Justin Ruggiano

Welcome Back Michael Conforto

After a long and inexplicable exile, Michael Conforto is finally back with the Mets.  He was gone mostly because Terry Collins had to back up this threat “And those that don’t want to get after it, I’ll find some who do. Because in Las Vegas there is a whole clubhouse of guys that want to sit in this room.”  (nj.com) after an embarrassing 9-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at home.

Since that time, here is how the outfielders who the Mets decided “really wanted to get after it” have performed between the time of Conforto’s August 12th demotion and his September 1st call-up:

Curtis Granderson

Granderson has been hitting .173/.274/.442 with 11 runs, two doubles, four homers, and seven RBI.  Keep in mind, most of that damage started a couple of days ago when Granderson came off the bench to hit two homers against the Marlins.  At least with Granderson, Collins followed through on this threat benching him against left-handed pitching.

Jay Bruce

Bruce has been the team’s main right fielder hitting .190/.277/.259 with four doubles, two homers, and two RBI.  Unfortunately, that isn’t too much different than the .183/.262/.290 batting line he has had while joining the Mets.  Naturally, since joining the Mets, he has had to deal with nagging leg injuries, which presumably have affected his production at the plate as well as his play in the outfield.

Alejandro De Aza

De Aza has had two great games since Conforto’s demotion.  On August 16th, he went 2-4 with two runs, two doubles, a walks, and an RBI in a 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks.  On August 25th, he went 2-4 with two runs, a homer, a walk, and five RBI in a 10-6 win over the Cardinals. In his other 17 games, De Aza has gone 5-42 with one extra base hit and five RBI.

Justin Ruggiano

Ruggiano came off the disabled list, played extremely well in five games, and he has found his way back onto the disabled list.  Ruggiano has now been transferred to the 60 day disabled list meaning he’s done for the season.  When he initially went on the 15 day disabled list, the Mets called up T.J. Rivera instead of Conforto.

Michael Conforto

Since his demotion, Conforto has played in 15 games hitting .493/.541/.821 with four doubles, six homers, and 13 RBI while playing both center and left field.  Against lefties, Conforto has been hitting .488/.553/.732 with a double, three homers, and 11 RBI in 41 AAA at bats this season.  He’s been thriving while the outfielder the Mets kept who Collins dubbed “really wanted to get after it” struggled, were injured, or both.

In his first game back, Conforto went 1-3 with a double and a HBP. In the eighth, he hit into a back breaking double play. With that double play, Collins may have his ammunition to bench Conforto again. 

It’s a shame too because Conforto can really hit when he is actually given a chance. It’s also a shame because the Mets have shown they’d rather send a group of outfielders hitting below the Mendoza Line rather than let Conforto go out there and hit. 

Mets August 2016 Report Card

The Mets entered August 6.5 games back in the NL East race behind both the Nationals and the Marlins.  They also trailed the Marlins by 1.5 games for the last Wild Card spot.  The Mets have also fallen behind the Cardinals in the Wild Card race as well.

By going 15-14, August turned out to be just the second winning month the Mets have had this season.  They now trail the Nationals by nine games in the NL East.  After what has been a crazy month, the Mets still remain 1.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot.  Only now, the Mets trail the the Cardinals after having helped put the Marlins away having won the first three against them in a four game series.  Given the Mets weak September schedule, it should be an interesting finish to the season.

Bear in mind, these grades are on a curve. If a bench player gets an A and a position player gets a B, it doesn’t mean the bench player is having a better year. Rather, it means the bench player is performing better in his role.

Position Players

Travis d’Arnaud (C).  After the Jonathon Lucroy rumors died down, d’Arnaud starting hitting again.  However, he has cooled off to hit at a rate slightly better than his 2016 totals.  Part of the reason may be Collins playing Rivera over him with the Mets needing to throw a lot of young pitchers out there.

Kevin Plawecki (Inc.)  Plawecki spent the entire month down in AAA where he has started hitting again.  He should be among the first group of players called up today.  It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, impact he has over the final month of the season.

Rene Rivera (C).  Rivera came crashing back to Earth offensively.  However, his value has always been as a receiver, and he has done that job fairly well helping usher some of these young pitchers into the big leagues.

Lucas Duda (Inc). Duda is most likely gone for the season, and the debate will soon begin about whether he will be a Met in 2017.

James Loney (F).  He didn’t hit for average or power, nor did he get on base much during the entire month.  Worse yet, he has not been good in the field.  The next ball he stretches for will be his first.

Neil Walker (A+).  What has happened to Walker is nothing short of heart breaking.  He had completely turned his season around, and he appeared to be headed for a massive payday this offseason with him standing out as one of the better options in a weak free agent class.  Instead, Walker is going to have season ending back surgery to end his season.

David Wright (Inc.).  It’s clear he’s done for the season, but it is nice seeing him around Citi Field and looking better.

Asdrubal Cabrera (A+).  Since his return from the disabled list, Cabrera has been a blonde bombshell.  He moved into the second spot in the order, and he he has combine with Reyes to form a dynamic and powerful 1-2 duo at the top of the lineup.  The only concern is how much he is going to actually be able to play with that lingering knee issue.

Wilmer Flores (B+).  Flores has continued to rake putting up numbers at an unprecedented.  This month he hit seven homers.  He has benefited greatly by mostly facing left-handed pitchers, and now he’s hitting righties better. The Mets will need his versatility all the more as injuries mounted during the month.

Eric Campbell (Inc.) Campbell did not play in a game during the month, and the Mets are not likely to call him up again until rosters expand in September.

Matt Reynolds (D).  Reynolds didn’t hit well during his 10 games with the Mets this month.  Worse yet for him, he has been passed over on the team’s depth chart by Rivera.

Ty Kelly (A).  During his limited August playing time, Collins was able to maximize Kelly’s abilities by making him a short-lived platoon left fielder with Cespedes dealing with his quad injury.  In his nine August games, Kelly hit .381/.500/.524 with a double and a triple.

Michael Conforto (D).  After a stretch in which the Mets bottomed out, Conforto was sent down as he was a young player unable to handle sporadic playing time.  Since being sent down to AAA, Conforto has hit everything including lefties.  He should be called up today, and most likely, never play as Collins is his manager.

Yoenis Cespedes (A).  It was admirable that Cespedes played until he could play no longer (even if his golfing might’ve been part of the reason why).  Since his return, Cespedes is hitting home runs again.  He has had another incredible month, and he had a walkoff with a legendary bat flip to help the Mets beat the Marlins.

Curtis Granderson (D).  It hasn’t been fun seeing last year’s team MVP struggle the way he has this month.  He lost his job in right, moved to center, and now has become a part time player.  The hope is that with the time off, he rests up, and he returns to the Granderson of old.  Those hopes don’t seem that far fetched after he came off the bench the other night to hit two home runs.

Juan Lagares (Inc).  Lagares didn’t play in August due to the thumb surgery.  It remains questionable if he can return in September as he will most likely not be ready for rehab games until after the minor league affiliates have ended their seasons.

Alejandro De Aza (C-).  De Aza followed a great July with another poor August.  Mixed in there were a couple of terrific games that helped the Mets win a pivotal game against the Cardinals.  Right now, what he brings more than anything is the ability to play center field.

Kelly Johnson (A+).  Johnson continues to be the Mets top pinch hitter as well as a platoon option in the infield.  Over the past month, he has hit for more power including a surprising five homers.  His bases loaded double last night might’ve buried the Marlins.

Brandon Nimmo (Inc).  He only played two games before being sent down to AAA.  Given the fact that he’s one of the few healthy center fielders in the organization, he may see some real time when he gets called up with the expanded rosters.

Jose Reyes (A).  You could say we’re seeing the Reyes of old, but Reyes has never been this good in his career.  He has adapted extremely well to third base while playing a steady shortstop when the Mets have needed him to play over there when Cabrera has been injured or needing a day off.  The one caution is he still isn’t hitting right-handed pitching that well.  Still, his numbers were terrific.

T.J. Rivera (B).  After all this time, Rivera finally got his chance.  He made the most of it hitting .289 in 13 games while playing decently at second and third base.

Justin Ruggiano (Inc).  When he plays, he hits, but he is now on his second disabled list stint already with the Mets. With him being put on the 60 day disabled list, he’s now done for the season.   Seeing what we have seen with the team, there may be something in the water.

Jay Bruce (F).  Since coming to the Mets for Dilson Herrera, he has just been bad.  But hey, it’s not like the Mets need another second baseman, right?


Matt Harvey (Inc).  Harvey is done for the season after having had successful surgery to remove a rib.  For a player who has been criticized in the past for attending Yankee games while being gone for the season, Harvey has been a fixture in the Mets dugout during games.

Jacob deGrom (D).  deGrom had been pitching great until August rolled around.  In back-to-back big games against the Giants and the Cardinals, he couldn’t deliver pitching two of the worst games in his career.  Hopefully, the Mets skipping his last start will help get him back on track.

Noah Syndergaard (B). Syndergaard has had an uneven month, but after his last start, it appears he is dealing better with the bone spurs, and he is getting back to the pitcher who was dominant over the first half of the season.

Steven Matz (C).  Just as you thought he turned things around with his flirting with a no-hitter in his last start, he goes down with a shoulder injury.  At this time, it is unknown as to when or if he can return.

Bartolo Colon (A).  Colon stopped his good start-bad start streak in August, and he started pitching much better during the month of August at a time when the Mets needed him the most.

Logan Verrett (F).  Look, he shouldn’t have been tapped as the Mets fifth starter after Harvey went down, but with that said, he did everything he could to lose the job pitching to a 13.50 ERA in August.  He eventually lost the job to Niese of all people

Jeurys Familia (A).  That’s the Familia we all know and love.  He not only had a sub 1.00 ERA, but he also broke the single season Mets save record he shared with Armando Benitez.

Addison Reed (B+).  You knew he wasn’t going to keep up what he has been doing, but even with him coming back to Earth slightly, he has still be incredible.

Jim Henderson (F).  After being on the disabled list for so long with yet another shoulder injury, Henderson has made his way back to the majors.  Unfortunately, he’s not the same pitcher.  Collins owes him an apology.

Hansel Robles (F).  Robles showed how much he has been overworked this season by Collins this month.  Hopefully, with some rest, he should finally be able to rebound and contribute in September and beyond like he had done for most of the season.

Jerry Blevins (B+).  His 2.16 ERA was terrific, but his 1.560 WHIP gives some reason for pause.  Both righties and lefties are starting to hit him, and he has been allowing inherited runners to score.

Antonio Bastardo (Inc.)  Thankfully, he is gone, and it was worth it even if it meant the Mets had to take back Niese.

Rafael Montero (Inc.) He got an unexpected start due to injuries, and he fought his way through five scoreless innings.  Good for him.

Sean Gilmartin (Inc.)  Gilmartin has only made three appearances since being recalled, and he hasn’t pitched particularly well.  Whether it was the shoulder injury or teams figuring him out, he’s not the same guy he was last season.

Erik Goeddel (F).  There used to be two factions of the Mets fan base: those who thought Goeddel was a good major league pitcher, and those that didn’t.  Seemingly, everyone is now in the latter camp now.

Seth Lugo (A).  Lugo has been nothing short of a revelation this year.  Due to injuries, he has had to go from the bullpen to the rotation.  He has not only shown his stuff translates as a starter, but he also shown he could actually be more effective as a starter.  He has gotten his 2014 deGrom moment, and he has taken advantage of it.

Jon Niese (F).  Somehow, he was worse with the Mets than he was with the Pirates.  He has failed in the bullpen and the rotation.  Hopefully, for him, the reason is because of his knee injury that has required surgery.

Robert Gsellman (Inc.) It’s been a mixed bag for Gsellman.  In his one relief apperance and his one start, he has given the Mets a chance to win.   However, he’s a powder keg out there as it seems as if he is in trouble each and every inning.  To his credit, he has gotten out of most of the jams.  It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Gabriel Ynoa (Inc.) Ynao was surprisingly called up to pitch out of the bullpen.  In three rough appearances, the only thing you can fairly conclude is he isn’t comfortable yet pitching out of the bullpen.

Josh Edgin (D) Edgin has gone through the long Tommy John rehab process, but he’s not quite back yet.  His velocity isn’t quite there.  With that in mind, he has struggles getting major league batters out.

Josh Smoker (B) After a rough start to his major league career, he has gone out there and gotten better each and every time out.  He is getting his fastball in the upper 90s, and he is a strikeout machine.  He could be a real factor over the next month and in the postseason

Terry Collins (D)  He iced Conforto.  He continues to overwork the bullpen.  He makes baffling lineup decision after baffling lineup decision.  He is even worse with in-game management.  However, with the Mets on a stretch against some bad teams, and the Wild Card frontrunners not having run away with it, he may once again be in position to ride some good luck into the postseason.

Left-Handed Pitchers Beware

One of the long forgotten storylines of the early part of the season was the Mets couldn’t hit left-handed pitching.  For their careers, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda have mostly struggled against them.  That effectively neutralizes two of the best bats in the lineup.  Terry Collins ices a third when he refuses to play Michael Conforto against lefties.

With the Mets injuries and Sandy Alderson remaking the roster on the fly, the Mets now destroy left-handed pitching.

It starts with new (and old) leadoff hitter Jose Reyes.  In his career, Reyes has always been a slightly better right-hand hitter than he was a left-hand hitter, but this year the splits are even more pronounced.  In 25 games against righties, he is hitting .254/.289/.408.  However, in the 17 games against lefties, he is destroying them hitting .342/.419/.605.  Each and every game, he sets the pace.

Usually playing across the diamond from Reyes is Wilmer Flores who suddenly turns into Babe Ruth when a lefty is on the mound.  Flores has played 44 games against lefties, and he is hitting an astounding .344/.392/.678 with three doubles, nine homers, and 22 RBI.  Flores OPS+ against lefties is 176.  To put how good that is in perspective, that 176 is better than Paul Goldschmidt‘s and Jose Altuve‘s.  Goldschmidt and Altuve currently led their respective leagues in those categories.

Rounding out the infield is Neil Walker who has been a completely different hitter against lefties this season.  Walker entered the year hitting .260/.317/.338 against lefties.  This year, he is hitting .327/.383/.612 against them.  He has more than doubled his homers against lefties this year.

In the outfield, with Juan Lagares going down with injury, the Mets eventually replaced him with Justin Ruggiano.  He has been the Mets center fielder when a left-handed pitcher starts a game.  In his seven games against lefties, Ruggiano has hit .400/.471/.867, and he had a monster home run against Jaime Garcia:

It’s not a fluke for him either.  In his eight year career, Ruggiano is hitting .276/.340/.530 against lefties.

When you add these bats to a lineup that already has Yoenis Cespedes, you have a team that mashes lefties.  You have a team that knocks Madison Bumgarner out after five innings.  You have an offense that can do anything no matter who is on the mound.  You have an offense you believe can go the postseason as the second Wild Card.


Keep Michael Conforto’s AAA Production in Mind

Currently, the Mets outfielders are Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Alejandro De Aza, Curtis Granderson, and Justin Ruggiano.  Not on this list is Michael Conforto as the Mets have no intention of calling him up until September 1st.

Conforto is absolutely raking in AAA.  In the 10 games since his demotion, Conforto is 22-40 with four doubles, four homers, eight RBI, and two walks.  That is a .550/.581/.950 batting line.  Offensive statistics in the Pacific Coast League are typically inflated, but they aren’t that inflated.

Better yet, over his two stints in the minors this year, Conforto is hitting .500/.559/.633 with a double, a homer, and seven RBI in 30 at bats.

No, the Mets have no interest in that production right now even with them playing in a crucial three game set against the Cardinals that will have a dramatic impact upon their chances of winning the Wild Card.  Instead, the Mets want to go with the following:

  • Bruce who is hitting .169/.263/.282 in 19 games as a Met
  • De Aza who is hitting .192/.287/.308 on the season and .133/.264/.311 in August
  • Granderson who is hitting .224/.312/.428 on the year and .186/.240/.347 since the All Star Break
  • Ruggiano who was released from the Rangers while he was in AAA and is a career .258/.322/.438 hitter

Overall, the only player who deserves to be in the lineup day-in and day-out is Cespedes.  After that, the Mets have to pick two other outfielders who are playing best to man center and right.  Looking at the Mets 40 man roster, it is hard to believe that Conforto isn’t one of those players right now.

Hopefully, the Mets will sweep the Cardinals and get terrific production from their center and right fielders.  If not, we will all be left asking why were the Mets willing to field their best possible team and best possible lineup in the most important series of the year.

Cespedes Is Back!

Hopefully, all the suddenly (if relatively) healthy Mets needed to get going was to get one game under their belts. It certainly seemed to be the case as the August 2015 Yoenis Cespedes returned:

Cespedes powered the Mets offense to nine runs by going 3-5 with two runs, a double, two homers, and three RBI. He was just one of the Mets to tee off on Matt Moore and Jake Peavy. Even more amazing was the fact that the Mets were 5-9 with runners in scoring position. 

Like it once did a decade ago, it all started with Jose Reyes, who doubled to leadoff the game en route to going 1-4 with two runs, a walk, a double, and a stolen base. He was the only Met to score in a first inning that saw the first four Mets get on base with two of the Mets hitting doubles. 

The reason for the one run was partially a TOOTBLAN from Asdrubal Cabrera and his Ryanochte hair dye trying to go to second on what really didn’t amount to a wild pitch. At the time, the out loomed large. However, he’d make up for it with a third inning sacrifice fly scoring Reyes and his overall solid day at the plate going 2-4 with an RBI. 

Soon to be dadNeil Walker, was 2-4 with two runs, one walk, and one double. Justin Ruggiano was 2-3 with a run, a walk, and an RBI. Ruggiano needed a good day at the plate as he had some miscues in the field as he is apparently learning how to play alongside Cespedes. 

The icing on the cake was an Alejandro De Aza three run sixth inning homer which capped off a four run inning. At the time, it put the Mets up 7-2, and they seemed to be in control. 

It certainly was enough for Bartolo Colon, continued his good start, bad start pattern with a good one with a final line of 6.1 innings, nine hits, two runs, two earned, one walk, and five strikeouts. He departed with a runner on first. Josh Smoker came on and got Colon out of the inning. 

While the lead was safe for Colon, it initially seemed the lead wasn’t safe for the bullpen.  Hansel Robles was brought in to pitch the eighth, and he sandwiched walks to Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford around a Buster Olney line out. Even with the big lead, Collins was right to move to get the recently slumping Robles out of the game. However, Collins went to Addison Reed as Collins is the only one who doesn’t know Reed struggles with inherited runners. 

Reed would allow both inherited runners to score on an Eduardo Nunez two RBI double. Reed would allow another run to score before getting out of the inning. Reed would settle in in the ninth shutting the Giants down ensuring the Mets 9-5 win. 

Game Notes: Jim Henderson was activated off the disabled list but did not pitch. Erik Goeddel was sent down in his place. Slumping Jay Bruce sat against the lefty Moore. It was classified as day to get himself going than a benching. 

Despite Travis d’Arnaud catching, there were no stolen base attempts once again showing there are more forces at work in a stolen base other than a catcher’s arm. 

The Mets Are Just a Bad Dream

For the first time in quite a while, I was legitimately excited to watch a Mets game as we were guaranteed a great pitching matchup with Jacob deGrom and Madison Bumgarner.  Admittedly, when I saw a lineup with Ty Kelly and Justin Ruggiano, I was less excited.  Still, whenever deGrom takes the mound, the Mets have a legitimate chance to win.

I didn’t even make it to the fourth inning.  I missed Ruggiano giving the Mets false hope with the grand slam.  I missed deGrom and Bumgarner failing to hold up their ends of the bargain in the pitching duel. I missed the Mets show some fight in the sixth by them trying to crawl their way back into the game with a Kelly triple scoring Ruggiano and Travis d’Arnaud to make it 8-7.

I did manage to wake up in the eighth inning.  I tried to keep my eyes open for as long as I could.  As I watched Addison Reed give up a two run RBI double to Buster Posey, I asked myself why I was bothering.  If the Giants are lighting up Reed, there really is no chance for a comeback.  With that, I went back to sleep.  While I missed the ninth, I was pretty certain the Mets were going to lose by a score of at least 10-7.  As it turns out, that was the final score.

The Mets are back to a game under .500, and they fell to 4.5 games behind the idle Cardinals.  The hope is that Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera coming back will help spark this team, but I’m not holding my breath, especially now with the Mets having to skip Steven Matz in the rotation with bone spurs – no wait, they have to skip him now due to bone spurs and a shoulder injury.

Sooner or later this bad dream has to end, right?

The Real Curtis Granderson Problem

The Mets have a serious problem with Curtis Granderson.  He is looking every bit of his 35 years of age hitting .226/.317/.420, and it is getting worse as the season progresses.  Since the All Star Break, a time when players can rest up and get rejuvenated, Granderson has been hitting .186/.250/.304 while striking out in 21% of his plate appearances.  When he does hit the ball, he is hitting an excessive number of grounders into the shift.  It’s a major problem as Granderson has the lowest batting average on groundballs among active players.  Keep in mind that list includes players like David Ortiz and James Loney, both of whom could lose a race to Sid Bream.

Even worse for Granderson is while he was a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field last year, he has taken a real step backwards defensively.  Granderson’s defensive metrics in right field have dropped considerably with him having a -4.9 UZR and a 0 DRS this season. Fortunately, Granderson isn’t the Mets right fielder anymore . . . he’s their center fielder.

More than anything else, that is the issue with Granderson.  He is the team’s best option in center field meaning he has to play everyday despite the fact he has stopped hitting and despite the fact he is no longer a good fielder.

The Mets got to this point for a number of reasons.  The first is injuries.  Yoenis Cespedes was supposed to be the everyday center fielder.  However, with his quad injury, he will be unable to play center for the rest of the season.  The Mets platoon option against lefties, Juan Lagares, is on the disabled list after needing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left thumb.  The recently imported Justin Ruggiano played only three games with the Mets before needing to go on the disabled list himself.  With the injuries, that leaves the following options on the roster to play center field:

  1. Alejandro De Aza
  2. Jay Bruce
  3. Ty Kelly
  4. T.J. Rivera

With respect to De Aza, he has come crashing back to Earth after a torrid July.  So far in the month of August, De Aza is hitting .088/.244/.176.  As bad as things have been with Granderson, he hasn’t been that bad.

With respect to Bruce, he’s miscast as a right fielder.  After two bad years in Cincinnati where he averaged a -5.2 UZR and a 0 DRS, he is at a -13.2 UZR and a -13 DRS this year.  Honestly, the Mets should be looking for a way to take him out of the outfield and put him at first base rather than put him at a position he is ill equipped to play and last played eight years ago.

That leaves Kelly and Rivera neither of whom are center fielders.  However, they are the Mets next best option as the team decided both should be in the majors over Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.  While you can certainly make the argument that one of them should be on the roster with the need for another third base option with Asdrubal Cabrera on the disabled list moving Jose Reyes to shortstop, it is unfathomable why both of them are on the 25 man roster.  It’s unfathomable to have them both on the roster when you consider Conforto and Nimmo are better hitters than either one of them despite their struggles in the majors this year.

The rationale is the outfield is too left-handed with Granderson, De Aza, and Bruce is quite poor reasoning.  Granderson is a career .224/.296/.398 hitter against lefties, and that hasn’t stopped Collins from playing Granderson against lefties.  Yet somehow, Collins decides that Conforto and Nimmo, two players who have hit lefties in the minors, cannot possibly hit lefties.  The end result may very well have been that Collins is right as his refusal to play either against lefties may have created a mental issue with them.

Regardless, the Mets only options right now in center field are Granderson and De Aza.  While Granderson has struggled mightily this year, he is currently the Mets best option in center field.  With that in mind, Granderson simply has to play every day.  He has to play every day despite his slump.  He has to play against lefties despite him hitting .225/.290/.392 off of them this year.  He has to play in center because the Mets have no other options.

Ultimately, that is the real Granderson problem.  It’s not that he’s struggling.  It’s that the Mets don’t have a better option than him right now – especially since the team decided Kelly and Rivera were better than Conforto and Nimmo.

Carlos Gomez – Because the Mets Are Counting on Justin Ruggiano

Reports are that Justin Ruggiano has begun his rehab assignment in Las Vegas.  It’s strange to think that is the case because Ruggiano was released from the Texas Rangers while he was in AAA before the Mets picked him up.  Apparently, it is because the Mets believed he was a better option in center field than just about anyone, including Michael Conforto.

It was an odd decision considering Ruggiano is not a particularly good defensive center fielder.  Over the course of his career, he has a -6.4 UZR and a -9 DRS.  If the Mets were looking to add him for offense for when the team faces left-handed pitching, their decision making is equally misguided as Ruggiano is a career .271/.334/.516 hitter against them.  Overall, the addition of Ruggiano could be classified as a bit of a panic move as Yoenis Cespedes is unable to play center field for the rest of the year, and Terry Collins has outright refused to play Conforto and Brandon Nimmo against left-handed pitchers.  Long story short, the Mets are without a true center fielder, especially when there is a lefty on the mound.  In some ways, the Mets signing Ruggiano was the team making the best out of a bad situation.

However, now there is a better center field option available as the Houston Astros have released Carlos Gomez.

Now, the Astros released Gomez as he has been terrible for them.  Since he joined them last year, Gomez has hit .221/.277/.342 as an Astro.  With each and every game, Gomez faltered, and he justified the Mets decision to void the trade to acquire him for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores due to concerns about his hip.  However, now, the Mets can acquire Gomez, and they should be interested.

From 2013 – 2015, Gomez averaged an 11.7 UZR and a 13 DRS in center field.  Now, his defense has slipped from his 2013 Gold Glove caliber season, but judging on the advanced defensive metrics, Gomez has been an average at worst defensive center fielder no matter what Collin McHugh thinks:

Look, Gomez is available because he has been a bad baseball player for the past year.  However, he is not that far removed from being a very productive major leaguer, and he is still only 30 years old.

If the Mets really want a right-handed bat as a platoon option, if the Mets want a player who still may have upside, and a player that can actually play center field, the Mets should go out and get Carlos Gomez.  But they won’t, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise as this is a team that truly believes Ty Kelly is currently a better option in the outfield than Conforto right now.  This is a team that passed over Juan Uribe to keep Kelly on the roster.

Passing on Gomez in favor of Ruggiano will become just the latest in a series of curious roster decisions the Mets have made this season.

Mets Have You Wishing On One Hand . . . 

Do you wish Terry Collins will become a better manager?  

Do you wish Jay Bruce will start hitting like he was hitting for the Reds this year?

Do you wish Asdrubal CabreraYoenis Cespedes, Jim HendersonJuan LagaresJose Reyes, Justin Ruggiano and/or Zack Wheeler can get off the disabled list soon?

Do you wish Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will return to their pre-bone spur form?

Do you wish Curtis Granderson can return to his 2015 form?

Do you wish Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud will stop regressing and start fulfilling their promise?

Do you wish Neil Walker can stay this hot for the rest of the season?

Well for all those that wish for all that and much more like a postseason berth, Grandpa Gustafson has a message for you:

Mets Bullpen Blows It Against the Fire Sale Yankees

With Brandon Nimmo being the guy almost traded away in the Jay Bruce trade, he was supposed to be the guy who hit the big homer tonight. In the second inning, Wilmer Flores reminded us all that it was his schtick:

The homer gave the Mets a 1-0 lead they would relinquish in the fourth inning on a Logan Verrett wild pitch allowing Didi Gregorious to score from third.  The Mets would fall behind 3-1 in the fifth. Brett Gardner doubled to right hitting the side wall permitting Rob Refsnyder to score from first.  Gardner would come around to score on a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI single. 

The Yankees should have been up by more, but Gardner killed a first inning rally with his legs:

The final line for Verrett would be five innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and two strikeouts. 

The Mets got one back in the bottom of the fifth featuring their two young left-handed outfielders. Nimmo pinch hit for Verrett. He didn’t get his homer, but he hit a single to start a rally. He came around to score on a Michael Conforto one out RBI double off CC Sabathia. It was Conforto’s first ever regular season extra base hit off a left-handed pitcher. Conforto only got the chance because Justin Ruggiano was forced to leave the game with an injury. 

That set the stage for Matt Reynolds in the sixth. 

Flores led off with an excuse me infield single off Yankees reliever Richard BleierTravis d’Arnaud, who was not traded for Jonathan Lucroy, hit an opposite field single. d’Arnaud quietly had a good night going 2-5 with a run scored. That run scored would be on an absolute bomb off Reynolds’ bat giving the Mets a 5-3 lead. 

The Mets would lose the lead with Terry Collins getting a little too cute in the eighth inning. 

With two lefties leading off the eighth, Collins turned to Jerry Blevins to start the inning. Blevins allowed a leadoff walk to Gardner before striking out Ellsbury. Collins then turned to Addison Reed, who is traditionally poor with inherited runners.  He was again tonight. 

Brian McCann greeted Reed with a single sending Gardner to third. Ronald Torreyes would take second on a wild pitch.  Gregorious would have a terrific at bat flaring a single into left field scoring both Gardner and Torreyes tying the game at 5-5. It was the first run Reed has allowed since June 23rd. 

Jeurys Familia struggled himself in the ninth. He couldn’t get a feel for the strikezone, and he was giving d’Arnaud a workout spiking his sinker. He was completely bailed out by Curtis Granderson who chased down a ball by the right field line flat of robbing Aaron Hicks of an extra base hit and possibly an RBI. 
Familia navigated his way out of the inning despite allowing the one out walk to Austin Romine. Romine stole second with Familia not paying him any attention. Romine could’ve taken third as d’Arnaud skipped it past Reynolds and into center field, but Romine didn’t notice it in time. Despite all that, Familia bore down and get out if the inning. 

Seth Lugo, the last man in the bullpen, wouldn’t be as lucky. He issued a four pitch walk to Ellsbury, and Mark Teixeira beat the shift with an opposite field single. Ben Gamel laid down a sac bunt Lugo fielded. However, he would reach safely as Rene Rivera, who was double switched into the game, somehow directed Lugo to go to third. Lugo couldn’t get the speedy Ellsbury at third. He would later score on a Starlin Castro sac fly to make it 6-5. 

That set the stage for new Yankee closer Dellin Betances. He was greeted with a Loney double, and he would move to third on a Reynolds sac bunt. It would take a home run to score Loney from third on s fly ball to the outfield. You’re also giving an out to Betances, who is a great reliever. 

Alejandro De Aza was then hit by a pitch. He took off for second on a Rivera ground out to Betances. Betances froze Loney and got Rivera at first. Granderson would then strikeout to end the game. The sac bunt was a strange move at best. 

It was an ugly 6-5 loss helped again with some odd late game Collins decisions. 

Game Notes: Steven Matz pinch hit for Erik Goeddel in the sixth, and he drew a pinch hit walk.  He was needed to pinch hit as the Mets were playing short due to trades, Yoenis Cespedes being unable to play with his quad injury, and the Mets refusal to DL Asdrubal Cabrera for one reason or another.