Eduardo Escobar

Billy Eppler Can’t Repeat Angels Mistakes With Mets

Billy Eppler joined Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman on a New York Post podcast to discuss the New York Mets offseason plans. In reviewing the podcast, Eppler didn’t say anything really all the surprising, which we should expect from a seasoned front office executive.

The Mets want Edwin Diaz to return. They also want Brandon Nimmo, but if they can’t keep him they will consider Starling Marte in center. They want and can keep Jacob deGrom. Basically, everything you expect is in there inclusive of Eppler saying he is in charge of the baseball operations.

That’s where things get a little dicey based on past performance.

In 2014, Jerry Dipoto built a Los Angeles Angels team which finished atop the American League West division before they were swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals. Unfortunately for him, he clashed with Mike Scioscia, and he lost leading to him resigning the following season. That led to Billy Eppler’s hiring.

When Eppler took over, he had Mike Trout, but he already had that albatross Albert Pujols contract. It was a roster that was somewhat flawed, but it had a good, young, and emerging starting staff with Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, and Andrew Heaney. They also had a very good bullpen with Huston Street, Joe Smith, and Fernando Salas.

In many ways, this was a great job to have. There were pieces in place to make the Angels a winner and a deep pocketed owner. There is the caveat the farm system was not great, but overall, this was a good job to have. Well, while it looked like it was a good job to have, things would completely unravel.

The Andrelton Simmons trade did not pan out as he had hoped. That would become a habit for him with the same happening in future years with Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Kinsler. His signings never really panned out with Justin Upton never working out for the team. He began dabbling on the fringes of the pitching markets getting players like Matt Harvey for far too much while eschewing the higher priced and more established starters.

Making matters worse was the Angels farm system never really improved under Eppler. They were bad when he took over, and when he left, they were still bad. During his tenure, he never really had a player he drafted come up to the majors and be an impact player for him.

All told, Eppler only had three real accomplishments. First, he signed Trout to an extension. Second, he landed Shohei Ohtani. Finally, he did what Dipoto wasn’t able to do by outlasting Scioscia. Despite all that, his tenure was largely a disappointment and failure.

With the Mets, the good news is he built a very strong roster in his first season. He added Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Max Scherzer. His peripheral moves to address the bullpen like Adam Ottavino worked. All told, it was a 101 win team that tied atop the NL East (still losing the division due to Rob Manfred’s gimmick rules and postseason).

In year one, we saw Eppler have a stronger offseason than he ever had in any year with the Angels. Part of that was Cohen having the checkbook to add players like Marte and Scherzer. With Joely Rodriguez, Tyler Naquin, and Darin Ruf, you saw he still has a lot of work left to do in terms of trades, we should give him a lot of credit for Bassitt.

Overall, it is still difficult to ascertain if Eppler has learned from his previous mistakes and errors as the Angels GM. What we do know is Cohen is a better owner with more money than Arte Moreno. We also know the Mets have a far better farm system with Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos nearly ready to be Major League contributors.

Put another way, we are going to learn a lot about Eppler this offseason. We will see how he handles players like deGrom, Diaz, and Nimmo. We will see how he address the Mets need for power while having contracts like Canha and Daniel Vogelbach seemingly standing in the way of doing that.

This is a critical offseason for the Mets and Eppler. This offseason will go a long way to determining if the Mets can contend in 2023 and beyond until the farm is fully up to speed to provide depth to the Major League roster. It will also go a long way in determining just how good of a GM Eppler truly can be.

Examining 2022 Mets Collapse

When seasons don’t end the way you want or expect, people look for a reason or a scapegoat. To wit, the New York Mets announced both Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter were returning next season. On the one hand, it would seem obvious that was the case, but there was a collapse, so it was best to state it outright.

Certainly, both Eppler and Showalter have their fair share of the blame for what happened. However, it is much deeper and much more layered than that.

The seminal moment most Mets fans point to is Starling Marte‘s hand injury in the September 6 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ask a Mets fans, and they staunchly believe the Mets win the division if Marte doesn’t get hurt. To a certain extent, there is truth to that.

After all, it meant more Tyler Naquin, who was terrible in September batting .185/.232/.308. He was so poor he was left off the postseason roster despite his terrific numbers against Yu Darvish, a pitcher the Mets never hit.

Looking at Naquin, that should have us revisit the Eppler point. There was a post hoc analysis of the Mets trade deadline moves (which were debated in real time). Prior to the Daniel Vogelbach trade, Mets DHs had a 79 wRC+. From Vogelbach’s firsts game with the Mets to the end of the season, that mark improved to a 102 wRC+.

However, that was mostly Vogelbach. Against left-handed pitching. Darin Ruf had a 20 OPS+ with the Mets. Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez were throw into pennant races and struggled. Notably, Gary Cohen was highly critical of the Mets decision making process noting how the Mets didn’t call them up when there was a chance during the season and put too much on them.

To that point, the Atlanta Braves called up Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom well in advance of September games, and they got much better production. As an aside, the Braves are again extending their young core while the Mets aren’t, but that’s a separate discussion for another day.

All of the above is a worthwhile discussion, however, it is still not getting to the root cause. The Mets collapse began at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals. The Mets would lose two out of three games. It was part of the Mets worst stretch of the season.

From September 3 to September 14, the Mets were 5-6 against the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs. During that stretch, the Mets three game lead shrunk to a half game. Over a stretch where the Mets could put the division away, they put the division back in play allowing the Braves to sweep the Mets forcing the Mets to the Wild Card.

Fast-forward for a second to the Atlanta Braves series. There were a number of problems in that series. Chief among them was the starting pitching failed. Figuring out how to prevent this from happening again requires diagnosing how that happened. The answer may be unsatisfying to some, but it is as simple as fatigue.

Carlos Carrasco pitched a combined 121 2/3 innings over the previous two seasons. He would pitch 152 this season. At the 64 inning mark this season, Carrasco had a 3.52 ERA and was averaging 5 2/3 innings per start. After that, he had a 4.30 ERA averaging under five innings per start.

He had one of the Mets bad losses in September. On September 27, he allowed four runs to the Marlins over three innings. That was one of many games the Mets wanted back.

Taijuan Walker again had a poor second half, but he did salvage it a bit in September. Still, he faltered against the Pirates, and he took the loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both were big spots, and he and the Mets wish they had those games back.

Of course, neither Carrasco nor Walker were the biggest culprits, the ultimate blame seems to be directed at Chris Bassitt. Last year, Bassitt pitched 157 1/3 innings, and he had only thrown over 100 innings one other time in his career.

After his September 7 start, he hit the 161 1/3 inning mark. At that point, he had a 3.24 ERA while averaging a little over six innings per start. After that, Bassitt fell apart against the Cubs and Braves. He was very good against bad teams in the Pirates and Oakland Athletics.

Max Scherzer dealt with oblique issues. Jacob deGrom had a blister issue. Neither would ever admit it impacted their performances, but essentially, they were compromised pitchers. When you build a team on starting pitching, you can’t have all five starters limping to the finish line. That is exactly what the Mets had.

Unfortunately, they did not have the hitting to overcome this. That was apparent in Atlanta when they scored all of seven runs. Over the final month of the season, in their losses, they averaged 2.5 runs per game. Part of this was the Mets approach at the plate.

The Mets hit 171 homers this season ranked 15th in the majors. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor accounted for 38.6% of the Mets home run production. The next highest was Eduardo Escobar with 20, and he hit almost half of them in September. Essentially, for most of the season, if Alonso and Lindor weren’t hitting it out of the park, no one was.

Combine that with very questionable managing from Buck Showalter in Atlanta and the postseason, and you have a 101 Mets team who fails to win the division. You have a Mets team who gets one hit in an elimination game.

With the Mets, it was no one thing. It was exhausted starting pitching who faltered. It was an offense overly reliant on two players. It was a manager who struggled in bad games making poor decisions in big games. And yes, it was a front office who failed to fully address the teams deeper issues at the trade deadline.

When all was said and done, this was a team built to sustain the rigors of the regular season. However, it was not prepared and built to last deep into the season and go deep into October. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it is difficult to overlook now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published on MMO

Buck Showalter Did Not Manage To Win Postseason Game

The reason the New York Mets lost to the San Diego Padres was Max Scherzer was terrible. It was a career worst postseason start for him.

The Padres hit four homers against him. FOUR! They knocked him out after scoring seven over 4.2 innings.

Yu Darvish was shaky over the first four, but the Mets couldn’t push a run across. For all intents and purposes, the game was over.

Except, it wasn’t. There were still five innings. It’s a best-of-three. It’s not a June game where you lick your wounds and come back tomorrow.

A team has to actively do everything in their power to win the game. There’s no 162 game picture. You absolutely have to do everything you can to try to win every game.

Except, Buck Showalter isn’t interested in doing that. Again, there’s a reason the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series after he was gone.

Eduardo Escobar got the crowd back into it a bit hitting a homer off Darvish. The seven run deficit was now six.

It was 7-1 with one out. Tomás Nido was due up. There was zero excuse for him to bat in that situation. You don’t send him to the plate if you’re actually trying to win.

Nido has a career 62 wRC+. He was better than that this season with a 74 wRC+. He was ice cold heading into the postseason hitting .217 over the past two weeks.

Starting him was one thing. He’s a great defensive catcher. However, at this time, the Mets needed a bat.

Notably, James McCann has hit Darvish very well. He was 4-for-10, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, and 5 K against Darvish. He was also hot at the plate heading into the postseason.

Still, he had a poor year at the plate and May not have everyone’s trust. That’s fine. The Mets also had Francisco Álvarez.

The Mets had three catchers and could roll the dice here. The crowd would’ve gotten more into it.

This was the same Álvarez that Showalter trusted against Kenley Jansen. That was even with Daniel Vogelbach available to pinch hit. However, now, Buck doesn’t trust him anymore.

Nope, he sent Nido to the plate. The same Nido who has been a poor hitter his entire career. The same Nido who was overmatched in his first at-bat when he failed to drive a runner home from third.

Nido would meekly fly out. After him, Brandon Nimmo tripled and would be stranded there.

What’s really frustrating about the entire situation was Showalter would pinch hit Luis Guillorme for Nido in the seventh. This wasn’t faith in Nido. No, it was Showalter thinking it was too soon to start trying to overcome a six run deficit.

Even between, with two outs in the ninth, Showalter would pinch hit Álvarez for McCann. Obviously, the best time to utilitize the benefits of having three catchers on the roster is two outs and down sixth in the ninth.

The truth is Showalter is a bad postseason manager. He blew it again tonight by just throwing away an out in the fifth on a batter he didn’t ultimately trust to get a hit.

The argument is batting Álvarez in the fifth probably doesn’t matter because the Mets were losing anyway. Its a garbage point.

The point is this is the postseason. You su everything you can to win. Showalter didn’t. His later moves proved that he didn’t believe Nido batting gave the Mets the best chance to win.

That’s inexcusable.

Mets Batters Against Yu Darvish

It is well documented the New York Mets have never beaten Yu Darvish. Not once. Now, he is taking the mound in Game 1 of the best-of-three Wild Card Series against the New York Mets. Fortunately, the Mets have Max Scherzer, but as we saw in July, that is not always enough.

While the Mets have not beaten Darvish, there are Mets players on this team who have had success against Darvish. Of course, there are some who have not had much. Here is a look at the overall stats in descending OPS order:

At the moment, we do not know Marte’s status, but you can see just how much the Mets need him in this lineup. Marte not only is a big part of this team, but he also hits Darvish. This team needs that against a pitcher this franchise has never beaten.

On the bright side, if he can’t go, Naquin has hit Darvish. In fact, both he and Vogelbach were brought in at the trade deadline to hit right-handed pitching. This is a right-handed pitcher they have both hit. In many ways, this is the exact moment the thought process behind these trade deadline moves comes to fruition.

The obvious caveat with those two, or really anyone in this lineup, is these are small sample sizes. However, behind these small sample sizes are illustrative of something.

The first thing which really stands out at you is the strikeouts. That should not come as a surprise. This is not only a team which racks up strikeouts, but Darvish is a pitcher who records a lot of strikeouts. However, there is something beyond those strikeouts.

Like any pitcher, Darvish will make mistakes, and as we see with this lineup, when he makes them, they have capitalized on them. When you have Scherzer on the mound, the Mets may only need for one batter to capitalize on a mistake and drive it out of the ballpark.

So yes, the Mets have never lost to Darvish. However, Darvish has never pitched against the lineup the Mets are going put out there in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series. Seeing this team’s ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark against him, and with Scherzer on the mound, you have to like the Mets chances.

Mets 2022 Projected Postseason Roster (Final)

There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.

With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:

CATCHERS (3)

Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.

INFIELDERS (5)

No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.

DH (2)

Marte’s and Darin Ruf‘s injuries basically guarantees Vientos’ spot. He won’t start with Álvarez likely to go against Blake Snell, but we may see him in a big pinch hitting spot.

STARTERS (5)

We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.

BULLPEN (8)

This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.

Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.

Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.

In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.

Buck Showalter Lousy Big Game Manager

If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt were set to go. The bullpen was rested. The team had an off day. They were coming off a momentum building win.

They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.

That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.

Each time he makes at least one flat out wrong move per series. While we a focus on Zack Britton, there was also Bobby Chouinard and Jack McDowell. That’s just scratching the surface.

There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.

The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.

The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.

Eduardo Escobar hit a two out double off Raisel Iglesias bringing Francisco Álvarez to the plate. At that point. Álvarez was 0-for-2 with a GIDP.

The Mets brought Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin to the Mets specifically to hit right-handed pitching. Neither batted, and Álvarez flew out to end the inning.

As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.

Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.

That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.

That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.

This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.

We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.

Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.

After the Mets scored one on a Tomás Nido homer, Showalter sent out Joely Rodriguez to face two right-handed batters. Rodriguez has been the Mets worst reliever all season.

Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.

In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.

Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.

But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.

Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.

Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.

You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.

Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.

Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.

Mets-Braves NL East Clinching Scenarios

Thanks to the heroics of Eduardo Escobar and CJ Abrams, the New York Mets will head to Atlanta with a one game lead in the division. Over the course of the weekend series, we may see the NL East race resolved before final series of the season.

Heading into the series, the Mets have a 9-7 record against the Atlanta Braves. Should the Mets win at least one game, they will take the season series. This is of vital importance because Major League Baseball has completely done away with tie-breaker games. Instead, because Rob Manfred wants baseball to not be baseball, it will go to tiebreakers.

If the Mets lost two of three to the Braves, they still control their own destiny. At that point, if they sweep the Washington Nationals at home to close the season, they win the division. Obviously, if the Mets lose a game to the Nationals, they would need the Miami Marlins to defeat the Braves at least once. You can extrapolate that as needed for the three game series.

Now, if the Mets were to sweep the Braves, they clinch the NL East. At that point, the Mets could get swept by the Nationals in the final series of the season, and it will not matter one iota. With the tiebreaker, the Mets win the division.

In the event the Braves sweep the Mets, things get very dicey for the Mets. At that point, the Braves would not only have a two game lead, but they would also have the tiebreaker as they will have won the season series. Effectively speaking, a Braves sweep would mean the Braves clinch the division because they would only have to register one win against the Marlins.

As it stands, if the Mets take two out of three, they also effectively win the division. The Mets would have the tiebreaker and a two game division lead. The Mets magic number would be one. That would mean they would need to win at least one game against the Nationals. For all the Mets struggles against bad teams at home over the final month of the season, it is hard to imagine they would get swept.

Overall, all the Mets need to do in Atlanta to control their own destiny is to win one game. You have to love the Mets chances of doing that with them sending Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt to the mound. If the Mets win the series, they effectively take the division. If they sweep, they definitively win it.

Right now, the name of the game is to win at least one. After that, the Mets control their own destiny. In the end, that’s all they can ask for at this point in the season.

Arigato, Thank You, Eduardo Escobar

Baseball is the best sport there is. No other sport can give a team and player the chance for redemption like the others.

We were reminded of that with this New York Mets team and Eduardo Escobar.

Escobar was great to start the season. However, he tapered off and was injured. He’d lose his starting job and become a weak side platoon option.

First, he lost his job to Luis Guillorme. Later, he lost it to Brett Baty. The Mets made moves at the trade deadline which had the direct or indirect impact of limiting his playing time.

Well, Guillorme and Baty would both go dish with injury. That meant the Mets had little choice than play Escobar. Boy, are they lucky that happened.

Arguably, Escobar has been the Mets best player this month. In fact, he’s been a top 20 player in the majors this month (per fWAR) with the third most RBI in all of baseball.

That Escobar was on display against the Miami Marlins. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets were collapsing, and they looked dead in the water in this game. That was until Escobar’s seventh inning homer:

Suddenly, the Mets were back in the game, and they had some life. In fact, the Mets team now down 4-2 would load the bases in the eighth.

In that inning, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil could not get that key hit. That left it up to Escobar, who would again come through in a huge spot:

Through six innings, the Mets couldn’t muster a run. In the ensuing two innings, Escobar would knock in a pair tying the score.

In the ninth, the Mets couldn’t come through because, well, Escobar didn’t bat. That’s only half-joking because Escobar was in the zone like no other Mets player.

After Drew Smith came up huge, the Mets went to the bottom of the tenth needing just one to walk it off. With the Washington Nationals beating the Atlanta Braves in extras, the Mets had a chance to go to Atlanta one game up in the division.

Lindor was at second as the ghost runner because Rob Manfred hates baseball. Mark Canha came close to ending it, but he’d strike out.

The Marlins intentionally walked McNeil to get to Escobar. Unlike the previous at-bats, Escobar was batting left-handed, his far weaker side. On a night like this, it didn’t matter:

Like that, the Mets won 5-4 with Escobar driving all five Mets runs. Not too bad for a guy who lost his job twice and saw the Mets try to severely limit his at-bats.

You could see Escobar was ecstatic. We all were. We got to see it on display when Escobar gave one of the more joyful and entertaining postgame interviews we’ve ever seen with him ending the interview saying, “Arigato! Thank you!”

While great and much appreciated, it is Escobar who deserves our thanks and appreciation. Even when times were at their worst, he never gave up, and he kept fighting saying he would one day give the fans a reason to cheer:

Assuredly, this came at a time later than anyone wanted. However, it could not have come at a better time. For this game propelling the Mets to a one game lead, Mets fans should say to Escobar, “Arigato! Thank you!”

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.

 

 

Mets Imploding

Down by two to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. Buck Showalter sends Bryce Montes de Oca to the mound.

If you want to crystallize everything going wrong with the New York Mets right now, that paragraph does it. The Mets can’t outscore the Pirates, and in a crucial spot, they have a rookie who had all of 0.2 innings to his career to the mound.

The Mets biggest need at the trade deadline was the bullpen. Billy Eppler walked away with only Mychal Givens. It was inexcusable then, and it’s all the more now.

Eppler was betting on injured players, and he wanted to move players from starting to the bullpen. With players like Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi, both situations applied.

When you look at this Mets team, they’re just imploding, and nothing is working. In many ways, this is why Showalter was hired. The Mets wanted a season leader to ensure things like this would never be an issue.

This is the same Showalter who used Tommy Hunter for the third time in four days. Much like how he did that very recently with Adam Ottavino, the ensuing homer wasn’t a shock.

For whatever reason, Showalter hasn’t been that calming presence. We see a lot of that with Pete Alonso’s struggles and noticeable frustration on the field.

There’s a lot of panic everywhere. We saw that with Carlos Carrasco getting a start without so much as throwing one rehab inning in the minors.

A lot of this is outside Showalter’s control much like with Willie Randolph in 2007. In 2007, Randolph got a huge chunk of the blame. So far, Showalter is dodging that criticism even with his recent very questionable bullpen management.

Showalter isn’t the reason Max Scherzer left his last start early with a re-aggravated left side. He’s not the reason Luis Guillorme and Brett Baty went down. He’s not the reason Starling Marte got hit in the hand and had to leave the game.

The trade deadline acquisitions stopped hitting. Really, everyone not named Eduardo Escobar, Brandon Nimmo, and Marte stopped hitting. Oh, and Marte is hurt.

Whatever the case, the Mets lost three in a row against teams on pace to lose over 100 games. Worse yet, each of those losses were by six runs. More than anything, that’s completely unacceptable.

It’s one thing to slump. It happens to everyone. Everyone loses to bad teams. However, there is no excuse to being non-competitive against flat out horrid teams.

Right now, the Mets are imploding. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, and they’re still in first place (for now). All it takes, is a big start or hit to turn things around and get the Mets back on track.

Fortunately, Jacob deGrom takes the mound in the doubleheader. After that, we shall see.