Antonio Bastardo

Robles Should Be the Eighth Inning Guy

This time of year we get announcements that seem like news. When they’re said, it had to be covered because it is the team making an announcement. For example, when the Arizona Diamondbacks announced Zack Greinke as their Opening Day starter, it was met with a collective eye roll. 

I felt the same way when the Mets announced Hansel Robles would most likely make the Opening Day roster

Of course he is. Robles kept getting better and better last year. In the second half, he pitched 31.1 innings in 31 appearances. He had a 3.16 ERA with a 0.894 WHIP and a 12.1 K/9. He limited batters to a .171/.246/.450 batting line. Over the whole year, he showed an ability to get both righties and lefties out.

The issue isn’t whether Robles will be on the Opening Day roster. It should be what his role should be. Robles should be given the eighth inning. 

Right now, that spot is being given to Addison Reed. For his career, Reed has a 4.01 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, and a 9.3 K/9. Like Robles, he is effective against righties and lefties. However, his performance is typically uneven over the course of a year. 

The other option is newly signed Antonio Bastardo.  In his career, he has a 3.58 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, and an 11.0 K/9. Although he’s a left, he shares Robles’ and Reed’s ability to get both righties and lefties out. The one caution with Bastardo is he seems to be an every other year player. Following his ERAs, his ERA is around 4.00 in even numbered years, and it is under 3.00 in odd numbers years. His ERA+ in those years support the every other year scenario. We’re heading into the 2016 season. 

Just judging on the statistics, Robles should pitch the eighth inning. However, 31 appearances is a very small sample size to make such a judgment.  It’s even more so when you consider that you’re moving him ahead of two established relievers the Mets are paying quite well. There’s so thing else to consider, Robles has dominating stuff. 

Robles repertoire includes a 96 MPH fastball, 87 MPH change, and an 88 MPH slider. Each one of these pitches became more effective as Robles learned how to incorporate the quick pitch.  That quick pitch is another reason why Robles should pitch the eighth. 

Jeurys Familia also likes to use the quick pitch. It’s come to the point that batters are aware that he’ll do it. They have to come prepared each and ever at bat. Same goes for when Robles is on the mound. The Phillies will tell you that goes doubly for Familia. 
However, it’s one thing to prepare for it. It’s a whole other thing to have seen it in an earlier at bat.  If Robles comes in during the sixth or seventh inning, he’s bound to use the quick pitch. He needs to use it to be his most effective. Whether or not Familia needs it is a whole other question all together. He likes using it. 

A batter having seen the quick pitch in a game is bound to be more prepared for it later in the game. The batter will be most prepared for it when the game is on the line. With that said, why let these batters be better prepared to face Familia’s quick pitch?  The Mets shouldn’t. Instead, the Mets should keep Robles and Familia as close together as possible. 

Robles has the stuff. He has the results. It’s better for Familia. Robles should pitch the eighth in 2016. 

Henderson Can Make the Opening Day Roster

One of the fun things about Spring Training is the guy who plays so well, he forces his way onto the Opening Day roster. 

In 1996, Butch Huskey hit nine homeruns in the Spring forcing the Mets to make him the Opening Day rightfielder even though he never previously played the position. In 2004, Tyler Yates had a 0.64 Spring Training ERA to get the fifth starter’s job. Yates beat out bigger Mets prospects like Aaron Heilman and Grant Roberts

These players weren’t even darkhorse candidates to win the positions they ultimately attained on the Opening Day roster. Yet, they were able to win their jobs because they were that good in the Spring. More importantly, the Mets had a spot for these players. The Mets were held competitors for these positions, and these players performed so well that the Mets had no choice but to give them the job. 

Looking over the 2016 Mets, there’s only one spot up for competition, and that’s in the bullpen.  Right now with Jeurys FamiliaAddison ReedAntonio BastardoJerry Blevins, and Hansel Robles, there are two spots up for grab. The names you’re apt to hear are Sean GilmartinLogan Verrett, and Erik Goeddel. Each pitched well out of the bullpen last year and deserve consideration. 

Another name that deserves consideration is Jim Henderson

If you don’t recognize the name, it’s understandable. He’s only pitched in 14 games in the majors the last two years due to a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. Those 14 games were two years ago when he registered a 7.15 ERA. With all that said, Henderson should not be disregarded. He has a legitimate shot at making the Mets Opening Day roster. 

Prior to the shoulder injury, Henderson was a very good reliever. Between 2012 and 2013, he made 97 appearances. He had a 2.98 ERA, 1.180 WHIP, 3.03 FIP, 133 ERA+, and 11.9 K/9. He only allowed 0.9 HR/9. In 2013, when the Brewers made him the closer, he recorded 28 saves. 

He can help the Mets. Now that he has completed his rehab, he has a fastball that can touch 95 MPH. He knows how to strike guys out. For his career, he has just dominated righties. He has limited them to .183/.241/.284. At a minimum, he can be a specialist to get out tough right handed batters. Ideally, he can be the Chad Bradford to Blevins’ Pedro Feliciano. In order for that to happen, he just needs to get an opportunity. 

Fortunately for him, Terry Collins seems like he is going to give Henderson a legitimate shot. As he told Anthony DiComo of

His history is very intriguing. I know he’s a couple of years out of sugery now, which we’re hoping makes a big difference. I saw him inMilwaukee, and he was very, very good. I’m just hoping we can catch lightening in a bottle. 

It’s fair to say, Henderson has impressed Collins. It’s half the battle. All Henderson has to do now is go out there and perform this Spring Training. Like Huskey and Yates, he has to dominate in the Spring. He has to give the Mets no choice but to put him on the roster.  

Editor’s Note: this article also appeared on

Thank You Carlos Torres

We are all guilty at times of becoming too focused on statistics when it comes to determining a player’s worth. Sometimes we overlook the value of being able to take the ball whatever the situation. Ultimately, that was Carlos Torres‘ greatest attribute. 

Over the past three years, Terry Collins stretched that rubber arm of his to a breaking point. Torres served as a spot starter, long man, and set-up guy in his three years with the Mets. In his time with the Mets, he averaged over 1.1 innings per appearance. Torres’ rubber arm allowed Collins to rest the other arms in the Mets bullpen. There is immense value in a pitcher that can constantly take the ball in a variety of spots. 

However, saying Torres’ value was taking the ball whenever needed is underselling him. Torres was an effective pitcher with the Mets. Torres had a 3.59 ERA, a 1.253 WHIP, and an 8.2 K/9 in his three years in Flushing. He was a good pitcher. Unfortunately, after all the time and hard work he put in with the Mets, Torres was hampered by a hamstring injury which prevented him from pitching in the postseason. 

However, that’s not to say he didn’t have an impact on the 2015 season. He started and finished the most amazing defensive play of the season:

We also discovered he might’ve been the fastest Met on the team. Finally, he gave up his number 52 for Yoenis Cespedes. I expected nothing less from someone who was a team first guy. 

With the Mets signing Antonio Bastardo, there wasn’t any room for him left on this Mets team. It’s a cruel twist of fate we see all too often in sports. A guy gives everything he has to help a losing team, and when things begin to turn around, he is sent packing. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the way things work. Sure, Torres deserved better, but that still doesn’t mean there was room for him on the 25 man roster. 

With that said, it shouldn’t come as no surprise that Torres didn’t return to the Mets. Not even on a minor league deal. Instead, Torres signed a minor league deal with the Braves. He should have no problem making their Opening Day roster as Torres can fill any role he teams needs. 

Teams always need a player like Torres, and I’m sure at varying points of the season, so will the Mets. He was a player who brought real value to the team. It certainly leaves a hole in the organization not having him and his rubber arm around anymore. He was a good Met, and he will be missed. 

Thank you Carlos Torres. 

Thank You Tyler Clippard

Last season, the Mets trading for Tyler Clippard was the first sign that the Mets were all-in on the 2015 season. The Mets gave up a very promising prospect in Casey Meisner for three months of a middle reliever. 

When Clippard came to the Mets, he immediately locked down the eighth inning. When the division was still in doubt, from July 28th to September 16th, he pitched 26.1 innings in 26 appearances with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He limited batter to a .182/.257/.364 batting line. He combined with Jeurys Familia to make Mets games seven inning games. Combined with the Mets starting pitching, you have a 20-8 August and the Mets putting away the Nationals and the NL East. 

With that, Clippard completed his goal of “chasing down [his] old teammates there in Washington.”  He wanted bragging rights over his old teammates, and he got them. 

Unfortunately, Clippard suffered a back injury. His production fell off significantly. He wasn’t the shut down reliever he was when he first joined the Mets. That Clippard was missed in the World Series. He was the loser in Game Four, which was probably the turning point in that series. After that the Mets apparently felt he didn’t deserve the two-year deal they gave Antonio Bastardo

Personally, I thought with the offseason, Clippard would’ve had time to heal and become that eighth inning option again. I’m still surprised the Mets thought he was worth a potential ace, saw him perform well, and now think he’s not worth a two year deal. Well now, the Mets loss is the Diamondbacks gain. Now, Clippard is an ex-Met after him doing everything he could do to help the team win the NL East. He leaves with those bragging rights.

The Mets now have bragging rights over everyone in the National League. With that, we all owe him a small debt of gratitude.  When he comes out of that bullpen door come this August, he deserves to be cheered.  He deserves that much.

Thank you Tyler Clippard. 

How Much Money Will the Mets Have to Re-Sign Their Pitching?

One of the many blurbs that have surfaced from Yoenis Cespedes press conference is the Mets believe they can keep this young rotation together:

Now, the $200 million is conjecture. To be fair, if you polled most Mets fans, or really anyone for that matter, they would agree with this assessment. Rather than take it at face value, I figured it would be better to actually try to figure out if it’s possible.

Of all of the Mets pitchers, Matt Harvey has reached the arbitration stage of his career, and he agreed to $4.325 million to play in 2016. He will be a free agent in 2019. That’s the key timeframe because that’s the point when these starting pitchers will start receiving large free agent deals. 

Right now, the Mets payroll stands around $140 million.  Before figuring out how much these pitchers will cost, we should figure out which of the players on the payroll whose contracts will expire by the time Harvey first reaches free agency along with their 2016 salaries:

  1. Yoenis Cespedes $27.5 million (free agent 2019)
  2. Curtis Granderson $16 million (free agent 2018)
  3. Neil Walker $10.55 million (free agent 2017)
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera $8.25 million (free agent 2018)
  5. Bartolo Colon $7.25 million (free agent 2017)
  6. Addison Reed $5.3 million (free agent 2018)
  7. Antonio Bastardo $5.375 million (free agent 2018)
  8. Jeurys Familia $4.1 million (free agent 2019)
  9. Jerry Blevins $4 million (free agent 2017)
  10. Lucas Duda $6.725 million (free agent 2018)
  11. Jenrry Mejia $2.47 million* (free agent 2019)
  12. Ruben Tejada $3 million (free agent 2018)

Before proceeding, it should be noted the Mets only owe Mejia a pro-rated portion of the $2.47 million due to his suspension. Mejia served 62 games of his 162 game suspension last year meaning the Mets will owe him roughly $945,000 next year.

Without factoring in arbitration increases and the like, the Mets payroll will decrease by $98,995,000. That means the Mets payroll obligations would be around $41 million. When you look at David Wright‘s salary, it will actually decrease by an additional $5 million to reduce obligations to $36 million. On the other side of that coin, Juan Lagares‘ $2.5 million 2016 salary jumps to $9.0 million in 2019. That’s a $6.5 million increase. As a result, the Mets 2019 payroll obligations will be $42.5 million. 

If payroll remains stagnant, that means the Mets will have $97.5 million to fill out their roster and pay their starting pitchers. 

Part two will analyze how much of this money will be attributed towards position players. 

What’s Two Years for Clippard?

Last year, when the Mets had delusions of grandeur that the worst offense in Mets history could go to the World Series, the Mets traded for Tyler Clippard. In exchange for two months of Clippard, the Mets have up Casey Meisner, who was a well regarded prospect

Initially, Clippard delivered for the Mets. Up until his back injury, Clippard pitched very well. From July 28th to September 16th, Clippard made 26 appearances pitching 26.1 innings.  In those innings, he had a 2.73 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP limiting hitters to a .182/.257/.364 batting line. In short, he combined with Jeurys Familia to make it a seven inning game, which is all the more frightening for opponents when you consider the Mets pitching staff. 

Apparently, despite the Mets adding a couple of relievers, they are still interested in Clippard, but only on a one year deal. I don’t get it. Yes, Clippard had the worst year of his career last year. However, in the midst of that year, the Mets traded away a promising young starter. Now, the Mets don’t have to give up any young players. Instead, they only have to give Clippard an extra year. They’re balking at that second year. It doesn’t make sense. 

Keep in mind, the Mets just handed Antonio Bastardo a two year $12 million contract. Bastardo turns 31 in September. For his career, Bastardo has a 3.58 ERA, 109 ERA+, 1.198 WHIP, and an 11.0 K/9.  Last year, Bastardo pitched 57.1 innings in 66 appearances. He had a 2.98 ERA, 129 ERA+, 1.134 WHIP, and a 10.0 K/9. 

Clippard turns 31 in two weeks. For his career, he has a 2.88 ERA, 138 ERA+, 1.089 WHIP, and a 9.8 K/9. Last year, Clippard pitched 71.0 innings in 69 appearances. He had a 2.92 ERA, 134 ERA+, 1.127 WHIP, and an 8.1 K/9. 

Looking at the numbers, Clippard is a better reliever than Bastardo. Furthermore, Clippard established he could not only pitch well in New York, but he could also pitch well as the main set-up guy in a pennant race in New York. With that said, the Mets should offer Clippard the extra year, like they did with Bastardo, and get the deal done. 

Soups On the Opening Day Roster

As Sandy Alderson stated numerous times this offseason, the Mets payroll is expected to be around $115 million. With the Mets signing Antonio Bastardo, it  looks like the Mets payroll is around $115 million depending on the remaining arbitration cases. This probably means the Mets are done spending this offseason.  

If the Mets are done spending, that means the Mets will need to find a right hand hitting 1B/OF from within their organization.  Looking over the 40 man roster, there is one player that fits that description. Fan favorite Eric Campbell. Seriously, peruse the roster. Matt Reynolds  is a 2B/SS. Darrell Ceciliani is a left-hand hitting outfielder. The other prospects are future everyday players. 

No, it appears that right now Eric Campbell is going to make the Opening Day roster. For all the discussion of the Mets building a deeper, more versatile roster, we get Eric Campbell.

Now, there are some good things to say about Campbell. He’s a good pinch hitter. He’s willing to do anything and everything to play in the majors including learning how to catch. He has an unsustainably low BABIP, and he hits the ball hard. Those two things coupled together means he could have a much better year at the plate. 

With all that said, how is Eric Campbell in position to make the Opening Day roster. The Mets are less than a month away from Spring Training, and they don’t have a better option than Campbell to be the 25th man on the team. How is this excusable for a team that just won the NL Pennant and wants to return to the World Series?  Right now, the reason boils down to the Mets possibly having maxed out on their budget for the 2016 season before signing a better player for his spot. 

I like Campbell and all he represents. He cannot be on the Opening Day roster. As of right now, he probably will be. 

Note: this obviously changes if the Mets sign Cespedes. I may be in the minority, but I’m not confident that will happen. 

Bastardo Signing Fits a Theme

I can make a case that Antonio Bastardo was a bad or unnecessary free agent signing. He walks to many guys. Following his ERA+, he’s an every other year player, and next year is his bad year. The Mets were well represented from the left-hand side with Jerry BlevinsDario Alvarez, and Josh Edgin. Last year, Bastardo had less innings pitched than appearances. 

However, I’m not going to make that case. Bastardo appears to be that rare cross-over non-closer lefty reliever. For his career, Bastardo allowed lefties to hit .178/.277/.319 and righties to hit .211/.308/.332. He had a 1.198 WHIP and a 11.0 K/9. He limits the long ball. He has been durable. 

No, I’m again going to question this front offices’ obsession with steroids players. Bastardo is the third steroids player the Mets have signed this offseason. Bartolo Colon and Asdrubal Cabrera are the others. On top of that, the Mets offered Jenrry Mejia arbitration. This is the same Mejia who was suspended twice last year. The same Mejia the Mets were reportedly angry and disappointed with for the suspensions

How can the Mets say one cross word about Mejia when they keep bringing other steroid users into the organization?  It’s hypocritical. It’s apparent the Mets don’t care about steroids. They care about players getting caught. 

If you think I’m going too far with this, or you don’t care, please consider this tweet:

That’s right.  A roided up Bastardo beat a presumably clean pitcher for a job.  Meyer never pitched in the big leagues again, and Bastardo has a two year $12 million contract. Of course it came from the Mets. 

They love players who use steroids upo until the time they get caught. Then they’ll tell you how much they hate it. Hypocrites.