Rants

Harold Reynolds’ NL Cy Young Analysis Is Terrible

If you’ve watched MLB Network lately, you’ve seen Harold Reynolds make the case Max Scherzer should win the Cy Young over Jacob deGrom.

Now, there are valid reasons to consider Scherzer (or even the not oft discussed Aaron Nola) for the award this season.

With respect to Scherzer, he’s clearly established himself as the best pitcher in the National League over the past few years – even better than Clayton Kershaw. He’s also having another Cy Young caliber season.

Right now, Scherzer is 15-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 161.2 IP, 216 K, 0.897 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, and a 5.54 K/BB ratio. Overall, that’s good for a 6.5 pitching WAR.

Scherzer leads the league in wins, WHIP, strikeouts, innings, K/9, and K/BB ratio. He also leads the entire National League with a 7.2 WAR.

In many ways, Scherzer deserves the National League MVP because he does lead the league in WAR, and he almost single-handedly keeping the Nationals alive in the postseason race.

In games he pitches, the Nationals are 17-7, and when he doesn’t pitch they are 42-50.

Similar to the Nationals, the Mets are 39-51 on the days deGrom doesn’t pitch. On the days he does pitch, the Mets are 9-14.

Yes, the Mets are well under .500 when deGrom pitches.

They are under .500 despite deGrom having a Major League leading 1.77 ERA. He leads the National League in HR/9, ERA+, and FIP.

So, how is he 6-7 with his team having a losing record when he pitches? The answer is simple. His team is terrible.

There have been seven times this season he’s allowed no earned runs in a game. He’s only 2-0 in those starts.

He’s had 13 different starts where he’s gone at least seven innings while allowing two runs or fewer. In those starts, he’s 3-4. Yes, he has a losing record in games where he pitches deep into games allowing two runs or fewer.

For his part, Scherzer has 11 of those types of starts. He’s 7-2 in those starts. That’s a huge difference.

And despite all of this, Harold Reynolds is going to get up there and use wins as the reason Scherzer is better than deGrom. Not just their wins, but team wins.

In some warped and deluded thought process, Reynolds actually believes Scherzer pitching in front of a better and not a worse team makes him a better pitcher.

Overall, there are cogent arguments to be made on Scherzer over deGrom. Innings, strikeouts, and WHIP do matter. Yes, to a certain extent wins should matter.

That said, when you’re using wins as the crux of your argument while completely ignoring how the respective teams played behind each pitcher, you’ve effectively announced to the world you aren’t putting the time in to do the research required to effectively do your job.

No one is saying Reynolds should be fired over this. That’s silly. However, we do have to question why MLB holds him out as their lead commentator on their own network.

I guess that’s another thing Rob Manfred will blame Mike Trout for happening.

Mets Fans Should Not Want Alonso Called Up

Last night’s starting lineup had Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Austin Jackson, and Devin Mesoraco in it while Wilmer Flores, Luis Guillorme, Jeff McNeil, and Kevin Plawecki sat.

This isn’t really an anomaly as the aforementioned 30+ year old veterans on expiring deals have been getting regular playing time over the younger players.

Earlier this season, Dominic Smith was up with the Mets for a 31 game stretch. The 23 year old former first round pick started in just 16 of those games. During this time, Mickey Callaway described Smith as a bench player.

That’s better than what Guillorme got. Despite his not getting a chance to ever really prove himself, he was described as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement who should not be getting starts the rest of the year. Naturally, this was said on a day Reyes got a start at second.

Seeing how the Mets don’t play the young players when they’re here on how they seemingly go out of their way to disparage those players, as a fan, ask yourself why you would want Peter Alonso called up right now.

Do you want to see him on the bench behind Bautista, or in the event be actually does manage to return this year, Jay Bruce?

Do you want to see him get benched for failing to scoop out a Reyes throw in the dirt leading to his eventual (punishment) benching?

Do you want to see him sit and have the team refer to him as a late inning power threat off the bench?

Judging from what we’ve seen this year and the last, we know that’s what’s going to happen to Alonso.

With that in mind, again ask yourself, do you really want to see the Mets call up Alonso this year?

Mets Failure To Make Trades Leaves Vets Blocking Promising Younger Players

Looking over the Mets roster, Jose Bautista, Jerry Blevins, Devin Mesoraco, and Jose Reyes are all veterans who are over 30 and have expiring contracts.

When you consider, the Mets added Austin Jackson to the mix, that’s five 30 year old players on expiring deals who were not moved at the trade deadline.

The issue isn’t just the Mets inability to get something, anything for these players. It’s the fact these players can and will stand in the way of a younger player.

Looking over this roster, there is no reason why Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil aren’t in the lineup everyday. Until Todd Frazier returns, the Mets have second, third, and left to use to figure out playing time.

Speaking of which, the Mets still have both Dominic Smith and Peter Alonso in Triple-A. It’s truly bizarre that neither one of them are up here now, especially with Smith’s purported ability to now play left field.

With McNeil’s, Guillorme’s, Smith’s, and Wilmer Floresversatility, the Mets have the ability to find playing time for everyone. With that versatility, we can not only see who’s ready to contribute at the Major League level, but also who’s a real part of the Mets future.

Instead, we’re going to see way too much of Bautista, Jackson, and Mesoraco in the starting lineup than is warranted for a team this many games under .500. We may very well see a game where they play on the same day as Reyes and Blevins.

Certainly, there are better odds of this happening than seeing an infield of Flores-Guillorme-Amed Rosario-McNeil with Smith in left. That’s before we even consider Alonso.

That’s not how you properly play out the string, and it’s a reason why the Mets are who they are and perennially winning teams are what they are.

Turning Off Wilpon Defender Mike Francesca

In 1997, the team had a surprising 88 win season with young players like Edgardo Alfonzo beginning to make his mark, accomplished players like John Olerud rejuvenating their careers, and players like Rick Reed seemingly coming out of nowhere to be good Major League players.  With a brash Bobby Valentine at the helm, many expected the Mets to make the leap in 1998.

As the 1998 season unfolded, it wasn’t to be, and that was mainly because their star catcher Todd Hundley had offseason elbow surgery which was going to keep him out for a while.

The Mets did start well.  On May 13th, the Mets were 19-15, albeit seven games back in the division.  Then, the following day, shockwaves went through Major League Baseball, and not just because the Mets were swept in a doubleheader by the Padres.  No, out of nowhere Mike Piazza was traded to the Florida Marlins.

It was an absolute blockbuster with Piazza and Todd Zeile going to the Marlins, who just dismantled the 1997 World Series winning team, for Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield.

Everyone in baseball knew the Marlins were looking to flip Piazza for prospects, and a talented Mets farm system seemed to make them one of the favorites if they were interested.  Problem was, they weren’t interested.

After this trade happened, the Mets would fall to nine games out in the division.  While this was happening, Mike and the Mad Dog would take to the air day-in and day-out clamoring for the Mets to go out and get Piazza.  Their assault was relentless.

Finally, on May 22nd, the Mets would acquire Piazza from the Marlins for Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz, and Ed Yarnall.  To hear Francesca tell it, he played a key role in that happening:

While a noted blowhard, you can never discount how public pressure forces teams to act.  After all if we look back to 2015, with all that happened, we did see the Mets swing a trade to obtain Yoenis Cespedes.  The public pressure continued in the ensuring offseason with the team, who had already moved on from Cespedes by signing Alejandro De Aza to platoon with Juan Lagares in center, acquiescing and signing Cespedes to what was essentially a one year deal.

The team didn’t let things play out after the 2016 season.  They jumped fairly quickly, and they signed Cespedes to a four year deal even with full knowledge of his heel issues.  Certainly, much of this was the result of the public pressure, which was given a voice on New York airwaves by people like Francesca.

Now?  Well, Francesca has gone from being an important voice to being a mouthpiece for the Wilpons.

He is now defending the Wilpons saying they are spending money.  He notes how the team has the seventh highest payroll in the majors.  That is patently false.  Cots, Spotrac and Steve the Ump ranks the Mets payroll 12th. Really, everyone ranks the Mets payroll 12th.

The AP ranked the Yankees, not the Mets as having the seventh highest payroll.  Maybe, Francesca read New York and was confused.

Putting the ranking aside, lost in that is the Mets recover 75% of David Wright‘s salary, which, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Jeff Wilpon has admitted does not get reinvested into baseball operations.  That means the Mets payroll is actually $15 million less than advertised.

Dropping the Mets payroll by $15 million, the Mets payroll drops to 15th in the majors.  With the $3 million saved in the Jeurys Familia trade, the payroll drops to 16th.  Yes, a New York market team, who is currently  refusing to give Jacob deGrom, currently the best starter in baseball, a contract extension, is in the bottom half of the league in spending.

For his part, Francesca defends this.  He will say the Mets spend, but they don’t spend well.  Nothing backs this up remotely.  Nothing.

Instead of pointing the finger where it belongs, the Wilpons, he will continue to bash Mickey Callaway as if he is the scourge of the Mets organization.  He will look at all the surrounds the Mets and mock them while failing to even consider pointing the blame at ownership.

And for all that, I’ve stopped listening to him.  After over 30 years of listening to him, I’m done.  And I suspect I will not be the only Mets fan who feels this way.

Reyes and McNeil Is the Issue, Not Callaway

Whenever a team plays a game, there are issues which are going to emerge, and it is likely going to be a topic of conversation in the hours leading up to the next game.  When there is a doubleheader, there is so much more to discuss that some things get lost in the weeds, or in some instances, it allows teams to bury stories.

Yesterday, before the Mets played the first game of the doubleheader against the Phillies, it was announced Todd Frazier was going to go on the disabled list, and to replace him on the roster the Mets were going to recall Ty Kelly.  The end result of this would be Jose Reyes taking over in the interim as the everyday third baseman.

Now, the Mets entered the doubleheader 16 games under .500, and the team decided to go with their 35 year old albatross instead of giving a young kid an opportunity.  That means Dominic Smith is still a 23 year old sitting on the bench not getting at-bats.  It also means Jeff McNeil, a player who has arguably been the best hitter in all of the minor leagues this season, remains in Triple-A.

The Mets are making this option despite Reyes clearly showing he’s incapable of handling a bench spot, and as a result, is really no part of the Mets future.  Worse yet, when he does play, he plays terribly.  On the season, Reyes has a -1.2 WAR.  He can’t hit with a a .168/.238/.235 batting line (32 wRC+), and he can’t field with a negative DRS at third and short.

In essence, the Mets have an old player who can’t hit and field taking away at-bats from young players in a seaosn where the Mets are selling at the trade deadline.

The joke continues with the Mets claiming McNeil is only a second baseman.  In his minor league career, McNeil has played 209 games at second base and 148 games at third.  Even if you as a franchise believe he’s only a second baseman, why can’t you temporarily shift Asdrubal Cabrera to third?

Cabrera is a much better third baseman defensively than he is a second baseman.  In fact, Cabrera is an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base.  Why can’t the Mets move him to third to remind teams of a versatility, to keep him healthy, and to give McNeil and/or Smith an opportunity?

When it comes to the Mets, this is by far the most pressing issue in what has become a nightmare of a season.

However, that’s not what we are talking about today.  We are not because SNY helped changed the narrative.

In the eighth inning in the second game of the doubleheader, Aaron Nola‘s spot was due up, and Gabe Kapler appeared as if he was going to use Odubel Herrera as his pinch hitter.  Before Herrera was announced as the pinch hitter, Mickey Callaway had sprung from the dugout out, and he brought in Jerry Blevins.

Initially, this looked like a gaffe from Callaway because it allowed Kapler to keep Herrera on his bench while bringing in the right-handed hitting Jesmuel Valentin to pinch hit instead.

In the postgame, Callaway explained this was not in fact a gaffe.  Instead, he opined he hoped Kapler would make the decision to pinch hit Valentin instead of Herrera.

In defending his position, Callaway noted how entering the game Valentin was a .190 hitter whereas Herrera was hitting well against left-handed pitching with a .804 OPS.

Ancedotally, while it is true Herrera is just 1-12 against Blevins, it should be noted only one of those 12 at-bats were this season.  That’s an important note because this year, Blevins has really struggled with left-handed hitters allowing them to hit .318/.392/.523 off of him.  It is important to note right-handed batter are hitting .150/.292/.250 off of Blevins this year.

Essentially, Callaway made the right move here.  He forced Kapler into the match-up he wanted late in the game.

However, instead of commending him for using data to make an informed and well reasoned decision and for his making moves to force the other manager into a decision where a .190 hitter stepped up to the plate, SNY had commentator after commentator after commentator who ripped Callaway for the decision.

With each commentator following the narrative, the Mets decision to give Reyes more playing time over Smith and McNeil became an even distant memory.  In essence, the Mets utilized their network to help shift the narrative from “How can you play Reyes and not give McNeil a chance!” to “Callaway is over-matched and doesn’t know what he’s doing!”

It’s infuriating, and it’s going to become increasingly infuriating as people focus on Callaway instead of what the real issue is.

Really, as the end of the day the biggest issue was the Mets insistence on playing a 35 year old who can’t hit or field instead of giving a young player a chance.  Anything else is just a distraction and a perpetuated false narrative.

Where Do The Mets Get Off Giving Away deGrom Gnomes?

Back in 2015, the New York Mets had a promotion to give away Jacob deGrom Garden Gnomes. As noted in an MMO article on the topic, this was a hot ticket item as nearly 40,000 fans showed up for the giveaway.

The problem was the Mets only gave away 15,000 garden gnomes meaning that even if you showed up to the gates an hour early, well before most fans arrive for a normal game, you were out of luck:

For some reason, the Mets won’t give away 40,000 of hot ticket items like this even with them knowing they are filling the park. As an aside, they make sure to have enough for every media member.

That aside, the Mets are more than willing to ruin a child’s experience at a game because they won’t spend the extra few bucks (absent a sponsor – $3/fan) to make sure everyone gets one, and maybe like the Brewers, order extras to bring to schools and other charitable events.

If you’re not infuriated enough, consider this: THE METS STILL HAVE LEFTOVER DEGROM GNOMES!!!!!

That’s right, despite “only having 15,000” leaving roughly 25,000 fans without a gnome, the Mets have one, and they’re giving it away:

https://mobile.twitter.com/mets/status/1003745747232313344

Really, just when you think this franchise can’t sink any lower and can’t be any more insulting, they find a way.

If you spent the money, you weren’t guaranteed a gnome not just because the Mets didn’t order enough, but because they also held one back to give away on Twitter.

Ridiculous.

Blame Sandy Alderson, Not Mickey Callaway

In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”

Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:

So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.

A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?

This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame.  What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch.  For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers.  Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner.  It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.

Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS.  Amed Rosario has been making continued strides.  After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate.  It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.

We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.  Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.

The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?

Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.

Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries.  What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”

He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.

Consider this.  After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland.  After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery

Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.

The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.

For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster.  This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.

This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason.  No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder.  Three year $39 million deals are not that.  Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.

Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.

That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions.  Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.

Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing.  No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.

The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications.  With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy.  Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?  Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway.  His bullpen management has been suspect at times.  Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win.  Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.

It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager.  Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?

Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.

NBA In No Position To Criticize NFL

In case you missed it, Steve Kerr had to say this about the NFL rule mandating players either stand for the anthem or wait in the locker room:

Before commenting on whether you agree or not with his comments consider how the NBA handles what Kerr calls “fake patriotism.”

As noted by The Big Lead, not only does the NBA have a rule mandating players stand for the anthem, but before this season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a memorandum reminding the players of this rule.

That rule applies to coaches like Kerr, who apparently takes no issue with him and his players being forced to stand for the anthem while roundly criticizing the NFL for forcing their counter-parts to do the same.

And keep in mind, this was a rule enforced against Mahmoud Abdur-Rahim, who felt standing for the anthem conflicted with his Muslim faith. He was suspended indefinitely with his suspension ending in his being forced to stand for the anthem, but he was allowed to look down and close his eyes.

On this situation, Kerr only had this to offer, “He’s been doing this all season and it wasn’t an issue until the league stopped him. It’s strange that it’s now an issue.” (SF Gate).

That’s not exactly on par with “fake patriotism.”

With this being Memorial Day Weekend, we may come across a time to question what it means to be patriotic, or honor those who have died protecting the flag.

To some, kneeling disrespects those who gave up their lives. For others, those soldiers died to give people the right to kneel.

Whatever your thoughts on the topic, make sure you’re okay with that rule being applied to everyone. Stick true to your convictions and make sure if you criticize someone for their action, you criticize all for that action be it kneeling or coercing to not kneel.

Put another way, don’t grandstand and be a complete hypocrite like Steve Kerr.

Mets Cushioning Blow For Potential Future deGrom Trade

Yesterday, the discussion about the Mets even entertaining Jacob deGrom happened on CMB on WFAN. The lively discussion wasn’t about just the possibility of trading deGrom. No, it was also about the possibility of trading him to the Yankees.

Then, John Harper of the New York Daily News wrote an article not just about trading deGrom but also Noah Syndergaard.

Like Carlin of CMB, Harper dismissed the notion deGrom would be traded to the Yankees as the Mets did not want to give the Yankees the final piece of their championship puzzle. Still, that did not stop the New York Daily News from printing this back page:

It should be noted Carlin was a former SNY employee who still has ties to many at both the network and the Mets organization.

For his part, Harper regularly appears on SNY, especially on Daily News Live.

Yes, for those who forgot, the Mets, SNY, and the New York Daily News are in bed together.

If the Mets were ever going to contemplate trading their big pitchers, especially one as popular as deGrom, you first want to gauge fan reaction. Ideally, if possible, you would want to begin to manipulate fans into agreeing this decision is best for the team.

The best way to do it? Well, that back page is a good start.

At the moment, Mets fans are in a panic deGrom will be pitching the Yankees to a World Series title much like David Cone once did. Only this is worse because it was the Blue Jays who traded Cone to the Yankees. This time the Mets are trading deGrom to the Yankees!

This causes many a Mets fan to exclaim, “Anywhere than the Yankees!”

That’s not the same as don’t trade deGrom.

Now, we know the Mets aren’t trading anyone just yet. It’s still way too soon, and even with a 3-10 May record, this team is still just 4.5 games out of the division and one game in the loss column from a Wild Card spot.

Still, when things are this bad, and everything is on the verge of spiraling out of control, you begin to at least lay the groundwork for being sellers at the deadline. If you want to blow it all up and do a full rebuild that means trading deGrom.

From a PR perspective that’s a nightmare, which is why you put it in Mets fans heads he could be a Yankee. When he’s not a Yankee, you’re relieved.

Then, when you turn on the radio or SNY, you will get to hear what a great return the Mets received in exchange for deGrom and how these players will accelerate this rebuild.

You’ll hear that because the Mets have ties all over the local media to help them manipulate the Mets fan into buying the team’s narrative.

And it all started with then laying a foundation for the Mets trading deGrom . . .

Jeff Wilpon Thinks Mets Fans Are Dumb

Finally, for the first time since 2014, Jeff Wilpon answered questions about the Mets payroll.  Of course, it was typical mixed messages and partial truths.  Rather than putting it in my own words, I’m going to use the tweets from reporters:

Right off the bat, we have at least a perceived contradiction.  Jeff Wilpon’s statement the payroll will go up if there’s an opportunity does not jive with matching or reducing last year’s payroll by about $10 million.  To give him the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume he means he could increase payroll from it’s current point.

According to Spotrac, the Mets payroll currently sits at $128.9 million for the 25 man roster and $130.7 million total.  Last year, the Mets payroll was $154.8 million.  This means the Mets have somewhere between $13 to $23 million left to spend this offseason.

There is where it needs to be mentioned the Mets rejected trades for both Jason Kipnis and Josh Harrison.

According to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, the trade for Kipnis was rejected by “higher ups.”  In fact, Heyman said, the deal was “killed by someone at the top, very likely over money.”  Over the next two years, Kipnis is due $28.2 million over the next two years with a $2.5 million buyout if the Mets do not pick up the $16.5 million 2020 team option.

With respect to Harrison, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported the Pirates ask of Brandon Nimmo was too high considering Harrison’s contract.  While we can debate the merits of trading Nimmo for Harrison, the contract balk is confounding with Harrison due $10.25 million next year with succeeding team options of $10.5 million and $11.5 million.

And for what it’s worth, Kipnis and Harrison do meet Jeff’s “Significantly Improve” Test as the Mets current options are Wilmer Flores, who has never been given a real opportunity to play second due to his poor glove, or re-signing Jose Reyes, who had a -0.6 WAR last year.

For a minute, let’s revisit another topic Jeff Wilpon raised when he said increasing payroll doesn’t necessarily translate to wins.  Now, on the surface, that may appear to be true.  Certainly, if you go out and spend $20 million on Jose Reyes, it is not going to make your team better.  Also, for what it’s worth, for a team that desparately needs a second baseman and could also use a third baseman, center fielder, and a couple of arms, Jay Bruce doesn’t necessarily translate to wins either.

Sarcasm aside, let’s take Jeff Wilpon at his earlier word that he will spend if the move significantly improves the Mets.  Let’s also focus on those players that would translate to wins instead of harping on a player like Jonathan Lucroy, who is really more a name than an All Star at this point in his career.

With the free agent market where it is, the Mets could obtain Todd Frazier, who is a significant upgrade at third over Asdrubal Cabrera.  Moving Cabrera to second would at least solve the position with a credible Major League hitter.

In center field, Lorenzo Cain is still available, and his market is dwindling.  This was a 5.3 WAR player last year, and as we all know, is a World Series champion.  Considering center field is now manned by Juan Lagares, who is as brilliant defensively as he is poor at the plate and keeping healthy, Cain would be a significant upgrade that would translate to wins.

Same goes for a reliever like Greg Holland, who was an All Star in Colorado of all places last year.  Really, Holland was terrific as a closer up until he likely tired toward the end of the year.  Wouldn’t he be a significant upgrade that translates to wins, especially when you combine him with Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins?

The answer to all of the above is they will significantly improve the team and would likely lead to wins.  The same could be said for Kipnis and Harrison, two players the Mets balked at over money.  If the Mets are balking over $10-13 million at the biggest area of need this offseason, what would lead any of us to believe the Mets will spend that amount on other players?

Oh, and by the way, Jeff Wilpon essentially ruled out the team signing any combination of those players with his announced payroll restrictions.

And of course, if all of Jeff Wilpon’s statements didn’t see contradictory or disingenuous enough, he also made this statement:

However, despite all of that, let’s just believe for one second, you still think the Mets are going to go out there and significantly improve this team.  There’s still plenty of top tier free agents available, and there are deals to be had.  Well, you’re dreams and assumptions should die with this statement on David Wright:

That’s right.  At a time when the Mets are giving mixed messages about payroll parameters, they’re complaining about the cost of an insurance policy that saves them roughly $20 million per season.

Really, everything Jeff Wilpon said proves out two things.  First, the team really believes that spending to acquire better players does not necessarily translate to wins.  Second, and more important, he thinks Mets fans are dumb.

Why else would he try to have us believe acquiring better players doesn’t lead to wins or publicly bemoan the cost of Wright’s insurance policy?