It used to be in order for a New York Mets player to have their number retired, they needed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a New York Met. That is why Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza had their numbers retired, and why Gary Carter didn’t. Had the Baseball Hall of Fame not treated Carter differently than every other Hall of Famer in baseball history, his number 8 would be in the rafters at Citi Field.
Somewhere along the way, perhaps not coincidentally coinciding with Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets, the Mets changed their policy on retiring numbers. First, it was Jerry Koosman. Then, it was Keith Hernandez. Certainly, we anticipate David Wright will be next followed by a massive argument amongst the fanbase as to who gets their numbers retired.
Therein lies the problem. When the Mets had a stringent policy, there was at least one. A player wasn’t slighted by not having their number retired, and they weren’t having their career or impact on the Mets belittled. Rather, there was a policy in place, but there was a Mets Hall of Fame available for some of the true Mets greats.
Now, there is admittedly a quagmire. While you can argue Koosman and Hernandez tweak the standard to impactful and great Mets who have won a World Series, Wright’s eventual number retirement will throw all of that out. What follows is really just chaos, and more importantly, a need for explanation on a number of players.
John Franco is the all-time leader in team history in saves, and he was the third team captain in history. You can argue his number should now be retired. If it should, do you double retire 31, or do you retire his 45? If you opt for 45, why not Tug McGraw too?
What happens to Edgardo Alfonzo? By WAR, Alfonzo is the Mets best middle infielder, and he ranks ahead of Hernandez in the rankings. He was part of the best infield in Major League history, was a clutch hitter, won a pennant, and he won the New York-Penn League championship as a manager.
Bud Harrelson was the first Met inducted into the team Hall of Fame, and he’s the only man to win a ring with the 1969 and 1986 teams. Howard Johnson was the first Met to have a 30/30 season, he’s the only Met to do it twice, and he was part of the 1986 Mets.
Of course, you have Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Both symbolize all that was great and went wrong with those 1980s teams. To this day, you could argue they’re also two of the most beloved Mets ever.
Everyone is going to have their line and opinion. Without clear standards, each and every one of these players will be slighted by not having their number retired. There are and will be more.
Yes, honoring Koosman and Hernandez is great. They deserve to be honored. It feels good to honor them.
What doesn’t sit right is all those who won’t get that honor now wondering why they haven’t.
When looking at a bench coach, you have someone responsible for running QC during a game. They’re making sure batters bat in order, keeping tabs on who is available, and chatting strategy with the manager.
The entirety of Beltran’s coaching experience is 76 days as the Mets manager. In that time, he had zero team meetings and managed zero games. Put another way, he has zero experience.
Putting him in a position to be Showalter’s right-hand man makes little sense. He’s ill equipped. Moreover, there’s no pre-existing relationship where they’re able to have a synergistic relationship.
It would also be bizarre to have Beltrán in place as a manager in training. Showalter wasn’t just hired to win in 2022. He was hired to be in place and win for as many seasons as he’s capable of doing the job.
The Mets hired the then 62 year old Terry Collins in 2011. He would manage seven more years with the Mets.
Tony La Russa managed the St. Louis Cardinals until he was 66 years old. After being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he returned to the Chicago White Sox in 2021 as a 76 year old.
Showalter is 65. Looking at Collins and La Russa, he has as many years as he can do the job. With Showalter taking the job, we can presume he’s in for the long haul.
That’s just the thing. Showalter wants to win. He’s been in this game as a manager for 20 years. He knows people, and more importantly, he knows who he wants for different roles.
Maybe he likes Beltrán. It would make sense with Beltran being a noted leader and hard worker who is very intelligent. However, no one knows if Beltrán can coach.
Can he be a hitting coach? Can he be an outfield coach? Does he know how to interpret, apply, and communicate analytics?
No one knows, not even Beltrán. That’s why putting him on a staff makes little to no sense. Grooming an inexperienced coach for a role he may never be suited doesn’t make much sense.
Unfortunately, bringing Beltran back doesn’t make much sense. If Beltran does indeed want to come back and eventually manage, he will have to do the work and go to the minors much like Edgardo Alfonzo did.
When and if Beltran does that, then maybe Showalter can and should add him to a Major League coaching staff. Until that point, it just doesn’t make any sense.
When you look at the New York Mets 1999-2000 teams, Bobby Valentine carefully built in coaching staffs. Yes, he brought in the best coaches he could find (and/or were forced upon him), but he did something more. He specifically built a coaching staff dedicated towards winning.
Valentine’s first base coach was Mookie Wilson. Really, who better than Mookie to tell the players what it meant to win in New York. He was there for their transformation from complete and unmitigated disaster to one of the best teams in baseball history. He would even have the hit (alright, reached on error) which would help cement their status.
Valentine might’ve learned the importance of having that former winner on the coaching staff because he had the same experience. Back in the early 1980s, he was the third base coach for Davey Johnson. When he was hired as the Texas Rangers manager, Valentine was replaced at third by Bud Harrleson, who had been on the coaching staff with Valentine.
Fast forward to 2015, and there was Tim Teufel, who like Valentine and Harrelson, was the third base coach. Like the aforementioned, Teufel did bring his own level of expertise. Of course, part of that expertise was how to thrive in New York and how to win.
When the Mets build their 2022 coaching staff, that is something they should be atuned to in building their staff. Obviously, teams should hire the best coaches possible. In fact, the Mets already started that process by retaining Jeremy Hefner. In that process, there should be an allotment for a coach who can help players with the process of navigating New York.
Look, New York is a challenging place to play. It’s the most challenging in all of professional sports. To some degree, it is all the more difficult playing for the New York Mets. There is an added level of scrutiny, and after years of Wilpon malfeasance, there is just a certain portion of the media and fandom who just can’t let of the lol Mets mindset.
The best way to help the players mitigate against that is to bring in a coach who understands winning here. Looking at the Mets, there may not be anyone better suited to that than Edgardo Alfonzo.
Alfonzo, 48, was a Mets minor league coach and manager from 2014 – 2019. During that time period, he worked his way up from bench coach and roving hitting instructor to the New York Penn League Championship winning manager for the Brooklyn Cyclones. That was it for Alfonzo because Brodie Van Wagenen had no use for Mets legends who were winners.
As Alfonzo told Mike Puma of the New York Post, he actually thought he was going to get a promotion for winning. After all, that’s what is supposed to happen when you succeed in your job. Well, now presents the belated opportunity for that to happen.
The challenge for the Mets is determining how he could best help a coaching staff. In all honesty, his familiarity with analytics and willingness to apply and interpret them will be what ultimately dicates what job he could be offered. Whatever the case, there should be a job for Alfonzo.
After all, this is a player who played at a Gold Glove level at two positions in the infield. He was a terrific hitter and one of the most clutch players to ever wear a Mets uniform. He can just bring an immense amount of knowledge to the job, and he has the proven ability to communicate with players from all backgrounds.
Alfonzo can be an asset to the 2022 Mets if they are willing to let him be one. The team will certainly be better if he is a part of the coaching staff helping this team win their first World Series since 1986.
Look at the postseason landscape. On the American League side, you have the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. So far, you have the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, and they are going to face one of the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers. While the series may be good, it’s not exactly an awe inspiring list of teams to root for to win the World Series.
Plain and simple, we know the Astros have cheated, and they have been unpunished and unapologetic about it. They are facing off against the Red Sox who have their own issues on that front, and they are led by Alex Cora, who was purportedly the ring leader of the entire operation. As we saw, Cora was fired for one year just for show.
When it comes to the National League, the Braves are the epitome of evil. Putting aside the history with Chipper Jones calling Mets fans closet Yankees fans, everything John Rocker, and really, every soul crushing loss, this is a racist fan base eagerly doing the racist Tomahawk Chop chant every game. Rooting for them is like rooting for the hunter in Bambi.
We know all about the Dodgers. There was the 1988 NLCS, and there was Chase Utley. They’re the team who signed Trevor Bauer. We should also mention they’re the favorite team of the Wilpons. No self respecting Mets fan should ever root for the Dodgers.
Understandably, Mets fans probably aren’t too eager to root for the Giants. After all, behind Madison Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie, they beat the Mets in the 2016 Wild Card Game. There is also all things Barry Bonds. There is also Gabe Kapler, and the heinous things he has been alleged to do.
That should leave a Mets fan wondering what is left in this soulless landscape. Who is the hero who can emerge from all of this dredge? The answer is old friend Wilmer Flores.
Wilmer is the same player who cried at the very idea of leading the Mets only to win a walk-off homer his next chance. In fact, Wilmer has more walk-off hits than any Mets player. That’s a list which includes players like Edgardo Alfonzo, Carlos Beltran, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, and David Wright. Really, Wilmer has brought us much more joy than we ever could’ve imagined.
Now, he’s the only player really worth Mets fans rooting for this postseason. While we understandably don’t have much reason to root for any of the remaining teams, that goes double for the Braves, there is every reason to root for Wilmer. Hopefully, he and the Giants outlast the Dodgers and the Braves en route to Wilmer winning a World Series ring. After all, if anyone deserves it, it’s him.
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.
Back in Black – July 30 pic.twitter.com/jZw7pi3P8Y
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 15, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"I'm sure Atlanta is pretty pissed off that everybody is talking about us"
Brandon Nimmo on the Mets being deemed favorites in the NL East: pic.twitter.com/2f9oO2qyVR
— SNY (@SNYtv) March 29, 2021
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.
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.
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.
Luis Guillorme and Andrés Giménez are making it look it easy out here. pic.twitter.com/NFRyvPzin6
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2020
Rick Porcello gets a BIG double play to end the 4th ? pic.twitter.com/Yie43Yclep
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2020
Luis Guillorme can pitch and make great plays in the field. Versatility >>> pic.twitter.com/uzEQkSyYb2
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2020
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.
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.
Darell, No brainer to have Old Times Day , done
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) November 1, 2020
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:
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.