Juan Lagares

This Story Won’t Gomez Away

Look the main purpose of this blog is my reflections on the Mets as I’m raising my son to hopefully become a Mets fan. Here’s some advice I’m giving my son in the future: 

  1. Stick to your guns;
  2. Don’t rush to judgment, and
  3. Hips Don’t Lie

We’re now beginning to find out Carlos Gomez’s hip issue was a “just a red herring.”  It appears the issues for the Mets might’ve been financial . . . as it always is. 

Apparently, the Mets wanted to include Juan Lagares in the deal, who is a better player than Wilmer Flores, due to financial concerns. For their part, the Brewers didn’t want Lagares because of his questionable health. So the Mets then relented and agreed to trade Flores until they didn’t. 

The Mets then called the Brewers to include money in the deal. Presumably because the was a fair value deal, the Brewers balked. They have Gomez under contract next year so they don’t need to make a rushed panic decision. Apparently after the overtures for more money were turned down, the Mets discovered Gomez’s hip issue. 

Who do we believe?  I do think there is some merit to the point that no one went on record. However, Tom Haudricourt is the Brewers beat writer, and accordingly, I presume he knows which sources he can trust and not trust. I don’t know his reputation or his work, so I’m not going to begin besmirching him now. 

There may be some merit this came down the next day after Boras is on the rampage over the hip issue. Keep in mind it was Haudricourt, himself, has reported on Gomez’s hip issues. However, if the hip was such an issue, why is Gomez playing everyday?  

Now, let’s move onto the Mets. Can they be trusted?  This should be met with a loud and resounding NO!  Time and time again, this organization has lied about its financial wherewithal only to not spend a dime. They have been so arrogant as to say they need more attendance to increase payroll. They’ve gone so far to question Mets’ fandom that they sent out a loyalty oath

Furthermore, the Mets needed the Oakland A’s of all teams pick up money in the Tyler Clippard deal. In exchange, the Mets gave up way too much value in a potential future ace in Casey Meisner. It’s absurd. The rumors of Lagares’ potential inclusion in this deal over Flores only fans the flames. 

The Mets say there’s money to add a significant contract. I said yesterday adding Gomez doesn’t add a significant contract. First off, Gomez’s contract is a relative bargain. Second, if they acquired Gomez, it would’ve been an excuse as to why they can’t reinvest Colon’s $11 million coming off the books (oh and they’ll pocket $2 million). Third, they’ve said money from Wright’s injury and Mejia’s suspensions that they have not fully reinvested yet. 

At this point, I really do not know who to believe. While we have a million reasons not to believe the Mets, the fact remains Gomez had a hip issue that merited an MRI. Maybe the Mets saw a hip issue and thought if the Brewers don’t give us some financial support, we have to walk. I wonder if the Brewers are trying to preserve Gomez’s trade value. I wonder if there is an honest dispute over Gomez’s hip. I wonder what the Mets and Brewers do next. 

The one thing I know is true is the Mets are dangerously close to losing their good will with the fan base. 

Reunited and it Feels so Good

Since, I’ve started this blog, I’ve written a lot about trade rumors. I’ve written how trading Wheeler for an OF who’ll be with the Mets is s good idea. I’ve written how the Mets should pursue Carlos Gomez over Justin Upton. Finally, I’ve written about how the Mets were done making impact trades. 

So, here we are with Carlos Gomez, who is the perfect fit on this team. The Mets obtained him for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flored. 

First and foremost, with Juan Lagares’ suspect health and offense this year, he can play CF (he won a Gold Glove two years ago). He’s got a triple slash line of .266/.332/.409 and an OPS+ of 108. This all means he’s been very average at the plate this year. 

However, he’s coming off two fantastic seasons that has been him with a .284 average and 24 homers. As you can see, Gomez’s main problem this year has been the power. It’s a gamble, but I’ll take the gamble. 

Speaking of gambles, Carlos Gomez was previously traded away from the Mets. At the time, Omar Minaya “gambled” that Lastings Milledge was the better player.  As a result, the Mets traded Gomez instead of Milledge for Johan Santana. 

It’s funny, the Mets traded away Gomez to try to win the World Series. In 2015, they trade for him to try to win the World Series. I pray for better results. Unlike 2008, there may be some asking if the Mets gave up too much. I’ll admit the trade hurts, but you have to give away value to get value. 

Before Zack Wheeler was injured, he seemed to turn the corner in the second half of 2014. Other than that, he was just an average pitcher with real promise. It’s a shame he needed Tommy John surgery. Now, he won’t be available to pitch until around the All Star Break next season.  Judging by Matt Harvey’s season, Wheeler won’t be right until 2017, which is the season he’s arbitration eligible. He’s under team control until 2020. 

There’s a lot to say about Wilmer Flores. Unfortunately, most of those things are about how he hasn’t been very good with the Mets this year offensively or defensively. However, he’s only 23, and he’s shown promise. He deserved his standing ovation. 

I will write more about Wheeler and Flores later. I think they each need and deserve their own separate deeper analysis. Also, it’s fair to say they will be missed. 

However, this deal is about Gomez and Sandy Alderson going for it responsibly. Gomez is under contract next season for $9 million. I’m not going to get snarky and say they still haven’t really took on money because that $9 million will be offset by Bartolo Colon’s $11 million coming off the books. 

This is a major move involving a very good player. The Mets still need a SS and a LOOGY. They kept pieces to go get them. They’re a better team now with Gomez. It’s a good day to be a Mets fan. 

Rumor Has It No More Trade Talk

I’m done with analyzing potential trades and players.  I don’t think the Mets are making any more moves.  I don’t think Sandy Alderson had the money to spend.  He was bluffing at that press conference because that’s his job.  He cannot announce to the world the Mets don’t have the money to add a contract.  That’s foolhardy.  It reduces your leverage in trade discussions, and it could keep fans away from the ballpark.  Both are bad for business, and if anything, Sandy is a good businessman.

Therefore, I’m not going to address how well I think Gerardo Parra will fit on this team, especially given Juan Lagares’ questionable health and offense.  I’m not going to address how a Jose Reyes deal will benefit the Mets on the field and in attendance.  I won’t go into how Justin Upton has been lousy since April and will only drag the Mets offense further down.  I’ve already wasted my breath on Jay Bruce.  We all know Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Gonzalez are not going to be moved by their teams.

Any other players the Mets get besides the aforementioned players are just background noise.  They are bench parts that don’t have the day to day impact the Mets need on the field.  If the Mets acquire someone, I’ll do a write up on the trade.  If the Mets get one of the above, I’ll concede how very wrong I was.

I’m not being pessimistic.  I’m being realistic.  I do think the team on the field can compete for the postseason and the World Series.  When Travis d’Arnaud returns, the team is that much better.  If David Wright returns, and is at least a shadow of himself, watch out.  If Steven Matz returns, we’re really cooking.

Instead of focusing on what could be, I’m going to focus on what is and enjoy that.  I don’t think people do that enough nowadays.  I’m going to sit down tonight and watch the Mets game with my son until he falls asleep.  I’m going to watch the team on the field, and I’m going to enjoy the game (hopefully).  I’m just not going to sit here anymore and fret over what could be.  I’m going to enjoy what is.

Platoon?

As I wrote in my last post, the Mets have a lot of versatility. After thinking about it, I noticed something:

2B: Kelly Johnson (L) & Wilmer Flores (R)

3B: Daniel Murphy (L) & Juan Uribe (R)

CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) & Juan Lagares (R)

This is the making of the perfect platoon situation.  Last night the lefties played against the right handed Zach Lee. The aforementioned lefties were in the lineup. Once the game was out of control, the better defensive players were the Juans who came out onto the field (can’t wait to use that pun again). 

I believe Collins will look to ride the hot hand more than he’ll look to platoon players. However, when the Mets have faced lefties this year, he has loaded the lineup with right handed batters. I think the platoon system is the prudent way to go that unless/until the Mets get reinforcements (trades, players returning from injury). 

Remember, the only two times the Mets won the Workd Series, they effectively used a platoon system. 

Collins with the Right Mix

In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins. 

Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault. 

However, the pressure is all on him now.  This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan LagaresJuan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field. 

I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team.  If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need. 

A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make?  Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready  this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs. 

The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit. 

The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like. 

However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!

Harvey Just Not Good Enough

The Mets offense has averaged 2.87 runs in the month of July. Murphy was horrid in the field. Lagares has either lost a step or is playing out of position. The Nationals came to play and the Mets didn’t. Doesn’t matter. If you’re Matt Harvey and you want to be the ace, games like Monday don’t happen.

I can point to all the things that went wrong leading to the 5 runs scored while he was pitching, but the fact his he set up two of the scoring rallies by allowing Espinosa to get on and walking Harper. Should Murphy had made the play or at least knocked it down?  Probably. Should Mayberry have been charging the ball better than Cuddyer can right now?  Definitely. Should Tejada have had a clue and thought about Harper at third?  Yes. Does Lagares catch that Robinson double last year?  I think so.

However, I also think it’s fair to say too much has been thrust on Harvey. Most pitchers falter the year coming back from Tommy John surgery only to round into form the next year. (for e.g. Adam Wainwright). Unfortunately, with the way this roster is constructed, Harvey cannot learn his way back. He has to be THE MATT HARVEY now.

I have faith he’ll dominate next week against the Nationals.  My faith is based upon his will to compete and his ability.  I only hope by then the Mets have something to play for, and the Mets are at least competent at the plate and in the field.

Mets Should Pursue Carlos Gomez, not Justin Upton

Personally, I do not believe the Mets are going to move. I know I’m in the minority, but I’m starting to think that may not be a bad move. With that said, IF they were to make a move my vote would be Carlos Gomez. 

My main interest in Gomez is he plays CF. We know of Cuddyer’s knee (and lack of production), but getting less play is Lagares’ offense and elbow. If Lagares goes down that means Kirk Nieuwenhuis from here on out. I know no one believes he’s going to repeat that three HR performance. Keep in mind SD came into the season with a CF problem, and Upton was never called upon to play center.

Also, Gomez makes less. This year he is earning $8 million compared to Upton’s $14.7 million. Obtaining Gomez would allow some payroll flexibility to go after another area of need like the bench or a LOOGY

Finally, Gomez and Upton are having similar years. Upton has an OPS+ of 113 to Gomez’s 110. However, Gomez is more versatile in the lineup. He can comfortably hit leadoff or in the middle of the order. He helps the Mets in all the ways they need help. 

I’m not sure why the Mets focus on Zobrist and his versatility when it’s Carlos Gomez’ versatility that they really need.