Addison Reed

Swarzak Good But Not Final Piece For 2018 Mets Bullpen

After the purported hand-wringing Sandy Alderson was doing over the free agent reliever market, the Mets finally pulled the trigger, and they signed Anthony Swarzak to a two year $14 million deal.

There is a lot to like about Swarzak.  Last year, the 32 year old had his best ever season going 6-4 with a 2.33 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, and a 10.6 K/9.  As noted by D.J. Short of Rotoworld, Swarzak had a higher swinging strike percentage than old friend Addison Reed.  Part of that could be attributed to the fact he added about two MPH on his fastball.

He’s also been a platoon neutral pitcher his entire career with his best season being in 2017.  While limiting right-handed batters to a .218/.259/.346 batting line, left-handed batters were worse against him hitting .198/.294/.281.

These stats are all the more incredible and important when you consider he predominantly worked in the 7th and 8th innings. The Mets needed another set-up man to work with AJ Ramos to hand the ball to Jeurys Familia in the 9th.

Overall, this is all important, and the signing helps the Mets.  However it isn’t enough, especially because this is all but a shapshot of Swarzak’s career.

It was just in 2015 Swarzak had a 5.26 ERA and 1.516 WHIP in the Korean Leagues.  In 2016, his first season back from Korea, he was 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA for the Yankees.

While he was obviously improved since then, it was mostly on the strength of some outliers.  Prior to last season, he yielded a .304 BABIP.  In 2017, that number was .272.

Prior to 2017, Swarzak left 69.8% of runners on base, which is right around league average.  Last season, his LOB% was a career best 82.9%.

Maybe these numbers were all the result of improved stuff.  Maybe it was him becoming more comfortable in the bullpen.  It’s just as possible the increased velocity and some of the BABIP and LOB% will regress to league and career norms.

Overall, the Mets did acquire a quality reliever who should prove to better than internal options like Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, and Josh Smoker.  Moreover, Swarzak is getting the opportunity to work with Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland.  If there’s a tandem you trust to help Swarzak make 2017 the new norm instead of an outlier, it’s them.

Still, with the stark contrast between the 2017 and career numbers, the Mets need to hedge their bets that Swarzak may very well regress.  In the end, this means that while Swarzak may very well prove to be a nice addition, he’s far from being the final piece of the puzzle.

For Thanksgiving, What Each Met Should Be Thankful For

On Thanksgiving, it’s time to go around the Mets 2017 roster and name something each player should be thankful for:

Nori AokiHe looked so much better in September than he did in all of 2017 by being competent while playing on a dysfunctional team.

Jerry BlevinsThroughout all the stress of the season and his extreme workload, the man didn’t even put on one pound.

Chasen BradfordWith his call-up to the majors, he’s now on the short list for best beards in Mets history.

Jay BruceHe learned from his experience last year, and he played well for a team that acquired him in a trade.

Asdrubal CabreraAs we found out this season, all he wanted the Mets to do was to pick up his option so he could provide for him family.  With the Mets having done that, he can now rest easy.

Jamie CallahanOne day when bards tell the tale of the six right-handed relievers the Mets acquired at the 2017 deadline, they will regale us all with stories of how Callahan was the first of them to finish out a game the Mets won.

Gavin CecchiniHe made the switch from short to second where it will be easier for him to make it to the majors.  That goes double if the Mets who are tightening payroll off a poor season don’t bring in a free agent to play the position.

Yoenis CespedesWith Cespedes missing half the season, that left a lot of time for him to hit the course.

Michael Conforto – Collins is gone meaning no one is standing in his way from being a superstar anymore.

Travis d’Arnaud – He became the greatest defensive second baseman in Mets history by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position.

Jacob deGromWith him pitching so well this year, he knows he will finally be able to cash in in arbitration thereby allowing him to afford a haircut.

Lucas Duda – The slugger was the first Mets player traded at the deadline, and he temporarily got to avoid the We Follow Lucas Duda filming.

Josh EdginHe could be the only pitcher in the history of the Mets organization who is capable of getting both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy out.

Phillip EvansAfter winning a batting title in 2016, having a good Spring Training, and a good second half for Vegas, the Mets finally decided to let him post similarly good numbers for them in September.

Jeurys FamiliaBlood clots in his shoulder costing him most of the season made most people forget why he missed the beginning of the season.

Chris FlexenAs we learned with Mike Pelfrey, being a Mets pitcher who struggled in the majors after completely skipping Triple-A will get you career earnings of roughly $47 million.

Wilmer FloresHe fouled a ball off his face, and he lived to tell about it.

Sean GilmartinWith his going from the Mets to the Cardinals, he was able to prove he wasn’t bad.  It was just the Mets as an organization did not employ anyone capable of knowing he was actually injured.

Erik GoeddelNo matter how much he struggled this season, he will never be the most hated person in pro sports with the last name pronounced GO-dell\n
Curtis GrandersonHe had a front row seat to seeing Chase Utley fail in the postseason.

Robert GsellmanHe has so much self confidence he doesn’t care what anyone things of him.

Matt HarveyBetween the Tommy John, TOS, and the Mets rushing him into the rotation with atrophied muscles in his throwing arm knowing he wouldn’t really be ready until a month into the season, he should be thankful for getting out of the season with his right arm still attached.

Ty Kelly He got out of here after one game thereby preventing Nurse Ratched from getting to him and ending his season.

Juan LagaresWith all the injuries and the Mets looking to cut payroll, he is once again the center fielder of the future.

Seth LugoAs we learned in the WBC and regular season, when he’s blonde, he’s Cy Young the first two times through the order.

Steven MatzWith him suffering the same injury deGrom suffered last year, we all know he can come back from this to be the same exact injury prone pitcher he was before the surgery.

Kevin McGowanHe will always have a special place in Mets fans hearts as it was his call-up that forced Ramirez off the roster.

Tommy MiloneHe was able to find a team that was okay with him having an ERA over 8.00.

Rafael Montero For the first time in his life, he wasn’t a complete abomination as a pitcher.

Tomas NidoEven with his struggles at the plate in Binghamton, he can rest easy knowing the Mets don’t expect an OBP over .300 from their catchers.

Brandon NimmoNo one, not matter what, has been able to wipe that smile off of his face.

Tyler PillIn a year of embarrassing pitching performances by Mets pitchers, Pill actually acquitted himself quite well before suffering his season ending injury.

Kevin Plawecki – He’s so well liked by his teammates that someone left him a present in his locker, which apparently has inspired him to hit the ball harder and longer thereby resurrecting his career.

Neil RamirezSomehow, someway, he was not the absolute worst pitcher on a team’s pitching staff.

AJ RamosTo him, getting traded to the Mets meant he was traded to a team that actually spends money in the offseason.

Addison ReedHe was so good this year he was worth not just one but three right-handed relievers.

Jose ReyesThe Mets didn’t cut him or his playing time no matter how horrible he played during the 2017 season.

Matt ReynoldsHe got that long look in September Sandy Alderson promised him.  Unfortunately, that only amounted to him getting 10 games to show what he could do at the MLB level.

Jacob RhameHe’s with an organization that has had success getting flame throwing right-handed pitchers who have slimmed down since getting drafted reach their full potential.

Rene RiveraAfter failing to whisper loud enough to help the Mets pitchers pitch better, he was able to go to the Cubs to help their pitchers lead them to an NLCS berth.

T.J. Rivera – With Warthen and Ramirez gone, he’s not going to have to worry about anyone mishandling his return from Tommy John.

Hansel RoblesIn his mind every ball hit in the air is an inning ending pop up.

Amed RosarioHe didn’t have to have his development hampered by being expected to be the savior when he was called-up to the majors as the Mets were well out of contention on August 1st.

Fernando SalasDespite his rough stint with the Mets, he was able to land with the Angels to end the season thereby proving it was the Mets handling of pitchers and not him that was terrible.

Paul SewaldAs a reward for all of his hard work in Vegas, he got the privilege of being the arm Collins loved to abuse during the season.

Dominic SmithHe finally got his call-up in August in Philadelphia of all places allowing him to celebrate the accomplishment and the win with a cheesesteak from Pat’s.  (NOTE: not a cheapshot at his weight, this actually happened)

Josh SmokerAfter the Mets finally gave up on using a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues as the long man in the pen, he showed the team in September that he could be as a lefty out of the pen to get lefties out.

Noah SyndergaardMr. Met flipped off someone this year other than him.

Travis TaijeronWith the Dodgers just signing him to a minor league deal, he is now all but assured of becoming the next Justin Turner.

Neil Walker – The Mets moved him to the Brewers where he was able to re-establish his free agency value by being productive and by staying healthy, which was coincidentally was when he was away from the Mets medical team.

Adam WilkBecause Harvey was at home one day in his pajamas, he set off on a path where he would become eligible to earn a share of the postseason money awarded to the Twins for claiming the second Wild Card.

Zack WheelerInstead of missing two years due to injury, he missed two months.

David WrightDespite all evidence to the contrary, the Mets still have not given up on him.

Terry CollinsAt the end of the day, he was able to make a friend of Fred Wilpon who had his back no matter what.  We should all be so lucky.

Dan WarthenHe found a new group of pitchers in Texas who have elbows waiting to learn how to throw that Warthen Slider.

Kevin LongAfter departing the Mets, he was able to smuggle the page out of his binders that showed exactly how he turned Daniel Murphy into Babe Ruth.  He can now bring that with him to Washington.

Sandy AldersonCollins was so poor at managing, he was able to convince ownership it was all Collins’ fault and not his for poorly constructing a roster.

Mets FansWell, even if it wasn’t at this post, we all still have a sense of humor, and we can still laugh at what we put up with from this team on a daily basis.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Who The Mets Should Protect From The Rule 5 Draft

Tonight at 8:00 P.M. is the deadline for the Mets to add players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.  At the moment, the Mets 40 man roster stands at 35, which means the team could add as many as five eligible players to the roster.

Typically speaking, the Mets won’t go that far for a few reasons.  First, the team will need to add players this offseason to help bolster a team desperately in need at some key positions.  Second, the team may want to keep some spots open so they could add a player or two during this year’s Rule 5 draft.  Considering there are some teams facing a roster crunch, there may very well be some intriguing names that become available.

For the moment, let’s assume the Mets will add five players with the team likely considering DFAing a couple of names already on the 40 man roster.  If the Mets have that ability, here are the players I believe the Mets should add to the roster.

RHP Tyler Bashlor
Age: 24
Level: St. Lucie & Binghamton
Stats: 3-2, 3.44 ERA, 46 G, 13 SV, 49.2 IP, 84 K, 1.309 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, 15.2 K/9

Bashlor is a power arm who can routinely get it into the high 90s.  This along with his curveball is a reason why he gets huge strikeout numbers.  The problem with him is he walks too many batters.  It’s been a problem his entire minor league career.  To that point, there is one caveat.  In the small sample size he worked with Glenn Abbott in Binghamton, he only walked 2.5 batters per nine, which is a much more manageable number.  If he can keep that up, he’s a shut down reliever who could very well be a future closer for the Mets.

RHP Gerson Bautista
Age: 22
Level: Carolina League & St. Lucie
Stats: 3-3, 4.22 ERA, 37 G, 9 SV, 59.2 IP, 73 K, 1.592 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 11.0 K/9

Bautista was the crown jewel of the Addison Reed trade.  The reliever has immense talent with the ability to get up to triple digits on the radar gun.  What is really interesting with him is that once he became a Met, he was finally able to harness his abilities.  In 10 appearances with St. Lucie, he had a 1.88 ERA, 0.907 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, and a 12.6 K/9.  If he is truly that pitcher, he has an outside chance to pitch in Queens in 2018.

MI Luis Guillorme
Age: 23
Level: Binghamton
Stats: .283/.376/.331, 20 2B, HR, 43 RBI, 4 SB, 3 CS

Guillorme is a throwback player who is a highlight reel at second or short.  At the moment, he’s more than ready to contribute defensively at the Major League level.  Offensively, Guillorme finds his way on base, and he’s a smart baserunner.  He’s also aware that he needs to begin hitting for more power, and he has set out to do that.  Given his work ethic, it shouldn’t be ruled out he will hit for enough power where he may one day be a top of the lineup hitter.

RHP Corey Oswalt
Age: 24
Level: Binghamton
Stats: 12-5, 2.28 ERA, 24 G, 24 GS, 2 CG, SHO, 134.1 IP, 119 K, 1.176 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Oswalt was not only the best pitcher in the Mets organization this past season winning a Sterling Award, he was also the best pitcher in the Eastern League as evidenced by his being named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.  He’s a four pitch starter who may not dominate opposing batters, but he knows how to get people out.  Given the rash of injuries the Mets have faced in their starting rotation in successive seasons, this is something that should not be overlooked, and the Mets certainly should not risk a chance of losing him.

RHP Adonis Uceta
Age: 23
Level: Columbia, St. Lucie, Binghamton
Stats: 6-0, 1.51 ERA, 41 G, 14 SV, 59.2 IP, 67 K, 0.905 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

The Mets converted this former starter to a reliever, and he took off this season.  With him mainly focusing on his two best pitches, a mid to high 90s fastball and an outstanding changeup, Uceta dominated opposing batters.  For a three month stretch, he did not allow one earned run while oppositing batters hit .133/.198/.158 off of him.  It’s a big reason why he quickly rose through the farm system last year, and it’s a big reason why he could contribute in the Mets bullpen next season.

Overall, it’s unlikely the Mets protect as many as five players, and it’s equally unlikely the team protects three relief pitchers.  To that end, it’s really a debate over who to protect.  Do you protect Bashlor and Uceta, who could reasonably contribute in the bullpen next year?   Or maybe, you protect just one of them to make sure you keep Bautista who is likely the best arm of the three.  It’s not the easiest decision in the world, but it is one that Alderson now faces.

Hopefully, no matter what decision he makes, we won’t be revisiting this one like we have revisited the Jeff WaltersMatthew Bowman decision.

Trivia Friday – Sandy’s First Free Agent Signings

With the Mets only having so many holes this offseason, it appears the team is going to have to make a few strikes in free agency.  Presumably, the sooner the team locks up a Todd Frazier or an Addison Reed, they can quickly shift their focus to the next need.  There’s just one problem.  In his tenure as the Mets GM, Sandy’s first free agent acqusition has typically been lacklaster.

Can you name the first MLB free agent Sandy has signed with the Mets each offseason?  Good luck!


D.J. Carrasco Ronny Paulino Jon Rauch Shaun Marcum Chris Young Michael Cuddyer Asdrubal Cabrera Neil Ramirez

Free Agency Won’t Be The Easy Way To Build The 2018 Mets

With free agency beginning last night, the Mets now have the opportunity to fill-in many of the holes the team has in free agency.  In no particular order, those holes are second, third, center, bullpen, fifth starter, and maybe even catcher.  In addition to that, the Mets have to build a bench, which is something they overlook in the offseason year-in and year-out.

During Sandy Alderson’s tenure with the Mets, he predominantly makes his big moves in free agency, and he stays away from the big trades.  That is something he tends to do more during the season to address problems with the roster.  To that end, we will likely see the team’s needs addressed through a combination of free agency and the team’s internal options.

One of the issues in building the roster is the payroll seems to be limited.   That’s not limited by recent standards.  Rather, there are indications the payroll will be going down.  According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets payroll could drop by $20 million to the $135 million range.

Previously, MMO estimated the Mets current payroll commitments, factoring in likely arbitration raises, will be between $109 – $119 million.  That includes the options for Blevins and Cabrera, which the Mets recently picked up. As of the moment, the Mets roster shakes up like this:

C: Travis d’Arnaud
1B: Dominic Smith
2B: Wilmer Flores
3B: Asdrubal Cabrera
SS: Amed Rosario
LF: Yoenis Cespedes
CF: Brandon Nimmo
RF: Michael Conforto

Bench: Kevin Plawecki, T.J. Rivera, Matt Reynolds, Juan Lagares

SP: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
RP: Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, Josh Smoker, Jerry Blevins

Judging from the aforementioned 24 players, the Mets have a lot of work to do, and with few exceptions, no one should feel their job is safe.  Still, the Mets really only have somewhere between $15 – $25 million to spend in the offseason. This means the Mets are going to have to spend it wisely.

For starters, this probably means the jobs of d’Arnaud and Plawecki are safe.  It also should mean that even with their comparative struggles, Rosario and Smith will begin the season on the Opening Day roster.  From there, the Mets are going to have to make some tough choices among the players who could fulfill the Mets needs.  It’s an even bigger issue than anticipated considering the MLB Trade Rumors projections:

There are other options, but this seems to be a fair sampling of the types of players the Mets should be targeting to bring them back into the postseason picture in the National League.

Reviewing those options, it seems as if you get one of the top tier players, the Mets are shut out from adding a second impact player.  This means unless the Mets expand the budget, signing a Cain to play center means Cabrera at third and a veteran like Howie Kendrick to compete with Flores at second.  Considering that, the Mets may feel comfortable that Lagares’ defense and Nimmo’s OBP are good enough to handle the center field position.

Considering the Mets real needs, the team’s best bet is going to be a player like a Frazier for third because that would free up some money to pursue another difference making player whether that be a Reed or Walker reunion, or the addition of a Sabathia to take over the Bartolo Colon sized hole on the roster.

In the end, the roster and the budget are going to make this one of Alderson’s toughest offseasons.  Likely, he’s only going to be able to get two bigger named players, and he’s going to have to fill out important roles with internal options that failed last year or veterans who you pray have a Jose Valentin type of season.

 

Will Harvey For The Ninth Become The Endy Catch?

Today is the 11th year anniversary when Endy Chavez raced back to the fence, leaped to catch a sure fire Scott Rolen homer, and make perhaps the greatest catch in Major League history:

If you’re going to say Willie Mays, that’s acceptable.  Let’s just split the difference and say this was the greatest double play in Major League history.

Watching that play and remembering that game time and again, there are some things that stick out in your mind.  The stands were rocking.  Carlos Delgado was fired up like never before.  The Mets seemed unbeatable that day.  Everything built to a fever pitch in the bottom of the sixth.  Degaldo walked.  Rolen made a throwing error not only allowing David Wright to reach, but to set up runners at second and third with no outs.  Shawn Green was intentionally walked loading the bases.

Then, Jose Valentin struck out, and everyone’s hero, Endy Chavez, flew out to center to end the rally.  From there, we saw the Yadier Molina homer, the Carlos Beltran strikeout, collapses in 2007 and 2008, the Madoff scandal, and really the Mets failing to play competitive baseball in the first six years in Citi Field.

In many ways, Chavez’s catch became a highlight in the truest sense of the word because that was the apex.  Everything came crashing down after that.

It’s not too dissimilar from when we saw Terry Collins send out Matt Harvey to pitch the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

During that game, the Mets looked unbeatable.  Harvey had shut down the Royals pitching eight scoreless allowing just four hits and striking out nine.  When he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, the fans were rocking, and everyone believed the Mets were not only going to win that game, but they were going to complete the comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.  How could you not?  The Royals had just lost Game 7 at home the previous season, and the Mets had Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard for Games 6 and 7.

Like the aftermath of the Chavez catch, it didn’t work out that way.  Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain and allowed an RBI double to Eric Hosmer.  After a Mike Moustakas ground out, Hosmer was on third and the infield was drawn in.  Then to the surprise of everyone, Hosmer broke for the plate while Wright was throwing to first to get Salvador Perez.

Lucas Duda threw it nowhere near homeplate.  The Royals tied the game up there, and they beat up on a tired Addison Reed and Bartolo Colon in the 12th to win the World Series.

From there, we saw the Mets have to fight tooth and nail just to get to a Wild Card Game last year.  Madison Bumgarner outdueled Syndergaard, and Conor Gillaspie homered off Jeurys Familia.  This past season, seemingly everyone but Ray Ramirez was injured as the Mets dropped from World Series contender to fourth place in the NL East.  The roster now has a number of holes and a number of question marks with the team announcing it’s going to cut payroll.

Depending on what the team does this offseason, and depending on the health of players like Michael Conforto, the Mets could once again be looking at an extended period of irrelevance.  When Harvey took the mound for the ninth inning roughly two years ago, no one could have possibly believed that to be true.

Then again, when Chavez made that catch, no one could believe what would be in store for the Mets over the next decade.

Former Mets In The Postseason

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:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

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.

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.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

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

None

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.

 

Robin Ventura As Mets Manager: Grand Slam Or Single?

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.

Mets Are Younger But This Is Ridiculous

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 GrandersonAddison Reed, and Neil Walker were gone.  In their stead are young players like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, Gavin CecchiniKevin McGowan, and Tomas Nido.  

With that, you knew the team was going to be young, but his young?

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:

 

2018 Mets Bullpen Auditions In Full Swing

With rosters expanding now, the Mets have called up Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan up to the majors. 

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 BlevinsJeurys 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. 

To a certain extent, Paul Sewald and Chasen Bradford have stated their case. 

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. 

Rhame throws 98. Callahan can also touch 98. The other two pieces from the Reed trade Stephen Nogosek and Gerson Bautista throw even harder. For his part Bautista is routinely hitting triple digits. 

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.