Francisco Alvarez

Mets Must Act Like NL East Race Is Over

The New York Mets were rained out, and the Atlanta Braves lost the first game of their series to the Miami Marlins. Should the Braves lose two more, and the Mets sweep, the Mets can still win the division. Cueing Lloyd Christmas:

Yes, there is an infinitesimal chance the Mets win the NL East. If that were to occur, the Mets would not have to play in the Wild Card series permitting their best players, especially their starters, extra rest. It cannot be understated just how important winning the division would be.

That said, the Mets need to pretend like they lost the division because they would need an absolute miracle to win the NL East. This is a team who has to actively prepare for the Wild Card Series against either the Philadelphia Phillies or San Diego Padres. Remember, the ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and in all likelihood, the Wild Card Series will be where it all begins.

Let’s say the Braves lose again, and the Mets sweep their doubleheader (should it be played). That would mean if the Mets win their final game, and the Braves lose their final game, the Mets win the NL East. That would get awfully tempting to go for it. After all, it is more than possible for the Braves to lose just one more.

The Mets still need to hold Jacob deGrom back. Sure, they’re be eviscerated in some corners if the Mets lose that final game without using deGrom. Those people should not be given the time of day.You can’t use deGrom on Wednesday leaving him unavailable for the first round of the postseason.

Most people will seem to grasp this with the Mets not having control of their own destiny. The next ask is where we may see fans be a little less inclined to agree.

The Mets doubleheader is the clinch day lineup. Actually, not really. Better put, it is a Spring Training type of lineup. These are the final three days to determine who can be on the Mets postseason roster. The Mets need to use them wisely.

That means Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos need to play all three games. We need to see Álvarez catch at least one, and we need to see Vientos at third or first. We need to see a little more what each can do because the time may come when the Mets need to rely upon them.

The Mets need to call up Dominic Smith. They need to see if he can start hitting. If Álvarez and Vientos aren’t, then the Mets need to see if Smith can. Fans may not believe in him, but it is the time to roll the dice, and see what hits. Keep in mind Tyler Naquin hasn’t been hitting. No, the Mets aren’t and shouldn’t going to leave Naquin off the roster for Smith, but Naquin’s struggles may demand the Mets add another player.

Moreover, key players need rest. That goes double for Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. Ideally, they would skip the doubleheader all together, and we can see them get a couple of at-bats in the season finale just to stay fresh.

We do not need to see Adam Ottavino or Seth Lugo pitch. They’ve pitched enough, and they are better rested. Let them be at maximum strength when the Wild Card round opens Friday. Really, anyone who needs a rest, and anyone who needs to be fresh should be given every opportunity to do so over the next three games.

That means if the Mets lose because a Smith or Vientos fail, it means they lose because they failed. If it means Tylor Megill blows up costing a game, it means it cost the Mets a game. That means if the Mets don’t win the division because David Peterson or Trevor Williams can’t get it done on the final game of the season, then the Mets will have to live with it.

The Mets are in the 2022 postseason. They have the best chance of winning the World Series if they get deGrom and Max Scherzer pitching like the aces they are. Everything the Mets do from here on out must be predicated upon that and nothing else. In the end, if the Mets win the World Series, no one will care about the last series in Atlanta, winning the NL East, or anything else.

Dominic Smith Needs To Be Called Up Now

The New York Mets made the right decisions calling up Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez. When the Mets went out at the trade deadline and obtained Daniel Vogelbach, they needed to find a right-handed platoon option for him. Darin Ruf didn’t work, and then, he hit the IL with an injury.

You can and should argue the Mets should have called either one of their top prospects up sooner. That would have allowed them to grow and develop to be more ready for this moment. However, that’s not what happened leaving the Mets to hope either player could catch lightning in a bottle.

The thing is neither player caught lightning in a bottle. They were also given a couple of different chances to come through in big spots, and both players failed. In no way should that shape our opinion of their futures of Major League players. However, it should make us question if they are truly ready for this moment.

This is unfair, and it is based on far too small a sample size. However, that’s all the Mets have available. What we have to look at right now is Vientos has a 60 wRC+ and 31.4 K% in 35 plate appearances. That puts him far ahead of Álvarez who has no hits and three strike outs in eight Major League plate appearances where he’s looked completely overmatched.

Fortunately, the Mets still have three games remaining in the season where they can give both players a bit of an extended look. Maybe one catches hot, and the team can carry them on the postseason roster. Chances are, neither one will, and the Mets will be left flipping a coin as to which one should be on the postseason roster.

At this point, we should say it does not have to be up to these two prospects. At some point, the Mets need to put Dominic Smith in the mix, and that moment needs to be now. With neither prospect producing, the Mets are out of excuses for leaving Smith off the Major League roster.

Yes, we know he struggled and did not produce in two years. There was the shoulder injury last year. This season, the Mets opted to ice him to try to allow Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis win the job. By the time it came to Smith again, he was hurt and in the minors. He lost a chance he never really received in the first place.

With Syracuse, Smith had a 122 wRC+. September was his best month of the season. In 21 games, he hit .294/.351/.541 with three doubles, six homers, and 18 RBI.

He looked like Smith does when he’s at his best. No, it hasn’t worked in the majors of late. Then again, it hasn’t for Álvarez or Vientos. Of the trio, Smith is the only one who has had success in the majors.

The Mets have three games remaining. Let Smith go head-to-head-to-head with Álvarez and Vientos. Whoever is hitting makes the roster.

Buck Showalter Lousy Big Game Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Álvarez And Vientos Show Mets Won’t Let Mistakes Define Them

On August 2, 2022, the New York Mets traded J.D. Davis along with prospects Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Zwack. for then San Francisco Giants 1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf. It was a trade widely panned at the time due to the prospect overpay. However, this is the type of trade where if the Mets won the World Series no one would really care about the overpay.

The converse to this is naturally the overpay is highlighted when the player struggles. This is why teams typically will not admit a mistake and do everything they can to try to make the trade work. If they can get just one big hit or a small hitting streak, they can point to that to say they didn’t completely mess up. What most teams don’t realize is that player struggling mightily only makes the trade worse because the player not only struggles, but they also inhibit a team’s chances of winning.

Things with Ruf actually started great. In his first Mets plate appearance, he hit a pinch hit double. The problem is Ruf has done absolutely nothing after that. In 28 games, he is hitting .152/.216/.197 with three doubles and seven RBI. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets have gotten more from him as a pitcher (two scoreless innings in a blowout loss) than they have as a position player.

Part of this was probably the Mets fault. They took a player who played semi-regularly, and they asked him to be a pure bench/platoon option. Unfortunately, Ruf was not suited for the role. Make no mistake, this was an unforced error and a complete gaffe by the Mets. They gave it a little less than two months before admitting defeat and investigating their other options.

Mets teams of old play and lose with Ruf. This Mets team doesn’t care about how their image and competency are adjudged. They know that will solely be defined by winning the World Series. The Mets saw Ruf would’ve hindered those chances. Instead, the Mets needed to pursue other options who would give them a better chance to win.

First, it was Mark Vientos. In Oakland, it did seem like he was figuring things out. We would even see him hit his first Major League homer. He was cutting down on the strikeouts and taking better at-bats. The thing is he had chances in his last game in big spots, and he didn’t deliver.

We have seen enough from Vientos to see he is going to be a power hitter at the Major League level. In his minor league career, he has shown the ability to make adjustments and thrive at the plate. However, with the Mets waiting so long before calling him up to the majors, he might not have that time he needs to get comfortable, adjust, and thrive before playing in the postseason.

With that in mind, the Mets called up Francisco Álvarez, the player Keith Law dropped a Mike Piazza comp on before the season. Certainly, with the 27 homers, Álvarez has backed that up. Mets fans have been waiting for this since Álvarez said in Spring Training his goal was to make it to the majors this season. He probably would’ve made it sooner if not for that ankle injury.

Right now, it seems Álvarez is here to DH in one game and be available as a pinch hitting option. While Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were complimentary of his work behind the plate, a team that is going to win and lose the World Series based on their pitching cannot sit James McCann and Tomas Nido, who are exceptional framers.

No, for now, this is a one shot deal. Álvarez is here to DH. He is here because Ruf couldn’t do the job. He is here because the Mets are still unsure if Vientos can do the job. Mostly, he is here because this Mets team will not be defined by their mistakes. Instead, they will be defined by winning.

 

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

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

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

CATCHERS (2)

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

INFIELDERS (5)

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

OUTFIELDERS (3)

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

DH (1)

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

STARTERS (5)

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

BULLPEN (4)

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

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

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

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

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

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

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

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

J.D. Davis Cannot Play Again

On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, the New York Mets put J.D. Davis into the lineup as the DH. Even better, he was batting fifth.

Excuses were abound. It was a left-handed starter, and Daniel Vogelbach isn’t good against left-handed pitching (true). Patrick Corbin was on the mound, and Davis owns him.

That was once true. It’s not any more. It may be in the reverse now. Including this game, he’s 1-for-8 with two GIDP, three strikeouts, and a walk.

Not only is that against a pitcher he’s owned, but it’s also against someone who is probably the worst pitcher in baseball right now. What exactly does that say about Davis?

To answer the rhetorical question, it means Davis cannot play anymore. Not for a team looking to win a World Series.

Credit Buck Showalter for removing Davis for Vogelbach when the Washington Nationals went to their bullpen. That decision should be for good.

The Mets simply have to do better. Davis strikes out over 30% of the time. He hits the ball into the ground half the time. We can go on and on and delve deeper and deeper, but it’s best summed up by his bring lifted and benched.

The sad part is that’s all Davis can do. He’s horrendous in left and at third. Even if you want to overblow that one game saving pick at first, you’re not playing him over Pete Alonso.

Davis has lived far too long off the fluke 2019 season fueled by a juiced ball and an unsustainable BABIP. There’s too much at stake now, and there are players available.

Maybe there’s a Wilmer Flores reunion where the Mets can undo that massive mistake of non-tendering him and trading for Davis. There’s other smaller options, and of course, the chance at J.D. Martinez.

For that mater, the Mets can call-up Francisco Álvarez or Mark Vientos. Really, at this point, anything is better. Anything.

Davis had two at-bats in the game ahead of the deadline. He’s entitled to no more. Not upgrading from him is too egregious to even ponder.

Overall, Davis has to have played his last game as a Met. Once he’s gone, we can then focus on a complete roster ready to win a World Series.

Francisco Álvarez Time Is Coming

According to reports, it appears James McCann will be ready to return from the IL sooner than expected. That’s great news for a team getting nothing offensively from Tomás Nido and really nothing at all from Patrick Mazeika.

McCann’s return probably takes the Mets out of the Willson Contreras hunt. With this being a pitching first team and his framing, that’s not a bad thing.

However, that doesn’t mean the Mets should completely overlook upgrading the catcher position. On that point, it appears Francisco Álvarez is getting closer and closer.

When first called up to Triple-A, Álvarez struggled. Over his first eight games, he was batting .087/.324/.130. What should stand out there is the .324 OBP.

That was a sign he wasn’t being dominated. In fact, it was just the hits weren’t coming. He was not yet driving the ball. However, he was in the at-bat, and even while struggling and adapting, he was finding ways on base.

From there, he went to the MLB Future’s Game in Los Angeles during the All-Star Break. Álvarez was 0-for-1 with a walk, but he came back to Syracuse a different player.

Since he returned, Álvarez is 5-for-21 with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. Astoundingly, he’s walked eight times. That’s a .238/.448/.639 batting line.

Notably, he continues getting on base. In fact, he’s drawn a walk in four straight games and seven of his last eight games. Of those seven games, five of them were multi-walk games.

Now, we see the power coming. There’s also some clutch there with a grand slam and walk-off homer.

Álvarez now has a three game hitting streak, and he has a hit in five of the six games after the Future’s Game. In five of those six, he’s reached base multiple times.

While this is a multi-layered approach and analysis, in Álvarez, we see a player getting closer and closer to being Major League ready. With every walk and extra base hit, he gets closer to Queens.

In the end, McCann can be healthy. Nido can be strong behind the plate. However, when Álvarez is ready, nothing is going to stop him from getting to the majors. Increasingly, it looks like that’ll happen this year.

Willson Contreras Bad Fit For Mets

When you look at the New York Mets, the obvious area to address for offense is catcher. After all, Tomas Nido has a 47 wRC+, and Patrick Mazeika has a 39. That’s just indefensibly bad offensive production.

Now, this is the obvious spot where we say the Mets should call-up Francisco Alvarez. With Alvarez hitting a double and grand slam in consecutive games, we are not at that point yet. After all, he is hitting .125/.318/.281 over 10 games. You can argue that will probably translate better than what they are getting now, but with Alvarez, it is more than just what he can give you now.

Surveying the trade market, it would seem Willson Contreras and his career best 140 wRC+ would be a perfect fit. In actuality, this would be a mistake for the Mets.

Ultimately, this is a team built on its pitching. A large part of that has been the work Nido has done behind the plate.

Nido has been a terrific framer. In fact, as per Baseball Savant, he is tied as for 14th best among framers. He’s a good week from moving up to the top 10. While he doesn’t rate nearly as high, he does have impressive pop times. He is a defensive wizard back there, and he’s helping the Mets pitching staff.

This season, the Mets staff have the sixth best ERA (3.60) and FIP (3.65) and the best K/9 (9.65). They’re also walking few batters with their 2.86 BB/9 ranking seventh. The pitching staff is dominant, and more than anything else, that is why the Mets are in first place.

Look at it another way, this team cannot hit their way out of a paper bag right now. Still, they’re 9-7 over their last 16. The biggest reason is the pitching. Since Max Scherzer has come all the IL, the starting rotation has a 1.70 ERA, which is easily the best in the majors. This right here is the Mets strength, and it’s going to be more of a strength when Jacob deGrom returns from the IL.

This is also before you see Edwin Diaz is finally comfortable and dominating. He’s easily the best closer in baseball right now.

Contreras would only serve to diminish that.

Contreras has one of the worst called strike rates in the majors. Sure, part of that could be the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, and overall, Contreras has good framing numbers. However, as noted by the strike rate, that is deceiving. Maybe things will be better with the Mets, maybe not. Given what’s at stake, it’s too big of a risk to take.

If Contreras doesn’t jive with the Mets pitchers, that’s it. This team’s strength has taken a massive hit. Now, you have another Wilson Ramos situation where you’re just relying on him to hit. That’s a dicey proposition.

For his career, Contreras is a 127 wRC+ at Wrigley and a 108 on the road. That’s carried into this year where he is a 150 wRC+ at home and a 127 on the road. Again, he is far better at home, and an important note here, while it’s only a 15 game sample size, he hits .180/.263/.260 at Citi Field.

Ultimately, even if Ramos is at his career worst at the plate, he’s a significant upgrade over what the Mets already have offensively. However, catcher is a defensive position above all else. It is about the roughly 40 plate appearances you are behind the plate over the four you get yourself. Looking at it that way, what Nido is doing is far more valuable.

The Mets can improve their offense by addressing other areas. Even with Daniel Vogelbach, they can improve at DH. They can improve at third and left. Maybe if Alvarez is ready, they can improve there. What they can’t do right now is gamble on Contreras. That is a move that can hurt them more than it can help them.

 

Mets Need Offense, Bullpen, Luck At Trade Deadline

The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.

Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.

Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.

Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.

Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.

Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.

Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.

Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.

When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.

Really, the Mets need luck. They need the kind of luck they had when Yoenis Cespedes became the best player on the planet and Addison Reed was the best set-up reliever out of the 2015 trade deadline.

That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.

The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.

Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.

Trevor May needs to be healthy. David Peterson needs to transition well to the bullpen. Peterson and Williams need to pitch well there, and Buck Showalter has to be willing to use them.

Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.

Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.

The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.

Kevin Parada Wasn’t Drafted For Juan Soto Trade

With the 11th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected catcher Kevin Parada out of Georgia Tech. This immediately led Mets fans into speculation Parada was drafted so the Mets could trade for Juan Soto.

It just doesn’t work that way. Put another way, no, Parada was not drafted as a replacement for Francisco Álvarez.

Look, you can understand the Soto excitement. Arguably, the best hitter in the game is on the market after (correctly) turning down a 15 year $440 million extension.

This has led the Washington Nationals to look to trade Soto, who hits free agency after the 2024 season. According to reports, the Nationals see the Mets as a potential trade partner. That should be obvious.

After all, Álvarez is already considered the best prospect in the minors. The Mets also have top 100 prospects in Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, Alex Ramirez, and Mark Vientos (depending on your list). Additionally, when he returns from his Tommy John rehab, Matt Allan is anticipated to join those ranks.

Simply put, the Mets have the high-end prospect talent selling teams covet at the trade deadline. Arguably, the Mets could acquire Soto even if they make Álvarez untouchable.

Another factor is Jon Heyman’s report in the New York Post wherein the Nationals may force interested teams to take on Patrick Corbin’s terrible contract. That leaves only a handful of teams who could be in a position to make the deal with Steve Cohen having the deepest pockets.

All told, yes, the Mets have what it takes to get Soto. No, Parada has no bearing on such a deal.

As Mets vice president of amateur and international scouting Tommy Tanous told MMO about draft approach, “The boring answer is you still take the best player available but having all those picks and the pool money there’s plenty of different scenarios you can play around with.”

Honestly, this is how almost all teams approach the draft. That goes double for the Mets. They draft the best player available.

The reason why the Mets drafted Parada? He was the best player available. Keep in mind, no one had Parada falling this far.

For example, Keith Law of The Athletic and MLB Pipeline had Parada going fifth to the Nationals of all teams. Parada falling to 11 was a steal, and the Mets pounced.

Ultimately, that’s the reason the Mets drafted Parada. Really, it had nothing to do with Álvarez.

Consider this. In 2019, the Baltimore Orioles made Adley Rutschman the top overall pick in the draft. Rutschman made his Major League debut roughly three years after being drafted. That’s not atypical.

Álvarez is currently playing in Triple-A Syracuse. With James McCann’s injury, it’s entirely possibly Álvarez could be called up the minute he starts hitting. If he’s not traded, we will definitively see Álvarez in the majors by 2023 at the latest.

If Parada is three years away, he’s not an Álvarez replacement. It doesn’t work that way. The Mets drafted Parada because he miraculously fell to him; not to trade Álvarez.

As an aside, the same can be said for Jett Williams. Williams was drafted 14th overall by the Mets because he was the best player available and not so the Mets could trade Ronny Mauricio.

Yes, it’s very possible the Mets trade Álvarez or Mauricio to Soto. It could be them both plus other pieces while absorbing a bad contract. Soto is 23 and that awesome.

However, there’s no cause and effect here. Parada is a Mets draftee because he was the best player available. It’s really just a coincidence he plays the same position as Álvarez, the best and most coveted prospect in the game.