When determining which team to root for this postseason, the general rule of thumb is to root against the Mets rivals. With the Mets making a number of trades this season, you could also root for teams according to their Mets connections:
East – Boston Red Sox
Assistant Pitching Coach – Brian Bannister (2006)
Bannister made the Mets out if Spring Training in 2006. His tenure was short lived as he injured his hamstring, and Omar Minaya rebuilt the rotation in-season pushing a healthy Bannister out. He’d be moved that offseason in an ill-fated trade for Ambiorix Burgos.
RHP Blaine Boyer (2011)
Boyer pitched just five games for the Mets before leaving via free agency. He would not pitch in the majors again until 2014.
RHP Addison Reed (2015 – 2017)
Acquired on the eve of September, Reed quickly became an important seventh inning reliever on the Mets pennant winning team. He was even better the next season helping pitch the Mets back to the postseason. With Jeurys Familia‘s suspension and injury, Reed became an effective closer before being traded for a trio of Red Sox relief prospects at the trade deadline.
OF Chris Young (2014)
After a few down years, the Mets took a one year gamble on Young. He struggled all year, and he was released with the Mets eight games under .500 and 10.5 games back in the division. Since that time, Young has been a much more effective player.
Central – Cleveland Indians
First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2007 – 2009)
Alomar ended his playing career playing eight games with the Mets in 2007. He would then begin his coaching career with the Mets serving two years as a special catching instructor.
RF Jay Bruce (2016-2017)
Bruce went from bust who struggled mightily after being acquired at the trade deadline last year to fan favorite this year. Fortunately for the Indians, Bruce wouldn’t repeat his struggles helping propel the Indians to 102 wins.
RHP Joe Smith (2007 – 2008)
Smith went straight from being a third round draft pick in 2006 to being a very good reliever for the Mets in two seasons. Ironically, he moved as part the three team J.J. Putz trade intended to improve the Mets bullpen.
West – Houston Astros
DH Carlos Beltran (2005 – 2011)
Seeing him in the postseason again will certainly evoke memories of Adam Wainwright, but he was so much more than that in a Mets uniform. Beltran was the best center fielder in Mets history and perhaps their best outfielder ever.
C Juan Ceteno (2013 – 2014)
Ceteno is a strong defensive catcher who played just 14 games over two years before he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bench Coach Alex Cora (2009 – 2010)
Cora joined the Mets in the hopes of being an important utility player on a playoff caliber team. Unfortunately, injuries and a ballpark ill-suited for the talents of the players on the roster brought that run to an end.
Hitting Coach Dave Hudgens (2011 – 2014)
Hudgens was the Mets hitting coach who was entrusted with helping the Mets adapt to a new ballpark. While he was much embattled in the position, Mets offensive highlights during his tenure included Ike Davis hitting 30 homers and the last great season from David Wright.
Pitching Coach Brent Strom (1972)
Strom was the Mets 1970 first round draft pick. He appeared in just one season with the team going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.615 WHIP.
Third Base Coach Gary Pettis (2003 – 2004)
Pettis served as the first base and outfield coach during the Art Howe Era.
Wild Card – New York Yankees
RHP Luis Cessa
Cessa was the other pitching prospect the Mets sent to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cespedes trade.
Wild Card – Minnesota Twins
Pitching Coach Neil Allen (1979 – 1983)
While Allen had a noteworthy Mets career of his own, he will forever be known as one of the two players traded by the Mets in exchange for Keith Hernandez.
RHP Bartolo Colon (2014 – 2016)
“Big Sexy” became a fan favorite and a mentor to the young pitchers in the clubhouse. There are a number of highlights you can choose from his Mets career, but the one that keeps coming to mind was the unbelievable home run he hit in San Diego last year.
RHP Dillon Gee (2010 – 2015)
Gee is an example of a pitcher who has gotten everything out of his ability. He has been resilient overcoming a number of injuries in his career with his career highlight possibly being his named the Mets 2014 Opening Day starter.
East – Washington Nationals
OF Alejandro De Aza (2016)
De Aza had an interesting year with the Mets. He was terrible to begin the year, and he then had a great July helping propel the Mets second half run to the Wild Card.
Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1993 – 1994)
Maddux pitched two years for the Mets pitching to a 4.16 ERA as a reliever before departing via free agency.
2B Daniel Murphy (2008 – 2015)
Somehow Murphy has become one of the most divisive players among the Mets fanbase. Many still fondly remember his for his time witht he Mets, especially his incredible NLDS and NLCS propelling the Mets to the pennant. Others see a player who annihilates the Mets since leaving the team.
LHP Oliver Perez (2006 – 2010)
Believe it or not, there was a time where Perez was beloved for his Game 7 performance and his start the final game of the 2008 season. He then fell off a cliff upon receiving a huge contract. Things got so bad, he refused a minor league assignment, and his last appearance as a Met would be the team throwing him into the 14th inning on the last game of the season just to get the game over with.
Central – Cubs
Quality Control Coach Henry Blanco (2010)
“Hank White” was brought on as a defensive back-up, and he excelled in the role throwing out 50% of base stealers.
C Rene Rivera (2016 – 2017)
Rivera was a defensive specialist who helped Noah Syndergaard overcome his issues holding on base runners. It was more than Syndergaard, Rivera served as a mentor for young starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who helped pitch the Mets to the Wild Card.
West – Dodgers
Bench Coach Bob Geren (2012 – 2015)
Geren served as the bench coach for the Mets serving as a mentor for the Mets catchers. Since his departure, we have seen Mets catchers regress in their pitch framing, and we have certainly seen Travis d’Arnaud regress in nearly every aspect of his game.
OF Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2017)
Granderson is one of the finest men to ever put on a Mets uniform. He also came up biggest when the Mets needed him most. Granderson kept the Mets afloat in 2015, and if not for some blown leads, he was in line to be the MVP of that series. His big outburst to end the 2016 season helped lead the Mets back to the postseason.
3B Justin Turner (2010 – 2013)
Turner was an effective utility player in his years with the Mets who was really non-tendered because he was arbitration eligible. Turner would find himself a home in Los Angeles where he has become a terrific player.
Third Base Coach Chris Woodward (2005 – 2006)
Woodward was a valuable utility player for the Mets for two seasons having the second best season of his entire career in 2005.
Wild Card – Diamondbacks
RHP Matt Koch (2012 – 2015)
Koch was one of the two minor league pitchers traded by the Mets for Addison Reed. While Koch is on the 40 man roster, it is not expected he will be on the postseason roster.
Wild Card – Rockies
Based on the sheer volume of Mets affiliations, it would appear Mets fans would be pulling for the Astros in the American League and either the Nationals or Dodgers in the National League. Considering the presence of Chase Utley on the Dodgers and the recent rivalry with the Nationals, most Mets fans will understandably choose rooting interests for different reasons all together.
With the Mets moving on from Terry Collins, the Mets will begin their managerial search, and according to reports, the Mets will consider Robin Ventura. Certainly, there is a reason why Mets fans would be pleased with the decision:
Ventura was a fan favorite, who was part of the greatest defensive infield of all time. There is a certain level of buzz and excitement his hiring would create with fans. However, that is not the sole basis to hire a manager. Thankfully, we know the current front office will not be swayed as such. Otherwise, Wally Backman would have been hired as the manager in 2010.
Therefore, we know the Mets will only hire Ventura only if he’s the right manager for the job. The question is whether hiring him would be a grand slam or a single.
On the one hand, Ventura once finished third in the 2012 American League Manager of the Year voting. That season, Ventura’s White Sox surprised many with an 85-77 record. One of the reasons why that team was so successful was because Ventura effectively managed Chris Sale‘s first season as a starter. Sale wasn’t his only young pitcher. He also managed Jose Quintana and old friend Addison Reed in their rookie seasons.
While those pitchers may not have reached their full potential immediately, they had a solid foundation from Ventura’s years as their manager. Now, much credit there goes to Pitching Coach Don Cooper, Ventura was still the manager, and he deserves a portion of the credit.
One of the reasons why he deserves credit is because Ventura actually rated well in bullpen management using the stat Bullpen Management Above Random (BMAR). Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the stat “assess[es] how closely each manager lined up his best relievers with his team’s highest-leverage relief opportunities.” (Grantland). Among active managers, Ventura would rank fifth in voting.
Certainly, the Mets could use a manager who works well with pitchers and handles a pitching staff well. That goes double when you consider the Mets will have to handle all the injured pitchers coming back next year and the development of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.
The rest of Ventura’s stint as White Sox manager was a bit of a mixed bag. While he effectively managed they young pitchers, Adam Eaton, and Jose Abreu when he came to the United States, he never quite developed either Alexei Ramirez or Gordon Beckham.
After that surprising first season as the White Sox manager, Ventura’s teams failed to contend, or for that matter, finish over .500. What was troubling there was the White Sox heavily invested in their 2015 and 2016 teams. Whether it was Ventura or the mix of players brought to the White Sox remains to be seen.
That 2016 season was a difficult one for the White Sox. Kenny Williams had instructed Adam LaRoche he couldn’t bring his son to the clubhouse as frequently leaving the player to retire leaving behind angry players. This was just the first incident. While he didn’t lose the clubhouse then, he might have later in the season.
Later, Sale would infamously cut up all of the throwback jerseys because they were uncomfortable. Upon learning of Sale’s actions, Ventura would scratch him, and the team would suspend him. This led to a Sale tirade with him attacking Ventura saying, “”Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department. If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.” (MLB.com).
Overall, when looking at Ventura’s tenure as the White Sox manager, it’s a mixed bag. He’s been able to develop some players while not getting through to others. He’s largely kept control of his clubhouse, but in the end, he eventually lost his star player. Of course, this happens to even the best managers, and it’s easy to over-analyze the final days of his White Sox tenure.
The one thing we do know is Ventura always handled himself well with the media throughout these issues. It is not too dissimilar for how well he handled himself as a player while with the Mets and the Yankees. Considering he played with the Mets in difficult times (9/11, decline as a player, team under-performing), it is easy to believe he could handle the press well as a Mets manager.
Taking everything into consideration, Ventura merits consideration and an interview for the Mets managerial opening. If the Mets wind up hiring him, they will have a manager whose strengths might just coincide with what the team needs. If he’s better for his experience with the White Sox all together. In the end, Ventura would be a fine choice as manager.
With the Mets selling at the deadline, we saw them call up young players to begin building for the future. That meant players like Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker were gone. In their stead are young players like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin McGowan, and Tomas Nido.
With that, you knew the team was going to be young, but his young?
— Kevin McGowan Jr (@kevinmcgowanjr) September 15, 2017
Wow. I expected a younger group, but not ones that were dressed up in rompers like my then nine month old son.
It seems that with the Mets recent youth movement, my son is closer to majors than I initially believed:
With Rhame being the return for Curtis Granderson and Callahan being one of the three prospects netted in exchange for Addison Reed, we get a glimpse of how well Sandy Alderson did at the trade deadline. We also get a glimpse into what exactly the 2018 bullpen could look like.
So far, it’s safe to say Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, and AJ Ramos will be in the Mets bullpen next year. Most likely, but not as definitely, Hansel Robles will be in the bullpen as well. Assuming no moves, and based on Alderson’s tenure with the Mets, it’s a fairly safe assumption, there are three open spots in the bullpen.
Sewald has shown versatility in the pen coming on for multiple innings and being a late inning reliever brought on to get the Mets out of a jam. He’s pitched 57.0 innings in 47 appearances. Overall, he’s 0-5 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, and a 9.8 K/9.
Bradford has terrific in his first 17 appearances before his clunker against the Reds. Even with that poor performance, he’s still 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, and a 7.9 K/9.
With they way they’ve pitched, you could certainly envision Sewald and/or Bradford being on the Opening Day roster. However, digging deeper, neither pitcher really fits the mold of what Alderson envisions from this bullpen.
It’s clear Alderson now wants to see power arm after power arm after power arm coming out of the Mets bullpen.
Clearly, these big arms are a sign of what Alderson wants in this Mets bullpen. The first wave will be Rhame and Callahan. More will certainly follow.
Hopefully, now, Alderson had found that right formula. Each and every year he’s been the Mets GM he’s started the year with bad bullpens, and he had to fix them on the fly.
Hopefully, now, he has the arms in place. If he does, the Mets chances of returning to the postseason are much better.
Even with him being limited due to injuries, Steven Matz was still one of the better starting pitching options left for this team. However, with impending season ending surgery, he’s shut down, and the Mets went with recently activated off the disabled list Tommy Milone.
Milone entered this game with a 7.91 ERA, 10.50 with the Mets, and he picked up where he left off with J.D. Martinez hitting a first inning three run homer.
At that point, it was 7-0 Diamondbacks. If you were still watching at that point, the question is why?
Michael Conforto missed the game with a thumb injury. Dominic Smith wasn’t in the lineup because the Diamondbacks started the left-handed Patrick Corbin, and Terry Collins apparently breaks out in hives and hyperventilates when he has to play a young left-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher. Using the same logic, Collins played Matt Reynolds over Brandon Nimmo in right.
Really, there were not many reasons to watch this game. Sure, things are bad right now with the Mets, but with the team they put on the field, this was downright unwatchable. Most 7-1 games are.
The one run was a Rosario home run, his first at Citi Field.
Other notable events was Gavin Cecchini going 1-2 at the plate and making a decent play in the field:
I GOT IT I GOT IT IT'S ALL YOURS pic.twitter.com/nqQBLoLh6n
— Good Fundies (@goodfundies) August 23, 2017
Of note, Cecchini has a base hit in every game he’s started this year.
1B – Wilmer Flores
2B – Gavin Cecchini
3B – Asdrubal Cabrera
SS – Amed Rosario
If you don’t think of Flores as a shortstop, then the all shortstop infield was accomplished with Reynolds moving from right to first in a double switch.
If you do consider Flores a shortstop, then six of the Mets position players in the starting lineup were shortstops or former shortstops as Juan Lagares was originally signed as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic.
Admittedly, this is a rather long tangent, but these are the things you dwell on when your team is as listless and over-matched as the Mets were today. Trust me, this tangent was more interesting than anything that happened in the field tonight.
Andrew Chafin came on and allowed a Reynolds RBI groundout followed by a Rosario RBI triple to make it 7-4.
This lead to the Diamondbacks bringing on Fernando Rodney to get the final out of the game. After he retired Cecchini, the tomfoolery was over.
Last night, the Yankees brought on Aroldis Chapman to close out a Yankees three run lead. After Wilmer Flores struck out to begin the inning, Dominic Smith strode up to the plate in what would be the rookie’s biggest test in his brief major league career. Seeing how he hit an opposite field homer earlier in the game, and Rafael Devers hit a huge home run against Chapman in Chapman’s last save attempt, this was promising to be a very interesting match-up.
This is not the first time we have seen this play with Collins. During Michael Conforto‘s first two years with the Mets, Collins did not let his young left-handed hitter face left-handed pitching. Instead, he would bat Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, Justin Ruggiano, Ty Kelly, or really any warm body on the bench to prevent Conforto from facing a left-handed pitcher.
The end result of Collins’ refusal to play Conforto against left-handed pitching was Conforto actually struggling against left-handed pitching. Over his first two big league seasons, Conforto hit .129/.191/.145 with just one extra-base hit, a double, in the 68 at-bats he did get against left-handed pitching.
However, there was no reason to sit Conforto against left-handed pitching. His hitting coach, Kevin Long, found the notion that Conforto can’t hit left-handed pitching absurd. Conforto hit left-handed pitching in both his collegiate and brief minor league career. Still, despite Conforto’s ability to hit left-handed pitching everywhere else, Collins decided to sit him against left-handed pitching.
When pressed on it, Collins said, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.” (Barbara Barker, Newsday).
Assuming Collins is correct that you shirk the responsibility of developing young players because you have designs on winning a World Series, why is he now repeating the same tactics with Smith?
Currently, the Mets are 10 games under .500. The team has to win 62% of their remaining games just to get to .500. The team has already traded away Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker. If an opportunity presents itself, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Rene Rivera will find new homes before the end of the month. Put more succinctly, this team is not in a position where they are trying to win games – this is a time to develop players.
Pinch hitting for Smith the very first opportunity he gets to face a left-handed pitcher in the majors does nothing to accomplish that goal.
Overall, unless Collins is facing some delusions of grandeur, there is no reason to believe the Mets are winning anything in 2017. Smith is ticketed to be the Mets starting first baseman in 2018. To that end, the rest of the regular season should be dedicated to helping him best prepare for the 2018 season. Sitting him against left-handed pitching only hinders his development.
Maybe, just maybe Collins was never truly concerned with player development. Maybe in his mind young left-handed batters are just incapable of hitting left-handed pitching. It is likely the reason why he previously sat Conforto against left-handed pitching, and it is the reason why he’s doing it with Smith now.
It’s poor managing, and it has had a tangible effect on player development. Collins might have had his excuse with Conforto, but he doesn’t have that excuse with Smith now. If Collins shields Smith from a left-handed pitcher just one more time, the Mets are going to have to find someone else to manage. Simply put, you cannot permit Collins to hinder Smith’s development to win some meaningless games.
With the July 31st trade deadline having coming and gone, the Mets were able to trade Lucas Duda and Addison Reed for a quintet of hard throwing right-handed relief prospects. Unfortunately, the Mets were unable to move other trade assets in Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, or any number of the veterans on the roster who could help a contender.
Now, the trade deadline having passed doesn’t mean those players cannot be traded. Rather, it means those players cannot be traded unless they go through the waiver process. This is why you will see a number of players, even presumably untouchable players like Yoenis Cespedes, start to be put on revocable waivers starting as early as August 1st. All of these players are put through waivers so they can begin to facilitate August trades.
Typically, August trades are presented as being overly complicated. They’re not. In fact, there are three situations wherein a players is traded in August: (1) Player Was Unclaimed; (2) Team Claims Player; or (3) Player Not On 40 Man Roster.
Player Was Unclaimed
When a player is put on waivers, they remain on waivers for 47 hours. Should a player go unclaimed after that time period, that player can be freely traded to any other team during the month. The one caveat here is the player being traded can only be traded for another player who has cleared waivers, a player not on another team’s 40 man roster, or everyone’s favorite, a player to be named later.
Team Claims Player
In the event another team claims a player, there are three things a team can do. First and foremost, a team can revoke the waiver request on that player. In the aforementioned example of Cespedes, if another team were to claim him, the Mets can very simply revoke the request. If and when the Mets do that, Cespedes remains a member of the Mets, and he cannot be traded until the conclusion of the 2017 season.
Now, it is the situation where a player claims a player that things can get complicated. However, the complication is in the explanation more than in how it is handled.
During the the 47 hour time period a player is put on waivers, the other 29 Major League teams have an opportunity to put in a waiver claim. Keep in mind, this is not like a poker table where everyone knows if you pass or not. All teams make the decision ignorant of what the other teams are doing. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can only trade him to the team that was awarded the waiver claim. That process is determined by waiver priority.
The team that has waiver priority is the team in the same league who has the worst record. For example, if the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks were to put in a waiver claim on Walker, the Pirates would be deemed to have claimed Walker off waivers because their record is worse than the Diamondbacks record.
If no team in the National League claims Walker, then the process is repeated in the American League. Using a similar hypothetical, the Tampa Bay Rays will be deemed to have claimed Walker off waivers over the Cleveland Indians because the Rays record is worse than the Indians.
In a situation where a player is claimed by teams in both leagues, the process first looks at the league and then the record. For example, if the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox both put in a claim for Walker, the Dodgers will have won the claim because they are a National League team. The fact the Dodgers have the best record in baseball and the White Sox have the worst record in the American League does not come into the equation.
Now, once a team has been awarded the waiver claim, the teams have 48.5 hours to work out a trade. If the teams cannot work out a deal in that time frame, the player returns to his original team, and he cannot be traded for the rest of the season.
The final possibility here is the player is claimed, and his team lets the player go to the new team without looking for anything in return.
Player Not On 40 Man Roster
The aforementioned rules only apply to players not on the 40 man roster. Hypothetically, another team an be interested in a player not on another team’s 40 man roster. For example, a team looking for left-handed relief help could reach out to the Mets about Alberto Baldonado, who has limited left-handed batters to a .222 batting average in Triple-A. As Baldonado is not on the 40 man roster, the Mets can execute this hypothetical trade at any time.
These rules only apply to players put on revocable waivers. If a player is placed on irrevocable waivers, once that player is claimed, there are no trade discussions because that player automatically switches teams with the trade.
Another important consideration is once a player is a player can only be put on revocable waivers just once. If a player is put through revocable waivers, gets claimed, and is returned to his original team, that’s it. After that, the player can only be put on irrevocable waivers.
Another important factor is a player with a non-trade clause or 10-and-5 rights can still block a trade to another club. However, while that player can block the trade, they cannot block being moved to another team on a straight waiver claim.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, for the player to be eligible for the postseason, the deal will have to be consummated by August 31st. If a deal is not struck by that date, the player can play on the other team until the end of the regular season, but that player cannot appear on a postseason roster.
The Mets have unofficially announced they are focusing their attention to the 2018 season. Gone are Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, and in their stead are four promising minor league relievers. The Mets have added AJ Ramos with an eye towards him being the primary set-up man for Jeurys Familia next year. Amed Rosario has already played his first game with the Mets, and according to Sandy Alderson, Dominic Smith is not far away.
Seeing Ramos in the bullpen is a good start. Rosario and Smith are even better. However, that’s not enough. As the 2017 season comes to an end, the New York Mets are going to have to find out about a number of players and how they factor into the 2018 season:
INF Wilmer Flores
2017 Stats: .287/.320/.486, 14 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 32 RBI, SB, 0.2 WAR
With Neil Walker being an impending free agent, Asdrubal Cabrera possibly having his option declined, and David Wright‘s continuing health issues, the Mets will enter the offseason with question marks at both second and third base. Ideally, Flores could slot in at one of those two spots.
It was just two years ago, the Mets thought Flores could be the everyday shortstop for a playoff caliber team. Since then, we have seen uneven performances at the plate and on the field. The Mets have seemingly come to terms with him being a platoon bat, but lost in that is the fact he is still just 25 years old and an improving player. That is exhibited by him being much better against right-handed pitching hitting .281/.326/.467 off of them. If Flores can continue hitting like that against right-handed pitching, he could conceivably play everyday.
The key for him is to find a position. That’s easier said than done, but he is a significantly better second than a third baseman. In 667.0 innings at second, he has a career -7 DRS and a 0.3 UZR. In 911.0 innings at third, he has a -16 DRS and a -4.4 UZR. With that said, let Flores focus on second and see if he can be a solution there next year.
RHP Rafael Montero
2017 Stats: 1-7, 5.56 ERA, 21 G, 7 GS, 56.2 IP, 1.729 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, -0.4 WAR
Montero has survived this long on the roster, and he has finally shown the Mets some glimpse of the talent that caused the Mets to keep him on the 40 man roster. Since his latest last chance to prove himself, Montero has a 4.14 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, and a 9.0 K/9. In this stretch, we have seen him pitch into the seventh inning, and we have seen him meltdown.
While there have been promising signs, his usage runs counter-intuitive to his utility to the Mets. If Montero is going to be with the Mets next year, it is going to have to be in the bullpen as there will be no room for the Mets to even consider him being a part of the rotation next year. This means the Mets should be utilizing the rest of the season to see how he pitches out of the bullpen whether it is using him as a long man or as a late inning reliever.
The Mets need to do this because Montero is out of options. This means he either makes the Opening Day roster in the bullpen, or the Mets stand to lose a player they have stubbornly held onto for so long. Before making that decision, they should at least see if the new and improved Montero can hack it in the bullpen.
2017 Stats: 16 G, 25 PA, 21 AB, 7 H, 2B, 2 RBI, .333/.440/.381
While the Mets left side of the infield defensive deficiencies have been oft discussed, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the centerfield situation. On the season, Mets centerfielders have a 0 DRS, which may not sound so bad on the surface. However, consider this is 19th in all of baseball. Also, consider this number has been propped up by Juan Lagares having played 216.0 innings at the position posting a 7 DRS.
The Mets answer lately has been Michael Conforto, who has a 0 DRS, which is remarkable considering he has never really played there full-time at any level. There is still the possibility he could be adequate there, but shouldn’t the Mets first find out about Nimmo first?
Nimmo has been a center fielder throughout his minor league career. While there is some debate over his ability to play the position, he does have the experience out there, and he deserves to benefit from the same major league coaching that has helped Conforto play there.
More than that, Nimmo has shown the ability to be a top of the order hitter who can get on base. At a minimum, he has showed enough to earn the opportunity to serve as part of a center field platoon with Lagares.
Lastly, Nimmo was the first first round pick of the Sandy Alderson Era. Doesn’t the team owe it to themselves to see what a player they heavily invested in can do at this level before looking to further address the outfield situation in the offseason. Consider that once the Mets sign another outfielder, whether that is Jay Bruce or Lorenzo Cain, the Mets have effectively made a first round pick a fourth or fifth outfielder without so much as giving him an opportunity to win a job.
RHP Paul Sewald
2017 Stats: 0-3, 8 H, 4.07 ERA, 35 G, 42.0 IP, 1.238 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, o.4 WAR
After being used in a variety of roles this season, Sewald has found himself being used in the seventh inning or later in his last 10 appearances. In those appearances, Sewald is 0-1 with six holds, a 2.79 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, and an 11.2 K/9.
Even with him walking five batters over that stretch, Sewald has shown he should get a closer look in one of the two primary set-up roles. With Reed going to the Red Sox, and Ramos presumably becoming the new closer, there is no reason why the Mets wouldn’t use Sewald as their eighth inning reliever to close out the season, or at least until Familia comes off the disabled list.
If Sewald shows he can handle the stress of protecting a late inning lead at the major league level, the Mets are that much closer to building a bullpen that can compete in 2018.
3B Neil Walker
2017 Stats: 63 G, 266 PA, 233 AB, 35 R, 62 H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 34 RBI, .266/.347/.455, 0.9 WAR
Since Wright went down with spinal stenosis, third base has been a black hole for the Mets. With Wright presumably missing the entire 2017 season, it is now clear the Mets cannot rely upon him to return to play third or any position next year. With no prospects coming through the pipeline, it is likely the Mets will have to address the position in free agency or via trade.
If they are going the free agency route, it may behoove them to re-sign Walker. The two sides were interested in a long term contract extension this offseason. Just because the two sides were unable to reach an accord does not prevent Walker from returning.
Considering Walker’s back issues as well as his getting older, he may be best suited to playing third base. Certainly, the way he has hit as a Met, he does have the bat to play the position. The only question remaining is if he can play the position. The Mets have 59 games to find out.
If Walker can do it, the Mets know they have a team player who has been a liked figure in the clubhouse. They will also have a veteran who can help show Rosario and Smith the ropes. More than that, they have a middle of the order bat to really extend the lineup.
All season long, Mets fans have been clamoring for the team to call-up top prospect Amed Rosario. It was more than just wanting hope for a season the Mets have mostly squandered. It was because Rosario addressed specific deficiencies this team has had all year.
Throughout this entire season, the left side of the Mets infield has been abysmal. Mets shortstops accounted for a -19 DRS, which is the worst in the majors. Mets third baseman also rank last in the majors with a -14 DRS. It should then come as no surprise the Mets left side of the infield accounted for a -33, which is by far the worst in the majors.
It should also come as no surprise the Mets pitching staff has yielded a league high .321 BABIP. This has been the under-reported part of the Mets pitching staff’s troubles. Certainly, it had a profound affect on a ground ball pitcher like Robert Gsellman who had .331 BABIP and a 6.16 ERA. We have recently seen some issues on that front with Steven Matz. The overriding point here is the pitching has been affected by the inability of the left side of the infield to make the plays that need to be played.
There’s also the matter of how the Mets run the bases. The Mets rank dead last in BsR, which is a stat designed to take into account all the different aspects of base running. For many fans, we don’t need a fancy stat to tell us what we already know. This team doesn’t steal bases. They don’t take the extra base. They’re thrown out on seemingly ever close play. In sum, they’re a bad base running team.
When you’re bad defensively and bad base runners chances are you are bad team. The Mets 48-55 record confirms as much.
Would Rosario have solved all of these issues? No, nor would he have prevented so many of the Mets from going on the Disabled List throughout the season. However, Rosario would have had a profound impact on this team.
Consider the defense for a second. The Mets have the worst defensive shortstop play, and Rosario is seen as a player who could be a Gold Glover at the position. Even assuming he has growing pains and is just worth a 2 DRS. This year, that’s the difference between having Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes at shortstop and having Brandon Crawford at shortstop. The separation between those two is vast, which would tell you how much better the defense would be.
There’s also the matter of Rosario continuously proving this year he’s ready. In 94 games, Rosario has hit .328/.367/.466 with 19 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 58 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He was also the starting shortstop in the Triple-A All Star Game and the Future’s Game.
All season long, Rosario has shown the skill set the Mets desperately needed all year. Now, with the team having sold off Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, and the team sitting with a 48-55 record, we are finally going to see the type of impact Rosario could have on this Mets team. It is more than likely it is too late to save the 2017 season. It is also impossible to tell if this is the right time or not.
Maybe if he’s called up in May, he struggles. Maybe he would have been the great player he has been. After all, this is a prospect that seems undaunted.
No matter what the case, the Mets promise to be a much better team for the rest of the 2017 season. Even if it doesn’t translate to wins and losses, there is now reason to watch because we get to see Rosario play. At this point in the season, that’s all we can ask.
In assessing how the Mets fared in the Addison Reed trade, let’s start with the obvious. The fact Sandy Alderson was able to turn Miller Diaz and Matt Koch into a great run with Reed plus Red Sox prospects Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan, and Gerson Bautista was absolutely phenomenal. No, it doesn’t rank up there with Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, but nevertheless, it was a coup.
Still, the question remains whether Sandy got a good return for the 2017 version of Reed.
Let’s start with this. Since joining the Mets, Reed has been one of the best and more versatile relievers in baseball. He has deftly handed the seventh, eighth, and ninth inning. His 142.0 innings pitched since joining the Mets is fifth in baseball, and his 2.09 ERA over that stretch is great. Intuitively, you may not believe Reed is a top reliever in baseball, but he was. From 2016 to the present, Reed posted the sixth best fWAR in the majors (3.5). Aside from Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller, who we all know are otherworldly right now, Reed is as good, if not better than any reliever in baseball.
Looking over the list of potential free agents, Reed could have arguably been considered one of if not the best reliever on the free agent market. With that being the case, it was likely worth gambling and giving him the qualifying offer putting his value at a second round pick or the equivalent.
Looking at the Mets haul, they most likely received that. The trio of arms all throw in the upper 90s. With respect to Nogosek and Bautista, they both have a good but inconsistent slider, and there are some control issues. If they figure it out, and realistically speaking, they are in the right organization to do so, the Mets have two potential late inning relievers. With Callahan, they have a near MLB ready reliever who can generate a high number of strikeouts and could be ready to help the Mets as soon as next year. To that end, the Mets certainly did receive a second round equivalent.
Where the debate becomes dicey is when you ask the question whether the Mets could have done better.
For starters, there is no real way of knowing that. We are not privy to the general back-and-forth between general mangers. We also don’t know if there was a theoretical better offer the Mets rejected because they liked the players the Red Sox offered more.
We should also consider, last year, the Yankees seemingly built an entire farm system (hyperbole) by trading Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Each trade fetched the Yankees two of their trade partners’ top five prospects. In terms of Gleyber Torres, it got them one of the best prospects in baseball.
With Reed arguably being the top reliever on the market with at least eight teams interested, it makes you question how the Mets walk out of a deal without an organization’s top five prospect. The counter-argument is the prices this year are not the same as they were last year. In the end, we have no idea if this was the proverbial best trade, and the reviews on the trade have been all over the place.
Ultimately, I find the trade underwhelming, and I do question the Mets motives a bit. If you look at their recent moves, they have all been bullpen driven. Lucas Duda was moved for Drew Smith. The team went out and obtained AJ Ramos. Now, the Mets got an arguably low return for a trio of fireball throwing relievers. I’m not so sure the Mets approached this trade deadline with the intent on rebuilding the minor league system as much as they were intent on rebuilding their bullpen.
In the end, if the Mets goal was really to build the bullpen in the trade market, they have to back that up by spending real money in the free agent market to back up their decisions. If they don’t do this, they may not have only lost out on the possibility on maximizing their returns for the pieces they did move, they may also miss out on the 2018 postseason.