Edgardo Alfonzo

Mets 2021 Uniforms: Back in Black

After the years of waiting, the New York Mets are finally bringing back the black jerseys on July 30, and they’ll be worn for all the ensuing Friday games.

These are the jerseys Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo wore the last time the Mets captured the pennant at home. They’re the jerseys David Wright and Carlos Beltran wore the last time the Mets clinched a division at home, and they wore them again to open Citi Field.

Now, we’re going to see current Mets greats carry on the tradition. Certainly, we should expect to see Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Pete Alonso accomplish similar feats to those Mets teams.

Friday nights are the perfect time for these jerseys. By limiting it, it prevents the issue fans previously had where the regular jerseys were almost entirely phased out for the black.

Of course, there’s also hope the Mets still embrace the blue alternates. It would be great to see Mr. Met return to the sleeve and have them worn on Family Sundays at Citi Field.

Overall, it’s great to see the Mets bringing back a fan favorite jerseys and treating them like a special event. Hopefully, it is something which stays well past this season.

Keith Hernandez Reminder Mets Need Better Attention To Own Hall Of Fame

During this series between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, it was announced Keith Hernandez will FINALLY be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. It didn’t exactly go great:

The Edward Jones advertisement being larger than Hernandez’s name is embarrassing. Then again, at least the Cardinals are attending to their Hall of Fame.

The Cardinals have an official committee, and they have fan votes to determine who belongs in their Hall of Fame. More than that, they actually have a Hall of Fame.

When Citi Field first opened, there was some lip service to the Mets Hall of Fame. As time progressed, and the impact of Madoff continued, we saw the Team Store push into and completely overwhelm the Mets Hall of Fame.

Aside from that, there’s been a serious lack of attention to inducting new members. The last member inducted was Mike Piazza in 2013. That’s unacceptable.

Right now, 13 of the top 24 Mets by WAR have not been inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. Put another way, most of the best players in team history have not been recognized.

That includes Edgardo Alfonzo and Al Leiter. That’s shocking with Alonzo being the best second baseman in team history, and with Leiter being the only Mets pitcher to win a play-in game.

It’s more than that. Bobby Valentine led the Mets to consecutive postseasons. Johan Santana had many great moments including the first and only no-hitter in Mets history. There’s also Nelson Doubleday who purchased the Mets and brought in the right people leading to the best run in Mets history.

Point is, the Mets Hall of Fame is severely lacking. Case-in-point. David Wright has not yet been inducted. We can argue over retiring his number, but his not being in the Mets Hall of Fame is absurd.

The Mets need to have Wright and others in the team Hall of Fame. For that matter, there needs to be a real Mets Hall of Fame.

This is a franchise with real history and great moments. It’s well past time it’s celebrated and properly honored. The Mets need a real and proper Hall of Fame. Hopefully, it will happen soon.

Brandon Nimmo Looks And Sounds Serious About Winning

When you think of Brandon Nimmo, you think of a player who is always smiling, hustling, and just seems to have an “aww shucks” mentality. That’s not to say he doesn’t come to beat you.

Nimmo is one of the toughest outs there is in the game, and he makes the pitcher work like few others. He’s also had a penchant for the big hit or key defensive play. That said, he just doesn’t have that “look” of a steely resolve of a player who just comes to beat you.

That was actually a hallmark of that 1999 Mets team. Whatever it is, we saw that with Edgardo Alfonzo, Rickey Henderson, Al Leiter, John Olerud, Mike Piazza, Rick Reed, Robin Ventura, and really, the entire team. It was just a mentality and attitude they had.

Looking at the current Mets team, Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard seems to be the only Mets players who truly have that mentality. Judging from his interview during Spring Training, Nimmo may be finding it as well.

This shows this Mets team knows it’s good. It’s really good. They know they have a target on their backs, and like that 1999 team, they’re coming after the Atlanta Braves and all of baseball.

Before a pitch is thrown, this Mets team is already developing a swagger and a quiet confidence. They’re coming prepared, and they’re not letting anyone get in their way.

Seeing Nimmo there is yet another reason to believe in this team. During the course of the season, we’ll find 162 more.

Mets Should Sign Kolten Wong

The New York Mets got their star in Francisco Lindor. The question now is how to best build the rest of the roster to help the Mets win the division.

There are still some areas which need to be addressed with third base being one of the bigger issues. While J.D. Davis is the incumbent, the Mets do not appear eager to put him there and rightfully so due to Davis’ career -19 DRS and -6 OAA make him completely unplayable there.

Looking forward, one thing Mets GM Jared Porter spoke about addressing run prevention. Another way to phrase that is putting an improved defensive team on the field.

One of the best ways to build the best defensive team would be for the Mets to sign reigning Gold Glover Kolten Wong to play second base. Simply put, Wong is the best defensive second baseman in the game which is why he’s won consecutive Gold Gloves.

Over the past three years, Wong’s 37 DRS is a significant step above the next best player. This is part of the reason why Wong has amassed the fifth best WAR over this timeframe over players whose primary positions over this timeframe has been second base.

Pairing Wong with Lindor would make this easily the best defensive tandem up the middle in the majors. For that matter, it could be better than Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordoñez up the middle. That’s just how good they could be.

This would also be a huge turnaround for the current Mets. Since 2017, Mets second basemen have a -35 DRS, which is third worst in the majors. Over the same time period, their shortstops have had a -62 DRS, which is by far the worst in the majors.

All told, since the Mets last made the postseason, they’ve been the worst defensive team in the majors, and really, it’s not close. Adding Wong to Lindor would turn one of the team’s biggest weaknesses and make it a significant strength.

That means more ground balls become outs, and more double plays get turned. Marcus Stroman and his career 58.6 GB% and Carlos Carrasco with his career 48.6 GB% would become even more formidable pitchers. There’s also sinkerballer David Peterson who could benefit. Really, all Mets pitchers would benefit.

This means pitchers go deeper into games saving the bullpen. That keeps everyone stronger as they work their way through the season and hopefully head to the postseason.

Overall, adding Wong’s glove and league average bat (103 wRC+ since 2017) adds a dynamic to the Mets missing for 20 years. It gives the Mets superior up the middle defense helping the pitching staff and making the overall team better. As a result, signing Wong should now be a priority.

Luis Guillorme Getting Overlooked Again

One of the best parts of the 2020 season was watching Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez perform pure magic in the middle infield. It rivaled Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordóñez, and at times, you could imagine it being better.

If you value up the middle defense and believe it’s a key to winning, there is arguably none better than the tandem of Guillorme and Gimenez. In 2021, Gimenez seems to be a lock at short, but we don’t ever hear Guillorme’s name for consideration of the starting second base job.

In just 102.0 innings at second last year, he had a 1 OAA and a 12.5 UZR/150. In his Major League career, he’s played 176.0 innings accumulating a 2 DRS and a 2 OAA.

While this is a small sample size, Guillorme was always known for elite defense. It’s one of the reasons the Mets once protected him from the Rule 5 Draft and have kept him as a utility player.

We’ve seen through Mets and baseball history glove first players like Guillorme can play everyday and be a tremendous asset. The classic example in Mets history is Ordóñez and Juan Lagares in 2013 and 2014.

When it comes to Guillorme, he’s a more promising hitter than those two elite defenders. We saw a classic example of that when he posted a 144 wRC+ with a career best 14.7% walk rate.

Of course, his .463 BABIP is unsustainable. Still, behind that were some sustainable things like the improved walk rate. Other important factors are his opposite field approach and improved line drive rate.

Guillorme knows what he is as a hitter, and he’s maximizing his skill set. Where he winds up as a hitter is a good guess, but you can probably safely assume he’ll hit enough to justify his Gold Glove caliber defense at second.

Now, if Jeff McNeil can handle third, Guillorme needs to be strongly considered at second. In terms of the current roster, Guillorme at second and McNeil at third is probably their best roster.

Of course, free agency and trades can change that. However, up until there’s a clear obvious upgrade available, and those options may not be readily attainable for the Mets, Guillorme needs to finally get the chance at a starting position.

Mets Old Timer’s Day Lineups And Ideas

It’s been a beef with Mets fans for a while. The Mets now have a rich history, and we want to see that honored. One way we want to see it is Old Timer’s Day.

It’s something the Mets used to have in the early years, but they haven’t had it in the time the Wilpons owned the Mets. Now, according to Steve Cohen himself, that’s going to change.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the prospective lineups could look like. This is a completely unscientific sampling utilizing just my opinion on who is popular, who Mets fans want to see back, and who can still play a bit. There are two for each position as there are two teams playing against one another:

MGR Davey Johnson/Bobby Valentine

P Dwight Gooden/John Franco

C Todd Hundley/Mike Piazza

1B Keith Hernandez/John Olerud

2B Tim Teufel/Edgardo Alfonzo

3B Howard Johnson/David Wright

SS Rey Ordonez/Jose Reyes (I don’t want him there, but he’ll be invited)

LF Cliff Floyd/Endy Chavez

CF Mookie Wilson/Carlos Beltran

RF Darryl Strawberry/Curtis Granderson

Of course, this is holding a little too true to the positions these players played in their careers. Due to age and the like, they may move around the diamond. That’s more than alright as we just want to see them again.

Of course, some will understandably opt out of have other commitments. To that end, there are plenty of unnamed options like Al Leiter, Todd Pratt, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, Kevin Elster, Robin Ventura, Kevin Elster, Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson, and Benny Agbayani.

For that matter, why not bring Bobby Bonilla. The Mets can have fun with it and hold the game on July 1. Before the game, the Mets could have fun with it and give Bonilla a giant check.

If you think about it, that will finally give Bonilla some of the applause he should’ve gotten as a player, and it will finally put to rest the negative narrative around the day.

The game can also feature the racing stripe jerseys and the black jerseys fans seem to love so much. We can also have cameos from Mets greats from the past like Jerry Koosman who may not be able to play.

Overall, that’s exactly what the Cohen Era is presenting. It’s allowing the Mets and their fans to move forward, enjoy the past, and have some fun.

What Happened To Luis Guillorme’s Playing Time?

Due to injuries, Luis Guillorme went from completely forgotten man to what appeared to be an extremely important part of this Mets team. He was playing that well.

Starting on August 11, he played in six straight games. Over that stretch, he hit .588/.636/.706 with a run, two doubles, four walks, and four RBI. He walked (4) more times than he struck out (3).

With that stretch, he had a seven game hitting streak, and he improved to a 199 OPS+ on the season. At .458, he was at least flirting with being the first Major Leaguer to hit .400 in a season since Ted Williams.

Even if no one reasonably expected him to do it, it would’ve been fun to watch. What also would’ve been fun to watch was his Gold Glove caliber defense.

Guillorme was and is absolutely brilliant at second. It’s a very small sample size for sure, but he was already at a 1 DRS and 14.2 UZR/150. Those numbers were very likely going to improve because he’s always been an exceptional defender.

We saw him working with Andres Gimenez to turn double plays the Mets wouldn’t have even dreamt of turning since Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez were the double play combination for the best defensive infield in baseball history.

By every measure, Guillorme earned his playing time. He was great in the field. That has always been expected of him. He was also better at the plate than expected. Although, the low expectations of him at the plate were not entirely fair.

Again, we’re playing with some small sample sizes here, but Guillorme proved himself last year. In the second half of 2019, he hit .300/.391/.475 with four doubles, a homer, and three RBI in 48 PA. You could certainly argue what we’re seeing this year was an extension of that.

You can also fairly argue none of last year or this is a reliable indicator of anything. The only thing we do know is at the moment Guillorme was playing like some sort of hybrid of Jeff McNeil and Luis Castillo (Marlins, not Mets version).

When you’re playing at that level, you should be in the everyday lineup. Unfortunately for Guillorme, the Mets were not interested in seeing how long Guillorme could keep up that high level of play and help the Mets win.

Admittedly, it is a dicey situation. Dominic Smith has been playing great all year. Pete Alonso started hitting again. Robinson Cano has turned back the clock and is arguably the Mets best hitter this year. All told, it’s difficult to make a move to take these players out of the lineup.

It’s also difficult to remove McNeil from the lineup. With his versatility and track record, he’s one of the best and most important players on the team.

As usual, the obvious answer would be to sit J.D. Davis, but the Mets remain unwilling to do that. It doesn’t matter to them Davis is at a 0.1 WAR to Guillorme’s 0.5. It doesn’t matter Davis is at a -3 DRS at third this year and a -14 for his career. He’s also a -2 OAA there for his career.

It should also be noted Guillorme is at a 194 wRC+ to Davis’ 145 wRC+. Really, in every aspect of the game, Guillorme has completely and utterly outplayed Davis this year.

However, Guillorme with his game changing defense and hot hitting will sit in favor of Davis.

He’ll also sit in favor of Amed Rosario and Gimenez, two other players he has outplayed this year. The simple answer as to why this has happened is the Mets organization is more invested in Davis, Gimenez, and Rosario.

That’s a real shame because Guillorme has absolutely earned the starting job at second base, and at the moment, by WAR, he’s the Mets fourth best position player. Seeing everything taken into account, the Mets benching Guillorme is unjustified, and they better be right about this decision.

Mojo Rising Bracket Final: (1) Mike Piazza vs. (2) Edgardo Alfonzo

(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.

(2) Edgardo Alfonzo – Best second baseman in Mets history in addition to being one of the best third baseman. Part of the best defensive infield in history. First Mets player to ever go 6-for-6. Homered in the first inning of the Mets first ever NLDS game, and he hit a grand slam off Bobby Chouinard in that game to give the Mets the victory. All-Star in 2000. Hit .444/.565/.611 in the 2000 NLCS. Last Mets player to ever record a World Series base hit in Shea Stadium. Led the 2019 Brooklyn Cyclones to their first ever outright New York-Penn League title.

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Citi Bracket: (1) David Wright vs. (13) Wilmer Flores

(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.

(13) Wilmer Flores – Player who loved being a Mets player so much, he cried on the field when he thought he was being traded. Came back to hit a walk-off homer to beat the Nationals. That was one of many walk-off hits, and he would become the Mets all-time leader in that category. Handled shortstop well defensively after Chase Utley tackled and broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg. Joined Edgardo Alfonzo as the only Mets players to go 6-for-6 in a game. Played all four infield positions in effort to do whatever team asked of him to help them win.

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Mojo Rising Bracket: (2) Edgardo Alfonzo vs. (3) Al Leiter

(2) Edgardo Alfonzo – Best second baseman in Mets history in addition to being one of the best third baseman. Part of the best defensive infield in history. First Mets player to ever go 6-for-6. Homered in the first inning of the Mets first ever NLDS game, and he hit a grand slam off Bobby Chouinard in that game to give the Mets the victory. All-Star in 2000. Hit .444/.565/.611 in the 2000 NLCS. Last Mets player to ever record a World Series base hit in Shea Stadium. Led the 2019 Brooklyn Cyclones to their first ever outright New York-Penn League title.

(3) Al Leiter – Was a 1 or 1A during most of his Mets tenure, and he gave his all battling tough when the Mets needed him most. Had arguably the single greatest pitching performance in team history with his two hit shut out of the Reds in the Wild Card play-in game. Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000. Became the first ever pitcher to beat all 30 teams. Wore the caps for each and every first reponder agency during his complete game on the one-year anniversary of 9/11. Trails only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom in ERA+ among Mets pitchers with at least 1,000 innings arguably making him the best left-handed pitcher in team history.

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