Aaron Loup

20/20 Hindsight: Mariners Make Mets Regret Sewald

For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series. To make matters worse, it was Mets incompetence of the past which came back to haunt them.

1.  Paul Sewald is absolutely right. The Mets gave up on him. More to the point, as I’ve pointed out, and as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen noted on the broadcast, the Mets completely and utterly botched how they handled him. Sewald absolutely deserved this moment.

2.  Sewald was all the more of a debacle when you consider the Mets kept Ryan O’Rourke, Tim Peterson, and Jacob Rhame over him. None of those three pitched past the 2019 season. Sewald is now a very good late inning reliever.

3.  It’s not just Sewald, but Chris Flexen where the Mets screw up was the Mariners gain. The good news here is the morons in charge who made those decisions are now gone.

4.  The people in charge now get us Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt who were again great in their starts. Much of the Mets success this season is directly attributable to bringing those pitchers onboard.

5.  That Patrick Mazeika start behind the plate was rough, and it limited Bassitt to 5.1 innings when he had the stuff to go much deeper.

6.  That said the legend of Mazeika grew. Not only did he have the game winning homer, but he also had a key hit in that ninth inning rally which fell short.

7.  You cannot have worst at-bats than what Starling Marte and Pete Alonso did with the game tying and go-ahead runs on base than what they did. The Alonso one was even worse considering he got one strike in that at-bat, and he didn’t even swing at the pitch over the heart of the plate.

8.  Brandon Nimmo came up huge in that inning with an RBI double. In fact, he’s been great all season and has been the Mets best player. He’s clearly an All-Star, and sooner or later, if he keeps this up, he is going to get MVP consideration.

9.  Drew Smith went from impenetrable to allowing runs in consecutive appearances. He will be fine.

10. Carlos Carraso looked bad. While he was worse against the St. Louis Cardinals, he arguably looked worse in this start. Again, he’s been very good for all but two starts, so there is no need to dwell too much here.

11. Good for Adam Ottavino for picked up that win. He’s responded well to that rough patch, and part of the reason is Buck Showalter has been much more responsible in how he uses them.

12. Congratulations to Colin Holderman on his Major League debut. It was rocky, but it was a scoreless inning, and he did flash what could be very good stuff out of the pen.

13. Sewald wasn’t the only pitcher to stick it to his old team. Edwin Diaz struck out all three batters he faced in his only save opportunity in the series. By the way, he’s now played more seasons with the Mets than the Mariners.

14. Joely Rodriguez wasn’t great, and Chasen Shreve allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On that note, Aaron Loup is having another great season. So far, this looks like an unforced error by the Mets, and you do have to wonder how much of that is attributable to the Robinson Cano contract.

15. James McCann being out is going to hurt the Mets. He was great behind the plate, and believe it or not, he was a starting level bat at the position in the majors so far this year.

16. Tomas Nido did step-up in this series actually drawing two walks. To put that in perspective, he drew five all of last season.

17. McCann’s injury is the type which may cost him this year even when he can return. Those hammate bone injuries tend to linger and hamper the ability to hit again. Unfortunately, Francisco Alvarez has been struggling in Double-A putting him even further off the horizon.

18. Francisco Lindor hit a big homer. The Mets need more of that from him.

19. One massive takeaway from this series, even with the series loss, is the Mets beat up on reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. It doesn’t matter if it was an off game or not from Ray, the Mets finally hit left-handed pitching.

20. The Mets were at the Rangers beating the Penguins in Game 7. Perhaps, we will see the Rangers at Citi Field watching the Mets win their own Game 7 this postseason.

Mets Trading Jarred Kelenic Remains A Disaster

With Jarred Kelenic and the Seattle Mariners coming to town, many will attempt to re-litigate the shocking trade which sent Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners organization as a part of a trade package for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Of course, 2022 performances invite revisionist history here.

This season, Diaz has clearly been the top performer from this trade. Through 14 appearances, he is 1-0 with seven saves, a 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 15.4 K/9. He looks like he’s having a career year, but it’s important to note much of that is due to Jeremy Hefner.

Hefner has diligently worked with Diaz on his mechanics making sure his delivery has been repeatable, and he’s landing with his foot pointed towards home plate. He’s also helped Diaz create more break and spin leading to a 55. Whiff%. Really, it took four years for Diaz to be what the Mets expected him to be.

In many ways, Diaz is not the same pitcher he was in his first three years with the Mets. That’s very good to a certain extent because that Diaz was not the difference maker he was advertised to be.

On that point, it is important to remember the trade to obtain him was a win-now deal for the Wilpons who were nearing being forced to sell the New York Mets to the highest bidder. Really, the deal smelled like a one last shot to try to win a World Series, and ironically, it was the trade that prevented the Mets from winning that World Series.

In 2019, Diaz was dreadful with a career worst 5.59 ERA, 74 ERA+, and 4.51 FIP. He blew seven saves and lost seven games for a Mets team which missed the postseason by three games. Really, Diaz was a big reason why the Mets missed the postseason that year.

Cano might’ve been a bigger reason. Cano was the target as Brodie Van Wagenen sought to bring his former client back to New York as Cano wanted. Cano responded with a career worst season with a 0.6 WAR and a 94 wRC+. This was supposed to be a key bat in the lineup, and Cano was terrible while Van Wagenen ensured Mickey Callaway batted his former client third.

With Cano, it is the gift which keeps on giving. Yes, he had a bounce-back 2020 season, but as we learned, he was using PEDs again. That cost him the 2021 season, and with him able to physically return, it was $40.5 million the Mets did not get to spend.

Instead of keeping Aaron Loup or further addressing the bullpen, the Mets were restricted to Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. Instead of a Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto, or Seiya Suzuki, the Mets obtained Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, who have so far underwhelmed this season.

Really, that has been the theme of Cano’s time on the Mets. It’s been the organization wasting resources on him that could have been better spent. The biggest example of that is Zack Wheeler desperately wanted to stay with the Mets, but they couldn’t keep him because the money was going to Cano.

As a result, the Mets dead weight became the Phillies ace. The Wilpons didn’t have any money to spend in the ensuing offseasons, and Steve Cohen has $20.25 million per year he can’t spend on better talent through next season.

There’s also the matter of this season. The Mets completely wasted plate appearances over the first month of the season trying to see what they had in Cano. The answer was nothing, and they were happy to part with him and his onerous contract. However, that came with a consequence with Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis not getting the playing time they needed to succeed this season.

There were some who wanted to defend the trade because the Mets moved “untradeable contracts.” The Mariners had no problem trading Jay Bruce whatsoever. They also traded Anthony Swarzak, who helped the Atlanta Braves win the division.

Also, keep in mind the Mets parted with two Top 100 prospects in Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Certainly, Kelenic has struggled early in his career, and Dunn is dealing with a shoulder injury. Certainly, that is part of a very suspect Mariners player development system where we constantly ask why their prospects never seem to pan out.

However, this is also very much besides the point. Back in the 2018 offseason, that duo could have gotten the Mets anything they wanted. Teams would have been literally lining topping one another to get Kelenic and Dunn.

Remember, this deal came in the same offseason the Miami Marlins traded J.T. Realmuto. Instead, the Mets hastily accepted a closer and an albatross.

That deal cost the Mets the 2019 postseason. It cost them the opportunity to compete in 2020. It cost them the ability to make deadline deals in 2021 because that trade and all of Van Wagenen’s trades cost them valuable prospect depth needed to swing the trades the Mets needed. It was also $40.5 million the Mets did not have to spend on free agents.

It will again impact the Mets at the trade deadline and this ensuring offseason. All told, this deal remains an unmitigated disaster no matter how great Diaz is or how much Kelenic struggles.

2022 MLB Predictions

It’s Opening Day, so it is time to make some predictions (sure to be wrong) about the 2022 season.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AL East – Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays have the biggest home field advantage with Canada’s vaccine rules. Opponents will be missing key players whenever they visit. For example, Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole.

AL Central – Minnesota Twins

The Chicago White Sox might be better full strength, but losing Lance Lynn is a huge blow. The Twins also made some huge moves adding Carlos Correa, who is among the best in baseball, and they bolstered the rotation with Sonny Gray. With some health from Byron Buxton, they’ll be unstoppable.

AL West – Los Angeles Angels

With Noah Syndergaard, the Angels finally got that big top of the rotation starter, and they addressed the pen adding Aaron Loup. Oh, and by the way, they have the two best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

AL Wild Card 1 – Tampa Bay RaysThey’re the Rays. They do this better than everyone, and they will have a full season of Wander Franco and Josh Lowe.

AL Wild Card 2 Chicago White Sox – Even with the loss of Lynn, there is still more than enough there to get this team back to the postseason.

AL Wild Card 3 – Houston Astros – Many seem to be downplaying the loss of Correa, but in the end, that division appears to be so weak, especially with the Athletics stripping down, they can still make the postseason.

AL MVP – Mike Trout – For those who forgot, this is still Mike Trout. With a healthy season, he’ll remind everyone there is no one better.

AL Cy YoungAlek Manoah – This is a darkhorse candidate for sure, but his spin and velocity numbers are off the charts. Also, if the Blue Jays can make Robbie Ray a Cy Young, they sure can do the same with a former first round pick.

AL Rookie of the Year – Bobby Witt Jr. He seems the consensus pick and for good reason. He’s got the tools, and he’s playing for a team who will let him play.

AL Manager of the Year – Rocco Baldelli – This usually nothing more than an award for whose team exceeded expectations, and it will likely be the Twins this year.

National League

NL East – New York Mets

Yes, the Mets have lost Jacob deGrom, and Brandon Nimmo is battling injuries. However, this is a much improved club over the team who was atop the Atlanta Braves in the standings most of last year. Remember, that Braves team has lost Freddie Freeman, don’t have Ronald Acuna Jr.. back yet, and that bullpen which carried them was taxed.

NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals were a disappointment for much of last year, but they turned it on late. They are more analytically inclined to match that roster.

NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are a juggernaut, and they are just going to keep going out and finding ways and players to beat you. Keep in mind, they almost won the pennant, and they added Freeman to an already absolutely stacked roster.

NL Wild Card 1 – Milwaukee Brewers – Aside from the Mets, they have the best rotation in the National League, and that will help carry them to the postseason even in Christian Yelich is still not back to being in his MVP form.

NL Wild Card 2 – San Francisco GiantsThey’ll miss Buster Posey and Kevin Gausman, but this was still a very deep team, and they have the players and organization to keep this a postseason caliber team, especially in an expanded postseason format.

NL Wild Card 3 – Philadelphia Phillies – No, the Phillies cannot catch the ball. However, they can absolutely mash, and in that ballpark, they will wear opposing staffs out. They also have the top of the rotation and manager in Joe Girardi to do enough to stay above .500 (again) to claim the last spot.

NL MVP – Francisco Lindor – We’ve seen it time and again with the Mets. The first year is the transition year. The second is the break out year. Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran were denied their MVP, but Lindor will not be this season.

NL Cy YoungZack Wheeler – Wheeler was an unappreciated ace level pitcher when he was with the Mets, but with the Phillies, he has gotten the chance to shine. He should’ve won last year. He won’t be denied this year.

NL Rookie of the Year – Keibert Ruiz – The Nationals are going to let him play, and he has shown some signs in his brief Major League career.

NL Manager of the Year – Buck ShowalterAgain, this is a narrative award, and if the Mets win the division, he is going to get it.

Postseason

Wild Card Round

Astros over Angels
White Sox over Rays

Mets over Phillies
Brewers over Giants

Divisional Round

Blue Jays over Astros
White Sox over Twins

Dodgers over Brewers
Mets over Cardinals

League Championship Series

Blue Jays over White Sox
MVP – George Springer

Mets over Dodgers
MVP – Jacob deGrom

World Series

Mets over Blue Jays
MVP – Brandon Nimmo

Joely Rodriguez Trade Another Example Of Needless LOOGY Obsession

The New York Mets obtained Joely Rodriguez from the New York Yankees in exchange for Miguel Castro. Looking at the trade, it is difficult to ascertain just how this makes the Mets better. What is clear is this was a trade generated because the Mets felt they just needed two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. It is something GM Billy Eppler said so himself:

The obvious retort is going to be the Mets needed more left-handed relievers with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Juan Soto in the division. Of course, that wasn’t an impetus for the Mets to go out and beat that two year $17 million contract Aaron Loup received from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With Rodriguez, the swap of him for Castro really doesn’t make any sense. That goes double when you consider Castro is three years younger, and both pitchers will be free agents after the season. To further the point, here are their splits from last season:

vs. LHH

  • Castro: .198/.313/.270
  • Rodriguez .203/.288/.271

vs. RHH

  • Castro: .180/.327/.328
  • Rodriguez 339/.380/.446

Remember, this is the era of the two batter rule for relievers. As such, the Mets are going to bring in Rodriguez to face Harper, and then, he is going to have to face Nick Castellanos. On that point, Castellanos had a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this year. It’s the same throughout the division.

After getting through Soto, Rodriguez would have to face Nelson Cruz who had a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. After he faces Matt Olson, Rodriguez will face Austin Riley who isn’t as good against left-handed pitching but still has a career 108 wRC+ against them.

Simply put, Rodriguez will come in to get that one batter, and then, he will face a batter who can absolutely obliterate him. This is a recipe for disaster, and it was one made for no other reason than the Mets compulsion to carry multiple left-handed relievers.

It’s an unforced error premeditated by an obsession over century old platoon thinking and not according to the numbers. In fact, Castro fares similarly well against left-handed batters as Rodriguez, but he is far, far superior against right-handed batters. Put another way, the Mets intentionally made themselves worse.

This just puts more onus on Jeremy Hefner to make good on this trade. Unfortunately, he is not going to get the full benefit of Spring Training to work with Rodriguez. Hopefully, the adjustments and tweaks won’t take that long. Otherwise, it is going to make Buck Showalter‘s life more difficult trying to find a way to get Rodriguez into games to be effective and not hurt the Mets.

Overall, this is a trade where the Mets better know something more than everyone. If not, this is nothing more than just getting a left-handed reliever for its own sake, which is something we shouldn’t be seeing teams do in 2022.

Mets Can’t Win In 2022 With deGrom Hurt

After dealing with injuries for two straight seasons, Jacob deGrom had to be scratched with a shoulder issue. With deGrom injured, there’s just no way the New York Mets can win this year.

Pitching is everything in baseball, and that goes double for the Mets. This team was built to win with their starting rotation, especially the two-headed monster of deGrom and Max Scherzer.

Right away, those plans have been blown up. What’s left is an interesting roster, but one with holes across the board.

Instead of building a great bullpen, the Mets let Aaron Loup go and replaced him with Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. With that they took an under-performing unit in 2021 and made it worse. Basically, they’re relying on Seth Lugo and Drew Smith to stay healthy, which is like expecting deGrom to be healthy as well.

Lugo and Smith aren’t the only injury concerns. There is also their entire starting outfield of Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Brandon Nimmo. That trio never lasts a full season, and to compound matters, the team isn’t carrying a real fourth outfielder on the roster.

Fielding is also an issue. Eduardo Escobar isn’t a third baseman. Jeff McNeil refused to follow the defensive alignments. Then, there is the matter of James McCann behind the plate. He wasn’t what the Mets anticipated what he would be, and instead, he was McCann from before his career year.

Other areas of concern include exactly how the DH situation will be resolved. Robinson Cano probably has the best bat, but that is also when he is using steroids. Dominic Smith is a better first baseman, but the team won’t relegate Pete Alonso to DH because he is the crown jewel. Lets not mention J.D. Davis here either.

On that DH and fielding point, you wonder just how much the Mets are going to put out their best alignments in the field. There is some promise with Marte being named the right fielder, but then again, the team isn’t trying McNeil at third despite the fact he’s the best third baseman and really the only one on the roster. Looking at this Mets team, they could put out a Gold Glove caliber defense across the board, but they just refused to do so.

Likely, it is because even with the Wilpons gone, this team still isn’t just letting the baseball people make all the decisions. To be fair, that was a Sandy Alderson calling card. After all, he’s the guy who was rumored to have offered Michael Jordan a Major League deal when he was the Oakland Athletics GM, and Alderson did sign Tim Tebow. In the end, Alderson can’t just shake that carnival act part of the job. When and if he does, this Mets team will finally be special.

Sooner or later, things will change and people will catch-on. Until that point, we just have to move past today and look forward to the day when the Mets can sustain more than just one big injury to be contenders. To that point, Michael Conforto is still out there, and the team does have the money to address other areas. However, at this point, who knows?

Tylor Megill And David Peterson Should Begin 2022 Season In Syracuse

With the addition of Max Scherzer, it would appear the New York Mets rotation is set. After all, they already have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker returning. They also have two interesting young pitchers in Tylor Megill and David Peterson, who should be given every opportunity to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Looking at Megill first, he was a revelation when he was called up to the majors. Through his first seven starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA while walking 11 and striking out 39 over 35.1 innings. For some, he was reminiscent of deGrom, and you could argue it was more like John Maine in 2006. Whatever the case, he pitched well in what was then a pennant race.

After those seven starts, Megill tapered off as he reached innings he never reached in his career. Over his final 11 starts, Megill was 3-6 with a 6.13 ERA while averaging just under 5.0 innings per start. On the bright side, his control remained strong with 16 walks and 60 strikeouts over 54.1 innings. When you see him, there is something very promising there, and it’s incumbent on the Mets to best figure out how to allocate his innings to have him ready for September and October.

Peterson was a different story. He followed a promising albeit statistically troubling rookie season during the pandemic with a poor and injury shortened second year. It’s difficult to know when the oblique began to start bothering him and impacting his performance, but Peterson followed a season with a 4.52 FIP with a 4.78. We would see his 125 ERA+ fall more in line with the FIP dropping to a very poor 73 in 2021. While the strikeouts went up, the walks remained high.

With these two, Peterson has the better pedigree as he’s a former first round pick. However, Megill has better recent success. All told, they are both still a bit raw for the Major League level. You can certainly justify giving one or both of them a spot in the rotation. The better option would be to keep them both in Triple-A to allow them to further battle it out and get ready for when the Mets staff has an inevitable injury.

Keep in mind, the Mets needed 19 starting pitchers last season. Of course, part of that was using pitchers like Aaron Loup and Miguel Castro as openers, but the point remains they needed that many starters. Marcus Stroman was their only starter to make at least 30 starts, and he signed with the Chicago Cubs last season. What the Mets need more than anything right now is pitching depth, and with their having a lack of near Major League ready starters in the upper levels of the minors, they need to manufacture that depth.

With that in mind, the Mets need to sign another starter whenever this lockout ends. Keep in mind, future Hall of Famers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are still available. There are other interesting stopgap options as well, and of course, there is also Trevor Williams, who the Mets added at the trade deadline last year.

Whatever the case, the Mets have four very solid starting pitching options if they’re healthy. In fact, when they’re healthy, they’re the top four in the majors. That’s the key. They have to be healthy, and the Mets have to plan for the event they won’t be. That is exactly why Megill and Peterson should be positioned to start the year in Triple-A whenever they permit this 2022 season to begin.

Angels Taking Advantage Of Mets

There can be a debate as to when the New York Mets knew they needed a front office overhaul. It could’ve been since the start of the season since they failed to hire a president of baseball operations last year.

It could’ve been as late as Zack Scott’s DUI arrest. Whatever the case, the Mets knew before the end of the season they needed a front office overhaul.

What ensued was a protracted search which missed the mark. First, the Mets again gave up on hiring a POBO. Then, it was a GM search.

While this was happening, other teams went to work on their offseason plans. That goes double for the Los Angeles Angels.

While the Mets had no leadership and no plan, Noah Syndergaard signed with the Angels. While the Mets had radio silence, the Angels were laying out their plan from their assembled front office. The sales pitch and uncertainty had an effect on Syndergaard and his decision:

While Syndergaard was due partially to confusion over the front office, Aaron Loup was something else. Loup was great for the Mets, and he wanted to stay. He didn’t.

During the Mets exclusive window to negotiate with Loup, they were trying to assemble a front office. Again, while this was happening, the Angels were making their pitch to Loup. Obviously, it was a successful one.

So, Billy Eppler hasn’t been on the job for a week, and he’s seen Syndergaard and Loup leave. That’s not to say the Mets aren’t moving. After all, they’re pursuing Steven Matz.

Again, the Mets are working from behind. The Angels aren’t and have struck twice. Who knows where this stops, especially with Marcus Stroman still a free agent.

The Mets have time to act, but free agent starters are flying off the board. More to the point, the Angels are taking some of their best pitchers, and it’s possible it’ll happen again soon.

Mets Dangerously Close To Needing A Rebuild

When Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, one of the talking points was the Mets are going to benefit from the draft pick acquired. The way things are going that may need to be their focus.

Syndergaard leaving is another big hit to the Mets already thin pitching depth. That’s problematic given all the question marks that rotation had even when Syndergaard was expected to be a Met in 2022. If this rotation falters, this is a team who is going to be given no choice but to rebuild.

Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco are coming off injury plagued years, and they are 33 and 34 respectively. With deGrom having an opt out after the 2022 season, they can both be free agents. Taijuan Walker can also be a free agent after the season. Walker had a great first half in 2021, but he faltered in the second half and would ultimately finish the season with a 90 ERA+.

As stands right now, the last two spots in the rotation would go to David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Peterson followed a poor 2020 from a peripheral stat perspective with poor 2021 stats and a season ending injury. He showed flashes, but ultimately, he looked like he was not ready. Megill burst onto the scene, but he tired quickly and fell apart at the end of the season, which is quite understandable.

Given the dearth of Triple-A pitching depth, the Mets need to sign two starters to allow Peterson and Megill to further develop and try to limit their innings a bit. Given where the prices are now, Marcus Stroman is going to need around a $25 million AAV to re-sign. Realistically speaking, it’s going to cost at least $40 million to fix the starting pitching.

Keep in mind, starting pitching is far from the Mets only problem. With Michael Conforto a free agent, and the Mets never getting a left fielder over the last three years, they need to fill-in two-thirds of their outfield. Left field could potentially be filled by Jeff McNeil, but the team needs to both hope they fill in two infield spots while also hoping McNeil rebounds from a nightmare 2021.

That is also before you consider Brandon Nimmo is going to be after the 2022 season. In reality, the Mets will have to figure out how to fill out an entire outfield over the course of two seasons. While McNeil may be the proverbial cheap choice, he is now an arbitration eligible player and will be more expensive. Thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen, the same goes for Pete Alonso.

While the Mets are figuring out how to pay two more starters, having to pay arbitration salaries to Alonso and McNeil, they will also have Robinson Cano‘s salary on the books. Unless Cano has a Jenrry Mejia situation, he is going to get $24 million in 2022 and 2023 ($3.75 will be paid by the Seattle Mariners).

Maybe Cano can take over second or third. Maybe he is a utility player. If the DH comes to the NL, he could be the DH. It’s also possible he’s just an overpaid pinch hitter or a player who will need to be released. In any event, that’s a lot of dead payroll weight when the team is potentially looking to re-sign Javier Baez to play alongside his friend Francisco Lindor. On Baez, he’s projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a $20 million AAV.

Before the Mets look to rebuild their bullpen with Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, or build depth with Jonathan Villar being a free agent, they will add at least $84 million to the payroll to add two starters, re-sign Baez, and do whatever they are going to do with Cano. Again, that is before building a bullpen and depth, and it is also before arbitration.

From a competitive balance tax threshold, the Mets payroll is $128.45 million before arbitration. Adding $84 million puts it at $212.45 million. According the MLB Trade Rumors model, the arbitration salaries could increase the payroll by an additional $49.4 million. That puts the Mets payroll at $261.85 million before they fill in their vacancies at second, third, left field, right field, the bench, and the bullpen.

That’s also before they figure out potential extensions for players like Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Nimmo. It’s also before they try to figure out a way to get deGrom to decline his opt out. The question is do the Mets really want to have a payroll around $300 million for the 2022 season? Based on what we saw in 2021, the answer is a clear no. However, we heard some rumors as to why the Mets didn’t go past the threshold.

Sure, with some creativity and shrewd moves, the Mets may not need to get to the $300 million threshold to compete in the NL East. Then again, this team is going to hire Billy Eppler as the GM. Taking a look at the complete picture, the Mets realistically have two options: (1) spend like no one has before; or (2) rebuild. Losing Syndergaard tilted it a little more towards rebuild, but it is still early in the offseason.

Zack Scott Needed To Be Fired

With his impending trial for his DUI arrest and the uncertain state of the New York Mets front office, the team fired acting general manager Zack Scott. Really, they had no other choice.

In terms of baseball, a DUI is not a Cardinal sin (pun intended). Hall of Famer Tony La Russa never truly faced MLB consequences for his actions. He kept every job he had, including his current one with the Chicago White Sox.

He was also La Russa. As he’ll tell you, he’s a “Hall of Famer baseball person.” When you have his track record, teams don’t have the courage to make him face consequences for his actions. Either that, or they don’t care.

Scott is not La Russa. He was the Mets GM by default. The original GM was fired, and he stepped into the role. As the interim, Scott needed to prove to the Mets he was up to the task.

Yes, there were undoubtedly some good moves. However, he did build a team, or helped take part in building a team, who completely fell apart. Ultimately, Scott didn’t prove he was the solution for the job.

He’s also not truly available for the job now. Putting aside the administrative leave, he has to prepare for trial. During that time, key organizational decisions need to be made.

Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are free agents who may have complicated qualifying offer decisions. Key contributors like Aaron Loup and Marcus Stroman are free agents. The Mets can’t sit on the sidelines waiting for Scott to make pivotal decisions which will shape 2022 and the decade to follow.

Between his decisions as a GM and as a driver, he clearly gave the Mets some pause in having him continue in the role. Taking everything into account, the Mets decided it was best to start anew and hire a president of baseball operations.

Whoever that new POBO will be, they need to create the Mets organization in their own image. It’s one of the reasons Luis Rojas‘ option was not picked up, and it’s a reason why the Mets need to clear the GM spot.

Ultimately, this is about the POBO. The Mets need to find the right person, and they need that person to build the organization. The Mets can’t have Scott standing in the way of that, especially when he’s unavailable to do his job at a very critical time.

In the end, Scott gave the Mets very little reason to remove the interim tag. Instead, he really just gave them reasons to remove him from the organization.

Mets May Need To Proceed As If There Will Be No New POBO

The other day the New York Mets made the smart decision to retain Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach. It was a move necessary because Hefner was going to be a free agent at the end of the month, and the team needed to act quickly to make sure they retained a coach respected by the Mets pitching staff.

The problem with this decision is it seemed a little out of order. Typically speaking, you do not hire or retain a pitching coach without hiring a manager. To wit, you don’t hire a manager without having general manager and president of baseball operations in place. And yet, that’s exactly where the Mets find themselves.

The Mets seem to be at a bad spot in their search. Their pie in the sky choices in Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, and David Stearns will not be joining the organization. Unfortunately, they’re striking out at the second level and extremely qualified choices like Matt Arnold, Peter Bendix, and Scott Harris. This is far from an exhaustive list. Really, what seems exhaustive is how many times the Mets have been unable to fill this role for well over a year now.

We’re now at the point of the sensational. For example, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News published an article indicated Mets owner Steve Cohen is relying upon his employees at Point72 as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead the search for the new president of baseball operations. Honestly, this doesn’t pass the sniff test considering Cohen’s background, but by the same token, we can expect to see more of the same until the position is filled.

That said, there is a bigger issue here. There are certain actions which need to be undertaken in short order, and it appears those decisions will need to be made before the new POBO is hired. Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are free agents, and the team not only has to decide if they want to extend the qualifying offer, but they also need to see if they want to re-sign them. Marcus Stroman cannot be offered the qualifying offer, but the team does need to figure out if they want to keep him (they should).

This is a team who needs to fill vacancies at third base, and they need to complete their rotation. With Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, they need to build the bullpen. The team needs another outfielder, and they need to see if they are going to keep Javier Baez. There really is just too much to do for the Mets to wait for a new POBO.

Yes, you want a POBO making these decisions, but you can’t sit around and not make key organizational decisions until that person is hired. There is no sense not permitting the 2022 Mets to be as good as they can possibly be because they didn’t hire a POBO.

There is far too much at stake this offseason. Sitting around and doing nothing means the Mets will remain third best in the division, and in all likelihood, it puts them in a position where they are forced to rebuild. The problem is what’s here is a solid enough core to win a World Series. The Mets cannot sit on their hands and wait. Like it or not, Sandy Alderson has to take reins and operate as the POBO until one is hired.

No, it’s not what Mets fans necessarily wanted to hear, but it’s the truth of the matter. The sad, frustrating, and irritating truth.