Even with the Mets missing out on the Wild Card by three games, we will actually see some Mets in the World Series. Technically speaking, there are former Mets players in the World Series. So, in that sense, no matter who wins the World Series, we are going to see a Mets player get a ring.
Joe Smith – The 2006 third round pick was a valuable member of the Mets bullpen for two years before getting traded in the ill fated J.J. Putz trade. As luck would have it, Smith was the best reliever in that deal. In fact, Smith has had a very good career as a reliever with a good stretch in the postseason. In recent years, he’s tried to stay as close to his Ohio home as possible to be near his mother who is suffering from Huntington’s Disease. On that note, he has spent much time promoting awareness of this disorder through HelpCureHD.org.
Collin McHugh – The Mets never quite knew what they had with the 18th round pick of the 2008 draft trading him for Eric Young Jr. The same could go for the Rockies who designated him for assignment. McHugh rose above it all being one of the first pitchers to truly benefit from this Astros front office effect on pitchers. While he’s been a key part of the team’s recent run, he’s been sidelined this postseason with injuries.
Brent Strom – Strom was actually the third overall pick of the 1970 draft, but due to injuries, he would never quite make it either with the Mets, who eventually traded him to the Cleveland Indians, or as a Major Leaguer. After his Major League career, he’s found his footing as a coach, and during his tenure as the Astros pitching coach, he’s become one of the more noteworthy pitching coaches in the game.
Asdrubal Cabrera – The Mets signed Cabrera as a free agent, and his second half of the 2016 propelled them to the Wild Card Game. His play in that second half, along with that iconic bat flip, made him a fan favorite even through the issues regarding his trade demands. As much as fans loved him, Cabrera loved being a Met with his being traded and not re-signed breaking his son’s heart. Cabrera would have his chance to return, but with Brodie Van Wagenen not calling him back after the team signed Jed Lowrie over him, Cabrera opted to go to Washington instead.
Tim Bogar – Bogar spent four years as a Met as a utility player who was best known for his pre-game segments on Diamondvision. After his career was over, he had a decorated career as a minor league manager, and he’s been a respected coach leading to him being the National’s first base coach. With him being on the short list on the Mets managerial search, he may have a return to Queens after this World Series.
Chip Hale – Hale is a respected longtime coach who served as Terry Collins‘ third base coach in 2010 – 2011. In terms of team history, he goes down as one of the best third base coaches they have ever had.
Kevin Long – Long was the Mets hitting coach from 2015 – 2017. During that time, he was credited for players like Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes taking their offense to new heights, which was one of the reasons the Mets won the 2015 pennant. Partially due to his work as a hitting coach, he was a favorite to replace Collins as manager. When the Mets hired Mickey Callaway over him, he would leave for the Nationals organization where he has led young hitters like Juan Soto to the World Series.
Henry Blanco – Blanco had a reputation as a defensive catcher who spent one year with the Mets as a backup to Rod Barajas. After his playing career was over, he has followed a similar career path to Dave Duncan going from defensive catcher to pitching coach with Blanco having been the Nationals bullpen coach for the past two years.
In the end, no matter who wins, there will be a former Mets player who has a ring. As a fan of those players and coaches during their time with the Mets, we can take some sense of satisfaction when they get their ring. Of course, being happy for a particular player and being happy a certain team won are two completely different things.
Now that the Mets postseason hopes are officially over, there will come a time to write post mortems to assess all that went wrong and how the Mets could improve in the future.
Before doing that, we should first acknowledge these Mets players fought tooth and nail giving all they could give to help make an improbable run. What we would discover is this is a tough and very likeable group who deserves our gratitude.
Pete Alonso – for having perhaps the greatest rookie season in MLB history while being just a good person.
Aaron Altherr – his RBI double and scoring later in the game proved to be the winning run in a game against the Pirates as the team looked to turn their season around.
Luis Avilan – limited LHB to a .104/.189/.188 batting line making him an exceptional LOOGY, perhaps the last true LOOGY with the incoming MLB rule changes.
Brad Brach – came to the Mets like he always wanted, and he helped stabilize a bullpen which desperately needed his help.
Keon Broxton – had a go-ahead RBI against the Nationals in April helping the Mets get off to another great start.
Robinson Cano – returned from what should’ve been a season ending injury to do all he could to help get this team into the postseason.
Michael Conforto – reminded us how great he is when he is healthy. Yes, great.
Travis d’Arnaud – came back too soon, never complained, and he left the Mets with pride and dignity after a good Mets career.
J.D. Davis – had a season better than anyone could’ve imagined with a number of big hits. More than that, he became a fan favorite as he was a player who clearly loved being a part of this team.
Rajai Davis – the lifelong Mets fan came home, and he would deliver two absolutely huge pinch hits to keep the Mets afloat at times they needed them.
Jacob deGrom – we are experiencing greatness everytime he takes the mound, and at some point we will need to begin having Hall of Fame conversations about him.
Edwin Diaz – there was a real dignity with him when he faced the media everytime he struggled. He made no excuses, and he put the work in to try to get back to where he was in Seattle. From what we’ve seen, he will get back there next year.
Jeurys Familia – you have to say something about someone who loved being a Mets player, and he came back to be a part of another winning team. Hopefully, that will be next year.
Chris Flexen – reinvented himself as a reliever who showed potential with the ability to strike out batters.
Wilmer Font – showed the Mets real value as a reliever before he was inexplicably designated for assignment.
Todd Frazier – provided this team with real leadership and defense, and he had a number of hot stretches which helped the Mets get back into it.
Drew Gagnon – for a month stretch from late April to late May he was an extremely reliable reliever.
Carlos Gomez – came back to the Mets and started the fun “Ye! Ye! Ye!” rallying cry.
Robert Gsellman – before he began to breakdown due to overuse, he was putting together a really good season out of the bullpen.
Luis Guillorme – when he finally got his chance, he proved himself showing this team he needs to be a part of the future. His pinch hit homer was one of the biggest hits of the season.
Sam Haggerty – like Eric Young in 2015, he was a weapon as a pinch runner.
Donnie Hart – albeit in just one appearance, he’s one of the few pitchers in Mets history who has never allowed a run.
Adeiny Hechavarria – showed surprising power and helped keep the Mets going in May.
Juan Lagares – at the end, he reminded us of how great a fielder he can be, and he had one last hurrah with his first two home rungame.
Walker Lockett – his start in San Francisco was the lone win in what was otherwise a lost series.
Jed Lowrie – despite suffering significant injuries, he pushed onward to make himself a viable pinch hitting option.
Seth Lugo – he has been absolutely great, and he has kept an otherwise struggling bullpen afloat.
Steven Matz – for the second straight year, Matz made 30 starts, and he made huge strides forward with a big second half and being dominant at home.
Chris Mazza – a 29 year old rookie is a feel good story, and he had quite the debut against a very good Braves lineup.
Jeff McNeil – proved last year was no fluke, and his versatility allowed the team to get the most out of the roster.
Tomas Nido – was a terrific defensive catcher and framer who helped get the most out of the starters and help them get their minds straight.
Brandon Nimmo – came back from a bulging disc in his neck to pick up where he left off last year. His enthusiasm and love of baseball is always a breath of fresh air.
Stephen Nogosek – put together a great year in the minors to get to the majors.
Corey Oswalt – strong year in Triple-A giving the Mets real rotation depth going forward.
Joe Panik – came back home to New York to help keep the team afloat at the time the Mets were in desperate need for a second baseman, and he performed quite well.
Tim Peterson – earned his way onto the Opening Day roster,and he’d pitch fairly well in his limited opportunities.
Brooks Pounders – six of his seven outings were really good.
Wilson Ramos – turned what was going to be an awful year around with a great August, and his ability to frame the high pitch proved to be a real help to deGrom.
Jacob Rhame – before landing on the IL to end the year, he was showing glimpses of being the type of arm who could be a useful part of the bullpen going forward.
Rene Rivera – brought back warm memories from the 2016 season with him combining with Syndergaard to dominate the Nationals.
Amed Rosario – he made a fools out of people who didn’t believe in his work ethic and talent by showing he is going to be an impact player on both sides of the ball in the future.
Hector Santiago – picked up a big win in extra innings against the Tigers.
Paul Sewald – despite being an afterthought, he once again proved he was a Major League caliber reliever, and he would finally get that first win which proved to be so elusive for him.
Dominic Smith – despite his being maligned and dropped down the depth chart, he would get healthy, and he would show everyone just how good a player he is, and he showed himself to be a great teammate more interested in how he could help the team than his role.
Marcus Stroman – the man was born to pitch on the biggest stage, and he would show it to us. A full year of him is going to be a thrill.
Jason Vargas – he really helped the Mets Wild Card hopes by bombing with the Phillies.
Zack Wheeler – he desperately wanted to be a part of a Mets postseason push, and he not only got that chance, but he would be great down the stretch.
Justin Wilson – he put the elbow problems aside, and he had just a terrific year out of the bullpen.
Daniel Zamora – 13 of his 16 appearances were scoreless, and with his splits, he showed the Mets he could be a modern LOOGY with the changing bullpen rules.
Overall, while you may hate what Brodie Van Wagenen has done as the General Manager, and you can hate the Wilpons for not being invested in this team, you simply have to love each and every one of these players for all they gave this team. We should appreciate them for fighting to the finish and giving us hope for next year.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the New York Mets are not pursuing Manny Machado this offseason as they “don’t see him as the right player to spend big on.” While this may create an uproar amongst Mets fans and Mets critics, the is 100% the correct move for the Mets franchise. There are several reasons why:
- Machado only wants to play shortstop, and as we saw with Kazuo Matsui displacing Jose Reyes, moving Amed Rosario off shortstop is a bad idea;
- With David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets already have two $100 million players. You don’t need three.
- Carlos Beltran was the last under 30 year old who the Mets signed to a $100 million contract. Do we really want the Mets to sign someone who is just going to strike out looking anyway?
- The last Orioles shortstop to play for the Mets was Mike Bordick, and he hit .260/.321/.365 in 56 regular season games with the Mets before getting benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series.
- With Jack Reinheimer, the Mets already have a 25 year old shortstop.
- Infamously, Timo Perez did not hustle in the World Series. After the World Series, Perez would hit .275/.311/.394 with the Mets. If that’s what we can expect from players who do not hustle in the postseason, giving Machado a megadeal will be a disaster.
- The Mets gave Ronny Mauricio a $2.1 million signing bonus. You cannot give him that type of bonus and then block his path to the majors by giving Machado a huge contract.
- For the price of Machado, you can sign eyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Oliver Perez, Rene Rivera, Devin Mesoraco, Lucas Duda, Carlos Gomez, Eric Young, Jr., Chris Young, Tyler Clippard, and still have room to make strong offers to Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson.
- Machado, like Alex Rodriguez, will prove to be a 24+1 player, and you cannot possibly win with an A-Rod on your team.
- It will be hard to free up the funds to sign him with the Mets still paying Bobby Bonilla.
So really, when you break it down and look at the reasons, the better question is why should the Mets even consider signing Machado?
In what has already been a frustrating offseason for Mets fans, Sandy Alderson has already uttered a statement that may prove to go down in “Panic Citi” history. While speaking with reporters, Alderson suggested people “spend a little less time focusing on our payroll.”
If Alderson wants everyone to spend less time focusing on payroll, maybe it is time to focus on Alderson’s tenure as the Mets General Manager to see how it was the team has gotten to this position.
During Alderson’s entire tenure, there have only been eight players who have played over 140 games in a season – Asdrubal Cabrera (2016), Ike Davis (2012) Lucas Duda (2014), Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2016), Juan Lagares (2015), Daniel Murphy (2012 – 2014), Jose Reyes (2017), and David Wright (2012).
This is because of a long list of injuries that have occurred to their position players. This ranges from the ordinary (Yoenis Cespedes‘ hamstring issues) to the bizarre (Davis’ Valley Fever) to the tragic (Wright).
As poorly as things have gone for the position players, the pitching situation is even worse. Johan Santana, Tim Byrdak, and Scott Rice suffered injuries that effectively ended their careers. Same could be said for Bobby Parnell, Jeremy Hefner, and Jim Henderson. The list goes on and on..
That list includes a starting pitching staff upon which this franchise was supposedly built. Each of the treasured purported five aces have undergone surgeries that have cost them multiple months. Matt Harvey may never be the same, and the same can be said for Zack Wheeler.
The irony is Alderson implemented the famed “Prevention & Recovery” mantra, and arguably things have gotten worse under his control.
Evaluating Own Talent
Now, there are varying reasons why teams choose to extend some players while not extending others, or why they choose not to re-sign other players. Still, Alderson’s record is not exactly sterling on this front.
The main players discussed on this front are Murphy and Justin Turner. However, there are some other less discussed players that have slipped through the Mets fingers.
The Mets traded Collin McHugh for Eric Young only to watch McHugh thrive elsewhere. Chris Young was given a large one year deal, was released, and has been an effective player for the Yankees and Red Sox. They released Dario Alvarez to see the Braves claim him and trade him to the Rangers for a former first round draft pick. Finally, there was the Angel Pagan trade for a couple of players who amounted to nothing with the Mets.
The troubles evaluating their own players go beyond who they willingly let go. It goes to those players the Mets opted to extend – Lagares, Jon Niese, and Wright. None of these three ever amounted to the promise they had at the time the contracts were extended. There are differing reasons for this, but in the end, the Mets proved wrong in those decisions.
The glass half-full is that every first round draft pick made prior to 2015 has made the Majors. Additionally, two of those players have made All Star teams. The glass half-empty is the players the Mets have drafted have not lived up to their potential.
At a time the Mets need a starting center fielder, Brandon Nimmo isn’t even being considered. This is not surprising as many see him as a fourth outfielder.
Coincidentally, the Mets also need a second baseman, and they are not even considering Gavin Cecchini for so much as a utility role let alone an opportunity to compete for a job in Spring Training.
The team was not at all enamored with Dominic Smith‘s rookie campaign, and they have publicly talked about bringing in insurance for him not being on the Opening Day roster.
The Mets had no 2015 draft pick because the team lost it signing Michael Cuddyer. Effectively speaking, this decision cost the Mets two first rounders as the team’s lack of offense and health caused them to trade Michael Fulmer for Cespedes. We have all seen Fulmer win a Rookie of the Year Award and make an All Star team in Detroit while the Mets have been desperate for pitching.
Justin Dunn has done little to quell the concerns he is a reliever and not a starter while Anthony Kay, the compensation for the reigning NLCS MVP, has yet to throw a professional pitch because of his Tommy John surgery.
This leaves Conforto, who should be a burgeoning superstar, but sadly we wait with baited breath looking to see if he is going to be the same player he was before separating his shoulder on a swing.
Alderson’s ventures into free agency have not been all that fruitful. Of all the players who have signed multi-year deals, only Granderson has posted multiple seasons over a 2.0 WAR. In fact, Granderson is the only player who has posted a cumulative WAR of over 4.0.
For those that would bring up Colon or Cespedes, their exploits are not attributable to their multi-year deals. Colon accumulated 4.9 WAR with the Mets with 3.4 of that coming during his one year contract. Cespedes has accumulated 7.2 WAR with the Mets with just 2.1 WAR coming last year in an injury plagued first year of a large four year deal.
It should be noted Alderson may not have much success on this front because the team has not gone crazy in free agency signing just a few players a year to Major League deals.
Even in 2015 and 2016, two years the Mets made the postseason, the Mets had depth issues. This was why the team traded for Kelly Johnson in consecutive seasons. It’s also a reason why in those consecutive years the Mets had to add to the bullpen.
Those seasons have taken a toll on the Mets prospect front. They have sent away a number of assets and potential Major League contributors for a number of players who were attainable before the season began on reasonable deals. Instead, the Mets thought they would be set with players like Eric Campbell.
Much of what is attributed to Alderson being a good General Manager is predicated upon a stroke of genius in obtaining Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra in exchange for R.A. Dickey. Even with many fans wanting to give him plaudits for Cespedes, it should be noted the trade was made largely because of a series of missteps. It should also be noted the Mets lost a pretty good pitcher.
Now, if you are going to defend Alderson by saying his hands have been largely tied due to the Mets payroll, remember, Alderson himself doesn’t want thinks we should spend a little less time focusing on that.
Sadly, we have to do that because the Alderson regime has had difficulties in evaluating their own talent and drafting high end talent. If he had, the discussion would probably be the Mets fine tuning to make another postseason run instead of there being fan anger over how the payroll is restricting the Mets from building a World Series caliber roster.
With the Houston Astros winning their first ever World Series, many fans will be quick to point out how former Mets great Carlos Beltran won his first ever World Series title with the team. The Mets ties to this Astros World Series Championship ballclub extend well past Beltran. In fact, the Astros roster has a few former Mets prospects:
Acquired: Mets 2007 32nd Round Draft Pick
Teams: Gulf Coast (2007 – 2008), Brooklyn (2009 – 2010), St. Lucie (2010 – 2011), Binghamton (2010, 2012 – 2013), Las Vegas (2013 – 2014), Mets (2013 – 2014)
Centeno was seen as a strong defensive catcher who had a questionable bat. His skills behind the plate got him two cups of coffee with the Mets before he was placed on waivers after the 2014 season. For the past three seasons, he would be shuttled between the Triple-A affiliates and Major League teams for the Brewers, Twins, and finally, the Astros. Centeno’s skills behind the dish were enough for him to be named to the Astros postseason roster with him getting just one at-bat in the ALDS against the Red Sox.
RHP Collin McHugh
Acquired: Mets 2008 18th Round Draft Pick
Teams: Kingsport (2008), Brooklyn (2009), Savannah (2010), St. Lucie (2011), Binghamton (2011), Buffalo (2012), Las Vegas (2013), Mets (2012 – 2013)
McHugh made 15 appearances for the Major League team prior to getting traded to the Colorado Rockies for Eric Young. After the 2013 season, he was put on waivers, and he was claimed by the Houston Astros. With the Astros, McHugh would learn the cutter which would transform his career. It would also help transform the Astros from cellar dwellers to a postseason team with McHugh being the second starter for the 2015 team that made this core group’s first foray into the postseason. The highlight for McHugh this postseason was his four shutout innings in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Yankees.
Pitching Coach Brent Strom
Acquired: Mets 1970 1st Round Draft Pick (3rd Overall)
Teams: Visalia (1970), Memphis (1971), Tidewater (1971), Mets (1972)
After being drafted by the Mets and rising quickly through the Mets farm system, and after a rough rookie season, he would get traded to the Cleveland Indians. He’d have a troubled Major League career, which was highlighted by his being the second ever person to have Tommy John surgery. After his retirement in 1977, he would stay out of baseball for over a decade when he’d join the Astros organization in 1989 as a pitching coordinator. After a few stops along the way, he’d return to Houston in 2013 as the team’s pitching coach. He’s had a successful run as the Astros pitching coach where he accomplished many things including helping McHugh become a viable Major League starting pitcher.
Not included in this list is former Mets 2011 25th round draft pick A.J. Reed. The Mets were uanble to sign Reed, and he attended the University of Kentucky before becoming the Astros second round pick in 2014.
Overall, it is great to see some former Mets play key roles in a Houston Astros World Series title. Hopefully, we the Mets minor league system soon produce players who will take part in a Mets World Series title. Perhaps, those players are already on the roster.
Before the last game of the season, Terry Collins told us all what we were expecting. He will not be returning as Mets manager. While unnecessary, he was magnanimous in announcing he was stepping aside and taking himself out of consideration for the managerial position with his contract expiring. The Mets rewarded him with how he’s handled himself in his seven years as manager and over these trying three days with a front office position.
In essence, Collins’ tenure with the Mets ended much in the way it started. The Mets were bad and injured. It was a circus around the team, and he was the face in front of the media left holding the bag. What we saw in all of those moments was Collins was human, which is something we don’t always see in managers.
Part of being human is being emotional. We’ve seen Collins run the gamut of emotions in those postgame press conferences. And yes, we’ve seen him cry. Perhaps none more so than when he had that gut wrenching decision to keep Johan Santana in the game and let him chase immortality. In his most prescient moment as a manger, Collins knew he could’ve effectively ended a great players’ career, and yet, he couldn’t just sit there and rob his player of his glory. In the end, that would be the defining characteristic in Collins’ tenure as manager.
He let Jose Reyes bunt for a single and take himself out of a game to claim the Mets first ever batting title. He left Santana in for that no-hitter. He initially let David Wright try to set his own schedule for when he could play until Wright all but forced Collins to be the adult. Through and through, he would stick by and defer to his players, including but not limited to sending Matt Harvey to pitch the ninth.
Until the very end, Collins had an undying belief in his players, especially his veteran players. It would be the source of much consternation among fans. This was on more highlighted than his usage of Michael Conforto. What was truly bizarre about Collins’ handling of Conforto wasn’t his not playing one of his most talented players, it was Collins had a penchant for developing players when he was interested.
In fact, that 2015 Mets team was full of players Collins developed. You can give credit to Dan Warthen, but Collins deserves credit for helping that staff develop. Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Jeurys Familia all developed into dominating pitchers under Collins guidance.
But it wasn’t just the heralded pitchers. It may have taken some time, but Collins developed some other less heralded prospects into good Major League players. Collins helped make Jon Niese, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares, and Wilmer Flores into significant contributors to a pennant winner. It wasn’t just those players. Collins seemingly brought out the best in all of his players.
With the exception of Murphy, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who performed better after leaving the Mets. Ruben Tejada, Eric Young, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, R.A. Dickey, and Marlon Byrd regressed after leaving the Mets. Really, you can pick you player, and the chances are those players were not the same after playing for a different manager.
Because of his managing, Mets fans saw things they never thought they’d see. A knuckleball pitcher won 20 games and a Cy Young. A Mets player won a batting title. There was actually a Mets no-hitter. Despite the Madoff scandal, the Mets got back to a World Series.
Through all of our collective hand wringing over his managing, we have all tended to lose sight of that. Collins got the best out of his players. It’s why we saw the rise of that team in a dream like 2015 season, and it’s why the Mets fought back so fiercely in 2016 to make consecutive postseasons.
And in those moments, Collins celebrated with his team . . . and the fans. More than anyone who has ever been a part of the Mets, Collins treated the fans with respect. He returned their affection. That was no more apparent than that improbable run in 2015:
— Matt Dunn (@MattDunnSNY) October 22, 2015
It was more than the celebrating. Collins was there to console grieving widows and take time out for sick children who just had heart transplants. At his core, Collins is a good and decent man. It may be that part of his personality which allowed him to get the most out of his players. It helps you overlook some of his shortcomings.
Certainly, Collins has left behind many reliever careers in his wake. Names like Tim Byrdak and Scott Rice are just footnotes in Mets history, and that is because Collins over used his relievers. This was just one aspect of his poor managing. There were many times where he left you scratching your head. It was his managing that helped cost the Mets the 2015 World Series.
However, as noted, the Mets would not have gotten there if not for Collins. To that end, we all owe him a bit of gratitude for that magical season. We owe him gratitude and respect for how he has treated the fans.
He did that more than anyone too because he ends his career as the longest tenured manager in Mets history. When he was hired no one expected him to last that long. Yet, it happened, and despite all of his faults, the Mets were better off for his tenure. In the end, I respected him as a man, and I appreciated what he did for this franchise.
I wish him the best of luck, and I’ll miss him. My hope is that whoever replaces him is able to capture the best of the man. Those are certainly huge shoes that are not easily filled. Mostly, I hope he’s at peace at what was a good run with the Mets, and I wish him the best of luck in his new role.
No one should expect a manager to publicly criticize his players. We also shouldn’t exactly anticipate a manager will be 100% honest in his responses. Still, there are times when a manager gives answers to honest questions, and he reveals part of himself. When Terry Collins does this, the answers are downright scary.
Zach Braziller of the New York Post posited a question to Collins if the Mets would platoon Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Curtis Granderson when Yoenis Cespedes returns. Collins’ answer to the question was he thought Conforto is tiring. This is a nonsense.
In the Month of May, Conforto hit .314/.426/.627 with nine doubles, a triple, seven homers, and 21 RBI. Over the last two weeks, he is hitting .333/.472/.643. But sure, he’s the one who’s tiring. Not Bruce who is hitting .210/.296/.430 with seven doubles, five homers, and 19 RBI in May. Over the last two weeks, Bruce is hitting .214/.300/.429.
There is a world of acceptable answers to this question including Terry’s favorite, “You hit, you play.” Maybe he’s abandoned it because he really doesn’t follow the mantra especially when he’s batting Jose Reyes second and Bruce third in the lineup. Speaking of Reyes, Collins had a doozy of an answer about Reyes:
TC on Reyes role in #mets offense in May: "It helps that Jose swung better, getting on base." May numbers: .216/.280/.330. .610 OPS.
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) June 1, 2017
Seriously, how can anyone have anything positive to say about Reyes’ play this season? He’s been a bad baseball player. Among the everyday players, Reyes has the worst batting average, OBP, slugging, OPS+, wRC+, and WAR. You name it, and he’s bad at it. About the only thing you can say about Reyes is he leads the Mets in stolen bases with six. Despite all of this, Reyes bats second in the lineup instead of playing the Eric Young, Jr. role as a pinch runner.
Given his managerial decisions, Collins’ answers have given insight into what he really believes to be true. Somehow he believes Conforto is the player who is tired, and Reyes is getting on base. It really makes you question if he’s actually watching the games.
The company line on why Eric Young, Jr. was not on the postseason roster was because it was impractical to carry a pinch runner in the National League. Well, it’s now the World Series, and the Royals have homefield, so it is time to readdress the issue.
If you watched last night‘s game, you could see the importance of a pinch runner in an American League park. Dalton Pompey pinch ran for Russell Martin last night and got himself to third with no outs. He represented the tying run. It’s still incredible the Blue Jays couldn’t knock him in.
On the flip side is Terrance Gore. He should be 5/5 in stolen base attempts in the postseason. On face value, the Royals use him judiciously. They pick their spots. However, at the end of the day, he’s only appeared in eight games and scored two runs. This shows pinch runners can be valuable, but their value is limited to the hitters behind him knocking him in.
Based upon his history with the Mets, EY could be a valuable pinch runner. If these games get tight late, his speed would be of enormous value, especially against a very good Royals bullpen. Still, I think I would have to pass.
First, the Mets need Kirk Nieuwenhuis now more than ever with Yoenis Cespedes‘ shoulder injury. Nieuwenhuis is the only OF on the team who can play all three OF spots well. Plus, Nieuwenhuis is a better baseball player. He’s a better defender and a better hitter. While he doesn’t have Young’s speed, he certainly has enough to be an effective base runner.
That would mean if the Mets want to add Young, they need to go down to 10 pitchers. It’s something the team has previously considered (off of memory, can’t find a supporting link). It’s an intriguing idea with the length the starters are giving and how effective Bartolo Colon has been. Other than the big three in the back of the pen and Colon, here’s how many appearances and innings the other relievers have:
- Jon Niese – 2 appearances, 0.2 IP
- Hansel Robles – 1 appearance, 1.0 IP
- Erik Goeddel* – 1 appearance, 0 IP
- Sean Gilmartin* – 0 appearances
Note: Gilmartin replaced Goeddel on the NLCS roster.
Overall, the Mets have not needed to go deep into the bullpen. However, I would still be loathe to reduce the number of available pitchers. First, Steven Matz is not going deep into games. If this continues and one other starter falters, the Mets bullpen is a disaster for the rest of the World Series. Second, it’s not necessary.
Salvador Perez used to be elite in throwing out runners. Just last year he threw out 42% of would be base stealers. That was tops in the AL. That percentage has dipped to 31%. In this postseason, baserunners have been successful six of seven tries against Perez, including three in the ninth inning last night.
The long story, short is you can run on Perez. You just need to pick your spots. Accordingly, you don’t need to deplete a bigger team need. With the way the Mets ran in the NLCS, they don’t need a super pinch runner. They just need to continue what they’re doing.
That means unfortunately they don’t have a need for EY in the World Series roster.
Yesterday, the Mets announced the players they are putting on the taxi squad: Eric Young, Jr., Anthony Recker, Logan Verrett, Eric Campbell, and Bobby Parnell. I think we can separate the remaining players into three categories: (1) players definitely on the roster; (2) players who are in consideration for the roster; and (3) players who are just being sent home. The players definitely on the roster has already been addressed. Here’s the other two categories:
Players under Consideration
Juan Uribe – the Mets want him on the roster, but it does not appear he’s healthy enough to play. I hope that August 23rd pinch hitting appearance was worth it.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – he seems to be the front runner for Uribe’s spot. He plays all three OF positions, has speed, and has some pop in his bat. He’s had a rough year, but he’s had some big hits since returning to the Mets.
Dilson Herrera – he’s the Mets best defensive infielder even if he only plays 2B. He’s got potential offensively and defensively. He has not realized his potential yet, but he’s still a right handed bat with pop going into a series with good left handed pitching.
Erik Goeddel – he seems to be a favorite to get a spot in the bullpen if Matz can’t pitch. In limited time, he’s shown a great splitter which has helped him with a 9.2 K/9. He could help with a strikeout in a big spot.
Sean Gilmartin – he’s been the long man, but he has reverse splits with a series with a series with huge left-handed bats. His spot is tenuous mostly with the presence of Colon, Niese, and possibly Matz on the roster.
Players Done for the Year
Johnny Monell – the Mets made their choice with Recker as the third catcher.
Carlos Torres – he took the ball whenever he was asked until he got hurt. He had a skill that helps in the regular season, but he has no room on the playoff roster.
Dario Alvarez – when he finally got a chance to pitch, he was effective. He got a huge strikeout of Bryce Harper back when the division was still in doubt. He go hurt, fought his way back, and he was ineffective.
Eric O’Flaherty – there’s not enough words to describe how bad he’s been, so I’ll keep it short. He’s horrendous.
There are still important decisions to be made. I know a lot of it hinges on Matz. I anticipate this will be a tight series, and these final choices may have a real impact. I hope they pick the right players.
Well, it seems I was wrong about Eric Young, Jr. I can’t say I am too upset about it. It seems like the last man on the roster will be Kirk Nieuwenhuis, although I still think Dilson Herrera is getting a long look as he’s not on the taxi squad.
With that said, here’s my re-revised NLDS roster projection.
1. Travis d’Arnaud
2. Kevin Plawecki
3. Lucas Duda
4. Daniel Murphy
5. David Wright
6. Ruben Tejada
7. Wilmer Flores
8. Kelly Johnson
9. Michael Conforto
10. Yoenis Cespedes
11. Curtis Granderson
12. Michael Cuddyer
13. Juan Lagares
14. Kirk Nieuwenhuis
15. Jacob deGrom
16. Noah Sundergaard
17. Matt Harvey
18. Bartolo Colon
19. Jeurys Familia
20. Addison Reed
21. Tyler Clippard
22. Hansel Robles
23. Jon Niese
24. Erik Goeddel
25. Sean Gilmartin
If he’s healthy, and he won’t be, Juan Uribe would replace Nieuwenhuis. Also, I’m not putting Steven Matz on my projected roster because he didn’t pitch. If I hear differently with the Instructuonal League appearance, I may still leave him off the projected roster.
I can’t trust the Mets to be honest on the topic. If I’m convinced, then I would slot him in the rotation moving Colon to the bullpen. That would then bump Gilmartin from the roster.