Musings

Josh Hader Is Rob Manfred’s Failure

With the news the Mets may be pursuing Josh Hader, there have been some who have been quite vocal about his comments when he was 17 years old. For those who have forgotten, and it does not seem to be many, Hader had made racist, sexist, and homophobic comments.

The important note here is those comments came when he was a 17 year old high school student. Now, he is a 25 year old man and a two time All-Star. That makes him an older and hopefully more mature person. It also makes him a very visible part of the sport.

Sports Illustrated reported about his remorse, and how he cried while apologizing to his teammates. With this being put out there by the Brewers to report, it is fair to be skeptical as to how apologetic he is and how much it resonated with his teammates. On that note, it’s notable the only Brewers quoted in the article, other than Hader, were Brett Phillips and Craig Counsell, both of whom are white.

For their part, Major League Baseball had assigned Hader to sensitivity training, and they had him speak with Billy Bean, MLB’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. On that point, Bean did speak to Hader’s remorse.

It has been approximately a year-and-a-half since those comments surfaced, and people are still bringing it up whenever Hader’s name in mentioned. This is indicative of how Major League Baseball failed to really take advantage of what should have been an opportunity.

Before going further, we should revisit when Hader made those comments. He was a teenager who was a high school student at Old Mills High School in Millersville, Maryland. According to School Digger, this is actually a culturally diverse high school with a white student like Hader being in the plurality. Put another way, we can’t quite say his ignorant comments came from a place of pure ignorance.

From there, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 MLB Draft. Notably, this was a year after some of his most offensive comments. During his minor league career in the Orioles, Astros, and Brewers farm systems, he would play for managers like Ramon Sambo, Omar Lopez, and Carlos Subero. That left him answering to and learning from the very people he offended and insulted.

On that 2018 Brewers team, he was teammates with players like Lorenzo Cain, who was not only African America, but a real leader. Not only did Hader get to know him and many other minority players on the team, but he also had to answer to them once his comments became public.

This was baseball’s chance to meet this challenge head-on and show how the sport itself makes players better people, and they completely whiffed.

It’s very possible Hader has grown as a person, and it is possible he has shown real remorse. It’s also very possible he hasn’t. Those tears he was reported to shed could have been remorse, or they could have been fear or being upset he was caught. We don’t know, and baseball has really failed to control that narrative.

This is on Rob Manfred. As the commissioner, he needed to speak about the legacy of Jackie Robinson. He needed to embrace what Hader said, and he needed to speak about how the multi-cultural aspect of baseball has made Hader a more mature, tolerant, and better person. He also needed to have Hader prove it.

Hader should have been a part of the RBI program. He needed to very publicly visit schools, YMCAs, and other places. Essentially, Hader needed to meet with people, speak about how he became a better person and encourage others to be better than he was.

Instead, Major League Baseball tried to sweep this under the rug. As a result, whenever Hader’s name comes up in trade rumors, this is going to arise. When he moves to another team, this will potentially alienate part of the fanbase of his new team. This is not remotely good for baseball.

No, Manfred needed to be a true leader. He needed to make Hader show his remorse and prove he’s a different person. He didn’t do that, and now, we don’t know if Hader is any of those things. Jackie Robinson and his legacy deserve much better than that.

Josh Hader On Trade Block Is Scary

In his first year on the job as the Mets General Manager, he made a series of ill-advised moves with some of those moves benefiting his former clients. He showed little restraint on that front.

It started right away with his acquiescing to his former client’s wishes by getting Robinson Cano out of Seattle and back to New York. Van Wagenen would obtain him along with Edwin Diaz in what has so far been a complete disaster of a trade. Not only has Cano been injured and Diaz flat out bad, Jarred Kelenic continued his meteoric rise while Justin Dunn made it to the majors.

The Mets pursued Cano even with the emergence of Jeff McNeil, who just a year ago, the Mets insisted was just a second baseman.

The trade keeps getting worse with Cano’s large salary serving as an impediment to the Mets even considering re-signing Zack Wheeler. It will also take them out on a host of other free agents.

Another contract standing in the way is Jed Lowrie who is set to make $10 million in 2020. That’s the same salary he made in 2019 when he was limited to just eight pinch hitting appearances.

That was because Lowrie was dealing with a still unspecified injury. Part of the reason it’s unspecified is the Mets supposedly still don’t know what’s wrong with him. That includes his former agent who was well aware of Lowrie’s injury history and ailments.

On that front, there’s also Yoenis Cespedes, who according to Tim Healey of Newsday, broke his ankle under suspicious circumstances while rehabbing from his double heel surgery. This could be grounds for a grievance like the one the Yankees are pursuing with Jacoby Ellsbury.

It should come as no surprise Van Wagenen was Cespedes’ agent. With that relationship along with the Van Wagenen’s other decisions as the Mets General Manager, it is fair to question the motivations for not pursuing such a grievance even if the assumption is this has more to do with not losing the insurance coverage on Cespedes’ policy.

That brings us to the news Josh Hader is on the trade block. His former agent? That was Brodie Van Wagenen.

Now, the Mets could use a reliever of Hader’s caliber. Anyone can. That’s the case even with Hader allowing more homers last year than he had in his previous two years combined. Yes, there were some warnings with his 2019 season, but he was still a great reliever.

The issue with him isn’t a fear of that regression. No, the fear is what lengths Van Wagenen will go to get his former clients on the Mets. Those fears are amplified with his handling of those players in 2019 and with the Mets needing help in the bullpen.

At the moment, we don’t know what lengths Van Wagenen will be willing to go to obtain Hader. What we have seen so far is he’s going to be willing to go past what is reasonable to take care of them, which would suggest nothing is off the table when it comes to obtaining Hader.

That is a very scary proposition.

Mets Black Friday Deals

With yesterday being Black Friday, people ran out to stores and websites looking for deals, and today, they’re assessing what they got and still need to get. Being Mets fans, we expect the team to spend most of the offseason diving through the discount bins.

To a certain extent, every team needs to do that. The player signed to a minor league deal or on the cheap emerges to be much better than anyone could’ve reasonably expected. Many times, when that happens, your team takes it to the next level. In honor of Black Friday, here are some of the best bargain signings the Mets have made in their history.

For this list, we are only looking at players signed to minor league deals, and as this is the Mets we are talking about, it’s being run on Small Business Saturday.

C Todd Pratt  – he went from delivering Dominos to being signed to a minor league deal with the Mets. Three years later, Pratt would hit a walk-off homer off of Matt Mantei clinching the first NLDS in team history.

1B James Loney – in 2016, the Mets were left without a first baseman due to Lucas Duda‘s back injury as well as a host of other injuries on the team. Loney would step in and help the team hitting .305/.367/.463 over his first 22 games to help keep that team afloat and make that push for the Wild Card.

2B Jose Valentin – the Mets signed Valentin to be veteran depth only for him to fill the vacuum left at second base by Anderson Hernandez‘s offensive struggles and Kazuo Matsui‘s injuries. In addition to his 3.6 WAR in 2006, he would hit two homers in the NL East clincher.

3B Matt Franco – signed a minor league deal with the Mets entering the 1996 season. He’d emerge as a good pinch hitter who hit a game winning single off Mariano Rivera clinching the Mets first series win in the Subway Series.

SS Omar Quintanilla – the Mets let Jose Reyes go due to a mixture of the Madoff scandal and the belief Ruben Tejada was ready to be the every day shortstop. When Tejada wasn’t Quintanilla was a pleasant surprise with a career year before being traded for cash considerations.

LF Melvin Mora – Mora signed a minor league deal coming out of Japan. In the 162nd game of the 1999 season, he scored on a wild pitch enduring the playoff game. In the Grand Slam Single game, he hit the cut off man leading to Keith Lockhart getting cut down at the plate. In that postseason, he hit .400/.500/.600.

CF Endy Chavez – signed as a free agent prior to the 2006 season, a season where he’d have the greatest catch in NLCS history. He’d also have other defensive gems and game winning bunts in his Mets career.

RF Marlon Byrd – back in the cavernous Citi Field days, Byrd came to the Mets on a minor league deal in 2013 and hit 21 homers before getting traded to the Pirates in a deal which netted Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

RP Pedro Feliciano – soon dubbed Perpetual Pedro due to his rubber arm, he’d be a key piece of a great 2006 bullpen, and he’d emerge as the best LOOGY in franchise history.

SP R.A. Dickey – this is the gold standard. Dickey was signed to a minor league deal in 2009, and a few short seasons later, he would become the biggest surprise Cy Young winner in Major League history. The Mets then selling high on him and getting Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud for him makes signing Dickey all the more legendary.

Mets Things To Be Thankful For

With today being Thanksgiving, it is time to go around the Mets roster and say things we are thankful for:

Pete Alonso – he’s been better than even the highest and most absurd expectations anyone could have of him both in terms of his on the field play as well as the type of teammate and person he is

Carlos Beltran – for coming home

Robinson Cano – showed some late positive exit velocities showing there is some hope for a 2020 rebound

Yoenis Cespedes – for everyone questioning the drive of a man severely injured and needing career saving surgery, he is out there in the cold taking batting practice

Michael Conforto – re-established himself as one of the best young corner outfielders in the game, and with his talent, he’s on the verge of an MVP caliber season

J.D. Davis – quickly became a fan favorite and like few others seemed to really enjoy being a New York Met.

Jacob deGrom – best pitcher in baseball and starting to etch his likeness on the Mets Mt. Rushmore

Edwin Diaz – he survived the season, made no excuses, and he is doing what he needs to do to be the pitcher he was in 2018.

Jeurys Familia – he stopped using “Danza Kudro” meaning we no longer go to very bad places when that music begins blaring

Luis Guillorme – proved if given a chance he is a Major League caliber player giving the Mets some real needed middle infield depth

Chris Flexen – his move to the bullpen gives the Mets an interesting upside option in the bullpen

Robert Gsellman – he is one of those throwback type reliever who is always willing to take the ball no matter what

Sam Haggerty – it’s not often a player comes out of nowhere to provide real value to an organization the way Haggerty did with this speed

Jed Lowrie – to his credit, he did everything he could just to get those pinch hitting appearances late in the season

Seth Lugo – the best reliever in baseball who now gives Beltran a reliever who can break knees with his curve

Steven Matz – took that step forward and put to bed the unfair and wrong mentally weak narrative

Jeff McNeil – the man just does it all. He hits, plays everywhere, and he saves puppies.

Brandon Nimmo – if someone created a stat measuring the quotient of talent and enthusiasm, he’d be the Mike Trout of the stat

Tomas Nido – became the defensive minded back-up catcher many believed him to be, and he played a part getting Mets pitchers head in the right place during different parts of the year.

Stephen Nogosek – he is single-handedly trying to win the Addison Reed trade and the 2017 trade deadline for the Mets

Corey Oswalt – he put behind some injuries and gross mishandling by the organization to show he is a viable depth starting option for the organization

Wilson Ramos – drove in a number of big runs last year, and he has promised to be better behind the plate in 2020.

Amed Rosario – just a tireless worker who seems to be on the cusp of fulfilling the immense potential we all saw he had in the minors

Paul Sewald – he keeps proving himself to be better than the narrative, and he finally got his first Major League win to put an exclamation point on what is one of the better stories of the Mets farm system

Dominic Smith – that walk-off homer was a beautiful exclamation point on a season where he proved everyone who ever doubted him to be very wrong

Drew Smith – his coming back from Tommy John at some point in 2020 gives the Mets some hope for an improved bullpen.

Marcus Stroman – few have fully embraced being a Met like he has and fewer have been ready to thrive on the New York stage

Noah Syndergaard – not just a great pitcher, but also a guy who wants to be a New York Met.

Justin Wilson – was terrific in 2019, and with the LOOGY rules, he becomes an even more valuable bullpen piece in 2020

In terms of the talent still here, there is a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully, we will see the return of Zack Wheeler giving us all the more to be thankful for in 2020 and beyond.

Welcome Back Jeremy Hefner

One thing is abundantly clear – the Mets love them some Jeremy Hefner!

The Mets drafted him not once, but twice. After he didn’t sign with the team after the 2004 or 2005 draft, the Padres drafted and signed Hefner in 2007.

When he was designated for assignment by the Padres in 2011, he was claimed by the Pirates. When the Pirates did the same a month later, there was the Mets pouncing and finally getting their man.

A year later, Hefner would finally make his Mets debut. It would be quite notable as Hefner would become the first 26th man in Major League history when he entered in relief in the first game of the April 23rd doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants.

Hefner showed real promise in 2013 with a 1.80 ERA in June and a 3.33 first half ERA. Unfortunately, like Matt Harvey, his promising season ended when he succumbed to a torn UCL requiring Tommy John surgery.

Harvey would return for 2015 glory, but Hefner wouldn’t. While he rehabbed with Harvey, something went wrong, and he would need another Tommy John surgery. He’d be a warning sign for Harvey causing the team to force him to ease up on his rehab. For all we know it also caused the Mets to be smarter with Zack Wheeler, who missed two years with his own Tommy John surgery and ensuing complications.

Like Wheeler, Hefner was a Met in name only as he watched the team won a pennant. Sadly, he’d be released at the end of the year, and his comeback attempt with the Cardinals didn’t lead to another shot in the majors.

Hefner landed on his feet as a member of the Twins organization as a scout, and this past year, he was the assistant pitching coach. He’s become very well regarded in the game in very short order. Once again, the Mets pursued him.

This time, it was much easier. Following a theme with their hiring Carlos Beltran, the team brought back Jeremy Hefner. Once again, he’s home with the Mets where he belongs. Once again, the Mets finally got Hefner in a Mets uniform.

Mets Should Extend Steven Matz Now

As we saw last offseason, there is usually discussion about the need to extend the team’s best players, and to the Mets credit, they did what they needed to do in order to agree to a contract extension with Jacob deGrom. With him winning the Cy Young Award last year, the team is so far very happy with their decision.

In the ensuing years, the team has real decisions to make on contract extensions for their other starters. Marcus Stroman is a free agent after the 2020 season. After the 2021 season, both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will be free agents. Unless the Mets move to extend one or all of them, they stand in danger of losing them all to free agency like they are currently facing with Zack Wheeler.

While the immediate need is Stroman, and the focus is mostly centered around Syndergaard, now is a very good time for the Mets to entertain extending Matz.

In 2019, Matz arguably had the worst season of his career. Overall, he was 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA, 1.341 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9. Looking at all the numbers, the ERA, WHIP, BB/9, and K/9 were the second worst of his career. The same can be said for the H/9. When considering most of his career worsts came in a 2017 season where he had a massive bone spur, this was his worst season.

Still, there were some real positives which emerged during the 2019 season which should have the Mets looking to extend him. As a point of demarcation, Matz moved to the middle of the pitching rubber before his July 16 start against the Minnesota Twins.

Prior to that start, Matz struggled mightily, and he would be demoted to the bullpen heading into the All-Star Break. In his 16 starts and two relief appearances, he was 5-6 with a 4.89 ERA, 1.481 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and an 8.7 K/9. As he was coming out of the bullpen, Matz was limited in his pitch count, but he fared well against the Twins allowing just two earned over four innings. After this start, his season would turn the corner.

From July 21 until the end of the season, Matz would make 13 starts going 6-4 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, and an 8.7 K/9. Over this stretch, he had a 3.65 FIP. It’s a small sample size, but it is notable his FIP over this stretch was better than what Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin had.

Looking at the numbers, Matz pitched like the Mets fourth best starter, which honestly, is all the Mets expect him to be. On another team, he could be a three or even a number two, especially for teams who have begun to de-emphasize starting pitching.

In addition to the improved stats Matz had since he moved his position on the rubber, there were some other promising signs. For a pitcher who has dealt with injury problems, he has made 30 starts for consecutive seasons, and his 160.1 innings were a career high. The exit velocity and barrel percentage against him was the lowest it has been since 2016.

Really, when you break it all down, Matz is a pitcher in his prime, and he appears to be getting stronger the further away from 2017 he gets. He is making the adjustments he needs to make. He is also going to start getting expensive.

In 2019, his first year of arbitration, he made $2.625 million. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Matz is slated to essentially double his salary to $5.3 million. If he is the pitcher he was from the middle of July to the end of the season, that number is going to skyrocket in 2021.

At the moment, the Mets have a very low baseline with Matz, and it’s very possible this will be the cheapest he will ever be. By seeking to lock him up now, the Mets will have some cost certainty on someone who has been getting stronger and promises to improve. They’re securing a spot in their rotation at a time when they could potentially lose 4/5 of their rotation over a three year span.

Moreover, by extending Matz now, the Mets are getting some cost certainty. Locking up Matz on the lower end should allow them to turn their attention to the rest of the rotation as well as a player like Michael Conforto, who will hit free agency the same time as Syndergaard and Matz.

Overall, Matz is a homegrown Met who grew up a Mets fan. While he has not been the pitcher many expected when his grandfather was jumping up and down in the stands, he has proved himself to be a useful Major League starter, and he is someone who could well be part of the equation over the next five years. With him likely being at his cheapest now, this is the right time to look to extend him.

Braves Signing Travis d’Arnaud Bad For The Mets

There’s no nice way of putting this. Wilson Ramos was terrible behind the plate in 2019. As noted by Baseball Prospectus (and the great Rey Brutal), Ramos was near or at the bottom of nearly every catching statistic. That is before you consider Noah Syndergaard‘s struggles and frustrations, which was emblematic of the struggles the vast majority of the pitching staff had with Ramos behind the plate.

This led to a discussion about the Mets facilitating a transition away from Ramos. To that point, the Mets were very supportive of Ramos publicly. Considering that, it is of little surprise the Mets were not players for Yasmani Grandal, who signed a huge deal with the Chicago White Sox.

Still, the Mets acknowledged they needed an upgrade at the catching position. This does mean they are going to move on from Tomas Nido for another catcher. With the Mets being linked to catchers like Robinson Chirinos, it seemed like the team was looking more for a timeshare than a pure backup.

Travis d’Arnaud was perfect for that role.

As we know the Mets completely botched the handling of d’Arnaud in 2019. They needlessly rushed him back before he was ready, and he really had just about the worst game we’ve ever seen a catcher have. It was embarrassing for him, and it was hard to watch as a fan. In Mets fashion, they rage cut him from the team.

After a very brief P.J. Conlon like stop with the Los Angeles Dodgers, d’Arnaud would find himself with the Tampa Bay Rays. There, he would get the opportunity to play himself not only back into playing shape, but also into being the type of player he was with the 2015 Mets. On that front, he would appear in the postseason like he did with the 2015 Mets.

In 2019, he showed he was still a very good pitch framer capable of handling a pitching staff. He was also a good hitter with some pop in his bat. Essentially, he showed when healthy (and given real time to heal), he was a very good catcher. He was the sort of catcher who would help any Major League team, especially those interested in some form of a time-share.

Now, you could argue with the way things ended with the Mets, d’Arnaud was never coming back to Flushing. That may very well be true. That left the Mets in a spot where they need to be looking for another catcher who did not have the success in New York and with this pitching staff like d’Arnaud did. It also left them hoping d’Arnaud signed elsewhere.

Now, d’Arnaud is the Braves catcher. He is an upgrade from what the team had in Brian McCann last year, and he has the bat and framing which will allow the Braves to keep Tyler Flowers as a defensive minded backup. That is a significant improvement for the 97 win Braves team.

No, this is not going to make up for a potential loss of Josh Donaldson. Not in the least. However, it does lower the bar a bit on the type of third baseman the Braves would need to repeat their 2019 season.

Bringing d’Arnaud into the fold makes it more difficult for teams to catch the Braves, especially if they address their third base situtation and see continued growth from their young stars like Ronald Acuna Jr. That’s bad for the Mets. It’s even worse when you consider the institutional knowledge he brings with him.

The information he can share with the Braves about Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Syndergaard could be damaging. He could speak not just to pitch tipping and sequencing. He can also speak to what makes them tick, and other factors which would give the Braves hitters more of a chance against that trio and the rest of the Mets pitching staff.

With d’Arnaud signing with Atlanta, the Braves lineup and pitching staff are better. Their game planning against the Mets starters will be as well. Overall, this could prove to be a bad situation for the Mets, and it makes it all the more difficult for the Mets to make up an 11 game gap in the division.

Mets Proposed 2020 Uniform Plan

Since the black jerseys were first introduced in 1998, they have garnered much debate amongst fans. For some, they are like the racing stripe jerseys. It is the jersey they associate the Mets wearing when they were on top of the world. Think back to it. The Mets wore the black jerseys for some really monumental occasions:

Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single
Bobby Jones‘ one hitter
Mike Hampton clinching the 2000 pennant
David Wright celebrating the 2006 NL East clincher

There were many more moments as well. With the Mets soon to embark on the 20th anniversary of that 2000 pennant, there seems to be a recent push to bring back those jerseys. Certainly, it is something we saw Pete Alonso, Marcus Stroman, and some other brilliant writer bring up over the last few months.

Now there, were a few problems with the black jerseys. To a certain portion of the fanbase, it was an abandonment of the Mets true glory years. These were not the jerseys of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. It looked nothing like the jerseys of Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry. Really, it was a complete abandonment of the Mets roots which was supposed to be a partial homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

On more than one occasion, we heard Howie Rose lament about the infrequency in which we all saw the pinstripes. That was truly bizarre as they remained the designated home jersey. The black jerseys were only supposed to be an alternate, but they were treated as anything but that. Throw in the awful cap, and you see things did need to be eventually changed.

Since 2011, the black jerseys have been retired. In that time, the Mets have had a welcome return of the pinstripes, and they finally added the blue alternates fans had wanted to see for years. Still, with the anniversary, it being the jersey many grew up seeing, and people liking the look of it, people also want to see the black jerseys. With Carlos Beltran‘s return, it does seem like the right time to do it.

What many don’t want to see is the black jerseys overdone. They also want to see the pinstripes and the blue alternates. To that end, as previously proposed, the black jerseys should become the Friday night jerseys. If nothing else, it would be a call back to this epic Mike Piazza homer, which not so coincidentally, was on a Friday night:

As for the blue alternates, the Mets should put Mr. Met back as a sleeve patch, and the team should wear them as part of the Family Sundays.That ensures the blue alternates don’t get lost in the shuffle, and as noted, the Mr. Met patch is a nice touch for the days when the team has the Mr. Met dash.

For the weekday games, the Mets should wear the pinstripes.

Aside from Friday and Sunday, this need not be a hard and fast rule. The team could catch fire in one jersey leading to the team wearing them more as a good luck charm. The team could opt to feature one as part of a national showcase game for Fox or ESPN. The one caveat being it makes little to no sense to wear the black jerseys during hot summer days. But overall, this is the framework which really works well for the team.

Planning it all out this way, allows the Mets to do some advertising around it, and it seems to satisfy all fans. More than that, it gives the team an opportunity to really boost jersey sales. Overall, when this keeps everyone happy, and it leads to more money for the team, it is difficult to imagine why the team would not proceed with this plan.

Get Your Photo With Mr. Met Claus

With Thanksgiving this week, we are on the eve of the Christmas season. Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and with that comes time for parents to have to find time to get pictures of their children with Santa Claus. If you have time, the little Mets fan in your life many want to also get a picture with Mr. Met.

To their credit, the Mets Team Store is offering “Blue Friday” Deals offering items half-off Friday morning, 35% off in the afternoon, and 30% off the rest of the weekend. If you are down there for the deals, you can get discounts on items for your favorite players like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, or Noah Syndergaard. You could also be the first person on your block to get a Marcus Stroman #0 jersey or shirsey.

You can also bring your kids to get their pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Met. If you are interested, the Mets team mascots will be available at the following times:

11/30 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/1    11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/8    11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/14  11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.

That’s three separate weekends you can bring your kids down to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Met. Seeing them at the ballpark is always a highlight for the kids, and the free before and during the game is always fun. It should be more fun to get these photos without having to worry about getting back to the game or dealing with the the massive crowds.

Give the Mets credit here. They are doing something fun for the kids, and the photos are free. Hopefully, everyone will be able to bring their children to the ballpark for a photo, and this will become a part of everyone’s holiday traditions.

Mets Who May Soon Be Designated For Assignment

With the Mets protecting Andres Gimenez, Jordan Humphreys, Ali Sanchez, and Thomas Szapucki from the Rule 5 Draft, the 40 man roster is completely full. With the Mets needing to address a number of areas of this team, this means ever trade, waiver claim, and free agent signing is going to require a player coming off the 40 man roster.

Obviously, Drew Gagnon was the first casualty, but he is not going to be the last. Here is a look at some of the other players sitting on the bubble:

Tyler Bashlor

2019 MLB Stats: 0-3, 6.95 ERA, 24 G, 22.0 IP, 1.727 WHIP, 7.0 BB/9, 8.2 K/9

The success Bashlor has had in the minors has not translated at all to the majors. In fact, his control issues have only been magnified, and he has not been able to blow his fastball by anyone. This left him hittable, and he has been hit hard.

Sam Haggerty

2019 Stats: 11 G, 4 PA, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Haggerty was a September call-up with the Mets looking to add some late game speed as they were making a push for the Wild Card. With the current roster crunch, the Mets are too heavy on infielders. With Luis Guillorme firmly establishing himself as a Major League caliber utility player, Haggerty’s spot is all the more tenuous, and he’s very likely the first position player designated for assignment in the event a non-catcher is signed.

Chris Flexen

2019 Stats: 0-3, 6.59 ERA, 9 G, GS, 13.2 IP, 2.049 WHIP, 8.6 BB/9, 6.6 K/9

After struggling as a two pitch starter in his brief Major League appearances, Flexen was finally moved to the bullpen where he had fleeting success. You could argue with his stuff he could succeed next year in a bullpen role, but it’s very possible the Mets don’t see that happening as he was not called up last September. His being out of options may only accelerate a DFA decision.

Franklyn Kilome

2018 MiLB Stats: 4-9, 4.18 ERA, 26 GS, 140.0 IP, 1.343 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Kilome is a promising prospect who has control issues and is coming off Tommy John surgery. So far, the Mets have indicated things are going well in his rehab, and he should be ready to pitch early in the 2019 season. That said, if he has a setback, he could be moved off the roster in short order.

Chris Mazza

2019 MLB Stats: 1-1, 5.51 ERA, 9 G, 16.1 IP, 1.592 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.1 K/9

Mazza was a 29 year old rookie who finally made his debut with the Mets last year. While he was on the September roster, he did not pitch in a meaningful game although he did pick up his first Major League win on the final game of the season.

Tomas Nido

2019 Stats: .191/.231/.316, 5 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI

Nido got his chance to be a defensive minded back-up, and he worked well with pitchers like Noah Syndergaard. Still, he effectively hit like a pitcher at the plate, and his framing numbers, albeit good, were not at the point where you could justify keeping him in the Majors with the way he hit. With him being out of options, and the Mets looking to upgrade, he has the most tenuous spot on the 4o man roster.

Stephen Nogosek

2019 Stats: 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 7 G, 6.2 IP, 2.100 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

Nogosek seemed to turn a corner getting his control under wraps in Syracuse, but those issues would resurface in his brief Major League appearances. There is promise in his arm, but his control issues may eventually make him expendable.

Corey Oswalt

2019 Stats: 0-1, 12.15 ERA, 2 G, 6.2 IP, 2.250 WHIP, 8.1 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

Oswalt was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft after he was the 2017 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. Since that time, he has struggled, and it was partially the result of how the team left him sitting dormant for stretches and asking him to pitch on very short rest. He also dealt with some nagging injuries last year. In July and August, when he was healthy and finally giving a stretch of starts, he pitched well posting a 1.98 ERA in 10 starts which will probably save his spot on the 40 man roster. Still, with his not getting a September call-up, it’s not a guarantee.

Paul Sewald

2019 Stats: 1-1, 4.58 ERA, 17 G, SV, 19.2 IP, 1.068 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

Last year, Sewald was designated for assignment, and yet again, despite the odds, he pitched his way back to the Majors. In fact, at the end of the year, he was arguably the most reliable right-handed reliever in the Mets bullpen not named Seth Lugo. He has a low walk rate, good strikeout rate, and had a better FIP than ERA. One thing which may save him is his still having a Major League option remaining.

Daniel Zamora

2019 Stats: 0-1, 5.19 ERA, 17 G, 8.2 IP, 1.731 WHIP, 5.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Zamora is an interesting case. In his career, he has posted reverse splits, but he has a very good K/BB ratio against LHB flashing a wipeout slider. With MLB enacting rules effectively eliminating the LOOGY role, a pitcher like Zamora could actually have increased value, but for that to happen, he needs to harness himself better. Fortunately, he has options remaining.