Heading into this series, Mickey Callaway said how he wanted to get a better look at his younger relievers and put them in higher pressure spots. With Jason Vargas starting for the Mets, you knew today was going to be the day.
That was even the case with Michael Conforto hitting a first inning three run homer.
Vargas would get through the first unscathed, but he would allow David Freese to hit a two run homer. This would be the first two of the five runs Freese knocked in on the day.
While Vargas somehow got out of a fourth inning bases loaded jam, Callaway would lift him after he issued a one out walk to Jordan Luplow. At that point, Vargas had already thrown 84 pitches, and the Pirates were about to go through the lineup a third time.
First up was Seth Lugo, who wasn’t as sharp as he’s been all season. After loading the bases, he allowed a two out two RBI single to Freese to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
One of the two runs were charged to Vargas, who somehow lowered his ERA after allowing three in 4.1 innings. His season ERA is now 8.13.
After his two-thirds of an inning, the Mets got him off the hook in the sixth in what was a rally that most fell short.
Fortunately, the Mets would inadvertently score on the Reyes line out. On the play, Conforto faked down the line leading to Luplow trying the ball nowhere near home. As it rattled around the backstop, Conforto did score.
In the bottom of the inning, Tyler Bashlor would get himself into trouble by loading the bases, partially due to him walking two batters. Bashlor got out of the jam by getting Josh Harrison to hit into an inning ending double play.
After that, Bashlor would pitch a scoreless seventh.
Harrison led off with an infield single. Amed Rosario made an incredible play to stop the ball, but he couldn’t get it to first with him on his backside. Gregory Polanco then ripped a line drive through the shift to set up runners at the corners with no outs.
After walking the bases loaded to set up an out at any base, Freese hit a deep fly to right to end the game 5-4.
Overall, there as some good work from these young Mets arms, but there was still speed bumps, even from those who pitched scoreless innings. Given where the Mets are, the team starting to get a real look at them made this a good game for the team.
Game Notes: The Mets played one man short as right before the game Asdrubal Cabrera was traded to the Phillies.
Well, it may not have been the prettiest of games, but the Mets came to play, and they beat the Pirates pretty handily.
The homer gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, and the team was off and running.
To Matz’s credit, he settled down, despite him apparently not feeling well, he gutted through six innings keeping the Pirates to the four runs. He would also strike out a career high nine batters.
Because the Mets bats exploded, he would get the win.
One of the big reasons why was Asdrubal Cabrera putting on a show in what is likely one of his final games in a Mets uniform. Overall, he was 3-5 with two runs, a double. homer, walk, and four RBI.
The first big inning for the Mets was the fourth, and it was aided by two big Pirates errors.
After a Cabrera two run homer, Conforto reached on a Harrison fielding error. Later that inning, with bases loaded and two outs in the inning, Freese threw it away allowing Devin Mesoraco to reach safely and Brandon Nimmo to score.
Jose Bautista would get thrown out at home with him trying to score from second. That would end the inning with the Mets leading 7-4.
The Mets bats awoke again in the seventh, and it began with a beautiful Jeff McNeil, who was starting his first game, base hit:
Q: Can he bunt?
— Good Fundies is short for Good Fundamentals (@goodfundies) July 27, 2018
It was an uneven game for McNeil in his first ever start. He was 1-2 with a run and two walks, and he did help turn two 5-4-3 double plays. He also made an error and base running mistake in the game. Fortunately, not only did they not cost the Mets the game, but his positives did outweigh his negatives in this game. It should come as no surprise the team is 3-0 in games he has played.
After a Mesoraco single, Jose Reyes predictably failed to deliver the big hit by popping out to Freese. Where Reyes failed, the player he is supposed to be mentoring (but isn’t) came up a delivered what could have been the final blow in the game. Rosario’s RBI single gave the Mets an 8-4 lead.
With Pirates reliever Rich Rodriguez throwing a wild pitch, Mesoraco was able to get to third and Rosario to second. This would not just allow Mesoraco to score on a Cabrera grounder to the right of the pitcher, but it would put Rosario to score on another wild pitch during Conforto’s at-bat. At that point, it was 10-4 Mets, which is a rare place for this team to have been lately.
Things were going so well for this team, Matt den Dekker would even contribute hitting a sacrifice fly in the eighth. In fact, Flores would hit one as well in the ninth giving the Mets a then 12-5 lead.
It is remarkable how the Mets had three sacrifice flies in this game. Those are the sort of small ball runs this team had been leaving on the bases all season long. While it has been a rough first year for Mickey Callaway, we are seeing this team improve fundamentally by getting bunts down and their starting to take advantage of these run scoring opportunities.
Surprisingly, Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald would get the first cracks out of the bullpen. Blevins might’ve helped his trade value with a scoreless inning. Sewald struggled after two quick outs, but he did get out of his inning having allowed just one run scored.
It was the same story for Drew Smith. He got two quick outs before getting into minor trouble, minor because the game was nowhere near jeopardy. After he allowed one run, the Mets would win the game 12-6.
Surprisingly, this team is not only on a three game winning streak, but they are also over .500 in the Month of July. Oh what could have been.
As a second straight Mets season has completely fallen apart, there has been discussions about whether the Mets should blow the whole thing up. Those discussions have been ramped up with Yoenis Cespedes being out for at least 10 months with his having double heel surgery.
There’s talent present which could make the Mets winners in 2020 or even 2019. However, for that to happen, the Mets will need to add some pieces.
Fortunately for the Mets, this could go down as one of the most consequential free agent classes in Major League history. Teams will be lining up to throw money to Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, Clayton Kershaw, and A.J. Pollock.
Given all that has happened, the Mets will have the money to be competitors on the free agent market. In fact, they are going to be quite flush with cash.
Even if the Mets do not trade anyone who is due money past this season, the Mets will have money freed up because there are a number of contracts expiring after this season:
- AJ Ramos – $9.225 million
- Asdrubal Cabrera – $8.25 million
- Jerry Blevins – $7 million
- Devin Mesoraco* – $5.625 million
- Jose Reyes – $2 million
With respect to Mesoraco, there was an undisclosed amount of cash provided by the Reds when they obtained Harvey in exchange for Mesoraco. While Mesoraco is due $13.12 million this year, it was Harvey’s $5.625 million salary that was part of the Opening Day roster. Therefore, for the sake of calcualting how much money will be available, Harvey’s salary is used as the placeholder.
With the Harvey/Mesoraco caveat, the Mets will have $32.1 million coming off the books just from contracts currently on the books expiring after the season.
Subtotal $32.1 million
With the Mets trading Jeurys Familia, the team not only was able to acquire two prospects in Bobby Wahl and William Toffey, both of whom will be earning de minimis minor league salaries, but the team was also able to remove Familia’s $7.925 million from the books with the team getting some cash savings this season with the Athletics taking on the remainder of Familia’s 2018 salary.
David Wright has not played a Major League game since May 27, 2016. With each passing day and each additional set-back, it becomes increasingly unlikely we will ever see Wright play in another game for the Mets. Now when it comes to Wright, there are two factors at play which would give the team an avenue to spend more money this offseason.
First and foremost, Wright’s salary goes from $20 million in 2018 to $15 million in 2019. Right off the bat, that gives the Mets an additional $5 million to spend this offseason.
Additionally, Wright’s contract is fully insured with insurance paying 75% of Wright’s salary. As a result, the Mets will have an additional $11.25 million available to spend due to Wright’s inability to play.
But Wright is not the only injured player insured. In addition to Wright, Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract is also insured. That’s important in light of the announcement Cespedes will have double heel surgery and will be out at least 10 months. For what it’s worth, the Mets suggested he may be out longer than that.
Remember, Cespedes is out from 10 months from whenever he has the surgery. Not from the date of the press conference. With that in mind and for the sake of being conservative in the estimates, lets assume Cespedes is out for half the season.
With the Mets saying there is insurance that picks up over 50% of the salary owed to Cespedes, that means, the Mets will be able to recoup roughly 50% of a half’s seasons salary. With Cespedes due $29 million next year, insurance will pay at least $7.25 million. With each passing day that number will grow.
When combining the monies covered by insurance for Wright and Cespedes, the team will have an additional $18.5 million available to spend. When you include the $5 million drop in Wright’s salary, that number is $23.5 million.
As noted by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, ownership says it considers Wright’s contract part of the payroll, and the team does not reinvest the money saved into baseball operations. Putting aside what that means in terms of money available for a second, what this does mean is the team has saved and socked away $15 million of the $20 million due and owing to Wright this season.
The same likely applies to whatever the team can and will recover from insurance from Cespedes’ $29 million contract this season.
Additionally, the team saw savings of roughly $3 million for trading Familia, and they will likely see the same savings when other players are traded for the roster. Presumably, since that money is not being invested into baseball operations this season that would make that money available for 2019 and beyond.
For a moment, we can presume for a moment the $3 million saved on Familia can offset the $3 million pay increase due to Jay Bruce next season. Of course, the pay raises due in arbitration and the like will very easily be offset by the money saved on the Wright and Cespedes insurance policies. Really, there should be money to spare.
What This All Means
Looking at the Mets as currently constituted, they have tw0-third of their outfield set with Conforto and Nimmo. On the infield, they have Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario. They will also have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera, and Jeff McNeil, who could become part of a time sharing at either first or second. If he can get healthy, the team could have Bruce at first or right depending on the development of Alonso, or yes, even Dominic Smith.
All told, this means the Mets have the payroll room and the spots on the roster to add at least one player of significance. Perhaps even two.
With that in mind, with the Mets having $63.525 million to spend this offseason, there is no excuse why this team shouldn’t aggressively pursue Machado and Harper. They should come away with one of them plus an additional piece to help take them over the top like a Kimbrel, Pollock, or yes, even a Daniel Murphy (first base only).
If the Mets do that, this is a potential World Series contender, especially with this starting pitching. If the team goes out and does this, the fans will pack Citi Field to the gills.
The time for excuses is over. It’s time to act like a big market club with a chance to win a World Series.
Today was one of those games where you can see how this Mets team could be really good next year.
Zack Wheeler has clearly turned a corner in his career as evidenced by yet another terrific start tonight.
Through seven innings, he limited the Padres to two earned on four hits and one walk despite striking out just three.
The damage could’ve been worse, but Devin Mesoraco made a heads up play to throw to third on what was an odd decision on replay:
.@Padres challenge call that Manuel Margot is out at home plate in the 3rd; call overturned, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 25, 2018
Unlike Jacob deGrom last night, Wheeler was rewarded for his good start because the team scored runs for him.
The driving force of the lineup was once again Michael Conforto, who has been great since the All Star Break.
In the game, Conforto was 2-for-4 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI.
Awesome home run. Very, very sublime. pic.twitter.com/jiQVYjfs8H
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 25, 2018
The first run he scored was in the first. He hit a ball hard to the opposite field. Third baseman Christian Villanueva dove to knock it down, but he had no play on Conforto. Conforto would then score on the ensuing Mesoraco three RBI double.
The first runner who crossed the plate on that double was surprise leadoff hitter Amed Rosario.
Rosario has been slowly improving of late, and tonight was another step in the right direction. Not only did he draw a first inning leadoff walk against Padres starter Eric Lauer, but in his next at-bat, he would hit a triple.
Asdrubal Cabrera brought him home with an RBI single giving the Mets a 6-2 lead.
Even with Wheeler dealing, Conforto mashing, and Rosario setting the table, perhaps the biggest news was Jeff McNeil.
McNeil would finally make his MLB debut in the eighth. He pinch hit for Evans, and he hit the first pitch he saw for a single.
Despite the Mets assertions to the contrary, McNeil stayed in the game to play third where he would catch a pop out to record the final out of the Mets 6-3 win.
So yes, while this has been a dreadful season, the Mets do have the pieces to be a good team next year. We saw a glimpse of that tonight.
Game Notes: Seth Lugo allowed one run over the final two innings to preserve the win. The Mets still have made no GM or owner available to answer questions about Cespedes injury or second opinion. Instead, they let Mickey Callaway answer questions about it in the post-game.
Heading into this year’s Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series, the Mets had a decided advantage in starting pitching. Yesterday, that led to a win with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.
Up until that point, the Mets had a 1-0 lead due to a Michael Conforto second inning homer. That lead completely evaporated in the bottom of the fourth.
It started innocuously enough with a Giancarlo Stanton leadoff single. Then with one out in the inning, Matt den Dekker would make a number of defensive miscues starting with the Didi Gregorious RBI “triple.”
Throughout that fourth, Matz would make his pitches, but his team, specifically den Dekker, wasn’t making a play behind him. All told, it was a four run inning for the Yankees.
With two outs in the inning, Amed Rosario hit an RBI single that not only brought Conforto home, but it allowed Bautista to go to third. It mattered because Robertson threw away a pickoff attempt allowing Bautista to score. The rally would end there as den Dekker struck out.
The Mets would quickly see the 4-3 deficit grow and grow.
It’s hard to say Matz pitched well considering he surrendered five runs, all earned, but he did. The defense was that poor.
In the ninth, it seemed like Aroldis Chapman was in to pitch his inning and let everyone get home before the rain came later tonight. The issue with Chapman was he couldn’t get an out.
Now, it should be noted Asdrubal Cabrera should have been due up. The problem was he was ejected in the fifth after getting tossed arguing balls and strikes. When that happened, he joined hitting coach Pat Roessler who was tossed in the third for the same issue.
Cabrera was replaced in the lineup by Devin Mesoraco (as a DH). He’d face Chasen Shreve who came on for Chapman, get the most important at-bat of the game, and he’d hit into a rally killing 4-6-3 double play.
With that, the Mets did just enough to lose. Just enough.
Game Notes: Jeurys Familia was finally traded to the Athletics. Yoenis Cespedes was unavailable as he was too sore to play. As it turns out, he also needs surgery to remove calcifications in both heels. The recovery time is approximately 10 months.
Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a walk against Yankee starter Domingo German. After that leadoff walk, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Conforto, and third baseman Jose Bautista hit RBI doubles giving the Mets a quick 3-0 lead.
That lead would grow to 4-0 when Cespedes had a Yankee Stadium special ding off the foul pole:
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 21, 2018
That 4-0 lead was good for Syndergaard who had another five inning effort where he could not get that 1-2-3 inning.
Fortunately, Syndergaard, who was popping off at the mouth before the game, was able to navigate through the jams effectively. The only damage against him was a Giancarlo Stanton third inning sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, Cespedes led off the inning with a walk, advance to second on a Wilmer Flores one out walk, and he’d score on a Conforto RBI single.
Bautista walked to load the bases, and they’d come away with just one more run. With the Mets having a 6-1 lead, you knew it was a tight margin for the Mets pen.
Amed Rosario didn’t help matters playing poor defense and going 0-4 at the plate.
With that, the Mets carried a 6-5 lead into the ninth. With the team producing a run with Cabrera getting on, Flores going the opposite way to get him over, and a Conforto sacrifice fly would get him in.
Game Notes: Conforto had a terrific night going 2-4 with a run, double, and three RBI. Bautista has a nice barehanded play. Bautista started at third over Jose Reyes.
Do you want to get a sense of how this season would have gone if the Mets didn’t suffer all of these injuries? Well, tonight was the night.
After being on the disabled list for seven weeks, Noah Syndergaard return to the mound.
If not for a goofy Tanner Roark triple that rolled up the side wall, it’s likely Syndergaard escapes his five innings without allowing a run.
Still, he would allow just the one run, which is impressive considering both the layoff and the Nationals having the leadoff hitter on against him all five innings, it was quite a performance.
In total, he allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Oh, and he also had an RBI single.
While Syndergaard was trying to get his footing, it was Roark who looked rusty from the get-go.
This was another good game from Rosario who was 2-4 with a run, double, triple, and a stolen base.
Despite the hot start and continued base runners, the Mets would not add a run meaning the Mets bullpen would have to come up with 4.0 innings to protect a three run lead.
The only run that duo would allow was a bomb Matt Adams would hit off of Gsellman in the eighth. Gsellman would shake that off to record the six out save.
For a brief moment, we had a glimpse of how good this Mets team once was and how happy things were like when Nimmo made a diving catch to end the game.
When Todd Frazier landed on the disabled list, one of the justifications proffered for the Mets not calling-up Jeff McNeil was the organization views McNeil as a second baseman, and at the moment, the team still had Asdrubal Cabrera.
In true Mets fashion, their narrative and their actions made this statement and position increasingly absurd. And that’s before you consider Cabrera having an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base.
First and foremost, the Mets actually had Mickey Callaway say Jose Reyes was playing well enough recently to man third until Frazier returns. It shouldn’t shock anyone that since Callaway uttered those words, Reyes is 1-for-17 at the plate.
While Reyes was hitting, sorry not hitting, Cabrera would hyper-extend his elbow requiring him to come out early from one game and not start the next.
Now, this wasn’t an opportunity to call-up McNeil. Not for a game. However, this was a chance to play Dominic Smith. After all, the former first round pick and once first baseman of the future has only started in 16 of the Mets past 28 games.
Think about that for a second, the Mets actually went out of their way to start the soon to be 31 year old den Dekker in center over giving the 23 year old Smith playing time. Naturally, the Mets are now looking to send down Smith while presumably keeping den Dekker up in the majors.
It gets better.
The average age of the Mets bench last night was 26.0 years old, and that includes the 22 year old Rosario and the 23 year old Smith.
Remember, this is a Mets team who his now 17 games under .500. Sure, you can understand the concept of playing Bautista to try to pump up his trade value. However, it is unfathomable to sit both Smith and Rosario to get Reyes and den Dekker into the lineup.
If you think this is all a sick joke and a gross mismanagement of the team, we have yet to reach the best part.
Last night, McNeil, the guy the Mets solely viewed as a second baseman, played third base for Triple-A Las Vegas. On Monday, McNeil was just a second baseman. By Thursday, he was capable of playing third base. It didn’t take the Mets a week before completely upending their own narrative.
This just highlights how completely lost this entire Mets organization is.
The player the Mets view only as a second baseman is playing third base. The man who is supposed to be the first baseman of the future has played way out of position in left field over one-third of the time. Their starting shortstop, a player upon much of the future hangs, is sat because he’s playing too well.
The Mets would have to significantly improve things in order for them to start looking completely inept and confused. Really, this is as bad as it gets. But hey, at least the Wilpons are doing well financially.
Even when the Mets were at their best, Max Scherzer dominates them. In fact, as the Mets were preparing for what would be a pennant run, Scherzer threw a no-hitter against them.
Shockingly, the Mets were actually game against Scherzer tonight.
That rally sputtered with Bautista getting nailed by Taylor inches:
.@Nationals challenge call that José Bautista is safe at 2B in the 1st; call overturned, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 12, 2018
In the fourth, Bautista hit a solo homer, and Kevin Plawecki homered in the seventh.
It wasn’t enough as the Mets were chasing all night.
Aside from the Rendon at-bats, Matz had a pretty good game. He limited the rest of that lineup to six hits in 6.1 innings.
Still, he would be tagged with the loss.
The big hit for the Nationals came after Matz left the game. With the Mets down 3-2 in the seventh, Mickey Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face Bryce Harper. Harper would launch a homer to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead:
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 13, 2018
After that homer, Bautista and Michael Conforto drew back-to-back walks putting the tying run in scoring position with one out.
Since it was the eighth and not the ninth, Wilmer Flores fouled out, and den Dekker followed with a strikeout.
In the ninth, Plawecki led off against Ryan Madson with a single. That went nowhere.
The Nationals are back over .500 now and are in the thick of the postseason race. The Mets are 17 games under .500 and starting Reyes.
Game Notes: Jeff McNeil, a prospect the Mets previously said is only a second baseman, started tonight at third base. This is on the same night Bautista started at third for the Mets.
Well, the Mets are terrible, and we are at the point where the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline. Given the composition of their roster, there isn’t much in terms of trade assets unless you start giving away some pretty major pieces. Given the rise of the Braves and Phillies and this awful Mets season, it’s worth asking whether the Mets should burn it all to the ground and start over.
Then again, with Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper being free agents and the Mets starting pitching staff, there is a legitimate question whether the Mets truly need to tear it all down in a rebuild. With that as the pre-text, our Mets Bloggers offered their opinion as to whether any of the Mets players should be absolutely untouchable at the trade deadline:
I don’t think there’s anyone who is untouchable in this scenario. By doing so with sincerity severely handicaps one’s position in the trade market. I think that can be used to posture in an effort to drum up the cost, but in the end, the Mets cannot discount any one single trade scenario they are confronted with. But I also believe if they intend on contending next season, there’s no way they can trade any one starting pitcher. To get this value in free agency would cost 2-4x (if not more) that which they are paying now. That’s not to say Jacob deGrom will repeat his performance, or any one of them will be healthy, but its safe to say that about any starting pitcher. That plus the cost to get equivalent value in years they want to contend would make it foolish to trade from their only strength at this point in time.
No player should be untouchable if there is a team out there willing to give a lot of value in return.
I’m sorry, but I have to flake out and say it’s deGrom AND Noah Syndergaard. I know you said one, but these are two guys that should be built around. And if the Mets spent more money on the fringes of the roster, and on scouting and development, you could rebuild rather quickly. Also, sign players for their baseball ability, not for their clubhouse presence.
Everybody is listenable. That’s the key. The Mets should listen to everybody who asks about anybody — and start conversations as they deem fit. They can decide on who shouldn’t be touched from there.
But, honestly, all things being equal, I don’t want anybody laying a finger on deGrom.
Unless you are a player on an expiring deal, you should be untouchable because this team does not have a front office in place for next season. Seriously, should we trust John Ricco to trade Wilmer Flores or Zack Wheeler let alone deGrom or Syndergaard?
Say good-bye to Jerry Blevins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia. Maybe Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco if anyone will actually give you something in return. After that, unless you are firing Vargas and Jose Reyes into the sun, there’s no other realistic moves to be made . . . at least not by this front office.
As you can see in what has been a depressing season, there is still people putting out quality content about this team. While the Mets really don’t have much to offer at the trade deadline, these writers do. You should take the time to visit their sites.