When the New York Mets obtain a star, some have some trepidation. There are bad memories associated with the 1992 Mets as well as with future Hall of Famers like Roberto Alomar and All-Stars like Carlos Baerga.
Yes, those names were specifically chosen. They were not just chosen because they were great players before joining the Mets. They were also great Cleveland Indians players traded to the Mets.
What does that have to do with Francisco Lindor? In reality, absolutely nothing.
Alomar was 34 when the Mets obtained him. Baerga was hitting .267/.302/.396 with the Indians when the Mets obtained him.
No one asked if Trout should get the $426.5 million he received. There wasn’t a question about Betts’ $365 million extension. Yet, somehow, we see fans and articles question whether Lindor should receive an extension at all.
Really, it’s nonsense hand-wringing. It’s assuming everything goes wrong for the Mets. It’s remembering only the bad while conveniently forgetting Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza, and even Johan Santana.
The Mets traded for those stars and gave them extensions. Hernandez led to the best stretch in Mets history and the team’s second World Series.
Piazza set records for homers as a catcher, led the Mets to consecutive postseasons for the first time in their history, the homer after 9/11, and he became the second player to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
Santana had the last great moment in Shea Stadium history, and to date, he’s thrown the only no-hitter in Mets history.
Do the Mets want to sort through this class and have the Los Angeles Dodgers run up the bidding like they did with Trevor Bauer, or the way the Toronto Blue Jays did with George Springer. That’s nothing to say of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox who are resetting under the luxury tax to position themselves to attack free agency next year.
That’s whenever free agency does begin. Remember, the CBA expires at the end of the season, which very well may lead to a strike or lockout. In those circumstances, it makes it all the more difficult to navigate your way through the offseason.
Regardless, all of that distracts from the main point. Francisco Lindor is a top three player in the sport and future Hall of Famer who is in his prime. Instead of inventing reasons to try to justify not extending him, we should all just demand the Mets extend him.
I had the privilege of appearing on the Simply Amazin’ podcast with the great Tim Ryder. During the podcast, names discussed include but are not limited to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Davis, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine, David Wright, Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Alex Cora, Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Aaron Loup, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Jose Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, James Loney, Moises Alou, John Olerud, Davey Johnson, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Corey Oswalt, Luis Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, Jim Eisenreich, Alex Fernandez, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Almora, and more
Please take a listen.
— Simply Amazin' (@SimplyAmazinPod) February 15, 2021
One of the hopes Mets fans have with Steve Cohen taking the helm is his new regime correcting a lot of the wrongs committed by the Wilpons. There are countless examples of how poorly the Wilpons treated their former players, and that gives Cohen a real chance to seem magnanimous.
One area where he’s already planning to do this is an Old Timer’s Day. Another area Mets fans want to do this is by bringing Carlos Beltran back to the organization.
With Hensley Meulens not returning as bench coach, many fans see this as the opportunity to bring back Beltran as bench coach. Realistically speaking, Beltran is the worst possible choice for this job.
The modern bench coach job is very complicated. As a result, of all the jobs on the coaching staff, manager included, bench coach is the single job where you absolutely cannot have a novice like Beltran in charge.
As Brad Mills explained to the Sporting News, “You work with everyone from the groundskeepers to the traveling secretary, and you might even make sure the field is ready for early work.” Put another way, the bench coach has to make sure all the planning and preparation for the game is completed.
The bench coach is handling scouting and game prep. He’s running quality control before and during the game. He’s discussing strategy with the manager. He’s fostering relationships with players. He has his hands in everything. As was the case with Derek Shelton and Rocco Baldelli, that included media responsibilities.
With Beltran never having worked on an MLB coaching staff at any level, and with his front office experience having been just one year, he is ill-suited for the job. Very ill suited.
While you can understand Mets fans wanting to repair the relationship with Beltran, this isn’t the time or the job. However, just because the Mets shouldn’t use this opportunity to right a wrong with Beltran, it doesn’t mean they can’t hire a bench coach who can simultaneously right a wrong.
The Mets could very well look to hire Willie Randolph for their vacant bench coach position.
Randolph has the fifth most wins by a Mets manager, and he has the second best winning percentage. In his time as manager, he did a lot of good things including helping David Wright and Jose Reyes reach their full potential.
In addition to his successes as a Mets manager, he was on Joe Torre‘s coaching staff for the last Yankees dynasty. That includes his being a bench coach. Randolph has also been a bench coach in Milwaukee and Baltimore.
All told, Randolph knows the role extraordinarily well. He also knows the challenges Luis Rojas faces as the Mets manager. He knows how to develop players and handle a coaching staff. He knows how to win in New York, and he knows the intense scrutiny a manager faces.
If the 66 year old Randolph is interested in the position, the Mets should interview him for the role. If Rojas has a comfort level with him, Randolph should absolutely be hired for the job.
With that, the Mets will hire an exceptionally qualified person for the job thereby making the Mets a better team. It will also have the benefit of righting the wrong of how he was fired in 2008.
Ultimately, if the Mets want to right some wrongs, they should hire Randolph. If they want the best man for the job, they should hire Randolph. He’s just the perfect fit for this job right now.
Mets fans are besides themselves right now. They went from literally the worst owner in all of pro sports to someone who promises to be the best.
Right now, Mets fans are anticipating a whirlwind of an offseason. They’re already putting J.T. Realmuto behind the plate, Trevor Bauer on the mound, and George Springer in center. Oh, and they’re also expecting Marcus Stroman, Charlie Morton, and literally every free agent available.
Mets fans aren’t penciling this in either. No, they’re putting this down in Sharpee. That’s how high their level of expectation is right now.
That right there is going to be the biggest challenge for Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and the soon to be fully assembled Mets front office. Unless Cohen is prepared to start spending like a drunken sailor, there needs to be some leveling of expectation, and they need to do that while not diminishing the level of excitement.
Right there is one of the benefits of bringing back Alderson. With Alderson, the Mets fans already see someone they can trust to build a winner in New York. Agree or disagree with his moves, the fanbase is well aware he can do this job in this market.
If it’s James McCann instead of Realmuto, the fans can trust it’s not purely a cost savings driven decision. If the Mets opt for Jackie Bradley Jr in center instead of Springer, we can believe that is part of a larger plan to improve the defense to help the pitching.
However, there’s going to be a point where fans are going to want to see THE big name. The fans haven’t seen that happen since Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez signed with the Mets entering the 2005 season.
The Mets need to identify which player is the big name they need to pursue at all costs. That can be a free agent, and it could also come in the trade market with Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado available.
Right now, the excitement level surrounding the Mets is at the highest it’s been since Matt Harvey stepped on the field to pitch the ninth. Cohen needs to find a way to keep the excitement level there instead of having fans watch on in horror as their chances of winning a World Series fade away.
While the country and the world were waiting with baited breath to see who would be president, two teams began the rehabilitation process of the 2017 Houston Astros.
This offseason all of the aghast and offended MLB teams will be pursuing free agents like George Springer, Josh Reddick, Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton, and others. Member after member of that organization has been or will be pursued. That even includes Jeff Luhnow who Alex Rodriguez was rumored to want as a member of the New York Mets front office.
Seemingly every MLB team is willing to cast outrage and morals aside for all of the 2017 Houston Astros. The one exception is Carlos Beltran.
As the narrative goes, the sign stealing saga was all Beltran’s doing. It didn’t matter that the Astros organization had to put the technology in place to aide and abet the players, and it didn’t matter an operation of this caliber truly needed top to bottom coordination. No, as it went, Beltran was THE driving force.
Undoubtedly, Beltran played a role, and it was very likely significant. The same goes for every player from that 2017 team who went unnamed. However, when it came to the retired Beltran, he wasn’t afforded the same anonymity. No, he was put out there with a target on his back.
People were all too happy to go out there and come after him. They demanded his firing even fully knowing it could very well mean the end for him in baseball.
The real shame was this came during the time of Beltran’s own redemption story. He was returning to the Mets to win that World Series he couldn’t. He was returning to the place where the owners not only challenged his worth but also tried to stop him from saving his career.
Unfortunately, Beltran was thrown another curve. Again, he was left standing there without taking a swing. For the second time in his life, he was out.
Only this time it seems like it is for good.
That is very clearly different than the fates of Hinch and Cora. It is different than the fates of his former teammates. In the end, Beltran is going to forever be the fall guy for what happened in 2017. In roughly two years, we’ll see if his punishment includes not being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But for right now, Beltran is out of baseball with no discernible path to return. While you could justify this, it is difficult to ascertain why he’s being held to a much higher standard than every other member of that organization.
It’s been a beef with Mets fans for a while. The Mets now have a rich history, and we want to see that honored. One way we want to see it is Old Timer’s Day.
It’s something the Mets used to have in the early years, but they haven’t had it in the time the Wilpons owned the Mets. Now, according to Steve Cohen himself, that’s going to change.
Darell, No brainer to have Old Times Day , done
— Steven A Cohen (@StevenACohen2) November 1, 2020
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the prospective lineups could look like. This is a completely unscientific sampling utilizing just my opinion on who is popular, who Mets fans want to see back, and who can still play a bit. There are two for each position as there are two teams playing against one another:
Of course, this is holding a little too true to the positions these players played in their careers. Due to age and the like, they may move around the diamond. That’s more than alright as we just want to see them again.
Of course, some will understandably opt out of have other commitments. To that end, there are plenty of unnamed options like Al Leiter, Todd Pratt, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, Kevin Elster, Robin Ventura, Kevin Elster, Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson, and Benny Agbayani.
For that matter, why not bring Bobby Bonilla. The Mets can have fun with it and hold the game on July 1. Before the game, the Mets could have fun with it and give Bonilla a giant check.
If you think about it, that will finally give Bonilla some of the applause he should’ve gotten as a player, and it will finally put to rest the negative narrative around the day.
The game can also feature the racing stripe jerseys and the black jerseys fans seem to love so much. We can also have cameos from Mets greats from the past like Jerry Koosman who may not be able to play.
Overall, that’s exactly what the Cohen Era is presenting. It’s allowing the Mets and their fans to move forward, enjoy the past, and have some fun.
According to reports, Jeff Wilpon has a Zoom call to say goodbye to New York Mets employees. Other reports confirmed he will not be seeking a role with the Steve Cohen led Mets even with his team holding onto a small minority ownership.
While he says goodbye, Mets fans say good riddance.
Everything that is wrong with the Mets is in large part due to him, and with him gone, he know stories will soon leak out about how he was even worse than what we already knew.
We already know they failed to capitalize on two pennants. In 2000, it was letting Mike Hampton walk, refusing to sign Alex Rodriguez, and then following that up with actually signing Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel.
There was forcing players like Pedro Martinez to pitch through injuries which everyone said should’ve shut down his season, and there was the attempts to try to prevent Carlos Beltran from getting career saving knee surgery.
There was not just signing Jose Reyes, but also holding him out as a role model. Better yet, around the same time, Ed Kranepool needed a kidney transplant only for pettiness to stop the Mets from initially reaching out to help (thankfully they eventually did).
Speaking of Mets greats, there is still no Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field, and now Tom Terrific is gone. Even when the Wilpons did think to finally act, they did it when Seaver had dementia and couldn’t enjoy the honors.
There was firing an unwed pregnant woman and really so much more. With actions like this, not only did Jeff Wilpon fail as a person in charge of building a winner, he disgraced the Mets organization.
Speaking of disgrace, the way the Mets got rid of people was deplorable. No one was allowed to keep their dignity. Willie Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and after the Mets won. Instead admitting they didn’t want to pay them fair value Justin Turner had his professionalism questioned and Wilmer Flores was said to have an arthritic condition he didn’t have.
Hopefully, Jeff Wilpon will be afforded the very same treatment he gave others when they left the Mets. It would only be fitting, and it would give Mets fans more reason to celebrate his being gone.
All over the internet yesterday was video of Endy Chavez‘s miraculous catch robbing Scott Rolen of a go-ahead homer in the top of the sixth inning of a tied Game 7. It was one of, if not the, greatest catch ever made, and it came against a hated rival with the pennant on the line.
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 19, 2020
For 14 straight years, this catch is celebrated. We should all agree there should not be a 15th year.
After that catch, neither Jose Valentin nor Chavez could deliver on what was a bases loaded one out situation.
All told, this ranks as one of the most frustrating and depressing losses in Mets history. This loss was further exacerbated by collapses the following two seasons, and the complete and utter failure which was the first version of Citi Field.
That’s nothing to say about the Wilpons getting caught up in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme only for them to be needlessly propped up by Major League Baseball.
After that Chavez catch, everything just kept getting worse for the Mets and their fans. Frankly, after that catch is was a nightmare which lasted for nearly a decade. Much of the reason for that was the meddlesome ways of the clueless Jeff Wilpon who kept finding new ways to embarrass this franchise we all adore.
Every Mets fan should love Chavez for this catch and for all he gave the Mets. We can and should love the players from that era who were a mixture of snakebit and not quite fully supported by ownership never ready to go all-in on winning, and that’s even when they had the financial capacity to do that.
Still, we should all fall short of celebrating the mile. We can all acknowledge it was perhaps the greatest catch ever made. However, in the end, the Mets lost in the most excruciating way possible, and no Mets fan anywhere should really look to celebrate a moment which is intrinsically tied to the loss.
If you think this is too far or it’s too far, consider this. There is not a Red Sox fan alive who celebrates Dave Henderson‘s homer off Rick Aguilera. That is among the pantheon of the most clutch homers ever hit, and no one cares because the Red Sox lost that game and series in the most excruciating way possible.
Celebrating Chavez’s catch is really no different than celebrating Henderson’s homer. That’s why it’s time to stop and turn the page. With Steve Cohen at the helm, we instead need to look forward to celebrating big moments like the Mets winning the World Series.
The Mets need to learn their lesson from last offseason. The attitude was let Mookie Betts play out his contract, and then have the Mets sign him as a free agent once Steve Cohen takes over.
The problem with that line of thinking is you risk a player signing an extension, which is exactly what Betts did. We went to a team in the Dodgers who were happy to hand him a blank check.
If you’re a team who does not go out and get Francisco Lindor, you’re assuming the very same risk. The Mets should not be assuming that risk.
The counter-argument is the Mets don’t need Lindor. After all, Andres Gimenez had an impressive rookie season. Amed Rosario, while being lost at the plate this year, was significantly improved defensively. This is all true while also missing the point.
In 2020, the Mets finished in last place with a 26-34 record. During the course of the year, one thing which should have been made abundantly clear was this Mets team isn’t good enough to win right now. In fact, if the last two years are any gauge, they’re not all that close.
What they Mets need is better players across the diamond. It’s not just a catcher, center field, and pitching issue. Really, aside from the first base glut with Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith and the two corner outfield spots, the Mets seem desperate for upgrades and shifting of players to new positions.
Yes, the Mets could use an upgrade at shortstop when Lindor is the player available.
Since his MLB debut in 2015, Lindor has been a top three player in the sport. He’s been the best infielder, and he’s the best middle infielder by a healthy margin. He is literally everything you want in a baseball player.
By DRS, he’s been the fourth best defensive SS in the game since 2015. By wRC+, he’s the seventh best hitter. Overall, there’s no one better at short than him.
That includes Gimenez and Rosario, and it’s a wide margin between him and those two. By obtaining Lindor, you’re making a significant push towards closing the talent gap in the NL East.
Let’s look at it another way. Since his breakout season in 2017, Lindor has been a .276/.341/.503 hitter. In the three previous seasons, he’s averaged 42 doubles, three triples, and 34 homers.
No shortstop in the history of the New York Mets have ever put up these kinds of numbers. They’ve never done it on a one year career year, and they’ve certainly never come close putting up these numbers on an annual basis. When you think about it, over the 58 year history of the Mets, it’s takes their shortstops 2-3 years to put up the extra base hits Lindor can do in one year.
Here’s another way to examine it. Lindor has a 118 wRC+ since 2017. Over that time frame, only Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo (Alonso didn’t qualify) have a better offensive production.
Over that time frame, Mets shortstops Gabe a 90 wRC+. Getting Lindor would make the Mets lineup deeper and more dangerous. They’ll also be doing that while having a Gold Glove caliber player at the position.
There is no doubt Lindor makes the Mets a significantly improved team. There also should be no doubt he’ll come at a high price. If he’s willing to sign an extension, nearly any price would be worth it. He’s that good.
Anytime you can get a future Hall of Famer in his prime, you have to do it. It is a game changer for the organization, and it can bring your team to another level.
The Mets are certainly familiar with that concept. Gary Carter helped them win a World Series. Mike Piazza took them to back-to-back postseasons. Carlos Beltran helped lead the Mets to one at-bat from a World Series. Hall of Fame talent significantly improves your team and your postseason chances.
The Piazza and Beltran examples are especially illustrative. With Piazza, the Mets already had Todd Hundley. With Beltran, the Mets already had Mike Cameron. Rather than be happy with the status quo for a team not good enough to win, the Mets improved on a strength, and it led to a better future.
That’s Lindor right now. Yes, the Mets may very well be served to go forward with either Gimenez or Rosario. However, with all due respect to both, neither of them are Lindor, nor are they close.
If the Mets want to truly win now, they should be making every reasonable effort to get Lindor in a New York Mets uniform.
Through the Wilpons majority ownership, we have seen one embarrassing moment after the next. It just never ended with them, not even when times were good.
Leigh Castergine was fired. Jose Reyes was brought back and held out as a role model.
They had Steve Cohen offer well over market value for the team, and the financially strapped Wilpons bungled the deal. They bungled it over control of the team and escalating salaries for them. Now, they’re looking to sell the team for what is likely a lower price.
By all accounts, 2020 is it for the Wilpons. After this season, they’re gone. But seeing them in action all of these years, you knew they couldn’t go out without embarrassing themselves, the Mets franchise, and all of baseball one last time.
Tonight was that night.
As a backdrop, Dominic Smith bore his soul in an emotional post game news conference. Michael Conforto said he’d have Smith’s back, and he made good by working with the Marlins to not play akin to what the NBA and other MLB teams were doing.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen would address this with reporters. Keep in mind, this exchange which was supposed to be off the record was posted to the Mets website:
Holy shit Rob Manfred is trying to force the Mets to pull a social justice awareness stunt tonight by having the players symbolically leave the field at 7:10 before returning an hour later to play at 8:10 even though the players don’t want to play tonight pic.twitter.com/4BJLaPUkoy
— Nick Albicocco (@NickCocco18) August 27, 2020
Well, when you trash the commissioner, and it gets public, there are going to be ramifications, and the need for apologies need to proceed.
First up, was Van Wagenen who both apologized to Commissioner Rob Manfred and pinned the blame for the poorly received idea on Jeff Wilpon:
Well, that apparently wasn’t sufficient. This incident actually required the Wilpons to spring to action. Fred and Jeff Wilpon offered their version of events and apologies:
Both Fred and Jeff Wilpon managed to misspell Brodie as Brody. This was just a perfect encapsulation of who the Wilpons are and their failed stewardship of the Mets organization.
Their organization took the players emerging and bungled it. The same owners who had NOTHING to say publicly when Smith cried rushed to admonish their GM and misspelled his name in the process.
Even better, they took ownership of an idea universally dismissed as plain stupid and seen as insensitive by many. While this was happening, one of the Mets official accounts called for Manfred to be fired.
If this was anyone other than the Wilpons, you’d be absolutely shocked at the level of incompetence involved here. Seeing how this is the Wilpons, you can’t be remotely shocked they were a complete embarrassment one last time.