Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia Poised To Make Mets History

Tom Seaver did something unique in New York Mets history. When he took the field for player introductions before Game 1 of the 1986 World Series, he became the first pitcher to stand on the field for three separate Mets postseason games.

Of course, Seaver was wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform, and he never did pitch in that series. To date, no Mets pitcher has pitched in three separate postseasons for the Mets . . . yet.

Back in 2015, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia were big pieces of a Mets pitching staff which not only led the team to the postseason but also a pennant. They’d join Addison Reed as the only members of that 2015 staff to pitch in the ensuing postseason when the Mets lost the Wild Card Game.

That trio joined a number of the 1999-2000 Mets pitchers to pitch in consecutive postseason. That list included Armando Benitez, Dennis Cook, John Franco, Al Leiter, Rick Reed, and Turk Wendell.

They are just part of a group of Mets pitchers to pitch in multiple postseasons. The other pitchers in that group are Rick Aguilera, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Roger McDowell, Tug McGraw, and Seaver.

That’s a total of 17 pitchers who have appeared in two postseasons for the Mets. However, none have appeared in three.

If Syndergaard can return from Tommy John, and Familia can stay healthy and productive, they’re going to get that chance because this is an excellent Mets team. This is a team which should get there, and maybe this time Syndergaard and Familia can celebrate a World Series.

After that, with both being pending free agents, the question will be whether they’ll get the opportunity to get to pitch in a fourth postseason. Time will tell.

Brandon Nimmo Is Mets Best Hitter

As we look at the 2021 Mets, offensively speaking this team is an embarrassment of riches. This team is full of players who can be great hitting lead-off and can make the argument they should be hitting in the middle of the lineup. As you parse through it all, the debate begins over who exactly is the best hitter on this team.

It may come to surprise you the answer is actually Brandon Nimmo.

No, that is not going to be a popular answer, especially among a fanbase who has a contingent who bizarrely believes Nimmo is a fourth outfielder. To that point, if we look since 2017, here are the Mets top hitters according to wRC+:

  1. Jeff McNeil 139
  2. Brandon Nimmo 136
  3. Pete Alonso 136
  4. Michael Conforto 132
  5. Francisco Lindor 119
  6. Dominic Smith 116
  7. J.D. Davis 115
  8. Luis Guillorme 93
  9. James McCann 91

Now, looking at that list, McNeil is ahead of Nimmo, and Nimmo is in a dead heat with Alonso. Really, taking the top four into account the 132 – 139 range isn’t really much of a separation to adjudge who is best among that group. However, there is more to the story when you are looking at Nimmo.

Nimmo’s biggest issue in terms of these rankings is he mostly missed out on the super juiced ball of 2019. While everyone was putting up video game numbers, Nimmo first dealt with a sore hand after a HBP early in the season. Soon thereafter, he was found to have a bulging disc which cost him the vast majority of that season.

While injuries of that nature are certainly concerning, Nimmo has done nothing but shown he has overcame that injury. Nimmo was reactivated when rosters were expanded in September. From September 1 through the 2020 season, Nimmo hit .275/.412/.506, and he posted a 151 wRC+. That wasn’t exactly a fluke.

In Nimmo’s breakout 2018 season, Nimmo had a 148 wRC+. It’s of interest to note, Nimmo had the same mark in 2020. That’s elite offensive production, and in his last two healthy seasons, he’s posted that same number. Keep in mind, that’s better than any other player on the Mets has posted over the course of a full 162 game season.

Yes, last season, we did see some Mets players post a better wRC+. Specifically, Smith had a 164, and Conforto had a 157. In terms of both, we have seen enough in their careers to indicate they are capable of producing incredible offensive seasons like that. We know the same for McNeil and Alonso. We haven’t seen it in New York, but we know Lindor is a very good offensive player albeit it one a step behind the rest.

Still, no one on the Mets roster has produced the numbers Nimmo has when Nimmo has been healthy. When healthy, Nimmo has produced at a level commensurate with players like Juan Soto (152), Christian Yelich (147), and Freddie Freeman (146). Since 2017, that’s the level of offensive player Nimmo has been.

Certainly, people refuse to believe it and want to write it off because Nimmo walks too much as if that is a bad thing. They also dismiss his approach citing he’s taking hittable pitches while ignoring his .456 SLG and .850 OPS. Nimmo is a player who makes a pitcher work, he gets on base, and he hits for power. That should be seen as the ideal profile for a hitter.

Also, keep in mind, it’s not just about batting average or homers. It’s about the ability to get on base. Few in all of baseball are better than Nimmo in that department and certainly no one on the Mets.

Overall, when Nimmo is healthy, he is the best offensive player in this lineup. Sure, he could very well be surpassed by players like Alonso or Conforto. That is very well possible given the caliber of player they are. However, keep in mind even with all the great things they do, they still haven’t done what Nimmo when healthy over the course of a 162 game season.

Jacob deGrom Paying It Forward

The changing point in Jacob deGrom‘s career as a pitcher was arguably at its darkest moment. No, that wasn’t the pep talks he received from Frank Viola in the minors or Terry Collins in the majors. It was when deGrom, a 23 year old ninth round draft pick out of Stetson University, was rehabbing from Tommy John.

deGrom was at an age when big time prospects are already pitching in the Major Leagues. To put it in perspective, his current teammate Noah Syndergaard was a 22 year old rookie pitching in the World Series. His other teammate, Marcus Stroman, who also went to college, was a 23 year old rookie for the Toronto Blue Jays.

But deGrom, well he was a 23 year old pitcher who had not thrown a pitch in even full season Single-A. His career was potentially over before it started with his needing Tommy John. However, during that rehab stint, he was there with Johan Santana, who was rehabbing from his own career threatening injury. It was during this time Santana taught deGrom how to throw the changeup. It is a pitch which has completely altered the trajectory of deGrom’s career.

Well, it is a nearly a full decade later, and deGrom is following Santana’s lead, and he is taking the next generation of Mets players under his wing.

Specifically, he has taken fellow Stetson alum Patrick Mazeika under his wing, and he has worked with Mets top pitching prospect Matthew Allan. That was work which began during the offseason, and it is something which has continued into Spring Training. It is genuine with deGrom with him not only providing pointed advice but also insisting Allan “wear him out with questions.”

For Mazeika, a player who is very much in the same shoes deGrom once did, this is an invaluable experience. He gets to further understand what Major League pitchers look for in their catchers. He gets to experience catching the best pitcher in the game, and he can learn how to better work with not just other Major League pitchers, but also he can help out his minor league teammates down in Syracuse.

For Allan, he is getting a master’s course in how to pitch. He is not just learning how to throw this pitch or that pitch. He is learning when you need to throw those pitches. He is learning how to better comport himself and get the most out of his ability, and Allan has immense ability. It is not even arguable he has better stuff coming out of the draft than deGrom did.

As with deGrom, the question is what he does with his natural ability, and how he continues to develop as a pitcher. For deGrom, working with Santana taught him not only how to throw the changeup. It also taught him about preparation and developing your pitches. For Allan, it can be so much more.

In some ways, we are seeing this link that should be the envy of every organization. Santana, who was once the best pitcher in baseball, helped mentor deGrom. We have seen deGrom take that experience and himself become the best pitcher in baseball. Perhaps, not too long into the future, we will one day talk about Allan as the best pitcher in baseball. Not only should we be excited about that happening, but we should also be excited to see the pitcher Allan may one day help become great.

Coming To America Mets Jacket Needs To Be Available For Sale ASAP

Back in 1988, the New York Mets owned the town, and one of the funniest movies of all-time, Coming to America, hit theaters. In the movie, we saw Eddie Murphy wear what has become an iconic Mets jacket as the the Prince of Zamunda tried to fit-in in Queens:

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Well, it is now over 30 years later, and we are getting a sequel to that movie, Coming 2 America, and once again, the New York Mets appear poised to take over New York behind Steve Cohen. In trailers for the movie, we once again see Murphy wearing the coat. Not only that, but we got to see new Mets superstar Francisco Lindor wear it to Spring Training:

Between the movie and the Mets about to take-off, there should be any number of Mets fans ready to go out and buy that jacket. Except, right now, they can’t. It’s not for sale on Fanatics or MLB Shop. If memory serves, this was a Starter jacket, but it is not available for sale by that company.

The failure to have this jacket available for sale seems like a missed opportunity. Speaking for myself and presumably every Mets fan, we would love to buy that jacket. It is a reminder of the best era in Mets history, and right now, it could very well be a harbinger for the next great era of Mets baseball. If we are going to need jackets for cold October baseball, is there a better jacket than that to wear?

 

Mets Should Begin 2021 Season With Six Man Rotation

Typically speaking, you don’t like to see pitchers jump over 100.0 innings from one season to the next. The problem is with the 60 game season in 2020 nearly every pitcher in Major League Baseball is going to have to make that jump. How to combat this is going to be a concern for all 30 Major League teams, especially the New York Mets.

The Mets have Marcus Stroman, who didn’t pitch last year, and they have Noah Syndergaard returning from Tommy John at some point this season. Carlos Carrasco is still building up his endurance on the mound after battling leukemia. There is also the opportunity for David Peterson to crack the Opening Day rotation. Throw in protecting Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball, and you see how the Mets may want to find a way to limit everyone’s innings.

There’s more to it as well. None of these pitchers threw even 70.0 innings last year. We don’t know when, but it is reasonable to assume at some point the Mets starters may face fatigue and may hit a wall. As we typically see, there are going to be a few pitchers who battled ineffectiveness and hit the proverbial dead arm periods. That’s even with extremely well conditioned pitchers like deGrom and Stroman.

Really, the Mets need to figure out the best possible way to let their pitchers keep strong all season long, and hopefully, be in a position to be as strong as possible heading into October. In a different way, that was an issue the Mets had in 2015.

That season, the Mets opted to throw their five best pitchers to start the season. To a certain extent, Zack Wheeler‘s needing Tommy John forced the issue there. Beyond that, the Mets didn’t really plan for making the postseason. Their season as well as Matt Harvey‘s return from his own Tommy John surgery as well as Scott Boras forcing the issue with innings limits forced the Mets to confront the issue.

At times, we saw a six man rotation. That was something which was met with some resistance from the Mets young starting staff. To a certain extent, you could understand that as baseball players, especially starters, are creatures of habit. Considering that being the case, perhaps it would be better to start the season with a six man rotation to give the Mets starters a better opportunity to adapt.

Certainly, the Mets have the arms to pull that off. To start the year, they already have a strong top of the rotation with deGrom, Stroman, Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. After that, they have a strong competition for the fifth starter spot with Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto. There is also players like Jerad Eickhoff and Corey Oswalt who could force their way into the conversation.

In terms of Spring Training competitions, we should not that they’re terrible in nature. You’re judging a bunch of players against differing levels of competition. You may get to face a team full of Double-A to Four-A players and dominate while another player gets to face Major League caliber competition. That leads to skewed results.

One way to combat that is to take your best six pitchers up north. You can ease your four best pitchers into the 2021 season and then get a better look at the fifth starters against Major League competition. This means while you are saving your best pitchers for the end of the season, you are also getting a better look at your pitchers in what could be described as a protracted competition.

Keep in mind, you can easily skip this sixth starter in the rotation if need be and have them available in the bullpen. With early season rain outs and off days, you may not want to go right to the sixth starter. That also gives the team an added benefit to see how a Lucchesi or Yamamoto could look coming out of the pen for an inning or more.

Overall, there is a lot of benefit to having a six man rotation to start the season. Pulling it off properly requires a deft touch by Luis Rojas. If done properly, the Mets can secure a postseason spot, and they can have deGrom at full strength to have a similar run to what he had in 2015. In fact, imagine what he could do now! But before that, we just have to figure out a way for him and the rest of this rotation to navigate the 2021 season.

Mets May Have Hidden Gem In Tommy Hunter

The New York Mets are looking for ways to fill out their bullpen, and with Seth Lugo undergoing elbow surgery, there suddenly is room for relievers to make their Opening Day bullpen. One of the more intriguing names is Tommy Hunter, who signed a minor league deal with the Mets this offseason.

Hunter, 34, is undoubtedly coming off a poor year. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have signed a minor league deal. Lost in that season is Hunter doing something extremely important – proving he was healthy.

From 2013 – 2017, Hunter was one of the better relievers in all of baseball. Over that five year stretch, Hunter had a 132 ERA+ while going 18-16 with a 17 saves, a 3.12 ERA, 1.090 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, and a 7.4 K/9. This lead to him signing a two year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Things did not turn out well for Hunter with the Phillies. In his first season, he was effective posting a 109 ERA+, which to that point, was the worst of his career as a reliever. In 2019, after a terrific start to the season, he went down with a torn flexor tendon. That led to him re-signing a one year deal with the Phillies.

While Hunter was trying to come back from the injury, he dealt with the same issues the rest of baseball had. It was a disjointed season where he couldn’t really work out with trainers or in gyms. He couldn’t work with the Phillies new pitching coach Bryan Price. Instead, he had part of a Spring Training, a ramped up summer camp, and then a shortened 2020 season.

In 2020, Hunter made 24 appearances pitching 24.2 innings. Overall, he was 0-1 with a 4.01 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and a career best 9.1 K/9. Of note, six of those 24 appearances were scoreless, and he allowed one run or fewer in 20 of his 24 appearances. Looking at that, you see Hunter was a bit of a boom or bust reliever.

Again, keep in mind, this was his first season back from elbow surgery. As is usual, you are going to see some good and bad. On the bad side, aside from the stats, we see from Baseball Savant, Hunter got hit extremely hard, and despite the career best strikeout rate, he wasn’t generating many swings and misses.

On the bright side, Hunter had elite spin on all of his pitches, and he had good control. Looking at his spin and velocity, it compared quite favorably to his 2017 season with the Tampa Bay Rays, which was arguably the best season of his career. Looking at that and other factors, we do see some evidence his 2020 season was better than many believed. In fact, he had a 3.31 FIP.

Looking at his 2020 season, you could envision him being able to return to form after a relatively normal offseason. There is something there for Jeremy Hefner to work with in order to get Hunter back to being the impact reliever he was prior to his surgery. Right now, there’s an open competition, and few in the entire Mets organization can boast the Major League success Hunter has had. As a result, we could very easily imagine Hunter not only making the Opening Day roster, but also having a significant impact in 2021.

Mets Probably Don’t Need Another Reliever

Like it always seems to be, the New York Mets entered the offseason with the need to rebuild their bullpen. As the Mets entered Spring Training without Seth Lugo, there seemed to be a renewed emphasis on the need to add more relievers to the bullpen. However, when you break it down, the Mets may not need to actually add another arm.

Typically speaking, we will see the Mets carry a 12 man pitching staff which means seven relievers. Right off the bat, the Mets are set at closer with Edwin Diaz. He will certainly be joined in the bullpen by recent signees Trevor May and Aaron Loup. That trio right there takes care of the Mets closer, the eighth inning, and their LOOGY.

That leaves them having to figure out the other four relievers in the bullpen. Based upon the moves of Brodie Van Wagenen, three of those spots are occupied by Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, and Jeurys Familia. This trio could very well become the core of what might be an excellent bullpen.

As previously detailed, Betances induced very weak contact last season, and he would miss a lot of bats. Looking at Baseball Savant, there was also a lot of promise with Jeurys Familia‘s season as he also induced a lot of weak contact, and he had terrific velocity. What really hampered each of their seasons was a mixture of walks and plain old bad defense.

Betances had a 1.56 GB/FB last year, but despite the weak contact, he yielded a .353 BABIP. Familia didn’t have the same issues with ground balls turning into outs as Betances, but he did see a career worst walk rate come back to bite him. Keep in mind, in only two of the 10 appearances where he didn’t walk a batter did the opposition score off of him.

Both relievers will be helped by the improved infield defense we should see with Francisco Lindor at short. Also, while we may see J.D. Davis start at third, in all likelihood, he should be removed late in games for Luis Guillorme thereby making the Mets defense elite for these groundball pitchers who induce weak contact.

Keep in mind, while Betances and Familia have typically had higher walk numbers, neither had really posted numbers that poor in their careers. Part of that could easily be explained by them trying to regain their prior form in a disjointed offseason. Really, both pitchers needed to hone a number of things, and the pandemic really cost them the opportunity to work with Jeremy Hefner like they needed.

Given a normal offseason and Spring Training, it is reasonable to assume both could be reasonably relied upon to at least easily handle the middle innings. Perhaps, they could eventually be reasonably be able to be relied upon for the seventh and eighth. In fact, we should be able to see them close a game or two here and there.

In terms of Castro, no one throws it harder. Really, that makes him a bit of a wild card not too dissimilar to what Hansel Robles used to be for the Mets. If you can harness him, you have an elite reliever. If you don’t you have an interesting mop up reliever. Either which way, he is out of options, and he is going to get every chance for the Mets to be the team to finally unlock his abilities.

When you add Lugo to these relievers, this bullpen could be the envy of every team in the majors. The question for the Mets is what to do in his absence. In terms of that, the Mets have plenty of options.

Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential elite reliever. We have seen Robert Gsellman be elite out of the bullpen for stretches. If nothing else, we know he can absorb innings. The same could also be true for Jordan Yamamoto. The Mets also have a number of interesting young relievers to throw at the problem with Jacob Barnes, Yennsy Diaz, Sam McWilliams, Sean Reid-Foley, Drew Smith, Stephen Tarpley, and Daniel Zamora. Of course, there is also Mets fan favorite Jerry Blevins here on a minor league deal.

The moral of the story is the Mets have the talent in the bullpen. The real challenge is going to be for Hefner to work with them to get the most out of them. Then, perhaps the even bigger challenge is for Luis Rojas to deploy them properly. Overall, if Hefner and Rojas are successful, the Mets will get the most out of what is an extremely talented group, and we will begin to wonder why exactly we were so overly concerned about adding a big name reliever in the offseason.

Mets Can’t Undo Great Offseason By Putting J.D. Davis At Third

Look across the diamond. The New York Mets are a significantly better baseball team. It’s not just better in terms of the rotation and starting lineup, but it’s also better in terms of their burgeoning depth. Despite that, somehow, the Mets failed to address their biggest need of the offseason – third base.

J.D. Davis is the incumbent third baseman, and simply put, he has done nothing but prove he has no business playing the position at the Major League level. In his career, he has played 770.0 innings there, and he has amassed a -19 DRS. As previously put in perspective, that was worse than what Wilmer Flores posted as the position, and there was near unanimous consent Flores should never man the position again.

The Mets were well aware of this, and that’s why they seemingly went out of their way this offseason to say they were going to upgrade at third base. He said the position was “up in the air,” and the team went on what seemed to be wild goose chases for Kris Bryant and Eugenio Suarez. For all we know, they are still doing all they can to pry those players loose from their current teams.

When the Mets were unable to acquire a real third baseman before the start of Spring Training, Luis Rojas was reluctant to name anyone as the team’s third baseman. That would appear to be an indictment of Davis, especially with second base becoming vacant with Robinson Cano‘s season long suspension.

At least on the surface, it would seem Davis would keep his slot at third with Jeff McNeil becoming the everyday third baseman. However, that’s not entirely possible with Davis not being able to play the position. In fact, Davis is literally the worst fielder in the Major Leagues.

Over the past two seasons, Davis has amassed a combined -29 DRS. That includes a -17 DRS at third and a -12 DRS in left field. Just to put in perspective how bad that is, he is the only player to appear TWICE among the worst 30 fielders over the past two seasons. As we’ve seen, the Mets just can’t hide him in the field. That goes double for third.

Making Davis at third even worse is the current complexion of the Mets pitching staff. Overall, this is a heavy ground ball pitching staff. To wit, here are their GB/FB ratios since 2017:

Looking at the make-up of the Mets top eight starting pitching options, seven of them induce batters to hit the ball on the ground. That makes having a good defensive infield more of an imperative. Yes, Francisco Lindor goes a long way towards doing that, but by playing Davis next to him, the Mets are effectively neutralizing Lindor’s effect.

Digging deeper, the Mets are going to play Pete Alonso at first where he is not a good fielder. That means the Mets are going to trot out a ground ball staff and have the Major League worst defense at the corners. Really, this does not remotely make any sense whatsoever. Really, it’s ponderous the Mets would even consider going in this direction.

When you look at it from that perspective, Davis cannot play third everyday. It only serves to hurt the team. Ideally, the Mets would pull off that blockbuster we’ve been waiting for them to pull off all offseason to acquire a third baseman, or they need to play Luis Guillorme everyday at second pushing McNeil to third, where he is a better fielder.

No matter what the Mets do, they simply cannot make Davis the everyday third baseman. They’ve done far too much this offseason, and they’ve built their team a certain way. Allowing Davis and his defense, or lack thereof, diminish or neutralize it, makes zero to no sense.

Using Fernando Tatis Extension As Model For Francisco Lindor

As has been reported, Fernando Tatis, Jr. signed a 14 year $340 million contract extension with a full no trade clause. Naturally, when it comes to the Mets, the question is how exactly would this impact a potential Francisco Lindor extension.

Now, there are considerations to take into account. First, Tatis had years of arbitration which needed to be addressed in a deal like this. Tatis is also a little more than five years younger. All of these factors impact the contract.

When looking at the extension to apply to Lindor, there are two key points. The first is what Tatis will be paid entering his age 28 season.

If Tatis had not signed an extension, he would’ve been a free agent after the 2024 season. One of the sites which has the breakdown of the contract is Spotrac.

Looking at his contract at that point, it’s a 10 year $324 million deal with a $32.4 million AAV. Arguably, that’s the vicinity of an extension which Lindor could want from the Mets.

Of course, that takes Tatis from age 26 – 35. Lindor is currently 27, and he would be looking to sign as a free agent entering his age 28 season.

When Tatis enters his age 28 season, his salary jumps from $20 to $25 million. That further impacts his AAV. From age 28 – 35, Tatis’ deal is eight years $266 million. That’s an AAV of $33.25 million.

Basically, when you break it down, Tatis’ extension sets the stage for Lindor to seek a contract extension north of $30+ million a year. In fact, with Tatis making $36 million over the final six years of his deal, Lindor could reasonably seek an AAV in that ballpark.

As an aside, the Mets reportedly offered Trevor Bauer $40 million to pitch for them in 2021 which opt outs in future years. It’s hard to unring that bell if you’re a player and his agent when negotiating a deal with the Mets.

It’s also difficult to unring the $35 million AAV the Mets were willing to pay Bauer if he had signed the contract and opted in all three years.

When it comes to Lindor, he’s a far superior player to Bauer. He’s a future Hall of Famer as well. It’s going to be extremely difficult for the Mets to argue Lindor is worth less than Bauer.

Given track record, it’s also difficult to argue Lindor should be paid less than Tatis. Again, that means the starting point for the Mets and Lindor is a contract north of $30 million per year, and when all is said and done, he could very well be pushing $40 million.

That’s where the Tatis extension put the ballpark of a Lindor one. The Bauer offer makes it all the more difficult for the Mets. Whether the Mets get to that point remains to be seen, but that said, the Mets had to be prepared to do that when they pulled off this trade.

Jarred Kelenic Should Demand A Trade

No, this is not the insane ramblings of a New York Mets fan still bitter over the Robinson Cano trade debacle. While still bitter about it, and forever will be, this is about Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather unapologetically saying the quiet part out loud.

Essentially, Maher said Jarred Kelenic was going to start the season on the Opening Day roster if he signed a contract with the Mariners buying out some of his free agent years. As noted, Evan White signed such a deal, purportedly against the advice of the union, and he began the season in the majors.

Now, we know teams play this game all the time, and many call it service time manipulation. The thing is team’s are never supposed to overtly say or admit it even when it is painfully obvious like with Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs in 2015.

With Bryant, he officially filed a grievance over it. He’d lose mostly because the Cubs had some plausible deniability. With Maher overtly saying it, or at least very strongly implying it, there really is no doubt what the Mariners are doing here.

The Mariners more or less publicly stated since Kelenic wouldn’t sign their contract offer, he can wait a few weeks for his Major League career to begin. Essentially, they’re punishing him by not doing what they want, and they’re going to keep him an additional year.

Again, this has been the standard practice with few exceptions. However, it is far from standard for teams to tell people they’re actually doing it. The Mariners aren’t even doing the traditional wink and a nod.

In retaliation, Kelenic should give the Mariners an ultimatum – put me on the Opening Day roster, or trade me.

Yes, in baseball this would be entirely unprecedented. It’s almost as unprecedented as a team president admitting the team is manipulating service team and not calling up players unless they sign their contract offer.

However, outside of baseball this wouldn’t be all that unprecedented. Eli Manning told the San Diego Chargers he wouldn’t play for them, which led to his being traded to the New York Broncos. That was akin to John Elway signing with the New York Yankees because he refused to play for the Baltimore Colts.

The New York Rangers have benefitted from this signing Kevin Hayes who became a free agent after not signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Current defenseman Aaron Fox saw his rights traded twice partially as a result of his really wanting to play for his hometown Rangers.

So while they do this in other sports, it hasn’t happened in baseball, at least not yet.

That said, the Mariners can throw out all they want they want to see Kelenic get some Triple-A at-bats, but it’s nonsense. Just look at players like Miguel Cabrera, Michael Conforto, and Juan Soto.

More than that, look at how the Mariners operate. White signs the deal, and he goes from Double-A to the majors. Kelenic doesn’t, and he needs about a month of Triple-A at-bats. It’s beyond obvious what they’re doing, and that’s partially because they’re saying it.

Because of what the Mariners are doing, Kelenic should in respond in kind. There are 29 other teams who would line up to put him on their Opening Day roster if they could get him into their system. If the Mariners won’t put him on theirs, he should tell the team he won’t play for them.

After all, what’s the worst the Mariners can do here? Not pay him? In case they haven’t noticed, they’ve been effectively not paying him for two years. They’re now threatening to not do that for another month, which is exactly why Kelenic should make this demand.