The New York Mets are still looking to build their bullpen, and the one spot they haven’t quite addressed is the one now vacated by Trevor Williams. Williams held down the role once held by Seth Lugo. Like Williams, Lugo left via free agency, and the Mets really do not have a long man in their bullpen.
In many ways, the long man role is one that needs to be manufactured. it is for a starter who can’t quite start but needs to be good enough to fill-in that role on necessity. It also needs to be a reliever who is not quite dominant because those dominant relievers are better suited and more needed in the later innings of games.
Often times, the long man is just found out of necessity. For example, Williams had no options remaining. He was put in the bullpen where he was terrific. We have seen the Mets thrive with long men options in the past like Williams, Pat Mahomes, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin.
This is a role which should not go to David Peterson or Tylor Megill, each of whom the Mets should be developing. Rather, the Mets need to sign a free agent for this role, and surveying the landscape, it would seem Dylan Bundy is well suited for this role.
Bundy, 30, was once a big time prospect being selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 draft. Coincidentally, he would play as a rookie and young player under Buck Showalter, and like we see with Tommy Hunter and Mychal Givens, the Mets have liked bringing back some of Showalter’s old Orioles pitchers.
Looking at Bundy, his only good year as a starter was the pandemic shortened season of 2020. With a career 92 ERA+ and 4.68 FIP, it is really time to admit Bundy isn’t a viable starting pitcher in the leagues. That is moreso the case for a pitcher who has been at a 77 ERA+ and 5.00 FIP over the past two seasons.
Going to Baseball Savant, Bundy does a few things very well. First, he has excellent control. Second, he gets good spin on his fastball. Overall, he doesn’t walk batters, but when batters make contact, they really create damage.
Remember, by signing Bundy you’re not looking for a shutdown reliever. Rather, the goal is to find a reliever who can just eat innings. They need someone out there who can save the bullpen. A pitcher who doesn’t walk batters and is accustomed to pitch more than 1-2 innings is exactly who you want.
In his career, Bundy is at his best the first time through the lineup. The first time through he limits batters to a .239/.298/.432 batting line. That’s exactly what the Mets want. Rather, it’s what they need. They need a pitcher who can handle the first time through the order exceptionally well and who can eat innings to save the bullpen.
This is what Williams was. Of note, Jeremy Hefner worked well with Williams to adapt to this role. Chances are, he and Showalter can do the same with Bundy. As a result, the Mets should sign Bundy to take over the long reliever role.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets made the mistake of trading Michael Fulmer to acquire Yoenis Cespedes. No, it was not a mistake to obtain Cespedes, but rather, Fulmer was far too high a price to pay. As it would turn out, the Mets needed starting pitching the ensuing two seasons where Fulmer was winning Rookie of the Year and being named an All-Star.
Well, from there, Fulmer had some injury prone years and moved to the bullpen. For his part, Cespedes needed double heel surgery, and then, he would have an incident falling off his horse or something with a feral hog during his rehab. The details are still murky.
Regardless, the Detroit Tigers received a 12.2 WAR out of Fulmer and a prospect at the trade deadline. The Mets received an epic run from Cespedes amounting to a 2.1 WAR and not postseason production at the plate past Game 3 of the NLDS. In essence, the Mets made a win-now trade and didn’t win.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Fulmer is a free agent while Cespedes is trying to get back into the majors. The Mets are also looking to build a bullpen which can get them their first World Series since 1986. It already looks formidable with the following relievers in place:
There are other pitchers in the mix, but these are the relievers who are guaranteed. With five starters, that leaves up to four more relievers who can be added. The presumption is at least two of Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson will start the season in Triple-A to provide organizational starting pitching depth.
That probably leaves pitchers like Jeff Brigham and John Curtiss on more of a solid footing to make the Opening Day bullpen than they probably should. Even with those names likely to make the bullpen, the Mets are still at least one arm short.
Fulmer, 29, would be an excellent fit. As a reliever, he has a 128 ERA+. As per Baseball Savant, he does an exceptional job limiting hard contact and barrels. We’ve also seen Jeremy Hefner work well with pitchers how have a similar repertoire. All told, he probably remains the best arm remaining on the market.
While we are very confident in this Mets roster, they probably remain an arm short in the bullpen. Fulmer would go a long way to resolving that issue and make this Mets team even better. All this time later, the Mets now need to sign Fulmer instead of trading him to try to help put this Mets team over the top.
Right now, the New York Mets are rumored to be listening to offers for Carlos Carrasco. This makes sense because the Mets should listen to offers on all of their players and make deals if it improves the team. That should go without saying.
There is also the matter of clearing up payroll to permit the Mets to address their bullpen, outfield depth, and find a better solution than Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf at DH. Mostly, the Mets would be better served by having David Peterson in the rotation.
Peterson, 27, was the Mets 2017 first round pick (20th overall) out of the University of Oregon. At his age, this is exactly the time you would be expecting his career to take off, but frankly, to date, it has not gotten started. There are several reasons why that has happened.
After a promising 2020 rookie year in the pandemic shortened season, he predictably struggled in 2021 before succumbing to a shoulder injury. This would have the Mets under Steve Cohen bypass him as they looked to build an elite rotation designed to win the World Series. Despite that, Peterson would be needed, and he would have his moments.
Overall, as a starter, Peterson was 6-5 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.341 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9, and a 10.9 K/9. He would also average 4.2 innings per start. The caveat there was in two September starts, he threw four innings total over two horrific starts. This came at a time the Mets were working to move him to the bullpen for the postseason. Without those two starts, he averaged 5+ innings per start.
No, these aren’t earth shattering numbers, and yes, the walks/control were an issue. However, there are some caveats with these numbers. He was bounced back-and-forth from the rotation and bullpen AND between the majors and Triple-A. That takes its toll on a player. Notably, Peterson did perform better in the majors than in Triple-A.
Another factor is Peterson did not get to really work with Jeremy Hefner the way the rest of the Mets pitching staff did. Notably, we did see Hefner help hone pitchers mechanics and work on their control. This was most notable with the work Hefner did with Edwin Díaz to get him to repeat his landing spot on the mound. As a result, we not only saw the best we’ve seen from the closer, but we also saw Díaz go from a 4.9 BB/9 in 2020 to a 2.6 last season.
Arguably, if Peterson is going to take that next step, he is going to need Major League coaching, be surrounded by pitchers like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander for a full season, and really, he is going to need a chance.
Looking at the data, he is worth that chance. Per Baseball Savant, Peterson generates excellent extension, and he has a very good whiff%. That is shown with Peterson striking out 27.8% of the batters he faced last season, which is excellent. Part of the reason for that is despite lower fastball velocity and spin (which should be expected with a sinker) is Peterson’s excellent slider numbers.
Highest single-season slider whiff% by a lefty pitcher in the Statcast era (min. 250 sliders swung at):
Andrew Miller: 54.7% ('15)
Amir Garrett: 53.7% ('19)
Patrick Corbin: 53.1% ('18)
Corbin: 51.4% ('19)
Robbie Ray: 49.5% ('17)
Corbin: 49% ('16)
DAVID PETERSON: 47.9% ('22) pic.twitter.com/vSAd5nAdLQ
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) December 1, 2022
It is genuinely a strikeout pitch. Batters whiffed 47.9% of the time against the pitch. In and of itself, it is worth investing in that pitch to see what more the Mets could be getting out of Peterson. That slider is a hidden gem on this Mets staff, and they need to see it in the majors instead of Triple-A.
Put another way, Peterson still has a lot of upside. In many ways, he is still raw and needs more coaching and opportunities. For an older Mets rotation, they actually need Peterson’s upside. They need the younger starter who can surprise and have a good year. Somehow, some way, the Mets just need to get Peterson into the rotation and watch him take that next step because that next step could help the Mets win the World Series.
Looking at the New York Mets rotation, it wasn’t just that it felt they needed another starter. They really needed to add a starter with upside.
Arguably, the Mets would have been fine with one of Tylor Megill or David Peterson. However, the team needs to manufacture pitching depth, and a team who is all-in on winning the World Series needed better.
Ideally, they needed a pitcher who has real upside. Someone who could give them something they didn’t quite have. Well, the Mets found the right guy with Koudai Senga.
Senga signed with the Mets partially because he said he wanted to win now. He’s also well versed in analytics and wants a team who can help him further understand and grow. Mostly, he signed with the Mets because they are now THE destination team in Major League Baseball.
The Mets wanted Senga because he’s been a great pitcher with great stuff. He can hit 102 MPH on the gun and has a pitched dubbed the ghost forkball.
Senga, 29, pitched last season foe the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League. Over 22 starts, he pitched 144.0 innings (6.2 innings per start). He was 11-6 with a 1.94 RRA, 1.056 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 9.8 K/9.
He completely dominated the Japanese Leagues. He’s one of their best pitchers ever, and we saw a record setting pitcher there.
If you want a downside, people can and will point you to the theory Japanese pitchers don’t translate well to the majors. Of course, that’s complete nonsense.
Sure, a pitcher like Daisuke Matsuzaka was disappointing. There are other examples including the times when the Mets grabbed pitchers like Satoru Komiyama and dubbed him and his ERA always hovering around 4.00 as the Japanese Greg Maddux.
As an aside, how did the Wilpons ever get away with stuff like that.
While the disappointments have been highlighted and discussed ad nauseum, there have been success stories. Hideo Nomo was a good Major League, a Rookie of the Year, an All-Star, and threw to no-hitters. Masahiro Tanaka was a big game pitcher for the New York Yankees.
Japanese pitchers can and will succeed in the majors. There’s no reason to believe with the Mets infrastructure and pitching coach like Jeremy Hefner that Senga won’t succeed.
The Mets needed a pitcher like Senga to take them to the next level. They got him, and now, their chances of winning the World Series have increased exponentially.
Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets for good reasons. Those reasons included whether he believed he could handle pitching in New York with diminished velocity.
The answer was he wasn’t anywhere close to being Syndergaard. Better yet, he wasn’t Thor. Nowhere close.
Syndergaard was once known for the ability to ramp it up to 100 MPH. Instead, post Tommy John, he was throwing 94 MPH with his slider velocity similarly diminished.
What’s interesting is he did have a slight dip in velocity from April through the 2022 season. That may be an indication he’s still working his way back physically. Perhaps, there’s a couple more MPH in his right arm.
With Syndergaard, that’s the intrigue. We’ve seen it from him previously. Whoever signs him is partially betting on the ability to get Syndergaard closer to the pitcher he was.
On that front, the Mets have Jeremy Hefner. Hefner has built his reputation as an excellent pitching coach. We’ve already seen how his ability to hone mechanics helped Edwin Díaz have a phenomenal season.
Maybe it’s a mechanical issue with Syndergaard. It’s possible he just needs to rebuild arm strength. Likely, it’s a combination of the two. Again, that’s why the Mets have Hefner.
It’s also possible this is who Syndergaard is now. If that is the case, Syndergaard is still intriguing.
Looking at the 2022 numbers, he struggles getting going in the first inning. He starts to lose his control the third time through the lineup. After 100 pitches, opposing batters start hitting him very hard.
This turned Syndergaard into a five and fly guy. The Philadelphia Phillies gave him a very short leash in the postseason. He was just another fifth starter to them.
In some ways, this makes him similar to what the Mets had with Carlos Carrasco. When he returned from injury in 2021, he struggled mightily, especially in that first inning.
In 2022, it was a different story. He was still at his worst in the first, but he was better able to navigate it. Even having the same limitations as Syndergaard, he still won 15 games with a respectable 3.53 FIP.
That’s what we’ve seen with Hefner as pitching coach. If there’s something there, he’s going to help that pitcher find it. With Syndergaard, there is something there.
Per Baseball Savant, Syndergaard still limited hard contact. He also had good control with a low walk rate. Part of the reason for that is Syndergaard’s extension.
We saw Syndergaard slower to the plate this year and taking more time between pitches. Perhaps, that was a confidence issue. Maybe, he was just trying to figure it out. Whatever the case, the pitch clock promises to get him working quicker pushing him towards being more of himself.
Another thing of note is Syndergaard generated a number of ground balls with his sinker/slider combination. He’d benefit from having Francisco Lindor up the middle. A better defense can make a better pitcher.
All told, there’s enough there to talk you into Syndergaard. That’s even before following Zack Wheeler’s rocky return from Tommy John where he threw 94.8 MPH in 2017 and 96.8 two years later.
The 100 MPH may be forever gone, but in all likelihood, there’s another tick or two in that fastball (and slider). Thor is still deep down somewhere in there.
There’s definite risk with Syndergaard, but it’s probably not going to be cost prohibitive to take that risk. That’s a factor for the Mets who are looking to bring back Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo while rebuilding an entire pitching staff.
For the Mets, maybe Syndergaard is worth the gamble. Maybe Hefner is that good. Maybe Syndergaard as a fifth starter can help manufacture pitching depth by forcing Tylor Megill and David Peterson to Syracuse to start the year.
In all likelihood, this probably won’t happen, and certainly, the Mets should pursue other angles first. Syndergaard may not want to return, and the Mets may have no interest in bringing him back. That said, things get weird in the offseason, and at some point, it could make sense for the two to reunite.
In the end, there may be something there with Syndergaard, and the Mets finally have the type of organization which can unlock it. We will see if that will happen.
Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.
While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.
2. Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.
Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.
3. Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.
Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.
5. Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.
As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.
6. Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.
Diaz was an All-Star.
7. The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.
Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.
It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.
9. Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.
As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.
10. Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.
Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.
12. Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.
Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.
13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.
For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.
14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.
Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.
15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.
With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.
16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.
Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.
This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.
18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.
Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.
19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.
Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.
20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.
Williams was a vital part of this team all season.
21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.
This did not happen.
22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.
The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.
23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.
His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.
24. So will Eric Chavez.
Neither has him.
25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.
This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.
26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.
He did not.
While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.
28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.
To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.
For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.
30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.
Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.
31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.
There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.
32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.
That did not happen.
Sadly, this was true.
34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.
It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.
35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.
This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.
36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.
Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.
37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.
There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.
38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.
We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.
39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.
Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.
40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.
41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.
This one was actually true.
42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.
This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.
Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.
44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.
With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.
45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.
The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run away with the division.
46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.
The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.
47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.
It was a chilly reception.
48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.
So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.
49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.
Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.
Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.
This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.
52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.
True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.
53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).
True even as his team collapsed.
54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.
Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.
55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.
On April 29, the Co-No happened.
56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.
This likely will not happen.
There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.
58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.
MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.
59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.
It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.
60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.
To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.
Maybe there was a time after the disastrous deal was first struck that we could see Edwin Díaz staying with the New York Mets for a decade. However, those thoughts completely went by the wayside.
Díaz’s first year with the Mets could not have gone worse. He lost his closer’s job that season, and he would subsequently admit the pressures of New York got to him.
After that poor first season, Díaz was much improved but never quite reliable. Case-in-point: he was lights out in the pandemic shortened season with a 1.75 ERA, but he still blew 40% of his save opportunities.
The 2022 season would be completely different in every way. Part of that is Steve Cohen was completely different than the Wilpons in every way.
It started in Spring Training with Jeremy Hefner finally honing Díaz’s mechanics. It was the return to Narco as the entrance music, which was part of the Mets fans re-embrace of him.
It wasn’t just the fans embrace of him. It was the entire Mets organization. It was with the aforementioned work from Hefner. It was also the analytics.
Mostly, it was Cohen. He has transformed the franchise. It’s not just about giving everyone the tools they need to succeed. Cohen is investing in the players as people too.
They may phrase from Cohen is he wants to let players know “they’re important to me.”
Players come and go for money for the most part. After all, baseball is a business. However, how players are treated largely dictates whether they want to stay or return. Its how teams can sign players to contracts and extensions before they hit the market.
With respect to Díaz, make no mistake. He returned because of the record setting contract. He agreed to a five year $102 million deal.
What’s notable is he signed it and didn’t take that to market. With the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees needing a closer, you couldn’t blame Díaz for wanting to test just how much more he would’ve received, and yes, he would’ve gotten it.
However, Díaz wanted to stay. The city which overwhelmed him came to embrace him. The petty ownership who interfered with medical decisions, changing players entrance songs, stealing Oakleys, and just about everything else gave way to Cohen.
Cohen let’s players know he cares. He gives them everything they need to succeed. When a player like Díaz wants to return, we see Cohen will make it happen.
Díaz was great in 2022 for the ways Cohen changed the organization. He wanted to return based on how the new organization treated him. He’s staying because Cohen paid him.
This is the Mets under Cohen. It’s glorious, and we cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.
Just because the New York Mets lost in the 2022 Wild Card Series to the San Diego Padres does not mean the Mets will somehow not be represented in the World Series. In fact, both teams have some of the once top rated Mets pitching prospects in this series.
If you can recall back to the 2014 season, we can remember the Mets had viewed Jacob deGrom as a future reliever. At the time, they did not know they had someone who would be the best pitcher in baseball. Instead, deGrom was a too old for his level pitching prospect who was a converted shortstop.
Standing in deGrom’s way was Rafael Montero. He was famously a prospect the Mets held onto for too long while getting rid of him too soon. That was just the way things were when the Wilpons were in charge of the franchise.
Montero never panned out as a starting pitcher. It was not until he went to the Texas Rangers that he found a role for himself as a reliever. In typical Montero fashion, it has not been a smooth ride from there. He struggled for a few more years before another breakout season with the Houston Astros.
Montero was phenomenal this season. In 71 appearances, he was 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 9.6 K/9. So far this postseason, he has only allowed one earned over 5.1 innings. While not as a starter, at 31, he is finally having the level of success the Mets once imagined he would have.
In a twist of irony, the Mets did imagine Montero would be one of the best starters for a rotation which had Matt Harvey was the ace. Behind the two of them was going to be Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. Well, Wheeler and Syndergaard are now standing opposite Montero in this series.
The tales of both Wheeler and Syndergaard are both fresh and well known for Mets fans. In terms of Wheeler, the organization really showed its own flaws with their complete inability to self scout. Their player projection and analytics teams looked as ill funded and understaffed as they were.
Wheeler didn’t get to be the pitcher the Mets had hoped he could be when they traded Carlos Beltran for him until the second half of the 2018 season. From there, he was actually one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He was top 15 in FIP and had the second best hard hit rate. Rather than see that and the woeful defense put behind him, the Mets just to foolishly sell fans that Marcus Stroman, who was in the same rotation as Wheeler, as his replacement.
Predictably, Wheeler has been an ace level pitcher despite arguably not being as good as he was with the Mets. So far, he is 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.513 WHIP, and an 8.33 K/BB this postseason. He is likely to get the ball in Game 1 of the World Series.
Unlike Montero and Wheeler, Syndergaard actually pitched for the Mets in the postseason. In fact, Syndergaard was the last Mets pitcher to win a World Series game. He is the last Mets starter to not allow an earned run in a postseason start (2016 Wild Card Game).
Despite his big game credentials, Syndergaard has only started one game this postseason while making two appearances out of the bullpen. For Mets fans, that was reminiscent of his electric one inning performance in the clinching Game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Things haven’t been great for Syndergaard since he looked like a future Cy Young in 2016. He dealt with a number of injuries. He worked hard to pitch for the Mets post Tommy John heading towards free agency. He asked for, received, and rejected the qualifying offer much to the dismay of Mets fans.
His choice of the Los Angeles Angels proved less than inspired. He would talk about his mental difficulties in New York, and after he was traded to the Phillies, he avoided the Mets the two times he was lined up to face them.
This may not be too different than most Mets pitchers returning from Tommy John. For whatever which reason, Mets pitchers seems to have a steeper mountain to climb in their returns. When you look at their current pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner, you realize some never make it all the way back to a Major League mound.
Despite all that, while he’s not Thor, Syndergaard is pitching for a team who just won the pennant. He is back on the stage he was seven years ago, albeit in a far different role. He’s also with a once hated rival. Remember, he is the guy who “threw” at beloved former Phillie Chase Utley.
As noted, that was all seven years ago. Things are far, far different. Things are much different than they were in 2012 when these three were all uber prospects that were going to lead the Mets to a World Series. Instead, now, they are pitching in the World Series for different teams, and at least one of them will get the ring we thought they would one day with the Mets.
It may be a bit unfair to Edwin Diaz, but back in 2019, the pressure could not have been higher. Keep in mind, he plays a position that is among the most pressure filled in all of pro sports.
There were high expectations based upon what he did with the Seattle Mariners. In some ways, it was on his shoulders to try to justify the dumb and ill-received trade to acquire him and Robinson Cano.
As we all know, Diaz faltered. It was easily the worst season of his career. The common refrain from that season from fans was Diaz could not handle New York. The corollary to this was never would’ve been able to do it here.
It’s been a crutch for New York fans. The common explanation as to why players thrive elsewhere is they can’t handle New York. It’s a convenient catch-all, which helps overlook the real reason why players failed.
Jason Bay wasn’t an outfielder dealing with absurd outfield walls and concussions. No, he couldn’t handle New York.
Travis d’Arnaud wasn’t an injury prone catcher at a time Jeff Wilpon was meddling with medical decisions. No, he just couldn’t handle New York (also apparently, 2015 never happened).
There are countless examples through Mets history. All of those examples and the narrative is being proven absurd this season.
The funny thing is Diaz admitted he struggled with New York. In many ways, he was the epitome of can’t handle New York. In reality, he needs to adjust.
Diaz is not unique in this respect. Players struggle coming to new teams sometimes. For some reason, that does seem to apply to the Mets more than others.
For that matter, Curtis Granderson struggled when he first came to the Mets. Keep on mind, Granderson played the previous four seasons with the New York Yankees.
That brings us back to Diaz. Yes, he struggled with New York. However, he mostly struggled with his mechanics. Back in 2019, the Mets just couldn’t get that right.
It’s at the point where Mets fans love him and await his entrance into games. Narco and the trumpets are a major feature at Mets games. It’s now at the point where the Mets have invited Timmy Trumpet to games.
That’s not bad for someone who can’t do it in New York. It’s almost as if that narrative was always a poor excuse, and Diaz proved it was nonsense all along.
For the Nationals, it was money well spent because Corbin was a pivotal figure who helped that team win a World Series. Now, it may be time for the Mets to determine if Corbin is worth the investment to help them win a World Series.
In terms of salary, Corbin is earning $23.4 million this year, $24.4 million next year, and $35.4 million in 2024. Yes, the contract is that bad.
Now, looking at 2022 alone, Soto is earning $17.1 million. The Mets are paying Max Scherzer $43.3 million this year. When it’s a player of that caliber they’re willing to spend that amount.
If he were a free agent, you can assume the Mets (or some team) would be willing to give Soto close to $50 million per year. He’s certainly worth that much using a WAR/$ calculation.
The problem is that’s one year. Soto is arbitration eligible, and as seen Corbin’s contract gets increasingly ludicrous. As a result, that salary argument really only works one year.
Really, when you consider the money and prospect cost, the Mets will need to get something out of Corbin. There’s nothing from his Baseball Savant page to indicate that can ever be the case, at least not with Corbin starting.
That’s just the thing. The Mets are not obligated to start him. No, they merely have to have to find a suitable role where he can thrive. Right off the bat, it the numbers for him moving to the bullpen are not promising.
There are no real platoon advantage splits as both right-handed and left-handed batters have a an OPS over .860 against him. In his first inning of work, batters have a .957 OPS, and the first time through the lineup batters have a .733 OPS. Again, these are just ugly numbers.
Looking deeper, the issue for him is he just isn’t getting movement from the slider as he once did. In fact, it seems the 2019 season was the last time he did. Of course, the reason why this is such a problem is that’s his pitch. Really, his refinement and increased usage of the slider was the reason why he got the big contract from the Nationals, and also, why he was a key part of them winning the World Series.
As noted by the Washington Post, the team just doesn’t have an answer, and worse yet, it is conflicting information. Some say mechanical flaw. Others say location. To a certain degree, the answer has been just throw more sliders.
Certainly, there has been an arm angle change, and you can argue Jeremy Hefner could get him back to the right arm slot and extension.To wit, Devin Fink of Fangraphs noted the correlation for Corbin between his arm extension on the slider and the pitch’s ineffectiveness.
Moreover, velocity has been a bit of an issue, especially with his fastball. Limiting Corbin to 1-2 innings at max effort could have him throwing his fastball-slider more effectively. Yes, that is a gamble.
However, this is a two-sided gamble. If you are the Mets, and you believe in your analytics department and Hefner, you can trust you can find a way to salvage Corbin as a reliever. You just never know if you can find the next Andrew Miller. For that matter, you’d settle for Joely Rodriguez from him right now.
Mostly, the gamble is not that you can salvage Corbin, but that Soto is so valuable he is worth taking on Corbin’s contract. To that, it really is a test as to just how deep Steve Cohen’s pockets are. If the Mets, who were more than happy to pay Robinson Cano to go away, believe they can add Corbin’s salary to the mix just to add a superstar while also being able to add additional pieces, you take the Corbin gamble.
Because if Corbin gives you anything, it is just a bonus. Ultimately, the biggest case for Corbin is he gets you Soto, and that is a very compelling case.