That’s right. Even though Curtis Granderson has had a real nice year, he’s not hitting lefties. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because he’s effectively been a platoon candidate throughout his career:
vs. RHP .269/.356/.504
vs. LHP .224/.294/.398
Now, since Terry Collins has an infatuation with leading off Juan Lagares, I would say this is a natural platoon. However, I shudder to think of Collins putting him in RF again with Yoenis Cespedes in center. Plus, Lagares is in that platoon with Conforto.
Last night, Michael Cuddyer played his first game since coming off the DL, and he played well. He was 2-4 with two runs scored. On the first run, he scored from second on Carlos Gonzalez’s strong arm. In the eighth, he stole a base. In sum, he looked healthy. If he’s really healthy, he creates a good problem to have.
He’s a professional hitter (an “ultimate pro“) with a career triple slash line of .277/.344/.462. Arguably, if healthy, he’s the best hitting OF currently on the team (I think it’s Cespedes). In his career, he’s been deadly against lefties to the tune of .288/.376/.495. I think it’s a no-brained for him to platoon with Granderson, at a minimum.
For his career, Cuddyer hits righties to the tune of .273/.330/.447. He’s much better against lefties. Here’s the Mets other OF options against righties (Granderson is above)
Yoenis Cespedes .277/.317/.478
Michael Conforto .206/.317/.382 (SSS)
Juan Lagares .253/.285/.336
What this tells us, is if Cuddyer is healthy, he needs to play everyday. I think it would be wise to ease him back, but I would not limit him to a strict platoon. This means, on offense alone, the OF against righties should be: Cuddyer LF, Cespedes CF, Granderson RF. Again, this indicates Conforto should be demoted.
If Cuddyer’s not healthy, then the Mets need to figure something out with Granderson in RF. He did come through the past few nights against a lefty, but that was more about the reliever than him.
I hope Cuddyer’s really healthy because he’ll be a huge boost to the offense as he was last night. If not, he should be Granderson’s caddy against lefties.
Right now, with all of these interchangeable parts, Collins has to earn his money by putting the best team on the field. He can’t gamble because there is so much to lose right now. If Cuddyer’s healthy, a lot of the risk is removed and it makes Collins’ job a lot easier. It also makes the Mets a better team.
I love steak. My steak of choice is the T-bone. I’ve been thinking of steak all day because: 1) I get to pick where we go out to eat tonight, and 2) David Wright‘s going to be a good guy and get steaks for the St. Lucie team:
Ummm yeah. Outback isn’t exactly outdoing Michael Cuddyer’s chicken. Outback is to steak like McDonalds is to Shake Shack. Sure, they’re both hamburgers, but one is in a different class than the other.
I’m not one to spend someone else’s money, but I’m sure Wright and his $20 million could afford something better than Outback. According to Yelp!, there are Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses within an hour of the ballpark. Now that’s a steak dinner.
Before making his choice, Wright should remember that one day Dom Smith may one day be his teammate, and he may be preventing Wright from accumulating throwing errors. If Wright doesn’t go the Ruth’s Chris route, he can at least say he’s not providing steak, but rather he’s providing this:
All kidding aside, I think it’s awesome Wright is buying the minor leaguers dinner. Minor Leaguers notoriously make little money, so I’m sure this meal is welcome. Also, this will give them some additional time to pick his brain to see what it takes to be a great major league player.
Seemingly, Wright has nothing to gain from this, and this is what makes it such a great gesture. With all the negativity going on in and out of the world of sports, it’s great to hear a story like this. It makes it easier to root for Wright. It’ll be better rooting for him when he’s back in New York.
Reyes hasn’t killed the Mets since he left. In 22 games against them, he’s only hit .229/.298/.325. Last night, he went 1-4 and was picked off of first base. However since his departure, the Mets have been unable to resolve their SS situation. We were reminded of this as Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] played SS twice (is he becoming Bartolo Colon’s personal SS?) and Ruben Tejada, who was terrible in the field on Saturday, played once against the Rays. Overall, since Reyes left the Mets after the 2011 season, here are the Mets’ SS by games played (as per Baseball Almanac):
- Ruben Tejada – 281
- Omar Quntanilla – 168
- Wilmer Flores – 125
- Ronny Cedeno – 27
- Justin Turner – 10
- Jordany Valdespin
- Eric Campbell – 2
- Wilfredo Tovar – 1
- David Wright – 1
This is why I begged the Mets to bring Reyes back to New York. It would at least end the pattern of: 1) give Tejada the job; 2) Tejada over exposed or not able to play SS everyday; 3) look for another poor solution and repeat. It’s insane that Quintanilla has played the second most games in the above list.
The Mets are in first place right now with a SS problem. The job, yet again, belongs to Tejada. As the information shows, it won’t be for long. This is why I hope the Mets make a move for a SS prior to the August 31 waiver trade deadline. I really hope that player is Reyes. I know we’re stuck with Tejada.
Rarely, if ever, do you see the Mets go all-in on a season. In fact, the only time I remember it happening was 1999 when Steve Phillips traded everyone to try to improve the team after just missing out on the playoffs in 1998.
Watching that 1999 team was probably the most fun I had watching baseball. With that season came so many highlights including the Al Leiter two-hitter in the Wild Card play-in game, Pratt’s All Folks, and the Grand Slam Single. The season ended cruelly with Kenny Rogers . . . .
If you remember, that year the Mets gave away Jason Isringhausen for Billy Taylor. As we know Taylor had no regular season impact and was left off the playoff roster. It also saw Octavio Dotel get called up too soon and stay in the majors too long to the tune of a 5.38 ERA. He was warming in the bullpen when Kenny Rogers . . . .
This year, the Mets are seemingly all-in like they were in 1999. They gave up their two best prospects who have not appeared in the majors this year. In exchange the Mets received two and a half months of Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes, who is leaving as a free agent. Because of deplorable offense, Michael Conforto was rushed to the majors, and the Mets won’t send him back down.
Look, I understand going all-in. It led to a run in 1999, and to a certain extent 2000. However, in order to go all-in, you don’t hedge your bets.
For starters, that means ending the innings limits nonsense. First of all, the underlying theorem was proven incorrect. Second, the rotation is set up nicely the rest of the year if it’s left unadulterated. Third, Steven Matz must go to the bullpen upon his return from the DL.
If the Mets make the playoffs, he will be in the bullpen anyway (if he makes the postseason roster). He can be like the 2006 Adam Wainwright or the 2008 David Price out there. This will help him and the Mets. If you put him in the rotation, you mess up the rotation and you endanger the opportunity that Matz can be effective in the postseason as a reliever.
If the Mets are truly all-in as their trades and treatment of Conforto suggest, Matz will be a reliever. If the Mets put him in the rotation and try spot starts or a six man rotation in September, then they should’ve sent down Conforto. You can’t go half way in being all-in.
Let’s hope no matter what they do, it works out to their benefit. Let’s also hope we’re talking potential postseason roster moves instead.
We all know Michael Cuddyer is about to be activated from the DL. As anticipated, he will return to a reduced role, which to his credit, Cuddyer is accepting. Mostly, it seems like Cuddyer will PH and play against tough lefties in place of Lucas Duda or Curtis Granderson.
What we don’t know is who is getting sent down to make room for Cuddyer: Eric Campbell or Michael Conforto. Sandy Alderson has made overtures that Conforto may stay up with the team. That’s a mistake.
The first reason is you’re looking to win now. Here is Conforto’s overall triple slash line: .222/.326/.389. I know it’s a small sample size, but with him being drafted last year, there’s not much more to go on. If he’s sent down, I anticipate, the Mets will replace him with Kelly Johnson against righties and Juan Lagares against lefties.
Against righties, Johnson has a career triple slash line of .243/.330/.420. Against lefties, Juan Lagares has a career triple slash line of .279/.325/.419. Admittedly, these numbers aren’t great (or even that good). However, these numbers are better than what Conforto is putting up right now. Also, if Cuddyer is playing against tough lefties in place of Granderson or Duda, you know the Mets will also bench Conforto.
The second reason is you’re going to have to send him down eventually. David Wright is beginning rehab games tonight. Whenever he’s ready to be activated (I’ll have update on this later), another player will have to be sent down. At that time, we know it’ll be the winner of the Conforto/Campbell showdown from today. Wouldn’t it behoove the Mets to send down Conforto to work on things now while there are still AAA games left to be played? Campbell is who he is. Conforto will get better.
We know Conforto will be called up in September when rosters expand. Would it be better to have him playing part time for two weeks or would it be better to get closer attention in the minors? Kevin Long has to spend time with everyone now. Let Jack Voigt give Conforto work closely with Conforto. This way when Conforto returns he will be even better for the stretch drive and playoffs.
The last reason is he’s still a prospect. I agree there is some value to sitting on a major league bench. However, I think there is value in playing everyday. He’s been on the bench for 11 games. If he gets sent down now and called up in September, he will sit on a major league bench for an additional 31 games. Does he really need the additional 20 games on the bench? These are 20 games that can be spent playing and improving. Let him improve.
Overall, I’ve been really impressed with Conforto. So much so that I want the Mets to maximize his potential. His potential isn’t getting maximized on a major league bench. Let’s put the best team out there and let Conforto improve.
A few weeks ago, I tried to peg when Wright would return to the Mets. Overall, I noted that David Wright would get a maximum of 20 days on rehab games, under MLB rules, which would mean his return to the team would be Sunday, August 30th, at the latest. Right now, the Mets say they are looking for Wright to play in approximately 10 minor league games, barring any setbacks. Hopefully, the possibility of a setback has been reduced with him seemingly practicing hard for the past five days.
If the Mets do indeed allow Wright the minimum of 10 games, his rehab will be over on August 19th, presuming he plays in 10 consecutive games. If so, his first game back with the Mets will be on Friday, August 21st in Colorado. Personally, I think this is a bit optimistic. First of all, Wright has essentially not played for the entire season, and they are only going to give him 10 games? Furthermore, Terry Collins has said he only wants to play Wright four games in a row when he comes back, but they are going to let him play 10 straight games on a rehab assignment? Plus, if he’s feeling good, they’re going to effectively fly him cross-country with a bad back?
With that said, I think the earliest return we should see David Wright is Monday, August 24th in Philadelphia. It’s a much shorter flight, and the travel from there to New York is a lot easier than Wright going from St. Lucie to Denver to Philadelphia to New York. Either way, I think it is safe to say Wright’s first game back at Citi Field will be on Friday, August 28th against the Red Sox. If I’m “wright” the Mets need to get a new design for “Free Shirt Friday.”
On Thursday, I had a three-part series about how the Mets taking back New York. For your convenience, I have consolidated all three parts in one mega-post here.
PART I: Can the Mets Take Back New York?
After two consecutive sweeps, the Mets are rolling. With the Nationals loss last night, the Mets increased their lead in the NL East. Not only do the players seem confident, the Mets fans also feel confident. So confident they have resumed the taking over New York talk.
When I grew up, the Mets owned New York . . . it was the first and only time. The reason the Mets owned New York was not only because they were the winning team, but also the sheer caliber of their star power with Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, and Hernandez. It was a fun team and it was a fun time to be a Mets fan.
It all came crashing down with the Worst Team Money Can Buy. The Mets were no longer likeable and they no longer winning. The Yankees then had a dynasty featuring the Core Four and the disturbingly forgotten Bernie Williams. Seriously, Yankee fans who refer to the Core Four do not deserve those championships.
Seemingly, the Mets are primed yet again to take back New York. They have star power with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. When David Wight comes back, we can include him. It also helps that Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are local kids.
The last time we had this conversation was 2006. The Mets were the best team in the regular season that year. They had star power with Wright & Reyes, the two Carloses, and Pedro. That was an immensely likeable team. Their attempt to take over New York ended with that Adam Wainwright curveball.
After the 2007 & 2008 collapses and the Yankees’ 2009 World Series title, the possibility of taking over New York was dead. You see it’s not enough the Mets be really good; it’s also important they’re clearly better than the Yankees. Right now, the Yankees are also in first place.
We Mets’ fans quickly forget most people now were raised Yankee fans, who worshipped the temple who was Derek Jeter. I’ve heard people like Mike Lupica say New York is a National League town. He’s obviously referring to the ghosts of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.
My grandfather was a New York Giants fan. He passed away almost thirty years ago. Initially, my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The Dodgers moved to LA when he was eight years old. When the Mets came into existence, the Yankees were the only team in town for five years. Effectively, it was for another seven as the Mets were mostly awful and always sub .500 prior to 1969. The New York is a National League town was either a myth or an outdated fairy tale. Long story, short, most people now have no concept of New York as a National League town.
With that said and looking at everything, the Mets can potentially START taking over New York. Much of that will depend on the young pitching this year and in the ensuing seasons. Even if the Mets were to win the World Series this year, I’m not convinced the Mets take over New York. It will, however, accelerate the process. It’s not important to me that the Mets take over New York. However, I would still like to see it.
I want to see it because it means we’ll see a stretch of baseball like we did from 1984 – 1992. It also means the Yankees fell on hard times, which is always good for the soul. Most importantly, it’s easier to raise my son a Mets’ fan when the team is actually good. I’d love for him to see Mets’ teams like the ones I had growing up.
PART II: So Who’s Coming Along for the Ride?
On Sunday, the Mets were rolling and on their way to a sweep of the Nationals to tie them for first place in the division. Mets fans were ecstatic . . . and irritated.
Yes, irritated. All over Twitter Mets fans were complaining about other Mets fans. What was really going on was hardcore fans were complaining about bandwagon fans who just showed up as the Mets got good again. Oh the bandwagon fans, they’re the bane of the hardcore fans existence.
We all know them, even if they won’t admit it. They say inane things like I want to see both New York teams do well. They’ll ask how the Mets or Yankees are doing in August when we all know too well how they’re doing. They come to the occasional game with no gear on or with the tags hanging off of it. Hardcore fans HATE bandwagon fans.
I have some bad news for Mets fans that want to take back New York. You have to welcome the bandwagon fans. The hardcore Yankee fans that can wax on and on about players like Luis Sojo, Graeme Lloyd, and Chad Curtis are not becoming Mets fans. You’re getting the Yankee fans whose favorite players are Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Like I said in Part One of this series, taking over New York is not that important to me. The reason is I’m more concerned about sharing this ride with Mets fans who know players like Darryl Boston, Armando Reynoso, Rico Brogna, Mike Baxter, and Josh Satin. If you know these players, you know what it’s like to be a Mets fan. In 2006, the Mets hadn’t taken over New York, and yet, Shea Stadium was still rocking. Mets fans don’t need to take back New York to fill the ballpark. There are plenty of hardcore fans out there.
These are fans that when the Mets finally win the Workd Series, they’ll want to share it with someone special to them. It’s the reason why my Dad turned down a ticket to the 2000 World Series. He’d rather watch the game with my brother and I. It’s the reason I so desperately want to take him to a Mets World Series Game. He deserves it.
You hardcore Mets fans also deserve it. The bandwagon fans will enjoy ANY championship, but it won’t be special to them. Let them have their fun. We can take back New York and know what it really means. I say let them along for the ride. Just make sure that when they board the bandwagon, we will already have the good seats because we’ve been here the entire time.
PART III: Why Does it Matter?
Since those ’80’s Mets teams and the Yankees recent dynasty, the subject of the Mets taking back New York arises whenever the Mets begin winning again. Why?
I understand that winning will help take back New York. I understand it comes along with a more interesting and talented team. However, Mets fans snipe at the bandwagon fans that come with taking back New York.
This obsession isn’t present in the other Nrw York sports. I’ve never heard a Jets fan talk about taking over New York. All Islander fans care about is beating the Rangers. They don’t care about taking over New York. Honestly, I think the Nets fans just want to be relevant. I think they’ll settle for that before taking over New York.
Here’s the difference between the Mets and those other teams:
- The Mets once owned New York; and
- Yankees fans are intolerable
Since Interleague play started, we’ve had to deal with Yankee fans on a more consistent basis. They’re smug. They lord it over Mets fans when they win. When they lose, they point to 2000 and their other 26 World Series titles. They need to be taken down a peg or 26.
We’ll always have Yankees fans to deal with. We were hoping with Jeter gone, they would begin to fade. Of course, this year they’re winning. I’ve heard Yankee fans spouting off they have a better record and a bigger lead in their division. You see that’s the rub. They’ll never admit it, but the Mets bother the Yankees fans.
Giant and Jet fans live in relative harmony. Two Super Bowl wins over the hated cheating Patriots will do that. Islander and Ranger fans hate each other’s teams, but they’ll admit it. In a small way Rangers fans welcome the return of the Islanders because it makes the rivalry so much better when they’re both good.
Yankee fans like to pretend there’s no rivalry. However, they’ll never admit to their panic in 2000 that they could’ve lost the World Series to the Mets. They were touting Severino last night. I think a large part of that was Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. At least the Mets fan will admit they hate the Yankees and they want to retake New York.
I think another reason Mets want to take over New York is their children. I started this blog to share my experiences of raising a Mets fan. If the Mets are good, it’ll be a lot easier to raise a Mets fan. Also, you want your kids to enjoy baseball. It was a lot easier for me as a kid to enjoy baseball in 1988 than it was 1993. Admittedly, this is the part of taking over New York that interests me the most.
Hopefully, the Mets are on the rise and on their way to retaking New York. Personally, I’m not consumed with it, but I will enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for those smug Yankee fans to be put in their place. More importantly, I can’t wait to raise a son in an era of good Mets baseball.
You know what? I’ve talked myself into it. Let’s take back New York!
Coming out of the All Star Break, the Mets wisely set their rotation to allow their stud muffins to face the Nationals twice. Initially, the move was a bust. However, after the Yoenis Cespedes trade, the Met took off and swept the Nationals. Now, it seems like the Mets want to go back to the six man rotation, or at a minimum have some spot starts. If the Mets did not go to the six man rotation or have any spot starts, here’s how the rotation would shake out:
8/7 @ Rays
8/12 vs. Rockies
8/18 @ Orioles
8/24 @ Phillies
8/29 vs. Red Sox
9/4 @ Marlins
9/9 @ Nationals
9/14 vs. Marlins
9/20 vs. Yankees
9/25 @ Reds
10/1 @ Phillies
8/8 @ Rays
8/13 vs. Rockies
8/19 @ Orioles
8/25 @ Phillies
8/30 vs. Red Sox
9/5 @ Marlins
9/10 @ Braves
9/15 vs. Marlins
9/21 vs. Braves
9/26 @ Reds
10/2 vs. Nationals
8/9 @ Rays
8/14 vs. Pirates
8/21 @ Rockies
8/26 @ Phillies
8/31 vs. Phillies
9/6 @ Marlins
9/11 @ Braves
9/16 vs. Marlins
9/22 vs. Braves
9/27 @ Reds
10/3 vs. Nationals
8/10 vs. Rockies
8/15 vs. Pirates
8/22 @ Rockies
8/27 @ Phillies
9/1 vs. Phillies
9/7 @ Nationals
9/12 @ Braves
9/18 vs. Yankees
9/23 vs. Braves
9/29 @ Phillies
10/4 vs. Nationals
8/11 vs. Rockies
8/16 vs. Pirates
8/23 @ Rockies
8/28 vs. Red Sox
9/2 vs. Phillies
9/8 @ Nationals
9/13 @ Braves
9/19 vs. Yankees
9/24 @ Reds
9/30 @ Phillies
Now, we are all aware of the rumblings of the Mets using a spot starter or returning to the six man rotation. What we also know is the Mets are going to rip past the innings limits anyway. So in this somewhat academic analysis, just go back and take a look again at how the rotation will work out. For starters, it’s great that Colon only pitches one game against a team over .500 until the last week of the season. Additionally, if everything works out according to plan, you don’t have to finagle the rotation to start the postseason with Harvey, Matz, and Syndergrom. Isn’t that your goal? Now, if things get hectic towards the end, remember the Mets don’t have a huge lead right now, they can shift starts around in September so you can have the stud muffins going against the Nationals in the last series of the season.
Overall, if you are going to rip through the innings limits, why not do it properly and set the team up for success in September and October? My belief is that if you don’t change the rotation as it stands right now, the Mets look to be in good shape for the rest of the season, and they will have their stud muffins front and center entering the postseason. Let’s not overthink things and keep it the way it is.