David Wright

Mets Fans Have Been Watching An Eclipse All Season

Right around this time, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun bringing darkness across the country . . . or as Mets fans like to call it, the perfect euphemism for the 2017 season.

We’ve seen Noah Syndergaard go down for the season, and we are not sure when Jeurys Familia can come back.  Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler were mishandled coming back from their injuries.  Steven Matz had another injury plagued year.  We never did get to see David Wright play this season, and we do not know if we will ever get to see him play again.

With the poor season the Mets are having, Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Rene Rivera, and Neil Walker have been moved and are now playing for teams with an actual shot at the postseason.  The moves didn’t bring back much, and there were rumors the Mets were more interested in salary relief than anything causing fans to go back to a dark place they resided at the inception of the Madoff scandal.

The thing is, the eclipse today will last just a brief time.  Sandy Alderson has an entire offseason to get to work.  If ownership lets him spend the money, and with a little help on the health front, the Mets dark period will last just for the 2017 season.  If it is business as usual, this isn’t an eclipse – we’re back to the Dark Ages.

Remaining Reasons To Watch The Mets

Right now, the Mets are just a bad baseball team.  When you are a fan of a bad baseball team, it is sometimes difficult to find seasons to watch.  Thankfully, there still remain reasons to watch the Mets:

Jacob deGrom – This year, deGrom has returned to pitching like an ace.  No, he may not be the guy he was in 2015, but he’s still a great pitcher.  You know with him on the mound the Mets have a chance to win the game.  With his ability, anything is possible.

Michael Conforto – We have been watching Conforto have one of the best, if not the best, season a young Mets player has ever had.  He will soon be the youngest Mets player to ever hit 30 homers.  He’s showing how special he is taking on more leadership responsibilities in the clubhouse.

Chris Flexen – Very quickly, Flexen has gone from over-matched to holding his own.  He’s just 23 and had just seven Double-A starts under his belt.  Just holding his own at this point is remarkable.  Sooner or later, he may just prove he belongs at this level.

Juan Lagares – One thing that really stood out in the Subway Series was this man can still play Gold Glove defense.  In fact, he might be the best outfielder in baseball with his league leading 34.0 UZR/150.  Metrics aside, it’s a joy to watch him play center field defense, and you never know when he is going to make his next great play.

Amed Rosario & Dominic Smith They have essentially been presented as this generations David Wright and Jose Reyes or Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.  If they’re at those levels, the Mets will quickly turn things around.  If they are truly this good, we won’t want to miss a minute of them playing.  To that end, we have already seen great defense from them, and they’ve already homered in the same game.

With that, there are five very good reasons to continue watching this team.  Other than that, we can watch because we’re Mets fans, and we love our team.  I know I watched the Jeff Torborg, Art Howe, or Jerry Manuel Mets teams, I can certainly watch this team.

Good Luck and Thank You Curtis Granderson

The Mets organization is worse off today because it traded away Curtis Granderson. Simply put, you do not lose a human being the caliber of Granderson and are better off for it.

There’s a reason why he won the Roberto Clemente Award last year. He’s dedicated himself to helping others.

His Grand Kids Foundation has helped educate children in New York and Chicago and get them interested in baseball. To that end, he donated $5 million of his money to his alma mater, the University of Illinois, to build a ballpark where both the college and city kids could play baseball.

In addition to this, he’s an International Ambassador of Major League Baseball, a former ambassador for the Let’s Move! campaign, and is a spokesperson for the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Drink Up water initiative.

Long story short, Granderson is a great human being. Perhaps the only thing that could challenge Granderson the man was Granderson the ball player.

During Granderson’s three plus year tenure, Granderson established himself as one of the best free agent signings in Mets history. He was certainly one of the most important.

While Yoenis Cespedes got all the glory, Granderson was the most important player on that 2015 team.

For much of that season, Granderson was the only credible bat in that lineup. Between his offense, defense, and leadership, he helped keep the Mets afloat until the team for healthy and could make trades to make that run to the World Series possible.

When the Mets got there, Granderson was the best player in that series. In that series, he tied Don Clendenon, the 1969 World Series MVP, with the most World Series homers in Mets history. Each one of those homers by Granderson either tied the game or gave the Mets a lead.

On a personal note, Granderson’s home run is one of my favorite memories. It’s not just because I got to see it at Citi Field, it with my father and brother, it’s because of how my son reacted at home:

The 2016 season didn’t go as smoothly for Granderson, but there he was again when the Mets needed him most.

As the Mets were scratching and clawing to get back to the postseason, Granderson hit .302/.414/.615 with four doubles, a triple, eight homers, and 21 RBI over the final month of the season.

Behind Granderson’s play and leadership, the Mets did return to the postseason. In the Wild Card Game, his amazing diving catch robbed Brandon Belt of a go-ahead sixth inning RBI extra-base hit. That catch kept hope alive.

Hope was something Mets fans were allowed to have once Granderson came to the Mets as a free agent in 2014.

The Mets had a plan to build around all this pitching with only Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler being the only ones to make their debut. The question was really who was going to play behind all this pitching.

As it turns out, Granderson was the first one to sign on to be a part of all of this. He was going to be the guy to join forces with the pitching and David Wright to win that World Series. And the Mets were so close too.

They were close because Granderson did whatever was asked of him. One minute he was a clean-up hitter, and the next, he was a lead-off hitter. He would play all three outfield positions. This year, he willingly moved into more of a fourth outfielder, which allowed the Mets to give Michael Conforto more playing time.

To that end, Conforto seemed moved by the trade. He spoke highly of Granderson, and he made specific mention about how Granderson helped all the young guys on the team. What Conforto was describing was a true leader.

That’s the same leader Lucas Duda talked about in his Player’s Tribune article. Specifically, he stated, “Then when Curtis came over, that just made everything even better.”  Duda went on to say, “I owe so much to Curtis and the other guys because they really helped me to grow up.”

The sheer mention of Duda should also elicit memories of the We Follow Lucas Duda Instagram account. The account was hilarious, and it always left fans smiling. That’s another area where the Mets will miss Granderson.

From the very minute he signed with the Mets, he endeared himself to the fans saying, ““A lot of the people that I have met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans, so I’m excited to get a chance to see them all.” (New York Post).

And Granderson really was excited to see Mets fans. If you’ve attended games, you see him doing more than any other player in baseball to interact with the fans. He took time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. Occasionally, while in the on deck circle, he’d greet a fan or two.

Even before he packed his bags to head to LA to join the current World Series favorites, he took time to send a message to Mets fans:

In every sense of the word, Curtis Granderson is a class act. If anyone deserves the opportunity to win a World Series ring, it’s him. Here’s hoping he gets it.

Thank you for all that you were and for the ride. The entire Mets organization was better for you being here, and you will be sorely missed by the fans. Hopefully with you being a free agent, you find your way back to the Mets.

If not, hitting a grand slam in your final at-bat is quite a way to end your Mets career:

Good luck and thanks for the ride Curtis Granderson.

Trivia Friday – Mets Records Not Held By David Wright

One thing that has hovered over the Mets season has been the absence of Captain David Wright.  In every meaning of the word, Wright is a leader not just on the field, but also in most of the Mets all-time categories.  However, Wright does not lead each and every category.  Can you name the ones where he doesn’t hold the Mets all-time record?  Good luck!

Tom Seaver Bud Harrelson Ed Kranepool John Olerud Mike Piazza Jose Reyes Darryl Strawberry Carlos Beltran Lucas Duda Dwight Gooden Jerry Koosman

David Wright Being In The News Is Good

If you were paying attention yesterday, Assistant General Manager John Ricco told the press Mets Captain David Wright was in St. Lucie doing “low level” baseball activities.

Any optimism you may have had quickily faded when you realized what was meant by low level baseball activities.  By no means do I wish to disparage one of the best players in Mets history, but he is essentially doing the baseball activities I do with my three year old:

In many ways, it is sad a player who had the talent to be in the Hall of Fame has been reduced to fielding grounders hit right at him, hitting off a tee, and throwing the ball.

On the other hand, this is still progress.  Remember, Wright couldn’t do these things to begin the season.  He was throwing away from the media’s view so as to save him from some embarrassment.  Things went so poorly he was shut down from anything baseball related.  The mere fact he is doing things yet again at least means he has made some progress.  Hopefully, there is more progress.

If there is enough progress, maybe he takes the field again at some point.  That may be this September.  It could be at any point next season.  It may be never.

However, if there is even the slightest chance Wright can step back on the field, I want to see it.  I don’t care if he runs out to third base, or whatever position he is now capable of playing.  I don’t care if he leads off the game to take just one more at-bat and tip his cap to the fans.  I just want to see Wright play again.

I want to see him be able to set foot on the ground at Citi Field again because he’s working so desperately to do so.  I want to see him do it because he’s a favorite player of mine.  I want to see him do it because he deserves the chance to retire on the field as opposed to the trainer’s room.

So yes, anytime I see news Wright is doing anything baseball related, I’m going to be excited.  I’m excited because I want to see him play again even if that means just one more at-bat.

Five Mets Players Who Need A Bigger Role Now

The Mets have unofficially announced they are focusing their attention to the 2018 season.  Gone are Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, and in their stead are four promising minor league relievers.  The Mets have added AJ Ramos with an eye towards him being the primary set-up man for Jeurys Familia next year.  Amed Rosario has already played his first game with the Mets, and according to Sandy Alderson, Dominic Smith is not far away.

Seeing Ramos in the bullpen is a good start.  Rosario and Smith are even better.  However, that’s not enough.  As the 2017 season comes to an end, the New York Mets are going to have to find out about a number of players and how they factor into the 2018 season:

INF Wilmer Flores

2017 Stats: .287/.320/.486, 14 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 32 RBI, SB, 0.2 WAR

With Neil Walker being an impending free agent, Asdrubal Cabrera possibly having his option declined, and David Wright‘s continuing health issues, the Mets will enter the offseason with question marks at both second and third base.  Ideally, Flores could slot in at one of those two spots.

It was just two years ago, the Mets thought Flores could be the everyday shortstop for a playoff caliber team.  Since then, we have seen uneven performances at the plate and on the field.  The Mets have seemingly come to terms with him being a platoon bat, but lost in that is the fact he is still just 25 years old and an improving player.  That is exhibited by him being much better against right-handed pitching hitting .281/.326/.467 off of them.  If Flores can continue hitting like that against right-handed pitching, he could conceivably play everyday.

The key for him is to find a position.  That’s easier said than done, but he is a significantly better second than a third baseman.  In 667.0 innings at second, he has a career -7 DRS and a 0.3 UZR.  In 911.0 innings at third, he has a -16 DRS and a -4.4 UZR.  With that said, let Flores focus on second and see if he can be a solution there next year.

RHP Rafael Montero

2017 Stats: 1-7, 5.56 ERA, 21 G, 7 GS, 56.2 IP, 1.729 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, -0.4 WAR

Montero has survived this long on the roster, and he has finally shown the Mets some glimpse of the talent that caused the Mets to keep him on the 40 man roster.  Since his latest last chance to prove himself, Montero has a 4.14 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, and a 9.0 K/9.  In this stretch, we have seen him pitch into the seventh inning, and we have seen him meltdown.

While there have been promising signs, his usage runs counter-intuitive to his utility to the Mets.  If Montero is going to be with the Mets next year, it is going to have to be in the bullpen as there will be no room for the Mets to even consider him being a part of the rotation next year. This means the Mets should be utilizing the rest of the season to see how he pitches out of the bullpen whether it is using him as a long man or as a late inning reliever.

The Mets need to do this because Montero is out of options.  This means he either makes the Opening Day roster in the bullpen, or the Mets stand to lose a player they have stubbornly held onto for so long.  Before making that decision, they should at least see if the new and improved Montero can hack it in the bullpen.

CF Brandon Nimmo

2017 Stats: 16 G, 25 PA, 21 AB, 7 H, 2B, 2 RBI, .333/.440/.381

While the Mets left side of the infield defensive deficiencies have been oft discussed, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the centerfield situation.  On the season, Mets centerfielders have a 0 DRS, which may not sound so bad on the surface.  However, consider this is 19th in all of baseball.  Also, consider this number has been propped up by Juan Lagares having played 216.0 innings at the position posting a 7 DRS.

The Mets answer lately has been Michael Conforto, who has a 0 DRS, which is remarkable considering he has never really played there full-time at any level.  There is still the possibility he could be adequate there, but shouldn’t the Mets first find out about Nimmo first?

Nimmo has been a center fielder throughout his minor league career.  While there is some debate over his ability to play the position, he does have the experience out there, and he deserves to benefit from the same major league coaching that has helped Conforto play there.

More than that, Nimmo has shown the ability to be a top of the order hitter who can get on base.  At a minimum, he has showed enough to earn the opportunity to serve as part of a center field platoon with Lagares.

Lastly, Nimmo was the first first round pick of the Sandy Alderson Era.  Doesn’t the team owe it to themselves to see what a player they heavily invested in can do at this level before looking to further address the outfield situation in the offseason.  Consider that once the Mets sign another outfielder, whether that is Jay Bruce or Lorenzo Cain, the Mets have effectively made a first round pick a fourth or fifth outfielder without so much as giving him an opportunity to win a job.

RHP Paul Sewald

2017 Stats: 0-3, 8 H, 4.07 ERA, 35 G, 42.0 IP, 1.238 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, o.4 WAR

After being used in a variety of roles this season, Sewald has found himself being used in the seventh inning or later in his last 10 appearances.  In those appearances, Sewald is 0-1 with six holds, a 2.79 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, and an 11.2 K/9.

Even with him walking five batters over that stretch, Sewald has shown he should get a closer look in one of the two primary set-up roles.  With Reed going to the Red Sox, and Ramos presumably becoming the new closer, there is no reason why the Mets wouldn’t use Sewald as their eighth inning reliever to close out the season, or at least until Familia comes off the disabled list.

If Sewald shows he can handle the stress of protecting a late inning lead at the major league level, the Mets are that much closer to building a bullpen that can compete in 2018.

3B Neil Walker

2017 Stats: 63 G, 266 PA, 233 AB, 35 R, 62 H, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 34 RBI, .266/.347/.455, 0.9 WAR

Since Wright went down with spinal stenosis, third base has been a black hole for the Mets.  With Wright presumably missing the entire 2017 season, it is now clear the Mets cannot rely upon him to return to play third or any position next year.  With no prospects coming through the pipeline, it is likely the Mets will have to address the position in free agency or via trade.

If they are going the free agency route, it may behoove them to re-sign Walker.  The two sides were interested in a long term contract extension this offseason.  Just because the two sides were unable to reach an accord does not prevent Walker from returning.

Considering Walker’s back issues as well as his getting older, he may be best suited to playing third base.  Certainly, the way he has hit as a Met, he does have the bat to play the position.  The only question remaining is if he can play the position.  The Mets have 59 games to find out.

If Walker can do it, the Mets know they have a team player who has been a liked figure in the clubhouse.  They will also have a veteran who can help show Rosario and Smith the ropes.  More than that, they have a middle of the order bat to really extend the lineup.

AJ Ramos Should Get You Excited

Last night, the Mets made a surprising trade obtaining AJ Ramos in exchange for minor leaguers Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes

It’s an interesting trade to say the least. When looking at a pitcher like Gonzalez, he has the stuff where trading him could haunt you one day. With that said, Gonzalez will be Rule 5 eligible this offseason meaning the Mets need to add him to the 40 man roster to protect him from the draft. 

It’s no guarantee the Mets would add Gonzalez to the 40 man roster, and it was certainly plausible an organization would pick him in the draft. To that end, it certainly makes sense to get something for Gonzalez instead of losing him for nothing. 

The deal should also help the Mets maximize the return for Addison Reed. All the teams who were in on Ramos were in on Reed. If someone really wants a late inning reliever, the cost for Reed is likely higher than it was yesterday as there is one less viable option.

These are all well and good reasons to like this trade. However, that’s not the reason why I like this trade for the Mets. The reason why I like this trade is what it signifies. 

The New York Mets are going for it in 2018. 

The Mets are in the middle of a fire sale. The team is likely getting younger with rookies Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario expected to be important parts of the team. The uncertainty of David Wright continues to hang over this organization. The players returning to the roster have all had injury  issues. There’s a couple of holes that need to be filled. 

On of those holes is the bullpen, and Ramos goes a long way towards filling it. 

With his sinker-slider repertoire, he not only has the ability to return to his All Star form, but with his working with Dan Warthen, he could be even better. 

Regardless of what happens, Mets fans should be excited about this deal. It is an indication the Mets will do all they need to be a much better team in 2018. That news alone should get that Mets fans excited. 

Editor’s Note: this was first published on MMO

Trivia Friday – Nohan, Where Are They Now?

With the Mets having traded Lucas Duda, there is now only one Mets player remaining who played for the Mets in the 2014 season. 

Can you name everyone who played for the Mets in that game?  Good luck!

Conforto Having Historically Great Mets Season

When a debate emerges over who is the best everyday player the Mets have ever produced, the debate usually centers around Darryl Strawberry and David Wright.  While Strawberry certainly could do things Wright could never do on the field, Wright has mostly settled the debate that he has been the better player owning close to all of the Mets offensive records.

With the way Michael Conforto is playing this season, he is on the way towards inserting himself into this argument.

In this his age 24 season, Conforto is hitting .294/.408/.581 with 17 doubles, a triple, 19 homers, and 52 RBI.  In terms of advanced stats, Conforto has a 156 OPS+, 157 wRC+, and a 3.0 WAR.  If Conforto continues on the pace he is currently on, he is going to finish the season hitting 31 doubles, one triple, and 35 homers.  If Conforto does accomplish these feats, and there’s no signs of him slowing down, he is going to be the youngest Mets player to ever hit 30 home runs in a season.  He is also currently having one of, if not the best age 24 season in Mets history.

In 1986, Strawberry hit .259/.358/.507 with 27 doubles, five triples, 27 homers, and 93 RBI.  He had a 139 OPS+, 139 wRC+, and a 4.0 WAR.

In 2007, Wright hit . 325/.416/.546 wtih 42 doubles, one triple, 30 homers, and 107 RBI.  He had a 142 OPS+, 151 wRC+, and a 7.1 WAR.

Again when it comes to Mets homegrown stars, Strawberry and Wright are the gold standard.  They didn’t disappoint in their age 24 seasons where both were widely considered to be in the beginnings of what should have been Hall of Fame careers.  The fact that Conforto is not only in this conversation, but quite possibly having a better season than them is incredible.

With this being the two year anniversary of Conforto’s first game with the Mets, we need to talk more about what a truly great player he is becoming.  Instead of focusing on how he struggled with a wrist injury last year, we should be focusing on how he dealt with significant adversity last year, and he has become one of the best players in baseball.

There has been a lot to go wrong in 2017, but the best thing that has happened was Conforto becoming the player we all thought he could be.  What’s even better is Conforto may just be scratching the surface on what appears to be true Hall of Fame talent.  Like with Strawberry and Wright, only time will tell with him.

For Some Reason The Mets Really Love Jose Reyes

For those of us that forget, the New York Mets really had no interest in re-signing Jose Reyes after the 2011 season.  When he signed with the Marlins in the offseason, there was a war of words between the two camps with Reyes saying he never received an offer, and Sandy Alderson saying Reyes’ agent was aware of the framework of the type of deal the Mets might be willing to do.

Since leaving the Mets, Reyes was roundly booed as a member of the Marlins, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, and finally had an overly brief and turbulent career with the Colorado Rockies.  For reasons we all know, and need not be discussed in-depth at the moment, it led to the Rockies releasing Reyes.  This also led to Reyes re-uniting with the Mets.

Last year, he was decent with the Mets helping the team make the postseason by obtaining the top Wild Card spot.  The Mets brought him back as David Wright insurance, and he has struggled for most of the season.  So far, Reyes is hitting .231/.293/.392.  That’s good for a 79 OPS+ and a -0.8 WAR.  Not to belabor what you already know, but Reyes has been a bad baseball player.

It’s bizarre we all know it, but the Mets don’t.  Reyes’ 90 games played leads the Mets this season.  Part of that is he hasn’t been hurt.  An even bigger part of that is Terry Collins and the Mets organization won’t or can’t admit Reyes isn’t good.  This is of course reflected in how the social media  team has inundated us with Reyes since the All Star Break with tweets like this:

Jacob deGrom is the ace.  Michael Conforto is the All Star.  Yoenis Cespedes is the most important player.  Curtis Granderson is the role model.  Addison Reed, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jay Bruce are the players on the trade block.  Yet, somehow, the Mets have made it a point to feature Reyes despite his poor play and his personal issues.

Yes, Reyes has played better of late, but he has been nowhere near as good as Conforto, Duda, deGrom, or Seth Lugo.  You wouldn’t know that by looking at how the Mets promote their players.

Sure, this is a silly gripe, but when the Mets have nothing to play for this season, you tend to notice these things.  Maybe if the Mets did the right thing by calling up Amed Rosario fans could focus on that.  Maybe, just maybe, the team could promote him.  I think we can all agree that is beneficial for everyone.