The Mets organization is worse off today because it traded away Curtis Granderson. Simply put, you do not lose a human being the caliber of Granderson and are better off for it.
There’s a reason why he won the Roberto Clemente Award last year. He’s dedicated himself to helping others.
His Grand Kids Foundation has helped educate children in New York and Chicago and get them interested in baseball. To that end, he donated $5 million of his money to his alma mater, the University of Illinois, to build a ballpark where both the college and city kids could play baseball.
In addition to this, he’s an International Ambassador of Major League Baseball, a former ambassador for the Let’s Move! campaign, and is a spokesperson for the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Drink Up water initiative.
Long story short, Granderson is a great human being. Perhaps the only thing that could challenge Granderson the man was Granderson the ball player.
During Granderson’s three plus year tenure, Granderson established himself as one of the best free agent signings in Mets history. He was certainly one of the most important.
While Yoenis Cespedes got all the glory, Granderson was the most important player on that 2015 team.
For much of that season, Granderson was the only credible bat in that lineup. Between his offense, defense, and leadership, he helped keep the Mets afloat until the team for healthy and could make trades to make that run to the World Series possible.
When the Mets got there, Granderson was the best player in that series. In that series, he tied Don Clendenon, the 1969 World Series MVP, with the most World Series homers in Mets history. Each one of those homers by Granderson either tied the game or gave the Mets a lead.
On a personal note, Granderson’s home run is one of my favorite memories. It’s not just because I got to see it at Citi Field, it with my father and brother, it’s because of how my son reacted at home:
The 2016 season didn’t go as smoothly for Granderson, but there he was again when the Mets needed him most.
As the Mets were scratching and clawing to get back to the postseason, Granderson hit .302/.414/.615 with four doubles, a triple, eight homers, and 21 RBI over the final month of the season.
Behind Granderson’s play and leadership, the Mets did return to the postseason. In the Wild Card Game, his amazing diving catch robbed Brandon Belt of a go-ahead sixth inning RBI extra-base hit. That catch kept hope alive.
Hope was something Mets fans were allowed to have once Granderson came to the Mets as a free agent in 2014.
The Mets had a plan to build around all this pitching with only Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler being the only ones to make their debut. The question was really who was going to play behind all this pitching.
As it turns out, Granderson was the first one to sign on to be a part of all of this. He was going to be the guy to join forces with the pitching and David Wright to win that World Series. And the Mets were so close too.
They were close because Granderson did whatever was asked of him. One minute he was a clean-up hitter, and the next, he was a lead-off hitter. He would play all three outfield positions. This year, he willingly moved into more of a fourth outfielder, which allowed the Mets to give Michael Conforto more playing time.
To that end, Conforto seemed moved by the trade. He spoke highly of Granderson, and he made specific mention about how Granderson helped all the young guys on the team. What Conforto was describing was a true leader.
That’s the same leader Lucas Duda talked about in his Player’s Tribune article. Specifically, he stated, “Then when Curtis came over, that just made everything even better.” Duda went on to say, “I owe so much to Curtis and the other guys because they really helped me to grow up.”
The sheer mention of Duda should also elicit memories of the We Follow Lucas Duda Instagram account. The account was hilarious, and it always left fans smiling. That’s another area where the Mets will miss Granderson.
From the very minute he signed with the Mets, he endeared himself to the fans saying, ““A lot of the people that I have met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans, so I’m excited to get a chance to see them all.” (New York Post).
And Granderson really was excited to see Mets fans. If you’ve attended games, you see him doing more than any other player in baseball to interact with the fans. He took time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. Occasionally, while in the on deck circle, he’d greet a fan or two.
Even before he packed his bags to head to LA to join the current World Series favorites, he took time to send a message to Mets fans:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 19, 2017
In every sense of the word, Curtis Granderson is a class act. If anyone deserves the opportunity to win a World Series ring, it’s him. Here’s hoping he gets it.
Thank you for all that you were and for the ride. The entire Mets organization was better for you being here, and you will be sorely missed by the fans. Hopefully with you being a free agent, you find your way back to the Mets.
If not, hitting a grand slam in your final at-bat is quite a way to end your Mets career:
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) August 18, 2017
Good luck and thanks for the ride Curtis Granderson.
Considering his relative lack of experience, it was a step in the right direction for him. It’s the third straight start he’s pitched into the fifth, and it’s the second time in his last three starts he’s pitched into the sixth.
Other than that, there wasn’t much to get excited about tonight.
For starters, the Mets sat Dominic Smith because the Marlins started the left-handed Justin Nicolino. This is the same nonsense we saw with Terry Collins‘ handling of Michael Conforto only this time Terry doesn’t have the excuse of the Mets contending.
Hopefully, it’s true the Mets sat Conforto because he needed a day off and not because Collins is going back to this platoon nonsense with his best hitter.
Ultimately, this was one of the more difficult games to watch. Both teams are bad. Stanton wasn’t his homering self. The Mets sat Dom and Conforto. And, oh yeah, there was nearly a two hour rain delay.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. Not likely with the Mets now at a season worst 14 games under .500, but there’s hope.
With the injuries to Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes, the Mets had to play a catcher out of position for the full game. Believe it or not, this is the third time this season a Mets catcher has played another position. In the Mets 55 year history, they have had a number of catchers who have played a position other than catcher. Can you name them? Good luck!
Chris Cannizzaro Choo-Choo Coleman Hawk Taylor John Stephenson Jerry Grote J.C. Martin Duffy Dyer John Stearns Alex Trevino Bruce Bochy Gary Carter Clint Hurdle Barry Lyons Mackey Sasser Jeff McKnight Steve Bieser Todd Pratt Jim Tatum Eli Marrero Todd Hundley Mike Piazza Vance Wilson Todd Zeile Jason Phillips Rob Johnson Anthony Recker Rene Rivera Kevin Plawecki Travis d’Arnaud
This error eventually led to Gary Sanchez hitting a three run homer.
Matz then got in trouble in the fourth, and he didn’t get through the inning. Then again, he didn’t deserve to with Luis Severino popping up a sacrifice bunt attempt which dropped in front of him for a base hit.
Matz would eventually depart the inning down five runs and with the bases loaded and just one out. Chasen Bradford allowed a two RBI single to Sanchez to make it 7-0 before getting out of the inning.
Of note on the Sanchez base hit was the Yankees again challenged Yoenis Cespedes arm and scored a run.
After the inning was over, the latest Matz clunker was in the books. Since July 9th, Matz is 0-6 with a 10.47 ERA and a 2.051 WHIP. If you’re looking for a bright side, Aaron Judge didn’t hurt him at all. He was 0-2 with two strikeouts and a HBP.
With Bradford doing yeoman’s work in his third straight day out of the pen, he did give the Mets a chance to get back in this one. They almost did too in the seventh.
Judge dropped a Travis d’Arnaud fly ball for a two base error with one out in the seventh. Sandy Alderson’s new favorite player, Matt Reynolds, followed with an RBI single to get the Mets on the board.
Brandon Nimmo, who came on for Cespedes in a double switch, chased Severino with a single. The Mets eventually loaded the bases with two outs, and Michael Conforto was up against the LOOGY Chasen Shreve. With Conforto striking out, the final nail was in the coffin.
By the way, Gary Cohen did confirm this was the first time two Chasens appeared in the same Major League game.
Surprisingly, the Mets had life again in the ninth. It was the same trio that got the Mets started in the seventh. d’Arnaud and Reynolds had back-to-back singles off Bryan Mitchell, and Nimmo walked to load the bases.
That grand slam was about all that was notable from the Mets side in what was a forgettable Subway Series for the Mets. Then again, it’s been a forgettable season, so this series was really just more of the same.
With Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes suffering injuries, we got to see Travis d’Arnaud shift all game between second and third base. With the Mets not wanting to be put in that situation again, the Mets have flown both Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini to New York as a precaution. In the event both Reynolds and Cecchini are activated, it appears that Reynolds, not Cecchini, will be the one who will get playing time.
Before the game and before injuries were an issues, Sandy Alderson informed reporters he was inclined to give Reynolds a long look in September. Alderson also stated the team will not be giving Cecchini a long look at second base in September. Alderson’s statements could be interpreted to mean the Mets are now moving on from Cecchini.
In one sense, this shouldn’t be that surprising. After struggling at shortstop and with the rise of Amed Rosario, Cecchini was moved to second base. While he has been good defensively at second, he has taken a step back offensively.
Cecchini had a breakout offensive season in 2015 in Binghamton. He continued that success last year in both Las Vegas and the Arizona Fall League. Seeing him hit .267/.329/.380 this season, it makes you question what was the issue with him.
There are some plausible explanations for this. For starters, Cecchini’s 2015 and 2016 stats were partially fueled by a high .348 and .357 BABIP. Certainly, his being an aggressive contact line drive hitter with low walk and strikeout rates, he is susceptible to swings in his BABIP from year to year. To that end, it may not be such a surprise to see Cecchini see his BABIP drop to .329 this year and his offensive stats drop they way they have.
Another possible explanation is Cecchini has had to put extra work and attention to learning second base. With the Mets focus this season with making their players more versatile, Cecchini has also had to work on his play at shortstop. This is a plausible explanation as to why we have seen Cecchini struggle at the plate this year.
Still, this is a talented player. It was one of the reasons the Mets made him their first round draft pick (12th overall) in 2012. In his two brief stints in the majors, he has not been over-matched at the plate. Last year, he hit two doubles in seven at-bats. In his call-up this year, he had a four game hitting streak that included a home run off Clayton Kershaw. Seeing this, and how much the Mets have invested in him, it seems peculiar the Mets would just pass on giving him an extended look in the majors.
Then again, this seems to be a pattern with Sandy Alderson. He and his front office have truly struggled with contact hitters like Cecchini who have not shown power at a young age. Many will point to his decision to non-tender Justin Turner, but there is also the way the Mets have handled T.J. Rivera. The team continuously passed him over for players who did not pan out.
Cecchini may or may not be an everyday second baseman or even a Major League player. At this point, we don’t know, but it also seems odd to take that stance when he’s still just 23 years old, who has not been afforded the opportunity to receive the benefit of Kevin Long’s tutelage. There’s also the matter of the Mets giving playing time to Reyes, Flores, and Asdrubal Cabrera. In large part, the Mets know what they have in them, and for the most part, they haven’t been good enough to help the Mets win this year.
We don’t know that with Cecchini. It’s time to give him a chance.
If nothing else, you knew tonight was going to be an interesting game from the Mets perspective.
The day began with Sandy Alderson voicing his displeasure with Robert Gsellman saying he didn’t care that Sandy believed he needed to pitch better.
Officially, d’Arnaud and Cabrera switched 22 times tonight. That’s a lot.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 17, 2017
Basically, d’Arnaud was constantly repositioned to avoid being at the pull side of the opposing hitter. It wasn’t until the ninth that he had to make a play. It was a pop out.
P4! P5? P4! pic.twitter.com/YG2A9ZT99r
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 17, 2017
From there, we saw some good baseball and some really poor home plate umpiring.
For a pitcher that needed a big game after his comments, Gsellman was just okay. His final line was 5.1 innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and three strikeouts.
One of the runs he allowed was an Aaron Judge monster of a homer to the third deck that was somehow just the third longest homer in Citi Field history:
Um, well… On the plus side it only counts as one. pic.twitter.com/VxagVw3LqI
— CitiFieldHR (@CitiFieldHR) August 17, 2017
Even with that monster homer, the game was tied going into the sixth.
Juan Lagares got the rally started with a leadoff double off Jaime Garcia. He got over and then scored on a Yoenis Cespedes sacrifice fly.
After Judge hit his homer, Rene Rivera hit one of his own in the fifth. It wasn’t as impressive as Judge’s, but you couldn’t tell that from Garcia’s reaction.
The Mets rallied back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Cespedes lead off with a walk and moved to third on a Michael Conforto double. The second base umpire ruled Cespedes was interfered with on the basepaths, but he was only awarded third. Cespedes then scored on a d’Arnaud sacrifice fly.
At this point, Collins did what he always does with Sewald – he pushed him. It wasn’t good enough that he got out of a stressful jam. No, he had to go back out there. The combination of questionable managing and poor umpiring would do him in.
— Mets Strike Zone (@MetsUmp) August 17, 2017
On the pitch, Sewald missed his spot by a good margin, and Rivera did him no favors by stabbing at the pitch. With that said, the home plate umpire Chad Whitson cannot miss that call. Then again, he was so terrible, you shouldn’t be surprised.
Even with Sewald did get Judge to pop out, but his luck ran out with Didi Gregorious ripped a two RBI double that provided the winning margin in a Yankees 5-3 victory. The Didi double snapped an 0-25 streak Sewald had with runners in scoring position.
Ultimately, the story here was bad umpiring, Collins putting too much on Sewald again, and the Yankees bullpen just being that good.
Game Notes: d’Arnaud became the first Mets to appear at catcher, second, and third since Jeff McKnight in 1993.
Last night, the Yankees brought on Aroldis Chapman to close out a Yankees three run lead. After Wilmer Flores struck out to begin the inning, Dominic Smith strode up to the plate in what would be the rookie’s biggest test in his brief major league career. Seeing how he hit an opposite field homer earlier in the game, and Rafael Devers hit a huge home run against Chapman in Chapman’s last save attempt, this was promising to be a very interesting match-up.
This is not the first time we have seen this play with Collins. During Michael Conforto‘s first two years with the Mets, Collins did not let his young left-handed hitter face left-handed pitching. Instead, he would bat Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Justin Ruggiano, Ty Kelly, or really any warm body on the bench to prevent Conforto from facing a left-handed pitcher.
The end result of Collins’ refusal to play Conforto against left-handed pitching was Conforto actually struggling against left-handed pitching. Over his first two big league seasons, Conforto hit .129/.191/.145 with just one extra-base hit, a double, in the 68 at-bats he did get against left-handed pitching.
However, there was no reason to sit Conforto against left-handed pitching. His hitting coach, Kevin Long, found the notion that Conforto can’t hit left-handed pitching absurd. Conforto hit left-handed pitching in both his collegiate and brief minor league career. Still, despite Conforto’s ability to hit left-handed pitching everywhere else, Collins decided to sit him against left-handed pitching.
When pressed on it, Collins said, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.” (Barbara Barker, Newsday).
Assuming Collins is correct that you shirk the responsibility of developing young players because you have designs on winning a World Series, why is he now repeating the same tactics with Smith?
Currently, the Mets are 10 games under .500. The team has to win 62% of their remaining games just to get to .500. The team has already traded away Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker. If an opportunity presents itself, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Rene Rivera will find new homes before the end of the month. Put more succinctly, this team is not in a position where they are trying to win games – this is a time to develop players.
Pinch hitting for Smith the very first opportunity he gets to face a left-handed pitcher in the majors does nothing to accomplish that goal.
Overall, unless Collins is facing some delusions of grandeur, there is no reason to believe the Mets are winning anything in 2017. Smith is ticketed to be the Mets starting first baseman in 2018. To that end, the rest of the regular season should be dedicated to helping him best prepare for the 2018 season. Sitting him against left-handed pitching only hinders his development.
Maybe, just maybe Collins was never truly concerned with player development. Maybe in his mind young left-handed batters are just incapable of hitting left-handed pitching. It is likely the reason why he previously sat Conforto against left-handed pitching, and it is the reason why he’s doing it with Smith now.
It’s poor managing, and it has had a tangible effect on player development. Collins might have had his excuse with Conforto, but he doesn’t have that excuse with Smith now. If Collins shields Smith from a left-handed pitcher just one more time, the Mets are going to have to find someone else to manage. Simply put, you cannot permit Collins to hinder Smith’s development to win some meaningless games.
This wasn’t the best of Subway Series games for Mets fans.
Jacob deGrom was good but not great.
The Yankees first got to him in the third when Ronald Torreyes hit a lead-off double that Yoenis Cespedes couldn’t even be bothered to hustle to field. His lack of hustle was all the more damning when Torreyes made it to second with ease despite slipping on the first base bag.
Of course, Cespedes would hustle on two infield singles in the game.
The Yankees then took a 1-0 on an Aaron Hicks RBI single.
That lead grew to 4-0 on a pair of homers. The first was a two run Yankee Stadium special off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury in the fourth. The Gary Sanchez solo shot in the sixth would’ve been out anywhere.
Even with the four runs, deGrom was largely effective. His final line was 7.1 innings, nine hits, five runs, five earned, two walks, and four strike outs.
deGrom would get the loss because Sonny Gray dominated the Mets for six innings. He had only allowed one walk and four hits while striking out five.
Dominic Smith knocked him out of the game with his first career homer in the seventh:
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 16, 2017
It was an opposite field shot just past Hicks’ glove. The homer brought the Mets to within 4-2, bit the Mets wouldn’t get closer.
One reason why was home plate umpire. Dellin Betances began to get wild after getting two quick outs to start the eighth. Betances then walked Cespedes, and he found himself down 3-1 to Michael Conforto.
The 3-1 pitch was certainly a strike, but the 3-2 pitch was low. Even if it was technically a strike, it was not called a strike all night.
That was the Mets last chance to tie the game.
The Yankees expanded the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Aaron Judge led off with a double by just beating out Cespedes throw to second. It became runners on the corners after Didi Gregorious fought off a pitch and blooped it just over the head of Wilmer Flores.
It was a bad situation that could have been worse if not for Juan Lagares. Sanchez hit a ball to the deepest part of the park. Instead of it going for extra bases, a shallow playing Lagares not only ranged all the way back, but he also got into good throwing position. This kept Gregorious at first.
Jerry Blevins and Chasen Bradford got out of the inning keeping the score at 5-2. Unfortunately, that insurance run would loom large with the Mets challenging Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
It started with Terry Collins pinch hitting Jose Reyes for Smith because Collins is apparently the only person on the planet who doesn’t know Rafael Devers hit a home run off Chapman.
Reyes got the infield hit, but who cares? The rest of this season is about player development, and the Mets gain nothing from pinch hitting for Smith against a tough lefty.
It’s complete and utter nonsense. It’s the same nonsense that held up Conforto’s development.
If this is the way Collins manages from here on out, it’s time to get rid of him.
That said, Amed Rosario made things interesting with an opposite field two run homer to bring the Mets to within 5-4.
Gregorious would make a nice play taking a base hit away from Travis d’Arnaud, and Lagares would ground out to end the game.
It was a frustrating loss not just because deGrom wasn’t at his best, but also because Collins continued the same poor managing.
Game Notes: This is the first time Smith and Rosario homered in the same game.
Last night, after the Yankees come from behind win over the Mets, their social media team went to work to try to mock Mets fans:
When your friend tries to say New York is a "Mets town." pic.twitter.com/mC7t98ttM7
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 15, 2017
Clearly, there are some issues with this tweet:
- If you’re going to say it’s a Yankees town, make sure you don’t use a picture with a lot of empty seats. Even if your premise is correct this is a Yankees town, you’re showing picture evidence that people still don’t want to go to your ballpark.
- They used a photo where literally no one is watching the game. Essentially, you’re saying New York is a Yankee town for people who have no interest in watching baseball.
- The person being laughed at isn’t even wearing a Mets cap. It’s just some generic baseball cap amongst a group of people mostly not wearing Yankees caps or shirts. New York may be a Yankees town, but no one really wants to identify themselves as Yankee fans.
- If you’ll notice the Yankees cap featured, it has the New Era logo on it. For those of us that follow baseball closely, you’ll know that this is something baseball started doing this year. Therefore, the Yankees are saying either: (1) New York is a Yankee town for fair-weather fans; or (2) Hey, it’s a Yankees town because the fans found Yankee Stadium again once the team got good again.|
- The Yankees are all letting us know they’re really bothered how the tides have turned towards the Mets recently. Last year, the Mets pulled better ratings than the Yankees. Apparently, it bothered the Yankees to the point where they felt the need to address it . . . but only after they won the game – not before.
You know, other than letting us know your fans are a group of fair-weathered fans who don’t like going to Yankee Stadium and aren’t much interested in baseball, good job letting us all know the Mets s are getting under your skin. Sorry, meant to say good tweet. Keep it up.
The Mets got to Cessa first with Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes hitting a pair of third inning homers. What was interesting with the Cespedes’ homer was his homer was against one of the two prospects the Mets traded to get him in 2015.
Unfortunately, the Mets bats went completely cold after this leaving Montero and the pen to hold a 2-0 lead. Most of that was due to Chad Green, who pitched 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings, after coming on for a hurting Cessa with one out in the fifth.
For his part, Montero cruised into the fourth. All of his pitches were working, especially his fastball which was clocked in the high 90s. However, he would walk consecutive batters helping load the bases with one out.
Montero got out of the inning without further damage, and he was back on cruise mode. That was until he left one over the plate against Aaron Judge who went opposite field to tie the game in the sixth.
That closed the door on Montero who pitched a fine game. His final line was six innings, five hits, two runs, two earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.
Terry Collins went to Hansel Robles, who pitched a scoreless seventh. Then, like Collins always does with Robles, he pushed the envelope with him. It’s all the more puzzling when you consider that not too long ago Robles couldn’t even feel his fingers.
Hicks led off the eighth, and we soon found Robles pointing to the sky.
After the homer, the Yankees had a 3-2 lead, and Collins overreacted like he always does. Collins went into super matchup mode using Jerry Blevins for a batter, and then bringing in Erik Goeddel. Goeddel was greeted with a Sanchez home run.
In fact, you question a bit where the effort level was with some of the Mets players. In the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera walked on a 3-2 pitch that ricocheted off the umpire. Instead of busting it to first to see if he could get into scoring position with two outs, he took his time. When Cespedes struck out in the next at-bat, the ball would get away from Sanchez, but he couldn’t be bothered to try to go to first.
The Mets blew a winnable game, but there’s a silver lining. The Wilpons got their wish that they didn’t have to pay Jay Bruce to beat them. Instead, they paid Collins and a bullpen to do that.
Game Notes: Granderson’s homer was his 69th in Yankee Stadium since 2010. That trails just Mark Teixeira.