With the way things are going with the New York Mets, it is becoming increasingly clear this team will be in position to sell at the trade deadline. The question is what in the world do the Mets have to sell.
Well, the biggest asset the Mets have right now is Jacob deGrom. If he was ever truly available, you would have 29 teams lining up to give you their best prospects. The problem with that is, you could assume the Mets will not deal with either the Yankees or the Nationals. With the Yankees, you are taking one deep farm system off the table, and that is assuming the Yankees would part with their top prospects in a trade with the Mets.
Overall, based on recent comments from Sandy Alderson, it does not appear the Mets are trading deGrom anytime soon, which is a relief because Sandy really does poor work at the trade deadline. He’s much better working deals in the offseason.
So when looking at players to trade, you obviously begin with guys on the last year of their deals. Well, the Mets don’t have much to offer there:
Jerry Blevins – the LOOGY has a 5.28 ERA, 1.761 WHIP, and a 6.5 BB/9. Worse than that, left-handed batters are hitting .351/.415/.514 off of him.
Jose Bautista – When he was released, the Mets were seemingly the only team who called him, and it’s hard to imagine teams giving up much for a second division bench player with a .366 SLG.
Asdrubal Cabrera – A year after the Mets found no takers for him, they may be in the same position after having him play through injuries. Since April 24th, he’s hitting .233/.269/.423 while playing the worst defensive second base in the majors (-10 DRS).
Jeurys Familia – If he returns from the DL healthy, Familia has real value because he has once again shown himself to be a good reliever and closer. The issue with him is Sandy Alderson flipped Addison Reed, who was healthier and having a better year, for an uninspiring group of Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.
Devin Mesoraco – Briefly, Mesoraco was a revelation showing power and helping buttress a struggling Mets lineup. The hot streak has worn off, and he’s hitting .107 with no extra base hits over his last nine games.
AJ Ramos – Ramos is contemplating season ending shoulder surgery. That would take him off the table. The same can be said for his 6.41 ERA.
Jose Reyes – He’s the worst player in all of baseball this year; one the Mets are reportedly asking to retire.
Alright, so the Mets don’t have much in terms of players on expiring deals. Maybe, the team can look at players whose deals are expiring after the 2019 season:
Todd Frazier – The normally durable Frazier landed on the DL, and he has not been the power hitter he has been in his career. The positives are he’s kept a solid walk rate while playing a solid third base. Overall, he’s the type of player who is of more value to you than to what you would get back in a deal.
Jason Vargas – He’s now a five inning pitcher with a 7.39 ERA.
Zack Wheeler – Wheeler is an interesting case because he has shown promise, but he is still prone to the occasional hiccups. He’s probably not due for a large arbitration increase from his $1.8 million, which should be enticing for a Mets team who probably doesn’t want to spend $8 million to replace him with next year’s Vargas.
So, right now, looking at the expiring deals by the end of the 2019 season, the Mets assets basically amount to Familia and maybe Frazier and Wheeler. Arguably, Frazier and Wheeler are not bringing back the type of players who would be key pieces of a rebuild. To that extent, you at least have to question why you would move them on a Mets team with a fairly solid core which includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Noah Syndergaard, and deGrom.
And really, past that group, there isn’t much else available for the Mets to trade to justify blowing it up.
Jay Bruce is injured, and he already looks like he’s in a group with Jason Bay and Vince Coleman for the worst free agent mistake in Mets history. Yoenis Cespedes is both injury prone and has a no trade deal, which will likely limit their ability to move him.
Really, what the Mets need to be doing is some soul searching.
Much like they did when they extended David Wright, the team needs to assess whether players like deGrom and Syndergaard will be here when promising young players like Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Justin Dunn, Mark Vientos, and Jarred Kelenic are here to open the Mets next World Series window.
If they’re not, you’re doing the franchise a complete disservice by hanging in this if everything breaks right structure. Really, things only broke right in 2015, and the team has been ill designed every since.
Blow it up now, or start spending money on players like Manny Machado this offseaosn. If you’re not doing that, this Mets team isn’t going anywhere for at least the next decade.
Over the past week, the Mets have had a number of bullpen meltdowns, and it just seems like no matter what Mickey Callaway does he is making the wrong decision. After the 12-2 start, the Mets have dipped down a few times to .500, but they have not fallen below that .500 mark quite yet. Criticism is starting to come from all directions including from Mike Francesca, who from his shiny new Twitter account, jabbed, “Imagine the problems the Mets would be having if the team wasn’t in the hands of a pitching guru?”
Considering it’s after Memorial Day, which has long been an unofficial litmus test for teams, now is as good a time as any for the Mets Bloggers to proffer what their level of confidence is in Callaway:
Michael Baron (MLB)
It’s hard to conclude anything – positively or negatively – in 2 months. It’s just not fair. We can definitely argue he has made mistakes, hope he has learned lessons, and dealing with the balance between stats, plans and gut feelings. But it’s 50 games – I’m hoping the next 50 games show growth in these areas. But it would help if his players could execute and he had more tools in his bag.
He’s still in my circle of trust. I don’t understand why he told every reliever to suddenly perform as awfully as possible, but maybe he read about an Argentinian tech company who used a similar unorthodox team building exercise to eventually acquire record fourth quarter sales numbers? You just don’t know with that guy. But seriously folks, it doesn’t matter what order he puts in the veteran, high-priced relievers and Jason Vargas if they are all bad, so I don’t see how you can yell at Mickey for AJ Ramos turning into the world’s most charismatic pumpkin. And because he doesn’t want a phone call from Frederick and/or Jeffrey, Jose Reyes gets a start or two a week.
It takes more than two months to undo eight years of foolishness. The Mets FIP last year was 4.49; this year it’s at 3.92 despite brutal starts by key pitchers. Sure, his lineup choices are odd, his in-game decisions even odder, but they resemble some of Terry Collins‘ head-scratchers. What’s the common denominator? A meddlesome COO (Reyes) and a front office that seems to be scripting the daily lineup and BP usage. That’s my take, anyway. I have confidence in Mickey. Let’s see if he can start wresting more of the in-game stuff away from the suits.
My feeling is the manager can win or cost a team around 5 games per season. I think he’s doing fine but baseball managers have always been later on my list of team priorities, right below training and medical staff.
Sometimes, it’s incumbent on the players to make plays. Not everything can be traced back to a bad managerial move. Now should be the time to look at Sandy and what kind of depth he has set the team up with to endure something like this.
I don’t not trust him. How’s that? Unfair to withdraw one’s faith one-third into a manager’s first season, though the impression I get is 1) he’s groping for answers, patterns and/or a change of luck; 2) actually managing is more difficult than doing it in theory. I’m sure we’d all discover the same had we really impressed in our interview for the job.
While we have been rightly focusing on the bullpen meltdowns and Callaway’s missteps in causing some of those meltdowns, we are missing some of the real good he is doing. Amed Rosario is blossoming, and Brandon Nimmo has made himself into a real good Major League leadoff hitter under his watch. We’ve also seen Callaway coax a second (or third) act out of the careers of Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.
While we expected Callaway to pull a Rumplestiltskin and weave a gold out of a collection of broken arms, his job is much more than that. He’s in charge of a full 25 man roster, and there is enough there with his work with the full roster to believe he was the right man, and that he will continue learning and growing on the job.
While there may be some question about the job Callaway is doing and his future as a manager, one thing is for certain – this is a terrific group of writers, and I encourage everyone to take the time out to read their excellent writing on Callaway and all things Mets.
It was inexcusable for the Mets to lose this game, but what else is new.
Heading into the seventh, Zack Wheeler battled. He gave you the six innings needed, and he fought a tough Brewers offense.
Through it all, the Mets were up 6-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Sure, you wish they could have plated more runs in a four run second inning. But even with Wilmer Flores and Jay Bruce leaving the bases loaded, the Mets had a two run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh thanks in large part to an Asdrubal Cabrera solo shot in the top half of the inning.
That’s when Mickey Callaway repeated the same exact mistake he did from the previous loss.
Now, two days ago, Shaw double off Gsellman. However, Gsellman has limited left-handed batters to a .174/.291/.413 batting line. Jerry Blevins, on the other hand, is morphing into Scott Schoeneweis and Eric O’Flaherty.
This season, lefties are hitting .296/.367/.370 off Blevins. Predictably, Blevins allows the base hit to bring the Brewers within a run.
It didn’t matter as Michael Conforto struck out to end the game.
There were many reasons to be frustrated by this loss, including a suspect home plate umpire. However, it was the Mets and their manager repeating the same mistakes that did them in.
Game Notes: Flores left the game in the fourth with a back injury. He’s being evaluated in New York while the team travels to Atlanta.
After a heartbreaking loss, the Mets immediately responded in the first, and it all began with a Brandon Nimmo leadoff walk.
Of course, that was not nearly a big enough lead for Jason Vargas, who immediately surrendered the lead in the bottom of the first.
In subsequent innings, Nimmo and Michael Conforto would homer to recapture the lead at 5-3. Of course, in the bottom of the third, the Brewers tied the score again.
That would be it for Vargas. He lasted just three innings allowing five earned on six hits. With his performance, he managed to raise his 9.87 ERA to 10.62. So much for pitching well against a bad Marlins team.
After all was said and done, the Mets lost this game 17-6, and with Flexen, they lost a potential option to start in Monday’s doubleheader.
Remember, the Mets lead this one 3-0 before the Brewers even picked up a bat. This is as bad and inexcusable a loss as you get in a season full of those.
Game Notes: According to Callaway, with Amed Rosario getting the day off, Reyes started over Luis Guillorme because Reyes was the better shortstop. Jerry Blevins pitched well not allowing a hit over 1.1 scoreless innings.
There’s no better way to describe the game between the Mets and Brewers than saying walks kill.
With that Noah Syndergaard, who wasn’t at his best (again) was off the hook, and it was a brand new game.
Luis Guillorme really battled in his own pinch hitting attempt, and he drew a walk on a very borderline pitch. Unfortunately, Rosario didn’t have another big hit in him, and this game went to the bottom of the ninth and then extras.
With two outs in the tenth, Mickey Callaway made a fateful decision. Rather than letting Robert Gsellman, who has limited left-handed batters to a .178/.296/.422 batting line, he went to Jerry Blevins, who has struggled all season.
Much of what has ailed the Mets was then on display. Blevins allowed Christian Yelich to get around on a pitch and hit it to right. Most believed it was going to be the third out of the inning. Problem was Jay Bruce was nowhere near it.
Instead of being out of the inning, the Brewers had runners at first and second.
In the record books, Gsellman was tagged with the loss. Really, this was a combination of Callaway, Blevins, Bruce, and Ramos, who earned this one.
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo‘s eight straight appearances reaching base ended with him going 0-5 with a strikeout. Leading off the ninth, Wilmer Flores was called out for running into his own batted ball, a ball that was clearly foul. That play is not reviewable.
The Mets once vaunted rotation seemingly has three holes in it. Steven Matz has failed to pitch at least five innings in half of his starts. Against teams that are not the Miami Marlins, Zack Wheeler is 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA. Jason Vargas finally lasted five innings in his last start, and those five scoreless innings lowered his ERA from 13.86 to 9.87.
With each poor start, there is a renewed call for Seth Lugo to join the Mets rotation. To a certain extent, those fans will get their wish when Lugo gets a spot start next week. However, the question still remains about whether he should be in the bullpen or the rotation. In this edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable, we tackle that exact question:
Michael Baron (MLB)
It’s not that simple, especially without having Anthony Swarzak at their disposal. Right now, they don’t have an effective reliever – other than Lugo – against left-handed hitters. AJ Ramos has struggled as well. Lugo is one of three relievers they can count on to get the ball to Jeurys Familia, and because the rotation is so thin, he continues to come up aces in extended relief outings. Also, Lugo seems to have found a niche in relief, knows how to get outs in short stints utilizing a heavier fastball and that curve, proving to be a huge asset for them in this role. But, there is a need in the rotation – starters not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard have an ERA over 6 (as of 5/20) and are struggling to throw even 4 innings consistently. So, they might have to rob Peter to pay Paul at some point in Lugo’s situation.
If Anthony Swarzak can be as effective as Lugo has been when he returns from the disabled list, then and only then should Lugo be considered for a role in the starting rotation. Otherwise, why mess with a good thing? There’s no guarantee Lugo will be able to pitch as effectively when he has to pitch five-plus innings as a starter. It’s up to Wheeler, Matz and Vargas to step up their game so Lugo can continue to be at the top of his in the bullpen.
Moving a pitcher whose primary flaw was the inability to get batters out a third time through the order from a role where he’s more effective because he doesn’t have to do that would not seem to strengthen either the rotation or the bullpen.
He’s a vital part of the bullpen, but if the rotation continues to struggle I would want him in the rotation. But only when Swarzak comes back, so they aren’t short handed in the bullpen.
Ultimately, the Mets are going to need to try something. Ideally, you would give a llook to Corey Oswalt or Chris Flexen in the rotation, especially with a doubleheader scheduled for Monday. It should be noted Oswalt had a terrific start yesterday in Las Vegas, and Flexen’s last start in Vegas was great as well before he was called up to languish in the Mets bullpen.
Really, the Mets need to try something here because unless the Mets are facing the Marlins, neither Wheeler nor Vargas has been cutting it. Who knows what will get Matz going again? In the end, Lugo may just be the best available starting pitching option, and the Mets are going to have to replace him with one of the aforementioned pitchers in the bullpen. While that may sound risky, it should be noted Lugo has been a much different pitcher in the bullpen than he has in the rotation. Maybe the same will hold true for Wheeler, Matz, etc.
While what the Mets should do with Lugo remains uncertain, one thing that remains certain is the Mets have a great fanbase and group of bloggers who regularly write about the team. I encourage you to read their work in the attached links.
Watching the game tonight, it is really difficult to assess how well Zack Wheeler performed. On the one hand, he was executing his pitches as well as he ever has, and yet he earned the loss against a bad Marlins team.
Actually, there is a debate how much he “earned” that loss. Really, there was just one hiccup for him, and that was in the second inning when the Marlins scored all three of their runs.
The first run was on Wheeler, who allowed three straight hard hit balls by Brian Anderson (double), Derek Dietrich, and Miguel Rojas. After that, it’s hard to pin anything else on him. Caleb Smith popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, which Jose Reyes fielded on hop, looked at every single base, and then threw the ball in the dirt thereby loading the bases.
That three run lead was brutal because as Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling kept opining, Smith was dealing for the Marlins. That is a plausible explanation considering Smith entered the game striking out 12 batters per nine. However, it needs to be noted the Mets bats are really awful against left-handed batters. Tonight, was no exception as Smith allowed one run on three hits over 6.2 innings.
The one run he allowed was in the bottom of the second, and it started with a Jose Bautista double. Speaking of Bautista, he was signed just before the game, and he was put in the starting lineup ahead of Jay Bruce, and he played left field. After the predictable Reyes out, Bautista moved to third, and he scored on a Tomas Nido sacrifice fly.
The Mets really wouldn’t get another rally started until the eighth. Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a double, and later than inning Brandon Nimmo earned a one out walk. The rally would falter there as Cabrera would hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
While disappointing, that rally was too little too late anyway. In the top of the inning, Derek Dietrich hit a two run homer off AJ Ramos to expand the Marlins lead to 5-1. That would be the final score on a deeply disappointing day.
Game Notes: Reyes made two errors in the game, and he now has three hits and two errors on the month. Devin Mesoraco did not start after getting hit on the elbow with an errant swing last night. He did pinch hit in the seventh and flew out.
There are many different ways to gauge how bad the Marlins are after they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps the best way to gauge it was how Jason Vargasshut them down tonight.
Entering tonight, Vargas was 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA, and he had yet to pitch long enough to qualify for a win, which based on his ERA, was the least of his problems.
Astonishingly, Vargas was perfect through three. He wouldn’t get into trouble until the fifth. He was able to get through the two on one out situation by striking out Lewis Brinson and Elieser Hernandezto get out of the jam.
At 86 pitches, Vargas was done putting the game into the Mets offense and bullpen’s hands.
The Mets did have a lead when Vargas departed thanks to the speed of Amed Rosario.
In the third, Rosario reached on a one out single, and he was standing there when Asdrubal Cabreracame to the plate. Like he’s done all year, he delivered with a double to right center. On the double, Rosario took off, and with his incredible speed, he scored from first.
Amed Rosario keeps setting #Mets speed marks.
His 9.02-second first-to-home time on Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double is the fastest by a #Mets player since Statcast came online in 2015. Amed reached a blazing 29.4 feet per second. 🏃🏃🏃 pic.twitter.com/2xWRJlBL9V
— Matt Kelly (@mattkellyMLB) May 22, 2018
This gave the Mets a lead, but with the offense struggling, the bullpen did not have any margin of error.
In the sixth, Paul Sewald got into some trouble. After a two out Starlin Castro single, Sewald walked Brian Anderson. Jerry Blevins didn’t help matters but walking Justin Bour to load the bases. AJ Ramos came on and fell behind 2-0 to Derek Dietrich. Ramos battled back in that at-bat, and he struck out Dietrich to end the inning.
As impressive as that was, Ramos helped negate a lead-off walk to Miguel Rojas by being aggressive with his defense. He quickly and adeptly fielded a comeback we from JB Shuck. He quickly whipped and threw to second for the 1-6-3 inning ending double play.
The Mets would plate another run lather that inning on a rally started with a one out Devin Mesoraco double. After Luis Guillorme reached on an error by Martin Prado, Wilmer Flores made sure to make the Marlins pay for the misplay by going with an 0-2 fastball on the outer half to drive the ball past Castro and expand the Mets lead to 2-0.
Those two runs were plenty as Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia combined to shut down the Marlins in the 8th and 9th to give the Mets their fourth win in a row. It was also the first time Vargas won a game in a Mets uniform breaking a streak stretching back 11 years (and three teams).
Game Notes: The Mets are purportedly showing interest in recently released Jose Bautista. It will be interesting to see what the corresponding move will be because the team says Jose Reyes‘ spot on the roster is safe.
This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets. First, the wrong –
The first moment was in the fourth inning. Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2. Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson. Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:
#Mets challenge call that Jarrod Dyson is safe at 2B in the 4th; call stands, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) May 20, 2018
Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.
Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown. Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.
With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start. He didn’t get through five. He allowed two homers. He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.
Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.
First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes‘ hands. Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin. He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.
Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit. This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.
First, Conforto is back. After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen. The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six. Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 20, 2018
Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.
Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third. This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.
While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield. This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.
This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games. They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season. They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.
Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s. Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.
The Mets were aware but not yet set on putting Jacob deGrom on the 10 day disabled list, so rather than make sure Corey Oswalt was in line to start the opener against Cincinnati, the team decided to add P.J. Conlon to the 40 man roster and have him make the start.
After Conlon’s short start and with Jason Vargas making a start, the Mets needed to add a fresh arm in the bullpen who could give them some length. Instead of calling up Chris Flexen, who was on normal rest, the team called-up Oswalt, who was on three days rest. Since that time, the team has more than ample opportunity to use him, and they haven’t:
|Game||Bullpen Innings||Relievers Used|
|May 8th||6.0||Lugo (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Blevins (0.1), Robles (0.1), Sewald (1.1)|
|May 9th||3.0+||Gsellman (2.0), Lugo (1.0), Ramos (0.0)|
|May 11th||4.0||Lugo (1.0), Sewald (1.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)|
|May 12th||7.0||Gsellman (3.0), Sewald (2.0), Ramos (1.0), Familia (1.0)|
Overall, the Mets needed to go to their bullpen for 19+ innings in a four game stretch. Robert Gsellman and Paul Sewald went multiple innings on multiple occasions. AJ Ramos appeared in four games with Seth Lugo appearing in three. Breaking it down, there were plenty of chances for the Mets to get Oswalt in for even an inning. They didn’t.
It’s more than that. For a team gun shy to use Oswalt on short rest, between days off and rain outs, Oswalt has not pitched since Saturday, May 5th, he is not going to get a chance to pitch until 10 days after his last star, and that’s if he’s even used. Effectively, Oswalt has skipped two starts so he can sit idly by in the bullpen.
This is not how a team handles their top Major League ready starter. Oswalt needs to be on a mound pitching, working on his game, and generally improving as a pitcher. Really, there is no benefit to him by his not pitching, and seeing how Mickey Callaway is reticent to use him, there is really no benefit to him even being on the roster.
The roster spot could be better allocated towards Buddy Baumann, who could serve as a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, or Tyler Bashlor, who has been lights out in Binghamton. You could even argue the spot should go to Conlon, who could serve as the 2015 version of Sean Gilmartin.
As for Oswalt, he’s serving no purpose right now, and he’s not getting the starts he needs. The Mets need him in Triple-A at the ready in case Vargas doesn’t improve. He needs to be at the ready in the event Steven Matz suffers another injury. Really, they need him to do anything other than sitting unused in the bullpen. That’s not benefiting anyone.