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.
4. Fire Van Wagenen.
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.
Justin Toscano of The Record wrote the latest in what appears to be a series of articles giving the pros and cons of keeping Brodie Van Wagenen on as the New York Mets General Manager.
There has been much written on Van Wagenen’s tenure, especially here, but when we look at it the seminal moment might’ve been the Jed Lowrie signing. After all, that was the “Come get us” moment.
As explained by Michael Mayer of MMO, things didn’t quite work out that way.
List of players with more hits with the Mets than Jed Lowrie:
Vinegar Bend Mizell
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) October 8, 2020
Really, the best way to sum up how poorly the Lowrie signing went is Bartolo Colon had more homers with the Mets than Lowrie had hits. More to the point, Colon, who set a Major League record for PA before his first walk, drew as many walks as Lowrie did with the Mets.
Colon has nine more runs, 15 more hits, four more doubles, one more homer, and six more RBI than Lowrie has with the Mets. They’ve also played the same amount of innings at second, third, and short.
Now, this isn’t to poke fun at Lowrie. He’s been a very good player throughout his career, and by all accounts, he’s been a good guy.
Rather, this just yet again highlights how horrific Van Wagenen’s tenure as GM has been. As a result, the articles looking for reasons for him to stay are really reaching.
Looking at everything, once Steve Cohen is approved, it’s time to come get a real GM.
As the day progressed, the rained out New York Mets hopes of making the postseason lied in only one scenario. They had to win out while the San Francisco Giants were swept by the San Diego Padres.
The Padres are a very good team, so it was at least possible. With the Padres up 3-2 entering the sixth inning of the seven inning game (thanks again Manfred), there was increasing hope. That hope seemingly vanished when Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate:
🎶 I'll be there for you🎶
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 26, 2020
This should infuriate every Mets fan.
Flores was a fan favorite and productive bench player who wanted to be a Met. Instead of looking to keep him around, the Mets non-tendered him and made up an arthritic condition he didn’t actually have.
Worse yet, Flores has been more productive than any player Brodie Van Wagenen has brought into the Mets organization. That includes Jed Lowrie who actually did have a knee issue.
They tried to replace him too by trading for J.D. Davis who was actually a significantly worse defender than even what they made Flores out to be.
Overall, the Mets would’ve been much better off with Flores. That’s not only because he was better than every single Brodie Van Wagenen alternative. It’s also because Flores wouldn’t have been in San Francisco trying to end the Mets season.
Fortunately for the Mets, Trent Grisham hit a seventh inning walk-off homer for the Padres (in San Francisco) to give the Padres a 6-5 victory and to keep the Mets hopes alive.
TRENT GRISHAM WALK OFF BLAST
IN SAN FRANCISCO
— Fox Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) September 26, 2020
Tomorrow, the Mets will have to win two games while hoping Flores doesn’t have any more magic in his bat. Whatever the end result, we’re not too far away from Jeff Wilpon and Van Wagenen making stupid decisions that has Flores in San Francisco with worse options on the Mets roster.
According to reports, Steve Cohen is bringing Sandy Anderson back to the Mets as an advisor, and he is planning on finding a replacement for Brodie Van Wagenen. Both are excellent and needed decisions.
When it comes to Van Wagenen, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much damage he has done to the well built and talented Mets organization gift wrapped to him from Alderson. Essentially, all that Alderson built needs to be rebuilt.
Van Wagenen was given a starting staff comprised of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz. Behind them were well regarded prospects in Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay, and Simeon Woods Richardson.
The Mets rotation over the final week of the 2020 season will be deGrom, Rick Porcello, maybe Matz, and who knows what else?
The position player core was remarkably cheap and talented. There was Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and Amed Rosario. Behind them was Andres Gimenez and Jarred Kelenic.
Sure, there were some bad contracts, but they were short term in nature, and they were not going to serve as an impediment to either building on or retaining this core.
For example, the Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes contacts were set to expire after this season. That coincided perfectly with having to have the money to re-sign deGrom and to have extension talks with Conforto, Matz, and Syndergaard.
Instead, the Mets no longer have Kelenic giving them a buffet against losing one of Conforto or Nimmo. They also have Robinson Cano‘s onerous contract on the books which already served as an impediment to re-signing Wheeler.
That’s nothing to say of the quality prospect purge in the same of finding a late inning defensive replacement in center for a team who already had Juan Lagares and adding J.D. Davis to a team already overstocked in 1B/DH players.
Couple this with the Mets getting rid of Wilmer Flores for nothing only for him to be more productive than anyone Van Wagenen brought into the organization and signing Jed Lowrie for $20 million to get eight pinch hitting attempts, and the Van Wagenen stint as GM has been an unmitigated disaster.
If you want to point to Van Wagenen’s drafts as a positive, you should. However, in doing that, remember, that was a scouting group built by Alderson and Omar Minaya. The Mets will be keeping both advisors.
When you take everything into account, Alderson built the Mets to be a competitive team in 2019 and 2020. With any luck, he had a deep farm system to make the types of trades he made in 2015 to help get the team over the top.
The real window for this Mets team was supposed to open in 2021. Given the talent on the Major League roster and in the farm system, it promised to be a 1980s like run.
Instead, Alderson is back to figure out how yo fix this mess. Fortunately for him, he won’t have Van Wagenen or Jeff Wilpon standing in his way. Instead, he will have an owner with deep pockets who intends to let smart baseball people like Alderson do their jobs.
Well, the Mets took two out of three from the Phillies. As a result, the Mets next series actually matters. So there’s that. Here’s some more:
1. This is just the third series the Mets have won all year and the first against a team other than the Miami Marlins.
3. The deGrom start was a tough one because it probably cost him the Cy Young, which will also hinder his Hall of Fame chances.
5. As far as the starting pitching, we haven’t seen much of a tangible impact from new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, but we have seen him help relievers with pitch utilization and locations.
6. That’s not to say the bullpen has been good because it hasn’t. However, they came up big in a series when deGrom and Lugo didn’t pitch five innings combined.
7. There’s a lot to unwrap from Lugo’s start including how the Phillies hit four homers off of him and his decreased velocity as a starter. While this bears mentioning, we need to see more before drawing any conclusions.
8. Lugo even being in the rotation is another indication of just how awful a job Brodie Van Wagenen has done and just how much he has stripped the Mets of quality rotation depth.
10. Articles trying to explain why Steve Cohen’s money may not matter and why he won’t spend right away are trying to be a little too cute and are very disingenuous in their premises.
11. Also, Cohen is getting approved because he’s going to be the wealthiest owner in the game, and he bought the Mets for more than any North American sports team has ever sold. People telling you his approval is because of the respect Fred Wilpon has in the game are embarrassing themselves.
12. Wilson Ramos has seemingly struggled more than anyone being separated from his family. It’s a real shame he has dealt with these issues.
13. Its a good thing J.D. Davis had that big game on Wednesday because he’s been basically terrible since August 1 costing the Mets games with his ground balls and glove.
14. Over the last month, Davis is hitting .253/.360/.411, and Jeff McNeil is hitting .360/.442/.584. Naturally, McNeil bats seventh and Davis third. It’s because it’s not about winning, but rather about Van Wagenen.
15. With Davis and Pete Alonso struggling, at some point the uncomfortable conversation needs to happen about how much the juiced ball impacted their 2019 production.
16. Anyone calling Brandon Nimmo a fourth outfielder doesn’t know anything about baseball.
17. With Dellin Betances likely exercising his $6 million player option, and the Mets having to buy out Ramos for $1.5 million and Robinson Chirinos for $2.5, the Wilpons have left a nice $10 million tab for Cohen.
18. The extra postseason spots made sense in a 60 game season, but it will be a disaster going forward. So naturally, Rob Manfred wants it.
19. Looking through the years, under this new proposed format, you’re going to get under .500 teams in the postseason on a routine basis. That’s bad for the sport.
20. The Mets have to play the best baseball they possibly can to even have a chance. Given the matchups against the Braves and Rays, their chances aren’t good, but we’re Mets fans, so we’re going to watch and hold out hope.
It seems at least once a year the Washington Nationals just embarrass the Mets. While much has changed in this COVID19 world, apparently, this tradition has survived.
Brandon Nimmo had a rough night in the outfield. He didn’t make an error, but he didn’t get to a lot of balls. He wasn’t the only one off during the Nationals 16-4 thrashing of a the Mets.
The Nationals hit four homers with two of them coming from former Met Asdrubal Cabrera. That included a true juiced ball homer.
JUICED BALL HR OF THE NIGHT pic.twitter.com/uGxSYEHKSb
— Dylan Hornik (@_Hornik_) August 11, 2020
You may remember Cabrera from his stint with the Mets. If not, you may remember him as the guy Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t give a courtesy call to when he instead opted to sign his former client Jed Lowrie, who had a busted knee.
Lowrie gave the Mets nine pinch hit attempts, and Cabrera helped the Nationals win the World Series. He also helped destroy the Mets tonight. So, thanks for that Brodie.
Really, the less said about this debacle, the better. It’s time to turn the page and just try to figure out how to piece together a starting rotation. Again, thanks for that Brodie.
Before the game, the New York Mets announced Yoenis Cespedes went missing. The Mets didn’t know where he was, and as time progressed, it turns out, we didn’t even know if the Mets did the bare minimum to locate him . . . if they even did that.
During the game, they informed us they still haven’t heard from or located Cespedes, but they knew he was safe. That’s an odd statement to make about someone you haven’t spoken to nor know his whereabouts.
In the end, it turned out Cespedes opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID19 concerns. As reported by The Athletic, Cespedes has a family member who was high risk for COVID19 which drove his decision.
Before the season, there were reasons to play. There was a lot of money on the line not just for 2020, but if he could prove he could play, his 2021 contract was at stake.
However, as time passed circumstances changed dramatically. The Marlins had an outbreak. The Cardinals may be on the verge of one. He wasn’t getting the playing time, and he wasn’t hitting to the extent he needed to hit those incentives.
All in all, it’s possible Cespedes said it wasn’t worth the risk anymore.
However, at this point, we still don’t know. Cespedes hasn’t commented, and the Mets made sure no one but Brodie Van Wagenen commented on the matter.
In the same Zoom session Brodie Van Wagenen talked about transparency, #mets PR cut off the session with 6 hands still raised and then made just one player — a rookie pitcher — available.
— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) August 2, 2020
While the Mets told us about how they were blindsided by Cespedes, they certainly seemed to know he was alright, and the team also seemed to have addressed his absence by obtaining Billy Hamilton from the San Francisco Giants.
So, to sum up, the Mets traded for another outfielder, knew Cespedes was alright, stopped answering questions about it, and they refused to let the players speak to the press about it. Believe what you want, but the Mets are hiding something here.
So today’s fiasco seems to be either:
1. The Mets sent a statement designed to shame Yoenis Cespedes.
2. The Mets sent out a statement to say Yoenis Cespedes didn’t come to work — but without first determining his wellbeing.
A well-run organization would do neither.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 2, 2020
On the field, the Mets continue to disappoint.
David Peterson had a quality start allowing three runs over six innings, but he’d take the loss because the Mets were shutout. The team was 1-for-15 with RISP and left 13 runners on base.
There were many culprits for this 4-0 loss, but the biggest was the Mets front office spearheaded by Brodie Van Wagenen with not just how he handled this situation, but each and every situation with this team.
The Mets were bludgeoned by the Yankees over the two game exhibition set by the combined score of 15-3. The key word there was exhibition.
Neither of these two games counted, and they had all the weight and importance of a Spring Training game. That’s because it was Summer Camp, which was really Spring Training Part Deux.
Really, when you break it down, almost none of what happened the past two games matters. That’s even if you want to get bent out of shape about the Yankees homering off of Corey Oswalt, Drew Smith, and Chasen Shreve, i.e. bullpen bubble guys.
That’s not to say there weren’t some important takeaways. There absolutely were. It’s just the final score of home run barrage weren’t close to them.
The biggest takeaway was Yoenis Cespedes was able to play consecutive days, and he looked good running. He also only played three innings in left meaning he’s not quite in a spot to play the outfield just yet. Put another way, on a team of DHs, he’s the Mets DH.
Jed Lowrie still isn’t really playing, and the Mets have no idea when he can play. Basically, it’s 2019 all over again. To a certain extent, in this topsy turvy COVID19 world, it’s nice having some consistency.
It appears with Wilson Ramos missing these two games to attend to an undisclosed family matter and Rene Rivera being added to the 40 man roster, Tomas Nido might be the Mets Opening Day catcher. Somewhere the rehabbing Noah Syndergaard must be ripping his hair out.
On the topic of Opening Day, Jacob deGrom had a good bullpen session, and he appears set to go.
In that Opening Day lineup, all indications are Robinson Cano will start the year batting third . . . again. Of course, this once again means this wasn’t a Mickey Callaway decision, but rather a Brodie Van Wagenen one. That is, unless, you believe Luis Rojas independently reached the same decision, and Van Wagenen isn’t still trying to prop up his former client he used Jarred Kelenic to obtain.
More than any of this, it’s great having baseball back with Gary, Keith, and Ron calling games. Let’s all just cherish this, hope everyone stays safe, and the Mets got the work in they needed to start their path towards winning the 2020 World Series.
Jacob deGrom left after the first inning of an intrasquad game with a back issue. He has now undergone an MRI, and it was determined there was no structural damage.
This isn’t the first time deGrom had a back issue. Back in his first Cy Young season, he dealt with a back issue near the end of Spring Training. As we know, not only did he not miss a turn through the rotation because of it, deGrom would have an all-time great season en route to his first Cy Young.
If you’re an optimistic person, you could see this as a harbinger of good things to come. Even if you don’t try to grasp at straws to try to paint this as an induction of another great season for deGrom, hearing it’s “just” muscle tightness is a relief.
Well, at least it should be.
If we’re being honest, the Mets have a horrible track record on this. In April 2015 David Wright was only diagnosed with a hamstring injury. Pedro Martinez‘s toe in 2005 preceded a torn labrum in 2006.
Those problems still persistent. Much like with Carlos Beltran in 2010, the Mets initially insisted Yoenis Cespedes didn’t need career saving surgery before relenting. There’s also the matter of Jed Lowrie whose problems are still not fully known or addressed by the Mets.
On Lowrie, aside from making the biggest free agent blunder in team history, they’ve reached new standards in medical diagnosis and treatment. That’s something else.
Jed Lowrie is dealing with left knee soreness, Mets are limiting his activity.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 20, 2019
— Wayne Randazzo (@WayneRandazzo) February 22, 2019
If you’ll notice, Lowrie’s MRI revealed “no significant damage.”
Soreness became no significant damage. That became soreness behind his knee. That became a capsule strain. After that, the Mets have all but given up on trying to pretend to know what Lowrie’s issue was and is. We just know he can’t play in games until he can play without a knee brace.
So yes, celebrate deGrom not suffering a significant injury. Breathe a sigh of relief. Picture that third Cy Young and World Series trophy. Its hard not to get carried away. After all, deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, and he should dominate in 2020.
That’s if he can pitch. Considering the Mets history, we can’t be 100% sure. At least not yet. Sure, it’s a melodramatic way of looking at things, but this is the Mets. It’s also 2020 with all the crazy and bizarre things that have happened it’s difficult to trust some good news.
In the end, not trusting deGrom will be fine may be nothing more than paranoia. Well, justified paranoia.
The Mets have done their part protecting the confidentiality of their players. We know Brad Brach and Robinson Cano aren’t in camp, but the team will not say why. Thar said, Luis Rojas might’ve given us an indication it’s COVID19 related:
Luis Rojas said the Mets haven't had any baseball-related injuries so far during camp.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) July 12, 2020
As is typically the case when a player is going to miss time, the discussion begins on what the Mets should do to replace these players.
There’s a ton of options available to replace Cano, and it’s an interesting debate.
It’s similar to Brach. Newly signed Jared Hughes is obviously the first man up to replace him. There’s also Paul Sewald, Drew Smith, Stephen Gonsalves, Franklyn Kilome, Walker Lockett, Corey Oswalt, and some interesting minor league arms.
If this were a normal 2020 season, we’d debate the correct path, and we’d see the Mets have time to get it wrong, get it wrong again, and hopefully, finally make the correct decision.
However, this is far from a normal season. There is a pandemic which threatens the lives and long-term health of people. We’ve already heard about Freddie Freeman and his struggle with this disease. We’re hearing about Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz still experiencing some issues.
Right now, we don’t know if Brach or Cano have COVID19. To the extent they do have it, we don’t know how much it’s impacting them now, or will affect their health in the future.
The only thing we do know is there’s a pandemic which is affecting people differently. We know this pandemic has no vaccine. Even with precautions, we can’t guarantee players won’t become infected.
With all we know and don’t know with COVID19, at some point we need to pivot from who will replace these infected players to whether there should be baseball in 2020.
Remember, it’s alright to desperately want baseball to return. It’s also alright to believe it’s not safe for these players to play. We’re all human, and there’s no clear cut answer or solution.