Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Billy Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig Paquette, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and many, many more.
As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).
Make no mistake, Carlos Beltran was screwed. He wasn’t allowed to manage for the New York Mets because of his implication in the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal.
The Mets didn’t release J.D. Davis. After the scandal was public knowledge, the Mets actually traded for Jake Marisnick. Since the scandal broke, Alex Cora was re-hired by the Boston Red Sox, and A.J. Hinch got another opportunity to manage.
Meanwhile, Beltran has been out of baseball making him the only Astros truly punished. Worse yet, he’s had no opportunity for redemption.
Certainly, that seems absurd in a world where Alex Rodriguez is broadcasting Sunday Night Baseball. He’s also part of the Fox Studio show which once included Pete Rose.
There should be a path back for Beltran. With Luis Rojas being fired, many are pushing the narrative the Mets need to right the wrong and bring back Beltran as manager.
It’s a bad idea.
One of the reasons why Rojas is gone was he was deemed still too raw to manage at the Major League level. Fair or not, that’s the criticism. Keep in mind, this is a well respected minor league manager who helped developed nearly every player in that clubhouse. We also know this is a manager with the respect of that clubhouse.
It’s bizarre to go from Rojas to a manager with even less experience. In fact, the entirety of Beltran’s coaching and managerial career is the roughly two months he was the manager of the Mets.
At that time, the Mets didn’t have a complete roster. He hasn’t met with all of his players. He didn’t make it to Spring Training let alone manage a game. This makes him a complete unknown as to his ability to handle any aspect of managing a Major League team.
Does he go by the gut, or does he rely on data? Will he follow the front office script or trust his eyes? How does he handle player conflict? How will he manage the daily interactions with the press? Can he handle a WFAN spot or a crisis?
Literally, no one knows the answer to any of these questions. Really, the only argument for Beltran is a sense of nostalgia and perhaps justice. That’s simply not a good reason to hire a manager.
The Mets fancy themselves as World Series contenders, or at least have the intention of being that after this offseason. How can they build a roster and hand the keys to someone who hasn’t even learned to ride a bicycle yet?
It’s complete and utter nonsense, and that’s even allowing for the possibility Beltran could be good. That’s the thing no one knows.
It’s time to just put an end to this nonsense. The Mets need to hire a real president of baseball operations and allow him to his manager. It’s a decision which needs to be made with no sentimentality. It’s simply a decision to hire the best and most qualified man for the job.
That’s not Beltran. The Mets can and probably should bring him back in some capacity – just not as manager. That should go to someone qualified.
While the focus was on Willie Harris‘ bad send, truth be told, it only looked bad because of that relay. In previous seasons, Jake Marisnick would’ve been safe and scored the tying run.
Pillar to Guillorme to McCann ?
Gary and Keith break down the clutch relay in the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/KQlmrIruhr
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 16, 2021
There’s one word for what Luis Guillorme did there – Magic.
It’s an old magicians maxim. The hand is quicker than the eye. You could say that about Guillorme. His hands in receiving the relay, transferring it, and going home, were quicker than Harris’ eyes.
Guillorme’s lightning quick transfer could be the best in the game. It’s the difference between a run and an out. It’s the difference between a fielder’s choice and a double play.
It won't show up in the box score. There's not a stat for it. But this wins games.
Look how quickly Luis Guillorme gets rid of this ball after a double clutch over at third base to complete the double play. This is incredible. Even in slow motion it's fast. pic.twitter.com/lfXGm0B8VK
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) June 14, 2021
Guillorme is just that good. He’s a wizard in the middle infield. Certainly, we can’t go talking about Guillorme’s tricks without bringing up Adeiny Hechavarria‘s bat again.
Can't get enough of Luis Guillorme's bat catch… pic.twitter.com/3CT1TOOxhf
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 19, 2017
Guillorme can do things on the field seemingly no one else can. His hands are quick. His instincts, reflexes, and reaction time are quicker. When you get all of that, you get pure magic on the field.
When you get pure magic on the field, you build a winner. Notably, the Mets are in first and appear poised to stay there all season long. The Mets making the other team’s chances of winning the division may just be the best magic trick of them all.
While we’re seeing pitchers struggling after MLB declaring they’re cracking down on sticky substances, Taijuan Walker just went out there and had a big start against the Chicago Cubs. It was the best start from the best free agent signing.
Over 7.0 innings, Walker allowed two earned on five hits and zero walks while he had a career high 12 strikeouts. The only blemish was a third inning two run homer by Javier Baez.
Career high 1⃣2⃣ K night for @tai_walker. ??? pic.twitter.com/Gm9AAjIxxL
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 16, 2021
Walker partially had a good start because there was excellent defense behind him. Dominic Smith made a leaping catch into the wall robbing Willson Contreras in the third. Jonathan Villar went in the hole and made the play on a ball Joc Pederson hit against the shift.
Jonathan Villar & Pete Alonso.
There when you need them. pic.twitter.com/kJC0SV0A3Q
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 16, 2021
After the Cubs scored their two in the top of the third, the Mets returned serve. Villar drew a one out walk against Alec Mills. After Smith hit a two out double, Pete Alonso tied the score with a two out single.
The next time Alonso stepped to the plate in the fifth he had the opportunity to break the game open. Mills was knocked out of the game, and Cubs reliever, Rex Brothers loaded the bases.
Notably, Smith had a very tough at-bat. After falling down 0-2, he stayed alive, and he drew a walk.
For some reason, even with Brothers losing the zone and falling behind 2-0 to Alonso, Alonso got aggressive. Luckily, Alonso hit a sacrifice fly scoring Villar and putting the Mets ahead 3-2.
Seth Lugo breezed through the Cubs in the eighth, and with Edwin Diaz unavailable, Lugo was being called upon to convert a six out save.
With the Mets rallying in the eighth, that meant Lugo would bat for himself. He went to sacrifice runners to second and third, but he popped up the bunt. Anthony Rizzo let it drop to try to turn the double play.
The plan almost worked. The problem is Lugo busted it out of the box, and Sergio Alcantara dropped the ball. It’s hard to know how much it tired Lugo, and maybe it didn’t at all, but Lugo lost some velocity in the ninth.
Certainly, Lugo struggled in the ninth. It started with a Contreras single, and Jake Marisnick came on as a pinch runner. Eric Sogard then hit a single into the gap.
Kevin Pillar did well to prevent the ball from going into the gap. He made a strong throw back to the infield which normally would have frozen the runners, but Cubs third base coach and perpetual Mets killer Willie Harris got aggressive sending Marisnick.
Luis Guillorme came across, fielded the relay throw, and made a lighting fast transfer as he threw a strike to James McCann. That was a huge play to keep the tying run from scoring.
Pillar to Guillorme to McCann ?
Gary and Keith break down the clutch relay in the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/KQlmrIruhr
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 16, 2021
Lugo might’ve been on fumes, but he had enough left in the tank to strike out Alcantara to end the game. With that, the Mets won another tight game, and they once again did it with pitching and defense.
Game Notes: The Mets were the only team to offer Walker a contract this offseason.
Every so often you’re reminded why the New York Mets have been so haphazard with their treatment of David Peterson. The talent is so tantalizing, and he can give you the occasional gem. Tonight was one of those nights.
He completely and utterly dominated the Chicago Cubs. For the first time in his career, he pitched six shut out innings. He only allowed one hit, but with it coming in the third, he went flirting with a no-hitter.
The singer and slider were working. Overall, Peterson walked two, allowed the one hit, and he had three strikeouts. Giving the night he had, and the season he’s had, Luis Rojas didn’t push him to go through the lineup a third time, and he got him out feeling good about the start.
He’d also leave with the lead putting him in position for his second win of the season.
For the first 3.2 innings, Jake Arrieta was relatively in control. Then, it quickly and suddenly unraveled for him.
With two out and one on, Billy McKinney drew a walk. James McCann then opened the scoring with an RBI single. On the play, Jake Marisnick‘s throw to the plate for past Willson Contreras allowing McKinney and McCann to advance. Both would score easily on Kevin Pillar‘s two RBI double giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
Two out rally time. ?@McCannon33 | @KPILLAR4 | #LGM pic.twitter.com/TYO1EaPc66
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 15, 2021
That lead grew to 4-0 when Dominic Smith hit a homer to dead center off Arrieta in the fifth.
Entering the sixth, Tommy Nance relieved Arrieta, and he lost control. In walking back-to-back hitters, he threw five straight balls. Brandon Drury then pinch hit for Peterson, and he hit a pinch hit RBI single giving the Mets a 5-0 lead.
Things would get interesting from there. Trevor May entered his first game in a week, and he wasn’t sharp. In fact, he’d allow back-to-back homers to Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom cutting the Mets lead to 5-2.
Aaron Loup then entered the game with two outs, and he gave the Mets four outs to set up the save opportunity. Edwin Diaz would get that save opportunity, and he’d lock it down for his 13th save of the season.
This was another win where the Mets beat another .500 team. More than that, they have a winning record in June.
Game Notes: Mets have tied their franchise best home start with an 18-6 record. They last did that in 2015. Jacob Barnes was designated for assignment, and Sean Reid-Foley was recalled.
All offseason, New York Mets fans were pushing to extend Michael Conforto. Honestly, how could you blame them?
Conforto is a homegrown player who is true captain material. He has an opportunity to rewrite the Mets record books. From his World Series homers to his walk-offs, he’s become adored by many Mets fans.
In some ways, Conforto seems like the logical person to take up the mantle from David Wright. Of course for that to happen, he will have to stay with the Mets.
For some players, the extension talks in-season is time consuming. The walk year is too much pressure and/or a distraction. Some thrive; others don’t.
There’s also the COVID factor. Conforto had it right before Spring Training. It prevented him from working out right before reporting.
As an aside, we saw it with Mika Zibanejad with the New York Rangers. He had COVID before training camp. It took him months before returning to form.
Whether it’s the contract situation or the COVID, Conforto is struggling to start the season. Through five games, he’s only hitting .143/.250/.190. It seems like the only way he can get hit is by throwing his elbow into the strike zone.
After struggling for five games, Mets fans in Citi Field began booing Conforto.
Think about that. People who were unable to ever a ballpark for well over a year due to the pandemic were so grateful to be back they booed a homegrown star who had the audacity to struggle for four games.
If we wanted to, we could look at Mets fans cheering Jose Reyes after he returned to the Mets after his domestic violence arrest. Bartolo Colon not paying child support and joking about it was just part of his “charm.”
J.D. Davis and Jake Marisnick were caught up in one of the biggest MLB cheating scandals, and it was met with a collective yawn.
And yet, Conforto has a poor stretch, and he’s vilified. He’s booed by fans who really should be happy just to be there. Moreover, he’s booed by a fan base who is supposed urging him to be a Met for life.
Conforto doesn’t deserve that garbage. He’s been too good of a Met for that. In the end, he’ll make those fans who booed him look all the more ridiculous.
Mets fans, at least those who booed, embarrassed themselves. They’ll look worse when Conforto is Conforto again.
When new Mets catcher James McCann signed, it was Michael Conforto who reached out to him to welcome him to the team.
When manager Luis Rojas was asked to name team leaders, Conforto was the first name he mentioned saying Conforto “stands out.”
When Dominic Smith grappled with decisions like kneeling or even playing this summer, Conforto told him he wish he knew Smith was going to kneel so he could be by him. He was then right by Smith’s side when he spoke out about racial injustice.
When it became clear Jake Marisnick and J.D. Davis were not only part of the Houston Astros sign stealing controversy, but also cheated against pitchers on this Mets team, Conforto said three important things: (1) Astros crossed the line; (2) it was going to be addressed; and (3) there was not going to be any animosity.
He was a young player taught how to play and how to be a leader by people like David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce. He’s been a leader in the clubhouse, and he’s stood by his teammates.
In the history of the Mets, there has been no more obvious choice for Captain since Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. This is a homegrown Met who is perfect to lead this team as they embark on a new era.
He’s also still a very good player who has had great moments. After he moved past his shoulder injury, he’s had a 135 OPS+. We know he’s capable of more too.
He’s an All-Star caliber player who can hit anywhere in the lineup, and he’s been a good defender. He’s also a team player willing to move to any position to help the team.
Conforto is the Captain in every possible way. Once the Mets give him the contract extension he’s earned, it’s time to formally announce him as the fifth Captain in team history.
Well, if the miracles were going to happen, it needed to start tonight. Fortunately, Jacob deGrom was on the mound. Unfortunately, the Mets are still the Mets.
It started with Michael Conforto going from routine day off in a must win game to having hamstring tightness. Then, it was the Mets calling up Guillermo Heredia to replace the yet again injured Jake Marisnick while leaving Luis Guillorme in Brooklyn. Finally, it was the game.
The run in the second inning never should have scored against deGrom.
After deGrom issued a rare leadoff walk to Nate Lowe, Joey Wendle doubled. On the play, Lowe overran third and was dead to rights. However, that mattered little as Amed Rosario flat out dropped the relay throw. That allowed Lowe to not only retreat back safely but also to score on the ensuing Manuel Margot sacrifice fly.
That meant it was 2-0 Rays and not 1-0 Rays when Lowe homered off deGrom in the fourth.
The real shame is deGrom was otherwise phenomenal striking out 14 Rays. He rose to the occasion to keep the Mets in the game and the season. That included his working around a Wilson Ramos passed ball putting Lowe on third with one out in the sixth.
It didn’t matter as the Mets offense was stymied by the bullpenning Rays. The Mets were limited to just four hits and could only muster a two out rally in the fifth.
In that fifth inning, Heredia drew a two out walk. The bases were loaded after a Ramos single, and Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch.
Jeff McNeil came through with what should’ve been a game tying single. However, Willy Adames made a great sliding play up the middle to smother the ball. It was still an RBI single, but it was 2-1 instead of 2-2.
That was magnified when J.D. Davis lined out to end the inning. Overall, Davis was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk dropping his plummeting OPS to .777.
After Davis failed to deliver there, the Mets didn’t get another hit. In the end, the Mets went down weakly in this 2-1 loss and have now lost three out of four to all but destroy their postseason chances.
Game Notes: deGrom became the first Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to strike out 14 twice in a season.
If you ever wanted the perfect encapsulation of what it means to be a Mets fan and the Wilpon Era has been, this was the series for you:
1. Amed Rosario takes first with two outs in the ninth after a wild pitch on strike three. He got picked off first.
2. That’s being a Mets fan. There’s a near miracle which gives you hope, and it’s followed with a massive blunder which leaves you completely befuddled.
3. Speaking of befuddled, how does Wilson Ramos swing at ball three against a reliever who can’t find the strike zone? That double play helped cost the game more than Rosario getting picked off.
4. It also didn’t help Luis Rojas stuck with Seth Lugo a little too long. To be fair there, with the current state of the Mets bullpen, what was he supposed to do?
5. It seems Rojas hasn’t found that balance of when to push a starter or go to the bullpen. It at least seems his decision comes back to bite the Mets no matter what.
6. Of course, that’s a larger sign of how bad the Mets rotation has been and just how bad the Mets bullpen is without Lugo.
7. Speaking of the state of the Mets pitching, Jeff McNeil apparently left the game to go to the bathroom.
8. At that point in the game, he had scored the Mets only run, and well, it seems the runs went with them.
9. Dominic Smith continues to be great this year. Not bad for a guy the team didn’t realize was one of the best players on the team.
10. Speaking of players the Mets thought were better than Smith, J.D. Davis has a .780 OPS and dropping, and he still can’t play third.
11. On the topic of ill conceived Brodie Van Wagenen trades, one poor appearance for Anthony Kay doesn’t suddenly make Kay bad (he isn’t), the Marcus Stroman trade good (it wasn’t), or Simeon Woods Richardson not a key part of the deal (he was).
12. Brandon Nimmo is a good hitter who can play a good corner outfield. He should not be the 2021 center fielder. In fact, he shouldn’t be that in 2020.
13. But Nimmo is stuck in center because Juan Lagares was DFA’d, Billy Hamilton was selected off waivers, and Jake Marisnick is injured again.
14. Again, Jacob deGrom showed he’s the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s nearing towards locking down his third straight Cy Young.
15. Even with deGrom having another historical great year, the Mets rotation is historically bad and are challenging the 1962 Mets for the worst starting rotation ERA in team history.
16. The Mets have legitimate candidates for Cy Young (deGrom), MVP (Michael Conforto), and Rookie of the Year (Andres Gimenez). Despite that, odds are they won’t finish above .500 or compete for a postseason spot.
17. When does Brodie Van Wagenen collect his Executive of the Year award?
18. Mets will be promoting the team being just three games back despite all that’s gone wrong on the final game of the season.
19. Steve Cohen is almost complete in his purchase of the Mets. This means the Wilpons will not win a World Series as majority owners of the team.
20. MLB finally did the right thing allowing the players to wear the first responder caps again. Everyone involved in making that happen, including Jeff Wilpon, should be commended.
The Mets were blown out by the Orioles 11-2. It happens. The way this happened is not always how these things happen, and someone probably should be fired for this game.
Michael Wacha was terrible again. After allowing four earned over 4.0 innings. That raised his season ERA to 7.50.
This is just the latest example of how bad the Mets rotation is. Including Wacha’s ERA, the Mets starting rotation is now 5.21.
That’s impossibly bad. It’s even worse when you consider Jacob deGrom has been great again with a 1.69 ERA. Despite deGrom’s greatness, the Mets are on pace to have their worst ever starter ERA.
Through 43 games this season, the Mets’ starting ERA is 5.21. That is more than two runs higher than it was during their second-half surge last season, and it would be the highest full-season rotation ERA in club history, sneaking past the 5.18 mark of the ‘62 Mets.
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) September 9, 2020
Remember, this is the same rotation Van Wagenen said was the deepest in baseball. What they’re deep in is anyone’s guess.
To make hatters worse, Robert Gsellman was bad. He was then forced to wear it until he broke.
After a four run fifth, the Mets kept running him back out there. He was out there throwing 76 pitches which was nearly 20 more pitches than his season high. His pitch count would’ve gone higher, but he had to be helped off the field due to an injury.
Just when you thought the Mets couldn’t make things worse, they did. Over this season, Brad Brach has arguably been their best reliever, but he’s been somewhat limited due to the after effects of COVID19.
So, naturally, the Mets wasted him in what was then an 11-1 game. That’s just making a bad situation even worse. We shouldn’t be surprised by this because this is the Mets after all.
Anyway, the Mets were destroyed, and they got a player hurt in the process. Their starting pitching was again exposed. But hey, Jake Marisnick homered, so we’ll probably hear what a great job Van Wagenen has done from all the sycophants.
Game Notes: Jeff McNeil has now homered in three straight games. It’s the second time in his career he’s done that.