Aaron Loup

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Lose Opening Series

After the opening series against the Washington Nationals was canceled due to COVID19, the New York Mets finally played their first series of the season. They should’ve taken the series, but didn’t;

1. That was your typical Jacob deGrom start. He’s dominant. The Mets don’t score. The bullpen blows it.

2. Much was made of deGrom coming out after six. People overlook deGrom being part of and agreeing with the decision. He had a long layoff, and it’s going to be tricky getting everyone through the season.

3. James McCann was a mixed bag. He called a great game, and he was great framing it. However, he did let some balls get behind him, and he did a Wilson Ramos impersonation on Luis Guillorme‘s throw.

4. With J.D. Davis being down, Guillorme and Jonathan Villar may get a chance to prove they should play everyday. So far, they’re making a good case.

5. Pete Alonso looks like a man on a mission. He’s completely locked in at the plate, and his defense has never looked better. He could be on the verge of an MVP type season.

6. It was actually surprising to see his ball didn’t go out on Tuesday night. Last year and the year before those balls might’ve been 20 rows deep. Instead, that ball died at the wall. That may be a real sign the ball isn’t traveling like it did in prior years.

7. The Mets were down because the bullpen hasn’t been great so far.

8. Trevor May has struggled in both games, but it was good to see him come into the second game, fight it, and get out of the inning unscathed. That and his taking ownership of his poor performance is an indication he is going to be just fine in New York.

9. The Aaron Loup signing was curious, especially given the three batter rule. We saw just how that can help a team implode. After he plunked Bryce Harper, he was facing J.T. Realmuto. It should come as no surprise that inning got out of control.

10. There were some good signs out of Jeurys Familia and Miguel Castro. Overall, with Edwin Diaz not getting into a game, the Mets best reliever in the series was Joey Lucchesi, who is also their fifth starter.

11. There could be some questions as to how Luis Rojas managed these games, but it is first important to remember he is not the one who fills out the lineup card. Some of his decisions are also very defensible like leaving in Kevin Pillar in the fourth inning of a game where the Mets had deGrom on the mound and had a 2-0 lead.

12. The fact the Mets would not bat Brandon Nimmo atop the lineup is beyond crazy. Even with a left-handed pitcher on the mound, it’s crazy. In fact, Nimmo has been the Mets best hitter against left-handed pitchers the last two years. The second best? Dominic Smith.

13. Dominic Smith isn’t a platoon player, and he shouldn’t be treated as such. He showed that on his first at-bat of the season.

14. Jeff McNeil has hit the ball with real authority so far this season. It was probably a good idea to get him a mental break ahead of coming to New York.

15. On that note, we are likely going to see a number of players miss some unexpected games here and there as they get vaccinated and deal with the side effects. Well, everyone except Davis.

16. Marcus Stroman was great on the mound, and he not only looks like an All-Star with that new forkball, but he could be a very real contender for the Cy Young this season.

17. Francisco Lindor has been everything as advertised so far this season. His defense has been great. He is giving good at-bats. He was a real leader talking to David Peterson after a rough outing. The Mets are very lucky to have him around for the next decade.

18. The long layoff was probably a factor, but Peterson showed he probably needs more time in Triple-A, which is fine. It would’ve been better to put Jordan Yamamoto in the rotation to start the season. That goes double when the Mets could have skipped the fifth starter, which they are.

19. Michael Conforto struggled with runners on base during this series, so naturally people are going overboard in their reaction. Fact is, Conforto is still a .271/.393/.512 hitter with runners in scoring position in his career. He’s going to be fine, and the Mets should still be pushing to sign him to an extension to make him a Met for life.

20. The Mets were put at a disadvantage not playing the Nationals series, and the Atlanta Braves got to fact that decimated Nationals team. Mets showed some rust, but this is still a very good team. They’re now in the flow of things, and we should look for them to have a good first homestand of the season.d

Mets Bullpen Very Shaky In Mets First Win Of 2021

Despite his having an argument for being the Mets second best starter, with all the injuries, Marcus Stroman got the tab by default. You wouldn’t have known that with how dominant he was.

In his six innings, the Phillies could only muster three hits. Unfortunately, one of them was a Didi Gregorius solo homer marking the only run Mets starters have allowed over 12.0 innings this season.

One of the reasons Stroman got away with just the one run was his defense. There was one double play turned, and Pete Alonso robbed Gregorius of what should’ve been a game tying extra base hit.

Much like Jacob deGrom yesterday, Stroman would also get just two runs of support. Those came courtesy of Dominic Smith who got the start after not playing yesterday.

Just like deGrom, Stroman was lifted after 6.0 innings despite only throwing 85 pitches. Unlike deGrom, that move didn’t backfire.

The reason was Phillies reliever Vince Velasquez had a maddening seventh. He faced eight batters in the game (going back to the sixth), and not one batter put a ball in play.

Luis Guillorme led off the seventh, and he’d fall behind quickly 0-2. He battled back in the at-bat, and he drew the first of four walks in the inning.

One of those four walks was to Kevin Pillar who pinch hit for Stroman. After his pinch hitting appearance, Brandon Nimmo came up, and well, his drawing a walk against a pitcher trouble locating is a near lock. After his walk, it was 3-1.

The Phillies went to Brandon Kintzler. Only this time, he didn’t get out of the inning with a double play. Francisco Lindor hit a deep fly to center for a sacrifice fly and his first RBI as a Met.

Nimmo and Pillar tacked on another run with a well executed double steal. Michael Conforto then capped off the inning with an RBI double.

With the Mets entering the bottom of the seventh ahead 6-1, you’d assume they’d be in cruise control. It was far from it.

Miguel Castro was shaky in the seventh. After two quick strikeouts, Adam Haseley doubled, and he came home on a Rhys Hoskins pinch hit RBI single.

After an Alec Bohm single, Luis Rojas made a very questionable decision. There were two outs, Bryce Harper was up, and Aaron Loup was warmed up. Rojas stuck with Castro, and he was rewarded for it when Castro got Harper to line out to center to end the inning.

In the eighth, Rojas gave Trevor May an opportunity to shake off his first appearance of the season. May was quite shaky allowing two hits and throwing a wild pitch. Still, he’d settle down and get Roman Quinn to end the inning.

Alonso would hit a two run homer in the top of the ninth to expand the Mets lead to 8-2. With that large gap, Rojas went to Jeurys Familia to finish the game.

Haseley led off the ninth with a single, and Hoskins followed with a cue shot double. Alonso went back to get the ball, but his throw trying to get Hoskins was errant allowing Haseley to score. Notably, neither ball was hit particularly hard.

After Familia struck out Andrew McCutchen, Hoskins stole the vacated third, and Familia followed by walking Harper. J.T. Realmuto knocked in the Phillies fourth and final run on a fielder’s choice.

In the end, it was an 8-4 win. Stroman was great. Smith and Alonso homered. The offense finally exploded, but man, the Mets bullpen has looked shakier than we suspected it might be.

Game Notes: J.D. Davis left the game after getting hit by a Chase Anderson pitch on the hand in the second. His x-rays were negative, and he’s day-to-day. Nimmo walked three times.

Jacob deGrom Opens 2021 Season In Typically Great And Disappointing Fashion

When you think of Jacob deGrom, you think of the best pitcher in baseball. You also think of a pitcher who gets no run support.

Perhaps, you can understand why deGrom was against the universal DH. He knows he needs to provide his own run support in his efforts to try to get a win.

For the first (and last?) time in Mets history, deGrom became the first Mets pitcher to get the team’s first hit of the season. Overall, he’d go 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.

He’d go six scoreless innings pitching phenomenally. He kept dialing it up to 100 MPH overpowering Phillies batters. When there was contact against him, the Mets defense actually showed up.

The problem was, as usual, deGrom received no run support. In that fourth inning where he and James McCann drove in a run, the Mets had bases loaded and one out.

The Phillies lifted Matt Moore for Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler got Kevin Pillar to hit into the double play he needed to get out of the jam. Pillar was a surprise lead-off hitter even with the left-handed starter, and he wasn’t great at the plate.

There was some debate about Dominic Smith there. The problem with the thought process is the Mets already had a lead with deGrom on the mound. Arguably, at that point in the game, defense was the priority. There’s also your top hitters after Pillar if he doesn’t hit into that double play.

Now, deGrom would only go six despite 77 pitches. It made sense giving the layoff, the Mets wanting to use him Sunday, and trying to get him through 162 games after last year. Despite that, deGrom had another scoreless start.

The Mets offense went dead for the next four innings giving the Phillies a chance. In the seventh, Miguel Castro didn’t give the Phillies a chance with a strong inning. It was a much different story for Trevor May in the eighth.

May got the first batter he faced out, and then he imploded loading the bases. That’s when Luis Rojas went to Aaron Loup to face Bryce Harper despite the three batter rule.

The decision immediately blew up with Loup plunked Harper. He then allowed a game tying single to J.T. Realmuto. The game then changed on the next play.

Alec Brohm hit a chopper to Luis Guillorme, who was in for defense for J.D. Davis (who was turning routine pop outs into adventures). Guillorme made a high throw home James McCann misplayed in Wilson Ramos fashion. With his being out of position and lunging, it hit off his mitt allowing two runs to score.

All told, that disaster of an inning turned a 2-0 lead into a 5-2 deficit. From there, you have your glass half full/half empty analysis.

Jose Alvarado retired the first two Mets quickly. After that, the Mets showed some fight. Pillar and Francisco Lindor hit two out singles bringing the tying run to the plate.

Michael Conforto hit an RBI single which dropped right in front of Harper. Interestingly enough, Joe Girardi left the left-handed reliever in against Pete Alonso.

For a moment, it looked like a massive mistake as Alonso gave it a ride. However, it’d fall just short with Harper catching the ball at the wall.

With that, the Mets lost a game they had no business losing. Perhaps some of it was rust. Perhaps it was just this being the way it goes when deGrom starts. Whatever the case, the Mets lost.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo hit eighth, and he was 1-for-3 with a walk. In the post game, deGrom agreed with getting pulled after six.

Francisco Lindor Extension Negotiations Isn’t Same Old Mets

In case you were wondering just how much the Wilpons have scarred New York Mets fans, we see the reactions to the Francisco Lindor contract discussions. Seeing it, you’d think the Wilpons were again outbid for a borderline MLB reliever.

It should be noted the Mets have offered Lindor a 10 year/$325 million contract. That’s an AAV of $32.5 million which would pay Lindor until he’s 37 years old.

It would make it the largest contract in Mets history given to David Wright by more than double. It would fall only short of Mookie Betts and Mike Trout for the largest extensions in MLB history. It’s on par with the extension given to Fernando Tatis, Jr., and it would put him only behind Bryce Harper in the division.

Yes, Lindor has every right to negotiate for every last penny, and he’s in his right to reject that offer. After a big year, he could get a better offer, and perhaps he won’t. That said, you have to respect him betting on himself.

That’s what this is. It’s a mixture of Lindor thinking he’s worth more and betting on himself. You can say that because the Mets made an extremely fair and reasonable offer.

It’s part of a completely different offseason for the Mets where they added a lot of payroll. Seriously, you wouldn’t see the Wilpons make these moves in one offseason let alone two or three:

Adding those salaries up, the Mets added $92.1 million. Read that again. The Mets added $92.1 million to the 2021 payroll.

What exactly about that is the same old Mets? If it’s missing out on Trevor Bauer, George Springer, or not extending Lindor yet, it’s over focusing on the negative. Likely, it’s schtick, scarring from the Wilpon era, or just a want to be miserable.

Whatever happens with Lindor will happen. We can judge that on Opening Day as well as the 2021 season and beyond. Whatever the case, this is a very different Mets organization than we’ve seen from the Wilpons, and it should be viewed and treated as such.

Miguel Castro Can Make Or Break Mets Season

As the New York Mets embark on the 2021 season, we know Edwin Diaz will close, and we know Trevor May can pitch as a set-up man. Past that, this bullpen is a complete and utter quagmire.

Seth Lugo may be out for the first two months of the season. Aaron Loup is a LOOGY. Dellin Betances lost his velocity, and Jeurys Familia still doesn’t have his command.

Robert Gsellman has an 80 ERA+ since being converted to a reliever at the start of the 2018 season. Jacob Barnes has not been good since 2018. Even with his good whiff rates, he gets hit very hard.

After sifting through all the options, you eventually come to Miguel Castro. With Castro, the Mets may have the key to the entire bullpen.

Castro, 25, has been a mediocre reliever in his career as evidenced by his 104 career ERA+. However, that is mostly due to his control issues.

According to Baseball Savant, Castro has elite velocity throwing 98+ MPH. He generates good spin, and, at least in 2020, that led to a lot of swings and misses. That’s also evidenced by his 13.9 K/9, which is nearly double his career 7.4 mark.

The issue for Castro is he just can’t control anything consistently. He has a career 4.7 BB/9, and he hasn’t had a season better than 3.1. His K/BB is a woeful 1.59, and it hasn’t been better than 2.40 over the course of a full season.

It’s not just the walks. Castro gets hit extremely hard. Essentially, Castro puts himself at a disadvantage with his control, which leads to walks and extra base hits. If he can truly harness it, Castro can emerge as dominant a reliever as there is in baseball.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/miguel-castro-612434

On that note, the Mets have helped him and their entire pitching staff. James McCann has emerged as an excellent pitch framer. Tomas Nido is also strong in that department. As we have seen in Spring Training, this has helped Castro not only rack up the strikeouts but also limit walks.

That should help him make quicker work of batters. It should also give him more confidence in attacking hitters. It’s been looking good so far in Spring Training.

In 6.1 innings, he has allowed just two hits while walking just one. He’s also struck out eight batters. Essentially, it’s been difficult for batters to make real good contact against him, and that’s for the batters who can make contact.

If he carries that into the season, Castro can stake a claim as the Mets top reliever. Better yet, between him, May, and Diaz, it’s a six inning game. And, that’s before Lugo returns.

If Castro reverts back to what he’s always been, well, the Mets bullpen is in trouble. That’ll leave Diaz and May as the only true reliable late innings relievers. After them, who knows?

That’s how important Castro is to this team. If he falters, the Mets bullpen is in bad shape. It’ll be a bunch of used to be greats and a group of pitchers hoping someone can break out.

That’s what’s at stake. Castro can single-handedly swing the fortunes of the Mets bullpen. It can be great or less than mediocre depending on Castro’s development. That makes him pivotal to what the Mets want to accomplish this year.

For the Mets sake, they need Castro to be as dominant as he was in the Spring. They need him to be the guy whose light out stuff can shut the door. They need it from him because the Plan B in this Mets organization isn’t there yet or is hurt right now.

Projecting Mets 2021 Opening Day Bullpen

The New York Mets bullpen has been through for a loop with the injury to Seth Lugo to start the season. Things have grown increasingly complicated by diminished velocity of Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. With all that said, the bullpen has talent, and there are many spots accounted for already.

Guaranteed – Miguel Castro, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Aaron Loup, Trevor May

Obviously, Diaz is going to be the closer coming off of a strong 2020 season. May is going to figure into the equation as a late inning reliever, and Loup was brought on to be the LOOGY. That’s the easy part.

Castro is out of options, and it is very likely he would be picked up off waivers if the Mets tried to send him down. Fortunately, that does not seem to be an issue with Castro having a great Spring striking out four in 4.0 scoreless and hitless innings.

After him, with Familia seemingly getting his elite level stuff back, he is a lock to make the bullpen. If nothing else, he can pitch the middle innings while the Mets hope Jeremy Hefner gets him back to his dominant form.

Bubble – Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora

The 13 pitcher roster rule has been suspended for the 2021 season, but that may be a good general construct. Considering a five man rotation with the aforementioned five guaranteed spots, that leaves three remaining spots.

Given his salary and history of building up his velocity in-season, it is likely Betances makes the Opening Day roster. That leaves two spots available in the bullpen. Given the performances this Spring, that is going to be a difficult decision.

Gsellman has been a mainstay in the bullpen over the last few seasons and based on seniority he gets the call. Notably with him, the Mets did have the option to stretch him out as a starter, but they opted not to do that this spring with Gsellman only throwing 4.0 innings over three appearances.

Smith was the one reliever from the 2017 trade deadline debacle who has proven he could pitch in the majors. So far, he looks good, and the Mets are going to have to go out of their way to try to keep a pitcher with three scoreless appearances with no walks and three strikeouts off of the roster.

Finally, there is Zamora who probably presents the Mets best option to carry two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. He has been a little wild with two walks over 3.2 innings, but he has also struck out three batters. That is typical for Zamora over the last few years.

Fifth Starter Competition – Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto

The injury to Carlos Carrasco certainly changed the complexity of the fifth starter battle. With his injury, that opened up two spots instead of one. Given the nature of the injury, the Mets could feel more comfortable putting Peterson in the Opening Day rotation as the fear of having to send him down at one point isn’t as strong.

If Peterson were to make the rotation, the Mets could put one or both of Lucchesi or Yamamoto in the bullpen. Both pitchers have been great this Spring, and they have both more than made the case they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster in some way, shape, or form.

Outside Looking In – Jerry Blevins, Tommy Hunter, Arodys Vizcaino

Blevins probably has a much better chance than this given his curveball looking great. However, he has only appeared in two games walking two and striking out three. While this arguably puts him ahead of Zamora, especially with his track record, adding Blevins would require the Mets to make a roster move.

With respect to Hunter and Vizcaino, they may well both prove to have an impact on the Mets in 2021. That said, neither quite seem ready to pitch Opening Day at the moment. That goes double for Vizcaino who has only made one apperance so far.

Wild Card – Mike Montgomery, Corey Oswalt

With Carrasco suffering an injury, the Mets are said to begin stretching out Montgomery. That would seemingly be an indication they are looking for him to begin the season in Syracuse instead of Flushing. Still, it is hard to overlook his ability to be another lefty in the bullpen and a pitcher who can give you multiple innings. That said, Lucceshi could offer that himself.

Oswalt has had a very good Spring Training with Luis Rojas being very impressed. His velocity is way up, and he has looked quite strong. In fact, we probably shouldn’t completely rule him out in the fifth stater competition. If it is about competition, Oswalt has a strong case to make the Opening Day roster. That said, the fact it’ll require a 40 man move serves as a significant impediment.

Opening Day Bullpen

Joining the aforementioned group of Castro, Diaz, Familia, Loup, and May will very likely include Betances giving the Mets two more spots to figure out. With Lucchesi and Yamamoto now poised to start the season in the rotation, it would seem the final two spots can go to pitchers who are strictly relievers and not converted starters.

At the moment, it looks like one of those two spots should go to Smith. It’s possible the last spot goes to Gsellman due to his ability to give the Mets an extra inning here or there, but it would seem his spot is about as tenuous as Betances’ is right now. Overall, there are two weeks to go and a lot can happen. It will be very interesting to see where things go from here.

Mets Probably Don’t Need Another Reliever

Like it always seems to be, the New York Mets entered the offseason with the need to rebuild their bullpen. As the Mets entered Spring Training without Seth Lugo, there seemed to be a renewed emphasis on the need to add more relievers to the bullpen. However, when you break it down, the Mets may not need to actually add another arm.

Typically speaking, we will see the Mets carry a 12 man pitching staff which means seven relievers. Right off the bat, the Mets are set at closer with Edwin Diaz. He will certainly be joined in the bullpen by recent signees Trevor May and Aaron Loup. That trio right there takes care of the Mets closer, the eighth inning, and their LOOGY.

That leaves them having to figure out the other four relievers in the bullpen. Based upon the moves of Brodie Van Wagenen, three of those spots are occupied by Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, and Jeurys Familia. This trio could very well become the core of what might be an excellent bullpen.

As previously detailed, Betances induced very weak contact last season, and he would miss a lot of bats. Looking at Baseball Savant, there was also a lot of promise with Jeurys Familia‘s season as he also induced a lot of weak contact, and he had terrific velocity. What really hampered each of their seasons was a mixture of walks and plain old bad defense.

Betances had a 1.56 GB/FB last year, but despite the weak contact, he yielded a .353 BABIP. Familia didn’t have the same issues with ground balls turning into outs as Betances, but he did see a career worst walk rate come back to bite him. Keep in mind, in only two of the 10 appearances where he didn’t walk a batter did the opposition score off of him.

Both relievers will be helped by the improved infield defense we should see with Francisco Lindor at short. Also, while we may see J.D. Davis start at third, in all likelihood, he should be removed late in games for Luis Guillorme thereby making the Mets defense elite for these groundball pitchers who induce weak contact.

Keep in mind, while Betances and Familia have typically had higher walk numbers, neither had really posted numbers that poor in their careers. Part of that could easily be explained by them trying to regain their prior form in a disjointed offseason. Really, both pitchers needed to hone a number of things, and the pandemic really cost them the opportunity to work with Jeremy Hefner like they needed.

Given a normal offseason and Spring Training, it is reasonable to assume both could be reasonably relied upon to at least easily handle the middle innings. Perhaps, they could eventually be reasonably be able to be relied upon for the seventh and eighth. In fact, we should be able to see them close a game or two here and there.

In terms of Castro, no one throws it harder. Really, that makes him a bit of a wild card not too dissimilar to what Hansel Robles used to be for the Mets. If you can harness him, you have an elite reliever. If you don’t you have an interesting mop up reliever. Either which way, he is out of options, and he is going to get every chance for the Mets to be the team to finally unlock his abilities.

When you add Lugo to these relievers, this bullpen could be the envy of every team in the majors. The question for the Mets is what to do in his absence. In terms of that, the Mets have plenty of options.

Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential elite reliever. We have seen Robert Gsellman be elite out of the bullpen for stretches. If nothing else, we know he can absorb innings. The same could also be true for Jordan Yamamoto. The Mets also have a number of interesting young relievers to throw at the problem with Jacob Barnes, Yennsy Diaz, Sam McWilliams, Sean Reid-Foley, Drew Smith, Stephen Tarpley, and Daniel Zamora. Of course, there is also Mets fan favorite Jerry Blevins here on a minor league deal.

The moral of the story is the Mets have the talent in the bullpen. The real challenge is going to be for Hefner to work with them to get the most out of them. Then, perhaps the even bigger challenge is for Luis Rojas to deploy them properly. Overall, if Hefner and Rojas are successful, the Mets will get the most out of what is an extremely talented group, and we will begin to wonder why exactly we were so overly concerned about adding a big name reliever in the offseason.

Mets Fans Shouldn’t Be Upset Over James Paxton, Justin Wilson, Etc.

Look, the New York Mets still have work to do this offseason. That’s a result not just of how terrible Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon were, but it’s also representative of where the Mets aspirations are.

To that end, instead of looking at a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, and eventually Noah Syndergaard buttressed by impressive depth, fans see a team in need of another starter. To be fair, the Mets organization does as well.

In light of that, the Mets pursued James Paxton, and they’ve pursued other starters as well. Except, the Mets didn’t get Paxton. He would return to the Seattle Mariners for a little more money to pitch at a place where he’s had success to rebuild his value.

Remember, Paxton has an injury history, and he’s coming off an injury. Would Paxton have made the Mets better? Sure. However, what he provides is fungible as compared to the free agent market.

Right now, pitchers like Taijuan Walker, Jake Odorizzi, and Rick Porcello are still free agents. Arguably, Paxton has the highest ceiling, but he may also have the lowest floor.

If the idea is to add a starter for depth, wouldn’t it be better to add the guy you can count on to be healthy? With that being the case, Paxton and Odorizzi aren’t the answer. Walker and Porcello are.

Regardless, missing out on Paxton is not remotely a big deal when you have these other options.

The same can be said about the Mets missing out on Justin Wilson.

Undoubtedly, with Seth Lugo‘s injury, there is an increased need for the Mets to bring in another reliever. Losing Lugo turns a bullpen which was looking like a strength and turning it into a question mark.

Yes, Wilson was quite good with the Mets, and he’s likely to be quite good next year. To that point, it makes the Aaron Loup signing all the more curious. Wilson would’ve likely been far superior for that role, but for some reason, the organization thought Loup was the better fit.

Even with that, there still remains quality options available. There’s Trevor Rosenthal who seemed to put the injuries behind him to return to his dominant form. David Robertson is coming off Tommy John, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever in his career. There are other interesting names like MVP vote getter Ryan Tepera.

If the Mets want a strictly left-handed reliever, Oliver Perez is available. Put the old nonsense aside, Perez has been a quality reliever. There’s also Tony Watson, who can provide every bit what Wilson could’ve provided.

In total, there’s still plenty of quality arms on the free agent market who can easily provide what Paxton and Wilson would’ve. In fact, there are pitchers available who are in fact better. Because of this, there is absolutely zero reason to get upset over missing those two or other similarly skilled pitchers.

Really, the only time to get upset is in the event the Mets don’t add another starter or reliever. That said, based on all we’ve seen this offseason, it’s hard to believe that’ll happen.

Mets Can’t Afford To Lose Seth Lugo

Perhaps, the New York Mets just heard the worst possible news they could’ve heard. Seth Lugo needed elbow surgery, and he may not be able to pitch again until May, which is probably the optimistic view .

Make no mistake here. The Mets need Lugo back as soon as he can get back to being Lugo. That Lugo is the best and most versatile reliever in baseball. That reliever was desperately needed to stabilize this Mets bullpen.

Edwin Diaz is coming off a tremendous bounce-back year. That said, it was still just 26 appearances, and he still managed to blow 40% of his save opportunities. Moreover, he’s developed an every other year pattern with 2021 projected to be the down year.

Jeurys Familia has not been good since returning to the Mets, and based on his FIP, it’ll be difficult to imagine him turning it around in 2021.

There are some indications we could see a bounce back year from Dellin Betances. Still, Betances needs to regain some velocity and control with the latter always being an issue for him.

Miguel Castro may have a live arm, but he’s yet to harness it. He’s got a very poor career 4.7 BB/9, and even with the strikeout numbers, he only has a 1.59 K/BB, and batters hit .244 against him.

Aaron Loup has traditionally pitched well against left-handed batters, but he’s historically struggled against right-handed batters.

When you break it all down, the only pitcher you can truly have confidence in the Mets bullpen is Trevor May. Part and parcel of that is how the aforementioned relievers will be deployed has now been altered by Lugo’s injury.

Now, this is an opportunity for another pitcher, but they have to grab it.

Drew Smith has tremendous velocity and spin. The same holds true for Yennsy Diaz and Sean Reid-Foley. None of these three have been able to establish themselves yet with the later two having significant control issues. This also applies to Franklyn Kilome.

Robert Gsellman could return to the form we saw of him when he first landed in the bullpen. One of Joey Lucchesi or Jordan Yamamoto could find themselves there pending the results of the fifth starter spot.

There’s also the free agent and trade market as well. Even at this point in the offseason, there are still quality options remaining.

No matter where the Mets look, they’re not finding anyone nearly as good as Lugo. If they can’t, it throws the entire bullpen and pitching staff in disarray. As we’ve seen in years past, bad bullpens can ruin good teams.

These Mets are a good team. They might be a great team. However, with the loss of Lugo, their chances of hitting that ceiling took a massive hit. At the end of the day, there’s just no replacing the best reliever in baseball.

Instead, the Mets have to just hope they have enough quality depth. They need to hope 1-2 pitchers really step up. Mostly, they just need to hope Lugo is able to be Lugo at some point in 2021.

Anyone Calling Mets Offseason A Failure Is Clueless

So, the Mets didn’t get Trevor Bauer. Instead, Bauer went to his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers for what might’ve been less money. Despite Bauer really not being better than the Mets fifth best starter, the over the top criticism started:

This is just scratching the surface of what we find at the bottom of the barrel. For their sake, you hope this is just schtick because these are purely horrid opinions.

Yes, we all know the Mets didn’t get Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or George Springer. Instead, they got better players and a much deeper roster. In fact, just look at who they signed/acquired so far this offseason:

That doesn’t include interesting depth options like Jerry Blevins, Jerad Eickhoff, Jose Martinez, Mallex Smith, Jose Peraza, and Arodys Vizcaino. There are other moves made on top of that.

We’ve also just learned with the Bauer bidding the Mets have at least $40 million they can invest in the 2021 team. It can also be used to extend players like Michael Conforto, Lindor, Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard.

If someone can take a look at that and what the Mets can still do, and say to you this is the same old Wilpon run Mets, they’re either lying, trying to get attention, think you’re gullible, have no idea what they’re talking about, or some mixture of these.

Make no mistake, this has been a phenomenal offseason. Yes, we can quibble with a move or two, but in the end, calling this anything but a success is dumb. Really, the people pushing these narratives really know better.

Well, at least they should. They should because it’s absurd to think adding a top five player in the game on Lindor on top of everything else they did is disappointing or a failure. It’s really beyond absurd.

This has been nothing short of a great offseason. Arguably, it’s among if not the best the Mets have ever had.