager stood in front of reporters, and he told them he gave away three players for someone he now for the first time admits was redundant.
It needs to be reiterated. Van Wagenen admitted he used prospects and a roster spot on a player with no options and could refuse an assignment to the minors. He did that with full knowledge Broxton was redundant because of Juan Lagares.
He utilized assets and a roster spot for a redundant player.
Van Wagenen did that despite the team entering the season with just two caliber starting outfielders on the roster. He did that despite there being a plethora of veterans available who’d sign a minor league deal to serve the same purpose. Veterans like Gregor Blanco, Rajai Davis, or Carlos Gomez.
Do you want those guys starting games? No, of course not. However, those are the types of players who could serve as redundancies to a backup. But now, in his infinite wisdom, Broxton designates Broxton for assignment for Gomez, someone who they signed without giving up three players.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Mets need the depth now. Michael Conforto is on the IL with a concussion, and given the nature of the injury, no one can know when he can return. Jeff McNeil has not landed on the IL, but he’s dealing with an abdominal issue.
It’s also bizarre Van Wagenen suddenly decided Lagares wasn’t going to be injured this year. Lagares has been on the disabled list in each of the past three years and five of his last six. After the Mets played 42 games and lost two of their starting outfielders, Van Wagenen decides the team doesn’t need their redundancy for Lagares.
Even better, the player replacing Broxton is the injury prone Gomez.
In the end, Broxton did little to prove he belonged on the roster. In some ways, he reminded you of Alejandro De Aza, who was terrible to open 2016 with fans begging he be designated for assignment. Of course, De Aza came up huge in July and September to help that Mets team make the postseason.
There will be no such redemption story for Broxton because Van Wagenen decided the team needed LESS outfield depth with their top two outfielders injured. Apparently, the Mets also no longer need redundant players on the roster (as if any team ever needs that).
Of course, despite having effectively throwing away three players for a player Van Wagenen saw as a redundancy, he gets to answer questions about Callaway’s job status. He also gets to make a decision (or have input on the decision) to fire Callaway for his inability to win games with a roster full of underperforming redundant players.