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Can’t Bear To See Smoker And Bradford Go

Each and every offseason, I have seen the Mets part with players who are easy to root for.  In my life, I have seen the Mets part ways with Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Daniel Murphy, and many more.  Having seen my some of my all-time favorite players depart has never made it easy to see the team depart with some of the players I have come to respect and root for during their time in a Mets uniform – no matter how long it lasted.

Recently, the Mets parted with two relievers, each of whom played less than two full seasons in a Mets uniform.  Presumably, the moves were necessary as the Mets needed to make room on the 40 man roster for the newly re-signed Jay Bruce and Jose Reyes.  Still, seeing those two relievers, you question if the Mets made the right decision.

The first reliever the Mets designated for assignment was Chasen Bradford.

In retrospect, it is interesting the Mets were even in a position to DFA Bradford.  For a number of years, he had been Rule 5 eligible with the rest of MLB not giving him much of a look.  The Mets didnt’ either, and if not for the series of injuries that beset the Mets this past season, it’s possible Bradford would have departed the team as a minor league free agent without getting so much as a chance.

Well, Bradford got his chance, and he proved he’s a MLB caliber pitcher.  In 28 appearances, he was 2-0 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.277 WHIP.  After a somewhat tough July, he went on a 12 appearance stretch where he allowed just one run in 16.2 innings.

In fact, from August until the end of the season, he had a 2.93 ERA in 27.2 innings over 23 appearances.  During that stretch, he had amassed 20 scoreless appearances, and he had nine appearances over an inning in length.  In sum, Bradford showed he could go out there and get Major League batters out no matter the situation.

There other reliever designated for assignment was Josh Smoker.

Smoker’s story is one of perseverance.  After being the Nationals 2007 first round draft pick, he would suffer a torn rotator cuff and labrum.  This would cause the Nationals to release him thereby putting his professional baseball career in jeopardy.

A healthy Smoker proved himself in the Frontier League leading to his getting signed by the Mets.  Two years later, Smoker found himself part of a bullpen that helped pitch the Mets to the postseason.  Given his talent and perseverance, it was not surprise Smoker would be a part of the 2017 Opening Day bullpen.

What was a surprise was how Terry Collins used him.  Really, his manager showed a willful disregard for a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues.  It was almost as if Collins learned nothing from his handling of Johan Santana and Jim Henderson.  Eventually, Smoker had another shoulder injury.  Thankfully, it was not as serious as it would not require seasons ending surgery.

Once again, Smoker would have to re-prove himself, and re-prove himself he did.  In the second half, Smoker was 0- 0 with a 2.63 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 in 22 appearances.  Perhaps of more importance, Smoker found himself a capable pitcher against left-handed batters making him an even greater weapon in the bullpen.

However, like Bradford, Smoker will be a weapon in someone else’s bullpen.

After being designated for assignment, Bradford signed a minor league deal with the Mariners.  To risk not losing him on waivers, Smoker was traded to the Pirates for minor league left-handed reliever Daniel Zamora.  With that, the Mets have ridded themselves of two relievers who not only provided themselves capable of getting out Major League batters, but also two relievers who showed perseverance in getting themselves to this point.  That’s no small thing to lose.

As we learned during Player’s Weekend, Bradford’s nickname is Black Bear, and Smoker’s nickname is Brown Bear.  While it may seem a bit much, considering their nicknames, it’s fair to say it’s difficult to bear knowing neither pitcher will be a part of the Mets next season.

Fortunately for both of them, they are now with new organizations who likely value them all the more.  They deserve that, and all Mets fans should wish them the best of luck.

39 thoughts on “Can’t Bear To See Smoker And Bradford Go”

  1. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Nimmo is here partly for he is Sandy’s first number one pick.

    There are at least five relievers that Sandy obtained last July where a least two should break camp in March to begin 2018 in Flushing.

    Now they say that despite the Mets only have one lefty starter in Matz yet Matz is probably headed for the pen.

    Wheeler will be on a short leash, they will have Montero, Lugo and Gsellman and Wheeler may lose his starter slot.

    deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Montero, Lugo, Gsellman, Matz, Ramos, Familia, Sewald are eleven…

    Not only did they get a nice, low HR stat reliever prospect for Smoker, they got a guy from Matz’s hometown where there maybe something related to Matz.

    THEN THE PIRATES THREW IN CASH!
    I NEVER SAW A DEAL OF THIS MAGNITUDE WHERE THERE WAS CASH!

    Maybe not $5M but maybe significant to Jeff Wilpon.

    BRADFORD & SMOKER:

    I had watched Bradford’s minor numbers for at least two years.
    I always check the pipeline.

    Bradford’s numbers never impressed me vs other Mets relievers in similiar leagues.

    I never saw optimism he would get called up yet he seemed to have stayed healthy and had lots of appearances.

    I was extremely surprised if not shocked at his MLB numbers, despite TC.

    Smoker brought me hope that as that previous #1, and you hit it, great perseverance that I was just there for him as a himsn being.

    Smoker was used infrequently in the summer of 2016, the Mets dumped other lefties in Gilmartin and Elgin yet Smoker just did not seem to consistently keep it down, stay away from Broadway and have a low enough HR rate that Sandy finds the most important stat.

    Many times I hoped that Smoker would reach a new level yet he gave up key hits.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      With Smoker’s stuff and strike out ability, Mets really undervalued him.

      1. Gothamist says:

        Sorry dude, you are way off!
        Too many swings and misses on your plate appearances on this 2018 roster.
        Too many blown saves in your approach here.
        You are given up many home runs in this debate…

        Ask your self at least this:

        Look how important pitching will be?
        (for a situational hitting approach, how many projected Sacrifice flies does Cespedes, Flores, Bruce, Conforto, Gonzalez/Smith etc have vs playoff teams since 2014?)
        Look at the potentials of the other pitchers on the forty man roster?
        Look How many pitchers they have?
        (the eleven plus Robles, Swarzak, Callahan, Rhames, Flexen and the two on the 40 men roster who will probably be ready in August…

        NUMBER ONE!!!

        SANDY HAS A BOTTOM LINE OF RELIEVERS OF A VERY LOW HOME RUN RATE AND SMOKER HAD TEN LAST YEAR!
        Sandy, at max would have tolerated four!!

        THIS IS SANDY’S 2017 Jerry Reece year…
        This is his team and a low HR rate is his to decide.
        Especially for a highly situational, many times one batter need for the only lefty with heat…

        Sandy could not get a prospect for Bradford or wanted Bradford to choose where he would go next…

        Ask yourself finally, AM I TOO EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED to these inspirational stories? Let us root for Smoker in Pittsburgh and feel jealous of Bradford that he is in Seattle!!

        BUT YOU HAVE A HUGE DISCONNECT ON MULTIPLE FRONTS ON THIS ONE…

        You have a great feel for game time decisions and the analysis of the prospects!

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Let me ask you this about your rebuttal. Did you even consider for a second those two pitchers were cut while Rafael Montero and Matt Reynolds remained on the roster?

          1. Gothamist says:

            There is no basis for them to stay. Smoker does not have instant location to be a trliever right now.

            Bradford played during garbage time last year. Maybe he lacks a plus pitch or maybe he does not have enough stuff to put batters away.

            Syndergaard has yet to show that also. (Syndergaard’s decision to build up to 103mph was the reaction to 2016’s depressing outings of high pitch counts for he could not put batters away on cue via a ground ball or K). I know it left me exasperated!

            Reynolds, unfortunately is the only competent back up short stop outside of the aging Reyes. If he has value it is in his calm even keel demeanor and his fielding versatility. Unfortunately he was a high pick of SA’s and that is a factor of not giving up on him sooner.

            Montero when not intimidated has a higher ceiling, as a stater, had a good stretch last year, poor finish and has shown in the past great accuracy on the fringes.

            David Eiland preaches that and Montero deserves at least one spring training with Eiland.? i think so

            Please do not under emphasize that SA, Omar, TC and especially Eiland and Callaway HAVE BEEN WATCHING CONSIDERABLE TAPE on everyone including Bradford and Smoker.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Montero deserves nothing. Last year, he had his best ever stretch in the majors. That translated to an ERA over 5.00.

            Teams do not carry three SS on their MLB roster. As such, Reynolds, who’s on the 40 man bubble anyway, is superfluous.

            Smoker and Bradford, especially Smoker, had a realistic shot to make the Opening Day bullpen.

            Smoker has great strikeout stuff, and he was better learning how to harness it as evidenced by his great second half.

            Throw in Smoker and Bradford having options remaining, and they were the better choice to keep on the 40 man.

  2. Gothamist says:

    Daddio, can you please go to BBREF and can you offer us a better analysis (than ours) on your scouting report of :

    -TYLER BASHLOR
    -MARCUS MOLINA
    -COREY OSWALT
    -CHRIS FLEXEN

    What stands out to your or SA’s criteria?

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYM/2017-roster.shtml

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I haven’t offered a scouting report on those pitchers. To do so would be a very long post, and I think doing that right now is premature because none of them will likely be on the Opening Day roster.

      1. Gothamist says:

        Just Tyler?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Quick Synopsis: High 90s fastball. Good, not great, curve. Closer potential. Needs much better command

  3. OldBackstop says:

    — Smoker has a major league ERA of 5.02 and is entering his Age 29. At least he is a lefty.

    — Bradford is a righty and entering Age 28 with only 33 major league innings.

    We traded last year for a buttload of young relievers, and if we are healthy in the SPs, we need mid relief work for them.

    If they had value, they would have been traded.

    Can’t say the Mets didn’t give them a career, they aren’t 23 years old.. Who knows, maybe we’ll see them back, especially Smoker as a lefty.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      1. Just dismissing Smoker because he’s 29 completely disregards his missing years to a shoulder injury, his having great stuff, and his great second half.

      2. Unlike two of the players not released, Bradford showed he can play on the majors.

      3. Who cares how many RHP relief prospects the Mets obtained? And if you’re really counting, Drew Smith and Gerson Bautista are the only ones who stand out. The rest? They could hope to be Bradford at this point.

      4. Smoker was traded.

      1. Five Tool Ownership says:

        Bottom line: Bradford has no plus pitch, his work during garbage time last year is not an indication of much and Sandy demands low HR relievers.

        Smoker will start in Pittsburgh, he does not have istant reliever location.

        SANDY WORKED HARD TO PICK THESE PROSPECTS AND CERTAINLY WEIGHED OFFERS AND PROSPECTS FROM OTHER TEAMS BEFORE HE DEALT, WALKER, DUDA, GRANDY, BRUCE AND REED…

        TO DISMISS ALL OF THESE PROSPECTS FOR A GUY WHO GAVE UP 10HRS – a huge dealbreaker is very confusing.

        BESIDES THEY MUST HAVE WAITED FOR THE CASH THEY GOT FROM PITTSBURGH IN THE SMOKER DEAL TO THEN SIGN TODD FRAZIER…

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Bradford didn’t have a plus pitch, but he located well.

          Smoker has the stuff to be a closer.

          The cash from signing Smoker was nowhere near enough to make the difference in whether the Mets could or could not sign Frazier or

          1. Gothamist says:

            Smoker will start in Pittsburgh.

            Maybe we should have kept them both?
            and instead of relievers had SA trade for ….?

            What would you have liked Sandy to trade last July for ?

            only Cash and salary assumptions?

            of course the cash they got for Smoker was very little …
            It was Smoker and a coupon for the prospect and cash!

  4. Gothamist says:

    too funny!

    “BESIDES THEY MUST HAVE WAITED FOR THE CASH THEY GOT FROM PITTSBURGH IN THE SMOKER DEAL TO THEN SIGN TODD FRAZIER…”

    The Todd Frazier deal is ideal for the Met’s financial troubled owners..

    I like his five per year SFs,
    his OBP even with a 25% K rate and low Avg.,
    his Runs scored per game are way above average
    and
    he is a lifetime plus fielder.

    Todd Frazier will have made in his career $39M when he is a FA again in 2020 and I bet if he does not excel in the next two years that it was not because he did not give it his all!

    Excellent move, A-

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s an A+ move. It significantly improved the team.

      1. Gothamist says:

        It is an A+ move only for the reason that the Mets could not afford better, as in:

        OTHER THAN THAT IT WAS NOT A+

        I DO PREFER….

        Improving vs declining fielding results
        Improving vs declining power
        Get a .260 – .290 hitter
        Getting far less strikeouts
        A third baseman with versatility to play SS or second
        Someone younger than 31 vs older than 32

        Let us not argue like an arbitration hearing and have everyone speak of negatives yet I do not see this as an A+ acquisition.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          The Mets left side of the infield defense has gone from the worst in baseball with Cabrera and Reyes to the best with Rosario and Frazier.

          Frazier has improved his walk rate and has a BABIP suggesting he’s due for an uptick in stats. He’s going to deepen the lineup.

          More than that, he’s a smart player who is great in the clubhouse.

  5. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Agreed,
    Cabrera will be a much better second baseman than Starlin Castro!
    Better leader, more clutch and be Cespedes’s security blanket..

    1. metsdaddy says:

      According to the numbers, Castro is much better at second than Cabrera.

      As for leader, well, clubhouse completely fell apart when he was the key vet on this team.

      1. Five Tool Ownership says:

        WELL NO ONE CAN BE THAT GOD, THAT LEADER STARLIN CASTRO WAS TO THE CUBS, YANKEES, now Marlins BUT OTHERS CAN BE a KIND OF LEADER SOMETIMES I guess….?

        “I think we underestimated his leadership ability and influence in the clubhouse,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “You see it in the level of his play, the determination in his play.”

        ————-

        That told Collins a lot, much of it stuff he already knew. It reaffirmed one point: Cabrera is a leader.

        “…. so he took himself out, which is hard for him to do because he loves to play,” Collins said. “For me, that’s part of leading. He could have gone out, had a bad day and nobody would have said a word.”

        For Collins, that represented another example of the value of the 30-year-old

        —————

        According to his double-play partner, the guy is priceless. “What gets lost with scouts is that shortstop intuition: where to be, how to read swings, understanding situations, knowing where guys are being positioned. That’s what he does well. That’s more about being a veteran and being a smart player.” Neil Walker

        ——————-

        “No one doubts Cabrera’s value as a veteran and smart player.”

        “Or leader. And as a leader, he likes to have fun.”

        “Always been that way. I love what I’m doing, love being here, enjoying the game, enjoying my teammates. I try to have fun,” said Cabrera,

        ———-

        “Asdrubal can help us all around the infield,” Alderson said in a statement.

        “The season didn’t end the way we wanted, but that didn’t stop him from playing hard right to the very last out of the season. Asdrubal is a great tutor to our younger players and a leader in the clubhouse. We’re happy to have him back.” SA

        ————-

        But looking the other way doesn’t suit Asdrubal Cabrera.

        “So when Yoenis Cespedes got doubled off at second base earlier this season — a careless gaffe that looked worse when he didn’t bother to slide — he found Cabrera waiting in the dugout to deliver a few pointed words.

        The veteran shortstop did so without hesitation, without regard for the stature of his peer. It did not go unnoticed, one of the many deeds that have made Cabrera into perhaps the strongest and most respected voice on the Mets.”

        “It’s always good to have people like that on your team,” third baseman Jose Reyes said. “You’ll always need that.”

        —————

        “The demands of a grueling season have revealed much about these Mets, including the pivotal role that Cabrera has played in their improbable late-summer resurgence. Without his willingness to grind through a knee injury that has lingered since spring training, there would be no push for the wild card, no defying of broken down bodies, no pleasant reprieve after a summer of pain.”

        “The way his body is feeling right now, he could be sitting and saying, ‘You know what? I feel like [expletive],’ ” Reyes said. “But the fact that he’s on the field and everyone’s seeing that from him, it’s like whoa, let’s follow that.”

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Cabrera – “No, I will not do what is best for the team. I refuse to move off SS. Either pick up my option or trade me now.”

          Cabrera “Sure, I’ll play 3B if it means you get me out of here.”

          Oh, and by all accounts, the Mets clubhouse fell apart after Bruce and Grandy were traded.

          Throw in all the quotes you want. Facts are facts.

      2. Five Tool Ownership says:

        “According to the numbers, Castro is much better at second than Cabrera.”

        We will find out in November

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Cabrera is not good anymore. Castro, 27, can still improve.

      3. Five Tool Ownership says:

        The numbers:

        Cabrera 243 starts at second base – a plus 10 Rtot and only six errors in those 243.

        Castro, 297 games started a second base, a plus 6 Rtot, yet 27 not 31 years old and 29 errors at second to Cabrera’s 6.

        (does Starlin Castro depreciate further fielding second in the next four years until he reaches Cabrera’s current age of 31?)

        In 2017 Castro dropped to a -4 Rtot where Wilmer Flores was a -3 at second base in the last three years combined.

        Castro went from a +6 Rtot at second base in 2016 to a -4 Rtot in 2017 and lifetime:

        Castro is a -35 Rtot in all positions in seven seasons
        Cabrera is a -31 in eleven years and right now last two years 250 starts, 24 errors… 18 at SS
        Castro had all of his 21 errors at second base in 2016/2017 in 259 starts

        Castro, 297 games started a second base, six errors.

        In eleven years Cabrera has a total of 110 errors, two more than Castro at 108 for his first four years.

        1. Five Tool Ownership says:

          “Castro, 297 games started a second base, six errors.“

          correction

          Cabrera has those six errors (6) in (243) starts at second to Castro’s (29) errors in just 56 more games (297) started at second base.

        2. metsdaddy says:

          Errors are a really bad way to judge defense. They don’t count for the ability to get to balls, nor do they account for uneven official scoring.

          Also, the stats you cited lack context because there’s a significant difference in innings played.

  6. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Sometimes passion is not in the clubhouse but when we go clubbing…

    for example Starlin Castro:

    Not a case study on character, final nor definitive ….
    There are planes, trains, automobiles, blackouts and revolvers but no convictions….

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2015/02/24/cubs-starlin-castro-a-reluctant-leader/23956741/

    In wake of Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro’s connection to two separate gunfire incidents this offseason in the Dominican Republic, the 24 year-old has decided to move his family to Arizona.

    “I’ve got to move,” Castro said Friday during the Cubs Fan Convention. “I’ve got to do something that doesn’t create negative things. I’m not that kind of person.”

    In early December, Castro and his family were leaving a concert in Santiago when shots fired left three people injured. Just two weeks later on Dec. 27, Castro was detained at the office of the prosecutor for the city of Monte Cristi to be questioned for his alleged involvement in a shooting at a nightclub that injured six people.

    “People tried to say it was me,” Castro said. “Wrong place at the wrong time. We don’t try to make a problem or have a problem with anybody. We just went out to have fun.”

    It is not the first time Castro has been involved in controversy. In 2012, Castro was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his Chicago home last fall, although charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

    Was he married at the time?

    CHICAGO (CBS) — WBBM Newsradio has learned that Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman after a night of drinking last fall.

    As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports exclusively, the alleged victim is a Chicago woman in her 20s. No criminal charges have been filed, but Castro is reportedly wanted for questioning by Chicago Police.

    LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

    She claims that she was drinking with friends at a River North nightclub on the night of Sept. 29 when she met Castro.

    Sources say she and a friend left the bar at 3 a.m. and went to the 21-year-old Castro’s apartment on State Street nearby.

    According to the police report, the alleged victim said she blacked out.

    She told police she came to, and found the alleged offender – Castro, according to our sources – sexually assaulting her.

    The heavily redacted police report offers little information.

    It says that when she woke up she screamed and yelled at her alleged attacker, and left the apartment at about 5:30 a.m. getting a ride home from her friend.

    It would be 12 hours before the alleged victim would go to a hospital, and police would become involved.

    By then, it is believed that Castro was on a plane, heading home to the Dominican Republic for the off-season.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Did you forget the article I sent you about the actions of police in his area? How corrupt they are?

      As for the sexual assault, I’m not throwing aspersions anyone’s way, but Castro was never charged.

  7. Gothamist says:

    “Castros have collections of several cars on his list, which include Mercedes Benz, Range Rover, Rolls Royce, and many other autos, motorcycles and boats. It is said that he was talking about buying a plane and retaining a part time pilot”

    1. Five Tool Ownership says:

      I hope he does not go out clubbing in a boat off Miami Beach.
      If he does I hope he does not invite any ladies or bring his revolver.

      1. Five Tool Ownership says:

        https://nypost.com/2017/06/11/ex-basketball-phenom-busted-with-car-filled-with-loaded-guns/

        This guy also bought a Bentley (Rolls Royce) at a young age yet on his two occasions w guns, no one was hurt and there were no murders.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          The arguments you’re making is a stretch at best, and at worst, is malicious.

          The sad part this is all just to defend Cabrera. The same Cabrera who wasn’t willing to do everything he could to help the Mets last year. The same Cabrera who wanted out when things got hard. The same Cabrera who is deteriorating rapidly.

      2. metsdaddy says:

        I hope the Mets don’t hit a losing streak and Cabrera demands a trade or contract extension to continue playing second.

    2. metsdaddy says:

      That’s apropos of nothing

  8. Gothamist says:

    Now if Todd Frazier was only as modest and humble as others.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t know what that means

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