The New York Mets made a bit of a surprise signing when they agreed to terms with Jose Martinez on a one year split contract. With the signing of Martinez, it led many to wonder why the Mets signed him, and there were explanations:
The Mets' signing of Jose Martinez feels like an educated guess by the team that in the end, there will be a universal DH negotiated for the 2021 season.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 14, 2021
The Mets have Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso both battling for first base (again). They have already stated they prefer not to put Smith in LF. They also said the institution of the DH could be the impetus to sign a George Springer.
Looking at the respective numbers, you’re not going to bat Martinez over Smith or Alonso. In fact, based upon last year, the Mets aren’t likely to bat Martinez over J.D. Davis.
So, what’s happening here?
Well, some people desperately want there to be a universal DH, and as such, they will use anything to push the narrative. They’ll do it despite their already being an agreement for no universal DH and MLB informing teams there will be no universal DH in 2021.
Now, things change. Perhaps, there will be a new agreement for the universal DH on the eve of the season. We could see the Mets make some deals or see injuries which will elevate Martinez to the DH role.
However, make no mistake. The Mets didn’t sign Martinez to be their DH. The Mets are too well stocked at that position. They’re not benching better players and hitters for Martinez.
No, the Mets signed Martinez as needed depth. He could be a right-handed pinch hitter. He could be in the minors waiting for a trade or injury. It’s quite possible the Mets are working on some things, and they wanted Martinez as an insurance policy to permit them to make a deal.
There are many possible reasons the Mets signed Martinez. You can’t rule any of them out. Well, that’s not true. You can rule out the Mets signing Martinez as the DH.
Organizations and fan bases have is they become very attached to their players. It’s understandable as teams have invested so much in a player, and a result, they’re invested in that player. As for fans, it’s their nature.
Now, this only becomes problematic when it stands in the way of true progress. Right now, that’s the position the Mets may be.
As Sandy Alderson discussed with Jon Heyman on his podcast, he doesn’t see George Springer as a hit unless there is a universal DH. Part of the reason is it further complicates the Dominic Smith/Pete Alonso problem.
Both players are All-Star caliber first baseman, but there is only one first base bag. Without a DH, the solution has been to put Smith in LF. Despite all the work Smith has put into it, he’s not a MLB caliber LF.
In his career, he’s a -7 DRS and -8 OAA in 470.1 innings in left. With his 26.0 ft/sec sprint speed, it’s unrealistic to expect him to improve much.
Smith in left is exacerbated because it also forces Brandon Nimmo to play out of position. Instead of playing left where he is a good fielder, he’s forced to play center where he’s a poor defender.
Really, when you look at the Mets roster, Nimmo and Michael Conforto are the only everyday caliber outfielders on the roster. When looking at them, neither can play center everyday, and really neither are as good as Springer.
Since 2017, Springer has a 16.2 WAR, 138 wRC+, and a 13 DRS. Conforto has an 11.9 WAR, 132 wRC+, and a -14 DRS. Nimmo has a 7.8 WAR, 136 wRC+, and a -12 DRS.
Keep in mind, Springer’s numbers include his playing CF. In center, Springer has a career 14 DRS and 3 OAA. He’s also maintained elite speed with a 28.2 ft/sec last year indicating his good play out there should continue.
Now, as indicated earlier, there is some push to not sign Springer because it displaces one of Smith or Alonso. To wit, we should take a look at the past two seasons. That probably works better because that also coincides with Conforto moving past his shoulder injury.
- Springer – 8.6 WAR, 153 wRC+, 15 DRS
- Conforto – 5.7 WAR, 134 wRC+, -3 DRS
- Nimmo – 2.5 WAR, 130 wRC+, -5 DRS
- Smith – 2.6 WAR, 149 wRC+, -3 DRS (OF), -1 DRS (1B)
- Alonso – 5.5 WAR, 137 wRC+, -7 DRS
Now, there are some caveats to note here. Nimmo dealt with a neck injury much of 2019, but he’s proven he can return. Smith was largely a part time player in 2019 and missed time due to injury. Springer is the only player in his 30s, and he’s part of the Astros sign stealing scandal.
Putting those caveats aside, Springer would be the Mets best outfield option from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Really, when you break down the Mets roster further only Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom can stake a claim to being a better player than him.
When you break down this Mets roster, not one player should serve as an impediment to signing Springer. None of the current Mets can play center, and with the exception of Lindor, none of the current position players are better than Springer.
Yes, there are justifiable reasons to not sign him. There’s his contract demands, his age, and the heavy lifting the Mets need to do signing players to extensions. What isn’t a justifiable reason is Smith or Alonso.
As good as both players are, neither are as good as Springer right now. They’re also first baseman. Whether or not the Mets sign Springer, the organization still needs to find a center fielder, and they need to solve this conundrum.
Overall, Springer is the perfect fit for the Mets. He’s a good center fielder, and he’s a right-handed bat who can balance this heavy left-handed hitting lineup. No one on this current Mets roster should be used as an excuse to not pursue him.
In case you were skeptical this was indeed a new era of New York Mets baseball, the Mets just acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. With that, the Mets added a top five player in the game at short, and they added a top of the rotation caliber pitcher to pair with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.
When you add these players to a core with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, James McCann, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith. Whether or not the Mets add another starter, bullpen arm, third baseman, or center fielder, the Mets already have the pieces in place to be a true World Series contender.
Just think about it for a moment. Assuming Noah Syndergaard returns this season, this is currently the Mets rotation:
Even if the Mets don’t go out there and sign a George Springer or add a third baseman, this is what the Mets lineup could look like during the course of the 2021 season:
- Brandon Nimmo, CF
- Michael Conforto, RF
- Pete Alonso, 1B
- Dominic Smith, LF
- Francisco Lindor, SS
- Jeff McNeil, 3B
- James McCann, C
- Luis Guillorme 2B
Sure, this Mets team could definitively stand to get better defensively in the outfield. That said, that infield defensive alignment is quite good, especially up the middle, and that lineup is as strong and deep as they come. This is a team who can go toe-to-toe with the defending division champion Atlanta Braves and the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Right now, this is a great baseball team.
What’s even better is the Mets are not done with their offseason. They are still going to add more pieces. That could include Springer, and it could be a reliever like Brad Hand. There are are likely going to be depth pieces added beyond this group. When all is said and done, the Mets with Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Jared Porter have already done and will continue to do what Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen could never even dream of doing.
Today is a great day in Mets history. Today is just like the day the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Mike Piazza. The Mets got a future Hall of Famer in his prime, and they completely changed the trajectory of the franchise both this year and in the years to come.
Lets Go Mets!
The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers have an interesting history. For fans of the original Mets team, many of them were originally Dodgers fans.
That includes Fred Wilpon, who built a ballpark in testament to those Dodger teams. Of course, that was resented by younger more modern Mets fans who have zero recollection of those Brooklyn teams.
For Gen X fans and younger, the history of the Mets and Dodgers is quite different.
There was the Dodgers upsetting the 1988 Mets. That was a painful series highlighted by David Cone perhaps riling up the Dodgers, Davey Johnson leaving in Dwight Gooden too long with the ensuing Mike Scioscia homer, and Orel Hershiser‘s virtuoso performance.
The 2006 Mets got some measure of a payback in the NLDS sweep. That was a total beatdown with former Dodgers Shawn Green and Jose Valentin relaying to former Dodger Paul Lo Duca who tagged out Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew at home plate.
Things between these two teams really ratcheted up in the 2015 NLDS. That all began with Chase Utley living up to his reputation as one of the dirtiest players ever with his tackling Ruben Tejada at second thereby breaking Tejada’s leg.
The bad feelings of that series carried forward into the next season when Noah Syndergaard was ejected during a nationally televised game after throwing a pitch behind Utley. Utley would get the last laugh with Terry Collins being revered years later when the ejection video was released.
After that, things calmed down. That was due in large part to the Wilpons ineptitude taking the Mets out of contention. During that time, the Dodgers became the model franchise finally breaking through and winning the 2020 World Series.
Now, with Steve Cohen at the helm, things promise to be different.
With Cohen comes real financial heft which arguably surpasses what the Dodgers have. We’ve seen early on what that means with the Mets already signing Trevor May and James McCann as well as being in the market for George Springer and Tomoyuki Sugano.
But, it’s not just the financial strength. It’s also the scouting and analytics. The Dodgers have used that to identify players like Max Muncy and Justin Turner who have become relative stars. They’ve also developed an enviable pipeline of talent with young players like Gavin Lux and Will Smith.
The Mets have started heading in that direction by bringing back Sandy Alderson. They’ve also hired Jared Porter as GM and Zack Scott as Assistant GM.
Of course, the Mets have retained perhaps the best draft scouting with Mark Tramuta, Tommy Tanous, Drew Toussaint, et al. That group is responsible for great talent like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo, Brandon Nimmo, and Dominic Smith. That’s nothing to say of the talent still left in the system and traded away.
The Mets have the core, financial resources, burgeoning front office, and now the right ownership for the Mets to become a juggernaut like we haven’t seen from this franchise since the 1980s. They will very soon rival the Dodgers on and off the field.
That is going to lead to some more postseason run-ins. With that will be the heightening if tensions between these franchises which have already had their moments.
If the Mets make the right moves, we’ll see an epic postseason clash between these teams come October not just this year but in each of the ensuing seasons. The seeds are already there, and so, with more epic postseason series, we’ll see the makings of a bitter Mets/Dodgers rivalry.
The year 2020 was hard on us all, but there were some truly outstanding and unexpected uplifting moments scattered throughout the year. In no particular order here were some of the best moments for the New York Mets in 2020:
1. Steve Cohen purchases the Mets ending the Wilpons reign.
2. Dominic Smith finds his voice and that next level in his game.
3. Michael Conforto emerged as a real leader and showed he’s the star we all hoped he’d be.
4. While not winning the Cy Young, Jacob deGrom continued to prove he’s the best pitcher in the game.
5. Yoenis Cespedes gave us one last thrill with an Opening Day game winning homer.
6. Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant form.
7. Amed Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium to beat the New York Yankees.
9. Mets were once again allowed to wear the first responders caps.
10. Sandy Alderson returned restoring credibility to the franchise and was given the opportunity to win a World Series with the Mets.
11. Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Mets.
13. Pete Alonso proved his rookie year was no fluke putting himself on what would’ve been a 42 home run pace.
14. Although in a circuitous route, Luis Rojas got the manager job he earned and did enough to earn at least a second season at the helm.
15. Luis Guillorme was great with the glove and better than we ever anticipated he’d be at the plate.
16. Brandon Nimmo proved his neck problems were no more while remaining an on-base machine.
17. Rick Porcello got to live out his dream by pitching for the same Mets team he loved as a kid.
18. The 1986 Mets were dubbed the best team ever.
19. Alonso honored the greatest Met ever by hitting a walk-off homer the first game the Mets played after Tom Seaver passed.
20. It was only 60 games and the Mets finished in last place, but we got to see Mets baseball. For at least those 3+ hours a day, we felt normal.
If you’re reading this now, chances are you went through a lot this year. The good news is you’re reading this meaning you’ve survived the year and can have hope for a better 2021.
God willing, that 2021 will be our best year ever, and we will see a Mets World Series title.
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.
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.
The concept of the untouchable player is a fallacy. That goes for any player including Mike Trout. For the right price, even he could be traded.
That said, when we talk untouchable we mean a player who can’t be replaced on the roster. In terms of the Mets, there’s only three such players on the roster.
First and foremost, Jacob deGrom is untouchable. Not only has he established himself as the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s also on a very reasonable contract. There’s nothing on the free agent or trade market available where you can replace him.
The next untouchable player is Seth Lugo, and last season is exactly the reason why. In Lugo, the Mets have one of the best and most versatile relievers in baseball. He can pitch multiple innings, get a key out, and get the save.
If you’re in a jam, Lugo can also start. No, he is not nearly as dominant as a starter. However, he can be stretched to be either a dominant opener or a competent fifth starter. Looking across baseball, there really isn’t another pitcher who offers that, not even Josh Hader.
Finally, the Mets last untouchable is Jeff McNeil. He’s that mostly because his versatility allows the Mets to build the best possible roster.
McNeil is a good defender at second and left. He can hold his own at third and right. He’s a unique batter in this era in that he’s up to hit, and he puts the ball in play. In McNeil, you’re getting a modern day Ben Zobrist in the field and a slower version of Ichiro Suzuki at the plate.
In these three players, the Mets have truly unique players whose skill sets cannot easily be replicated. In fact, you can argue, their skill sets cannot be replicated. At their relative prices, it’s nearly impossible.
As for the rest of the roster, while there are extremely good players across, they just don’t rise to this level.
While you may want to argue Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith, they are both first baseman. In fact, they’re both All-Star caliber first basemen. Unfortunately, there’s just one first base, and there’s no DH.
Andres Gimenez is very promising, but this is an organization with a lot of shortstop talent. That includes Amed Rosario, who is a capable MLB starter, and Luis Guillorme, who deserves a fair shot to play everyday.
Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are approaching free agency soon, and the corner outfield position is one which can typically be filled easily. On that note, McNeil can fill one of their spots if necessary.
Like Conforto, Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard are pending free agents making them more movable than they otherwise would be. Also on the pitching front is Edwin Diaz. You’ve seen reason to believe in him and believe he can’t handle New York. At the end of the day, he’s a good closer, but the Mets can always obtain one of them in free agency.
So, overall, the Mets have a deep and interesting roster. However, there are many holes across the roster. Looking at this roster, short of deGrom, Lugo, or McNeil, any of these players should be on the table to address any of the deficiencies this team has.
In his introductory press conference, new New York Mets GM Jared Porter spoke about building depth across the 40 man roster. One area which desperately needs attention is the outfield.
Assuming the Mets sign a center fielder like George Springer, the team will still need a viable fourth outfielder who can step up and start on an extended basis if needed.
And no, Dominic Smith (-2 OAA) and J.D. Davis (-2 OAA) are not outfielders. Smith is a good defensive first baseman, and Davis is a DH. Instead of a first baseman in left, the Mets need an actual outfielder.
Looking at the free agents, there is one name which stands out – Yasiel Puig.
Puig is looking to return to baseball after missing the 2020 season. He had missed out for a variety of mostly inexplicable reasons.
First, he wasn’t signed during the original Spring Training. Then, he would sign a deal with the Atlanta Braves in July. However, that deal fell through when Puig tested positive for COVID19.
Likely, that leaves Puig looking for a one year deal to rebuild value. In the event there are no starting jobs available, the Mets would be a good fit.
When Puig last played, he still had very good speed. He also had improved defensive numbers in right after an unexpected one year drop off in 2018.
In 2019, he struggled offensively by his standards. His 101 wRC+ was tied for a career worst. That was surprising partially because he posted a career best exit velocity. Whatever the case, at worst, Puig can be anticipated provide league average offense. He has a much higher ceiling than that too.
Puig also has some defensive versatility. While he’s spent most of his career in right, he has played center and left. On that point, Puig has been playing center in the Winter Leagues.
Yasiel Puig, playing for the first time since last September, made this athletic play to rob #Angels Luis Rengifo of a hit in LIDOM tonight.
Puig’s initial read wasn’t great but the correction worked out
— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) December 11, 2020
That work helps him be more versatile. Having a bench player who can play all three outfield positions would be of an enormous benefit to the Mets.
Puig does seem well suited to play in New York as he thrives in the spotlight. He possesses all the tools to be successful with good speed as well as a history of playing good defense and posting strong offensive numbers.
All told, this would make him a great bench option and insurance policy against a Nimmo or Conforto injury. If MLB refuses to acknowledge reason and instead implemented the universal DH, Puig can help be part of that rotation.
There’s a lot of ways Puig can help the Mets, and he’s the best option available for this role. The only issue is whether he’s willing to accept this role. Given his year away from baseball, he might. If so, the Mets should push to sign him.
In an ideal world, the New York Mets would be looking to sign Mookie Betts this offseason. It would’ve been an absolutely perfect signing for the team.
The second best player in the sport helping the Steve Cohen era get off on the right foot. The right-handed bat to compliment a heavy left-handed hitting lineup. A player gifted enough to play center for the next decade.
However, it’s not happening because the Los Angeles Dodgers went all out to not only obtain him from the Boston Red Sox, but they also gave him the extension he wanted. As such, he’ll spend 13 years with the Dodgers and none with the Mets.
This is not the first time we’ve seen a future Hall of Famer eschew free agency by signing an extension with his new team. In fact, the Mets once benefitted from this by trading for and signing Mike Piazza.
That’s one of the benefits a team receives by obtaining that player. They get the exclusive window to negotiate with and sign the player. They also have that opportunity if they make the player signing an extension a condition precedent to making a trade.
There is a need for both players. With Arenado, he’s arguably the best third baseman in baseball, and the Mets are in desperate need of one.
Lindor may not be as obvious when the Mets have Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario. With Lindor, it boils down to this team is not good enough as it, and they need premium talent to push them over the top. The best shortstop in the game goes a long way in accomplishing that.
If the Mets can get either player (preferably both), they need to do it. You don’t run the risk of another organization stepping up ad obtaining that player because if that happens they can be the ones who give Lindor or Arenado an extension ensuring they don’t hit the free agent market.
No, that doesn’t mean you make the trade for its own sake, and by no means should the Mets overpay. That said, when you have Gimenez and Rosario as well as Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso, you have valuable cost controlled depth which can be a big piece in getting a Lindor or Arenado.
Really, the Mets don’t need two shortstops and two first basemen. They need a Lindor and/or an Arenado. They need to get them now to prevent another team from locking them up.
Instead, the Mets need to do what the Dodgers did with Betts. Get the superstar. Use their financial muscle to get that superstar to sign an extension. Then, they can go win the World Series.
There were some surprising non-tenders this year with David Dahl perhaps being the most surprising. After mashing his first two full seasons with the Colorado Rockies, the organization was perhaps too reactionary to his having one poor season at the plate which was by and large due to Dahl’s dealing with a shoulder injury which would need surgery.
Now, if Dahl’s shoulder is more serious than many anticipated, you could understand the non-tender. That said, it’s difficult to imagine a more severe shoulder injury than the one Michael Conforto suffered, and he re-emerged to play at an All-Star, near MVP level in 2020. So, for all intents and purposes, we should reasonably anticipate Dahl returning to form at some point in 2021.
That form was very impressive. From 2018 – 2019, Dahl hit .291/.342/.528. Sure, that was partially driven by his playing in Coors Field. That said, Dahl did have an 111 OPS+ meaning he is a well above average hitter. As we have seen, the Coors Field effect is more home/away splits during the course of a season, and it is not something which should translate to moving to a new team.
That said, there are some splits which are at least moderately concerning with Dahl. The left-handed hitter has been neutralized by left-handed pitching in his career. While Dahl has a strong .289/.342/.515 batting line against right-handed pitching, he has only hit .277/.312/.438 against left-handed pitching. That right there is an indication he is a poor fit for the New York Mets.
Right now, the Mets corner outfielders are Brandon Nimmo and Conforto. While Dahl has been a strong hitter, he has not been the caliber of hitter either Nimmo or Conforto has been. Moreover, Nimmo and Conforto are left-handed hitters who have handled left-handed pitching better than Dahl. Taking that into account, Dahl would not be coming to the Mets to supplant either one of those players in the everyday lineup.
That is somewhat important because it would seem Dahl at least has the talent to be considered a starting outfielder by any number of teams. Even if he were to shirk a starting job elsewhere to consider the Mets, he probably still isn’t a fit as a fourth outfielder. He can’t be used to platoon with either Nimmo or Conforto as they are all left-handed hitters. He also should not be used as a defensive replacement.
In his career, Dahl has not been a particularly good defensive outfielder. In his career, he has a a -1 OAA and a -7 DRS in left field. Now, to be fair, with the thin air and large outfield, Rockies outfielders usually rate poorly in defensive metrics. Looking at his defense, he does have good sprint speed of roughly 28.1 feet/sec. That would put him roughly as fast as Nimmo and faster than Conforto.
Realistically speaking, with Nimmo and Conforto in the way, the Mets do not have a starting outfield spot to offer Dahl, and realistically speaking, he is a poor fit as a complement to those two. Now, you could argue the Mets could sign Dahl to be their primary DH. However, there are two significant obstacles.
First and foremost, the NL will not have a DH in 2021. As per the agreement, the universal DH sunsetted at the expiration of the 2020 season. Even if it were to be re-adopted, the Mets have Pete Alonso already slated to be the DH with Dominic Smith taking over first base duties.
All told, every which angle you look at this, the Mets simply do not have a position to offer Dahl. At best, they can offer him a bench role for a very left-handed hitting team. Unless there is a trade or two, the Mets are better suited to setting their sights to one of the other available non-tendered players or other free agents.