Bobby Parnell

Sandy Alderson Should Want Focus On Payroll Instead Of His Record

In what has already been a frustrating offseason for Mets fans, Sandy Alderson has already uttered a statement that may prove to go down in “Panic Citi” history.  While speaking with reporters, Alderson suggested people “spend a little less time focusing on our payroll.”

If Alderson wants everyone to spend less time focusing on payroll, maybe it is time to focus on Alderson’s tenure as the Mets General Manager to see how it was the team has gotten to this position.

Injuries

During Alderson’s entire tenure, there have only been eight players who have played over 140 games in a season – Asdrubal Cabrera (2016), Ike Davis (2012) Lucas Duda (2014), Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2016), Juan Lagares (2015), Daniel Murphy (2012 – 2014), Jose Reyes (2017), and David Wright (2012).

This is because of a long list of injuries that have occurred to their position players.  This ranges from the ordinary (Yoenis Cespedes‘ hamstring issues) to the bizarre (Davis’ Valley Fever) to the tragic (Wright).

As poorly as things have gone for the position players, the pitching situation is even worse.  Johan Santana, Tim Byrdak, and Scott Rice suffered injuries that effectively ended their careers.  Same could be said for Bobby Parnell, Jeremy Hefner, and Jim Henderson.  The list goes on and on..

That list includes a starting pitching staff upon which this franchise was supposedly built.  Each of the treasured purported five aces have undergone surgeries that have cost them multiple months.  Matt Harvey may never be the same, and the same can be said for Zack Wheeler.

The irony is Alderson implemented the famed “Prevention & Recovery” mantra, and arguably things have gotten worse under his control.

Evaluating Own Talent

Now, there are varying reasons why teams choose to extend some players while not extending others, or why they choose not to re-sign other players.  Still, Alderson’s record is not exactly sterling on this front.

The main players discussed on this front are Murphy and Justin Turner.  However, there are some other less discussed players that have slipped through the Mets fingers.

The Mets traded Collin McHugh for Eric Young only to watch McHugh thrive elsewhere.  Chris Young was given a large one year deal, was released, and has been an effective player for the Yankees and Red Sox.  They released Dario Alvarez to see the Braves claim him and trade him to the Rangers for a former first round draft pick.  Finally, there was the Angel Pagan trade for a couple of players who amounted to nothing with the Mets.

The troubles evaluating their own players go beyond who they willingly let go.  It goes to those players the Mets opted to extend – Lagares, Jon Niese, and Wright.  None of these three ever amounted to the promise they had at the time the contracts were extended.  There are differing reasons for this, but in the end, the Mets proved wrong in those decisions.

The Draft

The glass half-full is that every first round draft pick made prior to 2015 has made the Majors.  Additionally, two of those players have made All Star teams.  The glass half-empty is the players the Mets have drafted have not lived up to their potential.

At a time the Mets need a starting center fielder, Brandon Nimmo isn’t even being considered.  This is not surprising as many see him as a fourth outfielder.

Coincidentally, the Mets also need a second baseman, and they are not even considering Gavin Cecchini for so much as a utility role let alone an opportunity to compete for a job in Spring Training.

The team was not at all enamored with Dominic Smith‘s rookie campaign, and they have publicly talked about bringing in insurance for him not being on the Opening Day roster.

The Mets had no 2015 draft pick because the team lost it signing Michael Cuddyer.  Effectively speaking, this decision cost the Mets two first rounders as the team’s lack of offense and health caused them to trade Michael Fulmer for Cespedes.  We have all seen Fulmer win a Rookie of the Year Award and make an All Star team in Detroit while the Mets have been desperate for pitching.

Justin Dunn has done little to quell the concerns he is a reliever and not a starter while Anthony Kay, the compensation for the reigning NLCS MVP, has yet to throw a professional pitch because of his Tommy John surgery.

This leaves Conforto, who should be a burgeoning superstar, but sadly we wait with baited breath looking to see if he is going to be the same player he was before separating his shoulder on a swing.

Free Agency

Alderson’s ventures into free agency have not been all that fruitful.  Of all the players who have signed multi-year deals, only Granderson has posted multiple seasons over a 2.0 WAR.  In fact, Granderson is the only player who has posted a cumulative WAR of over 4.0.

For those that would bring up Colon or Cespedes, their exploits are not attributable to their multi-year deals.  Colon accumulated 4.9 WAR with the Mets with 3.4 of that coming during his one year contract.  Cespedes has accumulated 7.2 WAR with the Mets with just 2.1 WAR coming last year in an injury plagued first year of a large four year deal.

It should be noted Alderson may not have much success on this front because the team has not gone crazy in free agency signing just a few players a year to Major League deals.

Depth

Even in 2015 and 2016, two years the Mets made the postseason, the Mets had depth issues.  This was why the team traded for Kelly Johnson in consecutive seasons.  It’s also a reason why in those consecutive years the Mets had to add to the bullpen.

Those seasons have taken a toll on the Mets prospect front.  They have sent away a number of assets and potential Major League contributors for a number of players who were attainable before the season began on reasonable deals.  Instead, the Mets thought they would be set with players like Eric Campbell

Synposis

Much of what is attributed to Alderson being a good General Manager is predicated upon a stroke of genius in obtaining Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra in exchange for R.A. Dickey.  Even with many fans wanting to give him plaudits for Cespedes, it should be noted the trade was made largely because of a series of missteps.  It should also be noted the Mets lost a pretty good pitcher.

Now, if you are going to defend Alderson by saying his hands have been largely tied due to the Mets payroll, remember, Alderson himself doesn’t want thinks we should spend a little less time focusing on that.

Sadly, we have to do that because the Alderson regime has had difficulties in evaluating their own talent and drafting high end talent.  If he had, the discussion would probably be the Mets fine tuning to make another postseason run instead of there being fan anger over how the payroll is restricting the Mets from building a World Series caliber roster.

Mets Only Hurt Themselves By Not Trading Duda Or Bruce To The Yankees

Heading into the trade deadline, there were rumors the Mets were willing to eat salary in order to maximize the return for a player. There were also the rumors the Mets would be willing to trade with the Yankees.

Ultimately, both rumors proved to be false.

When it came to Lucas Duda, the return from the Tampa Bay Rays was arguably weak.  In exchange for a top 10 first baseman, the Mets got a relief prospect.  Sure, Drew Smith could ultimately be a good reliever, but he’s still a reliever in the Vic Black/Bobby Parnell mold – big arm, hard time putting batters away.

The argument in response will be there was a weak market for 1B/DH players, and Duda had an e luring deal. Lost in the argument was the Mets failed to create a real bidding war.

As Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports reported, the Mets didn’t make Duda available to the Yankees. As an unnamed Yankees official stated, “he Mets just wouldn’t trade him to us.”

To those who were skeptical of the report, please turn your attention to the Jay Bruce trade.

In exchange for a player on pace for a 40 HR, 100 RBI season, the Mets received Ryder Ryan from the Cleveland Indians. Ryan is a former 30th round pick who is a converted reliever. In the deal, the Indians took on all of Bruce’s salary.

For those Mets fans thinking Bruce should’ve netted more, you might be right.

According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the Yankees were interested in Bruce, and according to his sources, the Yankees were offering two prospects many teams inquired about at the trade deadline. According to Carig, “Yankees would have covered only a portion of salary, but Yankees offered better players it seems.”

If true, this is complete and utter nonsense. The Yankees possess a deep farm system with players who could have helped the Mets in the long run.

Who cares if Duda or Bruce helped the Yankees win a World Series?  They weren’t helping the Mets win one this year. In fact, the only way these players would’ve helped the Mets win a World Series was to get an important piece in return who could have been a significant part of a winner. At the moment, it’s hard to make that argument for Smith or Ryan.

In reality, a Mets team who has been unwilling to spend commensurate with their market size and window of contention, once again took the cheap route. They dumped two players on smaller market teams and got underwhelming returns.

Their actions proved they were unwilling to ear salary for a better return, and they were unwilling to help the Yankees win. It was petty, small-minded, and it was bad business.

It doesn’t matter if this came from Sandy Alderson or Jeff Wilpon. What matters is it happened, and the Mets are arguably worse off for it. In the end, I really hope Smith and Ryan was worth it. Chances are they won’t be.

UPDATE: It gets better.  Not only did the Mets care more about money than the prospect return, but they also cared about those four meaningless games against the Yankees

Assessing The Lucas Duda Trade

Now, one thing I have been upfront about is that I am partial to Lucas Duda.  For me, seeing Duda go from the Mets organization was more than just seeing a good player leave, it does close a small chapter of my life.  Unlike most writers, I want to be upfront about my biases because everyone writes with some bias.  If you understand that, you’re better able to assess the evaluation.

Now before addressing this specific trade, Duda was arguably worth a second round pick or the equivalent due to the changes in the qualifying offer system.  Ultimately, when assessing the Mets trade of Duda for Drew Smith, the question is whether the Mets accomplished that in this deal.

The answer?  Maybe.

On the one hand, only earlier this year his trade value was just a fourth outfielder in Mikie Mahtook.  However, judging his value on that alone is silly.  It’s very possible the Tigers made a bad trade.  It’s also possible Smith got better as the year progressed.  With Smith, it seems both might be true.

Based on various scouting reports, Smith is a reliever who throws it in the high 90s and he can reach 99 MPH.  He combines that with a good but inconsistent curveball. Both pitches have been dominant for him this year with him going 1-2 with a 1.60 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, and an 8.0 K/9 across three levels of the minors and in two different organizations.  Smith certainly gets the most out of these pitches because he locates both of these pitches well.

Looking at the stats and his stuff, there is a lot to like.  He has been getting good results.  One thing that stands out with him is he has allowed just five extra base hits in 45.0 innings pitched.  Four of those extra base hits were doubles, and the lone home run he has allowed was to now fellow Mets prospect Peter Alonso.  Remarkably, that homer is the only one he has allowed in his career.

On the downside is there’s not a lot of strikeouts.  For someone with his stuff, you’d expect a lot more.  More troubling is the fact he has yet to strike anyone above Single-A.  It should be noted he’s pitched 4.2 innings above Single-A.  One of the reasons why his strikeouts are low could be his fastball is a straight fastball.

Given his repertoire and the low amount of strikeouts, as Mets fans we may be looking at another Bobby Parnell or Vic Black.  Depending on your point of view, that’s a good or bad thing.

Ultimately, Smith is an interesting relief prospect, but in some ways, he’s also a project.  Given Duda’s production, the Mets probably should have done better than this.  Arguably, they should have also received another lower level prospect in return to mitigate some of the boom/bust potential in Smith.

However, this analysis does ignore the down market for sluggers like Duda, and the fact Sandy Alderson probably waited too long to trade him.  It also ignores this is a pitcher with high upside.  If he hits his ceiling, and he’s in an organization where he very well could, you’re probably calling this trade a win for the Mets.

Another factor is this trade does make room for Dominic Smith to play sooner rather than later.  This will allow Smith to get his feet wet this year and make the necessary adjustments heading into the 2018 season to help him be a much better player.

Overall, the Mets likely sold low on Duda.  In the end, we’re probably not going to care much if Smith becomes the 10 time All Star Duda said he wants him to become.  We’ll care even less if Smith becomes a dominant late inning reliever.  As of today, anything is possible

WBC Reminds You Of David Wright’s Greatness

On the dawn of the World Baseball Classic, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard made some waves when he stated, “I’m a Met. Ain’t nobody made it to the Hall of Fame or the World Series playing in the WBC.” (Abby Mastrocco, nj.com).

Judging from attendance at Spring Training, Syndergaard’s belief is not something that is universally shared in the Mets clubhouse. Jose Reyes is one of the few major league players that have appeared in all four WBCs. He is joined on the Dominican Republic team by Mets relievers Hansel Robles and Jeurys Familia.

Fernando Salas threw his first pitch this Spring for Mexico. Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini have been stars for Italy. Seth Lugo and T.J. Rivera, two players arguably fighting over the last spots on the Opening Day roster, are playing with Mets back-up catcher Rene Rivera for an undefeated Puerto Rico team. Ty Kelly is both fighting for a potential roster spot and for a spot in the semifinal for Israel.

Point is, while Syndergaard doesn’t believe in the importance of the WBC, many of his teammates do. That includes team captain David Wright, who said, “Everybody has their right to their own opinion, and obviously Noah doesn’t think too highly of it. But I do. So I’m not sure if it’s just a different mentality, and I’m not sure if there’s a right or a wrong. But getting a chance to represent your country, and put that jersey on, and hear the chants of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ — that’s one of the highlights of my career. (Anthony DiComo, mlb.com).

It should be noted Wright wasn’t calling out Syndergaard like the time he and Bobby Parnell threw Syndergaard’s lunch in the garbage. He wasn’t singling out Syndergaard either noting other great players like Clayton Kershaw have opted not to play in the WBC without having to face the same scrutiny Syndergaard has. Rather, Wright was merely trying to speak to what the WBC has meant to him.

It certainly was one of the highlights of Wright’s career. In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Wright sent USA to the semifinals with a walk-off hit against Puerto Rico. In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Wright would loom even larger. He hit the decisive grand slam against Italy that helped propel the United States back to the semifinals. In the 2013 tournament, Wright hit .438/.526/.750 with two doubles, a grand slam, and 10 RBI. Wright was named as the third baseman to the All WBC Team. If not for his intercoastal injury before the semifinals, who knows if USA wins the WBC that year?

Among USA players in WBC history, Wright is second all-time in games played, third in hits, second in doubles, and first in RBI. He is a ,333/.400/.458 hitter in WBC history. He had two huge go-ahead late inning hits that propelled the USA into the semifinals. It is why Wright was dubbed Captain American. Overall, you cannot discuss the greatness of Wright’s career without mentioning the WBC.

It is an event that has mattered to Wright as much as any moment in his career. As Wright said, “Up to this point if you say, ‘Hey, what’s the most fun you’ve had on a baseball field?’ I’d say the World Series. But I would say in the conversation of cool things that I’ve gotten to do on a baseball field, the World Baseball Classic is toward the top of that list for sure.”

Overall, during Spring Training and the WBC, Wright has been noticeably absent. As his health issues continue to linger and keep him off the field, the 2013 WBC and 2015 World Series seem farther and farther away. However, those moments should not serve as the epilogue to a great career for a great Met. Rather, they should serve as highlights.

Deep down, each and every Mets fan must hope Wright has another chapter left in him. It may not happen in the WBC. It may happen in the World Series. And it may just happen this year.

Trivia Friday – Mets Who Have Had Tommy John Surgery

With this Mets team once again built on pitching, the fear continues to be that one of these pitchers will suffer an injury.  An even bigger fear is that injury will require Tommy John surgery.  This usually means a pitcher is gone for over a year, and as we have seen with Jeremy Hefner and Bobby Parnell, it is not an easy road back, nor is it a guarantee the pitcher will return to form.  That is why the route Seth Maness has chosen is so important to the Mets and all of baseball.  It creates the possibility that a player can return in-season rather than missing over a year.

Can you name the Mets currently on the 40 man roster who have undergone Tommy John surgery?  Good luck!


Jacob deGrom Josh Edgin Chris Flexen Erik Goeddel Matt Harvey Marcos Molina Zack Wheeler

The Importance of Seth Maness 2017 Season

Back in 2013, Mets fans were shocked and depressed when Matt Harvey missed the remainder of the regular season with a torn UCL.  Initially, it seemed Harvey did not want the surgery, but eventually he agreed to have the surgery.  Fortunately for Harvey, he went through the rehabilitation process with no setbacks, and he became an important part of a 2015 rotation that went all the way to the World Series.

While rehabilitating, he worked alongside former Mets starter Jeremy Hefner.  In 2012 and 2013, Hefner had performed better than expected with the Mets, and he finally seemed to carve out some type of a role in the organization.  The team even tendered him a contract while he was rehabbing from his own Tommy John surgery.  However, disaster struck, and Hefner would need another Tommy John surgery.  He would miss all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  The Mets would non-tender him, and he would have to agree to a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Now, with another arm injury, he has since retired.

These are just two of the countless stories we have seen with the Mets when it comes to Tommy John surgery.  Recently, we have heard terrific stories about how Jacob deGrom learned how to throw the change-up from Johan Santana while deGrom was rehabiliting from his own Tommy John surgery.  It was a great story, and it was something that forever changed the trajectory of deGrom’s career.  There have been other Mets who have had their career trajectories change due to the surgery.

At one point in his career, Bobby Parnell was deemed the closer of the future.  In 2013, he seemed to take over the role when he recorded 22 saves.  In 2014, he would be named the Opening Day closer.  It lasted all of one inning as Parnell was shut down and had Tommy John surgery.  He tried to come back in 2015, but he did not have the same velocity, and he did not have his command.  The Mets showed no interest in re-signing him leading to Parnell signing a minor league deal with the Tigers.  After six major league appearances that saw him post a 6.75 ERA, Parnell was released in August.

Of course, the biggest name with the Mets to have issues post-Tommy John surgery was Zack Wheeler.  Right before the 2015 season was set to begin, Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL.  He would have the surgery, and he would have a number of set-backs.  He was initially slated to be a part of the Mets starting rotation around the 2016 All Star break.  Instead, he would have a number of setbacks, and eventually, the Mets would shut him down for the season.  In total, he threw one inning for St. Lucie in a rehab appearance.  Now, the Mets are discussing whether they should move him to the bullpen for at least the start of the season.

Hefner, Parnell, and Wheeler show exactly why the experiment Seth Maness is undergoing is so important to the game of baseball.

For the past four seasons, Maness has been an effective reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Because of his own torn UCL, Maness would make his last appearance on August 13th, and it was assumed he would be headed for Tommy John surgery like so many other people have with the same injury.  He didn’t.

Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Dispatch reports Maness underwent a surgery called “primary repair” which is ” a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, not Tommy John’s reconstruction of the ligament.”  Like Tommy John once was, Maness is now a trailblazer that may have the name of a surgery attached to him.  The physician that performed the surgery, Dr. George Paletta, spoke about the procedure saying:

In select cases of UCL tears, with this technique, they have the real potential to not miss the next year.  This is potentially a huge stride forward in three ways. First, early results show a high success rate. Second, a return to play is cut by 40 percent. That’s a huge factor. We are able to accelerate the return-to-throwing (rehab) program for the athletes. With this technique at the end of 2016 we have a pitcher who is ready to pitch in games by opening day.

And the third way, as a consequence of this, in the right setting, one would feel more confident moving to surgery early on.

Believe it or not, Maness is a week away from being able to take the mound after a little more than seven months after the surgery.  It is expected the free agent reliever will be ready to pitch on Opening Day.  Once he takes the mound, there is going to be a lot of interest in his performance.

Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, another surgeon who performs this surgery and the managing partner at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, AL noted there is now a lot of interest in how Maness performs post-surgery:

People are watching this and it’s an interesting thing for all of us.  There is a lot that we need to learn from Seth, a lot that we need to learn from all of the guys (who have had it). We need the data. There are still so many hurdles to go over, but we’re excited to watch what is going to happen because of what is possible. We’re going to follow him very closely.

Therein lies the rub.  We had gotten to the point with Tommy John surgery where it had felt almost routine; where we looked at pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka and wondered why he just didn’t get the surgery.  The “primary repair” or Seth Maness Surgery is far from that point.  However, if Maness has a strong 2017 season, and a couple of more pitcher follow his path, and have similar success stories, the treatment fo UCLs may have been revolutionized.

There may no longer see the Harveys of the world miss more than a season.  We may also see an alternative route for the Hefners, Parnells, and Wheelers of the world.  Ultimately, when there is at least a chance pitchers will miss less time and have an alternative surgery that may work better for them, it is a time for cautious optimism.

And with that, a middle reliever who induces a number of groundballs could have one of the most important seasons in major league history.

Editor’s Note: this was first published on Mets Merized Online

Thor Trying to Avoid Tommy John Surgery

Going into the 2016 season, there is one fear each and every Mets fan has. We dare not speak its name, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still present. That fear is that a pitcher will get seriously injured. 

Looking at this year’s list of pitchers who could befall the dreaded “Verducci Effect,” Noah Syndergaard headlines that list. If Syndergaard was to suffer a season ending injury requiring Tommy John surgery? it would greatly hinder the Mets chances of winning not only the World Series, but also making it to the postseason. It’s something that not just Mets fans fear, but as Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports, Syndergaard fears it also:

I’ve thought about it quite a bit. But I trust myself to put my body in the right situations to be able to perform at a healthy level. 

The fear is justified. Syndergaard threw 65.2 innings more last year. He throws over 95 MPH more than anyone in the game. He’s working to add the fabled Warthen Slider to his already dominant repertoire. Name a risk factor for UCL years requiring Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard meets most if not all of them. 

One risk factor not readily discussed is the team he plays for. Look at the projected Mets rotation when healthy: Matt HarveyJacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. Put aside Syndergaard for a moment. What do the other four have in common?  They are all hard throwing pitchers under the age of 30 who have already had Tommy John surgery. 

Go outside this group. Since Warthen took over as the Mets pitching coach, the following homegrown Mets have sustained arm injuries: Jon Niese (shoulder), Dillon Gee (shoulder), Jeremy Hefner (two Tommy John surgeries), Rafael Montero (shoulder), Bobby Parnell (Tommy John), Josh Edgin (Tommy John), Jack Leathersich (Tommy John). There are more, but you get the point. 

Now, is this an organizational problem since Warthen took over, or is it just bad luck?  Could this all have been avoided?  Back in the 60’s and 70’s the Mets developed pitchers like Tom SeaverJerry KoosmanNolan Ryan, and Jon Matlack. These pitchers threw more innings than the pitchers today, and yet, Matlack was the only one of this group that suffered an arm injury. 

In the 80’s, the Mets had Dwight GoodenRon DarlingSid Fernandez, Rick AguileraRandy Myers and David Cone. Of this group, only Doc and Cone had arm issues. It should be noted that Doc had many other issues as well, and Cone’s problem was an aneurysm later in his career. 

In the 90’s, Generation K was a bust, and the Mets haven’t developed the caliber of starting pitchers like they have in the past until now. However, this generation seems to befall injuries far more often than their predecessors. Is it organizational?  Is it bad luck?  Is it preparation?  For his part, Harvey wonders what if:

I think now, there are things I could have done better in high school or in college to maybe prevent it. But I don’t know. I’m not saying [Syndergaard] works that much harder than everybody else, because we all work hard. I think as time progresses, guys pay more attention to stretching the shoulder, strengthening the shoulder. If I could go back — I don’t know if this would’ve prevented me from having [surgery], but if I could go back and really do 20 extra minutes of stretching and arm care, you never know what could happen. 

That’s the thing. We really don’t know why one guy suffers elbow and shoulder injuries while others don’t. Is it preparation?  Is it good genes?  Is it just good luck?  Much time, energy, and money has been spent on this issue, and yet pitchers still get injured. Pitchers get injured despite teams doing everything in their power to try to prevent it. 

It will help Syndergaard being in a clubhouse with players who have had Tommy John surgery. They each will have advice for him on why they suffered the injury and what they could’ve done differently. More importantly, Syndergaard appears to be a hard worker who takes the health of his arm very seriously.  There is no doubt he is doing everything he can do to avoid the dreaded Tommy John surgery. 

Based on what we’ve seen, if anyone can avoid it, it’s him. 

Editor’s Note: this article was first published on metsmerizedonline.com

Dominic Smith’s Thor Moment

Last year, the seminal moment of the Spring was David Wright and Bobby Parnell throwing out Noah Syndergaard’s lunch. This year it was Dominic Smith‘s turn to learn a lesson. 

This past weekend, Smith got a hold of one, and he thought it was out. He didn’t flip the bat or admire and pose after hitting it. No, he broke right into his homerun trot. He wasn’t hustling out of the box. When the ball hit the wall, Smith wound up with a single instead of a double. 

A ten year veteran might get away with it. Not a AA player.  It’s why Terry Collins approached him about the moment. For his part, Smith seemed to get it vowing he would never did it again. He said, “there’s no place for me not to hustle out of the box like that. It’s a learning experience.”  

Look, this isn’t about taking fun out of the game. He wasn’t chastised for celebrating a homerun. The manager talked to him about a lack of hustle. It was fair for Collins to do so. Smith is a 20 year old kid with a lot of promise. It’s up to Collins in the little time they have together to help point out to Smith what we needs to do to take the next step. 

Hustling out of the box is a fair and legitimate concern. It was never an issue for Smith before, and it probably won’t be in the future. However, Collins took advantage of an opportunity to talk to him. Smith will be a better player for it, which is saying something.  

Hopefully, this moment will be Thor’s moment. It will be what we will be talking about one day during his rise to greatness. 

Bobby Parnell Was Almost There

Almost. That’s the one word I think of when I think of Bobby Parnell‘s Mets career. He almost figured it out. 

The Mets organization always thought of him as a reliever, but in 2009, when the team no longer had nothing to play for other than finding out who will be a part of the future, they let Parnell start some games. In his first home start, he pitched six shutout innings against the Giants. It was downhill from there. It didn’t mean Parnell was a bad pitcher, it just meant he was reliever. 

It didn’t change the fact that the Mets had high hopes for him. They saw him as a future closer. He had the stuff for it. He put together some good seasons. Then he had the break he needed in his career.  In 2011, he was mentored by Jason Isringhausen. The next two years would be the best years of his career. In 2013, he would fulfill what the Mets saw as his destiny. He became their closer. 

It would be the best year of his career. He recorded 22 saves. He had a 2.16 ERA with a 2.33 FIP, a 166 ERA+, and a 1.000 WHIP. He was a reason for hope for 2014 and beyond. Well, almost. He had elbow problems going into the 2014 season. After one poor appearance, he had to be shut down and have Tommy John surgery. 

He tried to come back in 2015, but he was ineffective. Up until his surgery, Parnell had a 96 MPH fastball with an 87 MPH slider, 84 MPH curve, and a 89 MPH split. Upon his return, his repertoire was a tick slower with a 94 MPH fastball, 82 MPH curve, and a 89 MPH split. His WHIP jumped to 1.958. His ERA+ was 59. Whereas Matt Harvey was given a year and a half to rehab, Parnell rehabbed for barely over a year. 

He apparently needed more time. Once again, he was almost ready. 

He’s a former Met now having signed with the Detriot Tigers on a minor league deal. He’s on a team that seemingly needs bullpen help each and every year. Hopefully for him, he’s ready. I hope he’s past being almost there. 

He was a good Met. He had periods of effectiveness. It almost worked out well in New York. 

Mets Diminishing Pitching Depth

Going into last year, the Mets were well noted for their organizational pitching depth. It wasn’t just the pitchers that were in the majors, but it was also the pitchers on the way. The thought process was the Mets could select the pitchers to keep to help the rotation and trade the others for a bat. 

Well, the Mets are going into the 2016 season, and their depth isn’t the same as this regime seems comfortable jettisoning this team’s pitching depth. A large part of the reason was the unwillingness and/or inability to spend in the offseason last year. Here is the list of pitchers gone from the Mets organization:

  1. Greg Peavey
  2. Randy Fontanez
  3. Cory Mazzoni
  4. Brad Wieck
  5. Casey Meisner
  6. John Gant
  7. Robert Whalen
  8. Michael Fulmer
  9. Luis Cessa
  10. Matt Koch
  11. Miller Diaz
  12. Dawrin Frias
  13. Jack Leathersich
  14. Jon Niese
  15. Matthew Bowman

This list doesn’t include Logan Verrett, who was selected in last year Rule 5 draft and returned. It also doesn’t include Tyler ClippardBartolo ColonEric O’Flaherty, Bobby Parnell, and Alex Torres because, at least in theory, they all could return to the Mets next year. In any event, that’s a lot of pitchers gone and/or potentially gone from the 2014 Winter Meetings and the 2015 Winter Meetings. 

After losing all these pitchers, the Mets only have two . . . TWO . . . players on their 2016 major league roster resulting from these moves: Addison Reed and Neil Walker. Also, the Mets still need a fifth starter and possibly bullpen help. You would think after losing 15 pitchers in a year, you’d be in a better position. 

Now, the important caveat here is not all of these pitchers are of the same caliber. For example, Peavey and Fontanez were selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Also, I did defend the trade that brought in Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. On the flip side, I did not like the trades which brought in Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes

I’m not in the crowd that justifies these deals due to the Mets winning the pennant. You win the World Series, you’re untouchable because you did what was necessary. However, the Mets lost all that pitching and still fell short. Think of it another way. Do you think the Tigers would’ve traded winning the AL East for John Smoltz‘ career?

With all that said, the Mets still deserve some credit here. Even though they lost all that pitching, they still have good pitching prospects like Robert Gsellman. I just wish they spent more money last offseason and kept some of those pitchers to give them more options to make deals this winter or this upcoming summer. 

Keep in mind that sooner or later losing all this pitching will eventually catch up with them. I’m not looking forward to the day that happens.