The hapless Mets offense had gone searching for a place to have an offensive breakout. Their tour took them to hitter’s parks like Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Arizona. All hitter’s parks, but form them to be hitter’s parks, you need to have hitters. The Mets haven’t, at least not until recently.
Finally, the Mets made it to the hitter’s paradise that is Coors Field. After two good performances to close out their series against the Diamondbacks, this Mets team was primed for an offensive explosion. That would begin with Brandon Nimmo leading off the game:
Over-the-fence home runs are becoming a little too easy and conventional for Brandon Nimmo. pic.twitter.com/52B07uHPWa
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 19, 2018
It was Nimmo who hit the go-ahead homer in Sunday’s big comeback against the Diamondbacks, and it was him homering again to lead-off the game.
With that Nimmo homer, Jacob deGrom was in a rare position. He had a lead with himself on the mound. If you had any concern about how deGrom would handle these uncharted waters in a ballpark like Coors Field, you shouldn’t. One again, deGrom was great.
Through eight innings, deGrom limited the Rockies to two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. This made deGrom the rare pitcher who came to Coors Field and actually lowered his ERA. It now stands at an MLB best 1.51.
Though it’s criminal it took this long, deGrom finally got his fifth win of the season. That happened because the Mets offense finally exploded.
One important thing to note about this game is the Mets organization has long shied away from having either Nimmo or Conforto face Major League left-handed pitching. In a game started by the left-handed Tyler Anderson, both Nimmo and Conforto had great games:
- Nimmo: 4-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
- Conforto: 3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB
At that point, the Mets lead 6-2, and the game was pretty much on hand. That said, with this being Coors Field, it didn’t hurt the Mets added on some insurance runs.
In a six run ninth inning, the Mets batted around, and the Mets would score runs on:
- Mesoraco bases loaded walk
- Bautista bases loaded walk
- Amed Rosario two run double
- Nimmo two RBI single
After that, it was 12-2. After a scoreless ninth from Paul Sewald, the Mets have finally have won three games in a row. That is in no small part due to their bats waking up scoring 22 runs over three games. To put that in perspective, the Mets offense only scored 21 runs over the 13 games prior to Saturday’s victory over the Diamondbacks.
Game Notes: Bautista replaced Jay Bruce from the starting lineup after he was once again scratched due to injury.
With the way things are going with the New York Mets, it is becoming increasingly clear this team will be in position to sell at the trade deadline. The question is what in the world do the Mets have to sell.
Well, the biggest asset the Mets have right now is Jacob deGrom. If he was ever truly available, you would have 29 teams lining up to give you their best prospects. The problem with that is, you could assume the Mets will not deal with either the Yankees or the Nationals. With the Yankees, you are taking one deep farm system off the table, and that is assuming the Yankees would part with their top prospects in a trade with the Mets.
Overall, based on recent comments from Sandy Alderson, it does not appear the Mets are trading deGrom anytime soon, which is a relief because Sandy really does poor work at the trade deadline. He’s much better working deals in the offseason.
So when looking at players to trade, you obviously begin with guys on the last year of their deals. Well, the Mets don’t have much to offer there:
Jerry Blevins – the LOOGY has a 5.28 ERA, 1.761 WHIP, and a 6.5 BB/9. Worse than that, left-handed batters are hitting .351/.415/.514 off of him.
Jose Bautista – When he was released, the Mets were seemingly the only team who called him, and it’s hard to imagine teams giving up much for a second division bench player with a .366 SLG.
Asdrubal Cabrera – A year after the Mets found no takers for him, they may be in the same position after having him play through injuries. Since April 24th, he’s hitting .233/.269/.423 while playing the worst defensive second base in the majors (-10 DRS).
Jeurys Familia – If he returns from the DL healthy, Familia has real value because he has once again shown himself to be a good reliever and closer. The issue with him is Sandy Alderson flipped Addison Reed, who was healthier and having a better year, for an uninspiring group of Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.
Devin Mesoraco – Briefly, Mesoraco was a revelation showing power and helping buttress a struggling Mets lineup. The hot streak has worn off, and he’s hitting .107 with no extra base hits over his last nine games.
AJ Ramos – Ramos is contemplating season ending shoulder surgery. That would take him off the table. The same can be said for his 6.41 ERA.
Jose Reyes – He’s the worst player in all of baseball this year; one the Mets are reportedly asking to retire.
Alright, so the Mets don’t have much in terms of players on expiring deals. Maybe, the team can look at players whose deals are expiring after the 2019 season:
Todd Frazier – The normally durable Frazier landed on the DL, and he has not been the power hitter he has been in his career. The positives are he’s kept a solid walk rate while playing a solid third base. Overall, he’s the type of player who is of more value to you than to what you would get back in a deal.
Jason Vargas – He’s now a five inning pitcher with a 7.39 ERA.
Zack Wheeler – Wheeler is an interesting case because he has shown promise, but he is still prone to the occasional hiccups. He’s probably not due for a large arbitration increase from his $1.8 million, which should be enticing for a Mets team who probably doesn’t want to spend $8 million to replace him with next year’s Vargas.
So, right now, looking at the expiring deals by the end of the 2019 season, the Mets assets basically amount to Familia and maybe Frazier and Wheeler. Arguably, Frazier and Wheeler are not bringing back the type of players who would be key pieces of a rebuild. To that extent, you at least have to question why you would move them on a Mets team with a fairly solid core which includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Noah Syndergaard, and deGrom.
And really, past that group, there isn’t much else available for the Mets to trade to justify blowing it up.
Jay Bruce is injured, and he already looks like he’s in a group with Jason Bay and Vince Coleman for the worst free agent mistake in Mets history. Yoenis Cespedes is both injury prone and has a no trade deal, which will likely limit their ability to move him.
Really, what the Mets need to be doing is some soul searching.
Much like they did when they extended David Wright, the team needs to assess whether players like deGrom and Syndergaard will be here when promising young players like Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Justin Dunn, Mark Vientos, and Jarred Kelenic are here to open the Mets next World Series window.
If they’re not, you’re doing the franchise a complete disservice by hanging in this if everything breaks right structure. Really, things only broke right in 2015, and the team has been ill designed every since.
Blow it up now, or start spending money on players like Manny Machado this offseaosn. If you’re not doing that, this Mets team isn’t going anywhere for at least the next decade.
You know what the Mets do to win a game? Score a run.
You know what they need to score those runs? Get some hits, at least more than two.
Through the first six innings, Braves rookie Mike Soroka faced the minimum while no-hitting the Mets.
While the Mets were once again setting baseball back to the days of the New York Nine, Jacob deGrom was once again pitching like the best player in baseball.
In seven innings, deGrom allowed just one run, and while that run was charged as an earned run, it wasn’t entirely on him.
That was it. Once that run scored, the Mets chances of winning went with it. In fact, as noted by Elias, the Mets are the first team ever to score fewer than 15 runs and compile less than 50 hits over an 11 game span (h/t Good Fundies).
Because Freeman owns both the Mets and Jerry Blevins, he hit a solo shot in the eighth to expand the Braves lead to 2-0.
The Mets did have a rally in them in the ninth. Conforto drew a one out walk, and Nimmo hit a two out double. That put the game in Bruce’s hands.
With the tying runs on base, Bruce hit the first pitch Aroyds Vizcaino offered him. It was a game ending pop out to short. It was a fitting end to another miserable loss.
Well , once again Adrian Gonzalezis playing poorly. Including last night’s 0-for–3 with two strikeouts, he’s hitting .239/.304/.374 on the season.
Those numbers are unacceptable from a defensive catcher let alone a team’s everyday first baseman.
It’s not like he’s mired in a slump, or those numbers are the result of a poor start. Basically speaking, this is who Gonzalez has been all year. It’s time to make a switch.
That switch should start with Dominic Smith getting called-up to play in Gonzalez’s place, but with him hitting .267/.350/.379 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, he hasn’t earned the Mets first base job.
This is the point where most Mets fans cry out for Peter Alonso, who has been tearing up Double-A hitting .313/.448/.582 with nine doubles, 15 homers, and 49 RBI.
Despite the enthusiasm those stats garner, there are some concerns about making such a move.
For starters, Alonso pulls the ball 44.1% of the time making it easy for MLB teams to shift against him. This will likely lead to his .343 BABIP cratering.
Another consideration is his 23.4 percent HR/FB ration. It’s just a terrific number. The question is just how sustainable that is. As a point of reference, Alonso had a 16.8 percent home run to fly ball ratio last year. That’s a big jump, which puts him into Giancarlo Stanton territory.
Alonso has real power, but being at Stanton’s level is perhaps a higher stratosphere many believed he would be.
There’s also the fact he’s in a slump going just seven for his last 38 (.184) with only one homer. The one positive there is he continues to draw walks.
His continuing to draw walks speaks to a much better approach at the plate, which has helped fuel his power numbers.
There’s also his defensive issues. While Alonso is much improved with his more slender physique, he’s made six errors this year, which is a .985 fielding percentage.
There may be other things the Mets could cite for their decision to not being him up, including but not limited to how big a jump it is to go from Double-A to the majors.
Whatever the case. whoever is playing first base now is likely just a stopgap for when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list.
And if Bruce is at first, there’s no room for Gonzalez or Alonso on this roster any longer. With no real playing time available, mostly due to the presence of Bruce on this roster, the Mets likely don’t want to call up Alonso. Rather, the better decision is to let him continue to improve in Double or Triple-A.
Ultimately, it is the Mets decision to give Bruce a three year $39 million deal, even with the Mets already being set at the corner outfield position, that is going to be the major impediment to the Mets properly addressing their first base situation.
It was as if the Mets said to Jacob deGrom, “Here’s your run. Now go win this game.”
For five innings deGrom was brilliant, and he was keeping his pitch count down. It was as if he was going to make sure he wasn’t going to let the bullpen blow this one.
The bullpen wasn’t going to get that chance because the defense did.
A Tanaka grounder somehow ate up Adrian Gonzalez who booted it leading to Tanaka teaching with one out.
Naturally, Jay Bruce labored to get to the ball, and he made an absolutely dreadful season throw home that was already rolling by the first base bag.
The throw, which rolled past Gonzalez, was not in time to catch a hobbled Tanaka, who had to exit the game with a leg injury.
Because he’s Jake, and he’s great, he got out of that jam allowing just the one earned run.
That said, we knew the Mets were going to lose this one. It really was an inevitability from a team who has not scored more than one run in a game since the first of this month. That stretch is made all the worse when you consider it includes a 14 inning game.
Mets had a golden chance in the sixth withJonathan Holder needing to warm up on the fly to get ready to pitch that inning. They went down 1-2-3.
That was a real shame because it set the stage for deGrom to lose his first game of the season.
After a Torres two out single, Gardner got a hold of one which bounced off the top of the right field wall for a two run homer.
If you woke up from a coma, you might’ve gotten excited in the bottom of the ninth.
After Michael Conforto flew out to center, Todd Frazier hit a ball hard that Miguel Andujar made a nice play on. That said, it was a somewhat slow moving play, and it was a play that only Cabrera would be out at second.
To put a nice capper on everything, Bruce popped out to end the game because he apparently had not done enough to help cost the Mets this game.
Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback and won’t be activated for Sunday. Seth Lugo will start in his place. Jeurys Familia was placed on the DL before the game, and Jacob Rhame was called up to take his place.
As frustrated as Mets fans have been this season, imagine being Jacob deGrom. Short of his pitching a complete game shut out and hitting a homer, he’s not getting the win.
In fact, deGrom has made four straight seven inning starts, and in each start, he has allowed one earned or less. He has gone just 1-0 with three no decisions. That makes eight no decisions on the season.
With the way the Mets offense has been, it begs the question over just how many wins will deGrom have with the Mets this season. The Mets Blogger Roundtable attempts to answer:
Zero. The Mets are aware of this and have stopped using the word “wins” entirely to keep morale up, so that’s good. Jacob will be traded to, I dunno, the Barves at the deadline for five relief pitching prospects and $10 million, after the Yankees offer Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres knowing full well Fred Wilpon will agree to it before saying “psyche” and hanging up his rotary phone. deGrom will go 8-0 with a 6.00 ERA in Atlanta and then completely dominate in all of his postseason appearances. I will remark “neat” to nobody in particular as he accepts his World Series MVP trophy while my cat continues to clean himself.
Fear not, Mets fans, for deGrom will actually do something to knock Oliver Perez out of the Mets’ record books.
In 2008, Perez went 10-7 in 34 starts to set a franchise record with 17 no-decisions. DeGrom will shatter that mark by going 9-3 with 20 no-decisions. Jacob already has eight NDs in his first 12 starts. Ollie didn’t pick up his eighth no decision in his record-setting campaign until his 19th start on July 11.
deGrom will probably get his next win at the end of July, in another uniform. Getting traded in itself will be a win for him.
DeGrom will win 9 games, matching Craig Swan‘s total from 40 years ago when he won the NL ERA title. Who says the Mets don’t honor their history?
Right now, Felix Hernandez and Fernando Valenzuela share the MLB record for fewest wins by a starter in the season they won the Cy Young Award. Valenzuela’s came in the strike shortened 1981 season whereas King Felix accomplished his feat over the course of a full 162 game schedule.
Through King Felix’s first 12 starts, he had three wins, which is one fewer than where deGrom is now, so being optimistic, let’s say deGrom gets to that 13 number with far fewer losses.
When deGrom finally gets to win number five, please make sure to see what each one of these writers say about it. It’s sure to be better than watching the Mets offense.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets had a promotion to give away Jacob deGrom Garden Gnomes. As noted in an MMO article on the topic, this was a hot ticket item as nearly 40,000 fans showed up for the giveaway.
The problem was the Mets only gave away 15,000 garden gnomes meaning that even if you showed up to the gates an hour early, well before most fans arrive for a normal game, you were out of luck:
We got here almost an hour before first pitch. All the deGrom gnomes are gone at every gate.
— Ed Leyro (@Studi_Metsimus) May 2, 2015
For some reason, the Mets won’t give away 40,000 of hot ticket items like this even with them knowing they are filling the park. As an aside, they make sure to have enough for every media member.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 17, 2015
That aside, the Mets are more than willing to ruin a child’s experience at a game because they won’t spend the extra few bucks (absent a sponsor – $3/fan) to make sure everyone gets one, and maybe like the Brewers, order extras to bring to schools and other charitable events.
If you’re not infuriated enough, consider this: THE METS STILL HAVE LEFTOVER DEGROM GNOMES!!!!!
That’s right, despite “only having 15,000” leaving roughly 25,000 fans without a gnome, the Mets have one, and they’re giving it away:
Really, just when you think this franchise can’t sink any lower and can’t be any more insulting, they find a way.
If you spent the money, you weren’t guaranteed a gnome not just because the Mets didn’t order enough, but because they also held one back to give away on Twitter.
In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”
Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:
So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.
A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?
This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame. What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.
Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch. For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers. Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner. It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.
Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS. Amed Rosario has been making continued strides. After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate. It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.
We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco. Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.
The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?
Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.
Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries. What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”
He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.
Consider this. After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland. After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery.
Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.
The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.
For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster. This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.
This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason. No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder. Three year $39 million deals are not that. Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.
Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.
That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions. Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.
Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing. No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.
The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications. With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy. Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base? Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?
Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway. His bullpen management has been suspect at times. Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win. Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.
It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager. Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?
Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.
After his epic run at the end of the 2015 season, it is understandable how many view Yoenis Cespedes as the driving force of this Mets team. However, if you look at the past few seasons, the person who has really been at the forefront of the Mets peaks and valleys has been Asdrubal Cabrera.
Looking over the past few seasons, Cabrera never really did get the credit Cespedes received for his propelling the Mets to the postseason in 2016. Consider from August 19th until the end of the 2016 season, he hit .345/.406/.635 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 homers, and 29 RBI. Really, looking at that decimated team who was looking for an everyday second baseman at they entered September, it was Cabrera who carried that team to the postseason.
As the 2018 season began, it was once again Cabrera who was the driving force of this Mets team.
In April, Cabrera hit .340/.393/.580 with nine doubles, five homers, and 17 RBI. For a Mets team who was in first place, Cabrera was in the all too early conversation for National League MVP.
That’s not a stretch either as Cabrera’s hot bat masked much of what was wrong with the Mets. The Mets were winning despite Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard being the only Mets starters who would give the team credible starts. Amed Rosario was struggling along with Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and countless other Mets. The teams two catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down with injuries, and they were replaced by an underwhelming duo of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido.
Through all of it, Cabrera got big hit after big hit after big hit, and the Mets were 17-9, and they led the Braves by 1.5 games in the National League East, and they lead the Nationals by 4.5 games.
Since that time, we have seen Cabrera get nicked up on more than one occasion, have seen his play fall off of a cliff, and we have seen the Mets go 10-21 while plummeting to fourth in the standings.
Since May 1st, Cabrera is hitting .252/.282/.445 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and 17 RBI. These are more befitting a hitter towards the end of the lineup than the second place hitter Cabrera has been for this team.
Cabrera isn’t just struggling at the plate. He’s struggling mightily in the field as well. In fact, with a -11 DRS, Cabrera is the worst defensive second baseman in all of baseball. Expanding the worldview a bit more, Cabrera’s -11 DRS ranks worst among all Major League infielders.
Simply put, Cabrera is not hitting or fielding right now. In a season where the was the driving force who bailed the Mets out of a number of situations, he has become one of the many liabilities on this team.
No, the current state of the Mets cannot be pinned on Cabrera. There are far more issues than his recent play. However, when he struggles like this, with Cespedes on the disabled list, and Michael Conforto still trying to get back to form, you no longer have a bat in the lineup who can carry this Mets team and help mask some of those other issues.
Look, there’s just not much to say about a game the Mets lost 7-1 in 14 innings pushing them back to two games under .500.
With the Cubs starting LHP Mike Montgomery, it appeared that would be enough as the Mets are literally the worst offensive team against LHP.
That made Michael Conforto‘s sixth inning solo shot all the more miraculous. Really, more than anything, it took deGrom off the hook. With the Mets blowing games for him left and right, it was the least the team could do.
And the Mets offense would deliver the absolute least compiling seven hits and 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Speaking of strikeouts, the Mets set a new franchise record by striking out 24 Cubs in this game.
Of those 24, 13 came from deGrom in his seven innings of work.
The problem is while that quintet put up zeroes, the Cubs bullpen was doing the same highlighted by Luke Farrell, who entered the game with a 6.75 ERA, pitched five scoreless.
It was an ugly inning in a game full of ugly Mets offense. They’re now two games under .500, and you’re left wondering where rick bottom is going to be because the Mets apparently have not yet found it.
Game Notes: P.J. Conlon is now an ex-Met as the Dodgers claimed him off waivers.