David Wright

Michael Conforto Could Own Mets Record Books

When it comes time for Michael Conforto to make the decision about whether or not he wants to sign a contract extension, there is one interesting consideration for him – his legacy.

Right now, Conforto has his name scattered across the Mets record books, but at the moment he’s not in a position to overtake the lead in any major statistical category. Part of the reason is he only has one year remaining on his contract.

However, if he were to sign an extension, he’d have a real chance to own the Mets record books.

On that note, here is where he currently stands.

Here is where Conforto is and how far behind the leaders he is:

  • HR 118 (134 behind)
  • R 348 (601)
  • H 556 (1,221)
  • RBI 341 (629)
  • 2B 121 (269)

Now, when you look at some of those totals, he is really far behind Wright and Strawberry. However, Conforto is in the early part of his prime. That puts him in an excellent spot to make his climb.

Over the past three seasons, Conforto has 162 game averages of 154 hits, 95 runs, 30 doubles, 32 homers, and 93 RBI.Assuming he keeps that pace, here’s how many seasons he’d need to play to become the all-time leader in each category:

  • HR – 5
  • R – 7
  • H – 8
  • RBI – 7
  • 2B – 9

One thing of note is that three year period includes time from when he was coming back from a devastating shoulder injury. With his clearly rushed back, he struggled until late in the 2017 season.

If we look just at the 162 game averages of the past two seasons, we see Conforto has averaged 163 hits, 105 runs, 33 doubles, 34 homers, and 98 RBI. With that pace, he would not need as much time to grab the lead:

  • HR – 4
  • R – 6
  • H – 8
  • RBI – 7
  • 2B – 8

Looking at this, if he were to receive a five year extension, he will likely be the Mets all-time home run leader, and he’ll be knocking on the door for the runs lead.

He’d still need a few seasons hitting at a high level to catch Wright in hits, doubles, and RBI. While difficult, it could be done. What matters there is Conforto’s ability to play at a high level for a sustained time period, and just as important, how long his extension (if any) would be.

If Conforto’s extension is indeed long enough, and he is blessed with good health, he’s going to make a serious dent in the record books assuming he isn’t atop all of them. If he can get a World Series ring and close that 34.6 WAR gap between him and Wright, we may very well one day talk about how Conforto is the best position player in Mets history.

Extend Michael Conforto And Name Him Captain

When new Mets catcher James McCann signed, it was Michael Conforto who reached out to him to welcome him to the team.

When manager Luis Rojas was asked to name team leaders, Conforto was the first name he mentioned saying Conforto “stands out.”

When Dominic Smith grappled with decisions like kneeling or even playing this summer, Conforto told him he wish he knew Smith was going to kneel so he could be by him. He was then right by Smith’s side when he spoke out about racial injustice.

When it became clear Jake Marisnick and J.D. Davis were not only part of the Houston Astros sign stealing controversy, but also cheated against pitchers on this Mets team, Conforto said three important things: (1) Astros crossed the line; (2) it was going to be addressed; and (3) there was not going to be any animosity.

He was a young player taught how to play and how to be a leader by people like David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce. He’s been a leader in the clubhouse, and he’s stood by his teammates.

In the history of the Mets, there has been no more obvious choice for Captain since Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. This is a homegrown Met who is perfect to lead this team as they embark on a new era.

He’s also still a very good player who has had great moments. After he moved past his shoulder injury, he’s had a 135 OPS+. We know he’s capable of more too.

He’s an All-Star caliber player who can hit anywhere in the lineup, and he’s been a good defender. He’s also a team player willing to move to any position to help the team.

Conforto is the Captain in every possible way. Once the Mets give him the contract extension he’s earned, it’s time to formally announce him as the fifth Captain in team history.

Nolan Arenado Perfect Fit For Mets

When analyzing the New York Mets roster, there are a few things they need to transform a strong core to a true World Series contender. Some of those things are a third baseman, improved defense, and more right/left balance in the lineup.

That perfectly describes Nolan Arenado.

In his latest presser, without mentioning him by name, Sandy Alderson intimated Arenado would be the type of player the Mets could look to trade for this offseason. It should come as no surprise the Mets would.

Since the Mets last made the postseason in 2016, their defense has been an embarrassment. In fact, their -242 DRS over that timeframe is by far the worst in the majors.

One of the problem areas has been third where the team has accumulated a -26 DRS. That includes the -17 DRS the incumbent third baseman, J.D. Davis, has posted over the past two seasons.

Conversely, Arenado is an eight time Gold Glove winner. In fact, he’s a perfect 8/8 in his Major League career. Since 2017, he’s easily been the best third baseman in the NL with a 55 DRS. Replacing Davis with him would just be a staggeringly defensive upgrade.

Arenado isn’t remotely slipping defensively. In 2020, he had a 15 DRS and a 7 OAA. The previous season, he had an 18 DRS and a 16 OAA. By OAA, he’s been the best defensive third baseman in each of the past two seasons.

In addition to the phenomenal defense, Arenado is a good hitter.

No, he was not remotely good in a bizarre 2020 season. All of his offensive numbers cratered. However, this past season is a complete anomaly from what we’ve seen from him in his career.

Over the three previous seasons, Arenado had a 130 wRC+. That’s 29th best in the majors over that stretch. In terms of the Mets, only Brandon Nimmo has a better wRC+ over that stretch.

This means that quite arguably if the Mets were to obtain Arenado, he’d become their best player not named Jacob deGrom. Certainly, none of the current Mets can match Arenado’s ability to field and hit.

For those who are concerned his offense won’t translate, they’re worrying too much. Yes, like every other Rockies player, he’s always had pronounced home/road splits. However, as noted by Mike Petrillo of MLB.com, “there’s no evidence that a Rockies hitter who goes elsewhere and gets regular playing time is going to fall apart.”

So, essentially, if Arenado were to leave Colorado, we should anticipate him performing the same way he always has. There’s the obvious and fair caveat here that he really struggled in 2020. Although on that point, he has a shoulder injury to his non-throwing shoulder which could’ve impacted his performance.

When you boil it all down, Arenado is a great fit for the Mets. He vastly improves the defense, and he promises to be another right-handed threat in the lineup. In terms of fit, the Mets could not do any better.

Really, the question is what will it take to get him. He’s got a no trade clause and an opt out looming. Like last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested. While the Rockies may be reticent to trade Arenado intradivision, the Dodgers present real leverage to extract the most value.

We can debate just how much the Mets should give up to obtain arguably the best third baseman in baseball. What isn’t up for debate is just how much of an improvement Arenado would be over what the Mets have had at third since David Wright.

Willie Randolph, Not Carlos Beltran For Mets Bench Coach

One of the hopes Mets fans have with Steve Cohen taking the helm is his new regime correcting a lot of the wrongs committed by the Wilpons. There are countless examples of how poorly the Wilpons treated their former players, and that gives Cohen a real chance to seem magnanimous.

One area where he’s already planning to do this is an Old Timer’s Day. Another area Mets fans want to do this is by bringing Carlos Beltran back to the organization.

With Hensley Meulens not returning as bench coach, many fans see this as the opportunity to bring back Beltran as bench coach. Realistically speaking, Beltran is the worst possible choice for this job.

The modern bench coach job is very complicated. As a result, of all the jobs on the coaching staff, manager included, bench coach is the single job where you absolutely cannot have a novice like Beltran in charge.

As Brad Mills explained to the Sporting News, “You work with everyone from the groundskeepers to the traveling secretary, and you might even make sure the field is ready for early work.” Put another way, the bench coach has to make sure all the planning and preparation for the game is completed.

The bench coach is handling scouting and game prep. He’s running quality control before and during the game. He’s discussing strategy with the manager. He’s fostering relationships with players. He has his hands in everything. As was the case with Derek Shelton and Rocco Baldelli, that included media responsibilities.

With Beltran never having worked on an MLB coaching staff at any level, and with his front office experience having been just one year, he is ill-suited for the job. Very ill suited.

While you can understand Mets fans wanting to repair the relationship with Beltran, this isn’t the time or the job. However, just because the Mets shouldn’t use this opportunity to right a wrong with Beltran, it doesn’t mean they can’t hire a bench coach who can simultaneously right a wrong.

The Mets could very well look to hire Willie Randolph for their vacant bench coach position.

Randolph has the fifth most wins by a Mets manager, and he has the second best winning percentage. In his time as manager, he did a lot of good things including helping David Wright and Jose Reyes reach their full potential.

In addition to his successes as a Mets manager, he was on Joe Torre‘s coaching staff for the last Yankees dynasty. That includes his being a bench coach. Randolph has also been a bench coach in Milwaukee and Baltimore.

All told, Randolph knows the role extraordinarily well. He also knows the challenges Luis Rojas faces as the Mets manager. He knows how to develop players and handle a coaching staff. He knows how to win in New York, and he knows the intense scrutiny a manager faces.

If the 66 year old Randolph is interested in the position, the Mets should interview him for the role. If Rojas has a comfort level with him, Randolph should absolutely be hired for the job.

With that, the Mets will hire an exceptionally qualified person for the job thereby making the Mets a better team. It will also have the benefit of righting the wrong of how he was fired in 2008.

Ultimately, if the Mets want to right some wrongs, they should hire Randolph. If they want the best man for the job, they should hire Randolph. He’s just the perfect fit for this job right now.

Henrik Lundqvist, Long May He Reign

When you look through sports in New York, the legends always win. No, we’re not talking about beloved players like David Wright. We’re talking true legends.

Every Yankees legend has a ring. Tom Seaver won with the 1969 Mets. The famed Knicks teams have two. LT has two, and even Namath and the Jets have one. The Islanders have their dynasty.

After 54 years, Leetch and the Rangers got his as well in one that may have to last a lifetime.

It’s funny. For it being the world’s most famous arena, it just seems to come up short over the last 25+ years in delivering titles with all-time great players. First, Patrick Ewing. Now, Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist could be the best Ranger of all-time. He might be the best hockey player in New York history. He’s definitively the best player to ever leave New York without a title.

That’s what happens when the Rangers officially buy out his contract later today. It is a decision which hurts, but in the end, it’s the right decision for all involved. Hopefully, everyone feels respected in the process.

The Rangers just couldn’t get it quite right. They had a legendary goaltender who was the driving force behind the Rangers going to the Conference Finals in three out of four years.

Maybe with a fair whistle, he and the Rangers have a Cup, but sadly, it didn’t happen. From there, the team had just one more run in them.

At the moment, the Stanley Cup, a living championship trophy, is incomplete without Lundqvist’s name etched onto it. Maybe Lundqvist goes somewhere next year, and he accomplishes what Ray Bourque and Dominic Hasek did before him.

Even if he doesn’t, it doesn’t change how great he is. For all the talk about his not winning a Stanley Cup, people conveniently forget he led Sweden to Olympic Gold in 2006. On the highest stage with the best players in the world, Lundqvist reigned.

And he still reigns because he’s not just a Rangers legend, or a hockey legend. He’s a New York legend.

Babe Ruth was the Sultan. Henrik Lundqvist is the King. He has been and always will be.

We will miss Lundqvist in a Rangers sweater between the pipes because he’s the best to ever do it. We look forward for his 30 hanging from the Garden rafters, and and we look to see what he does next.

Before all that, Rangers fans everywhere thank you. The past 15 years were among the best in Rangers history and that had come on the heels of the worst period in Rangers history.

You were responsible for that, and we loved you for it. Thank you.

-30-

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Rays of Hope Gone

No, the Mets have not been eliminated from the postseason . . . yet. Sadly, even with some things breaking their way, they couldn’t take advantage:

1. People can anoint Trevor Bauer the Cy Young all they want, but Jacob deGrom still has a start remaining to establish once again he’s the best pitcher in baseball.

2. Again, putting deGrom up against pitchers not pitching in the NL or AL East is absurd as NL Central and West pitchers face completely different competition.

3. On that note, the level of competition the two pitchers have faced is completely different with Bauer dominating some of the absolute worst offensive teams in the game.

4. You do have to wonder how different things would be with deGrom’s campaign and really this entire Mets season of Wilson Ramos was capable of tagging a guy at home plate.

5. Edwin Diaz finally has more saves than blown saves this year.

6. Mets continue to be the Mets first announcing Michael Conforto was getting a day off for a must win game and then finally admitting he had a hamstring issue.

7. Conforto’s chances of signing an extension increased not just with Steve Cohen buying the Mets, but also with Sandy Alderson returning to the organization.

8. Should Conforto sign an extension, he’s going to knock David Wright off the top of the Mets all-time leaderboards.

9. It’s a shame Conforto broke down and Dominic Smith went in a slump for the final last ditch push. It’s a downright shame no one was really able to pick them up like they picked up the team this season.

10. Between J.D. Davis batting second or third despite his not hitting and Michael Wacha making starts despite his having no business pitching another inning for this team, it’s clear Brodie Van Wagenen decided to make this season about showcasing his acquisitions in the hopes of getting a new job.

11. Steven Matz went from breaking out in the second half last year to a great Spring Training to maybe pitching his way to a non-tender.

12. Matz is a clear example of a guy Jeff Wilpon would instruct dropped from his team with him being shocked the player succeeded away from the team. For some reason, despite this having happened continuously, there is still a contingent of Mets fans who still defend the team on this type of dumb decisions.

13. Ultimately, the juiced ball last year and the abbreviated 60 game season have made it near impossible to have a real evaluation and analysis of players.

14. Speaking of which, it was great to see Pete Alonso remind us how great he can be. The question is if he can be that over a 162 game season without the juiced ball. There are many indicators which suggest he can, but we still don’t know.

15. The Rays showed the Mets all the things this organization has flat out ignored with defense and good base running actually matter, and the end game isn’t to collect a bunch of bats to plug and play regardless of fit.

16. Again, we see in this series Seth Lugo can be a starter. However, the bullpen is a flat out mess without him.

17. Fortunately, the Mets have the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, and the beginnings of the right front office to address not only the bullpen, but also catcher, third, center, and the rotation.

18. It looks like Alderson is going to get his chance to do what he wanted to do when he took over the Mets. Essentially, that’s exactly what the Dodgers did.

19. After these last four games, it’s good riddance to the Wilpons. That’s both with the Mets and the horrendous SNY they created.

20. There’s no more fitting end to the Wilpon era than the team finishing below .500 despite having a top offense, the best pitcher in baseball, and an expanded postseason.

Game Recaps

No Rays of Hope after this Mets Loss

Pete Alonso Returns

Mets Ensure Under .500 Finish With Brodie’s Pitching Staff

The Wilpons Final Embarrassment

Through the Wilpons majority ownership, we have seen one embarrassing moment after the next. It just never ended with them, not even when times were good.

An injured Pedro Martinez was forced to pitch a meaningless game for a gate. They fired Willie Randolph after a win and one game into a west coast trip.

The Wilpons nearly lost everything in a Ponzi scheme, and in a puff piece to help salvage their image, Fred Wilpon unnecessarily and unfairly maligned Carlos Beltran and David Wright.

Leigh Castergine was fired. Jose Reyes was brought back and held out as a role model.

They had Steve Cohen offer well over market value for the team, and the financially strapped Wilpons bungled the deal. They bungled it over control of the team and escalating salaries for them. Now, they’re looking to sell the team for what is likely a lower price.

By all accounts, 2020 is it for the Wilpons. After this season, they’re gone. But seeing them in action all of these years, you knew they couldn’t go out without embarrassing themselves, the Mets franchise, and all of baseball one last time.

Tonight was that night.

As a backdrop, Dominic Smith bore his soul in an emotional post game news conference. Michael Conforto said he’d have Smith’s back, and he made good by working with the Marlins to not play akin to what the NBA and other MLB teams were doing.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen would address this with reporters. Keep in mind, this exchange which was supposed to be off the record was posted to the Mets website:

Well, when you trash the commissioner, and it gets public, there are going to be ramifications, and the need for apologies need to proceed.

First up, was Van Wagenen who both apologized to Commissioner Rob Manfred and pinned the blame for the poorly received idea on Jeff Wilpon:

Well, that apparently wasn’t sufficient. This incident actually required the Wilpons to spring to action. Fred and Jeff Wilpon offered their version of events and apologies:

Both Fred and Jeff Wilpon managed to misspell Brodie as Brody. This was just a perfect encapsulation of who the Wilpons are and their failed stewardship of the Mets organization.

Their organization took the players emerging and bungled it. The same owners who had NOTHING to say publicly when Smith cried rushed to admonish their GM and misspelled his name in the process.

Even better, they took ownership of an idea universally dismissed as plain stupid and seen as insensitive by many. While this was happening, one of the Mets official accounts called for Manfred to be fired.

If this was anyone other than the Wilpons, you’d be absolutely shocked at the level of incompetence involved here. Seeing how this is the Wilpons, you can’t be remotely shocked they were a complete embarrassment one last time.

Shame On Brodie Van Wagenen And Wilpons For Not Publicly Supporting Dominic Smith

After last night’s game, Dominic Smith was moved to tears speaking about his pain and fears. He was raw, emotional, and honest. It moved many people. It led Mets fans to go out and buy his jersey and support his foundation.

We also saw former Mets players like Paul Lo Duca speak to how moved they were by hearing Smith’s words.

Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen? Well, he’s been silent. He has had no quotes for the published articles on the moment. He also has sent no tweets

Remember, this was the same man who had been caught illegally texting game decisions to the clubhouse. Van Wagenen can reach his phone to text for his manager to make a pitching change, but he can’t reach his phone to send a tweet in support of one of his players who was clearly in pain.

The same goes for the Wilpons. They’ve been silent. This is still their organization, and there’s been no press release or quote in support of Smith.

Remember, they were the ones who once silenced Carlos Delgado‘s protests and trashed Mets players like Carlos Beltran and David Wright to the New Yorker.

Dominic Smith clearly felt all alone yesterday, and it caused him pain. That was a time for Van Wagenen and the Wilpons to come out and publicly support him. They opted not to do so.

Dominic Smith deserved better than that from them. We all do.

Just make this the latest exhibit in a very long line as to why we’re all counting down the days until the Wilpons are gone. This is another example why Van Wagenen needs to follow them out the door.

Mets Fan Favorite Tournament: Final Four

After going through each of their brackets, all of the top seeds advanced to the Final Four. Instead of having individual match-ups to create a championship game, instead we’re going to have all four top seeds battle it out at the same time.

(1) Tom Seaver – Seaver is dubbed The Franchise for taking the team from a losing franchise to World Series winners. He holds nearly every pitching record in team history, and he is considered to be, if not the greatest, among the greatest right-handed pitchers in Major League history. He was the first Mets player to have his number retired, and he was the first Mets player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. To date, he is the starting pitcher with the highest percent of the vote.

(1) Keith Hernandez – His trade to the Mets was widely credited with bringing the Mets to prominence. Won a team record five Gold Gloves at first base further cementing reputation as best defensive first baseman of all-time. Member of the 1986 World Series team who famously threatened Jesse Orosco and Gary Carter not to throw another fastball to Kevin Bass. Was named the first captain in team history. Has become part of the iconic and loved GKR on SNY broadcasts.

(1) Mike Piazza – greatest offensive catcher in Major League history who decided to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. Second player to have his number retired by the Mets. Hit a number of big homers for the franchise including one capping off the 10 run inning against the Braves and the one post 9/11. Mets all-time leader in slugging and second in OPS. All over the single season and career top 10 offensive categories. Took those late 90s Mets teams over the top. Caught final pitch at Shea Stadium and first pitch at Citi Field.

(1) David Wright – The franchise leader in nearly every offensive category and is widely considered to be the best position player in franchise history. Only homegrown Met to be named team captain. Dubbed Captain America for his exploits in the World Baseball Classic. Once named by Bill James as the perfect baseball player. Seven time All-Star, two time Gold Glove winner, and two time Silver Slugger. Hit the first Mets homer in Citi Field, and he hit the first ever World Series homer in Citi Field. Had perhaps the most emotional good-bye game we have ever seen a player in sports history ever have. A lifetime Met who had a hand in helping ensure Jacob deGrom does the same.

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A-Rod Disqualified Himself To Be Mets New Owner

Mets fans have had enough of the Wilpons and their half measures. It’s dragged down the franchise and cost them a real shot at long runs of being in contention. Everything the Wilpons do is the wrong way to run a New York baseball franchise.

It’s looking at David Wright and Jose Reyes as an either/or as opposed to a both/and. It’s signing Michael Cuddyer to be a big bat. It’s letting players like Daniel Murphy and Zack Wheeler walk. It’s trading for Robinson Cano and keeping Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic instead of signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

New Mets ownership was supposed to prevent this and other nonsense. No forcing Pedro Martinez to pitch through an injury, or trying to deny Carlos Beltran or Yoenis Cespedes career saving surgery. Having a real analytics department. There’s just so much which could be different under new ownership, including but not limited to, the Mets’ mid market payroll.

For Mets fans, there’s just one litmus test. The next owner must be fully committed to winning, and they will do what they need to do to win.

That’s exactly why Alex Rodriguez disqualified himself today when he said:

“The only way it’s going to happen is if they get to the table and say the No. 1 goal, let’s get from $10 to $15 billion and then we’ll split the economics evenly,” he said Thursday during a conference call. “But that’s the type of conversation instead of fighting and fighting against each other because there’s too much competition out there right now.

(ESPN).

A-Rod later stressed he didn’t call for a salary cap, but that’s just backtracking. Truth be told, what he described was a salary cap. That’s where he lost each and every Mets fan.

Steve Cohen is out there ready to flex his financial might. There are other billionaires involved in the bidding. The Mets simply don’t need A-Rod and his cast of retired basketball players. No, they need someone who will do what it takes to win.

We’re already seeing exactly why A-Rod has been disqualified in Mets fans eyes. Hopefully, MLB feels the same way.