Last night into today, it has been widely reported that the Washington Nationals have a legitimate chance to obtain Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. This would make an already good rotation better with Sale joining reigning Cy Young Max Scherzer and former first overall pick Stephen Strasburg. That lead to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports to posit the Nationals would then have the best rotation in the game if the deal was to be completed.
Naturally, Noah Syndergaard would have something to say on the matter:
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) December 6, 2016
For what it’s worth, Syndergaard is probably correct in his assessment. For starters, it should be noted that the Mets rotation of Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz have pitched the Mets to the World Series when healthy whereas the Nationals have never won a playoff series. Moreover, the Mets starters are more dominating on the mound. Eliminating last year for Harvey (a season he shouldn’t have pitched due to a myriad of medical issues), here are the Mets starters career numbers:
- Harvey: 25-18, 2.53 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 146 ERA+, 2.65 FIP.
- deGrom: 30-22, 2.74 ERA, 1.095 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 138 ERA+, 2.88 FIP.
- Syndergaard: 23-16, 2.89 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 137 ERA+, 2.72 FIP
Looking at the starting pitchers numbers with the Nationals only, and Sale’s numbers with the White Sox, here are the stats for the Nationals possible rotation:
- Scherzer: 34-19, 2.88 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, 141 ERA+, 3.00 FIP
- Strasburg: 69-41, 3.17 ERA, 1.094 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 124 ERA+, 2.85 FIP
- Sale: 74-50, 3.00 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 135 ERA+, 3.06 FIP
Overall, both staffs have impressive numbers. Looking deeper at FIP, Harvey and Syndergaard rank 1-2 in that category from this group while deGrom a close four. When looking at ERA+, Harvey is at the top once again with Syndergaard second and deGrom a close fourth. Overall, the Mets three starting pitchers are better as a group than the projected Nationals rotation.
It is why when the trio was healthy and pitching together in the same rotation, the Mets went all the way to the World Series. If they are healthy again, the Mets are once again World Series contenders whether or not the Nationals add Sale.
Since the 2014 season ended, Zack Wheeler has thrown exactly zero pitches in the major leagues. First, it was because he needed Tommy John surgery on the eve of the 2015 season. Then, it was because he had a series of setbacks during this rehab from said surgery throughout the 2016 season. With that, the Mets have no idea what they are going to get from Wheeler during the 2017 season.
Here is one thing you do know you are not going to get from him: 200 innings. Asking Wheeler to make 30+ starts and pitch 200 innings is unrealistic, and it is unfair. Realistically speaking, putting any expectations on him is unfair.
Quite possibly, the best thing for Wheeler for the 2017 season is to transition to the bullpen and have the Mets monitor his usage. In essence, the Mets could go into the 2017 season enacting a set of Joba Rules for Wheeler. It is a concept Sandy Alderson floated this offseason saying, “But it may be that coming back after two years, he’s better off pitching out of the ‘pen. He might have to be careful. He might not be able to pitch back-to-back. It might have to be two innings at a time. These are all hypothetical at the moment, but I don’t see any reason to just eliminate the possibility.” (nj.com).
Better put, it is time to give Wheeler the John Smoltz treatment.
Back in 2000, Smoltz had missed the entire season due to season ending surgery because he needed Tommy John surgery. On the Jonah Keri Podcast, Smoltz stated the Atlanta Braves only wanted him to return as a closer, and because he wanted to remain a Brave, he did what was requested of him. During his time as a closer, Smoltz stated he learned about mentally what it meant to close. Notably, Smoltz stated he did not change the way he pitched when he closed games. Smoltz focused on throwing strikes more than maxing out and trying to strike everyone out. It is notable that Smoltz was able to save 55 games in 2001, which was his first season back from Tommy John.
While Wheeler won’t be closing with the presence of Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed, there is room for him in the bullpen. Putting him in the bullpen would permit him to go out there and re-learn how to pitch in one to two inning increments. It will allow him to rebuild himself as a pitcher much in the way Smoltz had done. Wheeler could focus on throwing strikes, which has always been an issue for him, and it will allow him to mentally prepare himself to get those big outs in a game. More importantly, it presents an avenue for Wheeler to help the Mets win the World Series.
What is notable about following the Smoltz model is the fact that Smoltz sees a lot of himself in Wheeler. Previously on MLB Now, Smoltz stated Wheeler was the one pitcher in the major leagues right now that most reminds him of himself. In making the comparison, Smoltz noted some factors including the repetoire and Wheeler’s use of the inverted W. Another factor for the comparison was the player’s respective injury history. The main difference between the two, aside from Smoltz being a Hall of Famer, was Smoltz’s ability to make adjustments and Smoltz’s having pitched out of the bullpen.
As we have seen, pitching out of the bullpen not only helped Smoltz become an important part of the Braves after his rehab, it also helped prolong his career. The Smoltz model is one that has proven to be successful, and it proved it is not a bar to returning to the starting rotation. With that in mind, this could be the preferable route to reintegrating Wheeler onto this Mets team.
Last offseason, the Mets re-signing Yoenis Cespedes put the final touches on the team everyone hoped would compete for a World Series. This year, the re-signing of Cespedes is really just a start for a team that still needs to make a number of moves this offseason. Here is a look at the moves the Mets still need to make:
TRADE JAY BRUCE
With Cespedes back, Jay Bruce likely becomes the outfielder the Mets will trade this offseason. In his nine year career, Bruce has been a .248/.318/.467 hitter who has averaged 27 homers and 82 RBI. At $13 million next season, that production is arguably a bargain. That is probably a reason why teams have been in contact with the Mets trying to inquire what the team will want in exchange for Bruce. While it is hard to believe the Mets will be able to bring in a prospect like Dilson Herrera or a player that will have a similar impact that Bruce will have in 2017, it should not be ruled out that the Mets will be able to acquire a player of consequence that will help the team next season.
DETERMINE MICHAEL CONFORTO’S POSITION
If the Mets are going to trade Bruce, it is another sign that the Mets see Michael Conforto as an everyday player. Where he will be an everyday player remains to be seen. With Cespedes returning for four years with a no trade clause, the only thing we know is that Conforto will not be the teams everyday left fielder anytime soon. That leaves center and right field.
During Conforto’s time in AAA last year, he began learning both positions. In his limited time in the majors at both positions, he showed he may very well be able to handle either position on an everyday basis. However, given the presence of Juan Lagares on this team, the best thing for Conforto and the Mets is to transition him to right field. Let him get fully acclimated there and focus on getting back to where he was April of last year. This will also let Lagares and Curtis Granderson handle center field duties next season, which was a platoon that may work very well for the Mets next year.
OBTAIN A LOOGY
Last year, Jerry Blevins had a terrific year out of the bullpen for the Mets as a LOOGY. In fact, he proved to be a bit more as he had a career best year pitching against right-handed batters. However, he is a free agent now, and the Mets do not appear as if they are able or inclined to give him the multi-year deal that he may command in free agency.
The internal left-handed options are Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker. Edgin did have some success against left-handed batters in limited duty in the majors last year, but with his velocity still not having fully returned after his Tommy John surgery, it is hard to rely upon him in any capacity next year. Smoker had outstanding strikeout rates in the minors and the majors last year, but he has reverse splits. Therefore, the Mets are going to have to look outside the organization to figure out who will be the first lefty out of the pen next season.
OBTAIN ONE OR MORE LATE INNING RELIEVERS
The Mets bullpen really is in a state of flux at the moment due to the Jeurys Familia domestic violence arrest. Pending an investigation by MLB, it is possible that Familia will miss a significant number of games next season. If that is the case, Addison Reed should prove more than capable of closing games in Familia’s absence. This begs the question of who will step up and take over Reed’s role in the short term.
It was a question the Mets faced most of 2016, and they did not find a good answer until they obtained Fernando Salas on the eve of the waiver trade deadline. Given his late inning and closing experience, Salas would be a good option to pitch in the seventh, eighth, or ninth inning next year. However, he is a free agent at the moment meaning the Mets are going to have to presumably sign or trade for someone to take over this role. In fact, the Mets may very well need two late inning relievers to address the bullpen.
SIGN A VETERAN STARTER
The one lesson learned from the 2016 season should be that once again you can never have too much pitching. With the return of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz, the Mets rotation is almost complete. The question is who will become the team’s fifth starter.
The first name that will be mentioned is Zack Wheeler. However, after missing all of 2015 and 2016, no one can be quite certain he is ready and able to assume the fifth starter’s role. The next names that will be mentioned are Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Both pitched quite well for the Mets in the stretch run last year, but the Mets may prefer to have a veteran arm who is able to eat up innings and/or can go deeper into the season than any of the aforementioned pitchers. Preferably, the pitcher they do sign would be willing to move to the bullpen in the event Wheeler, Lugo, or Gsellman wins the job in Spring Training or is ready to take over at some point during the season.
FIGURE OUT THE BACK-UP CATCHER SITUATION
Even with Rene Rivera back in the fold and despite his excellent work with Noah Syndergaard, there is still room for improvement on the catching front. Many will mention the recently non-tendered Wellington Castillo, but people should realize he’s an average hitter at best. Moreover, he’s a terrible pitch framer. Mets need to do better than that, but to be fair, that may not be possible.
Whatever the Mets decide to do, they first have to realize that Kevin Plawecki has twice proven he should not be relied upon to be the team’s primary back-up catcher. Next, the Mets have to realize they need a viable backup who can handle playing a number of games due to Travis d’Arnaud‘s injury history.
There are some other matters that need to be figured out as well. For example, do you want Ty Kelly and T.J. Rivera competing for the last spot on the bench, or do you want to re-sign Kelly Johnson? The answer to this and many other questions will largely depend on how much money the Mets have to spend the offseason and/or what the Mets are able to obtain in exchange for Bruce.
Cespedes was a great start to the offseason, but the Mets work is far from over.
‘Tis the seaosn where the Mets name the player who is going to be the one who plays Santa Claus at the Holiday Christmas Party. This year the Mets went with the player who is quickly becoming the ace of the staff, the face of the franchise, and one of the more beloved Mets on the team – Noah Syndergaard.
The Mets should not go with Syndergaard to play Santa Claus this year. No, it has nothing to do with the thought of Santa Thor throwing pieces of coal at naughty kids and Mr. Met who are standing 60’6″ away. It has nothing to do with the idea of seeing Santa Thor wear a viking helmet instead of a red cap. It has nothing to do with Santa Thor going with the Yule Lads interpretation of Christmas instead of our traditional Santa Clause. It also has nothing to do with the Santa Curse that claimed Steven Matz as one of its victims last year:
Look if anyone can pull a Daniel Murphy and beat the curse, it is certainly Santa Thor.
No, the real reason why Syndergaard shouldn’t play Santa Thor is because he is the one player that all kids are going to want to meet.
Santa is a celebrity in his own right, and you can have literally anyone play him on the team, and the kids will love him. Naturally, you don’t want to pick Travis d’Arnaud because that’s just begging for trouble. However, there is no reason you can’t pick a lesser player like a Ty Kelly or a Josh Edgin to play Santa. Heck, you can even choose Jay Horowitz for what it’s worth.
By doing that, you allow the kids to get to meet Santa and Syndergaard. They get to meet both of their heroes from the artcic north, and it will make for a much better story and Christmas for each and every one of those children. For that reason, and yes the Santa Curse (knock on every piece of wood withing a three mile radius), Syndergaard should not play Santa Thor this year.
You may find this very hard to believe, but there was a time when Eric Campbell was actually a fan favorite. It happened. Back in 2014, Campbell was called up to a Mets team that was going nowhere, and he hit. At one point in June, he was actually hitting .302/.360/.442. Fans loved the story of a local kid who was drafted in the eighth round who was making the most of an improbable call-up to the major leagues at the age of 27.
Campbell would have hot stretches here and there in the 2014 season, and he would finish the year with a respectable .263/.322/.358 batting line. That batting line coupled with the fact that Campbell was able to play every position in the infield and both corner outfield spots showed he had the chance to be a bench player in the major leagues.
Unfortunately for Campbell, it was all downhill from there. While very advanced stats would say his exit velocity suggested he should be a better hitter, Campbell’s numbers continuously dropped. He would go from being a fan favorite to being a player who Mets fans took as a symbol of everything that was wrong with the team. That reached its apex when Campbell was batting in the middle of the lineup with John Mayberry, Jr. on a 2015 Mets team that was letting the season slip away due to injuries, a putrid offense, and a front office not willing to pull the trigger on a deal to rescue the season. Somehow, someway, Campbell would be the player that fans would direct their ire.
Frankly, it wasn’t always fair. Campbell was a guy who did whatever was asked of him and more. He would actually try to make himself a capable catcher to make himself as viable an option as he possibly could to the Mets. You can say whatever you want about Campbell, but the fact is, he did everything he could possibly do to take advantage of every ounce of his ability to become the best baseball player he could possibly be.
And there would be some highlights. He would have his first hit, RBI, and home run. He would actually steal home in a game. He made some nice plays in the field, especially this season when David Wright went down. He also showed the ability to come through in the clutch as a pinch hitter:
Despite these highlights, Cambpell struggled in the majors hitting just .221/.312/.311 over the course of three abbreviated seasons. What was frustrating about that is he would go down to AAA, and he would rake. In AAA, Campbell was actually a .322/.429/.488 hitter. There is a term for a player like this. Eric Campbell is a AAAA player – dominates AAA but just can’t do it at the major league level.
And with that, Campbell is where he belongs. Campbell just signed a deal to join the Hashin Tigers of the Japanese Leagues. It is where he belongs as a players, and he should help his new team in their attempt to win their first Japanese Series Championship since 1985. No matter what happens this season, hopefully Campbell can carve out a nice career for himself in Japan like Tuffy Rhodes did. Judging from his time with the Mets, you know Campbell is going to do all he can to make that happen.
And I wish him well. He may not have been one of the greatest Mets, but he is a player that has always stuck out for doing all he could do to make it as a major leaguer. If you took a step back from his struggles, it was easy to admire the work ethic and his willingness to do whatever the team needed him to do. He deserved more love from fans. Hopefully, he finds that love and that success he was looking for in the Japanese Leagues.
Good Luck Eric Campbell.
With Yoenis Cespedes back in the fold, the Mets have to do what they probably would have had to do even if Cespedes signed elsewhere in free agency. The Mets are going to have to trade an outfielder.
Because Michael Conforto still has a ton of potential, and because of how cheap he is, the Mets are not trading him. Due to the lack of center field options, the Mets are not going to be terribly inclined to trade away Juan Lagares and his Gold Glove any time soon. Therefore, the Mets are left with the option of trading away either Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce.
Keep in mind that even without Cespedes back, the Mets still have a lot of holes. Presumably, they need a backup catcher, bullpen help, a veteran starter, and maybe even another bat on the bench. By trading Granderson or Bruce, you may be able to sure up one or more of those holes. Based upon the reports that are out there, it seems more teams are interested in Granderson meaning that you can possibly get more in a return for Granderson.
Normally, you would trade away the player that would get you the best return. However, these are not normal circumstances. This is a team that has World Series aspirations. And with the Mets finding themselves in that situation, it is absolutely imperative they keep Granderson over Bruce for a myriad of reasons.
For starters, Granderson is just the better player. Despite Granderson struggling most of the year, he managed to hit .237/.335/.464 with 30 homers and 59 RBI. For his part, Bruce was having a career year before joining the Mets. Upon coming to the Mets, Bruce struggled, and his final line was .250/.309/.506 with 33 homers and 99 RBI. Before pointing to RBI, remember Granderson spent much of the year hitting leadoff and Bruce spent most of his year hitting behind OBP machine Joey Votto. With that Bruce had more opportunities to drive runners in. When eliminating RBI from the equation, you see Granderson hits just as many homers while getting on base more frequently. Simply put, he’s the better hitter.
Granderson is also more versatile in the lineup. For most of Granderson’s career, he has been an effective leadoff hitter, and he was the leadoff hitter for a 2015 Mets team that won the National League pennant. As we saw last year, Granderson can also hit cleanup. Having a player with that type of comfort in completely different spots in the lineup is rare. Interestingly enough, the Mets may need a player like that in their lineup. Knowing how Terry Collins operates, Jose Reyes is going to leadoff on the days he does play in place of David Wright. However, on the days Reyes does not play, the Mets best choice to lead off is going to be Granderson. In fact, given the fact Granderson has has a .342 OBP the past three years as compared to Reyes’ .321 OBP during that same stretch, Granderson should really be the Mets leadoff hitter next year.
Additionally, Granderson gives the Mets more defensive versatility. Heading into the 2017 season, the Mets have no real clear-cut choice for an everyday center fielder. Sure, Lagares will likely play against left-handed pitching. However, when there is a right-handed pitcher on the mound, the choice boils down to Granderson and Conforto. Last season, Collins proved [that he hates Conforto] he is more comfortable with Granderson in center. With that being the case, Granderson’s presence on the team would open more opportunities for Conforto to play everyday. With Bruce, the Mets would be subject to Collins’ whims as to when to play young players, which based upon his history, he doesn’t play them.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Granderson is a leader in the clubhouse. He is a veteran that has been a part of winning teams, and he is a player that seems generally beloved by his teammates. He is also a good person that devotes a lot of time and energy to charity work. Anytime you lose a person of this magnitude, your team is worse off for it. This isn’t to say Bruce isn’t a good person. In fact, there is evidence of Bruce doing copious amounts of charity work and helping people himself. The difference between Granderson and Bruce is Granderson is a leader in the clubhouse, and Granderson has proved he can play in New York.
Ultimately, that’s why you keep Granderson. You know he can help this team achieve its goal of winning a World Series. He certainly will do more for the Mets in 2017 than Bruce or for whomever the Mets could acquire in a trade for either player. With that being the case, the Mets have little choice but to bring back Granderson.
With the Mets naming Juan Lagares as untouchable this offseason, it seems that the team may finally be prioritizing defense, at least a little, this offseason. Despite Lagares having had an injury plagued year in 2016, he returned to his Gold Glove form, and he was one of the best defensive center fielders in all of baseball, but according to DRS, he wasn’t the best. Can you name that player and all the players who had the highest DRS at their positions in the NL East in 2016? Good luck!
Heading into the 2015 season, the Mets were finally putting a team on the field they believed could compete for the World Series. However, by exposing and losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets made it clear Logan Verrett was not going to be a part of those plans. Boy were they wrong.
By sheer luck, Verrett would find his way back to the Mets. First, he would be used as a bullpen arm for a team that needed depth in its bullpen. However, it would not be until August that Verrett would really help the Mets out.
Back in August, the Mets needed a pitcher to make a couple of spot starts in place of Matt Harvey. Harvey was a year removed from Tommy John surgery, and he was hitting his innings limits. Verrett would step into the rotation, and he would pitch better than anyone could have imagined. He allowed only four hits and one earned in Colorado of all places. He would make three more starts before the season ended allowing Harvey and Jacob deGrom to get some well earned and well needed rest before the Mets headed to the postseaon.
That well rested rotation, especially deGrom and Harvey, pitched great in the postseason. If not for a couple of blown saves, the Mets may very well have been World Series Champions. The Mets may not have even been in that position had Verrett not proven himself to be so effective as a spot starter. It allowed the rotation to be as fresh and as dominant as possible. With that Verrett played an enormous role for the Mets first pennant winning team in 15 years.
Unfortunately, Verrett wasn’t as effective as a spot starter in 2016. That made his spot on the 40 man roster tenuous. His spot became even more tenuous with the emergence of Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. That doesn’t mean Verrett no longer knows how to pitch, nor does it mean he cannot be a valuable contributor for a playoff team. We know much different.
No, it was just Verrett’s time to move onto another team. Fortunately for him, he is finding himself on a team in Baltimore where he can pitch for a postseason contender. He is also on a team that has room in both the rotation and the bullpen. He is also playing for a Baltimore team that had initially taken him in the Rule 5 Draft. Ultimately, Baltimore is where he belongs at the moment. He belongs on a team that wants him, has room for him, and has a real chance at the postseason.
Verrett should be an important part of an Orioles team with postseason aspirations just like he was with the 2015 Mets. Remember that 2015 run would not have been possible without Verrett, and for that, Mets fans should be grateful. Moreover, Mets fans should root for him wherever he goes. I know I will.
Good luck in Baltimore Logan Verrett.
Right now, anything is possible for the Mets next season because Yoenis Cespedes signed a four year $110 million contract to remain with the team. Seriously, nothing can be ruled out.
We should see fancier cars. The team will certainly have state of the art waffle makers at Spring Training. Almost assuredly, there is no way the Mets will be able to keep Cespedes off the golf course. There will certainly be interesting walk-up music this year. After which, we will most likely see one of the many epic bat flips Cespedes has at his disposal.
More importantly, the Mets will have a player who could put a stamp down as being one of the most dynamic outfielders in Mets history. That is no small statement considering Darryl Strawberry played at a Hall of Fame caliber level with the Mets, and Carlos Beltran furthered his chances of becoming a Hall of Famer during his time in Flushing.
And with that, anything is possible in 2017. That goes double when you consider Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz will be rejoining Noah Syndergaard in the starting rotation next season. Between the pitching and Cespedes bat in the middle of the lineup, the Mets could beat anybody in 2017. Name the team, and at a minimum, the Mets have a good chance at beating them next year. That’s how much the pitching and Cespedes mean to this team.
For 2017, and the ensuing three seasons, the Mets are going to have a chance to compete for a World Series because they have the pitching and they have La Potencia. This team is now primed for a run like they were from 1984 – 1990. There is a World Series champion lurking in the Mets clubhouse right now. It’s only a matter of time before it happens. This is how much Cespedes meant to this team.
With that said, everyone, and I mean everyone should go out and buy a Cespedes jersey to not only show appreciation to Cespedes for staying, but also for the Wilpons for paying the money required to bring Cespedes back to the Mets. This organization is finally starting to spend like a big market club again, and it is happening at time when the Mets need it most.
After protecting Amed Rosario, Tomas Nido, Chris Flexen, Marcos Molina, and Wuilmer Becerra from the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets 40 man roster now stands at precisely 40 players. This means that now when the Mets look to add a player in free agency, they will have to cut one of the players off of their 40 man roster. And yes, the Mets will have to remove some players off of the 40 man roster.
From all indications, even if the Mets do no re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, they are pursuing other outfielders to replace him. With the possible suspension of Jeurys Familia looming, it is likely, the Mets will have to add one, if not two, late inning relievers. The team may be interested in bringing back Jerry Blevins or finding another LOOGY. In addition to those moves, there are some other moves or upgrades the Mets may make this offseason. With that in mind, here are some players whose spot on the 40 man roster is tenuous:
Heading into the 2015 season, Edgin was supposed to be the Mets LOOGY for years to come. Those plans changed when he needed Tommy John surgery causing him to miss the entire 2015 season.
He returned in 2016, and he was not the same pitcher having lost velocity off of all of his pitches. He went from having a mid-90s fastball to having a low 90s fastball. As a result, Edgin got hit around. In AAA, he had a 3.51 ERA and a 1.650 WHIP. In his limited stints in the majors, he had a 5.23 ERA and a 1.548 WHIP. Another complication for Edgin is he is arbitration eligible meaning the Mets are presumably going to have to pay him a lot more to keep him on the roster.
On a positive note, Edgin still did get left-handed batters out at the major league level. In a very small sample size (20 plate appearances), lefties only hit .235 off of him with no extra base hits. It is a big reason why he was on the Wild Card Game roster when the Mets faced a San Francisco Giants team stacked with lefties. Between his ability to get lefties out, the hope his arm could improve a second year removed from surgery, and his still having options available, there is still some hope for Edgin.
Gilmartin has gone from an important bullpen arm the Mets acquired in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft to a player who is seemingly lost his ability to get batters out.
Despite Gilmartin being a valuable long man in the pen, the Mets had him start the year in AAA to become starting pitching depth. In 18 starts and one relief appearance, he was 9-7 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.425 WHIP. On a couple of occasions, he was recalled, and he pitched exclusively in relief for the Mets. Things did not go well for him in those 14 relief appearances as Gilmartin had a 7.13 ERA and a 1.585 WHIP. Between his performance and his having to go on the minor league disabled list with shoulder soreness, it was a lost year for Gilmartin.
Some of the struggles of Gilmartin were the result of his uneven usage between AAA and the majors. The other issue was his shoulder soreness, which for now, appears to no longer be an issue. Another strong factor in his favor is the fact that he is not yet arbitration eligible meaning the Mets do not have to pay him much to see if he returns to form. His having options available is also a positive. The Mets could still keep him on the roster with the idea of returning him to the role he was most successful.
There is perhaps no Mets pitcher that evokes such split opinions than Goeddel. For years, there were people who saw a pitcher that was able to go out there and get outs. There were others who saw a guy who had fringy stuff that was more the beneficiary of good luck than good pitching. After the 2016 season, most people agree that Goeddel was a liability for the Mets.
In 36 appearances for the Mets, Goeddel had a 4.54 ERA and a 1.318 WHIP. It should be noted this was a big departure from how he had previously pitched with the Mets. In 2014 and 2015, Goeddel had a combined 2.48 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. His prior success, his pre-arbitration status, and his having options remaining, gives him a chance to remain on the 40 man roster.
How he is still on the 40 man roster is anyone’s guess. Entering the 2016 season, the Mets had it with him, and they sent him a message by making him one of the first people sent down to minor league Spring Training. Montero responded by pitching so poorly in Las Vegas that he was demoted to Binghamton. It was only due a rash of pitching injuries that he got a shot at pitching in the majors again, and like his other opportunities, he squandered that. Still, despite all that, the Mets cut Eric Campbell and Jim Henderson, AND exposed Paul Sewald to the Rule 5 Draft all for the sake of holding onto Montero that much longer. Eventually, you have to assume Montero is going to get cut from the roster. It is only a matter of when.
Strangely enough, the Mets had to make a decision on whether to expose Verrett to the Rule 5 Draft or to remove a player from the 40 man roster to protect him. The Mets chose the former, and lost him for a period of time. After Verrett struggled with the Rangers, the Mets took him back where Verrett pitched well out of the bullpen and the rotation for the Mets.
The Mets envisioned Verrett succeeding in that role in 2016, but it wasn’t to be. He wasn’t as effective replacing Matt Harvey in the rotation as he was in 2015. He went from a 3.63 ERA as a starter to a 6.45 ERA. He performed so poorly out of the rotation that the Mets gave Montero a chance to start over him down the stretch of the season.
Still, there was a silver lining to Verrett’s 2016 season. In his 23 relief appearances, he had a 2.84 ERA. When you consider his reliever ERA, how well he performed in 2015, his pre-arbitration status, and his having options remaining, there is still a chance for Verrett to remain on the 40 man roster.
Thinking of Plawecki being on the bubble is a bit odd especially when he is only 25 years old, has shown himself to be a terrific pitch framer, and he has only had 409 plate appearances at the major league level.
The problem there is Plawecki hasn’t hit at all in those 409 plate appearances. In his brief major league career, Plawecki is a .211/.287/.285 hitter. That’s worse than what Rene Rivera could give you, and Rivera has firmly established himself as Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher. Worse yet, Plawecki is not the defensive catcher Rivera is.
When you also consider Tomas Nido‘s breakout season in St. Lucie possibly forcing the Mets to protect him a year earlier than anticipated, the Mets are going to be faced with the dilemma of carrying four catchers on their 40 man roster. With Nido perhaps passing him as the catcher of the future, and Travis d’Arnaud having shown he has more offensive ability than Plawecki, it is quite possible, Plawecki could find himself having run out of chances with the Mets organization.
With all that said, it is hard to believe the Mets moving on from Plawecki this soon is his career.
This is an interesting situation for Kelly to be in considering he was signed to be minor league depth last season. With a rash of injuries and some hot hitting in AAA, Kelly finally reached the majors after his long seven year odyssey in the minor leagues.
After some time, the Mets actually discovered who Kelly was. Despite his switch hitting skills, he really could only hit from the right-hand side against major league pitching. He was versatile, but his best position was left field. Overall, his main asset down the stretch in September was as a pinch runner. He was mostly used as a pinch runner because of the dearth of team speed on the Mets roster. With all the said, he did make the Wild Card Game roster, and he got a pinch hit single off Madison Bumgarner.
Basically, all the reasons you can make for him being kept on the roster or being cut from the roster are the same exact things you could have said about Campbell, and he just signed a deal to play in Japan.
Overall, it is hard to guesstimate how many of these players are going to remain on the roster because we are not sure how many moves the Mets are going to make this offseason. Normally, you would say Montero was sure to be cut, but he is more and more looking like the pitching version of Campbell . . . there is just no getting rid of the guy. Still, as we learned from Campbell, there is going to become a breaking point, and that point may well be when the Mets sign enough players this offseason to take them from the Wild Card back to being World Series contenders.
Editor’s Note: a version of this story was originally run on Mets Merized Online