With the New York Mets failing to make the postseason, and worse yet, with their collapse, the narrative has become this core hasn’t been good enough to win a World Series. Sandy Alderson seemed to echo that sentiment a bit when he said there were going to be changes to the core this offseason. Of course, with free agency and the like, that was probably going to happen anyway.
Before Steve Cohen purchased the team, the Mets core could probably be defined as Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, and Noah Syndergaard. At least, that was the homegrown core. In that core, you had two ace level pitchers, two All-Star level first baseman (yes, Smith was that in 2020), two All-Star level outfielders, and a jack-of-all trades All-Star.
When you add Francisco Lindor, who joins deGrom as a future Hall of Famer, you’d be hard pressed to find much better cores in all of baseball. This level of talent should be the envy of the other 29 teams in the league. That begs the question what went wrong in 2021.
On the one hand, this was a team which was 3.5 games in first place at the trade deadline. Their high water mark was 5.5 games up on June 16. As we know, this team had the bottom completely fall out as they finished eight games under .500 and 11.5 games back of a mediocre Atlanta Braves team for the division.
The narratives emerged. Luis Rojas was in over his head. The ReplaceMets got them the division lead, but the regulars couldn’t seal the deal. This team had no heart, no will to win, no killer instinct, etc. Basically, chose your narrative and apply it to this team.
In many ways, that’s what people said about the 2007-2008 Mets. As we all learned, firing Willie Randolph wasn’t a solution. Switching out leaders like Cliff Floyd was a mistake. Really, making change for its own sake proved to be a complete and utter disaster. Certainly, so was the Wilpons involvement in a Ponzi Scheme. That said, the level of dissatisfaction with “the core” rather than a real analysis of what was the problem led to the demise of that team.
The real issue with that Mets team was injuries and pitching. During the back-to-back collapses, the pitching completely fell apart at the end. Certainly, Jeff Wilpon playing doctor played a massive role in that happening. In some ways, we’re seeing the same thing happen but with a completely new regime.
Let’s take a look at the 2021 Mets. The first thing which should jump off the page is the team went into the season without a real third baseman or a left fielder. We all knew by Opening Day J.D. Davis could not handle the position, but there he was. Behind him was Luis Guillorme, who was as good a glove in the middle infield as they come, but he was a poor third baseman. After that was Jonathan Villar, but he has never been a good fielder.
As for left field, it’s the Mets mistake as old as time. You cannot just throw anyone in left field and expect it to work. Todd Hundley wasn’t a left fielder. Lucas Duda wasn’t a left fielder. Sticking a good bat in the outfield just never works, and oft times, we see diminishing returns for that player at the plate. While Smith did an admirable job, he again proved he couldn’t play left field.
Of course, the Mets could have gone with McNeil at either position as he’s played both positions well. Instead, the Mets were obstinate he was a second baseman because that was the belief Sandy Alderson stubbornly held during his first stint with the Mets.
This speaks to a real problem with the Mets and how it colored how the core was viewed. Players were asked to do things they shouldn’t have been asked to do. For example, remember Conforto in center field? It’s been an organizational approach to just plug bats everywhere. The end result was the team suffering as players failed to reach their ceilings as they struggled out of position, and we also saw the defense lag.
Now, the defense wasn’t really the problem in 2021. With the analytics and Rojas at the helm, the defense was much improved. However, to a certain extent, the damage had already been done. Steven Matz, who struggled in large part due to the absence of defense and analytics, was cast off for relievers who pitched poorly. We had already seen pitchers like Chris Flexen and Paul Sewald cast off. There’s more.
Really, the issue isn’t the core, but what the Mets did with it and how they built around it. For years, we knew Alonso and Smith were both first baseman, but they Mets absolutely refused to make the tough decision and pick just one of them and try to move the other to address a need. It’s a decision which has held this team back for three years now. As for the justification of the anticipation of the universal DH, that’s no reason to throw away three seasons, especially with Alonso and Smith is going to a free agency after the 2024 season.
Looking deeper, this was a team really harmed by injuries. Really, you can make the argument if deGrom was healthy, they don’t collapse. If Carlos Carrasco isn’t hurt in Spring Training, they don’t collapse. If Syndergaard returns when anticipated, they don’t collapse. However, that happened. That’s more of a sign of a snake bit team than it is a problem with the core.
Really, despite the flaws in roster building, this team was good enough. We actually saw it with this team being in first place despite the injuries and the odds. If you’re being honest in your assessment, you should be saying the Mets need to get a real third baseman and left fielder, and this team will be primed to win a World Series. After all, this team with a relatively shallow pitching staff and being plagued by injuries was on the precipice.
That brings us to the next issue. The front office didn’t try to go for it. There was the opportunity, and they chose not to get the pitching this team needed. There’s no good explanation why they didn’t.
As a result, the people who failed at supplementing a very good core is now going to call it an eroding one. They’re going to allow people to falsely accuse this core of not being good enough to win. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and it completely obfuscates what the real problem is – how this organization has approached building rosters.
Overall, if the Mets bring back this same exact roster replacing Davis at third with a real third baseman and putting McNeil in left field, they will be the best team in baseball. There should be absolutely no doubts about that.
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.
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 finally got rid of Rickey Henderson. The Mets finally had enough of his lack of hustle and his attitude. According to Bobby Valentine, it wasn’t just him, but the players as well. Combine that with his threatening a reporter, and the Mets finally got rid of the future Hall of Famer. Given how he has been purported to be the issue with the team, you’d think they’d right the ship immediately.
The Mets are really running out of excuses as to why they are playing as terribly as they are. A team who was once six games over .500 is now at .500, and they have lost four out of the five games they have played against the Marlins. This is the same Marlins team who lost 98 games last year and 108 the previous season.
The Mets had a 2-0 first inning lead in this game. Derek Bell hit a one out homer, and then later in the inning, Todd Zeile hit an RBI single. At that time, the Mets had runners in the corner with one out, but the rally ended there when Benny Agbayani hit into an inning ending double play.
As an aside, Agbayani is one of the players who should benefit from Henderson’s release. Agbayani went from coming THIS close to beginning the year in the minors to being on the cusp of an everyday role. Others who may benefit include Joe McEwing, who made his Mets debut starting in center before moving around the field.
That Mets lead grew to 3-0 in the third. Bell hit a lead-off single, and he’d steal second. Paul Bako‘s throw was wild allowing Bell to go to third on the play. He would score an unearned run on Robin Ventura‘s RBI ground out.
Unfortunately, this 3-0 was not enough for Pat Mahomes to protect. With the injury to Bobby Jones, and the complete ineffectiveness of Bill Pulsipher, Mahomes was again thrust into a starting role. For the first three innings, he kept the Marlins off the board. Starting in the fourth, they’d begin to hit him hard.
Preston Wilson, who is starting to wear out the Mets, led off the inning with a double. He’d then score on a Kevin Millar two run homer. Mahomes would get that run back with an RBI double off opposing pitcher Vladimir Nunez in the bottom of the inning to extend the Mets lead to 4-1. He’d then pitch a scoreless fifth, thanks in part, to an inning ending double play after Luis Castillo reached on an error.
In the sixth, the trouble started for Mahomes the way it usually does for any pitcher – the lead-off walk. Cliff Floyd walked to start the inning, and he stole second. That allowed him to score easily on Wilson’s second double of the game. Turk Wendell would relieve Mahomes, but he would allow the inherited runner to score making this a tied 4-4 game.
When Zeile homered off of Ron Mahay to lead off the bottom of the sixth, that’s where the Mets should have put this game away. That gave the Mets a 5-4 lead late in the game. That meant the Mets bullpen, which is supposedly superior to the Marlins’, would be able to close this one out. They didn’t.
Again, it was Wilson who killed the Mets. Dennis Cook started the seventh, and he was didn’t have control. Castillo had reached on a lead-off single. He’d then plunk Floyd with one out. That put two on in front of Wilson who hit a three run homer to give the Marlins a 7-5 lead.
Not wanting to lose this game, Valentine went to Armando Benitez. Benitez got the last five outs of the game which gave the Mets a chance. They would have their chances, but they failed to capitalize.
In the eighth, Todd Pratt, who started this day game after the night game, hit a two out single. Sensing his chance to get the win, Valentine sent Mike Piazza up as a pinch hitter for Kurt Abbott against Braden Looper. Instead of Piazza hitting the game tying blast, he struck out. Then, Valentine pinch hit Jon Nunnally for Jay Payton. Despite Looper not being good against left-handed batters, Nunnally struck out to end the inning.
It should be noted at that point, Valentine had emptied out his bench completely. Actually, there was one bat left, but that bat was Rey Ordonez, who is injured and unavailable. That meant Valentine was going to have to use a pitcher in the ninth as a pinch hitter. It is really difficult to defend that complete lack of foresight and decision making.
You could say it cost the Mets.
McEwing led off the ninth with a double against Antonio Alfonseca, and he’d score on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single. Now, instead of having Piazza to bat here or even Nunnally, the Mets had Mike Hampton. For a second, Valentine looked like a genius when Hampton got a hold of one, and he appeared to hit a game winning two run homer. Instead, it went foul, and Hampton would wind up striking out in the at-bat.
With two outs, Zeile kept the rally alive with a single pushing Alfonzo into scoring position. That’s where Alfonzo would stay as Matt Franco grounded out meekly to Alfonseca to end the game.
With the loss, the Mets are at .500, and they look like a team completely lost. They are getting beat up by the Marlins, and they are trying to use interchangeable parts in their outfield and rotation. For now, the only thing they can hope for is Hampton to once again play the role of stopper and get the Mets back on track tomorrow.
Game Notes: McEwing was up because Melvin Mora was placed on the DL. He had busted up his index finger and needed stitches on a bunt attempt on Friday. This will put the shortstop duties squarely on Abbott until Ordonez feels healthy enough to play again.
Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.t
So much for the Mets getting healthy after getting swept by the Giants. Instead of taking a series against a bad Marlins team, the Mets lost two out of three, and they really lost the last two games of the series in rather embarrassing fashion. Yesterday, it was a route. Today, well, it was domination.
Looking at the positives for the Mets, there was one, and that one was Glendon Rusch. After this rough outing against the Giants, he returned to the form he was to start the season. His final line was 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
Once again, it was a sterling seven inning effort. where he allowed two runs or fewer on six or fewer hits. He has done that in five of his six starts. That makes his 1-3 record to begin this season all the more bewildering.
Rusch allowed three straight singles to start the game, and on the third single Cliff Floyd scored Luis Castillo. After that, Rusch only allowed three more hits the entire game, and including the walk, just four base runners. He really wasn’t even threatened.
The problem is the Mets never really threatened Ryan Dempster. After all, that is difficult to do when the one and only hit you get is a Mike Piazza two out double in the sixth. At least with that double the Mets did not suffer the indignity of being no-hit. Instead, they had the indignity of being one hit by a pitcher who entered this season with a 5.36 career ERA.
It’s not even like Dempster was THAT sharp. After all, he did walk four batters, and the Mets did get runners into scoring position. In the first, there were runners on first and second with one out after Derek Bell reached on an error and Edgardo Alfonzo walked.
In the fourth, Alfonzo reached via a lead-off walk, and he was erased on a Piazza fielder’s choice. After a walk to Robin Ventura, there was once again runners at first and second with one out. Finally, as referenced above, Piazza hit a two out double in the sixth.
Again, the Mets offense did nothing against Dempster who just made the Mets look bad at the plate striking out eight batters en route to his shutout in the Marlins 3-1 victory.
To make matters worse, Rickey Henderson blew up again. After the detente in San Francisco, Henderson responded by becoming an on-base machine. While he has just four hits over his last 13 at-bats, he has drawn an astounding eight walks for a .524 OBP.
Despite that hot streak, Bobby Valentine opted to rest the 41 year old in the day game after the night game. In Valentine’s defense, this is not too dissimilar than what he did with Henderson last year, and Henderson responded with a great year. However, this is a soft spot for Henderson, and he was angry for sitting yet again in place of Jon Nunnally.
This means that yet again we have to monitor how much of a problem Henderson and his playing time will be, and worse yet, when the Mets are mired in a slump like this losing six of seven to sub .500 teams, you wonder how much this is affecting the team.
Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.
As an organization and as a fan base, we are always going to root for Generation K to finally figure it out and become the aces we all hoped they would be. However, each time any of them takes the mound, we get further and further away from the time we thought they were going to be the trio who would be the ones who brought the Mets to their first World Series since 1986.
Bill Pulsipher might’ve thrown three scoreless to begin the game, but it was a tightrope walk. In the first, he walked two batters. In the second, he allowed back-to-back singles. In the third, he allowed a double to Cliff Floyd. Despite the trouble, Pulsipher managed the tight rope walk. In the fourth, there was a big gust of wind from the Marlins batters swings knocking him right off.
In the top of the fourth, Derek Bell hit a lead-off solo homer to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, having a lead did little to calm Pulsipher down. If anything, it made things worse.
Derek Lee and Alex Gonzalez led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and after a Gonzalez stolen base there were runners at second and third with no outs. After Mike Redmond struck out, the opposing pitcher, Alex Fernandez hit a two RBI double. The Marlins were off and running, and they wouldn’t trail for the rest of the game.
After the Fernandez double, Pulsipher allowed consecutive singles to Luis Castillo, Mark Kotsay, and Cliff Floyd. At that point, it was 4-1 Marlins, and Bobby Valentine brought in Rich Rodriguez to relieve Pulsipher.
When it comes to the 2000 Mets, it is likely Pulsipher will be a footnote in what is hopefully a season where the Mets win a World Series. However, in the grand scheme of things, you do wonder if that is it for Pulsipher in a Mets uniform. This is now his second straight start where he just wasn’t up to the task, and the team already traded him away once. He was the first member of Generation K to make his debut, and he may be the first one to see his Mets career or even his Major League career end.
There is a certain sadness to that.
For now, it is about this game, a game the Mets were routed by a bad Marlins team. To be fair, it should be pointed out the Marlins did start Fernandez, who is the last hold over from the 1997 World Series winner. Fernandez certainly pitched like the very good pitcher we know him to be.
For the Mets, it seemed fortunate he had to leave with an elbow injury, but the Marlins bullpen also shut down the Mets. On the Mets side of the ledger, Rodriguez had walked Preston Wilson when he first relieved Pulsipher to load the bases, and then he got bailed out of the inning. On a Lowell sacrifice fly, Floyd got caught in a run down.
Rodriguez did his job pitching 2.1 innings, and Turk Wendell showed no ill effects from the sprained ankle. While Rodriguez and Wendell did their jobs, Armando Benitez struggled. He allowed a lead-off double to Brant Brown, and he issued two walks loading the bases. Wilson then hit a grand slam.
That took a game within reach to a 5-1 route. At the end of the day, a loss is a loss, but a loss like this is all the more frustrating. First, the Mets gave themselves little chance with Pulsipher on the mound, and then, they really had no chance when Benitez allowed the grand slam. Mostly, it is frustrating because the Mets are not playing well right now losing five of their last six.
Game Notes: This was the fifth homer Benitez has allowed this year raising his ERA to 6.88. At the moment, there are no plans to give the closer duties back to John Franco.
Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.
On Thursday, I had the honor and the privilege of being a guest on A Metsian Podcast. It was a lot of fun and cathartic, and I would hope you would all take a listen by clicking on the link provided.
I’m not sure if this is a reason to entice you to listen, but during the course of the podcast, I personally mentioned or discussed the following Mets players: Tom Seaver, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Cliff Floyd, Nolan Ryan, Aaron Sele, Jason Vargas, Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Roberto Alomar, Juan Samuel, Jim Fregosi, Bret Saberhagen, Vince Coleman, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Flexen, Paul Sewald, Sean Gilmartin, Darren Oliver, Pat Mahomes, Eric Hanhold, Steve Villines, Corey Oswalt, Jacob Rhame, Hansel Robles, Stephen Nogosek, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Darryl Strawberry, and others. This list is off the top of my head.
Looking at that list, maybe that’s why they haven’t brought me back after my last appearance three years ago when I went on a Daniel Murphy rant.
Prior to Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, there was much debate over who Willie Randolph should give the ball.
It was Steve Trachsel‘s turn in the rotation, but he was terrible in Game 3 and bad in the NLDS. Possibly, it was the result of the microdiscectomy he had in 2005, but he didn’t have in anymore.
Due to the rainouts in the series, Tom Glavine in one day of rest was a non-starter leaving the Mets unable to throw their best (healthy) pitcher in a winner-take-all-game.
As a result, when you broke it all down, the Mets best option was Darren Oliver Perez. That’s right, it was some combination of Darren Oliver, the former starter who was brilliant in the Mets bullpen in 2016, and Oliver Perez, the pitcher who did just enough to win Game 4. With Perez not being nearly as good as he was as his 2002 breakout season, and him starting on three days of rest, this truly was an all hands on deck type of game.
Looking at the game, it made sense to put the Mets bullpen front and center. The Mets had the best and deepest bullpen in the National League. That bullpen led the National League in wins, ERA, and fWAR. It was dominant, and even with the hiccups in Games 2 and 5 in the series, you certainly trusted it much more than you trusted anyone in the rotation.
As we are aware, things turned out much differently than anticipated. With the help of Endy Chavez making the greatest catch you will ever see, Perez would allow just one earned on four hits in six innings of work. He went far beyond what anyone could have anticipated, and really, he put the Mets in position to win that game.
Ultimately, the Mets would lose the game and as a result the series for two reasons. The first was the Mets offense didn’t deliver. After Endy’s catch, Javier Valentin struck out with the bases loaded, and Endy did not have more magic left for the inning instead flying out. In the ninth, Cliff Floyd struck out, Jim Edmonds robbed Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran struck out looking.
The second reason was the bullpen, specifically Aaron Heilman. He pitched a scoreless eighth, and he started off the ninth well striking out Edmonds. After the Scott Rolen single, he really was through the dangerous part of the lineup. He should have gotten through that inning unscathed to give the Mets a chance to walk off. Realistically speaking, no one could have anticipated what came next.
In 2006, Heilman did not get hit hard. He yielded just a 4.4% FB/HR ratio, and he had a 0.5 HR/9. He had not given up a home run since July 16th, and that was hit by Phil Nevin. Again, no one could see Yadier Molina‘s homer coming.
That didn’t stop it from coming, but just because it came, it did not mean Randolph and the Mets made the wrong decision trusting Heilman.
Sometimes, you make the right decision, and the wrong thing happens. It is what we saw happen last night with the Athletics.
Like the 2006 Mets, the real strength of that team was the bullpen. In a winner take all game, Bob Melvin put his faith in them. Ultimately, it was two of his best relievers, Fernando Rodney and Blake Treinen, who failed most. They took a close game and put it well out of reach.
That doesn’t mean he was wrong to trust those arms for one game. It just means the team’s best players didn’t perform, which is the reason the Athletics lost. Really, it was the use of an opener or the bullpenning. It was Rodney and Treinen, two pitchers who were definitively going to pitch in the game even if the Athletics used a traditional starter, who lost the game.
In the end, there is still a debate at the merits of using an opener or bullpenning, but the Athletics losing this game did not settle this debate. Not in the least.
These are the types of games that have traditionally tripped up the Mets. Day games. Get away games. Games with a rain delay. All of those things combined have always seemed to get in the Mets way. Harkening back to 2015, these were all present in the fateful loss against the San Diego Padres which nearly derailed the Mets season. Those conditions were present today.
With rain waiting, the game had a delayed start until 2:45. Initially, all seemed well for the Mets.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a monster two run homer off Aaron Nola to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead. Noah Syndergaard would start the game striking out five Phillies over the first two innings. Then, all of a sudden, everything would come off the rails in a 36 pitch third inning for Syndergaard.
The odd thing for Syndergaard was even though he was in trouble he was so close to getting out of it. There were runners on first and second with one out after a Carlos Santana double. After a Nick Williams RBI groundout, Syndergaard was well in position to get out of a tough inning with the Mets still having a 2-1 lead.
Surprisingly, Syndergaard, who typically has excellent control, immediately went 3-0 against Rhys Hoskins. He battled back into the count in what was an eight pitch at-bat where he then couldn’t put Hoskins away. On the eighth pitch, he walked Hoskins. That walk proved important.
With Aaron Altherr down 1-2 in the count, Hoskins broke too early for second, and it looked like he was picked off. The ball went to second with Asdrubal Cabrera covering, and he walked back Hoskins while keeping an eye on Santana. After Cabrera flipped it to Adrian Gonzalez, Hoskins ran out of the baseline (not called), and Santana beat Gonzalez’s throw home.
The game was tied at 2-2. At that point, Syndergaard wasn’t going to be able to make it through five innings, and the Mets offense had just one hit after the Cespedes homer. This made this the type of game you’d expect the Mets of very recent vintage to blow.
However, Robert Gsellman came out of the bullpen and gave the Mets a lift. He was nearly as impressive as Seth Lugo was yesterday throwing two hitless innings while striking out three. Like Lugo, Gsellman gave the Mets a shot in the arm and a real chance to win.
That chance came in the sixth when Nola, who was infamously lifted by Gabe Kapler on Opening Day after 5.2 innings, walked Cabrera to start the sixth. After a Gonzalez lineout, Andrew Knapp error, and a Kevin Plawecki ground out, Wilmer Flores pinch hit for Gsellman and drew a walk. That’s where Amed Rosario, who has hit ninth in every game he has started on the young season, was in prime position to deliver the big hit.
Rosario did a nice job going the other way with the pitch, and he was able to line the ball over Williams, who was playing aggressively in in right field. The end result was a two run triple giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.
The Mets bullpen, who has had an incredibly strong start to the season, stepped up and shut the door.
And yes, it is April, which is way too early to focus on these things, but the Mets are now traveling to Washington a half game up in the division and with Jacob deGrom on the mound.
Game Notes: This game was broadcast only on Facebook with former Phillie John Kruk and former Met Cliff Floyd doing the color commentary. With Michael Conforto being activated from the disabled list, Phillip Evans was optioned down to Triple-A. He was 0-3 with a strikeout and a GIDP.
Like seemingly every Major League team, the New York Mets are interested in obtaining the Japanese Babe Ruth – Shohei Ohtani. While it is good to hear the Mets are in fact interested in entering the race for the pitcher/hitter, no one should expect the Mets to get him.
This isn’t a financial reason either. Ohtani comes with a $20 million posting fee which is only accepted by the team who is deemed to have one the claim. The Mets can only offer him a bonus from their international bonus pool which currently stands at $150,000. This pales in comparison to the $3,535,000 the Rangers could offer him or the $3,250,000 the Yankees could offer him.
Now, the Mets don’t have the pool money those teams have because the Mets have spent their money acquiring players. The one caveat here is if Ohtani really wanted to come to the Mets, the Mets could very well trade for additional pool money.
The issue is why would Ohtani want to come to the Mets? Given the Collective Bargaining Agreement constructs, Ohtani is going to make roughly the same amount as T.J. Rivera did last year. If he waited two years, he’d possibly get Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract. In many ways, you could argue, Ohtani isn’t motivated as much by the money as he is by the chance of accomplishing his dream of playing in the majors.
For him, that means both pitching and hitting. Likely, that means Ohtani belongs in the American League where he could DH on a somewhat regular basis. During his five year career in the Japanese Leagues, his positional breakdown was as follows: P (85 G), RF (57 G), LF (7 G), DH (256 G).
Consider for a moment, Ohtani has not appeared in the outfield since 2014. There are a few reasons for that including Ohtani’s recent medical history. A bigger reason is a team does not want their top of the rotation starter airing it out in right field to try to nail a runner at the plate, nor do they want that pitcher diving to catch a ball and risk the injuries we have seen Juan Lagares suffer the past few seasons.
You could argue this could lead a team to try to move him to first base. However, if you view Ohtani as a top of the rotation starter, would you be willing to risk a Cliff Floyd – Todd Hundley type of collision? There is next to no chance you would do that, and that is even before you consider a team not wanting to waste teaching Otani a new position in lieu of working with his new pitching coach.
As much as National League teams want Ohtani, they really can’t afford the risk of playing Ohtani everyday. You don’t want him in right field a day after he threw 100 pitches. Accordingly, there are some necessary off days he is going to need. Every National League team knows this, including the Mets. Ohtani and his agents know this as well.
If Ohtani really wants to pitch and hit, he’s really limited to the American League where he can DH on the days he’s not starting.
Of course, there is still every possibility Ohtani really does want to do it all, which would include fielding. To be fair, there haven’t been comments from Ohtani regarding his wants from that regard.
Still, if you were a betting man, you would likely bet on Ohtani choosing an American League team because that is the team best suited for not only his talents, but also for his own personal goals. If that is the case, while we can point fingers at the Mets for missing out on players over the years, they will not be to blame for missing out on a once in a generation type of talent.