Juan Lagares

20/20 Hindsight: Did The Mets Even Show Up In Miami?

The New York Mets were swept/embarassed by the Miami Marlins, a team who is rivaling the 1962 Mets in futility. There doesn’t need to be anything else said, but here it is anyway:

1. Managers get fired for the way the Mets played this weekend, but if we are being honest, this has nothing to do with Mickey Callaway. This is all on the team Brodie Van Wagenen built.

2. Van Wagenen fled Miami before the series was over and was not present to answer one question about the team he built or their play. That’s absolute cowardice.

3. Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote an article finally directing the blame towards Van Wagenen. We also saw Mike Puma of the NY Post say attention will eventually need to turn to to Van Wagenen, but first, the media wants Callaway gone first. Where were these articles in March when Van Wagenen was mortgaging the future to build what projections had as a fourth place team?

4. We all knew Robinson Cano didn’t hustle. With his PED suspension, we knew there was a chance he would be a chance he regressed,especially with him turning 36 years old. Van Wagenen was the only person who dismissed this.

5. Too often, we make the mistake of confusing players struggling with them not caring. The Mets players are probably embarrassed and still trying hard. They’re just not good right now for a multitude of reasons.

6. Then again, it’s hard to make that claim with Cano when he just blatantly did not run. There’s not hustling, and then there’s what he did. While we thought he had his defenses, it turned out they were lies, at least the scoreboard one.

7. Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic were tow of the biggest risers on MLB Pipeline‘s updated Top 100. Also, Edwin Diaz hasn’t had a save opportunity in well over a week. It’s almost like trading two top 100 prospects and taking on a $100 million commitment for a closer is a terrible idea. Who knew?

8. It’s telling how respected Callaway is in the clubhouse with Noah Syndergaard and Todd Frazier being so vocal in their support of Callaway. What would be better than those words is playing well.

9. To be fair to Frazier, he has been the Mets player during this five game losing streak. On the converse, it speaks volumes about this team that Frazier has been their best player during this losing streak.

10. The Mets trotted out a lineup on Sunday where the bottom four hitters were Adeiny HechavarriaJuan LagaresTomas NidoNoah Syndergaard. We’re really killing the manager for a lineup that noncompetitive lineup not scoring? That’s four straight 8/9 hitters!

11. The Mets have completely bought into Chili Davis, a man fired by the Red Sox and Cubs because of this philosophy. This is what happens when you make terrible hiring decisions.

12. Syndergaard deserves credit for how he pitched on Sunday. There is no reason whatsoever why he lost that game. In addition to that, the bullpen deserves a lot of credit for continuing to pitch well through all of this. This group is one of the few who deserves credit for actually showing up and performing anywhere close to expectations.

13. With is injury history and how abdominal injuries tend to linger, it’s great to see Jeff McNeil was able to play. Hopefully, we should not see any drop off from his level of play. The Mets can’t afford it.

14. Carlos Gomez was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and he airmailed a ball on Friday. That throw not only let the one run score easily, but it also put the batter into scoring position. Seeing Gomez play so far, he’s actually worse than what Keon Broxton was forever hammering home the point things can always be worse with the Mets.

15. So far, the Mets have held Broxton, a fifth outfielder, and Travis d’Arnaud, a back-up catcher, accountable for the team’s poor play. That’s obvious scapegoating, and it had no effect because things don’t change when you get rid of a fifth outfielder and back-up catcher to try to send a message to the everyday players you, as an organization, outright refuse to make accountable.

16. If Mike Francesa is going to genuflect when he has Jeff Wilpon in studio, he can’t suddenly rail on the Mets. Well, he can if he wants; it’s his show. Just know that when he does that, he exposes himself to be a fraud, and it helps Michael Kay catch up.

17. The Mets were completely dominated by the Miami Marlins. The Marlins.

18. Through all of this, don’t be confused. There are plenty of reasons to fire Callaway. Just don’t for a second believe firing him is the thing that is doing to turn this team around. It’s not.

19. When the Mets play tonight, Boo, don’t boo, who cares? If you’re in the park spending money, the Wilpons don’t care. They got what they want out of you. That’s not to say it’s the fans fault. The point is the Wilpons don’t care about contending. They only care about creating the appearance of it to generate revenues.

20. Through all of it, we can say a lot of things, but the most succinct thing to say here is the Mets suck.

Brodie Van Wagenen Botched Everything Keon Broxton

Recently, there has been a number of questions from the media regarding Mickey Callaway‘s job status. Based upon the roster and his statements yesterday, maybe the media should instead be asking Brodie Van Wagenen if he knows what he’s doing.

Back in January, the Mets obtained Keon Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers for Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill, and Felix Valerio. In the press release announcing the deal, Brodie Van Wagenen said, “Keon is a dynamic athlete with the ability to impact the game in the outfield, on the bases and with his bat. He adds depth to our major league roster for 2019 and into the future.”

In 34 games that did not prove to be the case as Broxton was about as you can be. He had an 8 wRC+ while striking out 41.5 percent of the time while posting a -1 DRS in the outfield. Really, every time he took the field you failed to see not just how he could help the Mets, but also why the Mets would give up three players for him.

Everyone has been frustrated by it, Broxton included. After he struck out to end the game against the Nationals, he said, “From the start of the season I’ve been surprised. I haven’t been playing too much, I haven’t gotten as many opportunities. It’s not like I started out bad. It is what it is though. They got a plan and they’re working with it, so all I can do is try to be ready.”

With his being designated for assignment, he’s going to try to be ready somewhere else.

Van Wagenen addresses the decision before yesterday’s loss against the Marlins. In his comments, there was certainly a bit of revisionist’s history:

Clearly, we gave up a few players for Keon. We said publicly then, and I think it’s played itself out here now that Keon’s move was potentially redundant by design.

The Mets General Manager stood in front of reporters, and he told them he gave away three players for someone he now for the first time admits was redundant.

It needs to be reiterated. Van Wagenen admitted he used prospects and a roster spot on a player with no options and could refuse an assignment to the minors. He did that with full knowledge Broxton was redundant because of Juan Lagares.

He utilized assets and a roster spot for a redundant player.

Van Wagenen did that despite the team entering the season with just two caliber starting outfielders on the roster. He did that despite there being a plethora of veterans available who’d sign a minor league deal to serve the same purpose. Veterans like Gregor Blanco, Rajai Davis, or Carlos Gomez.

Do you want those guys starting games? No, of course not. However, those are the types of players who could serve as redundancies to a backup. But now, in his infinite wisdom, Broxton designates Broxton for assignment for Gomez, someone who they signed without giving up three players.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Mets need the depth now. Michael Conforto is on the IL with a concussion, and given the nature of the injury, no one can know when he can return. Jeff McNeil has not landed on the IL, but he’s dealing with an abdominal issue.

It’s also bizarre Van Wagenen suddenly decided Lagares wasn’t going to be injured this year. Lagares has been on the disabled list in each of the past three years and five of his last six. After the Mets played 42 games and lost two of their starting outfielders, Van Wagenen decides the team doesn’t need their redundancy for Lagares.

Even better, the player replacing Broxton is the injury prone Gomez.

In the end, Broxton did little to prove he belonged on the roster. In some ways, he reminded you of Alejandro De Aza, who was terrible to open 2016 with fans begging he be designated for assignment. Of course, De Aza came up huge in July and September to help that Mets team make the postseason.

There will be no such redemption story for Broxton because Van Wagenen decided the team needed LESS outfield depth with their top two outfielders injured. Apparently, the Mets also no longer need redundant players on the roster (as if any team ever needs that).

Of course, despite having effectively throwing away three players for a player Van Wagenen saw as a redundancy, he gets to answer questions about Callaway’s job status. He also gets to make a decision (or have input on the decision) to fire Callaway for his inability to win games with a roster full of underperforming redundant players.

deGrom Stumbles And Callaway Fumbles

You know things are going south fast with the Mets when Jacob deGrom gets battered by the Marlins. In five innings, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits.

Sure, deGrom was abandoned by his defense. Misplays by the team’s two best defensive players, Juan Lagares and Todd Frazier, led to runs. Carlos Gomez threw a ball away allowing a run to score and move a runner into scoring position. However, it wasn’t either one of them who allowed a Jorge Alfaro bomb.

Paul Sewald, who was called up today, would eat up two innings to help save the bullpen. When he left the game, it seemed like the team was just going through the motions.

Up until the seventh, the Mets only run was a Pete Alonso second inning solo shot. A J.D. Davis two run shot in the seventh pulled the Mets to within 7-3, and things began to get interesting.

Brandon Nimmo singled, and Amed Rosario walked in front of Robinson Cano. Instead of delivering the key hit, he’d ground into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play. Although he’s done it his whole career, he certainly chose an awkward spot to not even bother running it out.

For what it’s worth, Cano said the scoreboard said there were two outs.

Still, the Mets had another rally in them even after Sewald allowed a run in the bottom of the seventh.

For some reason, Don Mattingly thought it was a good idea to bring in Adam Conley to start an inning which Alonso was leading off. Alonso made Mattingly pay by hitting a homer which sparked, not killed, rally.

The Mets would load the bases with no outs, and Mattingly brought in Sergio Romo to get the six out save.

The decision briefly looked like it’d haunt Mattingly when Lagares hit an RBI single. However, the rally stifled from there. After a Davis pop out, Nimmo hit a sacrifice fly. That’s when Mickey Callaway made a game altering decision.

Amed Rosario, who has been one of the Mets better hitters of late, was due up. Romo was a tough matchup for him, and you could understand the inclination to hit for him, especially when the guy you’re bringing in was Jeff McNeil. However, that overlooks McNeil not only left yesterday’s game with an abdominal injury, but he also wouldn’t start tonight because of it.

McNeil didn’t look quite like McNeil striking out against Romo. As bad as that was, things would get worse in the ninth.

After two quick outs, Wilson Ramos hit a double to keep the Mets hopes alive. Because of Callaway’s decision in the eighth, that meant the game was Adeiny Hechavarria‘s hands. He predictably struck out and the Mets lost 8-6.

There was plenty of blame to go around. The defense abandoned deGrom, who didn’t pitch well. Cano didn’t run it out and/or didn’t know how many outs there were. Callaway set a series of dominos into effect which led to Hechavarria striking out to end the game.

This is what a bad baseball team looks like.

Game Notes: Michael Conforto was placed on the seven day concussion IL. Keon Broxton was designated for assignment to make room for Gomez on the roster. Gomez is wearing 91. Frazier was 2-for-3 with a walk and a triple.

20/20 Hindsight: National Lampoon’s Mets

The Mets went to Washington to face a bad Nationals team, and they cam out of the series looking like the bad team. They’re now not just bad, but also injured. Things are going south real fast:

1. The Mets absolutely did the right thing pulling Michael Conforto from that game. The team should be commended not just for pulling him but also for sending him to New York by train. It’s good to see they’ve learned something from how they mismanaged the Ryan Church and Jason Bay concussions.

2. It’s not his fault per se, but Robinson Cano cannot both be bad at the plate and in the field while also taking out the team’s best player.

3. With Conforto and Jeff McNeil having injuries, Cano needs to step up now. Same goes to Todd Frazier, who should begin to see some regular playing time, which should allow him to get into a groove. Not only do these two players need it to happen, Brodie Van Wagenen does as well.

4. Other than Edwin Diaz not one move Van Wagenen made this offseason has panned out,and it looks all the worse considering how much the team gave up in terms of prospects in an attempt to improve the team.

5. Drew Gagnon made Van Wagenen look bad when he out-pitched Wilmer Font who looked like a 29 year old reliever with a career 6.81 ERA trying to be a starting pitcher. Looking at Gagnon, you realize, not only was the trade unnecessary, but also giving up a prospect for a when you had a better version of him was plain dumb.

6. Gio Gonzalez continues to make the Mets look worse. In four starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.078 WHIP. In all four of his starts, he has gone at least five innings, which is something the Mets have only gotten twice from their fifth starts in their 10 starts. That includes Jason Vargas, who is averaging 3.2 innings per start.

7. As if Gonzalez performing well isn’t enough, and knowing the team passed on him thinking Vargas was better and Steven Matz was dealing with elbow issues, we now find out the team never actually made him an offer.

8. Van Wagenen did the same exact thing with his outfield. The Mets entered the year with just two starting caliber starting outfielders, and the team brought in Keon Broxton, who was a worse version of Juan Lagares. As a result, Broxton has seen almost no playing time.

9. It may not be a good look for Broxton to complain after his noncompetitive at-bat to end the game, but he does have a point. The team traded real assets to obtain him only to superglue him to the bench and not give him a real chance to establish himself.

10. Because of the Mets stubbornness not letting Dominic Smith play left field, the team is forced to play J.D. Davis in left field despite his not having the speed to play left field and his hitting .219/.219/.250 during the month.

11. It is going to be fun seeing Carlos Gomez wear a Mets uniform again. He was the big time prospect who was supposed to take us to the next level, except he didn’t because he was traded for Johan Santana. Then, he didn’t come back because he failed his medicals, which was fine by Mets fans as Wilmer Flores became a folk hero. Through all that has happened, it would be great to see Gomez be the key piece to a Mets winner like we thought he would be in 2007 and 2015.

12. The league has caught up to Pete Alonso. In May, Alonso is hitting just .191/.255/.383 while striking out 29.4 percent of the time. You wonder how long this goes on for before either Alonso adjusts or the Mets are forced to make a decision.

13. Even with Robert Gsellman struggles yesterday, the Mets bullpen has been great in May with the best ERA in the National League.

14. Too much is being made of Gsellman not pitching over eight days. This is a guy the Mets intend on leaning on heavily to pitch multiple innings, and anywhere you can get him a bit of extended rest you do it. It should also be noted between off days and the rain outs, the Mets haven’t played much over the past eight days.

15. So far, Tyler Bashlor has really stepped up and taken advantage of the opportunity given to him. With the way he is pitching, he may be an important piece to this bullpen.

16. Noah Syndergaard is finally looking like Syndergaard again with two of his last three outings being completely dominant.

17. Zack Wheeler‘s own run was broken up with a very disappointing effort against the Nationals. In that spot against that team, Wheeler needed to be better.

18. While we should expect more from Wheeler in that spot, it’s hard to get on Mets pitchers as a whole, as they are the reason the Mets are even close to .500. It’s also important to remember Wheeler is a second half pitcher, and as Syndergaard will tell you, the Mets are a second half team. The trick there is being close enough in the standings to take advantage of that.

19. Mickey Callaway‘s statement on catcher winning percentage was laughable, but then again what does he have to sell you to say Wilson Ramos has been good this year?

20. There are valid criticisms of Callaway like his dry humping Diaz and using Seth Lugo the day before Font was set to start. However, make no mistake, he’s only on the hot seat because none of Van Wagenen’s moves have worked. Ultimately, that makes Callaway the fall guy for a novice General Manager who has looked to be in over his head.

Mets Need To Pick A Third Baseman

When the Mets signed Jed Lowrie, all indications were he was going to be the Mets third baseman. Of course, he has been injured, and as a result, the team has had to find someone else to play the position. The first option should have been Todd Frazier, but he began the year on the Injured List. So the Mets moved onto Plan C, which was J.D. Davis, who hit but could not field the position.

Since Frazier has returned from the Injured List, the team has not been able to decide on a third baseman. Since Frazier was activated off the Injured List on April 22nd, he has started 13 games, and Davis has started seven games. Over those 20 games, neither player has been able to get into a groove.

Since, April 22, Frazier is hitting .148/.164/.259 (12 wRC+). When you’re hitting like a pitcher, you are not justifying your spot in the lineup. With Frazier hitting that poorly, it should come as no surprise Davis is hitting much better. However, that does not mean he is hitting well. Since April 22, Davis is hitting .278/.297/.333 (75 wRC+). As if being a below league average hitter wasn’t enough, Davis’ has arguably been lucky to have that level of production as he has a .400 BABIP over that span.

The luck isn’t the real issue with Davis. It’s the defense. His defense has been unplayable with a -8 DRS and -3.1 UZR. Among players with 180 innings, Davis’ DRS is the worst in the Majors, not just among third baseman. No, he’s the worst fielder in the entire game.

With respect to Frazier, he has been solid with a 1 DRS. If you look to his 25.8 UZR/150, he’s the third best third baseman in the game with at least a 100 innings played. That said, when you hit like a pitcher, you need to be fielding even better than that to be in the lineup.

That’s the Mets dilemma. They have one third baseman who can hit but can’t field, and they have another who can field but can’t hit. If you look at the history, you could believe Frazier will eventually hit, but with each passing game, that is becoming harder to believe. With his Triple-A stats and early season production, you may believe Davis could become at least a league average hitter, but again, with each passing game, you believe less and less in that and his ability to field his position.

In the long run, it is hard for either player to hit or for Davis to get up to speed defensively if they’re getting irregular playing time. The bouncing back-and-forth between the two players isn’t going either player any good, and in the long run, it is doing the Mets a disservice. Ultimately, the team is acting like they don’t have a player they can trust at the position, and they are flipping a coin everyday.

In the end, the Mets inability to decide on a third baseman is hurting this team, and it will continue to hurt the team until one of Davis or Frazier steps up and claims the job. Based upon what we have seen so far, that’s not happening, nor is Lowrie going to show up and bail the team out.

In the end, considering how things have played out, the answer might just be to move Jeff McNeil to third and play Juan Lagares in center. Sure, Lagares isn’t hitting much either, but his 70 WRC+ isn’t far off the mark Davis is giving the Mets, and his defense is better than Frazier’s, and it is coming from a premium defensive position. Really, seeing how things are with the Mets right now, you’d be hard pressed to argue this isn’t the best option right now.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Feast on Marlins

Nothing like the league worst Marlins to come into town to help the Mets offense get rolling:

1. Michael Conforto, not Derek Jeter, owns the Marlins. He proved that by going 5-for-6 with four runs, two walks, a HBP, two homers, and three RBI in the two game set.

2. For all the (deserved) talk of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, Conforto has been their best player. His 2.0 WAR is sixth in the league.

3. Batting Conforto fifth is plain stupid and reactionary, especially when he’s their best hitter. Same goes to batting Brandon Nimmo sixth.

4. Alonso’s numbers look good due to his first 12 games. Since that time, he’s batting .222/.316/.444. He’s increasingly becoming an all or nothing hitter, albeit one with the propensity for the big hit.

5. Nice to see the Mets wait too long before putting Steven Matz on the IL. It’s like for all of Brodie Van Wagenen’s boasting about things being different, nothing has changed with him in charge.

6. So, Jed Lowrie has gone from being activated on Friday to sitting out two out of the last four games, and the Mets having no timetable for his return.

7. Say what you want about Jason Bay, but at least he played for the Mets.

8. The Mets giving Mickey Callaway no information on Lowrie and then having him be the one answer questions about his status once again shows nothing has changed under Van Wagenen.

9. Mets determined Justin Wilson didn’t need a rehab stint, and now, after one appearance after coming off the IL, he’s going back on with the same injury.

10. Seeing how well things worked with Wilson, the Mets are using the same plan of action with Jeurys Familia.

11. You have to admire Van Wagenen’s refusal to learn and adapt on the job.

12. Injuries create opportunities, and we have seen Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, and Daniel Zamora take advantage of their opportunity thus far.

13. With Jacob deGrom having three straight good starts after coming off the IL, can we forever have fans stop clamoring for Devin Mesoraco?

14. If Tomas Nido starts hitting that’s a game changer. Over his last three, Nido 4-for-11 with a homer.

15. While it was overlooked, Nido had LASIK surgery in the offseason. It may take time to adjust, but if he’s seeing the ball better, he may begin to hit better.

16. One underrated thing Callaway did Saturday was running out Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares for late inning defense. With Conforto in RF, that’s a great defensive lineup.

17. Amed Rosario went from a below average hitter over the first month to a 111 wRC+ so far in May. Seeing his offense progress this way, maybe there’s still hope for his glove to catch up.

18. Keon Broxton has been worse than terrible, and Carlos Gomez has been hot in Syracuse. That doesn’t erase the past few years, and Broxton should get a longer rope considering he’s out of options, has actually been a successful bench player, and has arguably been a better player over the past few years.

19. Mets going a perfect 5-for-5 for the Marlins is no small feat. It’s exactly what they need to do, and destroying bad teams is exactly how the 2015 Mets won the division.

20. Whoever came up with the new backpack policy is an idiot, and the Mets deserve to have decreased attendance for having implemented it.

Mets Finally Give deGrom Run Support

While we all expect Jacob deGrom to receive little to no run support in his starts, this was the Marlins. When push comes to shove, you’d expect the Mets to give deGrom the run support he needed to get the win.

When opposing pitcher Sandy Alcantara doubled home a run in the third, you figured it would be the only run the Marlins got off deGrom. You’d be right too as deGrom allowed just one run over seven innings off five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

The Mets finally broke through in the fourth when Michael Conforto singled home Robinson Cano. Still, entering the sixth, it was tied at one, and aside from that fourth inning, the Mets did little against Alcantara.

Then, Pete Alonso and Conforto would make sure deGrom would get his win:

https://twitter.com/mets/status/1127380015417524225?s=21

With respect to Conforto, the Marlins cannot get him out. After his going 3-for-3 yesterday with a HBP, walk, and homer yesterday, he was 2-for-3 with a walk and a homer tonight. Perhaps, he should be hitting higher than fifth, especially when you consider he’s probably the best hitter on the team.

Even with the two homers, Don Mattingly didn’t pull Alcantara. The Mets and deGrom would make him pay. After a Brandon Nimmo two our walk, Tomas Nido and deGrom hit back-to-back singles giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.

In the eighth, Mickey Callaway had some fun. He double switched Seth Lugo into the game putting him in a position to go two innings. He’d line up his defense as well with Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares coming into the game. With the way Lugo pitched, it proved to be a superfluous move.

Even with the flexibility to go two innings with Lugo, with the Mets not adding an insurance run in the eighth, Callaway gave the ball to Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Diaz got the first two outs quickly, but after Diaz issued a walk to Jorge Alfaro, Harold Ramirez hit an infield single bringing Jon Berti up as the tying run. He’d line out to Conforto to end the game, and suddenly, the Mets are in position to not just go for the sweep tomorrow but also get back to .500.

Game Notes: Before the game, Justin Wilson was put on the IL with elbow soreness, and Eric Hanhold was called up to take his spot in the bullpen. This is Wilson’s second IL stint due to his elbow.

The Keon Broxton Mistake

This past offseason in an effort to build outfield depth, Brodie Van Wagenen traded prospects Adam Hill and Felix Valerio along with Bobby Wahl to the Brewers for Keon Broxton. With Wahl suffering a torn ACL in his knee, it does not appear like the players given up by the Mets will haunt them this year. It will be quite a while before Hill or Valerio have a chance to establish themselves, and by that point, this trade will largely be a distant memory.

When looking at this trade, the issues aren’t so much the prospects traded. It is about Broxton as a player.

After impressing as a 26 year old rookie in 2016, Broxton has not been a good baseball player. In his only full season as a starter, he had an 85 wRC+ and a – DRS meaning he was subpar at the plate and in the field. Certainly, this was one of the reasons which drove the Brewers to sign Lorenzo Cain as a free agent.

As a bench piece last year, Broxton did show some value as a defensive replacement. In 134.1 innings, he had an 11 DRS and a 6.5 UZR. Now, the UZR was a complete outlier for him, but it should be noted Broxton did have a 9 DRS two seasons prior. In essence, there was every reason to believe Broxton was a good defensive outfielder. He may not have been great, but you could make the case he was good.

When you look at the Mets team, they didn’t have a need for that type of player. In fact, the Mets already had that in Juan Lagares, who the team was already scheduled to pay $9 million. Considering Lagares’ contract was going to be next to impossible to move, the team was really adding a duplicative player who played worse defense.

There could be an argument here that even at 28 Broxton had some untapped offensive potential. After all, this was a guy who had good power, and he had a very good 24.1 percent HR/FB ratio. If you could get him to stop striking out at an insanely high clip (36.9 percent) and get him to lift the ball more (1.45 GB/FB), maybe you had something there. Reasonably, the Mets could have believed Chili Davis was the hitting coach to bring that out of him.

Herein lies the issue with Broxton. The Mets needed a contingency for what if Davis couldn’t get through to him right away. Typically speaking, you’d like to send a player like that down to the minors, especially since you have a player like Lagares on the roster. However, the Mets can’t do that because Broxton is out of options.

To make matters worse, the Mets are bereft of outfield depth. That’s one of the reasons why Jeff McNeil became an everyday outfielder on this team (the other is the team has far too many duplicative infielders). Partially due to Broxton’s presence, the Mets sat idly by while quality outfielders like Curtis Granderson (who also could have served as a left-handed bat off the bench) signed cheap free agent deals with other teams.

So far, the Mets have made a mistake bringing Broxton aboard. He is someone who is duplicative, and he is someone without options. Unless Van Wagenen is willing to do to Broxton what he did to Travis d’Arnaud, Broxton is going to continue taking up space on this roster while contributing very little. There is time for that to change, but it’s hard to see it changing without Broxton getting the at-bats he needs to improve as a player.

Not How You Draw It Up, But Mets Win

This was quite a night for the Mets who have frustrated the fan base with poor play and not meeting expectations. That started with the night’s starter Jason Vargas.

Against a Reds team with the fifth worst team wRC+, Vargas had his best and longest outing of the year. With the help of some good defense, balls dying on the track, and some rope-a-dope, he would allow just one earned on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Mickey Callaway trusted Vargas to go out for the sixth. After getting one out, Eugenio Suarez finally got to Vargas with a home run. With Vargas at 86 pitches, he was lifted for Robert Gsellman. The shame was Vargas did pitch well enough to win, but he wouldn’t get it because he left the game with the score tied 1-1.

On the other side, the Reds had Luis Castillo on the mound. No, not the Luis Castillo of dropped ball infamy. No, this Castillo has been great all year for the Reds entering the game with a league leading 1.23 ERA.

Even with him having a dominant outing tonight, the Mets would get to him partially because Amed Rosario proved to be his kryptonite. The struggling Rosario had a great game going 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

In the third, Rosario started a rally with a leadoff single. Juan Lagares hit into a fielder’s choice, and Lagares would be sacrificed to second by Vargas. He was then on third when Castillo unleashed a wild pitch. This put him in a position to score when McNeil laid down a great bunt:

What was interesting is McNeil seemed intent on bunting his way on there. In fact, two pitches prior to the hit, he fouled off a bunt attempt. McNeil pulled a Roberto Alomar and dove to first JUST beating Castillo to the bag.

The score would stay tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. That’s when Todd Frazier jumped all over the first pitch of the inning:

With Edwin Diaz having pitched three days in a row, this meant it was Jeurys Familia for six outs to get the save. Fortunately, he’d get some help.

In the eighth, Joey Votto would have a TOOBLAN leading to Lagares turning an easy double play. That kept Familia to just seven pitches putting him in a good spot to go two innings.

In the bottom of the inning, the Mets would also get him an insurance run. McNeil, who was great tonight (4-for-5, R, 2B, RBI) got the rally started with a double against Robert Stephenson.

After a couple of strikeouts, McNeil was in a position to be stranded at second. With Michael Confortos struggled against Castillo all night (3 K), even the LOOGY Amir Garrett must’ve been a welcome site. It sure seemed that way when he delivered an RBI single to give the Mets a 3-1 lead.

Familia then started the ninth with two strikeouts giving the Mets some hope this would end without a hitch.

Of course, Familia would walk Jesse Winker and allow a hit to Jose Iglesias to make things too close to comfort. Callaway stuck by Familia in the spot. It seemed like the wrong move when Kyle Farmer hit a soft RBI single over Pete Alonso‘s head to pull the Reds to within 3-2. Worse yet, the tying run was at third.

Callaway would go too far with Familia. Jose Peraza hit the game tying single. Then again, it seemed like his only other choice was Drew Gagnon, and that’s not exactly a safe choice. Gagnon would find himself in the inning anyway.

With Votto due up, Daniel Zamora came in, and he made matters worse by walking Votto to load the bases. Gagnon would get the job done striking out Suarez to keep the game tied. He’d get into trouble in the 10th, but he’d get out of that jam too.

J.D. Davis had a very good at-bat to start the 10th, and he’d double off a hanging slider from Raisel Iglesias. After a McNeil single, Alonso got his first walk-off RBI with a sacrifice fly giving the Mets a 4-3 win.

This was never how you would draw it up, but you gladly take this one. Certainly, this game was a testament that it takes everyone contributing to win. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time this year we say that.

Game Notes: With Vargas’ ERA now down to 5.75, his ERA is now lower than Noah Syndergaard‘s.

Mets Can Only Bail Out Their Pitching So Many Times

At a certain point, your chances run out, and you can’t keep getting bailed out. That’s exactly what happened to the Mets today.

In the second Zack Wheeler got himself into trouble. He walked the first two batters of the inning, and he allowed doubles to Jose Iglesias and Jose Peraza in what was a four run inning.

Fortunately, the Mets were up against Tanner Roark.

In the second, Michael Conforto and Wilson Ramos hit a pair of doubles to score a run. Amed Rosario knocked in Ramos to halve the deficit. Overlooked in what has so far been a poor year for Rosario is his delivering in these spots:

In the fourth, the Mets would tie the score because Roark lost it. What’s funny about it is he got two quick outs and was 0-2 on Juan Lagares.

Despite being a fairly free swinger, Lagares drew a walk. After a Wheeler single and Jeff McNeil walk, the bases were loaded for Pete Alonso. Alonso was walked on four straight to pull the Mets within one.

With Roark walking four out of his last five batters, the Reds brought in Wandy Peralta, who walked Brandon Nimmo on four pitches. The rally ended there with Conforto grounding out.

To Wheeler’s credit, he got through six innings despite that difficult second. He’d then hand it to a Mets bullpen who needed a lot of help.

Peraza led off the seventh with a single off Seth Lugo. Peraza would have scored if not for Lagares doing Lagares things to Joey Votto:

In the eighth, Jeurys Familia got into trouble just like he’s done all year. He followed walking Scott Schebler by hitting Iglesias. Tucker Barnhart then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Todd Frazier made a terrific bare handed play to get the out.

Frazier came up big again later that inning. The Mets intentionally walked Derek Dietrich to load the bases. Peraza then smoked a ball down the line. With the Mets either guarding the lines or shifting (who knows anymore?), Frazier made the play on the backhand, stepped in third, and he threw to first to complete the inning ending double play.

There was pressure on the Mets bullpen to be perfect because the Mets bats went silent. Over the final five innings, the Mets had just one hit and two base runners. None of those hits came after the sixth.

Edwin Diaz came into the ninth in a tie game. After getting two quick outs, Jesse Winker jumped on Diaz’s first pitch, and he hit what proved to be the game winning homer.

What’s interesting about the Reds was they used their closer Raisel Iglesias in a tie game in the eighth. This meant he got the win instead of the save. Funny how that works.

Game Notes: Before the game, Mickey Callaway announced the Mets may move off their limited use of Diaz but not until later in the season.