Brandon Nimmo

deGrom Suspends Disbelief With Another Gem

We got a sense early tonight just how much Jacob deGrom wants this Cy Young Award with him ramping it up to 100 MPH to strike out Javier Baez to end the first.

Thus began another magical night of watching deGrom pitch.

The Cubs were doing all they could do to get to deGrom. In fact, they found a way to get their leadoff hitter on in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. deGrom responded nearly each time with a combination of guile and defense.

What’s interesting about that was deGrom slipped attempting to fielding a Baez infield single. He was initially limping, but he shook it off much like he shook off base runners all night long.

The real threat against deGrom came in the seventh, and the Cubs finally broke through with deGrom and the Mets getting some tough luck.

After a Kyle Schwarber leadoff single, Albert Almora, Jr. laid down a bunt. deGrom pounced on it and got Schwarber at second. Ben Zobrist, who entered the game 1-for-10 against deGrom, hit a ball that went under Jay Bruce‘s glove to set up runners at the corners.

David Bote hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring home the Cubs first run of the game.

To be fair, while Bruce’s inability to make a play at first helped lead to a run, the Mets did some make some nice plays in the field behind deGrom, especially Brandon Nimmo and Austin Jackson.

Still, when you play players out of position and when you give deGrom little to no margin of error, these types of plays get magnified.

After the Bote sacrifice fly, the inning was not over. After Bote was Mets killer Daniel Murphy came to the plate. In a tough seven pitch at-bat, deGrom finally won the battle and struck out Murphy to escape the jam.

After the string of leadoff hitters reaching and with that high stress inning, you’d understand Mickey Callaway pinch hitting for deGrom with two outs in the top of the eighth. He didn’t.

For what it’s worth, deGrom was the only Met to get an RBI as the team continued to shoot itself in the foot trying to score runs for deGrom.

In the first, the Mets couldn’t bring Amed Rosario home after he hit a leadoff double off Cole Hamels.

In the third, the Mets tried to make something happen with Rosario and Jeff McNeil trying to execute a double steal. While it was initially ruled Rosario evaded Bote’s tag, he was ruled out on review. The inning sputtered from there.

Both rallies were killed with a Michael Conforto strikeout. For his part, Conforto had a very tough night at the plate going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. In total, he’d leave eight runners on base.

In the fifth, deGrom singles to short and Rosario bunted his way on. McNeil then couldn’t deliver the two out hit.

Finally, the Mets broke through in the sixth. As alluded to earlier, deGrom delivered the big hit with a two out RBI infield hit.

In the seventh, the Mets had a golden opportunity to push across an insurance run.

McNeil hit a ball which looked out. Unfortunately, it got caught in the wind and stayed in the park. Counting on nothing, McNeil busted it out of the box with a leadoff triple.

Jackson then lined out to Baez, and Conforto lined out to Rizzo. Todd Frazier was intentionally walked and stole second, but it was for naught as Bruce struck out to end the rally.

In the eighth, the Cubs once again tried to crack deGrom.

Rizzo singled, and Heyward walked to start the inning. Then like he had all night, deGrom struck out Baez. He then grabbed a comebacker from Victor Carantini to start the inning ending 1-6-3 double play.

All told, deGrom’s final line was 8.0 innings, eight hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. All that was good for was a no decision.

He now has 19 quality starts which ties him with Tom Seaver for most by a Met in one season. He also has 24 straight starts allow me three or fewer runs which ties him with Dwight Gooden.

Despite him reaching Seaver and Gooden heights, deGrom walked away with a no decision.

With the rain delay which came in the top of the tenth, the game was a microcosm of deGrom’s season.

Game Notes: Before the game, Jose Bautista was traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

How and Why Dominic Smith Became a Left Fielder

Last night, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario collided in the outfield leading to a ball dropping and the go-ahead run scoring. When a gaffe like this happens, many are sent looking to pin blame. As has often happens since he was first called up to the majors, Smith was an easy target.

Before looking to levy the blame on him, it is important to review just how Smith became a left fielder.

Back in 2011, the now defunct Sandy Alderson regime made Brandon Nimmo their first ever draft pick. Since that time, the Mets have drafted and signed just 27 outfield prospects.

The breakdown goes: 2011 (six), 2012 (none), 2013 (three), 2014 (five), 2015 (three), 2016 (three), 2017 (four), 2018 (three).

Putting aside Nimmo and Michael Conforto, the outfielders the Mets have drafted since 2011 have played a combined 35 games at the Major League level.

Last year, Travis Taijeron hit .173/.271/.269, and this year, Kevin Kaczmarski is 0-for-5 with a walk.

Currently, the Las Vegas roster only has one outfielder drafted from the aforementioned draft classes on their roster – Kaczmarski. Kaczmarski is currently battling for playing time with players like Zach Borenstein, Bryce Brentz, Matt den Dekker, and Patrick Kivlehan.

Binghamton had Tim Tebow playing everyday because there really wasn’t a Mets draftee pushing him out of the lineup.

Champ Stuart, the Mets 2013 sixth round pick, is repeating the level, and he is hitting .136/.280/.264. Patrick Biondi, the Mets 2013 ninth round pick, is also repeating the level, and he is hitting .222/.333/.247.

Overall, that’s just three part time outfield draft picks playing in the upper levels of their minor league system. Combine them with Nimmo and Conforto, and that makes just five outfield draft picks playing in Double-A or high from the past eight drafts.

Given how much the Mets drafts have not provided much in terms of outfield depth, the Mets were faced with calling up a Major League has been or never was or to give the shot to Smith. Given how Peter Alonso was nipping at Smith’s heels from Double-A, learning another position did make some sense.

Believe it or not, Smith in the outfield was not as absurd a proposition as it may sound. He entered the year leaner and faster. As noted by Baseball Savant, his sprint speed is better Jose Bautista and Jay Bruce, two players the Mets have felt eminently comfortable in the outfield. When he was drafted, Baseball America noted Smith had a strong arm and was a “fringy defender with below-average speed” in the outfield.

Still, the Mets were forced into that position because of how they handled Smith.

After he struggled last year, they were wise to bring in competition for him in Spring Training in the form of Adrian Gonzalez. Partially due to Smith’s injury in Spring Training, Gonzalez did win the job. However, he played poorly.

In 21 April games, Gonzalez hit .227/.312/.394. After going 3-for-4 with two solo homers in a game at Cincinnati, Gonzalez returned to form hitting just .267/.323/.350 over his next 20 games leading to his eventual release.

With the way Gonzalez was playing, there was a real chance to call-up Smith and give him a shot. The Mets passed, and they instead decided to stick with a guy who was not producing.

When the Mets finally released Gonzalez, they gave Smith three games to prove he could produce at the Major League level. In those three games, he went 4-for-12 with a double, homer, and an RBI. After that three game stretch, Wilmer Flores came off the disabled list, and he was given the first base job.

With Flores being bestowed the first base job, Smith’s great experiment in the outfield truly began. With Smith not playing well in the outfield, he found himself on the bench, and eventually, he would head back to Triple-A. When he was sent back to Triple-A, he was entrenched as the left fielder because Alonso had been called up and given the first base job.

In the end, you have a former first round draft pick and former Top 100 prospect playing out of position because the Mets have failed to give Smith a chance, the team has failed to develop outfield prospects at the upper levels of their minor league system, and the team is more willing to give failing veterans a chance over a younger player who could improve with Major League coaching and playing time.

Overall, that is how you get a promising prospect in the outfield, and that is how you have two young players colliding in the outfield and costing the Mets a game.

Mets Made Little League Classic a Big Event

Believe it or not, two years ago, Todd Frazier was part of a Toms River team who won the Little League World Series.  Of course, you believe it because we are reminded of it all the time. But it wasn’t just Frazier with Little League World Series exploits.  Michael Conforto is the only player to homer in both the World Series and the Little League World Series.

Considering the Mets connection with to the Little League World Series, it made them the natural choice to participate in the Little League Classic.

What made the choice even better was how much the team embraced it.  Frazier was out there signing autographs. Jacob deGrom was interviewing Little Leaguers.  Noah Syndergaard was sharing pitching grips with members of the Spanish team.  Really, to a man, the Mets were taking pictures with the young players.  Syndergaard and deGrom would join Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in watching the game from the stands with the Staten Island Little League team.

The Mets also embraced the challenge on the field, which included Jason Vargas having his best start in a Mets uniform.

Surprisingly, the Phillies could not get to Vargas until the sixth when Carlos Santana hit a two run home run off of him.  After a Wilson Ramos double, Mickey Callaway brought in Seth Lugo, the Quarterrican, to get out of the jam.  At that point, it was too little too late for the Phillies.

The Mets first rally was started by Frazier (who else?).  His leadoff single against Nick Pivetta was the first of four straight singles.  The Jose Bautista and Kevin Plawecki singles would plate two runs. After a Vargas sacrifice bunt, Amed Rosario would hit a two RBI single to give the Mets an early 4-0 lead.

The Mets lead would grow to 7-0 before the Phillies would even score a run off of Vargas.  Jeff McNeil plated two runs with an RBI single in the fourth, and Rosario plated a run with another RBI single in the sixth.

Things were going so well for the Mets that Dominic Smith, who was called-up as the 26th man for the game, would hit an RBI pinch hit double in the eight.  With Brandon Nimmo hurting, the Mets are now considering keeping Smith up to play left field, which would obviously be the right thing to do.

Ultimately, the final score would be 8-1 as Lugo, Drew Smith, and Daniel Zamora, who was throwing filthy sliders, kept the Phillies off the board.

Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera went 1-for-17 against his former team in this series.

deGrom Showed Up . . . Nola

Yesterday, Aaron Nola threw a gem against the Mets which showed everyone the National League Cy Young race is far from over.

While that may be true, Jacob deGrom stepped on Nola’s mound and reminded everyone that while Nola and Max Scherzer may be in the Cy Young race, they have a lot to do to catch up to deGrom.

All season long deGrom has been great, but today may have been him at his best. Through eight, he was at 99 pitches, and still Mickey Callaway sent him out for that ninth to let deGrom go out and get his complete game.

Any chance of trouble arising after Carlos Santana‘s leadoff single we’re quickly erased after Wilson Ramos hit deGrom’s next pitch to Amed Rosario for a 6-4-3 double play.

When Nick Williams grounded out, deGrom had his complete game. His final line was 9.0 innings, seven hits, one unearned run, no walks, and nine strikeouts.

Really, deGrom was just that close to a shutout.

Wilmer Flores made a nice play to get the lead out at second, but instead of eating the ball, Rosario made a low throw which went past deGrom.

The throw allowed Williams to score from second, but the Mets still got out of the inning as both deGrom and Jeff McNeil made a heads up play.

With Odubel Herrera making the ever so brief turn to first, he was fair game. McNeil got to first and got the tag down on the deGrom throw.

This was just one of several ways McNeil helped deGrom come away with his eight win of the season.

In the fifth, he flat out robbed Herrera of a hit:

McNeil also started a fourth inning rally with a leadoff single against Jake Arrieta. When Arrieta threw one away trying to pick him off, he went to third, and he’d score on a Flores RBI single.

In the seventh, he hit an RBI triple off Luis Garcia to score Rosario. Add in a Devin Mesoraco homer earlier that inning, and the Mets would lead 3-0.

With deGrom pitching like deGrom, the Mets would win 3-1.

In the victory, deGrom lowered his already MLB best ERA to 1.71. He would also clear the 200 strikeout plateau. Basically, he continues to prove he’s the best pitcher in all of baseball with each and every start.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo missed another game after injuring his hand.

Mets Score Ton of Runs in Doubleheader Split

Amed Rosario hit the very pitch of the game from Ranger Suarez for a home run, and the Mets were off and running to set a new franchise record with 24 runs on 25 hits in their 25-4 victory.  These records were previously set 30 years to the date in a Mets game at the Cubs.

What is interesting is this game was back-and-forth for the first four innings with the Phillies getting to Corey Oswalt with solo homers from Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro.

Entering the fateful fifth inning, it was just 5-4 Mets.  Then in that fifth inning, Alfaro threw away the ball on an Oswalt bunt, and then Hoskins would later just completely miss a fly ball in left.  The big hit in what would be a 10 run fifth inning was a Jose Bautista grand slam.  From there, the game was over, and eventually Phillies manager Gabe Kapler actually turned to position players to get the final nine outs of the game so to save his bullpen for the second half of the doubleheader.

To put in perspective how well that went, the Mets scored seven runs off the position players, and that was highlighted by Jerry Blevins hitting an RBI single off of Scott Kingery.  Yes, that’s how absurd things got.  A reliever got a hit off of a position player.  All told, the Mets had an absolute field day at plate:

As you can see from the 1-2 for Nimmo, the one downside was he had to come out of the game due to him hitting his hand when he swung at a pitch he put in play.  Nimmo would come out the game, and his x-rays would be negative, but with the Mets being the Mets, you never know what will happen next.

In the second game of the doubleheader, it seemed like the Mets were going to once again be off and running.  Against Phillies starter, Zach Eflin, Rosario, Jeff McNeil, and Conforto would hit three consecutive doubles to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

The disappointment of Conforto not scoring from second would soon be magnified by Steven Matz giving up the lead by surrendering a three run homer to Hoskins in the bottom of the first.  Matz would not settle in during the second inning either with him giving up a homer to Kingery in what would be a consecutive three run inning for the Phillies.

All told in his first start since returning form the disabled list, Matz pitched just those two innings allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

As bad as Matz looked, Devin Mesoraco looked worse.  After Roman Quinn reached on a throwing error by Matz, Mesoraco would push him to second with a passed ball.  Later that inning, Mesoraco threw through on what would be a double steal, and on the return throw, the out of position Mesoraco whiffed on the tag.

Things would lie dormant until the bottom of the sixth when Bobby Wahl entered the game.  Wahl would appear to have tweaked something in his leg or bat on the Quinn bunt single.  Wahl would stay in the game, and he would surrender an RBI double to Cesar Hernandez.  On the double, Conforto got to the ball, and made a strong throw to second.  Hernandez was dead to rights, but McNeil just dropped the ball.

Later that inning, Williams hit a sinking liner Williams just missed getting to in time.  At that point, it was 8-2 Phillies.

The Mets, who have been playing much better of late would show some fight.

In the seventh, Rosario doubled home Jack Reinheimer, and Conforto would hit a single through Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana to pull the Mets to within 8-4.

Tyler Bashlor would give one of those runs back by allowing back-to-back doubles to Santana and Franco in the seventh before settling in and retiring the Phillies.

Even with the five run deficit, the Mets would go on the attack in the ninth starting with Plawecki reaching with Phillies reliever Yacksel Rios throughing a screwball between Santana’s legs.  As the inning continued Conforto and Flores would hit RBI singles to pull the Mets to within 9-6, which then led to Kapler brining in his closer Seranthony Dominguez.

The Mets would bring the tying runs to the plate with Jackson and Bautista, but both would strike out to end the rally and the game.

Overall, it was quite a day for a Mets offense who is suddenly alive and robust.  It will be interesting to see how this continues as this series progresses with the Mets always hitting well at Citizens Bank Park.

Game Notes: With the Mets scoring 25 runs, they became the first team in a decade to score 15 runs in consecutive games.  Jacob Rhame was available as the 26th man, and he would pitch two scoreless to close out the first end of the doubleheader.

Mets Destroy Orioles

The Mets had a rare laugher tonight with the team thrashing Dylan Bundy (7 ER) and the Orioles bullpen to the tune of a 16-5 victory.

The big inning was a nine run sixth capped off by a Kevin Plawecki grand slam off Evan Phillips.

Plawecki was not the only one with a big night. Brandon Nimmo finished a homer short of the cycle going 5-for-5 with three runs, two doubles, triple, hit by pitch, and three RBI.

Todd Frazier had his best day as a Met going 3-for-6 with two runs, a homer, and four RBI.

Austin Jackson was 2-for-4 with two runs, a triple, and two walks.

Newest Met Jack Reinheimer would pinch run for Jose Bautista in the sixth, and he would score his first career run. Later in the game, he’d record his first career hit.

Overall, every Met in the lineup except Michael Conforto would get a hit me bore the ninth, and even then, Conforto had a walk and run scored. Conforto would correct that by smoking a ball Jonathan Villar couldn’t field.

In the ninth, Wilmer Flores hit a homer to cap off a 2-for-5 night.

In total, every Mets starter reached base at least two times, and everyone but Bautista scored at least one run.

This was more than enough support for Zack Wheeler who was terrific again limiting the Orioles to a run on five hits in five innings.

After that sixth inning outburst, Mickey Callaway did the right thing by pulling Wheeler and going to the bullpen.

Tim Peterson was the one lowlight of the day with him allowing four runs on five hits in his two innings.

Other than that, this was a good day for a Mets team who seemed to spend nine innings taking a season’s worth of frustration out on a very bad Orioles team.

Game Notes: Mets are now 19-19 over their last 38 games.

Orioles Beat Mets In Game No One Should’ve Watched

This was a matchup not even Gary Cohen to bring himself to watch.

The Mets and Orioles entered the night a combined 65 games out of first place, and the pitching matchup was Andrew Cashner against Jason Vargas.

Really, to put how dreadful both this game and the Orioles are, Vargas’ final line was 6.0 innings, five hits, two runs, two earned, three walks, and a strikeout.

Astonishingly, he had a 2-1 lead in the sixth before allowing a homer to Adam Jones.

That eliminated the lead from the Mets fifth inning rally. Up until that inning, the Mets were mostly stymied by Cashner, who retired the first 10 straight and 12 of the 13 batters he faced through four.

That changed with Brandon Nimmo drawing a two out walk and Todd Frazier singling. For a moment, it looked like that rally would sputter out with Austin Jackson hitting into a 6-4-3 double play.

However, Jose Bautista would draw a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and Kevin Plawecki and Amed Rosario would hit consecutive two out RBI singles.

After that rally, it was all Orioles beginning with the aforementioned Jones homer.

Bobby Wahl came on in the seventh, and he struggled mightily starting with a Chris Davis homer. Remember, Davis entered the night hitting .148/.242/.299. That’s not a typo. That’s just how bad a hitter he’s been this year.

After that, he issued a pair of two out walks leading to Mickey Callaway bringing in Paul Sewald, who allowed an RBI single to Renato Nuñez.

On the play, Frazier dove to stop the ball, but he deflected it towards center and past Rosario.

Sewald would get out of the inning without allowing another run, but he would allow a two run homer to Tim Beckham in the eighth giving the hapless Orioles a 6-2 lead.

After a Nimmo triple and Frazier RBI single in the ninth, it was 6-3 Orioles, which was the final score of this nearly unwatchable game.

Game Notes: The Orioles have the worst record in baseball and are 3-0 against the Mets

Mets Give deGrom Run Support And Shockingly Win Subway Series Finale

In preparation for this weekend’s Little League Classic at Williamsport, the Mets played in the Little League ballpark that is Yankee Stadium.

Right from the get-go, the Mets went to work with Amed Rosario hitting a leadoff homer off Luis Severino. That would be the first of five Mets homers on the night.

With that, the Mets had scored seven runs for Jacob deGrom, which made him winning this game a cinch, or at least that was the anticipation.

Between the Rosario first inning homer and the ensuing Jeff McNeil RBI single, the Mets had a 2-0 lead, which the defense would give back with poor defense in the third.

With two on, Giancarlo Stanton hit what should’ve been a 5-4-3 double play. Instead, with Brett Gardner making a hard slide (which may or nah not have been legal but was not challenged), McNeil threw it into the stands.

This not only forced Austin Romine home, but it also put Stanton at second. He’d score on an Aaron Hicks RBI single tying the game.

Surprisingly, after that, it was all Mets.

One of the reasons why was the Mets patient approach at the plate and their ability to lay off the Severino slider. All told, that would chase Severino after he threw 98 pitches over four innings.

Before he departed, Jose Bautista would tag him with a two run opposite field homer.

Things got a little interesting with Didi Gregorious hitting an RBI single scoring Gardner, who doubled earlier that inning, to pull the Yankees to with 4-3.

The Mets would then tee off on Yankees reliever A.J. Cole with Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto hitting homers off of him to expand the Mets lead to 7-3.

deGrom would depart after 6.2 innings allowing two earned (three runs) in five hits. Of course, if not for the arcane double play error rules, it should’ve been one earned. As a result, deGrom’s ERA rose to 1.81.

In addition, deGrom would strike out 12 Yankee batters.

After Jerry Blevins got the last out of the seventh, Seth Lugo pitched the eighth, and he got tagged by Miguel Andujar with a two run homer to make an easy game a scary 7-5 game.

The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the ninth off Zach Britton.

After Conforto was hit by a pitch, Wilmer Flores singled. With that single, each Met in the starting lineup recorded a hit.

McNeil then hit what could have been an inning ending double play, but Gleyber Torres couldn’t make the transfer (McNeil probably beats it anyway). With the ball on the ground, Conforto would score from second to give the Mets an 8-5 lead.

The Mets would load the bases, but Bautista couldn’t deliver that final knock out blue meaning Robert Gsellman would get the save chance.

Gsellman would deliver with a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save of the season.

With that, believe it or not, the Mets split the Subway Series. If you believe that, can you believe deGrom got the win and is 7-7?

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard did the player interview during the game, and he made a joke about hoping the Little Leaguers don’t have hand, foot, and mouth.

Mets Problem Isn’t Analytics, It’s The Wilpons

As reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Mets owner Fred Wilpon does not want to hire a younger and more analytics driven executive for two reasons.  The first is he feels he will have a harder time connecting with that person.  The second and perhaps all the more baffling is the “thought among team officials that perhaps the Mets became too analytics driven in recent seasons under Sandy Alderson’s watch . . . .”

Taking the thought at face value, we really need to question which analytics the Mets are using to inform their decisions.

For starters, look at Asdrubal Cabrera.  Everyone knew he was no longer a shortstop, so that left the question over whether he should have been a second or third baseman heading into the 2018 season.

In 2017, Cabrera was a -6 DRS in 274.1 innings at second.  That should have come as no surprise as he was a -10 DRS the last time he saw extensive action at second base (2014).  Conversely, in his 350.1 innings at third last year, he had a 1 DRS.

Naturally, the Mets went with Cabrera at second this season where he has been an MLB worst -20 DRS.  That makes him not just the worst second baseman in all of baseball, it makes him the worst defensive infielder in all of baseball.

Of course, the Mets got there by acquiescing a bit to Cabrera’s preference to play second over third.  This was also the result of the team turning down a Paul Sewald for Jason Kipnis swap.  That deal was nixed over money.

With respect to Sewald, he was strong when the season began.  In April, he had a 1.91 ERA and a 0.805 WHIP.  Since that point, Sewald has a 5.73 ERA, a 1.485 WHIP, and multiple demotions to Triple-A.

As for Kipnis, he has struggled this year hitting .226/.313/.363.  It should be noted this was mostly due to a horrific April which saw him hit .178/.254/.243.  Since that tough start to the season, Kipnis has gotten progressively better.  Still, it is difficult to lose sleep over Kipnis even if the rejected trade put Cabrera at second and it led to the Mets signing Todd Frazier, who is hitting .217/.298/.368.

In addition to bringing Cabrera back into the fold, the Mets also brought back Jay Bruce after having traded the then impending free agent to the Cleveland Indians for Ryder Ryan.

At the time the Mets signed Bruce, they needed a center fielder.  The team already had Yoenis Cespedes in left, and once he returned from the disabled list, the team was going to have Michael Conforto in right.  Until the time Conforto was ready, the team appeared set with Brandon Nimmo in the short-term.

In 69 games in 2017, Nimmo hit .260/.379/.418.  In those games, Nimmo showed himself to be a real candidate for the leadoff spot on a roster without an obvious one, especially in Conforto’s absence.  With him making the league minimum and his having shown he could handle three outfield positions, he seemed like an obvious choice for a short term solution and possible someone who could platoon with Juan Lagares in center.

Instead, the Mets went with Bruce for $39 million thereby forcing Conforto to center where he was ill suited.  More than that, Bruce was coming off an outlier year in his free agent walk year.  Before that 2017 rebound season, Bruce had not had a WAR of at least 1.0 since 2013, and he had just one season over a 100 wRC+ in that same stretch.  In response to that one outlier season at the age of 30, the Mets gave Bruce a three year deal.

Still, that may not have been the worst contract handed out by the Mets this past offseason.  That honor goes to Jason Vargas.

The Mets gave a 35 year old pitcher a two year $16 million deal to be the team’s fifth starter despite the fact the team had real starting pitching depth.  At the time of the signing, the Mets had Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Chris Flexen, and Corey Oswalt as starting pitching depth.

Instead of using five of them and stashing four of them in Triple-A, the Mets opted to go with Vargas as the fifth starter.  Even better, they depleted their starting pitching depth by moving Gsellman and Lugo the to bullpen.  Of course, this had the added benefit of saving them money thereby allowing them to sign Anthony Swarzak, a 32 year old reliever with just one good season under his belt.

The Mets were rewarded with the decision to sign Vargas by his going 2-8 with an 8.75 ERA and a 1.838 WHIP.  He’s also spent three separate stints on the disabled list.

What’s funny about Vargasis he was signed over the objections of the Mets analytics department.  From reports, Vargas was not the only one.  Looking at that, you have to question just how anyone associated with the Mets could claim they have become too analytics driven.  Really, when you ignore the advice of those hired to provide analytical advice and support, how could you point to them as the problem?

They’re not.

In the end, the problem is the same as it always has been.  It’s the Wilpons.

They’re the ones looking for playing time for Jose Reyes at a time when everyone in baseball thinks his career is over.  They’re the ones not reinvesting the proceeds from David Wrights insurance policy into the team.  They’re the ones who have a payroll not commensurate with market size or World Series window.  They’re the ones rejecting qualified people for a job because of an 81 year year old’s inability to connect with his employees.

Really, you’re not going to find an analytical basis to defend making a team older, less versatile, more injury prone, and worse defensively.

What you will find is meddlesome ownership who thinks they know better than everyone.  That’s why they’re 17 games under .500 with declining attendance and ratings while saying the Yankees financial model is unsustainable at a time the Yankees are heading to the postseason again and the team has the highest valuation of any Major League team.

Mets Stake Claim to Fourth Place

In the Mets weekend series, they faced off against the Miami Marlins to determine who exactly was the worst team in the National League East.  With some guts and guile, the Mets showed it was in fact the Marlins.

In the series, we did see a lot of good from the Mets.  Corey Oswalt had another quality start even if he once again sputtered as he navigated the sixth and the third time through the lineup.  Noah Syndergaard racked up his eighth win of the year, and Zack Wheeler continued his great pitching winning his fifth straight start.

We also saw Michael Conforto continue this second half resurgence.  With his home run yesterday, he’s now hitting .307/.398/.533 with five doubles, four homers, and 11 RBI.  If we were to exrapolate those 21 games over a full 162 game season, he would hit 39 doubles and 31 homers.  That’s right around the pace he was last year when he suffered that brutal shoulder injury.

While Jacob Rhame took another step back, we saw Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Bobby Wahl pitch well out of the bullpen.  As the season winds to a close, we will have to see that trio get increased chances with the Mets limiting both the appearances and innings of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have been pitching better of late.

Moreover, we are watching Wilmer Flores earn a starting job with the Mets next year.  Since taking over the first base job in mid-June, he’s hitting .290/.337/.489 with 14 doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBI.  In a real surprise, he is getting stronger as the season progresses.

Still despite all that good, there are so many issues, including but not limited to the Mets having three tight games against a bad Marlins team just to win this series.

We have seen Devin Mesoraco continue to regress with him now having a 64 wRC+ since June 1st.  Moreover, he has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball with him being in the bottom 15 in the majors in pitch framing.  Really, there’s a reason why the Mets are just one game under .500 when he doesn’t catch and 16 games under .500 when he does.

Overall, like we saw on that botched double play on Saturday, the Mets defense continues to be horrendous.  Per DRS, at every position but third base and left field, they are in the bottom three defensively in the National League.  Up the middle, the Mets are the worst in the majors.  That also speaks to just how disappointing Amed Rosario‘s development has been.

That also goes towards the Mets continued employment of Jose Reyes, who is one of the worst players in baseball this year.  While his selling point this year was he was going to mentor Rosario, it has been a failure.  In almost every areas of Rosario’s game, he is worse.

Really, with the exception of isolated instances like the starting rotation, Flores, and Brandon Nimmo, this team is just worse across the board.

So yes, the Mets beat the Marlins, but in the end, who cares?  This continues to be a rudderless bad baseball team.