Edwin Diaz

Revisiting 2022 Bold Mets Predictions

Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:

1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.

While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.

2.  Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.

Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.

3.  Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.

See above.

4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.

Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.

5.  Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.

As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.

6.  Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.

Diaz was an All-Star.

7.  The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.

Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.

8.  Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.

It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.

9.  Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.

As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.

10.  Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.

Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.

11.  Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.

It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.

12.  Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.

Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.

13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.

For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.

14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.

Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.

15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.

With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.

16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.

Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.

17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.

This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.

18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.

Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.

19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.

Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.

20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.

Williams was a vital part of this team all season.

21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.

This did not happen.

22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.

The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.

23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.

His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.

24. So will Eric Chavez.

Neither has him.

25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.

This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.

26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.

He did not.

27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.

While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.

28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.

To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.

29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.

For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.

30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.

Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.

31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.

There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.

32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.

That did not happen.

33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.

Sadly, this was true.

34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.

It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.

35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.

This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.

36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.

Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.

37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.

There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.

38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.

We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.

39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.

Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.

40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.

Whether or not it was the right call, Showalter won, and it was close to being unanimous.

41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.

This one was actually true.

42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.

This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.

43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.

Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.

44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.

With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.

45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.

The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run away with the division.

46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.

The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.

47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.

It was a chilly reception.

48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.

49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.

Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.

50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.

Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.

51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.

This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.

52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.

True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.

53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).

True even as his team collapsed.

54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.

Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.

55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.

On April 29, the Co-No happened.

56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.

This likely will not happen.

57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.

There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.

58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.

MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.

59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.

It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.

60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.

To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.

Jacob deGrom Should Be Lock To Return To Mets

The minute Jacob deGrom exercised his opt out was the exact minute anything could happen. At some point, a team could unexpectedly swoop in and offer him a deal to steal him right out from under the New York Mets.

Case-in-point: no one expected the Los Angeles Angels to sign Noah Syndergaard after the Mets offered him a qualifying offer. However, it happened, and Syndergaard is gone. There are some who expect the same will happen with deGrom.

There are some who expect him to go to the Texas Rangers. There are some believing the San Diego Padres may be suitors. You can never count out the Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. There are reports the Atlanta Braves want to make a run (this doesn’t pass the smell test after they let Freddie Freeman go for less than deGrom will cost).

When you look around, there aren’t many people who expect deGrom to return to the Mets. Well, that is except for the people who know deGrom best. We have heard Chris Bassitt, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler say they expect deGrom to say. They say he’s happy with the Mets and only wants a fair market deal.

When deGrom signed his initial extension, he spoke about how he wanted to be a Met for life like his friend David Wright. We have heard exactly nothing that would have us believe deGrom has changed his mind on that. Really, all we have is conjecture from people that they believe deGrom might go.

If it comes down to money, well, the Mets have Steve Cohen.

Cohen was the same man who gave Francisco Lindor $1 million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. to get him to sign a contract extension. He have Edwin Diaz the largest ever deal for a reliever to get him to stay. He handed out the largest average annual value to Max Scherzer to get him to come to the Mets. Now, all of a sudden, he’s going to let deGrom walk over money?

If Cohen has shown us anything, he’s not going to necessarily let money stand in the way. He knows great players need to get paid, and that great players deserve more than their “value.” Mostly, Cohen understands deGrom is Mets royalty, and Cohen respects Mets history.

Cohen brought back Old Timers’ Day. Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays had their numbers retired. Former players like Ray Knight talk about how they loved the Mets, hated, the Wilpons, and now, feel more welcomed to return to the ballpark.

Cohen was also a Mets fan when Tom Seaver was traded. While not on the same level, deGrom is this generation’s Seaver. Arguably, deGrom is the second greatest Met of all-time. He could be their next Hall of Famer (depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran), and he could have his number retired by the Mets one day.

Does Cohen want to be the owner who let deGrom leave over money? Does he want to see deGrom leave on his watch? The answers should likely be no.

Another thing here is Cohen has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers as the model he wants to follow. Well, time and again, even with the injuries, the Dodgers have found a way to keep Clayton Kershaw, even with all of his injuries.

The Dodgers have understood for true franchise greats and Hall of Famers the typical rules don’t apply. You take care of those players because they’re a part of the fabric of your organization. Another important factor is when the Dodgers deal with Kershaw the entire baseball world is watching.

It’s the same with the Mets. Everyone wants to see how the Mets handle their first homegrown future Hall of Famer to hit free agency.

How he’s treated impacts whether other players want to play for the Mets or stay with the team. It’ll impact agents handling extensions. Again, there is a real impact.

Through all of it, we’re left with the simple fact Jacob deGrom wants to be a Met for life, and Steve Cohen has the ability to make it happen. If this is all truly the case, there are no excuses for not getting a deal done.

Taijuan Walker Interesting Decision For Mets

As anticipated, New York Mets starter Taijuan Walker opted out of his contract. Unlike the last time, more teams than just the Mets will come calling.

Walker opting out puts the Mets in an extremely difficult position. At times, he’s pitched like a number two. Other times, he’s pitched like a bullpen arm. No matter how you cut it, he has value.

Over the past two years, he’s 19-16 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and a 7.9 K/9. He accumulated a 3.1 WAR, 99 ERA+, and a 4.11 FIP.

He was an All-Star in 2021, and you could make the argument he could’ve been one in 2022. His first halves have been great, and the second halves lacking.

Taking the total picture into account, Walker ranks 39th among pitchers who have pitched over 300 innings the past two seasons. He’s also thrown the 39th most innings while making the 32nd most starts.

With starting pitching, availability is of paramount importance. Despite his past history, Walker showed an ability to take the ball every fifth day. We also saw a stronger pitcher in the second half of 2022 than he was in 2021.

This is where things get dicey for the Mets.

The Mets could reasonably believe Tylor Megill or David Peterson could replicate what Walker has provided while also believing each provides more upside. If they believe that, perhaps, they should let Walker go.

However, we do not know Megill’s durability and ability to be a starter for a full season. Peterson has shown durability and appears to be building strength to last a full season in the rotation.

Another factor with both was they entered Spring Training as pitching depth. If either or both are in the 2023 rotation that depth takes a hit, especially with Jose Butto likely being the sole upper level minors pitcher the Mets feel confidence in calling up.

The Mets need to balance that against just how much they can actually spend. Edwin Díaz just signed a record deal for a reliever. The Mets also have free agents in Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, and Brandon Nimmo.

The Mets entered the offseason needing to rebuild an entire pitching staff – rotation and bullpen. That is going to cost a ton of money, and even with Steve Cohen, you have to imagine at some point, the Mets will need to save money here and there.

If the Mets lock in Walker, they’re keeping a good starter who may still yet have upside. It’s a move towards maintaining depth. It’s more certainty than upside, which is never a bad thing.

In the end, the Mets best decision might be to offer Walker the qualifying offer. If he accepts, great. If not, the Mets get a compensatory pick allowing them to pursue players like Trea Turner.

Overall, this is a good “problem” for the Mets to have. They either keep a good pitcher, or they get an asset to help them sign other players and/or build for the future.

This is a “problem” because Walker has been good and deserves a long term deal. The Mets have been better for having him, and no matter what happens fans and the organization should appreciate him and wish him well.

Edwin Díaz Returns Because Of Steve Cohen

Maybe there was a time after the disastrous deal was first struck that we could see Edwin Díaz staying with the New York Mets for a decade. However, those thoughts completely went by the wayside.

Díaz’s first year with the Mets could not have gone worse. He lost his closer’s job that season, and he would subsequently admit the pressures of New York got to him.

After that poor first season, Díaz was much improved but never quite reliable. Case-in-point: he was lights out in the pandemic shortened season with a 1.75 ERA, but he still blew 40% of his save opportunities.

The 2022 season would be completely different in every way. Part of that is Steve Cohen was completely different than the Wilpons in every way.

It started in Spring Training with Jeremy Hefner finally honing Díaz’s mechanics. It was the return to Narco as the entrance music, which was part of the Mets fans re-embrace of him.

It wasn’t just the fans embrace of him. It was the entire Mets organization. It was with the aforementioned work from Hefner. It was also the analytics.

Mostly, it was Cohen. He has transformed the franchise. It’s not just about giving everyone the tools they need to succeed. Cohen is investing in the players as people too.

They may phrase from Cohen is he wants to let players know “they’re important to me.”

Players come and go for money for the most part. After all, baseball is a business. However, how players are treated largely dictates whether they want to stay or return. Its how teams can sign players to contracts and extensions before they hit the market.

With respect to Díaz, make no mistake. He returned because of the record setting contract. He agreed to a five year $102 million deal.

What’s notable is he signed it and didn’t take that to market. With the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees needing a closer, you couldn’t blame Díaz for wanting to test just how much more he would’ve received, and yes, he would’ve gotten it.

However, Díaz wanted to stay. The city which overwhelmed him came to embrace him. The petty ownership who interfered with medical decisions, changing players entrance songs, stealing Oakleys, and just about everything else gave way to Cohen.

Cohen let’s players know he cares. He gives them everything they need to succeed. When a player like Díaz wants to return, we see Cohen will make it happen.

Díaz was great in 2022 for the ways Cohen changed the organization. He wanted to return based on how the new organization treated him. He’s staying because Cohen paid him.

This is the Mets under Cohen. It’s glorious, and we cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.

Rafael Montero Forever Part Of MLB History

For those New York Mets fans who watched Rafael Montero, we wouldn’t have been shocked if he was a part of Major League history. Certainly, we could have bought him doing what Lance McCullers did in allowing a record five homers in a World Series start.

Actually, that’s not true at all. By 2017, there was not one Mets fan alive who believed Montero would still be in the Major Leauges at this point. Really, most Mets fans had believed Montero would not only never come close to living up to his prospect status, but they also believed his career was essentially over.

As was par for the course, much of that had to do with the Mets organization. More specifically, there was Jeff Wilpon’s meddling in medical matters, and there was Terry Collins eternal mishandling of pitchers. As we can recall, Montero had complained of shoulder and elbow issues with the Mets claiming he was making it up, and Collins traveling to essentially tell him to “man up.”

Well, eventually, we would see Montero’s Mets career end when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. After all the disappointment, he was finally free to pursue his career elsewhere. While he had one promising year with the Seattle Mariners, he returned to the enigmatic pitcher he always was. It would not be until he was traded to the Houston Astros that his career would finally take off (pun intended).

Back in April, when the Mets had their combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, it was a shock the Mets used Joely Rodriguez. As shocked as we were to see Rodriguez, it was far more surprising to see the Astros use Montero in the eighth inning to try to keep the combined no-hitter intact.

However, it wasn’t really a surprise for Astros fans. Montero has been phenomenal all season for them. He was one of the best relievers in all of baseball. Over 71 appearances, he was 5-2 with 14 saves, a 2.37 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 9.2 K/9. He also had a 163 ERA+ and 2.64 FIP. In reality, he was better than any Mets reliever not named Edwin Diaz.

In this postseason, Montero has been great. Over nine appearances, he has a 1.00 ERA and a 0.889 WHIP. While it is coming as a reliever, you see what the Mets saw in him when they thought he was better than Jacob deGrom. The skill and execution is finally there. As a result, he has been great, and now, he is forever a part of Major League history.

Now, the old excuse of he wouldn’t have done it here has been far too overused with the Mets. With Justin Turner, his career starting blossoming at the end of his Mets tenure. For Travis d’Arnaud, he actually was great with the Mets in 2015. Both and more could have done it with the Mets.

For Montero, the excuse might actually be applicable. As an organization, the Mets continuously stood in his way. The questioned whether he was really injured. They challenged him when he should have been healing or resting. Because of this Wilponian mixture of arrogance and ignorance, Montero would not be able to be the pitcher he could be until 2022.

That’s a sad fact for Montero. That said, he is a lesson in perseverance. Because he never quit, he finally found the right situation, and now, he will forever be a part of Major League history while Jeff Wilpon is history in baseball.

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.

Mets Only Option Is Re-Signing Brandon Nimmo

We can dicker over which one of the New York Mets free agents is the most pressing. Honestly, when looking at it, Jacob deGrom is an absolute necessity. Same goes for Edwin Diaz. And yes, that also applies to Brandon Nimmo.

There are some who may want to disagree, but that’s not surprising. After all, no matter how productive Nimmo is atop the lineup or how much he improves defensively, he will forever have naysayers. To them, the question is if not Nimmo, then who?

Looking at the MLB free agents, Nimmo is far and away the best center fielder. In fact, he is the only everyday center fielder. Sure, you can say it’s Aaron Judge, who is a far superior players, but Judge is really a right fielder and will be so next season.

After Nimmo and Judge, who are you taking? Lorenzo Cain? A Kevin Pillar or Albert Almora reunion? Really, the center field free agent market is that sparse.

You could argue the Mets can shift Starling Marte back to center, but that may not be the best idea for a 34 year old who has trouble staying on the field. It should also be noted he was again slower in 2022. Yes, part of that was his leg injury. However, again, injuries are an issue for him, which is why the Mets moved him to right field in the first place.

There’s also the matter of just how good Nimmo is. In fact, Nimmo was the best center fielder by WAR in 2022 (again, assuming Judge moves back to right field as will all further points). His wRC+ was second only to Julio Rodriguez. He was tied for 11th in OAA. What’s scary about this is we can all agree this was somewhat of a down year offensively for Nimmo.

Consider that for a moment, despite a relative down year, Nimmo was the best at his position in 2022. He is a prototypical lead-off hitter. He continues to improve in the field year-in and year-out. He is a fan favorite. He is the best and really only available at his position this offseason.

Going back to Rodriguez for a second, the Mets don’t have a real center field prospect in the pipeline. Really, they don’t have any outfield prospects close to the majors. When it comes to the Mets, their only option is Nimmo.

If this were the Wilpons, Nimmo would be as good as gone. However, this is Steve Cohen’s Mets. Scott Boras or no Scott Boras, Cohen has the ability to make sure Nimmo stays with the Mets. Surveying the landscape, the Mets have no other choice than to make it happen. Brandon Nimmo needs to stay with the Mets.

Buck Showalter Winning Manger Of The Year Absurd

The Sporting News has begun releasing their year end awards, and New York Mets manager Buck Showalter was named the National League Manager of the Year. Whomever made up the electorate has a lot of explaining to do about that.

Before delving further, there needs to be an important clarification about this Mets team. The roster that was assembled was a very good roster built to win the division and the World Series. This was not remotely the team which fell apart under Luis Rojas.

Look at the team again. There were four All-Stars with Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil, and Edwin Diaz. The team had five Silver Slugger finalists in Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Marte, McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. Over half of their lineup was viewed upon as amongst the best at their position, and for absolutely none of those players was that remotely a shock..

This was also a team with the strongest and deepest rotation in baseball. They were second in baseball in payroll. This was an exceptional team across the board. Treating them like the Major League roster with Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn and Willie Mays Hayes was always been a farce.

However, narratives are narratives. It is with that prism people want to proclaim Showalter the best manager in the National League. Like most narratives, they fall to even the slightest bit of scrutiny.

Again, this was a very good team. It is why the Mets had a 10.5 game lead in June. Keep in mind, that meant Showalter was the skipper for a team which blew a 10.5 game lead. That is the largest blown lead over a full 162 game season since the inception of division play. What makes it all the worse is the Mets had the easiest closing schedule in baseball and only needed to take one game from the Atlanta Braves the final weekend of the season.

Put another way, Showalter led the Mets to an unprecedented collapse. It is bizarre they would give this award to a manager who was in charge when the Mets collapsed. More to the point, it is farcical Showalter would win the award over Brian Snitker, the manager who led the team from the 10.5 deficit to overtake Showalter’s Mets.

There is also the fact Dave Roberts led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the best record in all of baseball. He did that doing his usual platoon side mixing and matching. He also did it getting nothing from Walker Buehler and abbreviated seasons from Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Andrew Heaney. However, he doesn’t nearly get any credit. It’s probably because he is still tainted by the Dodgers past postseason failures.

Of course, for some reason, Showalter never had to deal with that reality when people looked at voting him Manager of the Year. Looking at him late in the season and the postseason, he was still every bit the manager who didn’t use Zack Britton. A large part of that may well be he has been great with the media and was great in the media.

This is a large part of the reason why he was not put under the microscope for his and his team’s failures. It is why he won Manager of the Year over the guy who beat him (Snitker) and the manager who probably did the best job (Roberts). In the end, people wanted to pretend it was Showalter who transformed the Mets and not the fact Steve Cohen opened his wallet to build a very good Mets team.

With Showalter getting a pass and people overlooking just how good this roster was, Showalter wins even though his team lost. All you can do is shake your head and laugh.

Buck Needlessly Compromised Bullpen For Game 3

One of the reasons the New York Mets lost the 2015 World Series was Terry Collins bullpen usage. Ironically, Collins lost the Mets the World Series chasing a win.

In Game 3, the only game in the series the Mets would win, Collins used Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia . . . to protect a six run lead. SIX. RUN. LEAD.

Collins would later admit using Familia in Game 3 impacted his decision making in Game 4. Instead of Familia for six outs, Clippard started the eighth with the Mets up 3-2.

That proved the turning point in the series. After two one out walks, Familia entered, and that’s when Daniel Murphy booted the ball leading to the Mets loss.

The Mets losing Game 4 had its roots with Collins needlessly using his best relievers in Game 3. The Mets lost because they did way too much to try to win.

That may be exactly what Buck Showalter just did in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.

In the seventh inning of Game 2, Showalter brought in Edwin Díaz to help preserve the Mets 3-2 lead. You could understand the decision with the San Diego Padres about to turn over their batting order again.

Getting Díaz through the Padres best hitters, regardless of the inning, was an inspired decision. Use your best reliever against their best hitters. The Mets had to win the game, and that was the best way to do it.

What the problem with what Showalter did was executing the plan and showing an inability to be adaptable to the game situation.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets offense finally exploded. They’d put four runs on the board to increase the Mets lead to 7-2.

During the inning, Díaz had not pitched in over 40 minutes. Despite that, Showalter showed no adaptability to the situation, and he never got another reliever warming.

Admittedly, there’s was way too much hand-wringing over the time. Díaz historically warms quickly and does not like to overdo it with the warm-ups. In many ways, he’s uniquely suited to this situation.

The time gap wasn’t the issue. It was going back to Díaz with a FIVE RUN LEAD IN THE EIGHTH INNING.

By losing Game 1, the Mets put themselves in a bad spot. They had to do everything to win Game 2. Realistically speaking, they won Game 2 by going up five heading into the eighth.

You could almost excuse Showalter for using Díaz to start the eighth. By getting through the rest of the heart of the order, you stop the Padres before they can start.

However, it’s a five run lead. Díaz threw an additional nine pitches. The hope is it won’t impact his availability to get six outs in Game 3.

While his use of Díaz was questionable, his use of Adam Ottavino was short-sighted and potentially very costly. Again, the initial idea was arguably defensible, but the totality of the decision making was deeply flawed.

Díaz left with a runner on. Ottavino came in and got the last out to end the inning. At that point, he had thrown five pitches and would’ve been fully available for Game 3.

The Mets had a number of bullpen arms they could’ve turned to in the ninth. Each one of them would’ve been able to hold a five run lead. Instead, Showalter stuck with Ottavino.

Relievers getting up and down like that is always a risky proposition. With respect to Ottavino, he didn’t have it in the ninth.

He would plunk a batter and walk three forcing home a run. In the process, he threw 30 pitches raising his pitch count to 35.

This means Showalter took a fully rested Díaz and compromised how much he might be able to pitch in Game 3. He then took a fully rested Ottavino, and he made him effectively unavailable for Game 3.

As bad as that was, Showalter made it worse because at that point he had no other choice.

After Ottavino walked in a run, Josh Bell came to the plate as the tying run. At that point, Díaz is out of the game, and Ottavino had to leave the game.

Showalter had little other choice than to use Seth Lugo. That is because Showalter’s decision making helped put the Mets in a position where they had to pull out all the stops.

Lugo got the job done. He only needed four pitches to earn his first career postseason save.

Using Lugo there was very problematic, and it may very well make him unavailable for Game 3.

By now, every Mets fan knows Lugo has a torn UCL. He’s opted not to have it surgically repaired, and based on his pitching, he made the right move.

However, it came with some compromises. For years, the Mets would not use him on back-to-back days. On the rare times this happens, Lugo typically struggles with a .788 OPS against and a 4.16 ERA.

He extremely rarely pitches three games in a row. If he were to appear in Game 3, that is exactly what would happen.

Some may say this is making too big of a deal out of the appearance. After all, he only threw four pitches. That position is severely misplaced.

Remember, Lugo got up to warm up multiple times in the game. When Jacob deGrom was struggling in the fifth, Lugo was warming to enter.

This means Lugo warmed twice in the game. He might’ve only thrown four pitches in the game, but he threw 17 over two days. In his career, he very rarely pitches on consecutive days, and no one will consider using him three straight.

As a result, he is probably out of the Game 3 mid. Even if he’s not, he probably should be. That’s an astonishing development.

After the Mets four run rally in the seventh, they were on their way to an easy win with a fully rested bullpen for Game 3.

Somehow, Showalter turned that possibly preventing Díaz from getting six outs (or impacting his effectiveness in doing so), not having Ottavino, and based on five plus years of history, having Lugo unavailable.

Having that happen is a complete and utter failure by Showalter. The only hope is this will not matter or cost the Mets from protecting a Game 3 lead. If it does, Showalter and Showalter alone will be to blame.

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.