It was no secret the Mets were looking for an OF at the trade deadline. At first, it seemed they were close to acquiring Carlos Gomez. Then the Jay Bruce deal fell apart. After those deals, the Mets finally obtained Yoenis Cespedes, who has been amongst the best players this year.
I thought about this whirlwind when the Mets clinched the NL East. The final play was Bruce striking out. When he struck out, I thought about the saying “the best trades are the ones you don’t make.” That certainly applied to Bruce. Bruce ultimately stayed with the Reds and floundered. In August, he hit .150/.185/.292. He’s been a little better in September hitting .206/.257/.443.
Gomez, on the other hand, wound up getting traded. He joined an Astros team that was in first place and was 13 games over .500. Houston is now in second place, only eight games over .500, and in a dog fight just to make the playoffs. In fact, if the season ended today, they would miss the playoffs. While it has been a team effort, Gomez certainly hasn’t helped with his .234/.282/.379 line with the Astros.
Instead, the Mets got Cespedes, who has hit .294/.338/.624. This is the best stretch of his career. The Mets went from second place and only three games over .500 to a easy ride to winning the NL East. Maybe the Mets still win the NL East with Bruce or Gomez, but I doubt it would’ve been as easy.
The Mets got lucky the first two trades fell through because they wound up getting the right player. As a result, the Mets are now both lucky and good.
Look, this is Sandy Alderson’s team. He decided to keep the players he kept and trade the players he traded. He pulled off the trades and signed the free agents. However, he was able to do a lot of what he did because he was left with good players after Omar Minaya was terminated.
Here are the players in the 40 man roster who have a link to Omar Minaya (asterisked players are players obtained with players combined by Minaya and Alderson):
Eric Campbell – 2008 draft pick.
Darrell Ceciliani – 2009 draft pick.
Jacob deGrom – 2010 draft pick.
Lucas Duda – 2007 draft pick.
Jeurys Familia – 2007 amateur free agent signing.
Wilmer Flores – 2007 amateur free agent signing.
Erik Goeddel – 2010 draft pick.
Matt Harvey – 2010 draft pick
Juan Lagares – 2006 amateur free agent signing.
Steven Matz – 2009 draft pick.
Jenrry Mejia – 2007 amateur free agent signing.
Akeel Morris -2010 draft pick.
Daniel Murphy – 2006 draft pick.
Bobby Parnell – 2005 draft pick.
Hansel Robles – 2008 amateur free agent.
Noah Syndergaard – part of Dickey trade (see d’Arnaud).
Ruben Tejada – 2006 amateur free agent.
Again, these players are in the roster because Alderson kept them. The decision of who to keep and trade is important. That is what makes them Alderson’s players and team. Additionally, while It was Alderson that hired Terry Collins, it was Minaya who brought him into the Mets organization.
However, it is important to truly acknowledge Minaya’s role, especially when he has been unfairlyand wrongly marginalized.
You see I was on the same Jet Blue flight as Omar Minaya. The photo with this post was Minaya and me in the terminal before the flight. He was accessible to Mets fans who wanted to shake his hand and take a picture. No one, and I mean no one, had the “courage” to mock him on the flight.
Additionally, this should dispel the notion that Minaya left the Mets with a depleted farm system. On the contrary, he built a strong farm system that helped make up this team. Minaya had his faults, and he probably deserved to be fired when he was. That doesn’t mean we should ignore his work.
It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t extend our gratitude to him for what he left behind.
I remember when the Mets clinched in 2096, the next day’s lineup was a mess. It’s going to be worse with a day game. I’m assuming some players will be arriving at the ballpark straight from the club. With that in mind, here’s my guess on who’s in the starting lineup today:
- Eric Young, Jr. CF
- Ruben Tejada SS
- Michael Conforto LF
- Kelly Johnson 1B
- Kevin Plawecki C
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis RF
- Eric Campbell 3B
- Dilson Herrera 2B
- Jacob deGrom P
The lineup may be different, and I could see some changes. This looks like a lineup from the aggravating first half. The difference is this time this lineup stays in Cincinnati as opposed to traveling with them.
It should be fun. Lets Go Mets!
Its fitting that Matt Harvey is taking the mound today with the Mets having an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. His absence last year was presumed to be a reason why the Mets didn’t go all out last year to try to get into the playoffs.
With Harvey healthy, along with the emergence of Jacob deGrom last year and Noah Syndergaard this year, the Mets will be going to the playoffs. No matter what you think of Harvey, and how everything has gone down, you can’t deny the wonderful season he’s had.
In his first post-Tommy John season, he’s gone 12-7 with a 2.80 ERA, 171 strikeouts (8.7 per nine), and a 1.019 WHIP in 176.2 innings. Keep in mind that today he’s going over 180 with a other start in the season before the playoffs. If the Mets go to the World Series, he may very well go over the 200-215 “loose cap” Sandy Alderdon wanted.
In any event, Harvey gave the Mets their first glimmer of hope in 2013. His absence was a dark cloud over the 2014 season. His return was a big part of the 2015 turn around. After last year, he promised the playoffs to Terry Collins:
Terry Collins said after the game @MattHarvey33 came up to him & said "We're going to do it next year." Terry added "Matt doesn't lie to me"
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 28, 2014
Harvey can now make good on that promise today. With his hard work and dedication, Harvey has earned this. There’s no one I would rather have on that mound to start the game.
Lets Go Mets!
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to baseball. However, I’m not against making things more fun for the crowd. I though about this with the Mets contest allowing you to announce the Mets lineup:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 22, 2015
All MLB stadiums follow the same general pattern. They dutifully announce the players in the mold of Bob Sheppard:
There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a workman like job. However, I’d love to see some emotion in the announcement like the NBA:
Sorry for the Bulls reference there fellow Knicks fans, but that intro is a classic that proves the point I’m trying to make. The announcer has emotion in calling the names. It sends the crowd into another octave. The place is going berserk before the game.
Do I want this for a random weekday June game? No, that’s out of place. However, it would boost the electricity for a playoff game. During a rally would you rather hear, “Now batting for the New York Mets, the third baseman, David Wright” or “NOW BATTING FOR THE NEW YORK METS, THE CAPTAIN, DA-VID WRIIIIIIGHT!”
Which one gets the crowd going more? I don’t care if it’s deemed artificial. Is it any more artificial than the “Make Some Noise” sign on the scoreboard with the noise meter? I’d argue no. In fact, I think it’s better because you’re capturing the emotion in the stadium, not trying to create it.
I know the Mets won’t follow my suggestion, but I hope they will. If they don’t, I know Citi Field will be going plenty crazy this October.
In many ways, this year could not have gone worse for Michael Cuddyer. His deal with the Mets was widely panned. He got off to a terrible start. He then got injured. Basically, he was a Mets free agent acquisition.
With the emergence of Michael Conforto and the Yoenis Cespedes trade, Cuddyer’s role diminished. He became a pinch hitter and a platoon player spelling Conforto and Lucas Duda. It was quite the fall from grace for a player who was once considered the Mets key offensive acquisition. The only question remaining would be how Cuddyer would respond.
In the second half, he’s hit .350/.404/.525. As a pinch hitter, he’s hit .333/.381/.333. He’s hitting .284/.370/.358 against lefties. Basically, he’s accepted his role, and he’s excelled. It’s a good thing too because the Mets are going to need him in the NLDS with the Dodgers throwing Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Brett Anderson.
Cuddyer said he came to the Mets to win. It’s one thing to say it. It’s another to do everything you can for a team to help them win, even if it means making the most out of a diminished role. We’ve seen most players go the other way when these things happen. Not Cuddyer. He turned things around, and he’s s key part of this team.
For that, he deserves our respect.
There are a number of stages to a player’s career. The first is when you’re called up and you’re learning. The second is when the league finds out more about you and adjusts. The most important is how that player responds.
It seems we’re at the response stage for Hansel Robles and his quick pitch. The league seems to have adjusted to the quick pitch with incessant whining causing the umpires to have to intervene. Usually, the umpire would call it a no pitch, but for the first time yesterday, the umpire ruled the pitch to be a ball. Under the rules, the umpire has that right.
The issue then becomes what exactly is a quick pitch? Reading the MLB rules is like reading any modern statute. It’s needlessly long and open to interpretation. I can best sum it up as a quick pitch is a pitch made when it is purposefully made when the pitcher knows the batter isn’t ready. Talk about open to interpretation.
In theory, the hold plate umpire is supposed to hold time until the batter is set in the box. Once the umpire let’s gameplay resume, the pitcher should then be able to throw a pitch. Therein lies the problem. Each time Robles has been called for a quick pitch, time was in. The umpire already judged the batter to be ready. Therefore, how could that same umpire call a ball? He’s already determined the batter ready, so how could that same batter be “off guard?”
Batters don’t like being rushed, so they’ll do anything to slow the game down. The best tactic they have at their disposal is whining. They’re doing it now with Robles, and they’re succeeding. I’m glad Collins argued last night. There needs to be a clear bright-line rule. The Mets need to get a conference call with MLB and the umpires to figure it out.
Absent that, Robles should keep doing what he does best, which is quick pitch. He just needs to be cognizant not to do it with three balls in the count so as not to award a walk. If he does quick pitch again, and it’s called a ball, he needs to collect himself better than he did last night. That’s the real adjustment needed.
He’s an important part of this bullpen in the playoffs, so he better figure it out quickly.
Both Terry Collins and David Wright have each been involved in multiple September collapses. With that said, I found it interesting that they both disagree with whether or not the Mets are playing tight. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to look at what’s going on after Collins’ tough game last night:
Maybe the Mets will now keep their composure down the stretch now.
I’m well on the record defending Matt Harvey. Overall, in my opinion, unless you’ve been in his shoes, how can you properly judge him for ignoring a doctor’s advice and risk everything? Personally, I know my father and I ignored doctor’s advice and went to work. We’re both idiots, and we’re both on Harvey’s side.
However, there is a person with real credibility on the issue, who has taken umbridge with Harvey. That’s Curt Schilling, who said:
This entire episode with Harvey and innings and pitch counts is a joke. It's now the story instead of this teams run up to a WS.
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) September 21, 2015
Because of a well earned suspension and the rise of Jessica Mendoza, Schilling took to Twitter with his comments rather than being able to offer them on Sunday Night Baseball. It’s a shame because Schilling saying these comments on live TV would’ve been interesting, especially since he’s got credibility on the issue:
The “Bloody Sock Game.” Schilling risked his career to get the Red Sox to the World Series. The man literally had his tendon sewn into place so he could pitch. Then, he did it again in the World Series. If anyone can talk about risking your career for your team, it’s Schilling. I’m not going to parse out that Schilling did it in the playoffs after getting his money while Harvey still has a career to consider. The fact is Schilling did it.
So while I disagree with Schilling’s take, I respect his opinion. It would’ve made the broadcast last night better.
There’s an extra treat for Mets/Giants fans like me today because
Always excited to be back in NY! Should be a great game! https://t.co/tTU8a6edGk
— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) September 16, 2015
That’s right, we get to see and hear Kevin Burkhardt call a Sunday 1:00 game. Forgive me if I instinctively tune to Channel 11.
It’s amazing if you think about it. Burkhardt was the Mets version of a sideline reporter, and now, he’s the football play-by-play man for Fox’s #2 broadcast team. In essence, it was like finding Jim Nantz doing postgame interviews for the Dodgers. No one going to ask Vin Scully to step aside for anyone, but Jim Nantz is way too qualified for the job he’s doing.
Losing Burkhardt was tough for Mets fans. He’s one of us. Like Gary Cohen and Howie Rose, he was not only a Mets fan, but he’s also tremendous at his job. He showed he was capable of more, and he got it. However, that came at a huge loss to Mets fans.
We miss him. I know we get him on Sundays and doing pre-game and post-game baseball work. It’s not 162 games.
I do have one personal antedot regarding Burkhardt. I got a chance to meet him when we just found out my wife was pregnant. I had a Mets Bob on me, which he was happy to sign. When he asked me what we were going to have, I said a baby, which he responded with an incredulous look.
I think he thought I was trying to be funny. I explained to him that it was too soon to find out. In fact, he was finding out before most of my family because it was still too soon to tell. He then laughed and congratulated me.
So now, I get the chance to turn him on today with my son. I’ll get to tell him that’s the guy who autographed the bib that hangs in his room. I only wish my son could get to watch him more frequently because he brought something to Mets games that made them a little more enjoyable.
However, Kevin Burkhardt is too talented for that. Mets fans loss is America’s gain. I’m going to enjoy the Giants and seeing an old friend today. I just want to wish continued good luck to Kevin Burkhardt . . . not that he needs it.