The biggest fear you could possibly have with the World Baseball Classic happened when Edwin Díaz suffered a potentially season ending injury celebrating Puerto Rico defeating the Dominican Republic to advance to the quarterfinals. No one, but no one wanted to see that happen.
Yes, you would like to think the injury was avoidable. Then again, spring injuries aren’t avoidable at all. Just go ask Brandon Nimmo and Bryce Montes de Oca, each of whom have suffered injuries this spring. We may see Nimmo on Opening Day, but Montes de Oca may take longer.
With Díaz, the question is how do you replace the irreplaceable. Last season, Díaz was finally the pitcher the Mets thought they were getting, and the Mets rewarded him for it by making him the highest paid reliever in the game. That’s what you do for the best closer in the game. You pay him and keep him.
Of course, this was a question the New York Yankees had back in 2012 when Mariano Rivera went down with an injury flagging down fly balls in Kansas City during batting practice. How were the Yankees going to possible replace Rivera.
The answer is you don’t. In reality, it is just the next man up. That man was Rafael Soriano. He was nowhere near as good as Rivera, and yet, he was still good enough to get the job done. In fact, he would finish in the top 20 in MVP voting.
That season, the Yankees won 95 games. That was not only enough to win the AL East, but it was also the best record in all of the American League. The Yankees would go to the ALCS before getting swept by a Detroit Tigers team with a dominant starting pitching staff led by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
That’s just it. The dominant starting pitching is always more important than the closer. Also, it helps having another reliever with closing experience who can step in and do the job. Fortunately, the Mets have that with David Robertson. The Mets also have other talented relievers like Drew Smith who could potentially step in to do the job.
Overall, closing Díaz is horrible. The Mets can’t replace him much like the Yankees couldn’t replace Rivera, the best to ever do it. That said, as we saw with the Yankees, you can lose your great closer and still be great. You just need the rest of the roster to do the things you expected them to do to get leads to the closer. From there, the Mets need 1-2 more players to step up.
In the end, the Mets were dealt a significant blow, but in the end, they should be fine. And if they aren’t, they have the assets to go get someone at the trade deadline or sooner.
One of the great things we have seen happen with Major League Baseball in recent years is the correct spelling of players’ names on the back of their jerseys. For example, Yoenis Céspedes jersey in 2015 had “CESPEDES” on the back, but in 2016, that was changed to the correct spelling of “CÉSPEDES.”
This matters because that is how you actually spell his name. The accent mark directly impacts how the names is pronounced. More than that, by not having the accent mark, tilde, or other marking, you are misspelling a player’s name. That is offensive and wrong.
It took way too long, but Major League Baseball finally got it right. Give credit where it is due. For some reason, Fanantics refuses to do the same despite being the entity which sells approved team and player jerseys and other merchandise.
If you go to Fanatics, there are player jerseys available, but your favorite player may not be one of the ones available. Fortunately, Fanantics has a drop down menu for every player on the roster. The problem is not all of the players are available or are spelled correctly.
Take Francisco Álvarez as an example. There is a very clear accent mark on the “A” making it an “Á.” With Álvarez being an uber prospect on the verge of making it to the majors, there are fans who will want his jersey. There’s a significant problem.
When you go to the Fanatics personalized Mets jersey selection, they do not have Álvarez as an option. Instead, it is the incorrectly spelled Alvarez.
At least, you can choose Álvarez as Alvarez for a personalization option. However, you cannot opt for reigning National League batting champion Jeff McNeil.
McNeil is a name of Irish origin; one of the few on the 2023 Mets. If you want a St. Patrick’s Day Mets shirt for McNeil, you can’t. That is because Fanatics deems the little c because of the “special spelling of the name.”
That’s right a lower case c is not worth Fanatics making a screen printing. They’d rather have shirts for the reigning NL batting champ and two time All-Star completely unavailable. If you want to be clever and have an apostrophe in front of another Mets player, forget it. They don’t offer apostrophes either. If you wanted an O’Díaz, you might as well just forget it.
You can probably guess like McNeil, Díaz is unavailable as well. After all, who would want the jersey of the very popular closer?
You see, rather than offer options for popular players or spell names properly, Fanatics decides they shouldn’t bother. They won’t because they don’t care and know you can’t go elsewhere. This is unacceptable, and it’s shocking MLB or the MLBPA has never sought to intervene and halt these offensive and discriminatory practices.
Normally, when the Kansas City Chiefs are in the Super Bowl, we are anticipating it to be tangentially related to the New York Mets because there is discussion of Patrick Mahomes being the son of former Mets reliever Pat Mahomes. Certainly, there was some of that with Mahomes saying his son was prepared for these moments because he had him there at the 2000 World Series.
There was also the Philadelphia angle. In a world we where people mistakenly believe you are either Mets/Jets or Yankees/Giants, the simple truth is Mets/Giants and Yankees/Jets make much more sense. The Mets and Giants fans hate Philadelphia, and they want to see them fail, and Super Bowl LVII was another area where Mets and Giants fans had the chance to see that happen.
So, between the Mahomes and the Philadelphia angle, Mets fans were locked in, but then again, who isn’t locked in for the Super Bowl. After all, it’s the biggest sporting even in our country, and that is why we see ads costing $7 million.
That brings us to Steve Cohen. In a shock to us all, the Mets ran a Super Bowl ad featuring Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Tomas Nido, Kodai Senga, Edwin Diaz as the closer, and of course, Mr. Met. It was a perfect commercial for Mets fans:
We Wanna Hear You! 📞https://t.co/UweYKix2Ir pic.twitter.com/XfM1qszMrQ
— New York Mets (@Mets) February 9, 2023
This would be the perfect commercial to run on SNY, or really any of the New York television stations. To be fair, that is what did happen. It was a regional Super Bowl ad, but nevertheless, Cohen purchased a Super Bowl ad, and it is one gaining a lot of traction.
Note, this ad comes off the heels of the other owners complaining about how Cohen is spending money.The deals for Justin Verlander and the almost completed deal for Carlos Correa sent them into a tizzy whining about the unfair economics.
Well, Cohen showed the rest of Major League Baseball it’s not just the spending on the players. As we know from recent interviews, it’s also not just the spending on the advanced technology and analytics.
Now, Cohen is making the Mets a more well renown brand. He is trying to be what the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers are. For that matter, he’s trying to make the Mets what they once were in the 1980s.
The Mets purchased a Super Bowl ad. On the surface, it was to sell tickets. In reality, it was to sell the Mets. It was to send a message that the Mets are not stopping at beating you on the field. They will use every resource to grow the team and the brand even if that means purchasing a Super Bowl ad.
When the World Baseball Classic rolls around, there is a fear it is going to negatively impact the players. Certainly, Buck Showalter has spoken out about that recently. If you are a defeatist New York Mets fan, you can point to J.J. Putz participating in the 2013 WBC before having the worst season of his career.
However, to be fair there, Putz was already injured. As had been reported, Putz wasn’t really given a physical, and that he was pushed to pitch through a painful bone spur which hindered his performance. That was back in the days of Jeff Wilpon making medical decisions which included forcing an injured and shut down Pedro Martinez to pitch and attempting to prevent Carlos Beltran from having career saving knee surgery.
Going back to Beltran, he participated for Puerto Rico in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic. In fact, the Mets had a heavy contingent of players at that event, which included:
- Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico)
- Endy Chavez (Venezuela)
- Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico)
- Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico)
- Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic)
- Duaner Sanchez (Dominican Republic)
- Jose Valentin (Puerto Rico)
Looking at that list, each and everyone one of these players had a great 2006 season, and their great seasons started by playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Beltran went from the biggest free agent bust in baseball history, even worse than Bobby Bonilla. Beltran probably should have won the 2006 NL MVP as he was an All-Star while winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He probably should have won the MVP award with his finishing second to just Albert Pujols in WAR. Arguably, this remains the single best regular season in Mets history.
Chavez would also have a career year. He was always a great fielder, but he could not hit. He would have a 101 wRC+ while playing great defensively. We still talk about that catch robbing Scott Rolen of a home run to this day.
Delgado had a very good year in his first year with the Mets. However, he would be special in the postseason hitting four home runs.
Feliciano was almost left off the Mets Opening Day roster after returning to the organization after a year in Japan. He stayed on the roster, and he would have a breakout season which led him on a path to becoming the best LOOGY in Mets history.
Sanchez was a reliever Omar Minaya gambled on when he traded Jae Weong Seo to get him. Minaya looked like a genius as Sanchez might’ve been the best set-up man that season, and if he didn’t get in that cab, the Mets probably win the World Series that season.
Entering 2006, Reyes was still this great raw talent who had not been able to harness his ability. That 2006 season was the season which Reyes became that dynamic lead-off hitter and shortstop the Mets knew he could be. He learned plate discipline, hit for power, and of course, stole bases. He was a first time All-Star, and he had what proved to be the best season of his career.
Finally, there was Valentin. In the previous season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the then 35 year old looked done as he hit .170/.326/.265. To be honest, things didn’t look all that great in April for Valentin. However, due to a myriad of injuries at second base, he was given the job, and he was the missing piece that roster needed. He capped off a great season by hitting two homers in the NL East clincher.
That Mets team was a special team, and it still goes down as one of the best regular seasons in team history. For that to happen, they needed almost everything to break right, and it did. That process all started with these Mets players participating in the WBC.
Looking forward to 2023, the Mets are sending a heavy contingent of players including very important ones like Pete Alonso, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, and Francisco Lindor. If 2006 is any guide, this should be a springboard for these and the other Mets participating meaning we are about to see another great Mets season.
With Steve Cohen, things have changed so much for the better. Just look at this offseason, So far, the Mets have given record deals to keep Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo. They have also brought in Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Omar Narváez, José Quintana, and David Robertson. In the past, it would take the Wilpons more than a decade to bring in all of these players, and of that group, we’d never be able to consider a Verlander coming to Queens.
However, even with the Wilpons gone, they still find ways to mess with New York Mets fans. Of course, it comes with them being cheap and not realizing the value of franchise greats.
There is still a gap between SNY and Keith Hernandez in contract talks. Hernandez was offered a new deal, rejected it, and counter-offered. SNY has not yet responded with another offer.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 1, 2023
SNY (read, the Wilpons) always seems to do this with Keith Hernandez. They make the contract negotiations more prolonged than they need to be. In many ways, they don’t realize his value to the franchise and their broadcasts. Keep in mind, Hernandez and his commentary keeps fans tuned in during blowouts because fans want to hear Keith in those situations. That’s not hyperbole.
Actually, maybe the Mets do realize Hernandez’s value. It may be much more likely they really just don’t care. Based upon their ownership of the Mets, we can safely assume that is the case.
That is what actually makes this worse. They already have their billions from the sale of the franchise. They were financially made whole from the Madoff Ponzi Scheme scandal. Now, they’re just making money off the Mets like they always do.
There is going to come a point in time where Keith steps aside, and we are no longer going to have Gary, Keith, and Ron. However, that has to come on GKR’s terms. They’re Mets legends, and they earned that right as they are about to surpass Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner as the longest serving Mets announcing trio.
The Wilpons cannot mess this up. They’ve already messed up too much, and for all they have done, this would be a step too far. We shouldn’t put it past them. All we can do is hope they finally do the right thing by the fans.
Back when Steve Cohen first purchased the New York Mets, the team was very close to signing Trevor Bauer. That was even with there being issues with Bauer and his treatment of women. It’s fair to say the rumors weren’t at the levels of what would eventually led to Bauer receiving the largest ever suspension in Major League history, but there was something there.
Now, the Mets are in winner-take-all mode. This is an offseason where the Mets gave Edwin Diaz a record deal for a reliever, and they gave Brandon Nimmo the largest deal ever to a homegrown Mets player. Oh, by the way, the team also signed Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, and Omar Narvaez. They also did all they could do to sign Carlos Correa.
Cohen wants to win, and apparently, the Mets finish to the regular season and Wild Card round exit has only spurred him to push harder. That leads to Bauer being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s now a free agent with any team able to sign him for $720,000.
For Cohen, that amount is something he finds in his couch cushions. Based on his unprecedented spending spree this offseason, that is nothing to him. Certainly, you can argue he should use that money to sign Bauer like the Mets wanted to do back before Bauer signed with the Dodgers.
After all, by signing Bauer, the Mets would exclusively control his rights. They can use that to make sure he never pitches in a game in 2023 and perhaps never again. They would being a civic duty by doing this.
This is also doing a favor to baseball. Remember, back when Cohen was snatching up free agents, one of the prevailing rumors was the other 29 owners were angry with him and would be complaining to the commissioner if they had not already. By signing Bauer and not playing him, Cohen would be doing the other owners a favor.
First, he would be ensuring Bauer doesn’t play. Second, he would be saving the other owners from themselves. After all, we see what the Atlanta Braves did with signing Marcell Ozuna, and the Chicago Cubs did with their keeping Addison Russell. Sometimes, teams and Major League Baseball needs to be protected from themselves.
Here, Cohen should be the hero. Sign Bauer and then never play him. Let him rot into obscurity. Push him a further year away from ever playing again making the chances of him ever playing again all the more remote.
When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.
While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.
Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:
- Curtis Granderson – retired
- David Wright – retired
- Daniel Murphy – retired
- Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
- Lucas Duda – retired
- Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
- Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
- Kelly Johnson – retired
That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.
As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.
When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.
When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.
In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Omar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.
So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets made the mistake of trading Michael Fulmer to acquire Yoenis Cespedes. No, it was not a mistake to obtain Cespedes, but rather, Fulmer was far too high a price to pay. As it would turn out, the Mets needed starting pitching the ensuing two seasons where Fulmer was winning Rookie of the Year and being named an All-Star.
Well, from there, Fulmer had some injury prone years and moved to the bullpen. For his part, Cespedes needed double heel surgery, and then, he would have an incident falling off his horse or something with a feral hog during his rehab. The details are still murky.
Regardless, the Detroit Tigers received a 12.2 WAR out of Fulmer and a prospect at the trade deadline. The Mets received an epic run from Cespedes amounting to a 2.1 WAR and not postseason production at the plate past Game 3 of the NLDS. In essence, the Mets made a win-now trade and didn’t win.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Fulmer is a free agent while Cespedes is trying to get back into the majors. The Mets are also looking to build a bullpen which can get them their first World Series since 1986. It already looks formidable with the following relievers in place:
There are other pitchers in the mix, but these are the relievers who are guaranteed. With five starters, that leaves up to four more relievers who can be added. The presumption is at least two of Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson will start the season in Triple-A to provide organizational starting pitching depth.
That probably leaves pitchers like Jeff Brigham and John Curtiss on more of a solid footing to make the Opening Day bullpen than they probably should. Even with those names likely to make the bullpen, the Mets are still at least one arm short.
Fulmer, 29, would be an excellent fit. As a reliever, he has a 128 ERA+. As per Baseball Savant, he does an exceptional job limiting hard contact and barrels. We’ve also seen Jeremy Hefner work well with pitchers how have a similar repertoire. All told, he probably remains the best arm remaining on the market.
While we are very confident in this Mets roster, they probably remain an arm short in the bullpen. Fulmer would go a long way to resolving that issue and make this Mets team even better. All this time later, the Mets now need to sign Fulmer instead of trading him to try to help put this Mets team over the top.
Truth be told, Steve Cohen has been spending at a level no one anticipated. We should have anticipated there would be backlash to that with Major League Baseball trying to establish a system to discourage spending to build a team.
To some degree, you have to give the other owners credit. They were tight-lipped last offseason when the New York Mets free agent spree was highlighted by Max Scherzer and Starling Marte in addition to the Mets trading for Chris Bassitt.
They bit their tongues as the Mets signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, and Koudai Senga in addition to re-signing Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo. It’s fair to assume they weren’t happy, but they didn’t react publicly. Then, Carlos Correa happened.
Cohen and the Mets initially made a too late push for Correa, and Correa signed with the San Francisco Giants. To be fair, the Giants offered more than the Mets were willing to offer. If you were a skeptic, you were left believing Scott Boras was using Cohen and the Mets to extract every last dollar from the Giants.
After that, Correa “failed” his physical leading the Giants to try to renegotiate the deal. Boras being Boras treated this as an opportunity to re-open the bidding for Correa with the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers re-entering the picture. In the end, it would be the Mets who signed Correa to a 12 year $315 million deal.
This is what caused the rest of baseball to snap. In an article from The Athletic by Evan Drellich, the other owners, who did not go on record, spoke about this disdain about how Cohen has conducted his business this offseason. There were a few choice quotes speaking about how Cohen was not stopped by control measures put in place for him to not outspend what other owners and markets were willing to do.
Note, the choice of the word willing isn’t of able. That choice was highlighted by an unnamed source who said, “There’s no collusion. But . . . there was a reason nobody for years ever went past $300 million. You still have partners, and there’s a system.” Another choice quote was, “We’ve got somebody with three times the median payroll and has no care whatsoever for the long-term of these contracts, in terms of the risk associated with any of them.”
Essentially, owners don’t like or feeling comfortable going to the lengths Cohen has been willing to go. That’s not the same as can’t go. They don’t want to go there, and as Drellich astutely points out, owners are not happy Cohen is raising the price of player contracts.
This is much in the same way the Wilpons restricted player salaries. They had a team in the largest market in the world, and they couldn’t spend on players. Having a very large market out on a player suppressed player salaries, which is why other owners had zero issues with the Wilpons.
They didn’t care about the psyche of Mets fans or what not having a large market non-competitive for all but two years in a decade was doing to the growth of the sport. All they cared about is players were cheaper. They left money and growth at the table to make their bottom line better. Now, they’re faced with the choice of spending a little more to be competitive, or as we see with the Tampa Bay Rays, find real ways to be competitive other than artificially suppressing player salaries.
Make no mistake here, the other 29 owners didn’t give a damn about their fans, especially Mets fans. It was all about their profit margin, which is what Cohen is directly impacting despite their efforts to stand in the way. In the end, not one fan should care what they think because they certainly didn’t care about Mets fans when the Wilpons were actively destroying baseball.
When Steve Cohen took over the New York Mets and went on an unprecedented spending spree for the franchise, there were hopes he would land Carlos Correa. In fact, here, it was discussed how Correa was a future Hall of Famer and a perfect fit for the Mets.
To our shock and surprise, the Mets made a run at Correa this offseason even after re-signing Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo in addition to signing Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Koudai Senga, and Omar Narvaez.. We thought Cohen had his limits, but apparently, he doesn’t have a limit. He is just that intent on winning the World Series this season.
Well, Correa had an issue with his physicals, and Scott Boras does not renegotiate based on physicals. So, when the San Francisco Giants balked, Boras went right back to the Mets, who were apparently happy to re-offer the 13 year $315 million contract they were willing to give Correa. Just like that, one year later, the Mets got their perfect fit.
When healthy, Correa is just as good as any player in the game. With the exception of last year, he’s an exceptional fielder, and you can argue last year was an indication he needed to move to third now anyway. He is a phenomenal hitter who hits the ball hard and draws walks. His only weakness is his back, and we should note the Giants did not balk at the physicals when it came to Correa’s back.
There is nothing to like about this move for the Mets. The lineup is deeper and more potent. The infield defense is so much better in a year with no shift. It is going to accelerate position changes on Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio they were eventually going to need to make anyway. Again, this is a great move from every angle.
More than the fit, what really stands out is Cohen really is doing everything possible to win. After years of the Wilpons tomfoolery, we see how a New York team really should operate. For every owner who claims they don’t have money to expand the payroll, Cohen is showing that to be complete and utter nonsense. He is making a mockery of every owners excuses.
New York Mets fans knew the Wilpons could do much more than they did. They deserved better after the Wilpons. We expected more. However, in no way did we ever or could we ever expect this. This was simply astounding, and World Series or not, we can just appreciate a team really trying to win a World Series.