Dario Alvarez

Mets Got Jacked

As the Mets are trying to make room on the 40 man roster to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft, there was always going to be a chance they’d expose someone valuable. 

During this process, the Mets removed Jack Leathersich from the 40 man roster exposing him to waivers. It was certainly understandable considering he had Tommy John surgery in June meaning he probably won’t be able to pitch next year. It should be noted if the Mets wanted to keep Leathersich, they had to remove him from the 60 day DL and put him on the roster. 

Not adding Leathersich back to the 40 man roster was a risk. It was a calculated risk. First, why would another team clog up a spot on the 40 man roster for a LOOGY who won’t pitch next year. Second, if you had him on the team next year, you’d have to put him on the 60 day DL next year. This would mean a higher salary for Leathersich and more MLB service time that the Mets will not benefit the Mets on the field. Finally, the Mets have plenty of bullpen options to get lefties out next year. 

Next year, the Mets will have Dario Alvarez ready to go. Josh Smoker was just added to the 40 man roster. Josh Edgin is due to return from his own Tommy John surgery next year. The projected main setup men, Addison Reed and Hansel Robles, get lefties out and do not need a LOOGY to bail them out. This is all before the Mets possibly adding a LOOGY in free agency. Therefore, if you’re opening up a spot on the 40 man roster you look towards the LOOGY that won’t pitch next year. It’s a gamble, but it’s one worth taking. 

Unfortunately, the Cubs claimed Learhersich. More power to them if they can carry an injured LOOGY on their 40 man roster for a full season. It wasn’t practical for the Mets to do it. It’s not practical for most teams. Sure, I could point to other players that should be removed, but truth be told they’ll be removed eventually to protect a player from the Rule 5 draft or to make room for a free agent. 

The Mets made the right move here. Sometimes even when you make the right move, you’re going to get jacked. 

Mets Bullpen is Fine

The Mets lost the World Series in large part due to the bullpen blowing three leads in the eighth inning or later. Normally, this would be a point of emphasis in the offseason, but I think there were more pressing issues there:

  1. There were errors that lead to those blown leads; and 
  2. How the bullpen was deployed

If these issues are not addressed, I’m not sure it matters if anyone is added to the bullpen. If they are resolved, the Mets have the makings of a terrific bullpen in 2016. 

First and foremost, the Mets have a terrific closer in Jeurys Familia. He’s the rare closer that can come in and get a team out of a jam. He’s the rare closer that can go for more than three outs. He’s coming off a year in which he recorded 43 saves, 1.000 WHIP, and a 9.9 K/9. Just when we thought he couldn’t get any better, he developed the devastating splitter. 

The issue becomes who will be the other six people in the bullpen. For the other six people you want a 7th inning guy, an 8th inning guy, a long man, and at least one lefty. That leaves you with two guys to either be an extra lefty, an extra long man, or preferably, just a good reliever. 

8th Inning

Now, at the end of the year, everyone was clamoring for Addison Reed to replace Tyler Clippard in the 8th inning. It appears everyone will get their wish as the Mets look like they’ll keep Reed and let Clippard walk. As a Met, Reed had a 1.17 ERA with a 1.043 WHIP, and a 10.0 K/9. That’s elite, but it may also be unsustainable. 

Reed has a career 4.01 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, and a 9.3 K/9. There could be many reasons for the improvement with the Mets. For starters, Reed improves as the year progresses. In April and May, his career ERA is over 4.00, but from August on it’s under 1.35. Ultimately, it’s great to have a reliever who gets better as the year goes on. 

Furthermore, it’s nice having someone with closing experience so the Mets don’t have to overextend Familia during the regular season. 

7th Inning

For me, this is obvious. The Mets need to go with Hansel Robles here. He’s a guy who has the ability to get lefties and righties out, and he can go for more than three outs. 

In 2015, he had a 3.67 ERA with a 1.019 WHIP and a 10.2 K/9. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Once a rookie has pitched for a while, there is tape on him. Typically, this results in some struggles for the rookie until he adjusts. However, Robles got better as the year progressed. Here are his first and second half splits:

  • First Half: 4.37 ERA with a 1.191 WHIP and a 7.9 K/9
  • Second Half: 3.16 ERA with a 0.891 WHIP and a 12.1 K/9

Like Reed, he got stronger as the year progressed. His was criminally under utilized in a World Series that saw the Mets blow three late inning leads only to lose in extra innings. The Mets shouldn’t make the same mistake in 2016. It’s time to use Robles. 

Long Man

Next to Familia closing, Sean Gilmartin being the long man is the biggest lock in the bullpen. He had a 2.67 ERA with a 1.186 WHIP and a 8.5 K/9.  He took a strangle hold on this job, and there’s no reason to take it away from him. 


Going into the playoffs, this was the Mets biggest question mark. Fortunately, Jon Niese took over the role quite successfully. However, he will not be an option to re-join the bullpen until Zack Wheeler comes back from Tommy John surgery, which will not be until around the All Star break

Speaking of injuries, that was the reason the Mets didn’t have a LOOGY. At different times, they had Jerry BlevinsJosh EdginDario Alvarez, and Jack Leathersich go down with injuries. Blevins is free agent, but he’s a candidate to return. Alvarez should be healthy for Opening Day.  The Mets also have intriguing prospect Josh Smoker

There are plenty of viable options here. The Mets should be able to carry one or two LOOGYs from this group. 

Remaining Options

After taking the above into account, there will be one or two remaining spots remaining. There are a number of viable candidates:

Erik Goeddel. He is injury prone, but he has good numbers. He had a 2.43 ERA with a 1.000 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9. Those are good mumbers. Numbers that were good enough to land him on the NLDS roster. He should be part of the 2016 bullpen. 
Carlos Torres. There are many things you can say about Torres, but the most important one is he’s always available to take the ball. He has a career 4.26 ERA with a 1.357 WHIP and a 7.9 K/9. However, there is value in having someone that can take the ball. 
Logan Verrett. He was all over the place last year. He was a starter and a reliever. He kept bouncing back and forth. It didn’t hurt his performance. He had a 3.03 ERA with a 0.879 WHIP and an 8.4 K/9. He should be in the mix. 
Jenrry Mejia.  He’s one more positive test away from his career being over. He won’t be available until around the All Star Break. He’s likely to be released, which is odd since the Mets haven’t had problems with steroids guys under the Sandy Alderson regime. If he isn’t released, he could help this team in the bullpen. Personally, I’d rather him gone. 

Rafael Montero. There was a time the organization believed he was better than Jacob deGrom. When that proved to be false, he was placed in the bullpen to start 2015. The Mets did stretch him out to make go to a six man rotation. He got hurt, and he disappeared. Given the Mets rotation, if he’s going to help the Mets, it’s going to have to be in the bullpen. 
Looking over all these options, there is no reason to go outside the organization for bullpen help. Except for Reed, these relievers are cheap, young, and talented. We don’t know the Mets financial situation, but we do know that even if there is no money to spend, the bullpen will be in great shape. 

The best part is even if it isn’t, there’s many quality choices in reserve, and that’s just from the players we know. 

Players Not on the Taxi Squad

Yesterday, the Mets announced the players they are putting on the taxi squadEric Young, Jr.Anthony ReckerLogan VerrettEric Campbell, and Bobby Parnell. I think we can separate the remaining players into three categories: (1) players definitely on the roster; (2) players who are in consideration for the roster; and (3) players who are just being sent home. The players definitely on the roster has already been addressed. Here’s the other two categories:

Players under Consideration 

Juan Uribe – the Mets want him on the roster, but it does not appear he’s healthy enough to play. I hope that August 23rd pinch hitting appearance was worth it.

Steven Matz – had he not slept on a couch, he would’ve been on the roster. Now the Mets have their fingers crossed he can pitch. 

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – he seems to be the front runner for Uribe’s spot. He plays all three OF positions, has speed, and has some pop in his bat. He’s had a rough year, but he’s had some big hits since returning to the Mets. 

Dilson Herrera – he’s the Mets best defensive infielder even if he only plays 2B. He’s got potential offensively and defensively.  He has not realized his potential yet, but he’s still a right handed bat with pop going into a series with good left handed pitching. 

Erik Goeddel – he seems to be a favorite to get a spot in the bullpen if Matz can’t pitch. In limited time, he’s shown a great splitter which has helped him with a 9.2 K/9. He could help with a strikeout in a big spot. 

Sean Gilmartin – he’s been the long man, but he has reverse splits with a series with a series with huge left-handed bats. His spot is tenuous mostly with the presence of Colon, Niese, and possibly Matz on the roster. 

Players Done for the Year

Johnny Monell – the Mets made their choice with Recker as the third catcher. 

Carlos Torres – he took the ball whenever he was asked until he got hurt. He had a skill that helps in the regular season, but he has no room on the playoff roster. 

Dario Alvarez – when he finally got a chance to pitch, he was effective. He got a huge strikeout of Bryce Harper back when the division was still in doubt. He go hurt, fought his way back, and he was ineffective. 

Eric O’Flaherty – there’s not enough words to describe how bad he’s been, so I’ll keep it short. He’s horrendous. 

There are still important decisions to be made. I know a lot of it hinges on Matz. I anticipate this will be a tight series, and these final choices may have a real impact. I hope they pick the right players. 

Mets Did Everything But Win

As we saw last night, the most important thing the Mets needed to do was stay healthy today. Mission accomplished. Everything after that was gravy. 

With that said, Sean Gilmartin did well in his first career start. He stretched himself out for five innings allowing three hits, two earned, one walk, and three strikeouts. He pitched well, and he saved the bullpen. Unfortunately, since the Mets didn’t score, he was tagged with the loss. 

In other important developments from the game, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a strong game in his attempt to make the postseason roster. He was 3-4 with a double, and he played RF. Unfortunately, he’s left handed going into a series with a heavy lefty Dodgers starting rotation. 

Eric Young, Jr. failed to get a hit in two at bats. That puts him at nine runs scored and no hits with the Mets this season. Eric Campbell also had a tough game. He went 0-4 with two strikeouts. He grounded into a double play to end the game, and he showed limited range at third base. Dario Alvarez allowed a homerun to a switch hitter (batting right). He did get the one left out he faced. On the whole, these three hurt their chances to make the playoff roster today. 

As for the game, the best thing I can say say for it was it went by quickly. It allowed the Mets to get out of town before the rains come. They lost 3-0 in a game that didn’t mean all that much. It’s now time to come home and get ready for the playoffs. 

The Only Thing That Matters is Cespedes is Alright

Sure, the Mets are seeking Homefield advantage in the NLDS, but more importantly, they want to enter the postseason healthy. Tonight, the Mets health was seriously called into question with one pitch:

For an eternity (which is how long this game seemed to last), we waited for the result of Yoenis Cespedes‘ x-ray:


Whew!  In the meantime, the Phillies hit two more batters before the Mets bothered to retaliate. After the retaliation, and the benches were warned, Hansel Robles threw one near Cameron Rupp‘s head. Note, I don’t think it was intentional, and Ruf swing at it. However, Robles was tossed and:

There was no fight, but I’m still happy the Mets held him back. The rest of the game was just bad baseball and bad news:

On top of the injuries, a series of relievers, including Jon Niese and Dario Alvarez, showed why they should not be on the postseason roster. It took them five pitchers, including Robles, to get through the sixth. They entered the inning up 5-3 and left it down 6-5. 

The Mets would lose by the score of 7-5.  At least they came out of the game almost intact. Tomorrow’s game is at 12:05. Hopefully, there will be no carry over from Robles’ last pitch. 

Another Dario Alvarez Post

I have readily admitted that I have written too much about Dario Alvarez. My blog is about two months old, and I probably have more Alvarez posts than anyone. When Alvarez got hurt, I thought I was done with him, at least for the season. I was wrong:

Well, Alvarez is back, and he might be coming back just in time. The Mets are still looking for lefties in the bullpen. It’s part of the reason Jon Niese is out there. Unlike Niese, Alvarez is a true LOOGY and bullpen arm. 

There’s only five games left to see if Alvarez is ready for game action. This roster selection process just got a lot more complicated. 

Who Gets the Lefties Out Now?

With the additions of Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed, Sandy Alderson has really surged up the bullpen. The seventh, eighth, and ninth innings are locked down. 

What is great about these pitchers is they can get both lefties and righties out. It eliminates the need to go to matchups late in the game. That’s important because you risk exposing a LOOGY to a right handed pinch hitter in a key spot in a game. Of course, I’m being optimistic here because I have no choice.  However, this doesn’t address the need to get a lefty out in the fifth or sixth inning. 

With the Dario Alvarez injury and the ineffectiveness of Eric O’Flaherty, the Mets are not going to have a LOOGY in the mold of Pedro Feliciano for the playoffs. In fact, that leaves the Mets with one effective lefty in the bullpen, Sean Gilmartin, who has reverse splits and is better suited as the long man.  So where do the Mets go from here?
Let’s start with who’s not an option. We know Jerry Blevins is out for the season. I’ve also seen and heard rumblings from people for the Mets to look at Josh Smoker. There’s some problem with Smoker. First, he’s never pitched above AA. Second, his stats are deceiving. At 26, he’s old for that level thereby skewing his stats a bit. Lastly, he hasn’t pitched in over 10 days. His season is over, and I presume he shut it down. If so, he’s not ready. 

So that leaves Hansel Robles to get the lefties out. Looking at his splits, he gets lefties out better than a LOOGY ever could. He is limiting them to .188/.250/.438. Sure, it seems odd using a RHP to get out a lefty, but I’m more interested in effectiveness than appearance. I wonder if Terry Collins will see it that way, or will he bring in Gilmartin to get a lefty out in a big spot?

With Adrian Gonzalez, and to a lesser extent Andre Ethier, on the horizon, it’s an issue that needs to be figured out sooner rather than later. 

This Loss Seemed Bigger than it Was

Let me start with the preface that the Mets are going to win the NL East, and they may still get homefield advantage in the NLDS against the Dodgers. However, doesn’t September losses to the Marlins just seem bigger?

It just seemed like this was another poor start for Jacob deGrom in what not too long ago seemed like a potential cyGrom season. Tonight, he gave up 10 hits and six earned in only five innings. deGrom is the key to a Mets possible World Series run, and it appears like he’s falling apart at the seams. I checked Twitter during the game, and I found out he really wasn’t:


However, I still felt like Chicken Little, so I checked Baseball Reference. Aha!  deGrom has been worse in the second half. He was a superhuman deGrominator going 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, and 8.9 K/9 in the first half. Coming into tonight, he was 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, and a 10.4 K/9 in the second half. So yeah, he’s been pretty much the same pitcher in both halves of the season. 

That’s the thing with losses like tonight. You tend to overreact. You make deGrom’s outing out to be worse than it was. You focus on another poor Eric O’Flaherty outing. You miss things like David Wright hitting an RBI double and going 1-2 with two walks, a run scored, and an RBI. You miss Michael Conforto going 2-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. You grumbled when Bobby Parnell came into the game while neglecting the fact that he had a good, scoreless inning. 

The Mets won eight straight. They were due for a clunker. That was tonight. It seemed like they could do nothing right, including but not limited to Erik Goeddel pulling a Shawn Estes when he seemingly was trying to plunk Tom Koehler as retaliation for him plunking Yoenis Cespedes. This was further compounded with my man, Dario Alvarez limping off the field after allowing a Dee Gordon homerun. 

The Mets just need to put this ugly 9-3 loss behind them. I know I’ll forget about it by tomorrow morning. 

No Error, the Mets Won

If Terry Collins was the late, great Herb Brooks, he would be at Turner Field until midnight running infield drills:

However, this is the majors, and I’m sure the Wilpons aren’t paying for two different flights. 

As much as I would like to get on Jon Niese for today, it’s not his fault. I’d don’t care if Collins sat a number of starters including Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright, you’re expected to play fundamental baseball. On a side note, the Mets were only charged with two errors. The official scorer had an equally bad day. 

Lucas Duda had two miscues that helped give away the 2-0 lead the Mets earned on Michael Conforto‘s two run homer. Subsequent leads disappeared behind Daniel Murphy and Juan Uribe misplays. By the way, Duda and Murphy are everyday players, and Uribe is a good defensive player. 

By some miracle, Niese was on the long side when Tim Stauffer would make his Mets debut. It was quickly first and third with no outs, and Stauffer got a tapper right back to him. Instead of getting the lead runner, he went for the double play. The score was then tied 4-4. 

Stauffer would come out again in the eighth. He leave the game after allowing an “infield single.”  Dario Alvarez would not continue his recent good play allowing the inherited runner to score. He allowed a runner to score, and he left some ducks on the pond. Bobby Parnell came into the game. To be fair, Parnell (who earned the win) was not bad today as the inherited runners would score off a Curtis Granderson misplay in right. After eight innings, it would be 7-4 Braves. 

However, these Mets are hard to kill. Even with two outs in the ninth, they would come back to tie the game. Juan Lagares hit a double just out of the reach of the diving Nick Markakis. Granderson would walk, and Murphy would hit an improbable three run homer. 

In the tenth, the Braves imploded.  With a chance to get out of the inning with runners on first and third unscathed. Sure enough, with two outs, they threw the ball away allowing Kirk Nieuwenhuis to score the go-ahead run. The Braves would then walk the ballpark to load the bases AND walk home two runs. 

Addison Reed would get the save. He had to work around an error by Ruben Tejada because, why not?  It was a fitting end to an absolutely ugly game. They had no business winning the game, but they did because the Braves are terrible and the Mets are resilient.
Good job by Collins allowing his guys in the field and pen to fully rest. The Mets won’t need to win another game until October, and he managed accordingly. As I noted, his managing is really getting better lately. 

In any event, the Mets won a game they shouldn’t have. They won’t get away with this in October, but they showed the will to win that’s important in October. In any event, it’s always a good day when the Mets win. Today is a good day. 

Win Was Rest Assured

Like his past few starts, this game was all about Bartolo Colon clobbering the NL East. He’s now 13-1 against the NL East with a 2.52. He had a 31 inning scoreless streak that surpassed Warren Spahn‘s record for most consecutive shut out innings for a 42 year old. It was also fell 1.2 innings short of R. A. Dickey‘s club record. 

Colon even asserted his dominance at the plate. After Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe scored on a Kevin Plawecki 4th inning RBI double, Colon would single him home. Colin’s dominance and scoreless streak would end in the seventh when he allowed two runs. With two outs, he was lifted for Dario Alvarez, who did his job as a LOOGY, and got the lefty Nick Markakis out. 

Hansel Robles was out attending to family matters. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia were given the day off due to their usage in the Washington series. As such, Alvarez came back out for the eighth, and he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, which included getting Freddie Freeman out. It was a great job by him. 

It looked like Addison Reed was going to get the save opportunity until Uribe hit a two run double in the ninth. Reed still came on and secuted the 7-2 win. 

Colon’s battery mate, Plawecki, also had a good game. He went 1-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs, including an insurance run in the eighth. Overall, playing backups like Uribe, Johnson, and Plawecki allowed the Mets to rest Travis d’ArnaudDaniel Murphy and his quad, and David Wright and his back. 

That’s the benefit of building a big lead. You get to rest some guys who need rest. When you’re really good, you win those games, even when Yoenis Cespedes finally has an 0-fer. You win these games even with a two and a half hour rain delay and a flooded dugout:


Before moving along to the next game, our best wishes to Dan Warthen, who was not at the game because he had to go to the hospital with heart problems. I hope he gets better, and he comes back to enjoy this ride.