After a brief hiatus after a nice family vacation, I’m back watching games at home instead of on the app and able to get back to things like the 20/20 Hindsight. Without further ado:
1. The 1969 and 1973 Mets overcame five game deficits entering September and so can this team, but in order to do so, they need to complete sweeps and not settle for 2/3.
2. There’s a lot of attention on Mickey Callaway for losing Sunday night. No matter your opinion on the moves, when you boil it down, the Mets lost because Jeurys Familia was flat out bad. They also lost because their three best hitters (Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto) didn’t get the big hit in the eighth after the inning was set up for them to deliver.
3. Seeing Luis Guillorme get that bunt down, we see a player who does all the small things really well. It’s also a reminder how much time the Mets wasted on Jose Reyes and Adeiny Hechavarria instead of giving him his chance.
6. On the call-ups, it was great to see Brandon Nimmo back. His getting a walk and drawing a run shows how terrific a player he is. That said, he needs to throw to second.
7. Zack Wheeler set the tone. Steven Matz slayed some Citizen’s Bank Park demons. Marcus Stroman had his best start as a Met. The starting pitching really stepped up in this series after it disappointed against the Cubs.
8. Speaking of starting pitching it was nice seeing the Mets getting a chance to hit against Jason Vargas, who was his typically bad self on the mound.
12. Paul Sewald has been a godsend, and it’s at the point where he may be the most reliable right-handed reliever not named Lugo.
14. Past two weeks, Wilmer Flores is hitting .429/.478/.810, and J.D. Davis is hitting .209/.306/.488. Both have 0.7 WAR for the season with Flores playing fewer games and not costing three prospects. The Diamondbacks are ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card standings.
15. Wilson Ramos hitting streak has come at a critical time. Mets need him to keep hitting at this level if they’re going to have a real chance.
20. Four back of the Cubs is still doable. Three would have been moreso. Of course, this all overlooks how much the Mets blew it against the Cubs.
Somewhere even Plaxico Burress can’t believe just how much the Mets shot themselves in the foot tonight.
Zack Wheeler walked back-to-back batters in the second, and both runners would score on a Francisco Cervelli RBI double. Cervelli is the other guy the Braves claimed this past week to build this thing other baseball teams call depth.
The first run came on a rally started on a Juan Lagares double off Max Fried. Lagares has simply been great lately. Not only is he hitting (2-for-4, 2 R, 2B), but He’s also playing Gold Glove defense again. He’d double again in the fifth, and he’d score on an Amed Rosario single.
Pete 4⃣1⃣onso. pic.twitter.com/kgJ3WruHg3
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 25, 2019
That homer also passed Mike Piazza for the Mets single season record for homers by a RHB or for that matter a non-switch hitter.
That should’ve been the turning point. It should’ve been the point where the Mets turned things around and not only won the game but the series. Instead, the Mets just played hideous baseball.
The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, but Mickey Callaway and the Mets must’ve just completely stopped thinking.
Fresh off the IL, in typical fashion Jeff McNeil hit the first pitch he saw for a double. Then, despite Amed Rosario hitting .348/.384/.510 in the second half, Callaway asked him to bunt. If you think that was bad, after two bad attempts, he’d swing away and hit a grounder to short.
Instead of staying home on the ball hit in front of him, he’d break for third, and he was out as Adeiny Hechavarria‘s throw to Donaldson. Then, trying to make something happen, Callaway called for a hit-and-run. Panik swung and missed at the Josh Tomlin pitch, and Cervelli would throw out Rosario easily. As bad as that was, the top of the eighth would be so much worse.
Billy Hamilton, a player the Mets had no interest in adding, would hit a pinch hit single off Brad Brach setting up runners at first and second with two outs. Then, J.D. Davis screwed up big time when fielding Ronald Acuna Jr.‘s single.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 25, 2019
Not only did he not charge the ball, but he’d flip the ball casually into the infield. This all allowed Hamilton to score from first on a single. It’s completely inexcusable from Davis . . . almost as inexcusable as the decision for a team to not claim him so they could play Aaron Altherr. That gave the Braves a 7-5 lead.
Edwin Diaz began the ninth, and he’d immediately allow a homer to Freddie Freeman. Not too long thereafter, Diaz was lifted from the game due to injury. Really bad job by Mets fans booing him in that spot. It was probably a worse moment than any other in this Mets 9-5 loss.
Now, instead of looking to win a series, the Mets are now looking to salvage a game in this series. On the bright side, they’re not loosing ground in the Wild Card race.
Game Notes: Tomas Nido did indeed sustain a concussion, and he was placed on the seven day concussion IL. He was replaced on the roster by Rene Rivera. Rivera was added to the 40 after Altherr was designated for assignment.
Last night was the loudest I’ve ever seen Citi Field. Yes, it was louder than when David Wright hit a homer in Game 3 of the World Series.
This is a fan base who has bought all-in on this improbable run, and they’ve been the 26th and 27th man since the team has returned home.
This is why Stephen Strasburg is challenging Nationals fans to raise their game, and F.P. Santangelo is talking about the great atmosphere. It’s not just the Nationals who have noticed. MLB Network, specifically Eric Byrnes have talked about the playoff atmosphere in Queens.
The team on the field is giving them a lot to cheer for too. Noah Syndergaard gave another terrific seven inning performance. Citi Field exploded when he got off the hook for allowing a two run homer to Juan Soto when J.D. Davis and Wilson Ramos went back-to-back in the fourth off Patrick Corbin.
Even when the Nationals took an eighth inning lead when someone finally got to Seth Lugo with Soto hitting a monster eighth inning shot, the crowd was not defeated. Rather, the crowd seemed poised for another comeback.
It happened in the most improbable of fashions when Luis Guillorme, the man the Mets somewhat controversially kept over Adeiny Hechavarria, hit his first career homer off Fernando Rodney. His pinch hit homer certainly made the Mets look smart for that decision.
With that, Lugo returned to being unhittable pitching a scoreless ninth. The Mets are now five games over .500 for the first time since April 12th. They’re a half-game out of the Wild Card with a chance to grab a spot by completing the sweep today with Jacob deGrom on the mound.
This game almost down to a questionably managed inning by Mickey Callaway (Brodie texting) in the sixth, bit things got crazy in the ninth.
Everything started with his sticking with Marcus Stroman.
Stroman started the night with electric stuff and was untouchable for the first three innings. He then lost it for three batters allowing an Adam Eaton single, Anthony Rendon RBI triple, and a Juan Soto homer.
After that third, Stroman pitches three more scoreless partially because of an absolute Houdini act in the sixth.
Soto led off that sixth with a double. He should have scored when Matt Adams hit a ball deflected by Pete Alonso into right field. Despite the third base coach waiving him in, Soto stopped there. He wouldn’t get past that point even though runners were at the corners with no outs.
Air Amed. pic.twitter.com/dtDsBswPvz
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
At the end of five and a half innings, the score was tied at three with the Mets three runs coming in the fourth when Alonso and J.D. Davis went back-to-back.
Two legends. 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/IBqyubp8lb
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
Strasburg was more dominant than Stroman on the night. Those were just two of the four hits he would allow the entire night. The other two came in the bottom of the sixth in the Mets owned botched chance.
Rosario and Conforto led off the bottom of the sixth with consecutive singles setting up runners at the corners with no outs. This was the Mets chance to take the lead. They didn’t as Alonzo lined out to second, Davis striking out, and Wilson Ramos grounding out.
The Davis strikeout was a particularly egregious call. Down 0-2, he did well to work the count full. The eighth pitch appeared close (possibly too close to take), but that didn’t matter. Despite Davis barely taking the bat off his shoulder, the first base umpire ruled he swung. Strike three.
At that point, Stroman was at 102 pitches. Instead of going right to the bullpen, Stroman was asked to get Trea Turner. Like he did in Turner’s previous at-bat, Stroman lost him and walked him.
Now, the pitcher’s spot was due up third in the bottom half of the inning. The Mets bench is exceedingly weak, and a double switch would require lifting Davis, who is the team’s hottest hitter.
With that in mind, Callaway trusted Justin Wilson to get through the rest of the inning. Things started off well with Eaton striking out. Now, Seth Lugo was tossing, but Callaway stuck with Wilson against Rendon. With Soto on deck and Rendon 0-5 against Wilson plus the pitchers spot up third, you could understand. It just didn’t work out well as Rendon hit a go-ahead two run homer.
As bleak as things looked then, they looked worse when Turner struck again in the top of the ninth. He led off the inning with a single, moved to second on an Eaton single, and he took third off McNeil on a shallow fly to right.
Luis Avilan threw one in the dirt which didn’t get too far from Ramos. Turner read it perfectly and scored easily.
After a Davis double and Ramos single, runners were at the corners with no outs. Todd Frazier has been incredibly cold of late, but there’s still pop in his bat. We saw that with him launching an unexpected game tying three run homer:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
Unlike the old adage, the homer did not end the rally.
Joe Panik kept things going with a single up the middle. The Mets, who never learn, had Juan Lagares pinch hit to bunt. In typical Lagares fashion, he botched the bunt allowing Rendon to get the force out at second.
After McNeil flew out, Rosario singled. Lost in this game was how great Rosario was tonight. He made the leaping catch to keep the game tied in the sixth. He was 3-for-5 at the plate. He was arguably the Mets best player on the night. He’d get overlooked because of Frazier’s game tying homer, and Conforto’s first walk-off hit.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 10, 2019
So much for Conforto not being able to hit left-handers or hit in the clutch. So much for not recognizing how great a player he is.
This was a GREAT 7-6 win. Great. The Mets absolutely stole one. They rose to this challenge, and they’re dangerous right now. They may have started this run beating up on bad teams, but they’ve now continued it ripping the heart right out of the chest of a good team who got a great pitching performance from their best healthy starter.
This past week the New York Mets could not bring themselves to trust Donnie Hart or Chris Mazza to close out a five run ninth inning lead against the worst team in the National League. There were two opportunities to use them, and the Mets passed each time. More than anything, this was a sign the Mets were 1-2 arms short in the bullpen and something needed to be done.
Yes, Brach has walked an inordinate amount of batters this year. Part of that is the fact Willson Contreras has been one of the wort pitch framers in all of baseball with a -8.5 FRAA. This follows a year in which he was a -15.4 FRAA. Yes, Wilson Ramos has been bad behind the dish, but his -7.1 FRAA is still an improvement. With Ramos being better and Tomas Nido being a good framer, Brach will be getting some help on that front.
More than the walks, Brach still has the ability to get batters out. He has struck out 10.6 per nine which is is best mark since his 2016 All Star season. As noted by Baseball Savant, there are issues like barrels and exit velocity, but there are other factors like his fastball velocity and spin rate which provide hope.
On the hope front, it should be noted Brach had a very similar season last year with his struggling with the Orioles. He was moved to the Braves as the trade deadline, and he turned things back on after the trade. In his 27 games for the Braves, he was 1-2 with a 1.52 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, and an 8.4 K/9.
Overall, by career ERA, August has historically Brach’s second best month of the season. If that proves true, and his career worst .375 BABIP stabilize (.291 career BABIP), things are really looking up for Brach, and that is before he gets to make adjustments working with Mickey Callaway, Phil Regan, and Ricky Bones.
At a minimum, Brach is another arm to the equation, and he is likely one who will be used unlike Mazza, who is still on the roster, or Hart, who was optioned to Syracuse. Unlike those other two relievers, Brach has Major League success, and with that comes some hope for upside.
Now, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Panik has not been good this year. In fact, this is the worst season of his career by any measure. He has a career worst batting average, SLG, OPS, OPS+, wRC+, and WAR. With his having a -0.4 WAR and a 69 wRC+, you can understand the Giants trading for Scooter Gennett and releasing Panik.
Even with Panik not being good enough for a Giants team who held onto Madison Bumgarner with the hopes of getting a Wild Card spot in Bruce Bochy‘s last season, it does not mean Panik is not an upgrade over what the Mets currently have.
The Mets current second base options are worse than Panik at the plate. Adeiny Hechavarria (62 wRC+) and Luis Guillorme (2 wRC+) have been worse at the plate. You could argue putting Jeff McNeil at second base is a better move, but Juan Lagares (40 wRC+) and Aaron Altherr (-33 wRC+) are probably even worse options than Hechavarria, Guillorme, or Panik.
Arguably, you get more defense at second with Hechavarria (1 DRS) and Guillorme (1 DRS), but Panik is no slouch. He is a former Gold Glove winner, and he has a 0 DRS. Ultimately, when you take the combination of the defense and the bat, Panik is a steadier presence at second.
It should also be noted like with Brach, Panik is historically very good in August with his career triple slash line being better in August than any other month. While it has been just five games, that has proven true so far this year. Overall, Panik finishes seasons well, and the Mets need someone who can finish this season well at second to help propel them into the postseason.
Ultimately, bringing Brach and Panik back home on the roster makes the Mets a significantly improved team. That’s the case even with Brach and Panik not being very good players this year. In some ways, you can treat this as an indictment of the Mets. However, it’s not about that. Right now, the only thing we should care about is the Mets improving. With Brach and Panik, the Mets are improved. With them being improved, they’re in a better position to make the postseason.
The Mets are three games over .500 for the first time since April 23rd. They are now just one game behind in the Wild Card race, and they are eight games out in the division. Things are much more interesting in Queens.
1. The Mets went 14-2 against an easy stretch of games which included the Padres, White Sox, Pirates, and Marlins. Malign this all you want, but this is exactly how good teams play against bad teams.
2. The pivotal point in this series was with the Mets trailing 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh in the second game of the doubleheader. The homers by J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, and Pete Alonso saved the game, and it served not just as a launching pad for the Mets winning that game but also sweeping the series. Who knows how much further that inning will take them.
3. Davis has been the Mets best hitter at home. For some reason, Citi Field is like Coors Field to him. With the Mets having a lot of home games remaining, he becomes increasingly more important to the team.
4. Conforto has arguably been the Mets best player in the second half. Since the All Star Break, he is hitting .315/.406/.641. Before his concussion, Conforto was hitting .274/.412/.519. Ultimately, when he is healthy, this is the level of player Conforto is, and that level is being a great player.
5. Alonso has homered in three straight, and he is just two behind Cody Bellinger‘s National League Rookie record. He is four behind the Mets single season record shared by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran. He’s followed every bad month with a good month. His defense has been much better than it was last year. What else is there to say about him?
6. Like many of the Mets players, Wilson Ramos has stepped it up. So far in August, he is hitting .417/.440/.708. To a certain extent, this outburst should have been foreseen. Traditionally, August is Ramos’ second best month of the season, and he hit .337/.396/.483 in the second half for the Rays and Phillies last year.
7. The Mets need these bats and others to step up in Robinson Cano‘s absence. While Cano has been frustrating at times, his replacements have not fared that well this year. The combination of Aaron Altherr, Luis Guillorme, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Juan Lagares have combined to go 2-for-26 with a run, three walks, a double, and 10 strikeouts.
8. Seeing this production, the Mets should go out and claim Joe Panik. As noted yesterday, even at a 69 wRC+, Panik would be the best hitter of this group. His defense would also be an improvement over what Cano offered. It should also be noted Panik has some upside as well.
9. On the idea of upside candidates, the Mets need some bullpen help. The Mets appear loathe to use Donnie Hart and Chris Mazza, and the Mets cannot continue to operate with no trust at all with two of the arms in their bullpen. On that front, Cody Allen, Brad Brach, and Greg Holland are available. The Mets also have quality organization options in Chris Flexen, Eric Hanhold, and Paul Sewald.
10 One interesting development with no August trades is we are seeing teams designate players for assignment now instead of floating them through waivers and holding onto them until competing teams look to obtain them right before rosters expand to 40 in September.
11. As we have seen with Lee Mazzilli and Addison Reed, the player the Mets obtain in August can make a huge different for a team looking to win a pennant and a World Series. Given the team’s depth and bullpen issues, they need to take a hard look at whomever hits the waiver wire over the next few weeks.
13. Remember most discussions about the manager are narrative driven and are reflective of a team’s performance. They are rarely, if ever, resultant of actual analysis of player progression and effort.
14. The Mets need better than Wayne Randazzo on the radio. He has no sense of team history, and as evidenced by his being unaware of egg creams, he’s not even well versed in the area. Really, when you break it down, you really have to question what he does well.
15. It certainly isn’t analysis with his attributing Conforto’s success to Alonso. Aside from the studies refuting the concept of lineup protection, it’s absurd a hitter as good as Conforto needed lineup protection to succeed.
16. The Mets radio play-by-play job is perhaps the radio job with the highest standards there are. Two of the greatest to ever do it, Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen, have held that job. Howie Rose is every bit their peer. We need better than Randazzo.
17. The Mets defense has been much better of late. We saw this with the Mets infield turning 10 double plays against the Marlins. When you play defense this way, all the pitchers look better. The real key has been Amed Rosario becoming a plus defender at SS.
18. Jason Vargas getting roughed up by the Diamondbacks is a reminder bad players outplaying their peripherals regress, and the Mets trading him to the Phillies was the one trade which really helped the Mets chances of grabbing a Wild Card.
19. The last time things were like this with the Mets, they had just obtained Yoenis Cespedes right before sweeping the Nationals to tie for the division lead and make a march towards the pennant. This year is starting to have the same feeling.
20. Marcus Stroman‘s first Citi Field start is going to be absolutely electric. That game and the series cannot get here soon enough.
With Robinson Cano likely down for the rest of the year, the Mets need to figure out what they’re going to do at second base. While Adeiny Hechavarria and Luis Guillorme provide top level defense, their offense is lacking.
There was a chance to upgrade somewhat offensively, but Asdrubal Cabrera signed with the Nationals. As luck would have it, the Mets may have another opportunity.
In somewhat of a surprise move, the San Francisco Giants designated Joe Panik for assignment. With the Mets void at second base, it is worth investigating.
So far, this has been the worst year of Panik’s career. He has a career worst wRC+, OPS+, and WAR. It’s hard to make the case a negative WAR and sub replacement level hitter would be an improvement.
On that front, since Cano went down, the combination of Guillorme/Hechavarria/Lagares/Altherr have gone a combined 1-for-19 with three walks and seven strikeouts. No matter how bad Panik has been, he’s better than that. With Panik, there’s also some upside.
In addition to his having a career worst wRC+, he’s also had a career low .254 BABIP. With his having a career .287 BABIP this would indicate a lot of bad luck. Bad luck is further indicated when you look at Panik lowering his ground ball rate, hitting more line drives, and his hitting the ball harder. He’s also been more selective at the plate with a 9.3 perfect walk rate, which is the second best of his career.
Even with numbers indicating he should have better stats, he doesn’t, and he hasn’t for nearly 10 years now. With Scooter Gennett now a Giant, the team has moved on ftom him. They did that despite Panik playing much better defense this year.
No, he’s not the Gold Glove caliber there anymore. Still, his 0 DRS is better than he’s been over the last two years, and it’s a step up from what Cano was defensively.
Looking at Panik overall, if he were on this Mets team, his 69 wRC+ would make him the best hitter out of a group including Altherr, Guillorme, Hechavarria, and Lagares. Like that group, he has a very good reputation as a fielder even if he’s just merely good at second now.
Arguably, the one thing Panik really doesn’t offer is versatility. In his career, he’s only played 9.2 innings away from second base. While a noteworthy, the Mets would be claiming Panik to play everyday. When you look at the options currently available and the chance there’s some upside in his bat, claiming Panik off waivers is a worthwhile endeavor.
Yes, the Mets should claim him. If they don’t, Panik could opt to go to another team under his own volition, or another team, like the Nationals or Phillies could claim him as a bench piece or to even try to block the surging Mets from trying to sign him. Given how much help the Mets need and their depleted depth, it’s time to make Flushing Panik Citi once again.
The Mets were smart heading into tonight. With the team rolling, and with Zack Wheeler‘s career numbers against the Marlins, the team opted to rest Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto to keep them charged for the stretch run.
Wheeler needed that improved defensive lineup with his keeping the ball on the ground more than usual. In total, he would get 13 ground ball outs tonight against one fly out and five strikeouts. He was great, and the defense was better helping him out on a night when he did not have one 1-2-3 inning.
Despite all the traffic, Wheeler pitched eight shut out innings allowing 10 hits with one walk and the aforementioned five strikeouts.
Fortunately, the game was never really in doubt.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2019
With respect to Ramos, he has been much better at the plate of late. In August, he has already hit two homers which doubles the homers he hit in July. With Robinson Cano down, the Mets need another bat to step up, and it seems Ramos is ready to fill that void.
The scoring was capped off when Pete Alonso hit a homer in the fifth which mirrored the one he hit last night:
This looked familiar. ❄️🐻 pic.twitter.com/jEW2pFHlID
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2019
All-in-all, this was a very good night for the Mets. Wheeler extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings. The defense was impeccable:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 7, 2019
They shut out the Marlins, and they’re two games over .500 for the first time since April 24.
Game Recap: The Giants designated Joe Panik for assignment.
With it being a day game and Tomas Nido behind the plate, it was a mild disappointment Jacob deGrom didn’t throw a no-hitter in the first game of the doubleheader. That was a dream which died with a Jon Berti single to begin the game.
Even though he didn’t get the no-hitter, or even the shut out, he would pick up the win with a typical deGrom effort. He struggled in the beginning, and he would eventually settle in and dominate.
Over 7.0 innings, he would allow two runs on five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. One of those two runs was a homer from Isan Diaz, who was making his Major League debut. It was a great moment with his family in the stands.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 5, 2019
Aa a fan you can enjoy these moments because the Mets won and pulled themselves back to .500.
Welcome to the bigs. pic.twitter.com/rN7SWRf7Aa
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 5, 2019
Heading into the third, the score was tied 1-1 when Amed Rosario hit an opposite field blast.
The bullpen would pitch two scoreless, and suddenly, the Mets were a .500 team for the first time since May 28th. They would have a chance to go over .500 for the first time since May 2nd in the second half of the doubleheader.
With the sinkerballer Walker Lockett going for the Mets, and this being the second end of a doubleheader, the Mets went with a pure defense first infield with Luis Guillorme at second and Adeiny Hechavarria at third.
That already compromised lineup took another hit when McNeil was forced to depart the game in the top of the third with a leg cramp. That basically left the Mets hoping the Michael Conforto two RBI single in the first and Lockett would hold up.
It didn’t happen.
Lockett cruised through the first three innings, but he would get into trouble when Brian Anderson led off the inning with a double. He’d come around to score on a Harold Ramirez RBI single. Lockett would do well to escape this jam, but he wouldn’t be so lucky in the fifth.
Bryan Holaday tied the score at 2-2 with a fifth inning leadoff homer. The homer didn’t kill a rally, and with two on and two out, Mickey Callaway would lift Lockett for Robert Gsellman to face Curtis Granderson.
The move didn’t work with Granderson hitting a go-ahead two RBI double giving the Marlins a 4-2 lead. With their having their All-Star Sandy Alcantara in the mound, the Mets ability to come back was very much in question.
It was even more in question with the Mets blowing a chance to score in the sixth. After back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Guillorme was called upon to bunt even with the bottom of the Mets lineup coming up.
Guillorme’s bunt didn’t get close enough to the third base line allowing Jeff Brigham to nail Alonso at third. After that Hechavarria struck out, and Todd Frazier pinch hit for Gsellman and grounded out to end the inning.
Brigham would not have the same luck in the seventh as he allowed homers to Davis,
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 6, 2019
Clutch moonshot. 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/hZ6y8BHtIm
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 6, 2019
and finally Alonso.
Clutch polar bear. ❄️🐻 pic.twitter.com/5PTjnMo9wM
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 6, 2019
The blast was a huge one for Alonso who had the longest homerless drought of his career. He may not be hitting as many homers in the second half, but he is sure making them count right now.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Mets are now over .500 for the first time since May 2nd. At the moment, they’re 2.0 games back and will be either 1.5 or 2.5 games back depending on what the Nationals and Phillies do.
The Mets also find themselves 8.5 games back of the Braves with nine head-to-head matchups allowing us to still dream.
Game Notes: Robinson Cano was placed on the IL with a torn hamstring. Juan Lagares got the first chance to replace him in the lineup with McNeil at second. In the doubleheader, Lagares was 0-for-3 with three walks and a strikeout.
With Robinson Cano landing on the Injured List, the Mets depth has once again been exposed. Considering how the Mets operate, it is very likely Adeiny Hechavarria will become the team’s everyday second baseman with Luis Guillorme on the bench.
Now, you could argue the Mets should move Jeff McNeil back to the infield, but there are almost no real viable outfield options unless you believe Juan Lagares or Aaron Altherr should play everyday. With them hitting .190 and .111 respectively that is hardly the case. With that in mind, the Mets have few options to upgrade their roster.
Asdrubal Cabrera is about the only free agent available worth investigating. The 33 year old was designated for assignment after hitting .235/.318/.393 in 93 games for a Rangers team falling out of contention. He was not very good in the field either with Cabrera having a -3 DRS in 793.0 innings albeit with a 2.7 UZR.
Cabrera has not been the same player hitting .233/.307/.393 (82 wRC+) since leaving the Mets in the July 27, 2018 trade to the Philadelphia Phillies. Prior to that trade, Cabrera hit .279/.339/.464 as a Met. That includes his phenomenal second half in 2016 which helped propel the Mets to the top Wild Card spot. Part of the reason for that is as Baseball Savant notes Cabrera having below average exit velocity and hard hit percentages. Despite these numbers, it may well behoove the Mets to have Cabrera as a late inning pinch hitter off the bench especially considering his penchant for heroics in big spots.
Tejada is probably the one option who could fill-in at shortstop if needed, and he has arguably been hitting better this year than any point in his professional career. In 64 games for Syracuse, Tejada is hitting 343/.421/.498 with 17 doubles, a triple, six homers, and 35 RBI.
The caution with Tejada is he has not played in the majors since 2017, and he hit .230/.293/.283 that year for Baltimore. Tejada played for Triple-A Norfolk the following year hitting .230/.291/.298 in 101 games. When looking at things from that prism, Tejada has made adjustments this year, and as a result, is a much better player; a player who could help contribute at the Major League level.
Like Tejada, Herrera is having a strong season in Syracuse hitting .250/.331/.538 with 23 doubles, one triple, 22 homers, and 48 RBI. Unlike Tejada, Herrera does not play shortstop. However, he may be more versatile with him playing first (28 games), second (24 games), third (31 games), left field (six games), and right field (four games) this year. Ultimately, if he was added to the roster, Herrera could prove to be a right-handed power threat off the bench which the Mets have not had since J.D. Davis has been pushed into everyday duty with Dominic Smith‘s injury.
Herrera still has played 10 games in the outfield for Syracuse, and he was a -2 DRS in 56.0 innings in left for the Reds last year. While that’s an extremely small sample size, it also speaks to how little experience Herrera has in the outfield.
With that in mind and with the Mets lack of outfield depth, the best option in Syracuse would be Rajai Davis, who notably hit a pinch hit homer for the Mets earlier in the year. Unfortunately, he is not an option as he has been on the IL since July 17. Beyond Davis, none of the other outfielders in Syracuse really present even a hypothetical upgrade.
In the end, the Mets decision may be between signing Cabrera or calling up one of Tejada or Herrera. That assumes Herrera is fine after fouling a ball off his shin on Saturday. If he is not good to go, that further limits the Mets already limited options.