Jarred Kelenic

Chaim Bloom Wouldn’t Have Traded Jarred Kelenic

There was always a lot of baseless narratives surrounding the New York Mets not hiring Chaim Bloom. We’ve heard that he was going to seek a rebuild instead of trying to win a World Series. We also saw assertions he was definitely going to trade Jacob deGrom.

Of course, no one knew this as fact. Yet, because those were the purposeful leaks in support of Brodie Van Wagenen, the myths have persisted. The other evidence presented was how Bloom traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That persisted despite trading Betts being a condition precedent for any incoming general manager.

So, Bloom did what he was told to do. The end result of that was a dreadful 2020 season wherein the Red Sox finished the season in dead last in the AL East. Of course, there were mitigating circumstances. First and foremost, it was a pandemic shortened season. Mostly, Chris Sale missed the season due to Tommy John, and Eduardo Rodriguez suffered COVID induced myocarditis. You’re not winning with 2/5 of your rotation missing like that, especially in a 60 game season.

What happened from there was Bloom went to work. He brought in players like Enrique Hernandez and Hunter Renfroe. In his first full season at the helm, Bloom built a 92 win Red Sox team. That team beat the New York Yankees in the Wild Card Game, and they just defeated the defending pennant winners, the 100 win Tampa Bay Rays, to advance to the ALCS.

Meanwhile, the Mets hired Brodie Van Wagenen, who needlessly ravaged the Mets farm system. He did it for the glory of missing the postseason twice. He did it because he had no idea what he was doing. Now, the Mets have to live with the outright dumb and amateur decisions. That includes Zack Wheeler pitching with the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Mets being saddled with Robinson Cano‘s contract, after he had his second PED suspension, while Jarred Kelenic had a big September for the Seattle Mariners. Of course, Cano’s contract is back on the books and Kelenic had a breakout just as Michael Conforto hits free agency.

Knowing what we know of Bloom, we really don’t know if he trades deGrom. After all, while he traded Betts, he didn’t look to move other Red Sox superstars, like J.D. Martinez, in the name of rebuilding or saving money. What we do know is Bloom did acquire a very good player in Alex Verdugo, who has been a key contributor to a Red Sox team now in the ALCS.

We also know from his history, he wouldn’t have traded Kelenic. The reason is he is not stupid. In fact, he’s brilliant. It’s how he built the core of that Rays team who won 100 games and is coming off a pennant, and it is how he built a Red Sox team which beat his old team in the ALDS. So sure, continue on with the false narratives about how Bloom would’ve traded deGrom while the Mets are trying to figure out how to fix what’s broken, and the Red Sox are winning.

Kevin Long Again Made Case To Be Mets Manager

It was a very poorly kept secret back in 2017 if he had his druthers Sandy Alderson wanted to hire Kevin Long to succeed Terry Collins as the New York Mets manager. Long didn’t take anything for granted coming extremely prepared for the interview with binders of information. More than that, he had already had a profound impact on the Mets organization rejuvenating Curtis Granderson while transforming Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy.

However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, Jeff Wilpon got it in his mind he wanted to have Mickey Callaway as the manager. Despite Callaway interviewing poorly, it was enough for Wilpon to hire Callaway after one interview because the Philadelphia Phillies showed interest. As Mets fans can recall, this went over about as well as when the Mets included Jarred Kelenic in the Robinson Cano trade because the Phillies showed interest in Edwin Diaz.

Since then, the managerial position has been a disaster for the Mets. Callaway proved to be an awful human being harassing female reporters. After him, the Mets hired and then were effectively forced to fire Carlos Beltran. In a mad scramble, they hired Luis Rojas while completely failing to give him any chance to succeed in the position. Rather that let him continue to grow, the team has decided they need to go in a different direction.

Now, there are many moving pieces before the Mets get to hire a new manager. The biggest is the need to hire a new president of baseball operations. Presumably, that is the person who will and should have the biggest input on who the Mets next manager will be. Whatever the case, the Mets have the right to correct the mistake they made in 2017 and hire Long.

For his part, Long served the world with a reminder why he was managerial material. During the National League Wild Card Game, he was sitting next to superstar Juan Soto, a player Long has helped get the most out of his ability. Soto was wearing a Trea Turner jersey (another player Long has helped immensely) while Long wore a Max Scherzer jersey.

In that moment, you saw everything you could have possibly wanted to see from a future manager of your team. He was standing there with his star player, a player in Soto he helped take from a 19 year old wunderkind to a bona fide Major League superstar. More than that, he showed the incredibly great relationship he fostered with his superstar player, the very type of relationship a manager absolutely needs to have any level of success.

We also saw the sense of loyalty he has for his players. He went out there to support both Turner and Scherzer. It was a moment which meant so much to them Scherzer made sure to go over to the stands to celebrate his team’s walk-off win with them. Keep in mind here, Scherzer is a free agent who should be on everyone’s radar.

When we look at the modern game and the current status of the managerial role, it is increasingly about relationships with the players and the ability to communicate. It’s no longer about Gil Hodges playing a hunch or Davey Johnson trusting his eyes over the data. Increasingly, it’s about taking the game plan prepared by the front office and not just executing it, but getting the players to buy in on the plan.

Putting aside what happened in the NL Wild Card Game, this is exactly what Long does. He helped transform Cespedes from a wild swinger to a player better able to identify his pitch and become a monster at the plate. There was also Murphy who went from gap to gap hitter to a legitimate threat at the plate. Murphy showed the 2015 postseason wasn’t a fluke by any means when he became an All-Star and MVP candidate with the Washington Nationals. It should be noted Long followed Murphy to Washington, D.C.

In total, Long is what you want in a manager. He can process data and translate it to players in a way where they can understand and execute it. We also see he is a coach who can foster great relationships with this players. He is also loyal to his players, and they love him. Short of being able to steal away the Bob Melvins of the world, you’re not going to find a better managerial candidate than Long.

Alderson knew it in 2017, and he can do what he wanted to do back then and make Long the Mets manager. If that is the case, we can expect the maddening Mets offense to finally click and for this team to reach the World Series potential we know they have.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show They’re Better Than Padres

Just like looking at the records, the San Diego Padres were a much better team than the New York Mets. It certainly didn’t play out this way in the weekend series:

1. Over the first two games of this series, the Padres had Yu Darvish and Blake Snell against Taijuan Walker and Joey Lucchesi. It took everything the Padres had to beat a Mets team with 17 players on the IL.

2. Give Lucchesi credit. He’s fixing his release points, optimizing the churve, and he’s turned his season around.

3. Did it look like Darvish was cheating? Who knows, and really we should stop these witch hunts because: (1) you don’t know; and (2) you don’t know who is and who is not cheating.

4. The exception of course is Jacob deGrom. When one idiot looking for attention, clearly still sore over the 2015 NLDS, the Mets came out en mass to shut him up.

5. deGrom is taking another run at Bob Gibson. In 2017, it was the quality start streak. Now, deGrom has had a better nine start beginning to his season than Gibson had in the Year of the Pitcher.

6. For that matter, deGrom has had a better start to his season than Pedro Martinez had in either of his best seasons.

7. Honestly, it was a treat to watch Fernando Tatis, Jr. for four games.

8. The Tatis for James Shields trade was not worse than the Jarred Kelenic trade. Those saying that don’t understand either trade or how value works.

9. We have another example why GKR are the best with Gary Cohen asking where the Bartolo Colon home run plaque is calling it the most significant event in Petco Park history.

10. Not to be sour grapes, but while the Steve Gelbs segment was funny, we should be reminded he’s the guy who gets to ask the first question at every press conference. If he’s just the sideline guy or in the studio, this is all well and good, but he’s not trying to be just that.

11. Marcus Stroman reminded us again he’s a terrific pitcher who can beat you in so many ways. Also, he showed how mentally tough he was to shut down the Padres after than Bob Brenly fiasco.

12. When Stroman talks about how good the clubhouse is we should listen. It should also be noted this is one of the more likable Mets teams we’ve seen in years.

13. Jose Peraza doesn’t hit many homers, but when he does, it gives the Mets the lead.

14. Brandon Drury is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of this team right now. He probably hasn’t been a viable Major Leaguer since 2017, so, of course, he makes a game changing double play.

15. For those questioning why the Mets are still winning games right now, the answer is pitching and defense. Pitching and defense always wins more games than optimizing your offensive lineups.

16. It took a while, but we’re seeing the real Francisco Lindor, and it’s glorious. Phenomenal defense. Great offense. Unparalleled leadership.

17. Someone awoke the power in Dominic Smith‘s bat.

18. Sometimes you get lucky finding the right guy at the right time. That might’ve just happened for the Mets with Billy McKinney who is playing a good right field and has a 148 OPS+ with the Mets so far.

19. Between the Pete Alonso 9/11 jokes and mocking Kevin Pillar‘s face mask, who knew Padres fans were such trash?

20. The Mets are on pace for 90 wins right now, and that’s while they’re incredibly injured. Who knows just how good this team can and will be.

GAME RECAPS

Mets Just Had Bad Luck

Mets Had Just Three Hits

Jacob deGrom Made Padres Look Like Children

Chris Paddack Not Winning NL Pitcher of the Week

Jarred Kelenic Debuts On Day Mets Need An OF

The Seattle Mariners waited that extra couple of weeks, and they have called up Jarred Kelenic at a time when they get an extra year of control over him. It also happens to be at a time when the New York Mets need some outfield depth.

Brandon Nimmo and Albert Almora have landed on the IL. Fortunately, Kevin Pillar is proving himself to be excellent depth, and the Mets did have Khalil Lee to call up.

Still, none of that group is what Kelenic could be. It’s also not just about this year. Michael Conforto is a pending free agent, and no one knows if the Mets will be able to keep him.

That goes double with Robinson Cano‘s contract coming back onto the books. Again, this is just a reminder of his epically stupid and short sighted this trade was. It didn’t just cost the Mets the opportunity see Kelenic.

No, the Mets are also going to be in a tight spot when also looking to sign Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets will be stuck with Cano and his awful contract as they await the next positive PED test while trying to find a way to keep everyone.

What makes it all the more unpalatable is how the team is coveted. Pete Alonso‘s fun Donnie Stevenson bit was blamed for firing Chili Davis (despite being told it was not a factor).

Francisco Lindor has put a target on his back over the rat or raccoon debate because he wouldn’t say what happened between him and Jeff McNeil.

We’re even at the point where some writers are questioning how Jacob deGrom was put on the IL. That was something never done when Jeff Wilpon played doctor.

However, we won’t see articles about how the Wilpons knew they were selling, so they were willing to strip down the farm to win one last World Series. They even went out and hired the GM who was either clueless or similarly lacked integrity.

The end result is the Mets need an outfielder now, and they’re going to need one for 2022. That outfielder should have been Jarred Kelenic.

The only problem is he’s in Seattle. Fortunately, the people who put him there are out of baseball and will remain so.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Sweep Orioles

After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the New York Mets swept the Baltimore Orioles to complete a perfect 5-0 homestand:

1. What’s the over/under on game winning RBI Patrick Mazeika gets before finally collecting his first Major League hit?

2. Mazeika is the first player with two walk-off RBI in his first four games, and it’s been well over a century before someone had multiple walk-offs before a hit.

3. Mazeika is why Old Timer’s Days are great. Some random player who most of baseball history will overlook gets to come back to a huge ovation and be treated like a legend.

4. That sentiment may apply perfectly to Mike Baxter.

5. Players and plays like this are a testament that you need contributions from up and down your roster. The Mets are getting that and then some right now.

6. Certainly, it helps the Mets experienced those injuries during a soft spot in their schedule. Then again, in years past when they didn’t have players like Kevin Pillar on the bench, they would fall completely apart anyway.

7. One annoying GKR trait is when a player like Pillar makes a good defensive play, they’ll mock defensive metrics.

8. We can talk about a number of reasons why the Mets are doing well, but defense is front and center. This has gone from a dreadful defensive team to a top 12 team.

9. When you’re playing good defense, your pitching can shine, and you only need four runs per game. When the Mets hit that mark, they’re 15-2.

10. If Jeff McNeil really only had cramps, and this front office has actually been upfront about injuries, the Mets dodged a huge bullet.

11. Albert Almora‘s collision with the wall is one of the scariest you’ll see. And yes, he did catch that ball.

12. It’s amazing after all the years of Jeff Wilpon laying waste to careers like Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church, Jason Bay, and many more with his playing doctor, people like Buster Olney only now take issue with the Mets handling injuries with Jacob deGrom landing on the IL.

13. We’re truly living in bizarre times when deGrom is on the IL, and Matt Harvey is pitching at Citi Field.

14. Harvey deserved each and every one of those standing ovations, and it was wonderful to hear how much it meant to him. Certainly, he meant the world to us.

15. Dominic Smith has started hitting again, and not a moment too soon with that clutch game tying RBI.

16. Contrary to previously held beliefs, Michael Conforto is indeed clutch.

17. Taijuan Walker continues to pitch great, and he’s probably been the best free agent starter. That said, he embarrasses the game of baseball when he doesn’t even try at the plate.

18. Marcus Stroman continues to be phenomenal both on the mound and as a fielder. As we’ve seen, he’s an even better teammate.

19. With deGrom, Stroman, and Walker, the Mets have three of the top seven in ERA.

20. The sting of Jarred Kelenic getting called up and the sheer stupidity of all things Brodie Van Wagenen will dull if the Mets keep playing like this.

Game Recaps

Patrick Mazeika With Another Walk-Off

Matt Harvey’s Sad Return

Theo Epstein Should Have No Place In Baseball

One day, Cooperstown is going to come calling for Theo Epstein. After all, he was the leader for two franchises who broke curses.

Epstein was the GM for the 2004 Boston Red Sox who won a World Series for the first time in 86 years. Winning with the Red Sox apparently wasn’t challenging enough for him.

No, Epstein took over as the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. Whereas with the Red Sox he fortified an already great roster, he built the Cubs from the bottom up to lead them to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Now, that he’s stepped aside, everyone wants him in another important role. As jobs open up, more and more people will push for him.

Currently, he’s a consultant for Major League Baseball. There’s a push for many to name him the next commissioner. There was a push for the Mets to hire him, and there was an article from Larry Stone of the Seattle Times about how the Seattle Mariners need to hire Epstein in the wake of the Kevin Mather fallout.

There’s a certain irony in the push for anyone to hire Epstein right now, as he is emblematic of many of the problems baseball currently faces.

In terms of the Mariners, Mather “re-signed” partially as a result of his admitting to service time manipulation of Jarred Kelenic and other prospects. In some ways, Epstein is really the worst hire.

With the Cubs, Epstein dealt with the same issues with Kris Bryant. Like the Mariners intended to do with Kelenic, the team didn’t call up Bryant until they could gain another year of control.

That led to Bryant filing a grievance, which he eventually lost. He also rejected numerous attempts to sign a contract extension with the team.

In terms of the Mets, they’re still dealing with the fallout of the Mickey Callaway and Jared Porter harassment claims. Notably, the Porter harassment didn’t occur when he was with the Mets. Rather, it happened when he was with the Cubs.

As we learned, the Cubs first advised the victim to not go further with the complaint. Instead, they advised her to try to leverage her position. On multiple occasions, they followed up to ensure there would be no embarrassing law suit.

This was somewhat emblematic of how little regard the Cubs held women. In addition to Porter, the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, and they tendered Addison Russell a contract.

Seeing what happened under his leadership, it’s clear he has no place in baseball right now. He’s not the guy to clean up the problems. Rather, he’s the guy who helped create, and at a minimum, led organizations who actively disregarded and cover-up problems.

Unless we get an investigation and answers to very pointed questions, Epstein should not return to any MLB front office in any role. He’s created and perpetuated problems.

There may come a time for his return to baseball, but that time has not yet arrived. It can’t until he had

Brodie Van Wagenen’s Work On Display In 2021 Spring Training

This is the first week of Spring Training, and we are seeing some of the moves Brodie Van Wagenen made on full display. First up was Jarred Kelenic:

Then, we had Simeon Woods Richardson on the mound striking batters out:

Both players are Top 100 prospects he tried to tell is were really five years away or more. As a result, he felt justified trading them in what was nothing short of a grift to strip the future down in an attempt to win before selling.

Van Wagenen traded far more than them, and we will see many of the players he traded away play in the majors in 2021. They will also be impact players. That’s just something to keep in mind while the Mets contend this year and he and Robinson Cano will be out of baseball.

Jarred Kelenic Should Demand A Trade

No, this is not the insane ramblings of a New York Mets fan still bitter over the Robinson Cano trade debacle. While still bitter about it, and forever will be, this is about Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather unapologetically saying the quiet part out loud.

Essentially, Maher said Jarred Kelenic was going to start the season on the Opening Day roster if he signed a contract with the Mariners buying out some of his free agent years. As noted, Evan White signed such a deal, purportedly against the advice of the union, and he began the season in the majors.

Now, we know teams play this game all the time, and many call it service time manipulation. The thing is team’s are never supposed to overtly say or admit it even when it is painfully obvious like with Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs in 2015.

With Bryant, he officially filed a grievance over it. He’d lose mostly because the Cubs had some plausible deniability. With Maher overtly saying it, or at least very strongly implying it, there really is no doubt what the Mariners are doing here.

The Mariners more or less publicly stated since Kelenic wouldn’t sign their contract offer, he can wait a few weeks for his Major League career to begin. Essentially, they’re punishing him by not doing what they want, and they’re going to keep him an additional year.

Again, this has been the standard practice with few exceptions. However, it is far from standard for teams to tell people they’re actually doing it. The Mariners aren’t even doing the traditional wink and a nod.

In retaliation, Kelenic should give the Mariners an ultimatum – put me on the Opening Day roster, or trade me.

Yes, in baseball this would be entirely unprecedented. It’s almost as unprecedented as a team president admitting the team is manipulating service team and not calling up players unless they sign their contract offer.

However, outside of baseball this wouldn’t be all that unprecedented. Eli Manning told the San Diego Chargers he wouldn’t play for them, which led to his being traded to the New York Broncos. That was akin to John Elway signing with the New York Yankees because he refused to play for the Baltimore Colts.

The New York Rangers have benefitted from this signing Kevin Hayes who became a free agent after not signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Current defenseman Aaron Fox saw his rights traded twice partially as a result of his really wanting to play for his hometown Rangers.

So while they do this in other sports, it hasn’t happened in baseball, at least not yet.

That said, the Mariners can throw out all they want they want to see Kelenic get some Triple-A at-bats, but it’s nonsense. Just look at players like Miguel Cabrera, Michael Conforto, and Juan Soto.

More than that, look at how the Mariners operate. White signs the deal, and he goes from Double-A to the majors. Kelenic doesn’t, and he needs about a month of Triple-A at-bats. It’s beyond obvious what they’re doing, and that’s partially because they’re saying it.

Because of what the Mariners are doing, Kelenic should in respond in kind. There are 29 other teams who would line up to put him on their Opening Day roster if they could get him into their system. If the Mariners won’t put him on theirs, he should tell the team he won’t play for them.

After all, what’s the worst the Mariners can do here? Not pay him? In case they haven’t noticed, they’ve been effectively not paying him for two years. They’re now threatening to not do that for another month, which is exactly why Kelenic should make this demand.

Robinson Cano PED Suspension Latest Reason Trade Was Dumb

There are times when teams make trades they appear bad in hindsight. The classic example of this was the Nolan Ryan trade. Ryan was an enigmatic right-hander the Mets just couldn’t quite figure out, and they were going to get a former All-Star in Jim Fregosi to handle third. At the time, it made sense, but as time passed it looked worse and worse.

Then there is the Robinson Cano trade.

This was a trade deemed flat out dumb at its inception. It wasn’t just that Cano had what many perceived to be an untradeable contract. That was partially because he was already in his mid 30s. Mostly, it was because he was coming off of a PED suspension which should have cast serious doubt over not only his career stats, but also his ability to produce as he aged. Of course, Brodie Van Wagenen was the one person who actually bought the bogus explanation.

Despite all the red flags and warnings, Van Wagenen went forward to rescue his former client from Seattle to return him to New York like Cano wanted. In the process, he made what ranks among the worst, if not the worst, trades in all of Mets history. Certainly, it is easily the worst Mets trade this century.

Each and every year which passes, this trade gets worse and worse. To put it in perspective, all we need to do is examine where the pieces of this trade are and will be in 2021:

Mariners Return

Gerson Bautista – after dealing with injury issues has signed a minor league deal to return to the Seattle Mariners.

Jay Bruce – Free agent whose $14 million is off the books available for now the Philadelphia Phillies to invest this offseason.

Justin Dunn – projected to be part of the Mariners Opening Day rotation after posting a 104 ERA+ over the past two seasons. Notably, the Mets are looking to build not only a 2021 pitching rotation, but also pitching depth.

Jarred Kelenic – widely seen as one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and he may very well make his MLB debut at some point during the 2021 season.

Anthony Swarzak – did not pitch last year after making $8.5 million in 2019.

Mets Return

Edwin Diaz – after a terrible 2019, he rebounded to have a strong 2020 season albeit one with four blown saves in 10 attempts. The question for him in 2021 is whether his good year, bad year pattern continues.

Really, Diaz is it for the Mets return because Cano is not going to play in 2021. There is now a question about whether he actually plays another game again. Certainly, you could argue the Mets would look to buy him out at some point or just flat out release him. Who knows?

The only thing we do know is Cano is out of baseball in 2021. Perhaps, that is a large reason why Van Wagenen and the person who hired him, Jeff Wilpon, will also be out of baseball. In fact, this trio may very well be and probably should be out for good. That will give them all a front row seat to seeing Kelenic and Dunn lead the Mariners organization back to postseason contention.

 

Steve Cohen’s First Day To-Do List

With reports the sale of the New York Mets being finalized, and with free agency having already begun, Steve Cohen has to hit the ground running. In light of that, here’s a helpful first day to-do list:

1. Have security escort Jeff Wilpon from the building.

2. Officially announce Sandy Alderson re-joining the Mets.

3. Sit down with Brodie Van Wagenen to have him explain trading Jarred Kelenic and making moves to obtain former clients like Jed Lowrie and Michael Wacha.

4. Fire Van Wagenen.

5. Call the agents for Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Noah Syndergaard to find out the parameters for a potential extension.

6. Call Indians and ask for initial asking price on Francisco Lindor and what pitchers they’d be willing to trade.

7. Have security do a sweep of the building up ensure Wilpon and Van Wagenen have vacated the premises.

8. Give a big raise to all the scouts and front office personnel who handle the draft.

9. Talk with media about plans going forward and to send message out to fans about this being a new era of competitiveness in all areas and accountability.

10. Order Shake Shack and enjoy a first day well done.