After the five game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets bullpen needed a break. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in the schedule.
That left Chris Bassitt to get them one.
It wasn’t his prettiest outing, but it was his grittiest. While dancing around eight hits and a walk, Bassitt threw 114 pitches over eight innings.
In some ways, this was a page from the 2015 Mets. Use your dominant starting pitching and only those relievers you can trust.
Back in 2015, the only relievers the Mets trusted down the stretch were Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia. They had the starting pitching to limit it mostly to just these relievers in the big spots.
In the 2015 postseason, the Mets got innings primarily from Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. That proved to be a bit of a double edged sword as it allowed the Mets to only have to roll with these relievers, but then, those relievers were exhausted and faltered in the postseason.
Fortunately for these Mets, they’re deeper. In addition to Díaz and Ottavino, they also have Trevor May, who has looked good since coming off the IL.
Seth Lugo has also better better of late. Moreover, Trevor Williams has performed in whatever role the Mets have needed from him. Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t Terry Collins as Showalter will use the next tier of guys when warranted.
That’s something Collins could never comprehend, and it cost the Mets dearly. Part of the reason the Mets could only use three relievers was because he only trusted three.
That led to disastrous decision making in Game 3 of the World Series which caused further bad decision making the rest of the series. However, the underlying principle was correct.
The more dominant innings you get from your starter; the better your bullpen is. Less innings means more rest. More rest means better performance. Better performance leads to wins.
In pressure spots, the Mets don’t want to see the last couple of pitchers in their bullpen. That goes double in the postseason. Of course, with Mets starters going deep, and we know they can, the Mets can lean on their top performers.
At least for this win, eight from Bassitt meant one from Ottavino as Díaz, May, Lugo, and Williams rested. It means the other pitchers will be fresher when called upon to pitch again.
This is how the Mets cover their tracks in the bullpen. Dominant starting pitching going deep into games followed by the 1-2 relievers a night the Mets actually want pitching in a big spot.
The New York Mets thought their offense needing addressing at the trade deadline, and they set out to do it. Apparently, that was really their objective.
It’s undeniable Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf, and Daniel Vogelbach make this a more potent offensive team. When you look at the high prospect cost, it appeared the Mets were not going to let prospects stand in the way of a World Series.
So, then, how does Billy Eppler and the Mets explain only coming away with Mychal Givens to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline?
Keep in mind, Colin Holderman was having a better season than Givens. Yes, Givens is having a good season, and he has a good track record, but overall, Holderman was better leaving the Mets in a worse spot than when they entered the trade deadline.
This is where you wonder what Billy Eppler was thinking.
He traded Holderman because of a purported robust relief market. Then, on the trade deadline, he admits it wasn’t all that robust, and that the prices were too high.
This doesn’t pass the smell test.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs for prospect Ben Brown, a soon to be Rule 5 eligible pitcher who has not reached Double-A. Sure, he’s the Phillies seventh best prospect, but their system is one of the very worst in the game.
The Minnesota Twins made an intra-division trade to acquire Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers. The cost was pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. He’s a 24 year old former sixth round pick with a 7.17 ERA in Double-A.
Baltimore Orioles All-Star closer Jorge López went to the Twins as well. Admittedly, it took quite a haul to get him. Really, he’s just about the only reliever who came at a steep cost.
Raisel Iglesias was basically a salary dump to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets could’ve thought outside the box to bring Noah Syndergaard back to recreate Game 5 of the NLDS. That Mickey Moniak led return was laughable.
Drew Smith and Tylor Megill may need a miracle to be 100% in time for the postseason, and Megill has to show he can pitch in the pen. David Peterson has shown he couldn’t, but now, he needs to be in that mix again.
That’s hope, and hope is not a plan. Whatever the case, that’s what the Mets are left with after the trade deadline. They just have to hope it’s enough.
That’s a dereliction of duty by Eppler, and that goes double when you consider his excuses in trading Holderman. What makes this all the worse is the relatively low prices at the deadline, and the Mets overpaying for bats.
In the end, we just have to hope the Mets have enough. If not, they’ll forever lament not going all-in as their trades indicated they were. They’ll be left wondering why they didn’t try to do all they could to win the World Series and why they gave up so much just to fall short.
The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.
Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.
Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.
Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.
Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.
Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.
Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.
Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.
When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.
That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.
The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.
Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.
Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.
Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.
The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.
Much of the reason the New York Mets are in first place is due to their unsung heroes. With the rash of injuries, players like Trevor Williams stepped up and has been huge.
His biggest start was his last one where he earned a win after shutting out the Miami Marlins over seven innings. The thing is that may be his last start of the season.
Max Scherzer is back and dominating. Jacob deGrom is throwing 100 MPH fastballs in his rehab starts. When deGrom is back, which will be sooner rather than later, there’s zero chance Williams gets a start.
We saw the Mets accepting and planning for that eventuality as Williams pitched the final three innings in the Mets 8-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. Since Williams pitched the final three innings, he was credited with the save, the first of his career.
We should be seeing more of Williams in these late inning situations. Preferably, it would be high leverage situations.
For starters (or relievers), the Mets need someone to fill that role. It’s something the Mets have been trying since Trevor May was injured.
Drew Smith struggles with left-handed batters, is becoming homer prone, and has a 4.68 ERA since May 14.
Seth Lugo had struggled on back-to-back days and pitching more than an inning. Adam Ottavino is on a good run, but he needs his rest, and historically, he’s terrible in September and October 5.17 ERA).
Likely, the Mets main set-up reliever is not currently on the roster. Keep in mind, the Mets still need to figure out who is going to pitch innings 6-8.
To phrase it as one set-up reliever is a misnomer because the Mets still need at least two more relievers. While we can be curious about a Colin Holderman, Showalter isn’t using him in high leverage situations.
Maybe Showalter will use Williams. Keep in mind, Williams is a veteran. He’s also pitching some of the best baseball of life.
Williams struck out a career high 22.5% of batters. While an admittedly small sample size, in his career, he’s struck out 9.9 batters per nine as a reliever (against 7.1 as a starter).
That could increase as Williams focuses more on his sinker and slider. Right now, Williams has a 40% whiff rate on his slider and a 36.8% put away rate on his sinker. Both are the best marks for his career.
Putting aside the eccentricities, it’s a two pitch repertoire and level of effectiveness reminiscent of Turk Wendell. Of course, we don’t know if Williams can be Wendell, at least not until the Mets try it.
For Williams, it will be an adjustment. It should be noted he’s at his worst this year the first time through the lineup. Then again, he adapted just fine earning his first career save against the Cubs.
Past that, we don’t have a real sample size this year to make any judgments. That is even with him performing well in a very limited sample size last season after the Mets were out of the race.
Ultimately, we don’t know how Williams will fare. What we do know is there are signs he could succeed in the role, and more importantly, the Mets have an immediate need. Everything together, it’s time to give Williams a shot as a high leverage reliever.
In the New York Mets 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, their biggest flaw was highlighted and their downfall. Their bullpen.
Peterson was at 98 pitches before he allowed that homer to Matt Olson. In the at-bat. Olson hit a very long foul. When Mookie Betts did that to Peterson in Los Angeles, Buck Showalter gave him the hook.
The Mets really weren’t able to do that here. That’s even with Peterson set to go over 100 pitches for just the third time all season. It was the third time through the order. That’s something the Mets have justifiably shielded him from all season.
Here, the Mets had little choice. After all, aside from Edwin Diaz, who do you absolutely trust in the Mets bullpen right now? The answer is probably nobody.
Well, Diaz was unavailable as was Adam Ottavino. The Mets bullpen was short, and they needed Peterson to get through six. He didn’t, and he allowed the Olson two run homer to put the Mets down 2-1.
Just like that a shallow and tired pen helped turn what could’ve been a 1-0 win into a 4-1 loss.
Yes, we can and should point to the offense. However, the Mets had a lead. They just don’t have the arms to bring games like these home.
Tommy Hunter is a great story, but you still don’t know if he can trust him quite yet. Same goes for Colin Holderman, who did pitch well in this game and all season. Maybe they’ll get there, especially Holderman, but the Mets don’t trust him completely right now.
That leaves you questioning who else is there? Well, until Trevor May comes back, the answer is no one. That’s the problem.
The Mets proved this in 2015. One of the ways do address a faltering bullpen is to just not use it. Let the starters absorb the innings.
The plan works, but you need more than just a Jeurys Famila, or in this case, a Diaz. They’re also going to need more than just May returning and Peterson likely shifting to the bullpen come October.
The Mets need an answer. That may come from a Holderman. Mostly, it’s going to have to be a trade deadline move. Really, it’s both that are needed. We’ll see if the Mets get it.
The Atlanta Braves were surging and unbeatable. The New York Mets were falling apart. This is 2021 all over again.
The Mets have Max Scherzer and just phenomenal starting pitching across the board. When you have pitching like this, you’re the team to beat in the division, and Scherzer reminded everyone of that.
Through the first six, Robinson Cano was the only one able to get a hit off of him. Of course, it was Cano, who the Braves obtained right before this series.
This is cause for worry for mere mortals, but this is Scherzer. The future Hall of Famer, and one of the fiercest competitors in all of pro sports, struck out Eddie Rosario to end the jam.
In the end, the Braves had a run. Even with the recently sputtering Mets offense, that was a low hurdle to jump. They jumped it easily.
Luis Guillorme hit what could’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Guillorme buster it out of the box resulting in an RBI fielder’s choice giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
It’s a good thing Guillorme delivered there because J.D. Davis was batting behind him. Davis had his usual terrible night at the plate marked by strikeouts, infield pop outs, and ground ball outs.
The Mets had Braves starter Max Fried on the ropes all night, but they couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. Ultimately, as a team, the Mets were 2-for-10 with RISP stranding 10.
It didn’t matter. Scherzer was just that good. So was the red hot Guillorme. In the eighth, he homered off Darren O’Day to increase the Mets lead to 3-1.
This marks his career high. Notably, half of Guillorme’s four homers have come against O’Day.
Guillorme was simply great. He was 2-for-3 with a run, double, homer, walk, and two RBI.
We saw the Mets add insurance runs. That made the job of the Mets bullpen that much easier.
It was a dance for Adam Ottavino, but he escaped the jam keeping the Mets ahead. After that, the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth.
With regards to that run, Nimmo and Francisco Lindor pulled off the rate hit-and-run. It was a good night at the plate for Lindor, who was 3-for-5. After an Alonso fielder’s choice, it was 4-1.
Faced with an interesting and potentially daunting option, Buck Showalter chose Edwin Diaz on a third straight night for the save. Diaz looked fully rested mowing down all three Braves he faces for his 19th save of the season.
Thinking long term, once Jacob deGrom comes back, the Mets pitching is unstoppable. It’s about seven innings from the top of this rotation with Diaz striking out the side in the ninth.
Really, that’s giving teams an inning or maybe two to score runs. The Mets offense can splutter all it wants, more often than not, they’re winning these games.
That’s what the Braves discovered. It’s what all of baseball was reminded of again.
From the rumors, the New York Mets are being threatened for National League East supremacy, but then again the Mets dispatched with another opponent. This time it was the Miami Marlins.
1. It might’ve been Father’s Day Weekend, but Francisco Lindor proved it’s always Mother’s Day. His mom came to the game on Friday, and he hit his first of two homers in the series. After breaking his finger, he seemed understandably off, but this weekend, we saw the real Lindor again.
2. Taijuan Walker has pitched like an ace since Max Scherzer went down. Over his last six starts, he’s averaging 6.0 starts with an increasing strikeout rate. This could be one of the best two year deals in Mets history.
3. The Mets DH situation was a disaster before J.D. Davis got hit on the hand. That could effectively end his season (it did last year), which is going to rob the Mets of a right-handed bat off the bench. And before people start, he wasn’t hitting for power before this hand injury.
4. It seems the DH spot will now fall to Dominic Smith, who faltered earlier, and/or Daniel Palka, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2019. With respect to Smith, the only hope is he begins hitting again with regular at-bats.
5. While Mark Vientos continues to be the best possible DH option, from a purely crazy standpoint, you do wonder if Michael Conforto would be available on a minor league deal. After all, Scott Boras has hinted Conforto may be able to hit this season. It would seem a mutually beneficial arrangement even if there’s a 99% chance Conforto doesn’t play this year.
6. The biggest concern right now is Jeff McNeil‘s hamstring. As Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pointed out, he tried to play through a similar injury last year and struggled. Hernandez also noted the flight to Houston won’t help matters. Ideally, the Mets can give him a day or two to get healthy.
7. David Peterson had a much needed good start. That was much needed for him and for the Mets.
8. The fact Seth Lugo was pitching after his two year old just had surgery and his wife is expecting any day now is just remarkable. Given that context and how great he has been as a Met, we can afford him one bad pitch before freaking out.
9. Where is it written in stone the Marlins play their very best against the Mets at all times?
10. Chris Bassitt had a strong start but hit a bump. He is still a part of the solution this season and in the ensuing years.
11. Sandy Alcantara is just that good, and the Marlins have him effectively locked up until 2027. That would be very bad news for the Mets except you know the Marlins will get rid of him well before that.
12. The cavalry seems to be on their way with reports Scherzer could be a week away and James McCann on a rehab assignment.
13. The Mets have effectively shelved Patrick Mazeika, and you have to wonder just how much longer he will be a Met. With every homer from Francisco Alvarez, the chances of his getting designated for assignment increase exponentially because next time there is an injury, Alvarez may very well be called up to stay.
14. The Mets continue to do Josh Lewin dirty. First, he’s replaced by an inexperienced and poor announcer, and then, his podcast is replaced with amateur hour. He and Mets fans deserve much better.
16. Very quietly, Starling Marte keeps getting better and better all season.
17. It’s obvious why we’re not talking about it much, but Pete Alonso‘s defense has really regressed. With the Mets DH options being what they are, you could move Alonso there, but the Mets obviously don’t want to interrupt his Silver Slugger caliber season.
18. Luis Guillorme is just a guy who gets on base and plays great defense. If the Mets cared about that in the past, perhaps they make the postseason prior to this year.
19. On this date last year, the Mets had a 5.5 lead game on the Atlanta Braves. The key differences is that Mets team had a +20 run differential, and this one has a +72. The other key difference is that team lost deGrom, and this one will be getting him back. These are not remotely the same seasons.
20. Interesting to think about, but this upcoming series against the Houston Astros might actually be a World Series preview.
The New York Mets have finished the first two months of the season in first place with a 10.5 game division lead. That is tied for the best ever lead on June 1 in MLB history.
1. It doesn’t matter what happens with this team. They are perhaps the most resilient Mets team we have ever seen.
2. Luis Guillorme has earned a job in the starting lineup, and he’s playing like someone deserving of an All-Star right now.
3. Playing time may hold back Guillorme, but it should not hold back Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. They’re not just having All-Star caliber seasons, but they are also building budding MVP campaigns.
4. Lindor going around humming the Rangers goal song is awesome. That run is having a big impact on this Mets team, and it seems to be driving them all the more to have their own special season.
6. If Drew Smith is hurt, just put him on the IL. There is no need to mess around and have the chance he hurts his arm compensating for the pinkie.
7. Trevor Williams has stepped up big time, and he has taken that last spot in the rotation for now. He might’ve been a throw-in last season in the Javier Baez trade, but he’s been a very importance piece for this Mets team.
8. The pitching injuries necessitated Dominic Smith be sent down. The team needs the arms, and right now, Smith hasn’t made the case he should stay in the majors. Then again, J.D. Davis hasn’t either, but looking at everything, he is on borrowed time as well.
9. Eduardo Escobar is slowly but surely coming out of his struggles, and he is primed to have the same big June he has always had. To his credit, he has not let his struggles get the better of him as he was always out there hustling. That’s why he had the big extra innings catch followed by the walk-off hit.
10. The Mets are in a tough spot at the catcher position, and it seems like the problem isn’t improving as Patrick Mazeika just can’t seem to get on the same page as his pitchers, and he’s made some questionable pitch calls. Case-in-point was that Adam Ottavino fastball.
11. The most important move the Mets made all season was Chris Bassitt. While he was not pegged as such, he has been the team’s ace all season long. That’s because he has pitched that way and because he’s the last man standing.
13. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer coming back at some point this season, it is really difficult to pinpoint where this team desperately needs to make a move to make it a World Series contending club.
14. That said, Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve at least have you wondering if the Mets need a left-handed reliever. Then again, maybe David Peterson can move there for the postseason and have a 2015 Jon Niese type of impact.
17. Nick Plummer is what makes a season like this so special. He’s a former first rounder who was given the bust label before having a good year in Triple-A with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. It wasn’t enough to keep him around, and the Mets have been the beneficiaries for taking a chance on him.
18. It’s astonishing to think it took the Mets nearly two months to complete their first series sweep of the season. Of course, they may follow it with yet another sweep.
19. The Mets impending west coast trip isn’t really anything but a series of nine tough games. It’s not a litmus test because we know this team is good, and we also know they don’t have all of their pitching.
20. Starling Marte has responded to hearbreak by being great. If there is anyone who understands what it means to be a Met, it may just be him.
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.
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.
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.