There was a lot of stories and distractions today around the Mets. First, there were fans clamoring for the return of Jose Reyes. Then the Mets made it clear they had no interest in Reyes. Next, David Wright resumed baseball activities. Finally, Jenrry Mejia embarrassed Major League Baseball, the Mets, and himself with his second PED suspension THIS YEAR!
Noah Syndergaard took the mound Tuesday night and made himself the story. He was perfect through six innings, and he finished with an incredible line of 8.0 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts, 3 hits, and no walks.
After Thor allowed the first single to potential trade target Will Venable, he allowed an infield single to Yangervis Solarte. On the Solarte single, Ruben Tejada tried to do too much. Rather than smother the ball, he tried a glove flip to Daniel Murphy to try to get the force out. Instead of a Web Gem, Tejada nearly put the ball into right field. Venable advanced to third on the play. It was 2-0 with runners on first and third with no outs.
Thor then threw down the gauntlet (sorry comic book fans if this is mixing metaphors). He got Matt Kemp to pop out and induced Justin Upton, another trade target, to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Despite having only thrown 107 pitches, Thor was lifted after eight innings (perhaps due to the innings limit dilemma). Tyler Clippard made his Mets debut and worked his way around a leadoff double.
After this inning, I finally put my son to bed. Growing up, there was a rule in my household: bed time was suspended until a Mets’ pitcher allowed their first hit. The longest bed time reprieve I remember was David Cone losing a no-hitter on a dribbler down the third base line that refused to go foul. I knew my son wouldn’t remember seeing Thir pitch a perfect game, but I would remember watching it with him. That would’ve made it all the more special maybe next time.
When setting today’s lineup, Terry generally followed the platoon system. With the righty Shields on the mound, Collins went with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy. However, after his walk-off hit on Sunday, Juan Uribe was in the lineup. It should be noted that coming into the game Uribe had gone 2/5 with one walk and a triple against Shields.
My belief is that this is the Mets’ best defensive infield alignment. Incredibly, Murphy was the defensive star of the game making two nice defensive plays whe the no-hitter was still viable.
Kudos is also due to Lucas Duda, who hit a mammoth two run homerun in the first inning. It appears the pressure is off and the power is back. His other outs were hard hit balls. Curtis Granderson put the game away with a two run homerun in the eighth.
However, the story of the game and th day was Thor, who pitched like an ace. It seems the stud muffins are pushing each other to be better. It’s incredible, and it’s the type of thing that drives a team towards the postseason.
In shocking news, the Toronto Blue Jays traded Jose Reyes and prospects for Troy Tulowitzki. Earlier, it was reported the Mets came away thinking the Rockies were not serious about trading Tulo. I’m sure the Mets did their due diligence, but as Mets fans know, Reyes is a special player.
Like the Rockies, the Blue Jays are not trading Tulo to the Mets. For starters, the Blue Jays are three games out of the second Wild Card (four in the loss column) and sport the best run differential in the American League. They’re not selling. If they’re looking to flip Tulo (or another bat) for pitching, the trade will not be for one of the Mets prospects.
Now, I’m having the same thought every Mets fan is having. We want to hear the Jose, Jose, Jose chant at Citi Field again. In the offseason, it was reported the Rockies were considering trading Tulo and were scouting Noah Syndergaard. It has also been assumed the Mets wanted the Rockies to absorb some of Tulo’s contract. These were major sticking points on both sides. Obviously, the deal never got done.
Tulo is being paid $20 million this year. He has $74 million remaining on his contract that expires in 2020. There is a $15 million team option for the 2021 season with a steep $4 million opt out clause. This is a steep price for someone who hasn’t played 140+ games in a season since 2011.
Reyes has a big contract as well, but it’s not as long as Tulo’s contract. Reyes is being paid $22 million his year. He’s due $22 million in 2016 and 2017 ($44 million total) with a $22 million option in 2018 with another steep $4 million opt out clause. Overall, Reyes is due $30 million less in guaranteed future salary.
What will it take to get Reyes? I don’t know. While I wish I was an insider, I’m not. However, the Mets have the pieces to make this happen and have made overtures they can add a major contract. Reyes fits in this team because it gives them the SS they need and he’s a bona fide leadoff hitter. If the Mets can swing the deal, it would allow them to put Granderson lower in the lineup to knock in runs. With Reyes on the team, there will be runners on base.
I pray this deal gets done. With 2006 and the collapses, there is unfinished business here for a Wright and Reyes. The Mets now have the pitching to get it done. The Mets overpaid for Tyler Clippard. They can do the same for Reyes. It’s time to bring Reyes home.
In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins.
Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault.
However, the pressure is all on him now. This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan Lagares, Juan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field.
I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team. If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need.
A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make? Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs.
The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit.
The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like.
However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!
Thor had a terrific start, but he couldn’t let Granderson’s keynote address hold up. I think we can all agree when a pitcher gives up 2 runs over 7 innings, you’re team should win the game. After Peralta’s HR, most Mets fans believed the game was over, and they were right.
Even with the noise made in the ninth inning, the Mets really did nothing in this game offensively. This is the reason the Mets can’t make a move. There are just too many holes. If you patch one all that means is you’re going to sink slower. However, keep in mind you’re still going to sink.
If the Mets are inevitably going to miss the postseason, trade or no trade, why not keep your assets for the offseason or for a mid-season trade next year? I’m not giving the front office a pass because this roster was too weak to start the season. Instead what I’m saying is don’t make a bigger mistake to cover-up the mistake made coming into the season.