We can dicker over which one of the New York Mets free agents is the most pressing. Honestly, when looking at it, Jacob deGrom is an absolute necessity. Same goes for Edwin Diaz. And yes, that also applies to Brandon Nimmo.
There are some who may want to disagree, but that’s not surprising. After all, no matter how productive Nimmo is atop the lineup or how much he improves defensively, he will forever have naysayers. To them, the question is if not Nimmo, then who?
Looking at the MLB free agents, Nimmo is far and away the best center fielder. In fact, he is the only everyday center fielder. Sure, you can say it’s Aaron Judge, who is a far superior players, but Judge is really a right fielder and will be so next season.
After Nimmo and Judge, who are you taking? Lorenzo Cain? A Kevin Pillar or Albert Almora reunion? Really, the center field free agent market is that sparse.
You could argue the Mets can shift Starling Marte back to center, but that may not be the best idea for a 34 year old who has trouble staying on the field. It should also be noted he was again slower in 2022. Yes, part of that was his leg injury. However, again, injuries are an issue for him, which is why the Mets moved him to right field in the first place.
There’s also the matter of just how good Nimmo is. In fact, Nimmo was the best center fielder by WAR in 2022 (again, assuming Judge moves back to right field as will all further points). His wRC+ was second only to Julio Rodriguez. He was tied for 11th in OAA. What’s scary about this is we can all agree this was somewhat of a down year offensively for Nimmo.
Consider that for a moment, despite a relative down year, Nimmo was the best at his position in 2022. He is a prototypical lead-off hitter. He continues to improve in the field year-in and year-out. He is a fan favorite. He is the best and really only available at his position this offseason.
Going back to Rodriguez for a second, the Mets don’t have a real center field prospect in the pipeline. Really, they don’t have any outfield prospects close to the majors. When it comes to the Mets, their only option is Nimmo.
If this were the Wilpons, Nimmo would be as good as gone. However, this is Steve Cohen’s Mets. Scott Boras or no Scott Boras, Cohen has the ability to make sure Nimmo stays with the Mets. Surveying the landscape, the Mets have no other choice than to make it happen. Brandon Nimmo needs to stay with the Mets.
It was never set up for Luis Rojas to succeed as the manager of the New York Mets. With his firing, which is what happened when the Mets didn’t pick up his option, it was deemed Rojas did not succeed.
In 2020, he took over a team after Carlos Beltran was forced out without managing a game. He had to take over a team in Spring Training with a coaching staff he didn’t assemble, and by the way, a once in a century pandemic hit.
That season didn’t go as hoped. Noah Syndergaard needing Tommy John and Marcus Stroman opting out probably ended that season before it began.
Entering this season, there were massive expectations, and understandably so given the ownership change and Francisco Lindor trade. That said, the cards would be stacked against Rojas a bit.
Unless you count his two late September appearances as an opener, Syndergaard didn’t start a game. Carlos Carrasco didn’t pitch until July 30, and he was rushed.
The injuries really were the story and the problem. Of course, the biggest injury was Jacob deGrom. In the midst of what was his best year, he went down.
Michael Conforto had COVID, got hurt, and faltered. Lindor struggled to adjust, and when he did, he got hurt. At one point, there were so many injures, James McCann had to play first base for a stretch.
Keep in mind, the Mets entered the season without a third baseman or left fielder. Dominic Smith can hit (when he wasn’t playing through injuries like he did all year) and he can play a terrific first, but he’s just not a left fielder.
This was the year where ReplaceMets were a thing. Patrick Mazeika and Brandon Drury were getting plate appearances in big spots (because there was no other options), and they were delivering.
Eventually, the replacements to the replacements got hurt. Eventually, the dam had to break.
Despite everything, Rojas had the Mets in first place at the trade deadline by 3.5 games. At various times, even if it was just in passing, he was mentioned as a potential Manager of the Year.
The pitching was on fumes, and the best the Mets could do at the trade deadline was Trevor Williams. The Mets thought so highly of him, he was immediately assigned to Syracuse.
Eventually, the magic touch wore off, but then again, when Albert Almora is on your bench, you don’t need magic; you need a miracle. There were no miracles forthcoming.
We saw the cracks in the team. The offense who shifted from Chili Davis to Hugh Quattlebaum never clicked. The barren upper levels of the minors leagues left behind by Brodie Van Wagenen haunted the team. Ultimately, there were just too many injuries which probably should’ve been expected a year after the 2020 COVID impacted season.
There were embarrassments like the first Mets GM Jared Porter being fired for harassment. The next, Zack Scott, took a leave of absence after his DUI arrest during the season. While not of the same vein, there was the Javier Báez-Lindor thumbs down drama.
At some point, the team we all thought would win the World Series became a flat out bad team. They’d set a record by being in first place for as long as they did only to finish under .500.
Yes, during this time, Rojas made some bizarre moves. While the focus was on that, his successes were overlooked, downplayed, or not acknowledged. That’s unfortunate.
What’s also unfortunate was after what was only one full season, Rojas was fired. He never got the opportunity to learn and grow as a manager. He didn’t get to build on the things he did well.
Instead, he’s out as manager.
With the collapse, this was obviously coming. After all, Sandy Alderson wasn’t going to fire himself for punting the trade deadline and having his big time hires blow up in his face.
Between the need for a fall guy and the Mets pursuing a new president of baseball operations, Rojas was as good as gone. After all, the new POBO would want his own guy as manager.
The end result was Rojas losing his job as manager. It’s unfortunate because he never really had a chance. It’s very likely he will get that chance somewhere else, and he will very likely do well.
Until then, it’s incumbent on the Mets to prove they did the right thing. If Rojas’ all too brief tenure is any lesson, that stats and ends with building your roster because no manager, no matter how good, is going to be able to win without two regular players, shallow pitching depth, and all those injuries.
There’s a lot of blame directed at Luis Rojas for another brutal New York Mets loss in September. Absolutely, there were some questionable moves.
Marcus Stroman was lifted after six great innings despite being at 89 pitches. On a day when Seth Lugo was unavailable, Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Edwin Diaz didn’t go multiple innings. There were also pinch hitting decisions.
Putting aside the fact the pitching increasingly looks scripted like with Kevin Cash and Blake Snell in the 2020 World Series, the real issue is this roster. It was a roster largely unaddressed at the trade deadline.
This was a team which had zero hits from innings 2-8 until Javier Báez‘s clutch game tying homer. Yes, he was a trade deadline acquisition, and he’s been great.
First pitch AMBUSH to tie it. ?@javy23baez | #LGM pic.twitter.com/7kGerOIIln
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 15, 2021
However, that’s one, and with all apologies to Trevor Williams, really, the only player the Mets added at the deadline. A team in first place didn’t feel terribly compelled to go for it.
As a result, the Mets had Heath Hembree and Jake Reed pitching in extra innings. They had Albert Almora batting with two outs in the 11th with the game on the line. That’s how you lose 7-6.
The days of the 40 man September rosters are no more. With all due respect, these are three players who should not be rostered at this point in the season. It’s inexcusable for a front office to let this happen.
Rojas did all he could to stop the game from getting to this point. However, you can only avoid the bottom of your roster for so long. Eventually, they’re going to get to play and impact a game and a season.
Ultimately, that’s what happened last night. Instead of asking why Rojas used those players when he did, we should be asking why are these players even here.
This is the way it works with Carlos Carrasco. He struggles in the first, and he shuts the opponent down after that. That’s what happened again in his start against the Miami Marlins.
It was 2-0 before Carrasco recorded an out, but he kept the Marlins there. What was unusual was the Mets responded immediately with a Jonathan Villar lead-off homer off Sandy Alcantara.
WOW! ? @JRvillar6 pic.twitter.com/nA6ynHWrL1
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 2, 2021
In the fourth, we’d see Francisco Lindor put his stamp on the game.
Brandon Nimmo led off the fourth with an infield single. He went to second when Isan Diaz threw it away. Lindor drove home Nimmo with an RBI double and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. That put him in position to score when he induced Alcantara to balk.
Francisco Lindor is really good at thispic.twitter.com/mssjOn9eWj
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 3, 2021
This speaks to how bizarre the game was from a defensive standpoint. There were just a number a terrific defensive plays. However, there were also a number of errors and miscues. By some miracle, there were no unearned runs in the game.
Case-in-point, in the fifth, Jorge Alfaro reached on a Villar error. He took off on a pitch which Bryan De La Cruz lined to right. Javier Báez brilliant deked Alfaro allowing Michael Conforto to easily throw him out at first.
You don't see a 9⃣-3⃣ double play everyday. ? pic.twitter.com/y5ISbRBXlg
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 3, 2021
We saw that in the sixth. Mets killer Miguel Rojas, who opened the game with a homer, hit a lead-off single, and he moved to second on an error from Carrasco. After a one walk, Luis Rojas brought in Aaron Loup.
While he’s been the Mets best reliever, Loup just didn’t have it. He’d walk back-to-back batters to force home the tying run. He’s dig down to get out of the inning, but the damage was done.
After Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless seventh, he was in line for the win. They’d get it for him giving him a team high nine wins.
Jeff McNeil and Patrick Mazeika hit consecutive one out singles. McNeil was able to go to third on a Jesus Sanchez error.
Rojas went to his bench to have Dominic Smith pinch hit. Smith sat because he’s been struggling and due to his best 0-for-9 off Alcantara. After he ripped a double off Jesus Aguilar‘s glove, he’s now 1-for-10.
.@TheRealSmith2_ for the lead! #LGM pic.twitter.com/qJLTCUmKej
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 3, 2021
If Aguilar didn’t touch it, the ball probably goes foul. However, he did, and in a fitting fashion, the go-ahead run scored on an almost play.
The Mets made good on that 4-3 lead. First, it was Trevor May in the eighth. May did all he could do that inning including trying to dive to catch a foul ball.
Trevor May deserves a tweet just for the effort… ? pic.twitter.com/jNteyyWUPO
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 3, 2021
In the ninth, Edwin Diaz continued his recent stretch of dominance. He struck out two in a perfect inning saving the sloppy 4-3 win featuring seven errors and a number of misplays.
Game Notes: Brad Hand was claimed off waivers. As it happened after August 31, he will not be postseason eligible. Khalil Lee was sent down for Yennsy Diaz. Like Lee briefly was, Albert Almora is a September call-up.
Since some struggles coming out of the All-Star Break, Taijuan Walker has been slowly returning to his first half All-Star form. He was that and more tonight.
Walker was hitting the mid 90s again, and he was giving the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers lineup fits. In fact, he’d no-hit them for 6.1 innings. His thanks was a no decision.
Part of the reason was Walker Buehler was also great. The Dodgers ace was going zero for zero with Walker. Buehler’s only blemish was a Michael Conforto homer in the fourth.
BIG Mike! @mconforto8 ? pic.twitter.com/FZpKtbbvGm
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 15, 2021
This was the latest sign Conforto is getting past COVID and needing the ability to carry this team offensively. He basically was the entire Mets offense driving in the only run.
Just like how Conforto broke a no-hit bid for Buehler in the fourth, Will Smith did the same in the seventh. It was his second devastating homer in as many nights tying the score 1-1.
Like with many pitchers who lose their no-hitter, Walker started to struggle putting runners on the corners with two outs. Luis Rojas responded by bringing in Aaron Loup to face Cody Bellinger.
During the at-bat, Rojas had enough with what was an erratic at best strike zone. Despite the zone, Loup got his man like he always does. It kept that game tied.
To the extent the Mets gained momentum off of that, they squandered it. They had two on and no out. For some idiotic reason, Tomas Nido was sent up to bunt. He couldn’t get it down, and the inning unraveled from there.
Fact is, that was the Mets chance. While this was a battle of exhausted bullpens with the top guys effectively unavailable, the Dodgers bullpen did their job.
The Mets got to the 10th, and they were in a bad spot. Seth Lugo made quick work of the Dodgers in the ninth, but he’s struggled going a second inning this year. With the top guys overworked or already used, Dave Jauss tabbed Yennsy Diaz.
Diaz came close to getting through the 10th, but Bellinger would double driving home the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the inning, the Mets put up little resistance to Phil Beckford and Corey Knebel.
As a result, the Mets lost a winnable game 2-1. They wasted a Walker gem, and they lost two straight extra inning games to a team who came to Citi Field 0-12 in those games. Also, they fell 1.5 games back.
This isn’t a time for moral victories. It’s a time for victories. They Mets need them, and if they don’t get them, they we’ll continue to squander away what should’ve been a special season.
Game Notes: Albert Almora was optioned to Syracuse. Drew Smith was placed on the IL. Jake Reed and Geoff Hartlieb were recalled from Syracuse.
With the left-handed Julio Urias starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets panicked and sat most of their left-handed hitters. That meant the Mets sat their best hitters.
What’s annoying about it was Urias has reverse splits. It’s all the more annoying because players like Dominic Smith are better against left-handed pitchers than their right-handed hitters.
Well, the Mets shot themselves in the foot. Brandon Drury, Kevin Pillar, and Albert Almora combined to go 0-for-6 with one walk and two strikeouts. In defense of Almora, that walk was a great at-bat, and it began the way towards Luis Rojas substituting players into the game to undo the inane front office lineup.
The irony of the game would be the Mets didn’t do anything until the left-handed bats could themselves in the game.
Down 4-0 after a strong effort from Tylor Megill and some gaffes by James McCann, the Mets rallied starting with a Michael Conforto two out double.
The left-handed batters did their job. Smith followed with an RBI single getting the Mets on the board.
Brandon Nimmo walked (of course), and Alonso was walked to load the bases. Jeff McNeil, another LHP not in the starting lineup, hit a two run single pulling the Mets within one. That run scored on a Will Smith passed ball.
TIE BALLGAME! #LGM pic.twitter.com/H7VGrMG0RW
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 14, 2021
The bats who couldn’t be trusted to be in the starting lineup, the Mets best bats, tied the score with a big two out rally.
Edwin Diaz got into trouble in the ninth starting with his walking former Met Billy McKinney to start the inning. Diaz got out of the inning leading to more platoon based nonsense.
Now, Aaron Loup has been the Mets best reliever all year, and he was fresh pitching just once over the last week. Meanwhile, Jeurys Familia has been heavily worked lately, and he has been starting to show the strain.
Well, despite Loup’s success against right-handed batters over the past two years, and the reverse splits of Smith, the Mets opted for Familia. The end result was a tired Familia giving up a go-ahead two run homer.
The Mets did get one back in the 10th, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 6-5 in a game they severely hampered themselves by being overly beholden to 1960 platoon theory.
It’s annoying the Mets handcuffed themselves like this unnecessarily and really purposefully ran converse to the analytics. They need to be better and do better than this.
This year’s edition of the Subway Series saw two struggling New York teams. After the series, the Mets weren’t the ones struggling anymore:
1. There shouldn’t be anymore doubt Brandon Nimmo is the Mets best offensive player, and he’s the real catalyst for the team.
2. If the point of replay is to get the calls right, there’s no point to replay when Nimmo is called out on a play he was clearly safe.
3. Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman certainly are not the same pitchers since the crack down on sticky substances.
4. Imagine being someone who thought Cole deserved to be in the same breath as Jacob deGrom let alone thinking he was better.
5. Taijuan Walker absolutely should’ve been an All-Star, and he proved it again with his no-hitting the Yankees for 5+ innings. Hopefully, he will be an alternate for when deGrom won’t pitch in the game.
6. Was the Aaron Judge homer off Walker the first time one 99 broke up the no-hitter of another 99?
7. Again, there is no way the Mets should even contemplate DFAing Jose Peraza, especially after that bases loaded double to clear the bases. Use one of J.D. Davis‘ options and teach him how to play a position.
8. It’s funny that Tony Tarasco was on the field for the play where the Mets fan reached over the wall for the Peraza double. Tarasco was the Baltimore Orioles RF on the Jeffrey Meier/Derek Jeter play.
9. Pete Alonso‘s homer off Chapman was arguably the biggest hit of the year.
10. Alonso looks much more like the 2019 version hitting 275/.343/.517 with nine homers and 135 wRC+ over 134 PA since returning from the IL (h/t Tim Ryder).
11. Dominic Smith is red hot with a .875 OPS the past week and a .327/.365/.571 over the past two weeks. Like Alonso, he absolutely can keep this up.
12. That sure looked like the Jeff McNeil of old in this series.
13. The Mets made the right call keeping Billy McKinney up over Albert Almora. Now, McKinney needs to prove he can play off the bench effectively. He may get a week to prove it.
14. Considering he’s being stretched out, you absolutely take those five innings from behind Corey Oswalt, who looked good besides the one mistake.
15. On the bright side, while we may not see Carlos Carrasco or Noah Syndergaard until August or September, they’re going to be well rested and ready to dominate in the postseason.
16. What is going on with Michael Conforto?
17. Good thing Jeurys Familia is back because Miguel Castro doesn’t have it anymore.
18. This Mets team is built for the postseason because of their pitching and their ability to fight back late in games.
19. It was odd to see the Mets not optimize their defensive alignment behind Marcus Stroman, especially with the DH in play.
20. This series coming up against the Milwaukee Brewers is a good temperature check to see how good the Mets are, and for that matter, just how good the Brewers are.
The New York Mets traveled to Atlanta, and they lost yet another road series.
1. At 17-25, the Mets are an awful road team, and they’re not going anywhere if they can’t correct this.
2. When you include the one Washington Nationals make-up game, the Mets three out of four. Digging deeper, they’ve lost 10 out of their last 16.
3. Unless there was a sinkhole on the infield dirt, Luis Guillorme, who was charging in on the ball, was not out-running Ronald Acuña to third.
4. Only Jacob deGrom could have a seven inning game where he allows three runs while walking none and striking out 14 a bad start.
5. It’s very troubling Sandy Alderson hired Mickey Callaway (or at least was the GM when Jeff Wilpon did it), hired Jared Porter, and came extremely close to signing Trevor Bauer. Oh, and he was the guy who brought back Jose Reyes.
6. There’s absolutely no place for Bauer in baseball.
7. We’re starting to see more Jeff McNeil at third late in games. He should be there everyday.
8. Mets are a clutch James McCann three run homer from the walls caving in on them.
9. He was injured, but David Peterson hasn’t been good or consistent all year. The sad part is even with that they still need him.
10. Maybe it’s a blip, or maybe the league has figured out Sean Reid-Foley, but his last few appearances haven’t been good.
11. The Thomas Szapucki outing was disheartening as he didn’t really show any indication he’d be ready to help the Mets this year.
12. Tylor Megill has more than earned more starts, and seeing everything, Corey Oswalt should be slotting in behind him in the rotation as they continue to stretch him out.
13. Albert Almora has now surrendered more homers and RBI than he’s hit. Good on him for volunteering to pitch, but there’s no reason for him to stay up over Billy McKinney when Brandon Nimmo is healthy.
14. Mets need a lot more of what Dominic Smith provided this past week, especially since his LF defense isn’t good.
15. Pete Alonso has been hitting a lot better of late, but sooner or later, he needs to start hitting a home. The same could be said for this entire Mets team.
16. With the great second base defense Jose Peraza has provided and his big hits the Mets should be really be considering his role going forward with the team. You could argue he should be playing everyday.
17. The Mets will never do it, but J.D. Davis still has minor league options and can’t refuse an assignment to Syracuse. Given how he can’t play a position, and his activation may force a Peraza DFA, he should be sent to Syracuse where he can actually learn how to play defense.
18. Speaking of Syracuse, it’s an embarrassment to the Mets and MLB that the Mets organization is not providing housing and other needs to minor leaguers they’re barely paying.
19. The quote was met with derision but hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum is right. He needs to focus on processes. When processes are correct and clicking, the runs will then follow.
20. The Mets and Yankees both head into the Subway Series in complete disarray and with the threat of all three games being rained out.
Albert Almora Pitched, So It Was an Ugly Loss
The New York Mets had a 2-0 lead when Pete Alonso hit a first inning two run homer off Max Fried. It was a down hill from there . . . way downhill.
David Peterson immediately gave up the lead in the bottom of the first. After a scoreless second, the Braves plated two more against him in the third.
Then, in the fourth, it all fell apart. After one run had scored increasing the Braves lead to 5-2, and one on, Peterson left the game with an injury. Sean Reid-Foley came in, and he was battered.
While the Mets wanted multiple innings from Reid-Foley, they got 0.2. In that stretch, he allowed the inherited runner to score before allowing four of his own.
This all but forced Thomas Szapucki to make his MLB debut. With Szapucki being a top prospect, and his potentially needing to take Peterson’s spot in the rotation, you wanted this to be the feel good story.
On the bright side, Szapucki escaped that jam allowing just one inherited runner. Past that, he wasn’t great allowing homers to Ozzie Albies and Ehire Adrianza.
The worst thing Szapucki did was not finish the game. He was completely out of gas after 3.2 innings, and he loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth. Luis Rojas had enough, and he brought in Albert Almora, Jr. to pitch.
When Almora surrendered a homer to Ozzie Albies, Almora officially allowed more homers and RBI than he has hit and driven in this season. Basically, that’s the tale of how the Mets lose 20-2.
It’s just time to say nothing more about this one. Before moving on completely, the Mets need to figure it out soon because their +16 rum differential is now -2, and more importantly, their division lead is down to two.
Game Notes: Dellin Betances will have season ending shoulder surgery. Jonathan Villar was pulled from his rehab start in Syracuse. Mets finished June 15-15.
For once, it was nice watching another team struggle through a bad bullpen, but you still would’ve hoped the New York Mets made more of their opportunity against that dreadful Philadelphia Phillies bullpen:
1. Deepest condolences go out to Marcus Stroman who lost his grandmother.
2. The fact Stroman pitched through the pain of losing a loved one is another in a long series of how no one should ever question his heart or dedication. Again, this is the type of player and person the Mets want to keep around past this season.
3. Corey Oswalt has been really good and looks well poised to take over the role Robert Gsellman once had. That’s good because it doesn’t look like Gsellman is coming back anytime soon.
4. That spark Michael Conforto provided the Mets offense sure seemed short lived.
5. On that note, the Mets offense is aware they don’t have to wait for the ninth for a rally, right?
6. It’s really difficult to pinpoint what’s wrong with Jeff McNeil other than bad luck. His batted ball numbers are extremely similar to previous seasons. With that being the case, they just need to stick with him.
7. The Mets really need to switch McNeil with Luis Guillorme defensively. Aside from struggles in a COVID impacted season, McNeil is a good third baseman. Guillorme is other worldly at second and not so great at third. It’s time to fix this.
8. Zack Wheeler dominating the Mets is just another example of just how impossibly bad Brodie Van Wagenen was as a GM.
9. Just imagine if the Mets had Wheeler behind Jacob deGrom. They’d be absolutely impossible to beat in a postseason series. It would really be on the level of 2001 Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.
10. deGrom is so amazing two earned over six innings is considered a bad start. When your worst is better than 99% of the league’s best, you know deGrom’s season is beyond hyperbole.
11. The Mets have a bit of a Pete Alonso problem. He’s just nowhere near his 2019 form, and he just seems to be getting further away. More troubling is the struggles hitting at home.
12. That’s not exclusive to Alonso. The Mets also have a Dominic Smith problem, and basically [INSERT PLAYER] problem. McNeil was noted above, and Conforto’s power had seemingly disappeared.
13. Brandon Nimmo appears nearing his return, and the Mets offense seems to need him. That’s problematic considering there are more than enough bats already in this lineup.
14. When Nimmo does return, Billy McKinney needs to stay on the roster. He’s earned his spot and has significantly outperformed Albert Almora.
15. Mark Vientos and Carlos Cortes are flat out raking in Double-A and need to be moved to Syracuse ASAP. They need to be ready to help this roster if needed come August and September.
16. David Peterson had a strong start. He needs to start stringing them together.
17. Francisco Lindor had a huge game winning hit, and he increasingly looks like the player he was in Cleveland.
18. There’s been focus on Guillorme’s batting average, but he’s got a terrific .403 OBP. Considering he’s an eighth place hitter, you can’t ask for more than that. That goes double when he just finds a way on base in the late innings.
19. It’s funny. The Mets have gone 6-6 in a 12 game stretch against the NL East, and their 4.5 game lead is now 4.0 games. The only real change now is the order of the trans behind them.
20. At some point, the Mets need to go on a run. To that, Noah Syndergaard does say the Mets are a second half team . . . .