James McCann

Mets Admitted It Was Michael Conforto Or George Springer

During his press conference before the New York Mets first Spring Training game, Sandy Alderson addressed extensions. On that note, he specifically mentioned Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, and Noah Syndergaard as players the team will have discussions.

Going further, Alderson addressed how the offseason impacted building the team. He said James McCann helped allow the Mets to have the capital to bring on Carlos Carrasco and Lindor. He also admitted what impact George Springer could’ve had on the Mets:

In that, Alderson admitted it was Conforto or Springer. In some ways, that’s just common sense as Springer was commanding a huge salary, and before his deal was over, he was going to have to move to right field.

That had a direct impact on the Mets ability to keep one of Conforto or Brandon Nimmo. With Conforto hitting free agency first, it was much more likely to be Conforto gone.

Well, Springer has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. That clears the path for the Mets to keep their core on long term extensions. With Alderson essentially admitting it was Conforto or Springer, that means a Conforto extension must now get done.

It was the Mets who framed it as a Conforto/Springer choice. They now made their choice, and they must now follow through by giving Conforto an extension. After that, they can name him captain and watch on as he makes his attempts to become the Mets best ever position player.

Brandon Nimmo Is Mets Best Hitter

As we look at the 2021 Mets, offensively speaking this team is an embarrassment of riches. This team is full of players who can be great hitting lead-off and can make the argument they should be hitting in the middle of the lineup. As you parse through it all, the debate begins over who exactly is the best hitter on this team.

It may come to surprise you the answer is actually Brandon Nimmo.

No, that is not going to be a popular answer, especially among a fanbase who has a contingent who bizarrely believes Nimmo is a fourth outfielder. To that point, if we look since 2017, here are the Mets top hitters according to wRC+:

  1. Jeff McNeil 139
  2. Brandon Nimmo 136
  3. Pete Alonso 136
  4. Michael Conforto 132
  5. Francisco Lindor 119
  6. Dominic Smith 116
  7. J.D. Davis 115
  8. Luis Guillorme 93
  9. James McCann 91

Now, looking at that list, McNeil is ahead of Nimmo, and Nimmo is in a dead heat with Alonso. Really, taking the top four into account the 132 – 139 range isn’t really much of a separation to adjudge who is best among that group. However, there is more to the story when you are looking at Nimmo.

Nimmo’s biggest issue in terms of these rankings is he mostly missed out on the super juiced ball of 2019. While everyone was putting up video game numbers, Nimmo first dealt with a sore hand after a HBP early in the season. Soon thereafter, he was found to have a bulging disc which cost him the vast majority of that season.

While injuries of that nature are certainly concerning, Nimmo has done nothing but shown he has overcame that injury. Nimmo was reactivated when rosters were expanded in September. From September 1 through the 2020 season, Nimmo hit .275/.412/.506, and he posted a 151 wRC+. That wasn’t exactly a fluke.

In Nimmo’s breakout 2018 season, Nimmo had a 148 wRC+. It’s of interest to note, Nimmo had the same mark in 2020. That’s elite offensive production, and in his last two healthy seasons, he’s posted that same number. Keep in mind, that’s better than any other player on the Mets has posted over the course of a full 162 game season.

Yes, last season, we did see some Mets players post a better wRC+. Specifically, Smith had a 164, and Conforto had a 157. In terms of both, we have seen enough in their careers to indicate they are capable of producing incredible offensive seasons like that. We know the same for McNeil and Alonso. We haven’t seen it in New York, but we know Lindor is a very good offensive player albeit it one a step behind the rest.

Still, no one on the Mets roster has produced the numbers Nimmo has when Nimmo has been healthy. When healthy, Nimmo has produced at a level commensurate with players like Juan Soto (152), Christian Yelich (147), and Freddie Freeman (146). Since 2017, that’s the level of offensive player Nimmo has been.

Certainly, people refuse to believe it and want to write it off because Nimmo walks too much as if that is a bad thing. They also dismiss his approach citing he’s taking hittable pitches while ignoring his .456 SLG and .850 OPS. Nimmo is a player who makes a pitcher work, he gets on base, and he hits for power. That should be seen as the ideal profile for a hitter.

Also, keep in mind, it’s not just about batting average or homers. It’s about the ability to get on base. Few in all of baseball are better than Nimmo in that department and certainly no one on the Mets.

Overall, when Nimmo is healthy, he is the best offensive player in this lineup. Sure, he could very well be surpassed by players like Alonso or Conforto. That is very well possible given the caliber of player they are. However, keep in mind even with all the great things they do, they still haven’t done what Nimmo when healthy over the course of a 162 game season.

Taijuan Walker Good Signing For Mets

The New York Mets needed to get just one more starter to make this the truly deep rotation they need. This doesn’t mean deep as in going 1-5 in the rotation, but also the type of depth needed to get through the rigors of a 162 game season. The later was of increased importance as pitchers did not throw many innings last season.

While we have seen some players sign with other teams, the Mets obtained Taijuan Walker. Walker, 28, is arguably the perfect fit for this team.

At 28, Walker is in the prime of his career. The once top 10 prospect in baseball dealt with injury issues limiting him to just 14 innings from 2018-2019. Last year, he finally proved healthy in the truncated 60 game season last year. Yes, it was just 37% of the length of a normal season, but it was a positive step.

Last year, Walker made 11 starts going 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and an 8.4 K/9. He was at his career averages for hard hit rate. Believe it or not, his 30.9% hard hit rate was actually better than what Jacob deGrom yielded last year. This is an indication as to how difficult it can be to square up Walker at times.

Digging deeper into Baseball Savant, Walker was middle of the pack in terms of exit velocity while being above average in terms of hard hit rate. However, it should be noted he was way down the ledger in terms of spin, velocity, and whiff rates. Of course, one of the reasons for this is Walker is a sinkerball pitcher who has typically pitched to contact.

Keep in mind, Walker is evolving as a pitcher. Before the 2021 season, he spoke to Fangraphs about going to Driveline. While there, Walker refined his slider, worked on changing speeds, grips, arm placement, and generally speaking, being a better pitcher. We saw the early effects of that in 2020.

Now, in 2021, he is going to be another year removed from Tommy John allowing him to continue to increase velocity. He also has a better sense of what worked for him in 2020 and what didn’t. He’s also in a really good place for him to succeed.

Jeremy Hefner has had success in Minnesota working with sinkerball pitchers. Walker is reunited with Marcus Stroman, who can served as a mentor of sorts, and who is also blessed with a similar type of game. There is James McCann behind the plate, who has developed not only as an excellent framer, but early on in Spring Training, he has emerged as a true leader.

Now, Walker is on a pitching staff where he can thrive. He is also in an organization which is continuing to beef up its analytics department. At 28, he still has upside, and he certainly is putting in the work to get the most out of his talent. In all likelihood, last year was him just scratching the surface.s

As for the Mets, this now adds another established high ceiling starter to their rotation. That also gives them increased depth in the rotation. When Noah Syndergaard returns, the Mets rotation will now undoubtedly be the best in baseball. All told, while he may not have been the top choice by many, Walker fits in perfectly with the Mets.

Anyone Calling Mets Offseason A Failure Is Clueless

So, the Mets didn’t get Trevor Bauer. Instead, Bauer went to his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers for what might’ve been less money. Despite Bauer really not being better than the Mets fifth best starter, the over the top criticism started:

This is just scratching the surface of what we find at the bottom of the barrel. For their sake, you hope this is just schtick because these are purely horrid opinions.

Yes, we all know the Mets didn’t get Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or George Springer. Instead, they got better players and a much deeper roster. In fact, just look at who they signed/acquired so far this offseason:

That doesn’t include interesting depth options like Jerry Blevins, Jerad Eickhoff, Jose Martinez, Mallex Smith, Jose Peraza, and Arodys Vizcaino. There are other moves made on top of that.

We’ve also just learned with the Bauer bidding the Mets have at least $40 million they can invest in the 2021 team. It can also be used to extend players like Michael Conforto, Lindor, Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard.

If someone can take a look at that and what the Mets can still do, and say to you this is the same old Wilpon run Mets, they’re either lying, trying to get attention, think you’re gullible, have no idea what they’re talking about, or some mixture of these.

Make no mistake, this has been a phenomenal offseason. Yes, we can quibble with a move or two, but in the end, calling this anything but a success is dumb. Really, the people pushing these narratives really know better.

Well, at least they should. They should because it’s absurd to think adding a top five player in the game on Lindor on top of everything else they did is disappointing or a failure. It’s really beyond absurd.

This has been nothing short of a great offseason. Arguably, it’s among if not the best the Mets have ever had.

Mets Have Already Spent Over $60 Million, Obtained Francisco Lindor, And Are Not Done

This wasn’t the best week for the New New York Mets regime. Jared Porter’s text messages surfaced, and he had to be fired.

George Springer signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Brad Hand signed with the Washington Nationals. The New York Yankees obtained Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates without having to part with a huge prospect cost.

Believe it or not, these has actually caused some anxiety and consternation amongst Mets fans.

Seeing Mets fans beginning to lose their minds, it’s clear they’re forgetting just how vastly improved this Mets team is.

After all, the Mets obtained Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. With that, in one fell swoop the Mets got the best player and pitcher any team will obtain this offseason.

The Mets have also signed Marcus Stroman, Trevor May, and James McCann. With those players, this is a vastly significant Mets team.

Keep in mind, many thought the 2020 Mets were a postseason team, and this team has made major upgrades:

That’s nothing to say of adding players like Jose Martinez and Joey Lucchesi. Already, this team is much deeper and stronger than the one the Mets put on the field in 2020, and for that matter, 2019.

Also, for the all the claims the Mets aren’t spending, people are ignoring just how much the Mets have already invested in the 2021 team. To date, the Mets have already added $61.3 million to the payroll.

Are people going to claim the Mets are being cheap when they’ve added what amounts to the Tampa Bay Rays entire payroll already? Consider that’s before the Mets are even done.

At the time no one say the Lindor trade happening. It went from rumored to confirmed in about an hour. Who knows what else is on the horizon.

Before jumping the gun and lambasting this front office like it’s one which has been run by the Wilpons, look at what they’re already done. Take time to realize they’re not done building this team.

There may come a time to criticize them, but it’s not today. It’s not when the Blue Jays gave Springer a way over the top contract, the Nationals had a closer job to offer the Mets didn’t, and the Yankees rolled the dice on a pitcher who has had two Tommy John surgeries.

Things have already improved immensely under Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson, and they will continue to get better.

Mets Make Themselves Real World Series Contenders With Francisco Lindor And Carlos Carrasco

In case you were skeptical this was indeed a new era of New York Mets baseball, the Mets just acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. With that, the Mets added a top five player in the game at short, and they added a top of the rotation caliber pitcher to pair with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.

When you add these players to a core with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, James McCann, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith. Whether or not the Mets add another starter, bullpen arm, third baseman, or center fielder, the Mets already have the pieces in place to be a true World Series contender.

Just think about it for a moment. Assuming Noah Syndergaard returns this season, this is currently the Mets rotation:

  1. Jacob deGrom
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Marcus Stroman
  4. Carlos Carrasco
  5. Steven Matz/David Peterson

Even if the Mets don’t go out there and sign a George Springer or add a third baseman, this is what the Mets lineup could look like during the course of the 2021 season:

  1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
  2. Michael Conforto, RF
  3. Pete Alonso, 1B
  4. Dominic Smith, LF
  5. Francisco Lindor, SS
  6. Jeff McNeil, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Luis Guillorme 2B

Sure, this Mets team could definitively stand to get better defensively in the outfield. That said, that infield defensive alignment is quite good, especially up the middle, and that lineup is as strong and deep as they come. This is a team who can go toe-to-toe with the defending division champion Atlanta Braves and the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Right now, this is a great baseball team.

What’s even better is the Mets are not done with their offseason. They are still going to add more pieces. That could include Springer, and it could be a reliever like Brad Hand. There are are likely going to be depth pieces added beyond this group. When all is said and done, the Mets with Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Jared Porter have already done and will continue to do what Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen could never even dream of doing.

Today is a great day in Mets history. Today is just like the day the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Mike Piazza. The Mets got a future Hall of Famer in his prime, and they completely changed the trajectory of the franchise both this year and in the years to come.

Lets Go Mets!

Mets 20 Best Moments In 2020

The year 2020 was hard on us all, but there were some truly outstanding and unexpected uplifting moments scattered throughout the year. In no particular order here were some of the best moments for the New York Mets in 2020:

1. Steve Cohen purchases the Mets ending the Wilpons reign.

2. Dominic Smith finds his voice and that next level in his game.

3. Michael Conforto emerged as a real leader and showed he’s the star we all hoped he’d be.

4. While not winning the Cy Young, Jacob deGrom continued to prove he’s the best pitcher in the game.

5. Yoenis Cespedes gave us one last thrill with an Opening Day game winning homer.

6. Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant form.

7. Amed Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium to beat the New York Yankees.

8. David Peterson and Andres Gimenez made the jump from Double-A and had strong rookie seasons.

9. Mets were once again allowed to wear the first responders caps.

10. Sandy Alderson returned restoring credibility to the franchise and was given the opportunity to win a World Series with the Mets.

11. Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Mets.

12. Players like Trevor May and James McCann were excited about the new era in Queens and wanted to be a part of it.

13. Pete Alonso proved his rookie year was no fluke putting himself on what would’ve been a 42 home run pace.

14. Although in a circuitous route, Luis Rojas got the manager job he earned and did enough to earn at least a second season at the helm.

15. Luis Guillorme was great with the glove and better than we ever anticipated he’d be at the plate.

16. Brandon Nimmo proved his neck problems were no more while remaining an on-base machine.

17. Rick Porcello got to live out his dream by pitching for the same Mets team he loved as a kid.

18. The 1986 Mets were dubbed the best team ever.

19. Alonso honored the greatest Met ever by hitting a walk-off homer the first game the Mets played after Tom Seaver passed.

20. It was only 60 games and the Mets finished in last place, but we got to see Mets baseball. For at least those 3+ hours a day, we felt normal.

If you’re reading this now, chances are you went through a lot this year. The good news is you’re reading this meaning you’ve survived the year and can have hope for a better 2021.

God willing, that 2021 will be our best year ever, and we will see a Mets World Series title.

Extend Michael Conforto And Name Him Captain

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.

Mets Christmas Gift Better Than Last Year

Last year, the New York Mets shocked everyone with a surprise Christmas gift. While we awaited coal, we instead found Dellin Betances under our Christmas tree.

This year, Christmas came early. It came when Steve Cohen bought the Mets. It has been a relative 12 Days of Christmas since with Sandy Alderson, Marcus Stroman, Trevor May, Jared Porter, James McCann, and Zack Scott.

While we hope to wake up Christmas morning with Stevie Claus having left a George Springer under the tree, we already have something better. Mets fans have legitimate hope for the future.

We only have hope for Springer because of the current ownership and front office. Players want to be Mets, and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve long awaited this day, and it has been better than we could’ve imagined. And, it’s going to get better than that.

So, as you put your head down on your pillow as visions of Home Run Apples dance in your head, just know you’re going to wake up to a much better Mets organization you’ve seen in over a decade. That’s present enough.

Merry Christmas and Let’s Go Mets!

Mets Showing Belief In Steven Matz

Before the change in ownership, there was a belief the Mets might non-tender Steven Matz thereby making him a free agent. Certainly, given Matz’s nightmare of a 2020 season, it would’ve been a defensible position.

However, instead of going that route, the Mets not only tendered him a contract, but they also make steps to aver their belief in him and his ability.

That started almost immediately after the 2020 season. As reported by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Matz began working with Phil Regan. When Matz last worked with Regan in the second half of the 2019 season, Matz had seemed turn his career around.

In fact, in the second half of that season, Matz was 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and a 3.26 K/BB. For several reasons, Matz wasn’t able to build on that. However, with his working with Regan again, he very well might.

It’ll also help working with James McCann with whom he already has a rapport. As reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Matz threw 6-7 bullpens to McCann during the shutdown.

No, Matz wasn’t the reason the Mets signed McCann. However, that is a perk of the signing as Matz will be throwing to a better framer as well as to someone who he already has a comfortable level.

This will put Matz in the best possible position to succeed. Hopefully, this will translate to success. From what we saw from the Mets offseason thus far, they seem to believe it.

They further proved that when they didn’t trade him. As reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Toronto Blue Jays we’re interested in Matz and reached out to the Mets to engage in trade talks.

If you’re a team not interested in keeping a player, another team reaching out to have trade talks for someone you’re intending to non-tender is a godsend. It’s an opportunity to get something, anything for a player you don’t want.

That’s not Matz. The Mets wanted to keep him and weren’t trading him for it’s own sake. They had him working with a pitching coach who got the most out of him. They then signed a catcher with whom he already has a rapport.

Ultimately, in what is his final year before free agency, the Mets are doing all they can to help Matz reach that ceiling they know he’s capable of reaching. They’re letting him know they’re still very invested in his success, and maybe, just maybe, he’s a part of their future.

All told, this is going to be a very interesting year for Matz and the Mets. Maybe this could be the year he puts it all together. Certainly, the Mets are doing all they can to make sure it happens because they clearly still believe in him.