In what has already been a frustrating offseason for Mets fans, Sandy Alderson has already uttered a statement that may prove to go down in “Panic Citi” history. While speaking with reporters, Alderson suggested people “spend a little less time focusing on our payroll.”
If Alderson wants everyone to spend less time focusing on payroll, maybe it is time to focus on Alderson’s tenure as the Mets General Manager to see how it was the team has gotten to this position.
During Alderson’s entire tenure, there have only been eight players who have played over 140 games in a season – Asdrubal Cabrera (2016), Ike Davis (2012) Lucas Duda (2014), Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2016), Juan Lagares (2015), Daniel Murphy (2012 – 2014), Jose Reyes (2017), and David Wright (2012).
This is because of a long list of injuries that have occurred to their position players. This ranges from the ordinary (Yoenis Cespedes‘ hamstring issues) to the bizarre (Davis’ Valley Fever) to the tragic (Wright).
As poorly as things have gone for the position players, the pitching situation is even worse. Johan Santana, Tim Byrdak, and Scott Rice suffered injuries that effectively ended their careers. Same could be said for Bobby Parnell, Jeremy Hefner, and Jim Henderson. The list goes on and on..
That list includes a starting pitching staff upon which this franchise was supposedly built. Each of the treasured purported five aces have undergone surgeries that have cost them multiple months. Matt Harvey may never be the same, and the same can be said for Zack Wheeler.
The irony is Alderson implemented the famed “Prevention & Recovery” mantra, and arguably things have gotten worse under his control.
Evaluating Own Talent
Now, there are varying reasons why teams choose to extend some players while not extending others, or why they choose not to re-sign other players. Still, Alderson’s record is not exactly sterling on this front.
The main players discussed on this front are Murphy and Justin Turner. However, there are some other less discussed players that have slipped through the Mets fingers.
The Mets traded Collin McHugh for Eric Young only to watch McHugh thrive elsewhere. Chris Young was given a large one year deal, was released, and has been an effective player for the Yankees and Red Sox. They released Dario Alvarez to see the Braves claim him and trade him to the Rangers for a former first round draft pick. Finally, there was the Angel Pagan trade for a couple of players who amounted to nothing with the Mets.
The troubles evaluating their own players go beyond who they willingly let go. It goes to those players the Mets opted to extend – Lagares, Jon Niese, and Wright. None of these three ever amounted to the promise they had at the time the contracts were extended. There are differing reasons for this, but in the end, the Mets proved wrong in those decisions.
The glass half-full is that every first round draft pick made prior to 2015 has made the Majors. Additionally, two of those players have made All Star teams. The glass half-empty is the players the Mets have drafted have not lived up to their potential.
At a time the Mets need a starting center fielder, Brandon Nimmo isn’t even being considered. This is not surprising as many see him as a fourth outfielder.
Coincidentally, the Mets also need a second baseman, and they are not even considering Gavin Cecchini for so much as a utility role let alone an opportunity to compete for a job in Spring Training.
The team was not at all enamored with Dominic Smith‘s rookie campaign, and they have publicly talked about bringing in insurance for him not being on the Opening Day roster.
The Mets had no 2015 draft pick because the team lost it signing Michael Cuddyer. Effectively speaking, this decision cost the Mets two first rounders as the team’s lack of offense and health caused them to trade Michael Fulmer for Cespedes. We have all seen Fulmer win a Rookie of the Year Award and make an All Star team in Detroit while the Mets have been desperate for pitching.
Justin Dunn has done little to quell the concerns he is a reliever and not a starter while Anthony Kay, the compensation for the reigning NLCS MVP, has yet to throw a professional pitch because of his Tommy John surgery.
This leaves Conforto, who should be a burgeoning superstar, but sadly we wait with baited breath looking to see if he is going to be the same player he was before separating his shoulder on a swing.
Alderson’s ventures into free agency have not been all that fruitful. Of all the players who have signed multi-year deals, only Granderson has posted multiple seasons over a 2.0 WAR. In fact, Granderson is the only player who has posted a cumulative WAR of over 4.0.
For those that would bring up Colon or Cespedes, their exploits are not attributable to their multi-year deals. Colon accumulated 4.9 WAR with the Mets with 3.4 of that coming during his one year contract. Cespedes has accumulated 7.2 WAR with the Mets with just 2.1 WAR coming last year in an injury plagued first year of a large four year deal.
It should be noted Alderson may not have much success on this front because the team has not gone crazy in free agency signing just a few players a year to Major League deals.
Even in 2015 and 2016, two years the Mets made the postseason, the Mets had depth issues. This was why the team traded for Kelly Johnson in consecutive seasons. It’s also a reason why in those consecutive years the Mets had to add to the bullpen.
Those seasons have taken a toll on the Mets prospect front. They have sent away a number of assets and potential Major League contributors for a number of players who were attainable before the season began on reasonable deals. Instead, the Mets thought they would be set with players like Eric Campbell.
Much of what is attributed to Alderson being a good General Manager is predicated upon a stroke of genius in obtaining Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra in exchange for R.A. Dickey. Even with many fans wanting to give him plaudits for Cespedes, it should be noted the trade was made largely because of a series of missteps. It should also be noted the Mets lost a pretty good pitcher.
Now, if you are going to defend Alderson by saying his hands have been largely tied due to the Mets payroll, remember, Alderson himself doesn’t want thinks we should spend a little less time focusing on that.
Sadly, we have to do that because the Alderson regime has had difficulties in evaluating their own talent and drafting high end talent. If he had, the discussion would probably be the Mets fine tuning to make another postseason run instead of there being fan anger over how the payroll is restricting the Mets from building a World Series caliber roster.
On Thanksgiving, it’s time to go around the Mets 2017 roster and name something each player should be thankful for:
Nori Aoki – He looked so much better in September than he did in all of 2017 by being competent while playing on a dysfunctional team.
Jerry Blevins – Throughout all the stress of the season and his extreme workload, the man didn’t even put on one pound.
Chasen Bradford – With his call-up to the majors, he’s now on the short list for best beards in Mets history.
Jay Bruce – He learned from his experience last year, and he played well for a team that acquired him in a trade.
Asdrubal Cabrera – As we found out this season, all he wanted the Mets to do was to pick up his option so he could provide for him family. With the Mets having done that, he can now rest easy.
Jamie Callahan – One day when bards tell the tale of the six right-handed relievers the Mets acquired at the 2017 deadline, they will regale us all with stories of how Callahan was the first of them to finish out a game the Mets won.
Gavin Cecchini – He made the switch from short to second where it will be easier for him to make it to the majors. That goes double if the Mets who are tightening payroll off a poor season don’t bring in a free agent to play the position.
Yoenis Cespedes – With Cespedes missing half the season, that left a lot of time for him to hit the course.
Michael Conforto – Collins is gone meaning no one is standing in his way from being a superstar anymore.
Travis d’Arnaud – He became the greatest defensive second baseman in Mets history by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position.
Jacob deGrom – With him pitching so well this year, he knows he will finally be able to cash in in arbitration thereby allowing him to afford a haircut.
Phillip Evans – After winning a batting title in 2016, having a good Spring Training, and a good second half for Vegas, the Mets finally decided to let him post similarly good numbers for them in September.
Jeurys Familia – Blood clots in his shoulder costing him most of the season made most people forget why he missed the beginning of the season.
Wilmer Flores – He fouled a ball off his face, and he lived to tell about it.
Sean Gilmartin – With his going from the Mets to the Cardinals, he was able to prove he wasn’t bad. It was just the Mets as an organization did not employ anyone capable of knowing he was actually injured.
Erik Goeddel – No matter how much he struggled this season, he will never be the most hated person in pro sports with the last name pronounced GO-dell\n
Curtis Granderson – He had a front row seat to seeing Chase Utley fail in the postseason.
Robert Gsellman – He has so much self confidence he doesn’t care what anyone things of him.
Matt Harvey – Between the Tommy John, TOS, and the Mets rushing him into the rotation with atrophied muscles in his throwing arm knowing he wouldn’t really be ready until a month into the season, he should be thankful for getting out of the season with his right arm still attached.
Ty Kelly – He got out of here after one game thereby preventing Nurse Ratched from getting to him and ending his season.
Juan Lagares – With all the injuries and the Mets looking to cut payroll, he is once again the center fielder of the future.
Steven Matz – With him suffering the same injury deGrom suffered last year, we all know he can come back from this to be the same exact injury prone pitcher he was before the surgery.
Kevin McGowan – He will always have a special place in Mets fans hearts as it was his call-up that forced Ramirez off the roster.
Tommy Milone – He was able to find a team that was okay with him having an ERA over 8.00.
Rafael Montero – For the first time in his life, he wasn’t a complete abomination as a pitcher.
Tomas Nido – Even with his struggles at the plate in Binghamton, he can rest easy knowing the Mets don’t expect an OBP over .300 from their catchers.
Brandon Nimmo – No one, not matter what, has been able to wipe that smile off of his face.
Tyler Pill – In a year of embarrassing pitching performances by Mets pitchers, Pill actually acquitted himself quite well before suffering his season ending injury.
Kevin Plawecki – He’s so well liked by his teammates that someone left him a present in his locker, which apparently has inspired him to hit the ball harder and longer thereby resurrecting his career.
Neil Ramirez – Somehow, someway, he was not the absolute worst pitcher on a team’s pitching staff.
AJ Ramos – To him, getting traded to the Mets meant he was traded to a team that actually spends money in the offseason.
Addison Reed – He was so good this year he was worth not just one but three right-handed relievers.
Jose Reyes – The Mets didn’t cut him or his playing time no matter how horrible he played during the 2017 season.
Matt Reynolds – He got that long look in September Sandy Alderson promised him. Unfortunately, that only amounted to him getting 10 games to show what he could do at the MLB level.
Jacob Rhame – He’s with an organization that has had success getting flame throwing right-handed pitchers who have slimmed down since getting drafted reach their full potential.
Rene Rivera – After failing to whisper loud enough to help the Mets pitchers pitch better, he was able to go to the Cubs to help their pitchers lead them to an NLCS berth.
Hansel Robles – In his mind every ball hit in the air is an inning ending pop up.
Amed Rosario – He didn’t have to have his development hampered by being expected to be the savior when he was called-up to the majors as the Mets were well out of contention on August 1st.
Fernando Salas – Despite his rough stint with the Mets, he was able to land with the Angels to end the season thereby proving it was the Mets handling of pitchers and not him that was terrible.
Paul Sewald – As a reward for all of his hard work in Vegas, he got the privilege of being the arm Collins loved to abuse during the season.
Dominic Smith – He finally got his call-up in August in Philadelphia of all places allowing him to celebrate the accomplishment and the win with a cheesesteak from Pat’s. (NOTE: not a cheapshot at his weight, this actually happened)
Josh Smoker – After the Mets finally gave up on using a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues as the long man in the pen, he showed the team in September that he could be as a lefty out of the pen to get lefties out.
Noah Syndergaard – Mr. Met flipped off someone this year other than him.
Neil Walker – The Mets moved him to the Brewers where he was able to re-establish his free agency value by being productive and by staying healthy, which was coincidentally was when he was away from the Mets medical team.
Adam Wilk – Because Harvey was at home one day in his pajamas, he set off on a path where he would become eligible to earn a share of the postseason money awarded to the Twins for claiming the second Wild Card.
Zack Wheeler – Instead of missing two years due to injury, he missed two months.
David Wright – Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Mets still have not given up on him.
Terry Collins – At the end of the day, he was able to make a friend of Fred Wilpon who had his back no matter what. We should all be so lucky.
Dan Warthen – He found a new group of pitchers in Texas who have elbows waiting to learn how to throw that Warthen Slider.
Sandy Alderson – Collins was so poor at managing, he was able to convince ownership it was all Collins’ fault and not his for poorly constructing a roster.
Mets Fans – Well, even if it wasn’t at this post, we all still have a sense of humor, and we can still laugh at what we put up with from this team on a daily basis.
In the end, this Mets season was just one large Scrubs season. It wasn’t quite a comedy. It wasn’t quite a drama. Not nearly enough people should have appreciated it. And, oh yeah, the players resembled the characters:
J.D. – Michael Conforto
There are many ways we can choose to compare the two with how they are treated by authority figures and seem to be dreamers. Overall, it’s the Janitor who shows how the two are unmistakably intertwined:
Turk – Noah Syndergaard
Like Turk, Syndergaard can be both silly (his hatred of Mr. Met), had their bromances that ended when their bff departed (Bartolo Colon), and are serious about their craft (60′ 6″ away). Both had serious health issues (Turk – diabetes; Thor – torn lat), that they largely ignored until they could no longer.
Dr. Cox – Sandy Alderson
Both are brash, saracastic, and quick witted. They want everyone to conform, leave them alone, and they want the higher ups to give them the revenue they need to do their jobs because secretly they care. Both have to deal with the hand they are given and do better than possibly anyone else would in their position.
Elliott – Jacob deGrom
The precocious blonde with long locks has gone from being overlooked to front and center. Now, after a drastic haircut, we see them all grown up and in charge
Carla – Curtis Granderson
For much of the show, Carla was really the only adult in the room. She was the one who was a parent and a friend to everyone. There was no Met who has ever embodied that better than Granderson.
Kelso – Fred Wilpon
He’s the penny pinching curmudgeon who deep down believes he cares about the place more than anyone. As time goes on, and they become more separated from the day-t0-day affairs, they become more likeable as newer villains begin to run interference. In reality, they haven’t changed one bit. Just ask Enid.
Janitor – Asdrubal Cabrera
He was once a guy with dreams and wanted to be someone. Instead, he’s stuck around this place finding himself not wanting to be fired despite not being good at his job and terrifying everyone. Oh, and now he needs this job to provide for his family.
The Todd – Yoenis Cespedes
Both seem like all flash and no substance with high fives, bat flips, cars, banana hammocks, chains, and compression sleeves. However, once you get past all of that and look at their abilities, they are among the best at what they do.
Ted – Travis d’Arnaud
There was probably a time where dear old Ted had the world as his oyster much like d’Arnaud did when he first joined the Mets organization. At this point both are beaten down and quite possibly both are forever broken. In d’Arnaud’s case that’s probably more physical than spiritual.
Jordan – Terry Collins
As we found out in Marc Carig’s piece about Collins’ firing, the manager had contempt for most everyone around him except for a small few he treated kindly. Of course to him that meant hurting them (ruining their arms). That’s Jordan in a nutshell – hates almost everyone and is still nasty to those she likes.
Murphy – Ray Ramirez
They want to help, but they just keep killing everyone in their path. Like with Dr. Murphy, the Mets have finally found a place where he could do less harm.
Keith Dudemeister – Lucas Duda
Aside from the fact that their surnames practically beg for the comparison, both seem like people we could have all been friends with under completely different circumstances.
Laverne – Jose Reyes
Just when you thought they were dead and gone, they’ve come back. For Laverne, she came back under a different name. For Reyes, it was a different position.
Enid – David Wright
Both were quite loved in their day, but now they are broken down and our eyes look elsewhere for something younger and sexier to take their place.
Sean – Kevin Plawecki
They seem like perfectly nice guys who try hard. In the end no matter what they do, no matter how good it is, it elicts the same response. “Nobody cares!”
Bearfacé – Chasen Bradford
Of all the Mets, Bradford was the only Mets player who put together a beard that could come close to Beardface.
Extra points to Bradford for Baseball Reference not quite knowing if it’s Chase or Chasen similar to how Dr. Beardface constantly corrects everyone screaming it’s BEARD-FAS-AY!
Hooch –Hansel Robles
When Robles points to the sky as if to suggest a home run is just a pop fly, you know Robles is crazy. Like Hooch, the craziness was comical at first, but now it is just downright scary.
Lloyd – Jeff Wilpon
He’s got the job because of who his father is, and someone he has a place on the Brain Trust.
Dr. Wen – Dan Warthen
They were tutors for a young talented group, but in the end, their time came as they refused to adapt. For Warthen, it was teaching a slider when everyone was focusing on the curve. For Dr. Wen, it was:
Ben – Neil Walker
He came here sick, and the Mets just couldn’t fix him no matter what they did. Before we knew it, he was gone, and we were all looking for someone to blame.
Dan – Jay Bruce
When he first appeared, he was useless, and yet, somehow people seemed to love him. He was an older brother that tried to take people under his wing, but he, himself, was the one who needed help. Eventually, he got himself together just before we all said good bye to him.
Leonard – Seth Lugo
It’s the giant hook and the impressive hair (afro, blonde).
Julie – Wilmer Flores
Both are young, lovable, and so accident prone. In the entire Scrubs series, the only way capable of breaking their own nose the way Wilmer did was Julie.
Jill – Matt Harvey
We all just assumed the worst in their intentions. However, in the end, we discovered it wasn’t anything they did particularly wrong. Rather, it was a problem related to something else entirely that if someone detected it earlier, everything might have changed. Instead, a waste of a 2017 ensued.
Gift Shop Girl – Carlos Beltran
We had our chance with him, but we blew it. We forgot about him for a long time, but now that we remember him, he’s now got a ring on his finger.
Paige – Brandon Nimmo
Both are extremely religious, and you cannot wipe the smile off of either one’s face . . . no matter how much you try.
Mickhead – Barwis
We all know Barwis murdered the Mets season. We just don’t have the proof.
In Marc Carig’s Newsday post-mortem on the 2017 season, he detailed how the trades of Jay Bruce and Neil Walker helped deteriorate the clubhouse. With the Mets so heavily invested in Amed Rosario to be not just a big part of the 2018 season, but the next decade, the Mets need to make sure they bring in character guys this offseason to not only improve the clubhouse culture, but also provide the leadership that Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, and other Mets young players could benefit.
The hope is that David Wright could help serve that role in some respect, but with his health issues, no one can be sure he can provide anything next year. Fortunately, for the Mets, there are plenty of other guys available this offseason. Better yet, they could serve roles beyond providing leadership:
OF Curtis Granderson – Granderon was seen as a leader on the Mets clubhouse, and he helped a young crop of Mets players reach their full potential helping them win the 2015 pennant. Putting Aprils aside, Granderson is as reliable and clutch a player as the Mets have ever had.
RHP Bartolo Colon – Even with Colon having a poor year last year, there were signs his leadership among the pitching staff was missed. One area that was pointed at was walks. From 2015 to 2016, Mets pitchers gave up the fewest walks in the majors. Last year, the Mets gave up the fourth most. In terms of leadership, Colon could help, but the Mets need to be cautious to not promise him anything more than a chance to compete for a spot on the team as the soon to be 45 year old is nearing the end of his career.
3B Todd Frazier – In addition to his being a clubhouse presence, Frazier is a plus defender at third base posting the third best DRS among MLB third baseman with over 1,000 innings at the position. He’s also in the top half of batters per wRC+ and OPS+. Additionally, with his first base experience, he could serve as a platoon partner for Smith, or even take over if Smith should prove not ready to play a full season at the MLB level.
UTIL Howie Kendrick – Kendrick put a tough 2016 season behind him, and he had one of his better offensive seasons, albeit an injury prone one. With the Mets having a number of holes, Kendrick could slot into any number of them. That includes RF with the uncertainty as to when Michael Conforto could begin the season. In addition to that, Kendrick has been long considered a positive presence in the clubhouse.
DH Carlos Beltran – It’s not likely Beltran is going to play next year with him being over 40, coming off his worst season, and with him already having won his World Series ring. Still, if he’s available, and the Mets have struck out other fronts, the team should consider a reunion with a player who had a profound impact on a young Astros team. He could do the same with the Mets playing the 1984 Rusty Staub or 2006 Julio Franco role.
Overall, the Mets have viable veteran options to help the team. If not one of these players, the Mets need to find another player who could serve that role.
With the World Series being between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, it seemed eminently possible that either Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson was going to win the World Series in their final season as a professional. With the Astros winning the World Series, Beltran has his ring, and he may very well retire at the age of 40. If he does, he will join just one other Met who retired after winning a World Series. Can you name him? Good luck!
Anytime you enter into a search for a new manager, you are really dealing with the realm of the unknown. For first time managers, you really have no idea if that person is truly ready for the big leagues, he is better suited to the minors, or is a better coach. For every Davey Johnson you hire, there are also the Joe Torres of the world, who were talented managers, but not ready to manage at the time you gave him the job.
Really, in these instances, you have to look at the relevant information available and the recommendations of other baseball people. Mostly, you’re going with your gut.
The Mets gut told them to go out there and hire Mickey Callaway.
The Mets only needed one interview to choose Callaway over former manager and Mets coach Manny Acta. It was sufficient enough for them to bypass current hitting coach Kevin Long.
Callaway had impressed so much during his interview and during his time with the Cleveland Indians, the Mets were not willing to wait. They had Fred Wilpon sit down and sell him on the franchise similar to how the team once did with Billy Wagner and Curtis Granderson.
Give the Mets credit here. They identified their man, and they did all they could do to bring him into the organization. Deservedly so, many complimented the Mets on making a smart hire, including the fans who were skeptical of the direction the Mets would go.
Their man also happened to be a pitching guru, who will now be tasked with the responsibility of fixing Matt Harvey as well as finding a way to keep Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jeurys Familia healthy for a full season.
If Mets fans want a reason to be excited for this season, there is no bigger reason than Callaway choosing to manage this pitching staff. By doing so, he’s announced he’s a believer, and he’s put his and the Mets future on this lines.
The team hiring Callaway so early and so aggressively had a domino effect. It looks like the first domino to fall will be hitting coach Kevin Long.
Long has had a positive impact on the players on this Mets roster. He helped turn Yoenis Cespedes from a slugger to a star. By OPS+ and wRC+, Asdrubal Cabrera had two of his best five offensive seasons. Michael Conforto would prove he could hit left-handed pitching at the Major League level.
With Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith being two cornerstones of the franchise, Long was exactly the man you wanted to help them reach their offensive ceilings. Now, that won’t happen because Long is likely gone.
Another person you would want to help lead young players like Rosario and Smith is Joe Girardi. In his one year with the Marlins, and this past season working with young players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees made a surprising run this season that ended with a Game 7 loss in the ALCS.
What is interesting is the Mets were rumored to want Girardi. As reported by the New York Post, the Mets were looking to possibly “pounce” on Girardi if the Yankees did not bring him back.
That was written during the ALDS when it appeared Girardi’s job was in jeopardy. After the Yankees recovered and upset the Indians and took the Astros to seven games, there weren’t too many people who stuck believed Girardi would be looking for another job.
And yet, he is. This should at least raise some questions whether the Mets should have done their due diligence. Maybe another round of interviews were in order. Conducting that extra round could have left the Mets open to the chance of not making an hire before Girardi became available.
Maybe if there was a second round of interviews, Long feels more appreciated instead of taking his binders to another job. That other job could be as the manager or hitting coach of the Washington Nationals where he would reunite with Daniel Murphy. Maybe with Long at the helm, the Nationals finally get past the NLDS.
If that were to happen, and if Callaway falters, it would be too much for Mets fans to bear. Yet again, the Mets let one of their own go to the Nationals leading them to further success because they were enamored with someone from another organization. Like with Murphy and Justin Turner, Sandy Alderson will have opened himself up to justifiable second guessing.
The team jumped the gun costing themselves a chance to hire a terrific manager in Girardi, and it might have cost them the opportunity to retain a coach they thought highly enough of they almost made him their manager. The Mets were left with a manager who has never managed professionally, and they have to rebuild a coaching staff.
Instead of making the safe choice like they did when they hired Terry Collins, the Mets instead chose to go for the high risk – high reward hire. It worked with Davey, and it failed with Torre.
This is exactly why the Mets need to be right about their decision to hire Callaway.
When your team isn’t in the World Series, you look for different reasons to root for one team or another. One of the reasons is rooting for some of your favorite Mets. This year is a little more difficult with players on both sides even with Curtis Granderson being left off the World Series roster.
Can you name the former Mets from the Sandy Alderson regime who have played in the World Series since 2011? Good luck!
One of the things that was discussed often by John Smoltz, and really people everywhere was how Dave Roberts chose to manage Game Two of the World Series. The end result of those moves was Brandon McCarthy, who was added to the World Series roster in place of Curtis Granderson, made his first pitching appearance since October 1st. The end result was McCarthy allowing a two run homer to George Springer that ultimately decided the game.
Roberts had to go with McCarthy because he was his last reliever available as he went to his bullpen early in this game. Oh, and by the way, all hell broke loose after the seventh inning.
MARWIN IN THE 9TH! TIE GAME.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 26, 2017
JOSE ALTUVE FOR THE LEAD! https://t.co/0QfjirPq9o
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 26, 2017
— yulogy (@yuarerad) October 26, 2017
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 26, 2017
— José Juan Vázquez (@josejuangelv) October 26, 2017
In back and forth games like this, there is seemingly nothing a manager can do to stem the tide. Sure, it helps to have your best relievers available, but Roberts already used his. He was probably right to do so. To that end, here’s each move he made:
Top of the 5th, Dodgers Down 1-0
At this point in the game, Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going, and he looked every bit as hittable. At the time, Rich Hill limited the Astros to an Alex Bregman RBI single, but he was far from dominant allowing three hits and three walks. At this point, if you are going to win this game against Verlander, you’re really hoping someone runs into one to tie it and let your dominant bullpen win the day. For that to happen, you have to keep it as close as possible. As a result, going to Kenta Maeda was precisely the right move.
Top of the 6th, Game Tied 1-1
Joc Pederson did exactly what the Dodgers needed tying the game with a homer. After Maeda did his part keeping the Astros off the board in the fifth, he allowed a lead-off single to Carlos Correa. After a Guerriel pop-out, the Astros lineup was L-S-L, which called for a left-handed reliever. Roberts brought in Tony Watson, who did his job by getting Brian McCann to hit into the inning ending double play.
Top of the 7th, Dodgers Leading 3-1
Out of nowhere, Chris Taylor earned a two out walk, and Corey Seager hit a good pitch to give the Dodgers an improbable 3-1 lead. The team would have only two hits until extra innings, but they certainly made them count. To try to hold the lead, Roberts, who had pinch hit for Watson in the sixth, went to Ross Stripling.
If you want to ding Roberts, this is the spot. After Stripling allowed a lead-off walk to Marwin Gonzalez, Roberts pulled Stripling from the game. Apparently, he was not willing to let the game get out of hand, so he instead brought in Brandon Morrow, who induced Josh Reddick to hit into a double play to prevent the inning from escalating.
Top of the 8th, Dodgers Leading 3-1
Roberts tried to get some extra outs out of Morrow, who only threw nine pitches in the seventh. After a Bregman ground rule double just out of the reach of Puig, Roberts didn’t take chances. He went to Kenley Jansen, who has been as dominant a postseason closer we have ever seen this side of Mariano Rivera.
Yes, the Astros would get one back here, and they would tie the game on an unlikely Gonzalez homer off Jansen, but as any Mets fan that saw Tyler Clippard set the stage for disaster in Game 4 of the World Series, it was the right move.
In the end, Roberts went full bore for this win with a day off today giving his pitchers an extra day of rest. He had the pitcher you wanted on the mound to close out the game to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. Just because Jansen failed doesn’t mean Roberts was wrong. Rather, it means it didn’t work. Those aren’t always the same thing.
If the Dodgers win, we’re talking about Roberts the genius. Fact is, we still should be because he did a great job getting his team on the precipice of a 2-0 series lead.
Watching the World Series last night, there was certainly a lot to unpack. With the game time temperature being over 100 degrees, it was easily the hottest temperature for a World Series game. What ensued from there was a very played, very enjoyable, and very interesting game.
Chris Taylor hit the first pitch from Dallas Keuchel for a home run. This was the first time that has happened in a World Series since Alcides Escobar hit an inside the park home run off Matt Harvey on a ball that Yoenis Cespedes still hasn’t bothered to chase after.
Staying on the Mets related front, Curtis Granderson was removed from the World Series roster, but Chase Utley was kept on it. Of course, this means we will have to keep an eye on Carlos Correa‘s legs should Utley make it on base. Considering he’s gone 0 for his last 21 postseason at-bats, it does not seem like Houston will have a problem on that front.
There was also seeing Justin Turner hitting the game winning home run in the sixth inning was enough for the Dodgers to pull out the 3-1 victory. This was just another reminder that the Mets had no need for the man who just tied Hall of Famer Duke Snider of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke” fame for the most RBI in Dodgers postseason history.
That was enough because we got an old fashioned pitchers duel between Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw. After an Alex Bregman fourth inning homer, many questioned whether we would see the return of the Kershaw who struggled in the postseason. It didn’t happen. Instead, Kershaw was Kershaw allowing just three hits over seven innings while striking out 11 Astros.
It was a great and rare 2 hour and 28 minute baseball game; not just World Series game, but baseball game. It truly was a joy to watch except for the encroachment of the commercial breaks.
On three separate occasions during the telecast, Joe Buck broke from the action for a quick commercial break. One was for Wendys and the other two were from T-Mobile. Now, this didn’t happen while a ball was in play, but rather in between plays. That’s typically the time for John Smoltz or whoever the color commentator is to give a quick quip or analysis. At times, that’s when the sideline reporter is given the opportunity to provide insight or a sentimental story on a player:
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) October 25, 2017
How did MLB allow this to happen? We didn’t see this at all during the games broadcast on FS1 this postseason. We don’t see Fox do it to their other sports, especially not football. In baseball’s biggest showcase, they’ve allowed Fox to broadcast intrusive commercials during game action.
What makes this all the more egregious is there are longer commercial breaks for nationally televised games. Fox has an extra window to get in commercials. There are plenty of other areas to get adverstising dollars. Certainly, every Mets fan is aware of the Cholula hot sauce gun readings during Mets games. If you’ve listened to a game on the radio, you’ve heard Howie mention it’s the 15th batter of the game necessitating we do a quick GEICO mention.
The point there is while it was an intrusion, it didn’t take away from the game action. It was handled by the announcer who could then quickly throw it back to the game. You didn’t have that with the odd split screen, you know, in case you actually wanted to watch the game.
Believe it or not, this was a bad omen. It could very well be the beginning of much more instrusive commercials during not just nationally televised games, but also regionally televised games. Once teams get the sense this is either permissible, or that fans have become apathetic to it, it’s going to happen. And that’s a very bad thing, especially for Mets fans who tune into games partially to hear Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling.
In the end, the lasting image of the 2017 World Series may not be a Turner homer or Kershaw finally being Kershaw in the biggest stage of all. Likely, it’s going to be a T-Mobile commercial.
With the World Series beginning tonight, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson will be battling it out to win their first ever World Series ring. This could be the last chance either player gets to win that elusive ring.
Between the two, it certainly looks like this will be Beltran’s last chance. The 40 year old is coming off a season that saw him hit just .231/.283/.383 in 129 games. During the season, his teammates jokingly buried his glove. After the year, they may be cremating his bat as he has seen more and more of his at-bats go to Evan Gattis. Once considered a sure thing in the postseason, he’s just 3-17 in this postseason including going 1-12 in the ALCS.
As for Granderson, you don’t know. After just a dismal April, the slow starter began hitting again. From May 1st until he was traded to the Dodgers, he was playing about as well as anyone hitting .263/.383/.570. After becoming a Dodger, things were much different for Granderson. In 36 games for the Dodgers, he hit a paltry .161/.288/.366. In this postseason, he’s just 1-15 with an 0-7 in the NLCS. Things have gotten to the point with him that there are actually calls for him to be left off the World Series roster in favor of Charlie Culberson. Sure, this has something to do with Corey Seager‘s back injury, but still, many seem unaware of Granderson hitting three huge homers in the 2015 World Series.
Between the two, Beltran looks closer to the end than Granderson. Whereas the decision may be all but made for Beltran, it appears Granderson will get to make the choice himself. Still, as we know even if Granderson returns to play a 15th season at the age of 37, there is no guarantee he will ever get back to this point.
So this may very well be it for the both of them, and that’s a shame because both have been great players with Beltran likely being a future Hall of Famer. Both were great Mets as well. Beltran played at an MVP level for the Mets for many years, and he built his Hall of Fame case with the Mets. He will go down as the best centerfielder in Mets history.
As for Granderson, he will go down as not just a very good player, but one of the finest human beings to ever wear a Major League uniform. He’s the rare player that gets asked if he’s doing too much with his charitable endeavors. In some ways, he played the Keith Hernandez type role with this current Mets core helping teach them how to be winners.
They both deserve rings, but in the end only one of them will get them. All Mets fans should be thrilled for that player while feeling melancholy for the other. No matter what happens both will forever be Mets, and both should forever be remembered fondly by Mets fans.