Billy Wagner

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 60 Scott Schoeneweis

As we have seen through this list of the Best Mets of All-Time, we see the choices for some uniform numbers are quite limited, and that is certainly the case with the number 60. The last to wear is was P.J. Conlon who made team history by being the first Irish born player to play for the team, and really the first in the Majors in nearly a century.

There was also Jon Rauch, who had two claims to fame. The first was surpassing Eric Hillman by an inch to become the tallest player in Mets history. The next was his dousing Matt Harvey in ice water as a way to haze the rookie. Other than that, his Mets career was productive (o.4 WAR) but relatively unremarkable.

Then, there is Scott Schoeneweis who had a very complicated two years with his hometown team.

His first season with the Mets was simply a struggle, which was due in large part to a severed tendon in his knee. To his credit, he gutted it out and continued pitching in what was an increasingly depleted Mets bullpen. It should also be noted he did exactly what he was signed to do.

In 2007, Schoeneweis limited left-handed batters to a .204/.208/.247 batting line notably not allowing a single homer and just four extra base hits. It needs to be noted even in a season where he really struggled and dealt with injuries his .262 wOBA against left-handed hitters was the best in the National League.

In fact, from 2007 – 2008, Schoenweis’ .249 wOBA was the second best in the Majors among those who had more than 50 IP against left-handed batters. Simply put, Schoeneweis was signed to be a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen to get left-handed batters out. If he had been limited to just doing that, perhaps his Mets career would have gone better.

For what it is worth, he was much better in 2008 with a healthy knee. In that season, he was 2-6 with a 3.34 ERA. Again, it should be noted he did the job he was supposed to do in getting left-handed batters out. In a memorable scene, he and Billy Wagner would also help the grounds crew get the tarp on the field.

In terms of Schoeneweis, while injured he was durable making 70+ appearances in consecutive seasons en route to becoming just one of four MLB pitchers to accomplish that feat from 2005 – 2008.

Unfortunately for Schoeneweis, he is not going to be primarily known for getting left-handed batters out, his durability, or for his helping get the tarp on the field. No, his lasting image as a Mets pitcher is his surrendering a home run to the right-handed hittin Wes Helms, who had pinch hit for the left-handed hitting Mike Jacobs on the final game of the 2008 season. That made him the losing pitcher in the final game ever played in Shea Stadium.

Despite that, Schoeneweis posted a respectable 0.8 WAR for a LOOGY in 2008. That’s the highest WAR out of any of the three players who has worn 60 with the Mets, and that is why he is the best Mets player to ever wear that number.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

46. Oliver Perez
47. Jesse Orosco
48. Jacob deGrom
49. Armando Benitez
50. Sid Fernandez
51. Rick White
52. Yoenis Cespedes
53. Chad Bradford
54. T.J. Rivera
55. Orel Hershiser
56. Andres Torres
57. Johan Santana
58. Jenrry Mejia
59. Fernando Salas

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 49 Armando Benitez

When it comes to Armando Benitez, there is so much over-focus on the times he blew a save you almost get the impression he was a bad closer. Really, he was far from it. In fact, he is one of, if not the, most dominant reliever the Mets have ever had in their history.

For the most part, Benitez was an unknown to Mets fans when he was part of the Todd Hundley three way deal which netted the Mets Benitez and Roger Cedeno. He was not an unknown for long as he burst onto the scene.

His Mets career started with nine scoreless outings and 15 strikeouts in 9.2 innings. He was a dominant set-up man for long established John Franco, and when Franco went down to injury, Benitez seamlessly stepped in as a the Mets closer. In fact, Benitez was so great as the closer that when Franco returned from injury he remained in the closer’s role.

While the narrative changed in subsequent years, Benitez was great when the Mets needed him most. Over the final month of the season as the Mets were desperately fighting for the Wild Card, he was 1-1 converting 6/7 save attempts with a 0.64 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 14.0 innings. He would be the winner of game 162 which forced the tiebreaker game against the Reds.

In that season, he was the second best reliever in all of baseball trailing just Billy Wagner in K/9, ERA, FIP, and WAR. While overlooked, he carried that into the postseason.

In that 1999 postseason, Benitez was 1/2 in save opportunities with a 1.00 ERA in 9.0 innings pitched over seven appearances. He would strike out 11 batters. Many remember him for blowing a save in Game 6, but they forget his save in Game 4, and they forgot his pitching a scoreless 10th in Game 5. After allowing that run in Game 6, he rebounded to get the final out of the inning to send that game into the 11th.

In 2000, Benitez was arguably even better than he was in 1999. Benitez had battling gout that year, but he spent most of that time inflicting the pain on batters setting what was then a Mets single-season save record with 41 saves. He led the league with 68 games finished, which is still a Mets record to this day.

When focusing on his struggles in the postseason this year, it is still important to remember he helped pitch the Mets to the postseason. He would also be the last Mets pitcher to ever record a World Series save at Shea Stadium.

Benitez would again set the Mets single-save mark in 2001, and he would set the Mets mark for saves over two seasons. From 1999 – 2001, Benitez had the fourth most saves in the majors, and he struck out more batters than any other reliever in baseball. Arguably, this made him the most dominant National League reliever over this time frame. Inarguably, he was instrumental in the Mets success during this period.

Really, why many fans don’t want to accept it, Benitez was a great closer, and he is one of the best in team history. His 11.8 K/9 is best among all Mets relievers, and his 2.70 ERA is ninth best. By WAR, he is the fourth best reliever, and saves, he is the second best Mets closer of all-time. By WPA, he is the fifth best pitcher to ever don a Mets uniform. Ultimately, he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 49.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto
31. Mike Piazza

32. Jon Matlack
33. Matt Harvey

34. Noah Syndergaard
35. Rick Reed
36. Jerry Koosman
37. Casey Stengel
38. Skip Lockwood
39. Gary Gentry
40. Bartolo Colon
41. Tom Seaver

42. Ron Taylor
43. R.A. Dickey
44. David Cone
45. Tug McGraw

46. Oliver Perez
47. Jesse Orosco
48. Jacob deGrom

 

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 31 Mike Piazza

There are two players who wear a Mets cap on their Hall of Fame plaque, and there are only two people who have had their numbers retired by the Mets for what they did as players – Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza.

The fact Piazza even became a Met was somewhat of a miracle. It required the Marlins to go into fire sale mode after winning a World Series. It needed the Dodgers to overreact to Piazza not agreeing to a contract extension. It required Todd Hundley to suffer a significant elbow injury. Finally, it required public pressure from the fans and airwaves for the Mets to do the right thing and get a superstar in his prime.

As Piazza would tell it, he went into the shower thinking he would be a Cub, and he came out a Met. There’s probably a euphemism to be made there.

After somewhat of a slugging start, one where he was incredulously booed, he took off, and he had probably the best stretch we have seen from any Mets catcher. To put it in perspective, Piazza had a .876 OPS in June, and his monthly OPS would improve each of the ensuing months to the point where he hit .378/.475/.720 for a Mets team trying to make their first postseason in a decade.

During that stretch, he would have his first memorable home run as a member of the Mets. During that September push for the postseason, he had a dramatic go-ahead three run homer against Billy Wagner with the Mets trailing 2-0 in the top of the ninth.

While that Mets team didn’t get over the hump, the Mets made sure Piazza would be a part of the Mets team who eventually did giving him the biggest contract in baseball. With Piazza with the Mets for a full season, things were different for this franchise. Suddenly, they had a superstar, and they were legitimate World Series contenders.

Piazza immediately made good on his contact with a great 1999 season. In that first full season with the Mets, Piazza hit .303/.361/.575 with 25 doubles, 40 homers, and 124 RBI. It was the second most homers a Mets player would have in a single season, and it would be the first time in Major League history a player had 40 homers without a multi-homer game. He would also set the franchise mark for RBI in a season, a record which still stands to this day.

There were so many big homers during that season. There was the beginning of his blood feud with Roger Clemens, who Piazza absolutely dominated. There was his legendary tape measure shot against Ramiro Mendoza, which helped the Mets take their first ever series in the Subway Series:

That would not be the only big homer Piazza would hit that year. Piazza had struggled in the 1999 postseason due to a thumb injury. That injury had actually kept him out of Games 3 and 4 of the NLDS. He would play through the injury during the NLCS, and then in the seventh inning of Game 6, Piazza would hit a game tying homer off of John Smoltz, who is one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all-time:

Unfortunately for Piazza and the Mets, while they made the comeback, they could not complete it losing that game in heartbreaking fashion. The next year, neither Piazza or the Mets would be denied.

In his Hall of Fame career, Piazza would put together a number of MVP worthy seasons. In 1998 and 1999, he was frankly overlooked, and in 2000, he was probably robbed of the award. In that season, Piazza would hit .324/.398/.614 with 26 doubles, 38 homers, and 113 RBI. Again, with Piazza, it wasn’t just the stats, it was when he did it. Arguably, to that point in his career, he hit the biggest home run he had ever hit when he hit a homer capping off the Mets 10 run inning against the Braves.

The Mets making a comeback like that against the Braves was indication the 2000 season was going to be different, and it was. This time, the Mets were not going to be denied the pennant. One of the reasons why was this time Piazza was healthy, and he would have a great postseason.

In the NLCS, he would lead all players in OPS. To a certain extent, you could argue he was once again robbed of an MVP. He would lead the Mets to their first World Series. That’s when Piazza would be treated unfairly.

It was not Piazza’s fault he was attacked by Clemens, and he did the smart thing staying in that game. It also gets overlooked far too often Piazza would homer later in that game to give the Mets a chance to win. He would also homer in Game 4 of the World Series to give the Mets a chance to win that game and get back into the series. Overall, Piazza would leave that postseason as the Mets all-time leader in postseason homers (since passed by Daniel Murphy).

The shame for Piazza is he would continue playing at a high level while his teammates had a noticeable drop-off in production in 2001. He was almost single-handedly tring to keep that team afloat, and to a certain extent he did as the Mets did have at least an outside chance of making the postseason when September came.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. On September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers fell in a terrorist attack devastating the city and the country. Baseball would be shut down for a while, and there was not only trepidation over when it would be safe to play sports again, but also when it would be safe to return to New York. When baseball did resume, it was the Mets who were the first New York sports team to play in the city. In the bottom of the eighth, Piazza hit not only the most important homer in his career, but arguably in the history of the City of New York (and baseball):

Piazza’s Mets career would take some strange twists and turns from there. There was the botched first base experiment with Art Howe, and there was the issue whether or not he ever demanded a trade. There were the rumors about his sexual orientation and the awkward press conference which ensued. He would also battle some injuries.

Through all of that Piazza remained a very good to great player. He would first hit his 300th homer, and later on in his career, he would break Carlton Fisk‘s record for home runs by a catcher. The 2005 season would be his last one with the Mets, and he would get a chance to say good-bye to the Mets fans who adored him. Mets fans adored him even to the point where he would received a curtain call when he returned to Shea Stadium as a member of the Padres and homered off of Pedro Martinez.

When Piazza left the Mets, he left as the team’s all-time leader in slugging, and he is second in OPS. He is also in the top 10 in several offensive categories. That includes his being third all-time in homers, RBI, and OPS+. That is in addition to all the Major League records he has as a catcher.

In sum, Piazza was the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, and he was the best catcher in Mets history. As a Met, he was a seven time All-Star winning five Silver Sluggers and finishing in the top 15 of MVP voting four times.

An argument can be made he was the most important position player to ever don the Mets uniform. He caught the final pitch at Shea and the first one at Citi He is a Hall of Famer, and he is now the former player who throws out the first pitch for important moments in franchise history. To put it succinctly here, he is the best Mets player to ever wear the number 31.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

25. Pedro Feliciano
26. Terry Leach
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy

29. Frank Viola
30. Michael Conforto

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 25 Pedro Feliciano

There is a real case to be made here for Bobby Bonilla as the best Mets player to wear the number 25. Through all of the negatives associated with him and his career, by wRC+, he is the Mets 10th best hitter. He was a two time All-Star in his first four year stint with the Mets. He did what the team needed him to do whether that was playing right field or third base.

No, Bonilla was never popular, and things go continually worse. There is far too much negative associated with him now whether it was him playing cards with Rickey Henderson during Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS or his deferred payments which are made to be an annual fiasco.

However, none of those reasons are why he wasn’t selected as the best Mets player to wear the number 25. No, the reason why he wasn’t selected was because Pedro Feliciano is the greatest LOOGY in Mets history.

Feliciano first came to the Mets in 2002 when they were looking for a taker for Shawn Estes. When Estes didn’t hit Roger Clemens and with the Mets having a terrible year, it was time to move on from him. Not quite knowing what they had in him, the Mets first waived Feliciano to make room on the 40 man roster only to sign him as a free agent after the Tigers first claimed then released him.

That began what was a very interesting subplot to Feliciano’s career. This was the first time in his career Feliciano left the Mets organization. He would do it again in 2005, 2011, and 2014. Despite that, in Feliciano’s nine year Major League career, he would only wear a Mets uniform.

In his first stint, he was a middling reliever who had to go to Japan to hone his craft. As noted by Michael Mayer of MMO, Feliciano altered his throwing program, and the smaller strike zone helping him hone is command. This improvement helped him secure a minor league deal to help him return to the Mets. Back with the Mets, he worked with Rick Peterson to drop his arm angle. From that point forward, he became a great LOOGY.

Arguably, that 2006 Mets bullpen was the best bullpen in team history. Notably, in a bullpen with Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez, Aaron Heilman, Chad Bradford, and Darren Oliver, it was Feliciano who led that bullpen in ERA+. He’d accomplish that feat with the Mets again in 2009.

In that 2006 season, left-handed batters would only hit .231/.272/.316 off of him. He’d strike out 44 left-handed batters while only walking five. That equates to him striking out a whopping 34.6% of left-handed batters that season. He would then get some big outs that postseason.

In Game 1 of the NLDS, he relieved John Maine in the fifth, and he struck out Kenny Lofton with runners on first and second with no outs. In Game 3, he retired Nomar Garciaparra with the bases loaded, and when the Mets took the lead in the top of the sixth, he would be the winner of the game clinching victory.

Overall, that postseason, Feliciano made six appearances, and he pitched to a 1.93 ERA. Ultimately, in that disappointing postseason which fell just one hit short of the World Series, Feliciano did his job. That was a theme for Feliciano, he came in and did his job.

Beginning in 2008, Feliciano would lead the league in appearances. He would lead the league in appearances in each of the ensuing two seasons. His constantly appearing in games led Gary Cohen to dub him Perpetual Pedro. He would be used so frequently, Feliciano would achieve the very rare feat of appearing in over 90 games in the 2010 season.

When making that 90th appearance, Feliciano became the first left-handed reliever in Major League history to appear in 90 games. When he broke the single-season mark for a left-handed reliever held by Steve Kline and Paul Quantrill.

In appearing in 92 games in 2010, he made more appearances over a two year span than any left-handed reliever in history. In fact, in Major League history, only Mike Marshall and Kent Tekulve have made more appearances in back-to-back seasons, and they did that in the 1970s.

Since the turn of the century, Feliciano is the only reliever to appear in 85+ games not only in two seasons in a row but three season in a row. In fact, from 2006 – 2010, Feliciano would appear in 19 more games than any other reliever, and he would appear in 50 more games than any other left-handed reliever.

Through it all, Feliciano would appear in 484 games as a member of the Mets. Only John Franco would appear in more games as a Mets reliever. Among Mets relievers, his .212 batting average against and .263 wOBA against left-handed batters is the best, and both are by significant margins.

Taking everything into account, Feliciano is the best LOOGY in Mets history, and it is by a very wide margin. When you are ultimately the best at what you do than anyone else in the 58 year history of your franchise, you should be considered the best to ever wear your number.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

13. Edgardo Alfonzo
14. Gil Hodges
15. Carlos Beltran

16. Dwight Gooden
17. Keith Hernandez
18. Darryl Strawberry

19. Bob Ojeda
20. Howard Johnson
21. Cleon Jones
22. Al Leiter
23. Bernard Gilkey
24. Art Shamsky

John Franco Hall Of Fame Case

In 2011, John Franco had his first and only year on the Hall of Fame ballot. After garnering just 4.6% of the vote, he was five percented off of the Hall of Fame ballot. Had he received just three more votes, he could have stayed on the ballot one more year, and we could have seen what, if any, momentum could have been made towards getting him inducted into the Hall of Fame.

At the time, you could understand why Franco did not last long on the ballot. After all, Lee Smith, who retired as the all-time saves leader, had only received 45.3% of the vote in his ninth year on the ballot. At the same time, any and all things relievers had done over the 70s, 80s, and 90s were being completely dwarfed by Mariano Rivera. For an electorate still widely holding onto a feel approach, you could see why Franco didn’t feel like a Hall of Famer.

However, times change. Since Franco fell off of the ballot, we have begun to see a standard emerge for the induction of relievers into the Hall of Fame. When you start to break some of them down, you see Franco belongs in the Hall of Fame.

To start, we should denote the relievers who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame are Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith, and Mariano Rivera. Looking at the group, Eckersley was the first pure one inning closer inducted, and we have to move forward to Hoffman’s induction for the one inning closer who did not have a stint as a starting pitcher.

To determine how Franco matches up with these relievers, we should first look to Franco’s career stats. In parenthesis is where Franco stacks up against the eight relievers already inducted into the Hall of Fame:

  • Saves 424 (4)
  • Games Finished (4)
  • ERA 2.89 (6)
  • ERA+ 138 (4)
  • WAR 23.4 (9)
  • WAR7 15.3 (9)
  • JAWS 19.4 (9)

Starting with the clear negative, Franco does not have the advanced WAR stats to make a clear and distinct case why he should belong with the eight members already inducted. On that note, relievers as a group fall well short of the already established Hall of Fame WAR standards.

Looking at position players and starting pitchers, catchers have the lowest average WAR among Hall of Famers. That WAR is 53.6 which is significantly higher than the 39.1 WAR for the average Hall of Fame closer. If we were to hold tight and fast with the WAR standard, with the exception of Eckersley and Rivera, all closers would fall short. To a certain extent that makes a WAR predicated arguments on closers somewhat flawed.

Really, when you break it down, closers appear to be the ultimate in compilers getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hoffman was the classic example of that. Despite his not being as good as a closer as Smith in terms of ERA+, Hoffman was inducted by the writers, and Smith had to wait for the Veteran’s Committee.

One interesting thing about Hoffman was he only led the league in saves twice, and he never led the league in games finished. Notably, Franco led the league in saves three times, and he led the league in games finished twice. Like Smith, Franco falls short of Hoffman’s save totals. However, no left-handed reliever has accumulated more saves than Franco.

Since 1994, Franco has led all left-handed pitchers in saves. That’s two more saves than Billy Wagner, who is getting increasing support for the Hall of Fame. It is also 66 saves more than Randy Myers who has the third most saves among left-handed relievers.

Looking at the overall saves picture, Franco is fifth all-time in saves. Looking at the active closers, the soon to be 32 year old Craig Kimbrel has 346 saves putting him 78 saves behind Franco. At a minimum, that means Franco will remain in the top five for at least a few more years. If Kimbrel’s knee and elbow problems from the 2019 persist, he may never get there.

When we look across the history of baseball, putting aside the steroids caveat which impacts players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, any player in the top five in a major statistical category is in the Hall of Fame. In fact, it goes much deeper than that. Taking out the steroid players and the ineligible ones like Pete Rose, it is really players in the top 10 to 20 in significant statistical categories are in the Hall of Fame.

Then, there is Franco. He has been in the top five all-time in saves for well over 30 years now. It appears he will remain there for another 10 years. He will likely remain there much longer than that, and he will likely be atop the left-handed reliever all-time saves list for nearly a century.

Like Harold Baines, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee, Franco did not seem like a Hall of Famer in 2011. Nearly a decade later, he still may not feel like a Hall of Famer. However, with each passing year his left-handed saves record stands and each year he remains in the top five all-time in saves, we may soon feel like someone who has more saves than literally tens of thousands of relievers belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Mets Money Would’ve Been Better Spent On Zack Wheeler

If you look at the Mets bullpen, the theme appears to be “If.” If this bullpen is healthy, and if this bullpen performs to its full potential, it is going to be one of the best in the game.

The flip side of that is if it isn’t, we’re going to see more of the same.

Still, you can absolutely go to war with a bullpen of Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Wacha, and Robert Gsellman.

In some ways, this is reminiscent of the great 2006 bullpen which added Billy Wagner, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, Chad Bradford, and Darren Oliver.

Then again, it could be the disaster that was the 2007 bullpen which had added Scott Schoenweis, Ambiorix Burgos, and Aaron Sele.

That’s the way it is with bullpens. You just try to acquire as many quality guys as you can, and you hope it works. Perhaps with Jeremy Hefner, this is more primed to work.

One thing we do know is starting pitching can help a bullpen. The deeper starters can go, the less you need to go to the well. This keeps your relievers healthier and fresher which hopefully leads to better productivity.

That brings us back to what the Mets have opted to do with their pitching this offseason.

In signing Betances, Wacha, and Rick Porcello, the Mets have spent $23.5 million guaranteed. That number rises to $30.5 million if Wacha hits all of his incentives.

That $23.5 million figure is important because that’s just a hair off of what the Phillies are paying Zack Wheeler per year.

Essentially, the Mets believed Porcello plus a reclamation project in Wacha and Betances. With Betances, remember prior to the Achillies, he had dealt with a shoulder impingement and lat issue all through the 2019 season.

Even when Betances did return, he admitted to his stuff and velocity not being there. That was before he partially tore his Achilles.

Yes, Betances is an arm well worth the gamble. Not only has he shown the ability to flat out dominate, but he’s also shown the ability to do it in New York. That’s important.

Still, you really have to wonder about the wisdom of rolling the dice on three relievers when you’re already rolling the dice on two relievers who were supposed to be your top two relievers. Add to that the significant downgrade from Porcello, who you’re also rolling the dice on, from Wheeler, and you’re left wondering if this was the best allocation of resources.

That does double when you consider Wheeler stays in the division making the Phillies significantly better.

Ultimately, the 2020 bullpen and pitching staff as a whole may be better. Then again, the bullpen could be more of the same with the pitching staff as a whole far worse.

Of course, the Mets bullpen could’ve remained the same and been far better as a result of Diaz adapting better to New York, and the elimination of the super ball helping him, Familia, and the rest of the bullpen.

That’s the gamble the Mets took. They decided on adding a group of lesser pitchers being better than the known quantity in Wheeler.

It’s not a smart bet, but it’s still possible the Mets bet pays off. No matter what, the Mets better be right here.

Mets Fan Ideal 2019 World Series Winners

First and foremost, we all know the ideal 2019 World Series would involve the Mets beating whichever American League team won the pennant. As it stands, the 2019 World Series winner is not going to be an ideal situation for Mets fans. To that end, here’s a ranking on what Mets fans would probably like to see happen.

Houston Astros

The Mets and Astros broke into the Majors together in 1962. Through that time, the only time these two franchises ever really clashed was the 1986 NLCS. In the NLCS, there were (proven) allegations Mike Scott was scuffing the ball. Fortunately, thanks to a miracle rally in Game 6 and Keith Hernandez threatening Jesse Orosco if he threw another fastball, the Mets prevailed in that series.

Really, if you want to be sour grapes about the Astros, you could pinpoint how an Astros World Series would cement their status as a better expansion franchise than the Mets. Still, when you see the other options, that is the least of Mets fans concerns.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals franchise began in 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos. Before the time the Expos moved to Washington, the only real issue you’d have is the Expos taking out the Mets in 1998 ending their Wild Card dreams. Of course, with the Expos sending the Mets Gary Carter in 1985, you could overlook it.

Really, if you look deeper, there isn’t much to the Mets/Nationals rivalry. The two teams have only been good together in three seasons. In 2015, the Mets embarrassed a Nationals team who choked figuratively, and thanks to Jonathon Papelbon attacking Bryce Harper, they literally choked too.

In 2016, Daniel Murphy tipped the power balance between the two teams, but that still didn’t keep the Mets out of the postseason. After that season, the Nationals would remain a competitive team while the Mets fell by the wayside.

This year, the two teams were good again with some memorable games. The August 10th game was a real highlight for the Mets with Luis Guillorme‘s pinch hit homer followed by J.D. Davis‘ sacrifice fly to give the Mets an exciting victory. Of course, the less said the better about Paul Sewald, Luis Avilan, Edwin Diaz, Ryan Zimmerman, and Kurt Suzuki, the better.

New York Yankees

Putting aside Yankee fans crowing about all the rings won back in the days of the reserve clause and the game being integrated, there is enough history between these teams to despite the Yankees. There’s Derek Jeter being named the MVP of the 2000 World Series. As bad as the blown game against the Nationals was, Luis Castillo dropping Alex Rodriguez leading to Mark Teixeira scoring the winning run arguably felt all the worse.

Since Interleague Play started, this has been an intense rivalry with the Mets having a number of low moments. Aside from these, there was Mariano Rivera being walked to force in a run, Johan Santana having a career worst start, and everything Roger Clemens. Really, Clemens throwing a ball and bat at Mike Piazza with the Yankees who once accused Clemens of head hunting rushing to his defense is sufficient enough to hate them.

Of course, we then have Joe Torre, who has been the one who not only delivers the message but also defends Major League Baseball not allowing the Mets to wear the First Responders’ caps on 9/11.

St. Louis Cardinals

The so-called “Best Fans in Baseball” called the New York Mets teams of the 1980s pond scum. That’s how intense this rivalry was, and really, continues to be.

Going back to the 1980s, this was as intense a rivalry as there was in baseball. You can pinpoint to any number of plays and player like Terry Pendleton, John Tudor, and so much more. Even with realignment, this rivalry never truly subdued. The Mets got the better of the Cardinals with Timo Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, and NLCS MVP Mike Hampton running roughshod over the Cardinals.

In 2006, Adam Wainwright freezing Carlos Beltran is forever crystalized into everyone’s minds. Beyond that was Scott Spiezio‘s game tying RBI triple off Guillermo Mota (why did he shake off Paul Lo Duca) and So Taguchi‘s homer off Billy Wagner. There was much more including Albert Pujols trash talking Tom Glavine (back when that was a bad thing).

Overall, the absolute worst case scenario is a Cardinals-Yankees World Series. Really, Yankees against anyone is the worst case scenario. Of course, that is the worst case for this World Series. The real worst case is seeing what Brodie Van Wagenen has in store as he tries to top trading away Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to get Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

Trading Catalina For Font Is A Symptom Of A Much Larger Problem

When analyzing the Mets acquisition of Wilmer Font, it is important to start with who Font is before turning to what exactly the Mets parted with to obtain him. When it comes to Font, the Mets really obtained a duplicative asset who wasn’t of much, if any, value.

Font is a 29 year old reliever with a career 6.39 ERA, 1.493 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and a 7.7 K/9. He has a career -0.3 WAR He has never made more than 19 appearances or pitched more than 44.0 innings. Last year, he pitched for three teams. That’s the way it usually goes for players with tantalizing talent who cannot translate their success to the Major League level.

He certainly tantalized the Rays last year with a 1.67 ERA (with peripherals which screamed regression) in nine appearances for them last year. Of course, the real Font returned this year. In 10 appearances for the Rays, he had a 5.79 ERA with a 3.2 BB/9. With him being out of options, it would appear it was only a matter of time before Font was designated for assignment than being a trade asset.

As we know, the Mets would step in and make a trade for Font. Despite having Corey Oswalt and Chris Flexen, two pitchers with comparable stats to Font, the Mets made the trade for Font. Instead of signing Hector Santiago, and touting him as a former All Star, the Mets made a trade for Font. Instead of calling up Casey Coleman, a pitcher with better results at the Major League level in his career, and who was showing he was capable of being that three inning reliever Font truly is, the Mets swung a trade.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. The Mets were well within their rights to prefer Font over the pitchers they already had. Certainly, F0nt’s ability to be plugged in right away helped his case. While that may be the case, the point to remember here is Font is a bad Major League pitcher with no value whatsoever.

The Mets then traded an asset for Font. The asset was an 18 year old pitcher named Neraldo Catalina.

Now, not much is known about Catalina other than his age and the fact he signed for $150,000 out of the Dominican Republic. Yesterday, Mets Minors had a write up on him. Basically, Catalina is a power arm with a strong build who was going to debut stateside this year.

There are any number of potential outcomes with Catalina. He could be like any number of teenage pitchers who sign out of the Dominican Republic who don’t pan out to be anything. It’s certainly possible he could be nothing more than a footnote listed in the transaction portion of Font’s Baseball Reference page. He could also pan out to be like Jeurys Familia, who had signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic back in 2007.

But that’s the thing, Catalina has the potential to be anything. He’s an asset, and it’s why the Mets used their bonus pool money to obtain him. After all, if the team didn’t think he was worth anything, they wouldn’t have given him anything.

It’s the same exact situation with Felix Valerio. Does anyone really know what the Mets had in Valerio? Probably not, but the problem is the Mets are included in that group of people. As reported by Fangraphs, the Mets don’t scout beneath full-season ball. This means players like Valerio, who played in the Dominican Summer League, aren’t scouted by the Mets. Considering short season affiliates have not yet started their seasons, the Mets supposedly revamped front office has not had the opportunity to self scout players like Valerio or Catalina.

To make matters worse, the Mets are trading players of whom they have little to no knowledge for players who are out of options and are on the brink of getting cut. It was Catalina for Font, and it was Valerio for Keon Broxton, who has been terrible. Yes, the Mets also gave up Bobby Wahl and Adam Hill in the Broxton deal, but that’s also the point. They included Valerio in a deal where Wahl and Hill should have been sufficient.

Should fans be up in arms over losing Catalina? Maybe. We honestly don’t know. He could be great,and he could be terrible. With him not pitching one inning in the Mets organization, no one can know anything for certain. But that’s also the point here. The Mets don’t know what they have in these players, and they are trading them anyway.

They’re doing it because they’ve become very short-sighted in their win-now mentality. That’s odd considering that mentality which does not extend to signing Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel or to guaranteeing a rotation spot to Gio Gonzalez over a terrible Jason Vargas. The Mets are also doing it because they’re playing the odds that even if Catalina does eventually succeed it will be so remote in time that no one is going to immediately link Catalina to Font or the Mets.

In the end, Catalina is a symptom of a problem. This trade is an example of the poor depth the Mets built this past offseason. It’s a further indication the team not only is unaware of the value of their assets, they also don’t understand the value of bottom of the roster players on the trade front. Mostly, it’s another sign of how the team is more than willing to do away with organizational depth and talent instead of actually spending the money which was required to build the team into the “Come get us!” team the Mets advertised themselves to be.

2019 Mets Postseason Doppelgangers

There have been a few times in the Mets history where they have surprised or even shocked the World in making their run to the postseason. The biggest example is 1969, which occurred 50 years ago. The Mets would make their Miracle run in 1973, and they would emerge in 1999, 2006, and 2015.

When you look at those rosters, there are players who are comparable to the players on this year’s Mets roster. Here’s a look at how it breaks down:

Catcher

Travis d’Arnaud (Todd Pratt) – d’Arnaud may very well be pressed into action more than anticipated, and as we saw in the 2015 postseason, he can deliver some big hits when needed.

Tomas Nido (Jerry Grote) – A defensive oriented catcher who helps takes his pitchers over the top and more than makes up for whatever offensive issues he may have.

Wilson Ramos (Paul Lo Duca) – Ramos may not have been the catcher the Mets may have originally expected to bring in during the offseason, but like Lo Duca, he could be the perfect fit for this team and surprisingly be a very important piece to this club.

Infield

Pete Alonso (Michael Conforto) – Alonso is the young prospect who is getting thrown into the fire and expected to be a key bat in a lineup who are trying to overcome the Nationals.

Robinson Cano (Rickey Henderson) – Cano was brought in to be the Hall of Fame caliber player who could take this team over the top.

J.D. Davis (Matt Franco) – Players who will predominantly be pinch hitters who are going to be counted upon to provide those key unexpected game winning hits.

Todd Frazier (Ed Charles) – Both were better before joining the Mets, but they proved to be glue guys in the clubhouse making the team better for their presence alone.

Luis Guillorme (Anderson Hernandez) – Tremendously gifted middle infielders whose gloves helped earn them a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Jed Lowrie (Jose Valentin) – Switch hitters who were brought to serve as a bench piece for the Mets who could be pressed into duty more than anticipated, which could be of great value to the team.

Jeff McNeil (Cleon Jones) – Homegrown Mets ready who show their previous year breakouts were not flukes, but rather an indication they are key members of a winning team.

Amed Rosario (Jose Reyes) – Reyes figured it out in 2006, and he became a dynamic and exciting player. This can be that year for Rosario.

Dominic Smith (Ed Kranepool) – Both probably rushed and mishandled as prospects, but they both still had a lot of hits in their bats making them valuable pieces for their club.

Outfield

Keon Broxton (Xavier Nady) – The imported outfielder who has not yet lived up to expectations has an opportunity to prove himself on a talented roster.

Yoenis Cespedes (Donn Clendenon) – The Mets are relying on a big bat to come after the All-Star Break and get this team a World Series, who better than the guy who delivered that in 1969?

Michael Conforto (David Wright) – The time is now for the homegrown player to put it all together and have an MVP caliber season to put this team over the top.

Juan Lagares (Endy Chavez) – Chavez was the defensive oriented player who was pressed into more action than anticipated, and his play on the field was a big reason the 2006 Mets came withing a game of the World Series.

Brandon Nimmo (Edgardo Alfonzo) – Homegrown Met oft overlooked who may actually prove to put up the best season of all the players on the roster.

Starters

Jacob deGrom (Tom Seaver) – deGrom is the staff ace coming off a historically great season, who needs to stay at a high level for the team to make the postseason.

Noah Syndergaard (Noah Syndergaard) – The Mets need Thor to be Thor.

Zack Wheeler (Jacob deGrom) – It was deGrom’s building off of a surprising 2014 season which helped take the Mets over the top in 2015. It’s exactly what everyone is expecting from Wheeler in 2019.

Steven Matz (Al Leiter) – Hometown left-handed pitchers who have a chance to help be a big part of the reason why the Mets make a run to the postseason.

Jason Vargas (Bartolo Colon) – Vargas is the veteran below-league average starter who needs to stick in the rotation while just eating up innings.

Corey Oswalt (Logan Verrett) – The Mets need a low round drafted prospect to put together a string of great starts to help put this team over the top. With his increased velocity, this could be Oswalt.

Chris Flexen (Octavio Dotel) – Spot starters who have the repertoire to potentially do much more damage in the bullpen.

Hector Santiago (Darren Oliver) – Pitchers who once had success starting who could be valuable long men in the bullpen.

Bullpen

Edwin Diaz (Billy Wagner) – Wagner was the sure-fire reliever at the end of the bullpen who helped make games an eight inning affair.

Jeurys Familia (John Franco) – One time great Mets closer is now serving as the set-up man for a young brash fireballer brought in during the offseason.

Seth Lugo (Nolan Ryan) – Just pure dominating stuff out of the bullpen from a guy who would probably be a starting pitcher for any other Major League team.

Robert Gsellman (Pat Mahomes) – The key piece of the 1999 bullpen who permitted the Mets bullpen to be as great as it could possibly be.

Justin Wilson (Dennis Cook) – Pitchers who are more than LOOGYs who raise their game in the biggest stages.

Luis Avilan (Pedro Feliciano) – Feliciano was the LOOGY out of the bullpen who was a weapon the Mets could utilize to neutralize the opponent’s top left-handed batters.

Tim Peterson (Greg McMichael) – Strike throwers who don’t have dominating stuff.

Jacob Rhame (Heath Bell) – The guys whose stuff have not quite yet translated to performance leading them to bounce between Triple-A and the Majors.

Paul Sewald (Carlos Torres) – Jack of all trades reliever who does yeoman’s work eating up innings.

Daniel Zamora (Royce Ring) – Promising young LOOGYS who should dominate in their limited opportunities.

And finally, there is Mickey Callaway, who we are hoping will be able to accomplish what Willie Randolph accomplished by proving himself a good manager in his second year and by leading the Mets to being the best team in the National League.

 

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Who Should The Mets Bring Back To The Organization?

This offseason, the Mets have begun hiring some former fan favorites as special advisors to Brodie Van Wagenen. David Wright was the first with the team recently hiring Al Leiter and John Franco. We have also seen the team swap Nelson Figueroa with Todd Zeile for the postgame. In addition to those moves, Mike Piazza made his annual stop at Spring Training.

Seeing how the Mets are focusing more on their history, and recent history at that, you wonder who exactly the team will bring back next. We answer that question in our latest roundtable:

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I want to see Justin Turner come back and play third base.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

My list of ex-Mets I’d welcome back in some capacity is too numerous to detail. I love the idea that these guys are forever part of the family as applicable.

Tim Ryder (MMO)

I’d like to see Carlos Delgado back representing the Mets in some capacity. His dedication to his craft (remember that notebook he wrote in after every at-bat?) would play well in this young-ish clubhouse, as well as through the organization.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

Does Jarred Kelenic count?

Really though, this is more of an overall thought than a concrete idea, but Billy Wagner is one of the least-recognized greats in baseball history. By pretty much any measure he’s the second best modern-style closer of all time, and he’s already pretty much forgotten. I’m not sure the Mets should be the ones to honor him, but someone needs to.

Mets Daddy

Previously, I opined how Johan Santana could be a real difference maker in the organization if he were able to teach pitchers his changeup much in the same way he once did with Jacob deGrom. However, from a pure standpoint of wanting to bring a player back into the fold, I would like to see Carlos Beltran return to the Mets.

As it stands, Beltran is going to be in a position where he can choose a Royals, Mets, or a blank cap when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. When you’re the Mets, and you only have two Hall of Famers in Tom Seaver and Piazza, and Seaver is no longer making public appearances, it would see a team should do all they can do to bring one of those Hall of Famers back to Queens.

Once again, I appreciate each of these writers taking their time to contribute to these roundtables, and I hope each person who reads this takes the time to visit the other writers sites to see their excellent work.