Jason Vargas

Mets All-In Roster Is Approximately $130 Million

While the Mets were trying to sell us under Brodie Van Wagenen this was a new team where anything was possible. As the offseason progresses, we once again learn anything being possible doesn’t include the Mets spending money.

Here’s a look at their current payroll commitments:

Catchers

Wilson Ramos $7.25 million

Travis d’Arnaud $3.52 million

Subtotal: $10.77 million

Infielders

Robinson Cano $20 million (estimated)

Todd Frazier $9 million

Amed Rosario $560k*

Peter Alonso $560k

Jeff McNeil $560k

J.D. Davis $560k

Subtotal: $31.24 million

Outfielders

Juan Lagares $9 million

Brandon Nimmo $560k

Keon Broxton $560k

Subtotal: $10.12 million

Starting Rotation

Jason Vargas $8 million

Bullpen

Edwin Diaz $560k

Jeurys Familia $6.66 million

Seth Lugo $560k

Robert Gsellman $560k

Daniel Zamora $560k

Subtotal: $8.9 million

Arbitration Estimates

(Estimates from MLB Trade Rumors)

Jacob deGrom $12.9 million

Noah Syndergaard $5.9 million

Zack Wheeler $5.3 million

Michael Conforto $4.4 million

Steven Matz $3.0 million

Subtotal: $31.5 million

That’s $100.53 million wrapped up in 22 players who will likely take the field for the Mets next season.

When you include Yoenis Cespedes‘ $29 million, the payroll jumps to $129.53 million. That’s $129.53 million with three spots which need to be filled on this roster. Keep in mind this is before you account for a portion of his salary being covered by insurance.

If Hector Santiago makes the Opening Day roster, he’s due $2 million. That’s one fewer roster spot to have to fill, and it raises the payroll to $131.53 million.

That leaves the Mets looking for a utility player who can play SS and one more bullpen arm. Judging from reports, the Mets aren’t going out to get their guy, but rather they’re waiting for a deal for that last bullpen arm.

Where the Mets go from there, we don’t know. What we do know is the Mets are only spending $131.53 million on the players who will play next year.

As for shortstop, we can’t rule out players like Gavin Cecchini, Luis Guillorme, or T.J. Rivera getting that chance, which would push payroll towards an uninspiring $132 million.

Yes, someone will likely raise David Wright and the fact he is owed $15 million next year. Well, fact is he’s been released, and we do not know if there’s been any settlement with the insurance company, Wright, or both. We may have some evidence to what that may be:

But Wright is also a non sequitur. He’s not playing this year, the next, or ever again. Fact is, right now, the Mets are going to battle with a payroll of approximately $130 million. Maybe when all is said and done, it’s higher, but it’s nowhere near what a large market payroll should be.

That’s not the all-in team Mets fans were promised, and when you boil it down, the Mets really have zero excuse as to why they’re not pursuing any other outfielders or why they haven’t pursued Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

* $560k was estimated salary for for pre-arbitration players.

Mets New Years Resolutions

After an unplanned hiatus, it is time to start the New Year off fresh and to look at everything anew. It is time for change and resolutions to carry us through 2019. Here are the resolutions for each of the Mets players:

Robinson Cano – don’t get caught using PEDs this time

Yoenis Cespedes – find a way to DH in at least two games this year

Michael Conforto – don’t let Chili Davis anywhere near his perfect swing

Jacob deGrom – learn how to hit better so he can finally win some games next year.

Travis d’Arnaud – get the same surgery Wolverine got

Rajai Davis – just remind Callaway he was his center fielder in Cleveland because as we saw with Austin Jackson, it is a guarantee for a significant amount of playing time

Edwin Diaz – seek out Armando Benitez, get his advice, and ignore everything he has to say.

Jeurys Familia – convince Callaway Diaz needs to be used in higher leverage situations so he can get his closer job back

Todd Frazier – find a way to sell move boxes of unsold Mets salt and pepper grinders while not falling into the same trap this year.

Drew Gagnon – keep those incriminating photos which have allowed you to survive roster cut after roster cut.

Robert Gsellman – learn how to pitch well for more than just one month out of the season

Juan Lagares – find a way to play at least half a season

Seth Lugo – when he is not given an opportunity to start and is an All Star snub, channel his inner Margot Martindale from BoJack Horseman

Steven Matz – pitch better so his grandfather will begin cheering for him again.

Jeff McNeil – find a way to hit .400 because short of that the Mets are probably not putting him in the lineup

Tomas Nidosign up for the best travel rewards program there is because by the time 2019 is over he will be able to fly first class to Australia and back at least 10 times a month

Brandon Nimmo – life isn’t that bad, maybe he should smile every once in a while

Kevin Plawecki – hit the occasional ground ball to the left side just to shake things up.

Jacob Rhame – find a new look because the Jason Phillips thing just isn’t working for him or his career.

Amed Rosario – take some mommy/baby classes so he can learn how to walk

Paul Sewald – have a print out of his game logs from Baseball Reference to remind the Mets he pitches well in shorter spurts, and that he is not superhuman and cannot handle onerous workloads. Cry when the attempts fail and he finds himself back in Triple-A

Dominic Smithlend Peter Alonso his alarm clock in Spring Training

Noah Syndergaard find an open mic somewhere to discover no one actually believes he or his Mr. Met feud is funny.

Jason Vargas – leave the Jeff Goldblum impressions in the clubhouse and stop pitching like him when he takes the mound.

Bobby Wahl – make sure the comparisons to Matt Harvey stay with both pitchers having TOS and not because fans are questioning why your manager would put you on the mound to start the ninth inning

Zack Wheeler – don’t even let a Mets team doctor near his arm in his free agent walk year.

Daniel Zamora – be able to spin his bad outings the way he can spin his slider

Mickey Callaway – take a deep breath and relax. Now that Jay Bruce is gone, he’s going to be able to hand in the right lineup.

Mets Should Be Willing To Take On Robinson Cano’s Contract

The Mets have a number of needs this offseason, and despite those needs, the team is of the belief they can contend in 2019. Two of those needs are a right-handed hitter and a bullpen arm. That’s an expensive item to add in free agency, especially with the team needing to rebuild their bullpen and possibly add a catcher.

The Mariners are rebuilding, and they have those pieces in Mitch Haniger and Edwin Diaz.  The issue is the Mariners don’t want to trade those players as they see them as building blocks for the future.

Typically, this is just talk. Untouchable players, especially relievers, are almost always available. The trick is you need to be bowl a team over to get the player, or the player has to force their way out. Remember, Christian Yelich was not available until he became a Brewer. Craig Kimbrel was untouchable until he became a Padre.

The catch is you need to have the prospects to make one of the proverbial godfather offers to pry those players away. Looking at the Mets farm system, while it is improving, it is difficult to argue they have enough to pull off the feat. If the Mariners like Peter Alonso or Andres Gimenez, they could acquire one of Haniger or Diaz, but not both.

That is unless the Mets get creative.

If you create a list of the most untradeable contracts in baseball, you will see Albert Pujols, Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Robinson Cano.  Moving Cano is made all the more difficult by his no-trade clause.  Add his steroid suspension last year, and it would be completely and utterly shocking to see the Mariners trade Cano.

That doesn’t meant they’re not trying.  Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the Mariners have contacted both the Mets and Yankees about taking on Cano’s contract.  In the article, it was revealed the Mariners were not willing to take back Ellsbury in the deal.

Considering the Mets budget limitations and how they were burned by the David Wright and now Yoenis Cespedes contracts, it’d be shocking to see the team take on Cano’s contract, and that is before you consider all of his red flags.  At 36, he still has five years $120 million on his deal.  None of this should mean Cano should be off the table for the Mets.

The Mets do have some bad contracts of their own.  For example, Jay Bruce is owed $28 million over the next two years.  Jason Vargas is owed $8 million next year with a $2 million buy out should the Mets not pick up his $8 million option. You could certainly argue Cano would be much more productive than Bruce and Vargas combined. Still, that leaves you assuming four years and $96 million. The Mets would really have to be enticed to take that on from the Mariners.

Haniger and Diaz would be awfully enticing.

If you look at it through the prism of five years $120 million for Cano, you would not do that deal. However, five years and roughly $170 for Cano, Haniger, and Diaz doesn’t look too bad.  That’s roughly $11 million per year per player.  That’s certainly fair value for those players.

Dumping some contracts like Bruce and Vargas could make it more palatable.  It could also reduce the perspective prospect cost.  Right off the bat, you could offer Alonso, Gimenez, and Dominic Smith.  That’s a pretty decent haul, and it could prevent the team from having to have to part with another big piece.  If the Mets did this, they ultimately become World Series contenders next year with that lineup:

CF Brandon Nimmo
RF Mitch Haniger
LF Michael Conforto
1B Robinson Cano
3B Todd Frazier
2B Jeff McNeil
SS Amed Rosario
C Kevin Plawecki

Looking at that lineup, and the fact it would be cost neutral for a team potentially trading away Bruce and Vargas, you have to wonder why the Mets wouldn’t do the deal.  And if the answer is Cespedes, you can make McNeil a utility player and move Cano to second.  Really, if you think about it having a deep bench is not an excuse to make a deal which could win you a World Series.

This is the deal big market teams make to win a World Series.  The Mets should start pretending to be one of those teams instead of trading Noah Syndergaard and heading towards another rebuild despite having a young talented core.

Mets Can Trade Syndergaard But Should They?

There are mixed rumors about whether the Mets are shopping Noah Syndergaard this offseason. Seemingly, trading Syndergaard would run counter-intuitive to the Mets statements they are trying to win now and in the future. However, if the Mets pull this off just right, they can actually compete going forward.

While we assume all of the other 29 teams in baseball would be interested, we do know the Padres are interested – very interested. They pursued him at the trade deadline, and they are apparently pursuing him again this offseason. While the Padres farm system is loaded, their major league team really isn’t.

In terms of their starting lineup, only Eric Hosmer, Hunter Renfroe, and Franmil Reyes had an OBP over .300. Renfore was the only player with over 20 homers. None of their starting pitchers had an ERA under 4.00, which is all the more troubling when you consider they play in Petco. This is a big reason why they want Syndergaard, or another top tier starting pitcher who is available like James Paxton.

The question is how much the Padres want Syndergaard. If they are willing to give up Fernando Tatis, Jr., there is the chance a deal can get done. MLB Pipeline has given him a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale. Baseball America is equally as high on him saying, “components of a middle-of-the-order shortstop, and even if he has to move to third base has more than enough bat to flourish. His mix of talent, personality and bilingualism sets him up to become the face of the Padres franchise.” Both outlets rate him as the second best prospect in the game.

Last year in Double-A, Tatis hit .286/.355/.507 with 22 doubles, four triples, 16 homers, and 43 RBI. He would also steal 16 bases. He should start the year in Triple-A, and realistically speaking, he will play in the majors next year.

Adding him to the roster would give you a huge prospect going forward. It also creates some flexibility. This could allow the Mets to trade Amed Rosario to improve other aspects of their club including a rotation which would have just lost Syndergaard. The Mets could also shift Rosario to another position like center field where the Mets have a hole.

If you moved Rosario to another position, you could trade Andres Gimenez for an upgrade elsewhere. You could also take one of the other big prospects you get in a proverbial swap to make an upgrade. Overall, if done properly, trading Syndergaard could truly create real roster flexibility.

Of course, the Mets will need it because they are going to need to fill in the rotation. By losing Syndergaard, you damage the strength of your team. You go from the best top 4 in baseball to a shaky rotation. After all, the Mets needed to upgrade the rotation anyway with Jason Vargas being their fifth starter. With Syndergaard gone, they would need to upgrade two spots.

You could do that by signing a Patrick Corbin, but that’s going to restrict the budget available to upgrade areas which really needed upgrading. Essentially, by making this trade, you are going to push competing for a World Series until 2020 at the earliest. Maybe by making this deal, you are passing on competing for the next five years.

Really, before even contemplating a trade like this, you have to have your ducks lined up. You have to know what the next five steps are, and they need to be secure. If not, you are gambling on this whole team and window blowing up.

Overall, trading players like Syndergaard makes and breaks careers. Getting him as part of the R.A. Dickey deal made the Mets contenders in 2015 and 2016. Trading him away could end any possibility of competing anytime soon, or it could open a whole new window. It’s a really difficult decision, and like it or not, the early stages of Brodie Van Wagenen’s tenure will be marked by the decision he makes.

 

Former Mets Available In Free Agency

It may be every fan base, but it seems like whenever the Mets need to add players via trade or free agency, fans seem to look towards acquiring former players.  It may not be just the fans either as the Mets bucked conventional wisdom by signing Jay Bruce and Jason Vargas last year.  If the fans and organization wants to go down that road again, there are plenty of options this offseason:

Jose Lobaton – If he’s back, we may actually see fans boycott the team.

Devin Mesoraco – Other than like a one week stretch, he was terrible in every facet of the game.  There is no way he should be back in Queens next year.

Rene Rivera – He would be a fine addition on a minor league deal to work with up and comers like Justin Dunn.  If there’s an injury or two (ideally three), he could resume his role as Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher.

Lucas Duda – Fans used to debate at length whether Duda was a good or bad player.  The debate is over.  He’s now a bad player who has not much to offer anymore.

Asdrubal Cabrera – Unless Cabrera is looking to accept a utility role behind two still largely unproven young players, there would be no reason to bring him back to the Mets.

Daniel Murphy – There is a scenario in which bringing him back makes sense, but that includes the Mets moving at least one bad contract to put him at first base because his knees have made his already poor defense all the worse.  There are many other variables past that making this a non-starter.

Jose Reyes – He shouldn’t even be playing for the Long Island Ducks next year.

Neil Walker – Considering he accepted a utility role for the Yankees last year, he could be willing to accept one with the Mets next year.  If so, he could be quality depth for the Mets roster which has not had depth on their bench since 2015.

Carlos Gomez – Judging from last year, it does not seem like Gomez can hit much anymore, but he can still play defense.  The Mets need a right-handed outfielder or two, and he would be a much better option than Austin Jackson by the simple fact he’s not Austin Jackson.

Chris Young – In 2014, the Mets made a $7.25 million bet Young still had something in the tank.  They wound up releasing him, thereby allowing other teams to discover he did have something left in the tank.  That something was hitting left-handed pitching, which is something he didn’t do at all last year.

Austin Jackson – He used up all the playing time he should receive in a Mets uniform last year.

Curtis Granderson – With Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo, you could argue the Mets have no need for another left-handed hitting corner outfielder.  Lost in all of that is the fact Granderson is still a productive player who is great in the clubhouse.  It would not be the worst idea to bring him back to let him serve as a mentor to the Mets young players.

Bartolo Colon – If you want him back, you deserve to see the Mets go under .500 again.

Matt Harvey – Harvey has basically said he doesn’t want to return.  If you ask the Mets, the feelings are probably mutual.

Chris Beck – He was terrible for the Mets last year, so if you’re upgrading your bullpen, you should probably avoid the guys who were terrible for you.

Tyler Clippard – He had surprisingly good stats last year, which is all the more incredible when you consider he pitched in the AL East.  Signing him to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training is not the worst idea in the world.

Jeurys Familia – Familia is the best right-handed reliever in Mets history, and unlike the other free agent relief options not named David Robertson, none of them have proven they can pitch in pressure situations in New York.  If you’re looking to compete, Familia could be a big boost to the bullpen.

AJ Ramos – The main reason Ramos didn’t work out this year was because he was injured.  He did have surgery to repair his shoulder, but we don’t know what he will be when he is ready to pitch again.  The Mets need far more certainty than that from their bullpen.

Fernando Salas – Salas helped pitch the Mets to the 2016 Wild Card, and the thanks he received was getting over-used by Terry Collins to the point he was released by the Mets in 2017.  He returned to a slightly below average reliever last year.  The Mets have plenty of those already.

Jerry Blevins – Even with last year’s struggles, Blevins has traditionally been a good LOOGY for the Mets.  If Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway think he can return to form, and he signs a reasonable one year deal, the Mets should bring him back.

Oliver Perez – If Brodie Van Wagenen had a sense of humor, he would work out a contract with either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but the day before the Mets officially signs either one of them, the Mets would announce Ollie was returning to the Mets organization.

Mets Outlast Nationals

Like two nights ago, the Mets had the opportunity to take out one of the leading Cy Young candidates to help Jacob deGrom‘s Cy Young case. Like with the game against Aaron Nola, the Mets dealt a small blow but could not deliver the knockout punch.

The Mets did try. In the third, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce went back-to-back to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The one weakness in Max Scherzer‘s game this year was the long ball, and the Mets took full advantage. Conversely, the major strength in Scherzer’s game was the strikeout, and he mowed down the Mets.

After the Bruce homer, the Mets had just one hit and one walk, which did allow Scherzer to go seven. In total, Scherzer increased his lead over deGrom in innings and strikeouts, but his ERA rose .04.

For a while, it seemed as if the Mets were going to hit Scherzer with a loss because somehow someway Jason Vargas was out-pitching Scherzer.

The only damage against Vargas was an Anthony Rendon two run homer in the sixth. Seth Lugo, as part of his 1.1 innings, got the final out of the inning to preserve the 3-2 lead.

After Scherzer was pulled, the Mets immediately went to work against left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff triple, and he’d come home on a Bruce single past the drawn-in infield to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. It wasn’t enough for this Mets bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak allowed the first two to reach in the bottom of the eighth, and Daniel Zamora would come on to face Bryce Harper. In the lengthy at-bat. Zamora would get the best of Harper who just missed out as he flew out to deep right field.

Maybe because it was because he opted to take the bullpen cart, but Robert Gsellman would surrender the lead. He first run came on a Rendon groundout, and the second scored on a Juan Soto RBI double.

With that, Scherzer was off the hook. With us living in a world where deGrom may win the Cy Young with a losing record, the loss was probably inconsequential.

The game would go extras, and the Mets seemed poised to end it early with them loading the bases in the 10th with just one out.

However, even with Greg Holland losing the strike zone having thrown seven straight balls, Jack Reinheimer swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit a soft tapper to Holland, who started the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

In that 10th inning, McNeil was surprisingly sent up to bunt. In that at-bat, home plate umpire made a few very questionable strike calls, including ruling McNeil bunted at a pitch. This led Mickey Callaway to flip and earn his second career ejection.

In the 11th, Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff double, and he would be stranded there.

What was surprising was how Jacob Rhame returned serve. After allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmerman, who tagged up and moved to third on a Matt Wieters line out, Rhame would strike out Mark Reynolds and Victor Robles to end the inning.

Finally, in the 12th, the Mets retook the lead.

Amed Rosario led off the inning with a single off Jefry Rodriguez, and this time, McNeil would get the bunt down.

The bases were loaded after Conforto was intentionally walked, and Bruce walked after him. Jose Lobaton pinch hit for Rhame, and he delivered with a go-ahead sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Paul Sewald was given the 12th, and he delivered his second career save with a 1-2-3 inning. Just because it was a 1-2-3 inning, it doesn’t mean it was uneventful.

After Heyward was called out on a pitch outside the strike zone, he argued the call, and he was tossed by Home Plate Umpire D.J. Reyburn. Heyward didn’t even bother going to the clubhouse. Instead, he watched the final out from the bench.

Come next week, Harper will join the Mets in watching games from the bench as the Nationals will soon be eliminated from the postseason.

Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was shut down for the rest of the year after being diagnosed with arthritis in his knees.

Wright’s Playing Days Ending As The Mets Play On

In an emotional press conference, David Wright announced he was playing on Saturday, September 29th and never again. While we’ve already entered into a post-Wright Mets era, this was a crushing confirmation of the news.

With news like this, the last thing on most people’s minds was playing a game. Let alone two. And yet, there was a scheduled doubleheader.

In the first game, we were treated to a terrific performance from Steven Matz.

After allowing back-to-back homers to Peter O’Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second, Matz would hit his first career homer to tie the game.

The game would stay tied 2-2 until the seventh when O’Brien would strike again singling off Drew Smith to drive home Brian Anderson, who led off the inning with a double off Matz.

Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing three earned on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

It seemed the Marlins were going to win this game 3-2, but that was until Don Mattingly made a mistake. Instead of sticking with Adam Conley, who absolutely owns the Mets, Mattingly went to Kyle Barraclough because Amed Rosario was due up.

Mickey Callaway went to Dominic Smith who grounded out right in front of home plate.

While Smith wouldn’t deliver, Michael Conforto would hitting a game tying homer off Barraclough. It was his fourth homer in five games.

Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would hit a walk-off homer.

With that, the game ended with a homer by Wright’s heir apparent for best homegrown position player followed by a homer by the guy signed to replace Wright. Really, it was quite the fitting ending.

But still, there was more baseball to be played.

Surprisingly, the Mets got a strong start by Jason Vargas with him allowing little more than a two run homer to Miguel Rojas over six innings.

Vargas would get the win for a few reasons. Chief among them was his catcher Tomas Nido, who made a great play in the field

before hitting his first career homer

The Nido solo shot opened the scoring for the Mets in a three run inning capped off by a two out Conforto RBI double.

That 3-2 lead would hold up as Seth Lugo was as dominant as you can be in his two innings. In fact, Lugo would strike out five of the seven batters he faced.

The Mets built a seventh inning rally starting starting with a Jeff McNeil two out single. As the inning progressed, the Mets scored insurance runs on singles by Conforto and Smith.

That 5-2 lead proved to be save for Robert Gsellman to shut the door on a seemingly rare doubleheader sweep.

With the sweep, the Mets are now just 10 games under .500 for the first time since June 21st.

Game Notes:

Vargas Gets Run Support deGrom Never Had

The Mets had one of those odd not quite a doubleheader type of days with the Mets and Cubs needing to complete yesterday’s suspended game. The Mets would pick up where they left off by shouting themselves in the foot.

The 10th inning ended on a strike ’em out – throw ’em out double play. Jay Bruce struck out, and Michael Conforto was caught stealing.

In the 11th, Wilmer Flores lined into a double play.

As bad as that was Paul Sewald imploded in the 11th. He first walked Javier Baez and then threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt. That left no choice but to walk Kyle Schwarber to load the bases.

After he struck out Albert Almora, Jr., Mickey Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get Ben Zobrist. He didn’t, and the Cubs won the suspended game 2-1.

After two close and heart wrenching losses in a row, the Mets set out to ensure there would be no room for late game heroics. They immediately put up a four spot courtesy of a Todd Frazier grand slam:

Of course, the Mets gave this type of run support to Jason Vargas and not Jacob deGrom.

What was interesting was Vargas actually let those four runs hold up even if he was a little shaky.

He escaped a first inning jam with runners at the corners by striking out David Bote. He allowed just run in the second after Willson Contreras led off with a double.

From there, Vargas really settled in, and he was surprisingly keeping the Cubs at bay. Vargas’ final line would be 5.1 innings, four hits, run, one earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.

With his four straight good start in a row, he’s lowered his ERA from 8.75 to 6.56. Perhaps more impressive than that was his retiring a batter the third time through the lineup for the first time all season.

Vargas got the win because not only did the bullpen make those runs hold up, but the Mets offense exploded in the seventh. Amazingly, it was all with two outs.

Wilmer Flores hit a single, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on an Amed Rosario bloop single.

Rosario scored after a Jeff McNeil walk and Austin Jackson RBI single. Both McNeil and Jackson scored on a Just Release Him Already RBI triple.

The Mets plated two more runs in the ninth on a rally started when Tomas Nido reached on a fielding error by Cubs reliever James Norwood. The rally culminated with Frazier and Brandon Nimmo hitting RBI singles to make it 10-1 Mets.

In the bottom of the ninth, 26th man Jacob Rhame who was called up for the ninth time this season allowed two runs before finally closing the door on the Mets 10-3 victory.

Overall, the Mets played 11 innings, scored 10 runs, and went 1-1. It’s been one of those seasons.

Game Notes: With the loss, Sewald is now 0-11 in his career with one save.

Nationals Wheels Falling Off While Mets Wheeler Is Rolling

Seeing how the Nationals have performed recently, including how they performed yesterday against Jason Vargas, it’s difficult to get excited about any pitcher dominating them.

That said, Zack Wheeler has been great recently and today was another one of his terrific outings.

Wheeler pitched seven scoreless allowing six hits and three walks while striking out four.

This was the eighth time over his last 12 starts where he has gone at least seven innings. It is also the sixth straight start he’s allowed two runs or fewer.

For a while, it looked like Wheeler would walk away with the no decision as Tanner Roark was matching zeros with him over the first five innings.

Up until that point, the Mets just had three hits and no one reached third.

Finally, with one out in the sixth, Amed Rosario would hit a solo homer to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

The Mets would tack on runs in the ensuing two innings.

In the seventh, Todd Frazier would continue his hot hitting with a homer of his own.

In the eighth, Rosario beat out a potential double play ball extending the inning. He would then score as both Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto would hit singles off Nationals left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

That 3-0 lead was more than enough for Wheeler and what has been a terrific Mets bullpen this month.

Daniel Zamora retired Bryce Harper to lead off the eighth. Drew Smith then pitched an inning before handing the ball to Jerry Blevins who recorded the seventh save of his career.

Just like that, it appears the Mets are trending in an upward trajectory while the Nationals are struggling to find themselves. Hopefully, that will last longer than just the final two months of this season.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets recorded consecutive shutouts since 2015. Conforto started the game in center for the first time since June 26th.

Mets Win Pointless Game Over Nationals

Well, today was a day the Mets pretended they were 15 games over instead of 15 games under .500.

With the Mets refusal to put Devin Mesoraco and his injured neck on the disabled list, the team called up Tomas Nido from Double-A to serve as a back-up to Kevin Plawecki.

With Jay Bruce having a bobble head day on Saturday and his finally eligible to come off the disabled list, this meant the Mets needed to either demote or DFA two players.

Naturally, the Mets opted to demote Jack Reinheimer despite his having a batting average nearly 80 points higher than Jose Reyes.

The other player was Dominic Smith, who had gone 2-for-6 with a double, homer, and two RBI in the bizarrely limited playing time he had been given during this all too brief call-up.

To make matters worse, the Mets started Bruce in the outfield with Austin Jackson and Jose Bautista.

Remember Jackson and Bautista are Mets because no one else wanted them. The Mets called these 30+ year old impending free agents from their homes because other teams were paying them not to play for them.

Naturally, the Mets decided to play all three of them over Michael Conforto.

To top it off, Jason Vargas started the game instead of Corey Oswalt because we need to find out about the 35 year old left-hander and not the 24 year old prospect.

This is the squad the Mets opted to go with to face off against the Washington Nationals.

That Nationals team they played just traded away Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams as they admitted to themselves their .500 club was not making the postseason.

Basically, this set the stage for a game between two teams playing out the string, and it showed.

In the first, Amed Rosario hit a leadoff single off Gio Gonzalez, and he would steal second. Jeff McNeil pushed him over to third on a groundout to the right side, and Rosario would score on a Wilmer Flores RBI single.

Sadly, that was all the run support Vargas would need as the Nationals really didn’t show up.

Vargas pitched six shutout innings while allowing three hits, walking none, and striking out eight.

In the entire game, the Nationals would have just four hits with no one reaching third.

Seth Lugo pitched two innings, and Robert Gsellman earned his eight save of the season in the Mets 3-0 victory.

Those other two runs came courtesy of a Bruce two run homer. It was his first homer of the year at Citi Field.

Given how the Mets are dedicated to this 30+ year old veteran movement, we should see Bruce gets more chances to add to that home run total.

Overall, it was just astonishing to see how a Mets-Nationals game has zero juice. Both teams are very disappointing, and when they play games like this, it’s completely pointless.

Game Recap: Before the game, Mickey Callaway said Bruce could be the first baseman for the Mets next year. That would require Bruce getting time there next year, which all but eliminates the chances we see Peter Alonso this year or Smith again (at least in terms of his getting extended playing time).