Musings

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, WILMER FLORES!

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman WILMER FLORES!

Charting the Mets Rotation

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:

Jacob deGrom:

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

Noah Syndergaard:

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

Bartolo Colon:

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

Jon Niese:

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

Matt Harvey:

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.

 

 

Is Being a Mets Fan Funny?

Every fan base has their own selection of celebrity fans. Here’s a list I’ve composed of celebrity Mets fans I’ve noticed over the years:

  1. Jerry Seinfeld 
  2. Kevin James 
  3. Jon Stewart
  4. Chris Rock
  5. JimBreuer 
  6. Ray Romano
  7. Amy Schumer
  8. Jay Mohr
  9. Gary Valentine
  10. Colin Quinn

With apologies to John McEnroe and Tim Robbins, I constructed this list to show that an overwhelming amount of Mets fans are comedians. Should this surprise us?  

Probably not. Psychologists and comics themselves will say comedy comes from places of pain. Not to mock or make light of this, but isn’t being a Mets fan mostly painful? Think about it, Yankee fans celebrate while Mets fans crack jokes. It’s a coping mechanism. 

Every time Dan Warthen visits the mound, my brother invariably texts me, well the next batter is getting a hit. He calls it the Dan Warthen Effect.  When the Mets blow a lead, you let out a few expletives, but I’m sure there’s also an Armando Benitez joke in there as well. 

As is his specialty, Jim Breuer is showing the world what it’s like to be a Mets fan. These videos not only show passion, but they also show anger and a sense of humor.  This is what it means to be a Mets fan. Jon Stewart has done the same on the Daily Show:

As Jon Stewart shows, being a Mets fan is fodder for good comedy. However, every so often the Mets are good and it brings you pure joy. That’s why we all can agree with Amy Schumer when she says:

Was this post funny?  It wasn’t meant to be. I was really looking to discuss a positive of being a Mets fan in even the worst of times. I left the comedy to Jim Breuer, Jon Stewart, and Amy Schumer. I’m not going to try to be funny here because you don’t go on after those people. You just sit back and enjoy them like we’re able to enjoy the Mets now. 

Mets Have “40” Decisions to Make

As of today, the Mets 40 man roster is full with Erik Goeddel and David Wright on the 60 day DL. Since players on the 60 day DL do not count towards the 40 man roster, two players will have to be removed from the 40 man before Goeddel and Wright can be added.

The first decision could potentially come on August 11th, when Goeddel is first eligible to come off the DL. The Mets can send down Hansel Robles, who has options, but that only solves the 25 man roster issue. As of today, here are the people who are on the 40 man roster, who are also not on the 25 man roster:

  1. Dario Alvarez
  2. Vic Black
  3. Jack Leathersich
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Akeel Morris
  6. Logan Verrett
  7. Gabriel Ynoa
  8. Johnny Monell
  9. Anthony Recker
  10. Dilson Herrera
  11. Danny Muno
  12. Wilfredo Tovar
  13. Darrell Ceciliani
  14. Michael Cuddyer
  15. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

In deciding who to remove, there are a couple of important factors to take into account:

  1. This player will be exposed on waivers allowing any team to claim that player, and
  2. A player must be on the 40 man roster as of August 31st to be eligible for the postseason roster (there are loopholes however).

Immediately, you can rule out the pitchers. They’re young, under control, and will be snatched up by another team . . . even Vic Black. That leaves eight players for two spots.

Next, we can eliminate Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis from consideration. Cuddyer is set to come off the DL soon. Nieuwenhuis is a possibility, albeit remote right now for the postseason roster. We’re done to six players.

I would next eliminate Dilson Herrera, who is seen as the second baseman of the future. This is especially important with Daniel MurphyKelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe set to be free agents. We’re down to five players: Monell, Recker, Muno, Tovar, and Ceciliani.  Here’s where things get tricky. You can make cases for all of these players to stay or go.

I’ll start with the catchers, who have been awful this year . . . absolutely terrible. I’m expecting the Mets to move on from both of these players in the offseason. However, we need to remember Travis d’Arnaud has been injury prone. You don’t want to him to go down and have no playoff replacement. At a a minimum, one catcher must stay on the roster. Possibly both.

Up next are the young middle infielders. Admittedly, they have both been pretty bad in very limited major league experience. Accordingly, you can’t use that experience as the sole reason to outright that player. It should be noted neither player is a top prospect in the Mets organization. I think both are candidates, specifically Tovar, who is behind Matt ReynoldsGavin Cecchini, and Amed Rosario on the organization’s SS depth chart.

Finally, we have Ceciliani, who played decently with the Mets this year (even if he was a little exposed). It should be noted he was passed over in the last two Rule Five Drafts.  I don’t imagine his limited playing time changed the minds of the other 29 teams.  Furthermore, with Nieuwenhuis being on the bubble for the postseason roster, there’s no chance he would even see the field. In my opinion, this makes him the most vulnerable.

Now, I have no connections whatsoever, but I would believe Ceciliani and Monell are the two players who will be moved to make room for Goeddel and Wright. You could easily interchange that for Recker and Ceciliani or one of the middle infielders.  However, I think Ceciliani and Monell are the two least  regarded players on this list.

Further complicating matters is Rafael Montero, who is also on the 60 day DL. Terry Collins recently went to talk to Montero to encourage him to ramp up his rehab so he can help the team.  If Montero is coming back, the Mets are going to have to make yet another roster move.  I believe at this time, the middle infielders would definitively be in danger of being removed from the 40 man roster.  My guess would be Tovar, but then again, I could be wrong.

The only way to avoid removing anyone, and risking losing a player, is to make a trade with another team.  The problem there is if these players had value to other teams, they would have been moved already.  Specifically to Ceciliani, we’ve seen teams pass on him a number of times.  There is also the possibility that the player to be named later in the Eric O’Flaherty deal is one of the aforementioned 15 players making part of this post moot.  However, I think that is unlikely.

Overall, the Mets have a lot of important decisions to make with an eye towards who they want on the postseason roster.  It’s fun to be a Mets fan again.

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:

  1. The Mets once owned New York; and
  2. 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!

Is Matz the Price for a Postseason Run

Rumor has it the Mets will have Steven Matz rejoin the rotation when he comes off the DL. During the Mets recent run, I began to think the Mets should use Matz out of the bullpen. I never really wrote anything about it because I wasn’t sure it was a good idea with any restrictions that may be placed on him. 

However, two things recently changed my mind:

  1. The Mets bullpen last night was horrible; and
  2. Jerry Blevins is done for the year

It’s no secret the Mets bullpen, outside of Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia, is weak. They had trouble holding an eight run lead last night. Last week, they blew a six run lead to the Padres. They need to sure things up. 

Now, the Mets are down an important piece of Blevins. Admittedly, he’s been gone for most of the year, and he couldn’t be relied upon to return this year. 

I’m also convinced after last night the Mets aren’t that serious about innings limits. How could you?  Not only have we learned that Mets starters have thrown more innings than any other team, but they also let Matt Harvey pitch two extra innings with a huge lead. If they are serious, Dillon Gee could make those starts. 

With all that said, I think the Mets should take a page from the 2008 Rays book and put Matz in the bullpen. In 2008, David Price made one start and four bullpen appearances. He saved Game 7 of the ALCS en route to a World Series appearance. Since that time, Price has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sure, he had the stuff, but I’m also sure the early postseason experience helped. 

Also, keep in mind if the Mets make the playoffs, that’s where Matz would go anyway. If that’s the case, why not give him some experience there now instead of throwing him in without any relief appearances in the playoffs.  Put it this way, in a big spot, do you want to see Steven Matz or Hansel Robles?  

So, if the Mets are truly interested in winning this year, Matz needs to go to the bullpen as soon as his DL stint is over. The Mets made win-now decisions with the Yoenis Cespedes trade and the Tyler Clippard trade.  They’re all-in. When you’re all in, you don’t hold back. 

Matz to the bullpen is the only solution. 

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. 

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. 

Knee Jerk Decisions

After the end of his stay on the 15 day DL, Michael Cuddyer says he will return to the Mets this Friday. This leaves Terry Collins and the front office with crucial decisions to make. 

The first is who gets sent down to make room for Cuddyer?  The two most obvious candidates are Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto because they both have options. The argument for Campbell being sent down is he’s not playing much. The argument for Conforto is Cuddyer may not be ready to play everyday. If Cuddyer is not ready to play, Conforto, similar to Kevin Plawecki, will stay in the majors. 

The second issue is what will Cuddyer’s role be?  To his credit, Cuddyer had said his main focus is to win, even if that means he’s on the bench. If Collins follows his lead, Cuddyer will play as often as his knee will permit and for as long as he’s effective. Since the acquisitions, Collins had implemented a platoon system

This means Cuddyer could be used to give Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson a day off against tough lefties. I would argue it should only be against tough lefties as they’ve been the two best hitters all year (trade acquisitions excluded). Collins could use Cuddyer in a LF platoon with Conforto, which unfortunately, is something Collins looks like he’s doing with Cuddyer and Juan Lagares now. 

The last question: is this the right time?  If Cuddyer is healthy, he should be on this team, and he should play. If he’s not, taking him off the DL is premature. Now, he could ease his way back by DHing against the Rays. The Mets will not a DH again for another week and a half. 

However, he could also ease his way back by playing rehab games and seeing how the knee responds. That is the more prudent move. I know it may be tough for Cuddyer to accept, but the team doesn’t need him right now. Now, if he’s healthy, he’s an upgrade to the roster and should be added immediately. I appreciate him wanting to come back and help, but the Mets need to protect him from himself. They also need to protect this roster from dead weight. 

I hope Cuddyer comes back soon and contributes. I hope the Mets send down Conforto. I hope the Mets continue to win.