We can all reasonably debate whether Marcus Stroman or Trevor Bauer is better. There are arguments to be made for either pitcher, and on that front, we should all be able to agree to disagree while waiting for the next few years to play out.
However, one area where Mets fans should be unanimous is extending Stroman before he hits the free agent market.
Looking at the Mets 2021 rotation, only Jacob deGrom is a sure thing. After him, David Peterson earned a spot. From there, your guess is as good as anyone, especially with the Mets having to make a critical decision on Steven Matz.
That’s 2-3/5 of a rotation to fill. Beyond Stroman and Bauer, the market has a lot of question marks. It’s one thing to take a shot on Rick Porcello again or signing a Kevin Gausman. It’s a whole other thing to sign both and count on them leading you back to the postseason.
No, if you’re the Mets, you need another top flight starter to pair with deGrom. We know Stroman has been that in his career. We also know he can handle New York.
Getting Stroman signed now allows the Mets to have less uncertainty entering the postseason. It ensures a strong rotation for the 2021 season. It allows them to focus on other areas of their team which needs upgrades and improvements. It’s also gives the Mets a chance to be a little creative.
The problem is with Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers winning last night, they’re one game away from winning the World Series. As it stands, the World Series either ends tomorrow or Wednesday. Five days after that, free agency begins.
This gives the Mets a little less than a week to extend Stroman much in the way the Mets once did with Mike Piazza. That’s not to say Stroman is a future Hall of Famer like Piazza. Rather, it illustrates if you give a player what they want in a deal, they’ll happily agree to stay.
Certainly, Stroman is a native New Yorker who has enjoyed pitching in New York. It’s now time to take advantage of that and Steve Cohen’s deep pockets and keep him in New York.
If they don’t, the Mets rotation in 2021 could look even worse than it did this year. Certainly, that’s not how anyone wants the Cohen era to begin. With that being the case, get to work and sign Stroman.
Right now, the Mets two starters are Jacob deGrom and David Peterson. With Peterson, the Mets have a promising pitcher who is a sinkerball pitcher. In terms of Peterson, the question is what do you do to help him take the next step forward in his career.
Rosario continued to make strong steps forward defensively, and he was a good defender, but he was not on Gimenez’s level. Rosario was a -3 DRS and 2 OAA to Gimenez’s 1 DRS and 5 OAA. At a 5 OAA, Gimenez was actually tied for the second best defensive SS in the game.
At second, Robinson Cano rebounded defensively with a 3 OAA. On that note, Cano was better moving to his left. That’s an important consideration for an aging player who probably needs to move off of second.
It’s not about ability per se, but rather durability. He’s going to be 38 next year, and he’s broken down a bit in each of the last few years while playing second. A switch to a less demanding position like third should help him extend his career.
It also solves a real issue for the Mets as third base is a huge problem. Jeff McNeil was supposed to play third, but he had throwing issues not too dissimilar from what we once saw with Wilmer Flores. That led the Mets to move McNeil off the position and replace him with J.D. Davis.
Davis was a disaster at third. He had a -8 DRS, which is he had enough innings to qualify, would’ve had him as the worst in the position in the majors. His -3 OAA was also the worst in the majors at the position.
By moving Cano to third, you finally take away Davis’ glove (which needs to happen anyway), and second is re-opened for McNeil. At second, McNeil has been a good defender with a career 4 OAA and 1 DRS.
By going with an infield of McNeil, Cano, and Gimenez, they have made it a significantly improved defensive infield. In fact, you can argue it’s a very good one at that.
As an aside, Nolan Arenado is purportedly on the trade bloc, and the Mets have a logjam at first with Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Putting Arenado alongside Gimenez would possibly even surpass Robin Ventura and Rey Ordonez.
While Arenado may be considered a pipe dream, that’s the direction the Mets should be angling. That’s not just because of Steve Cohen’s deep pockets. Rather, it’s because the Mets should be maximizing their defense.
Part of that will include moving on from Wilson Ramos. Ramos is a catcher of a different era. That’s not his fault, but rather one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s front office. Moving on from Ramos to another catcher better at framing, whether that be J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, or someone else entirely, the Mets will be much better poised defensively.
They will also be better poised to handle a pitch to contact sinkerball staff. That will help Peterson succeed in his second season.
This will also help Stroman, who for reasons previously detailed, should be the Mets priority right now. The question is who should then round out the Mets rotation with Noah Syndergaard rehabbing from Tommy John.
There is an argument to be made for Rick Porcello to return on another one year deal. Certainly, Porcello will be driven to have a better 2021 after his 2020 was terrible. It’s quite possible he wants that chance to return to the Mets, a team he grew up loving, and prove to them he’s a pitcher who can help them win.
Now, Porcello’s stats were a very mixed bag last year. His ERA+ was a career worst 75. He let up an inordinate amount of barrels last year too.
Behind that was a 3.33 FIP, which is quite good. Porcello was also above average in terms of hard hit percentage, and he posted very good exit velocity rates.
You could argue with a vastly superior infield defense Porcello could very well be a good stopgap for Syndergaard and/or insurance for a Peterson sophomore slump. In the end, if the Mets are moving in the direction of a pitch to contact staff, they should really lean into it and make their team the best suited they can to head into that direction.
As we’ve seen in years like 1999 and 2006 building a superior infield defense can help your team overcome pitching deficiencies. It can help ground ball pitchers be reliable, post strong numbers, and pitch deep into games.
For the Mets, there are many directions they can head towards with a new owner and front office. Given the presence of Peterson and what’s available on the free agent market, this is a direction the Mets should seriously consider pursuing.
Lloyd Christmas may want to say there’s still a chance here, but there isn’t. Any realistic shot the Mets had faded when they lost this series to the Atlanta Braves:
2. People rightfully focus on the starting pitching and pitching staff as a whole when examining what a terrible job Brodie Van Wagenen has done. Looking at it Wilson Ramos‘ production against d’Arnaud, and his other moves, he might’ve bungled the catching position even worse.
3. Yes, we saw d’Arnaud be this player in a Mets uniform previously. Yes, it was fair to believe he’d return to his 2015 form post Tommy John. Yes, he has always been a very good catcher. Anyone saying otherwise is lying to you, pushing an agenda, or just doesn’t know that much about catching.
4. You’ll notice with the Wilpons selling Gary Cohen and Brandon Nimmo were quite vocal in their support for d’Arnaud and wishing he didn’t leave the Mets.
5. Nimmo has every right to talk as he’s come back from injury and proven himself to be a terrific ballplayer. He’s just not a center fielder.
6. On the note of people who have performed well, Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, Andres Gimenez, and Jeff McNeil are part of the still young core who have had good seasons and are very much a part of the Mets future.
7. Seeing that young core, we should all celebrate Steve Cohen bringing back Sandy Alderson to the Mets organization. Hopefully, Cohen will right some other wrongs in due time.
8. David Peterson stepped up big time in what was the biggest start of his career. Hopefully, that’s a sign of his figuring things out and raising his ceiling.
9. Rick Porcello stepped up and was phenomenal yesterday. If the Mets truly invest in infield defense this offseason, he can be a part of the 2021 equation.
11. Sending down Luis Guillorme was stupidity. He did everything to earn not just the role he had but a much bigger one at that.
12. Amed Rosario lost his starting job, and he needed a recent hot streak to improve to a .266./283/.379 hitter. He should’ve been sent down.
13. J.D. Davis is hitting .248/.376/.383 since August 1, and he’s incapable of playing a defensive position. He should’ve been sent down.
14. Instead, it was Guillorme so Franklyn Kilome could allow six earned over 1.1 innings giving the Mets zero chance to win a game at a time when they can ill afford to punt games. Another great decision by Brodie Van Wagenen.
16. The Mets are in a precarious spot with Steven Matz. After last year and in Spring Training, he appeared poised for a breakout. Since the return, he looks like a non-tender candidate. These are critical franchise and season altering decisions.
17. Alex Rodriguez confirming he’d have Jeff Wilpon in the front office in a prominent role shows just how much the Mets dodged a bullet when A-Rod failed to beat out Cohen in the bidding.
18. Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon thinking they’re smarter than everyone and watching their team failing to make an expanded postseason is the perfect way for them to leave this organization.
19. Normally, we’d be saying it was time to tear it down and rebuild. Thanks to Cohen and competent baseball people in charge, we know the Mets can build off this strong core.
20. This season has been a massive disappointment, but on the bright side, we got 60 games of Mets baseball. That’s a real positive.
If the Mets want a chance at the postseason, they may not be able to lose even one game. For that to happen, they’re going to need some unexpected great pitching performances.
They got that last night out of the rookie David Peterson.
Peterson would join Jerry Koosman, Pete Schourek, and Hisanori Takahashi as the only left-handed Mets rookies to strike out 10 in a game. Overall, he allowed just one run over six on three hits and four walks.
To put into perspective how well he pitched, Freddie Freeman was 0-for-5 with the golden sombrero and a GIDP. This is the same Freeman who routinely kills the Mets and is a front runner for the NL MVP.
He’d pick up the win because the Mets offense scored just enough early and blew it out late.
Offensively speaking, Robinson Cano drove the Mets to victory.
In the first, Braves starter Ian Anderson was wild walking the bases loaded. Cano delivered the rare Mets big hit with RISP with a two RBI single.
It was 3-2 entering the bottom of the eighth after a Travis d’Arnaud homer in the top of the inning. Any flashbacks to the 1998 and 1999 Mets subsided when Dominic Smith and Cano went back-to-back to expand the Mets lead to 5-2.
That rally would continue with Brandon Nimmo, who is getting insanely hot of late, hitting a two RBI single. That pushed the score to 7-2.
In the end, the Mets chances of pulling this off aren’t very good. Not in the least. However, the bright side is on a night like this, we might’ve found out something about Peterson. There’s a lot more to his career, but this big start in a huge spot is the type of game which can springboard a career.
Game Notes: Robinson Chirinos hit an RBI double in the fourth
The New York Mets never cease to be completely ridiculous and absurd. They never cease to amaze and shock you.
When you gotta go to the bathroom and you don't trust anyone to watch your bat. pic.twitter.com/LoFYokB7cF
— Roger Cormier (@yayroger) September 13, 2020
Believe it or not, this was due to “gastrointestinal discomfort,” which is probably just another way of saying he had to use the bathroom.
With the one man who scored a run over the first seven innings gone, the Mets had their own runs issues.
David Peterson had allowed two earned over five, but he had retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced. Despite his being at 81 pitches, he was lifted as the Mets went to the bullpen.
The Mets added two cosmetic runs in the eighth, but all that did was make the score 7-3 giving the allusion it was much closer than it was.
The Mets now have the fourth worst record in the NL, and they’re two games behind the Giants in the loss column for the final postseason spot with 13 games remaining.
Essentially, we’re watching the 2020 Mets season being flushed down the drain while McNeil is standing there watching with a bat.
Game Notes: Dominic Smith has an eight game hitting streak, and he knocked in two of the Mets three runs.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 29, 2020
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 28, 2020
Again, in the second end of the doubleheader, the Mets fell behind the Yankees. However, while David Peterson did struggle in his first start off the IL.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 29, 2020
With that, Rosario hit a walk-off homer in Yankee Stadium giving the Mets a 4-3 win and doubleheader sweep, and Jared Hughes picked up his first Mets win. The Mets batted last in this game (but were still technically the away team) due to this game being rescheduled from last week.
As if the doubleheader sweep with both wins coming in dramatic fashion wasn’t enough, it appears Steve Cohen will be buying the Mets. All in all, this is about as good a day as it gets for Mets fans.
Game Notes: Juan Lagares was DFAd to make room for Marisnick. In the doubleheader, Smith was an incredible 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, homer, and RBI.
First and foremost, everyone’s sincerest hope is the player and coach who tested positive will be safe and healthy. At the moment, that is the most pressing concern. After that, we all continue to hope none of the other members of the Mets organization tests positive.
That said, Mets baseball returns today with the Mets having a real grind. They’re going to play nine games over the next six days and 34 games over the final 34 days of the regular season. Assuming Brodie Van Wagenen was honest saying the Mets would not be active at the trade deadline (no one should assume Van Wagenen is honest or won’t jump at the chance to trade prospects), what the Mets have now is what they’ll have to try to grab a postseason spot.
With that being the case, it’s good these Mets got some rest because it’s the last test they’ll see all season. With that rest came some opportunities for this team.
With the time off, the Mets now get to reset their rotation. That presumably means we see Jacob deGrom pitch today in one of the two games. When you get more deGrom, the Mets not only get more rest for what will be a tested bullpen, but also a better chance of winning.
On the starting pitching front, the extra time off buys the Mets time in getting David Peterson back from injury. It also gives Steven Matz some time to work on things. The came could potentially be said for Michael Wacha, but with his history of shoulder injuries, who knows with him?
Looking at the pitching, the bullpen needs the rest their getting because they’re going to be pushed to their limits. They’re going to be up and pitching 34 times in 34 days. They’re going to need the Mets to get as many healthy and viable arms in the rotation that this team could get.
Given the construct, this bullpen needs Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo back. The bullpen is going to need the quality innings they can provide. Honestly, the plan of stretching them out may no longer be a viable one as the Mets schedule doesn’t permit for it.
Looking at the offense, Jeff McNeil has been nicked up and struggling. Currently, he’s mired in a very un-McNeil like 2-for-18 slump. The time off should hopefully allow him to heal up a bit and get back to being McNeil.
That’s of increased importance because with the condensed schedule, the team is going to have to find games off for everyone. McNeil’s versatility is needed for the Mets to maximize their lineup and defense even with the days off.
In terms of days off, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are the only two Mets who have played in every game. This time off should help them recharge and allow them to play as many of the remaining 34 games as possible.
In terms of the rest, it is going to help this team. It’s allowing their best players to heal and recharge. It’s also allowing the Mets to reset their rotation. Overall, this time off has helped. Let’s just hope it’s enough to make the push the team needs to make over the final 34 games.
Around many corners, many were wondering if this was it for Amed Rosario. The one time uber prospect was struggling while Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez seemed to be forming an all-time great Mets middle infield.
That’s what small sample sizes will do to you. That’s also what the urgency of the 60 game season will do.
To their credit, the Mets haven’t given up on Rosario’s talent. Last night, they were rewarded.
It started as an ominous day. That was because in typical Mets fashion David Peterson‘s shoulder injury being worse than originally advertised. That led to Peterson being placed on the IL, and Corey Oswalt being recalled to make the emergency start.
Oswalt acquitted himself well. He threw three scoreless before getting into trouble in the fourth. In that inning, Jesus Aguilar hit an RBI double and come in to score on a Brian Anderson RBI single. That Marlins rally narrowed the score to 3-2.
The first two Mets runs came via solo homers off Marlins starter Humberto Mejia. The first of which was a Brandon Nimmo third inning shot which has continued his impressive stretch of extra base hits.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 18, 2020
The Mets rallied in the fourth with another solo homer. After that Michael Conforto walked, and Pete Alonso hit a one out single. Dominic Smith would drive in the Mets third run with a ground rule double.
That put Oswalt in position for the win, but he would fall just short. Overall, his final line was 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He’d also have a pick-off.
Magneuris Sierra led off the fifth with a single, and he would steal second. With the Mets holding a one run lead and the tying run in scoring position, Luis Rojas brought in Justin Wilson to relieve Oswalt with one out in the fifth.
They’d maintain the lead and see it grow as Rosario began to put on a show. In addition to making diving stops in the infield, we’d see his bat come back to life. We first saw that with a no doubter in the seventh.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 19, 2020
He wasn’t done. In the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases, and Smith drew a wall forcing home a run. Then, Rosario came up and delivered an opposite field two RBI single effectively ending the game.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 19, 2020
Nimmo delivered the final RBI with a single to increase the Mets lead to 8-2. In addition to Rosario, Nimmo had a huge game as well going 3-for-5 with a run, triple, homer, and three RBI.
Going back to Rosario, he was 2-for-5 with a run, homer, and three RBI. Perhaps more than any Met, he needed this one. Maybe, he just needed to get away from Citi Field as he’s been a MUCH better hitter on the road.
Whatever the case, he put together a big game with Guillorme and Gimenez seriously vying for playing time. He helped a Mets team desperately trying to right the ship. They’re now 11-14 and three games behind the Braves.
Game Notes: Wilson picked up the win on his birthday. Jacob deGrom appears set to start the series finale against the Marlins.
For all his bravado, Brodie Van Wagenen has not only stripped the farm system down, but he did it while impinging the Major League roster’s ability to compete for a World Series. To put it in perspective, let’s just look at what the Mets roster would look like right now if Van Wagenen only kept the Mets players in the organization had he not taken the job, or, if he did nothing.
Some caveats here. This assumes free agents were re-signed. Without the Robinson Cano deal, that would’ve been possible. Also, it assumes the same players who are injured for the season would remain injured. Finally, this will eliminate those players not on active 28 man rosters. With that in mind, here’s what the 2020 Mets would’ve looked like.
2B Jeff McNeil
3B Todd Frazier
SS Amed Rosario
CF Juan Lagares
DH Pete Alonso
INF Wilmer Flores
1B/OF Jay Bruce
INF Luis Guillorme
RHP Jacob deGrom
RHP Zack Wheeler
LHP Steven Matz
LHP Anthony Kay
LHP David Peterson
RHP Seth Lugo
RHP Rafael Montero
RHP Justin Dunn
RHP Robert Gsellman
RHP Drew Smith
LHP Blake Taylor
RHP Bobby Wahl
LHP Daniel Zamora
RHP Paul Sewald
RHP Franklyn Kilome
Looking at the team overall, the starting pitching is vastly superior as is the team defense. The bullpen may not be as deep, but they certainly have the arms.
Overall, this non-Van Wagenen impacted roster would’ve certainly been better than the 9-14 team his Mets roster is. This just goes to show you how bad of a GM Van Wagenen is.
He’s made the Mets worse in 2020, and he’s made the Mets future less promising. You could not have done a worse job than Van Wagenen has done.
That’s how the Mets day game against the Nationals began. That’s how the game began. Seeing that, you probably didn’t expect the Mets to not just win, but win big.
The reason? Tomas Nido.
Peterson got ahead of Soto 0-2 before getting a REALLY low pitch for a called strike three. Part of that was another day of poor umpiring. To put how bad it was, Stephen Strasburg was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. He was seated in the stands.
The other reason is Nido is a terrific pitch framer adept at getting the low strike called. That call changed the complexity of that inning and the game. After that strikeout, the only run the Nationals would score that inning was off a Howie Kendrick RBI groundout.
One of the reasons the scoring ended there was Jeff McNeil absolutely robbed Asdrubal Cabrera of an extra base hit. McNeil would hurt himself on the play and would have to be taken off the field via stretcher.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 13, 2020
That Nationals lead was very short lived because Dominic Smith hit his fourth homer of the season:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 13, 2020
After that it was the Nido show. In successive innings, Nido would homer. In the fourth, it was a two run shot off Voth. In the fifth, it was his first career grand slam off Seth Romero:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 13, 2020
That second homer put him in some very exclusive Mets territory with the two homers and six RBI:
#Mets catchers with 2 HR, 6 RBI in a game:
Tomás Nido (today)
Paul Lo Duca (9/4/07)
Mike Piazza (7/3/02)
Mike Piazza (4/30/02)
Todd Hundley (5/18/96)
Gary Carter (7/11/86)
Gary Carter (9/3/85)
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) August 13, 2020
Lost in this insane day was the fact Peterson carried a no hitter into the fifth. His final line was 5.0 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 3 K. He’d leave after 74 pitches due to some shoulder soreness. According to Peterson, it’s not serious.
From there, the teams would score one more run apiece in the Mets 8-2 victory. It was a complete team victory.
Overall, the Mets split the series with the Nationals. In doing so, they learned how this defense first lineup is their path to victory.
Game Notes: Billy Hamilton replaced McNeil and batted third. He finally got his first hit after going hitless in his first 15 Mets at-bats. Davis is hitless in his last 10 at-bats with six strikeouts. Andres Gimenez is tied for the MLB lead with five stolen bases.