Justin Turner

Mets Should Pursue Gary Sanchez

When Steve Cohen had his introductory press conference, he named the Los Angeles Dodgers as a model organization. What’s interesting about the Dodgers is how they got to this point.

While the focus has been on their spending might and analytics, there’s another thing they’ve done extraordinarily well. That’s find the player whose career hasn’t quite planned out, acquire him, and turn him into a good everyday player.

Mets fans are well acquainted with Justin Turner, but it goes beyond him. There’s also players like Max Muncy and Chris Taylor. Much of the current Dodgers run has been fueled by identifying cast offs and utility players and making them good everyday players.

That brings us to Gary Sanchez.

According to reports the once future superstar is on the trade bloc. That’s understandable considering two of his last three seasons have been below league average at the plate, his production has dropped off considerably since 2017, and he effectively lost his job to Kyle Higashioka this postseason.

Seeing all that has happened, the Yankees probably should investigate moving on from Sanchez. That goes double considering the free agents available. In doing that, the Yankees are risking a catcher entering his prime taking off with another team.

We’ve seen Sanchez show flashes of greatness. Over his first two seasons, he hit .283/.353/.567 (138 OPS+). In 2018, he had a strong framing season. He’s always had a strong arm with great pop times. However, these are just flashes.

Behind that is the passed balls and the extremely poor framing numbers for most of his career. When it looks like he’s improved one part of his game, the rest of it suffers.

For example, in 2019, Fangraphs noted Sanchez stopped allowing passed balls only for his framing to take a dive. This year, Sanchez did things to improve his framing only for him to suffer a career worst season at the plate.

How you look at Sanchez depends upon your worldview. If you’re glass half-empty, you see a guy who will never put it together. If you’re glass half-full, you see a 27 year old making improvements to his game and is poised for a huge breakout season at some point over the next 2-3 years.

If you have a franchise truly investing in analytics and player development, you should probably jump at the chance to obtain Sanchez. He’s one of the most purely talented players in the game, he’s shown the ability and willingness to address his deficiencies, and he’s likely going to come at a cheap cost.

If you obtain him, you could have a potential All-Star. His floor right now is backup and power bar off the bench. That’s not a bad thing to ever have. If you’re a forward thinking organization maybe you look to pair Sanchez with a Yadier Molina who could mentor him and help him get the most out of his abilities.

If you lose out on J.T. Realmuto and James McCann in free agency, this is an interesting Plan B or C. If you have the right organization in terms of player development, this could be the best option of all.

Blame MLB For Justin Turner Being On The Field Celebrating

Before Game 6 of the World Series, Justin Turner had an inconclusive COVID19 test. Instead of insisting he pass a test before being allowed to be at Globe Life Field, MLB permitted Turner to play in Game 6.

Turner showed up at the ballpark, and he did his pregame routine. He was in the dugout and on the field without a mask. Even with the COVID19 test pending, MLB did not mandate Turner wear a mask. Even if they did, their efforts were completely ineffective.

The test results confirming Turner tested positive for COVID19 came during the second inning. Despite having that information, MLB permitted Turner to play through the seventh inning. It was not until the top of the eighth that he was removed from the game.

In that time, Turner had three plate appearances. The ball went around the horn after seven strikeouts. Turner made two defensive plays. He was in the dugout and on the field without a mask.

By that time, the damage was quite possibly already done. And that’s just what we know from seeing him play in the game. We also don’t know what contact he had with Dodgers players and personnel before Game 6.

Somehow despite Turner being in the MLB bubble, he contracted COVID19. After there was suspicion of his being infected, MLB did NOTHING to prevent him from spreading it. In fact, even knowing about the risk of potentially spreading the disease, he was allowed in that ballpark to play in that game.

Was Turner selfish for going out to celebrate with his teammates with the full knowledge he was infected? Absolutely. There is no debating that.

However, he already had more than enough contact with the Dodgers to spread COVID19 before that celebration. The reason why that was possible was MLB let him play and then took their time before removing him from the game. And aside from that, MLB personnel and security completely failed to remove Turner from the ballpark.

So, in the end, if you want to blame anyone, you first need to blame MLB for knowingly exposing players, coaches, and umpires to COVID19. After that, we can and should discuss Turner’s own actions.

Justin Turner Tests Positive For COVID19 While Winning World Series

Well, if you were looking for the perfect way to cap off the 2020 baseball season and this entire year, MLB just gave it to you. Justin Turner was removed from Game 6 of the World Series because he tested positive for COVID19.

Apparently, Turner was allowed to play despite an inconclusive test necessitating this test. Somehow, it then took seven innings to relay the information from the lab to the Dodgers.

In the year 2020, it’s beyond shocking it took that long. With everyone having a phone on them at all times, everyone is always reachable. Getting the info to the Dodgers by even the fourth inning was too late.

Beyond that, there’s the question as to how Turner could’ve become infected when MLB purportedly created a bubble for the World Series. If so, that clearly didn’t work.

Whatever the case, MLB let Turner play despite the absence of a negative test result. They also let him play nearly seven innings after finding out he tested positive.

This put his teammates and the Rays, especially Mike Zunino, at risk of infection. That’s something to think about as the Dodgers players celebrating on the field with their families.

Turner playing and being lifted seven innings after the diagnosis is a complete and utter failure by MLB. In many ways, that’s the perfect way to cap off this 2020 season.

And yes, this was a complete failure. Proof positive of that isn’t just Turner playing. No, it’s his going out there and celebrating the victory.

Regardless, congratulations to the Dodgers and hopefully a quick recovery for Turner.

Jeff Wilpon Says Goodbye To New York Mets As Fans Say Good Riddance

According to reports, Jeff Wilpon has a Zoom call to say goodbye to New York Mets employees. Other reports confirmed he will not be seeking a role with the Steve Cohen led Mets even with his team holding onto a small minority ownership.

While he says goodbye, Mets fans say good riddance.

Everything that is wrong with the Mets is in large part due to him, and with him gone, he know stories will soon leak out about how he was even worse than what we already knew.

We already know they failed to capitalize on two pennants. In 2000, it was letting Mike Hampton walk, refusing to sign Alex Rodriguez, and then following that up with actually signing Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel.

In 2015, it was not re-signing Daniel Murphy. Also, if not for a miracle, they would’ve replaced Yoenis Cespedes with Alejandro De Aza.

There was forcing players like Pedro Martinez to pitch through injuries which everyone said should’ve shut down his season, and there was the attempts to try to prevent Carlos Beltran from getting career saving knee surgery.

There was not just signing Jose Reyes, but also holding him out as a role model. Better yet, around the same time, Ed Kranepool needed a kidney transplant only for pettiness to stop the Mets from initially reaching out to help (thankfully they eventually did).

Speaking of Mets greats, there is still no Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field, and now Tom Terrific is gone. Even when the Wilpons did think to finally act, they did it when Seaver had dementia and couldn’t enjoy the honors.

There was firing an unwed pregnant woman and really so much more. With actions like this, not only did Jeff Wilpon fail as a person in charge of building a winner, he disgraced the Mets organization.

Speaking of disgrace, the way the Mets got rid of people was deplorable. No one was allowed to keep their dignity. Willie Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and after the Mets won. Instead admitting they didn’t want to pay them fair value Justin Turner had his professionalism questioned and Wilmer Flores was said to have an arthritic condition he didn’t have.

Hopefully, Jeff Wilpon will be afforded the very same treatment he gave others when they left the Mets. It would only be fitting, and it would give Mets fans more reason to celebrate his being gone.

World Series Reminding Us Justin Turner Could Be Mets 2021 Third Base Option

The 2020 season only confirmed J.D. Davis isn’t an everyday player because he can’t field at all. With that being the case, the Mets need to find a new third baseman this offseason.

The first option could be Jeff McNeil, who was actually the Opening Day third baseman the past two years. The issue with him is despite his arm. His throws were erratic, which gives you pause before giving him the third base job.

With their being questions about whether Robinson Cano would be willing or able to move to third, that leaves the Mets looking outside the organization for a third base option.

There may be options on the trade market like Nolan Arenado, but with Brodie Van Wagenen needlessly stripping the farm of its best players, that’s much easier said than done. That probably leaves the free agent market where one name stands out above the rest.

Justin Turner.

We all know the idiocy and cheapness which led to Turner being non-tendered by the Mets. With the Wilpons gone, Steve Cohen can look to right this wrong and bring Turner back to Queens. As we saw last night, Turner can still play.

In 2020, Turner had a poor -2 OAA rating. However, in the preceding year, he was a very good 4 OAA. Looking at his OAA on the whole, he’s been alternating good and bad seasons.

DRS paints a slightly different picture. From 2014 – 2018, Turner was a very good defensive third baseman. However, in the past two years there has been a drop off with him posting consecutive negative DRS seasons.

Taking the bigger picture, we see a player still capable of handling the position.

At the plate, Turner is still a very good hitter with a 140 wRC+. That’s an improvement over his 132 in 2019. Looking at his Baseball Savant stats, Turner posted very good to elite numbers in barrels, hard hit rates, and whiff percentage.

Overall, even at 35, Turner has remained a very good baseball player.

That’s somewhat of a problem. He’s 35, and he will soon turn 36 after the World Series. While his stats over the past few years indicate he could be a good bet in 2021, time and again, we have seen players in their late 30s lose it overnight.

With Turner, we may also see a player who may want to retire or just stay close to home. That would certainly be understandable. However, if he’s truly available and willing to return, the Mets should pounce.

Turner is in the unique position of entering the clubhouse as a guy who dealt with the ups and downs of New York. On that note, he can certainly help the young Mets core along the way.

Another thing Turner presents is he’s coming from the Dodgers. Fact is, the Dodgers do things better than everyone, maybe even the Rays. Turner knows exactly what the Mets don’t know.

Remember the Mets aren’t just trying to win the 2021 World Series. No, they’re going through with a complete organization overhaul. They’re trying to build a team who can compete each and every year just like the Dodgers.

The Dodgers just don’t have the most talent on the field or the deepest pockets. They also have access to the best analytics and technology. They know things no one knows.

With Turner being there from the beginning of this Dodgers regime, he also knows all of the information disseminated to players. He knows what’s worked, what hasn’t, and the best way to communicate the information to players.

No, he doesn’t know how the information was tabulated and analyzed. However, he knows it exists, and knowing the information exists really helps your organization seek it out. After all, you can’t look for something without knowing that something exists.

In the end, Turner on a short term deal solves the Mets 2021 third base issues. More than that, he helps your organization in their process of an analytical overhaul. All told, from a Mets perspective, Turner could be the most important free agent available on the market. As such, they should very seriously consider bringing him back to Queens.

Because People Forgot: Travis d’Arnaud Was A Good Mets Catcher

Seeing Travis d’Arnaud play great since leaving the Mets has generally seen Mets fans have one of two reactions:

  1. Typical Mets
  2. Can’t criticize the Mets for this one

The second reaction is driven by the premise d’Arnaud wasn’t good with the Mets. Essentially, the Mets gave him every possible chance, and he still didn’t succeed. Ipso facto, he was never going to be good with the Mets.

This is the standard defense when a player the Mets gave up on too soon thrived elsewhere. The most famous recent example was Justin Turner. Of course, that was predicated on a false premise.

Turner worked on his launch angle with Marlon Byrd, and he was getting results late in the season. Rather than pay Turner an absurdly low arbitration salary to permit him to be a useful utility player who could grow to be more, the Mets instead chose to non-tender and slander him.

Mets fans having amnesia from all the other times the Wilpon led Mets front office do this only for the decision to blow up in their face, somehow take the organization’s side. It happens time and time again, and we’re seeing it with d’Arnaud.

The biggest fallacy with d’Arnaud was he wasn’t good with the Mets. Sadly, this emanates from a poor understanding of the catching position wherein people equate the ability to catch with the ability to throw.

Now, there are some truths with d’Arnaud. First and foremost, he was injury prone. Second, his throwing arm wasn’t great. Third, his bat wasn’t as advertised when he was obtained as a prospect.

Still, that should not be conflated to mean he wasn’t good with the Mets. In fact, d’Arnaud was a good Met.

From 2014 (his first full season) until 2017 (his last full season), d’Arnaud amassed an 8.5 fWAR*. Over that stretch, d’Arnaud was the 11th best catcher in the game. His 99 wRC+ made him the 14th best catcher in the game.

Certainly, his bat wasn’t as good as hoped, but it was league average. It was also above average for his position. We also knew there was a chance for more.

In 2015, we got a glimpse of what d’Arnaud would be in his post Mets career. In that season, he hit .268/.340/.485 with 12 homers and 41 RBI. That was good for a 130 wRC+. That made him one of the best catchers in the game, and with his hitting three homers that postseason, he seemed poised for stardom.

Really, d’Arnaud looked like the complete catcher. He could hit. He blocked balls and framed at an elite level. There was no one in baseball better at fielding throws and getting down tags. He just led a young pitching staff to the World Series.

Admittedly, it didn’t happen. Injuries were a big reason why.

In 2016, he dealt with a rotator cuff strain. In 2017, he dealt with wrist injuries. Finally, in 2018, it was discovered he had a torn UCL costing him that season.

These are all injuries which impact your hitting, and they’re reasons why d’Arnaud wasn’t able to build off of his 2015 campaign. Still, he remained a strong defensive catcher and pitch framer.

Put another way, d’Arnaud was actually a good catcher who helped his team win. As noted, he was the 11th best in the game.

After his UCL injury, there was legitimate hole he’d return to his 2015 form. Instead, the Mets under Jeff Wilpon’s direction did what they always do. They unnecessarily rushed a player back from injury.

At a time when d’Arnaud should’ve been on a rehab assignment, or even rehabbing to get ready to play in rehab games, d’Arnaud was catching a Major League game, and he had just about the worst game a catcher has ever had. Instead of realizing it was the Mets who screwed up by forcing a player to return before he was ready, they got rid of him.

This led to d’Arnaud getting the time he needed to get back into playing shape. Now, away from the arm and elbow injuries and away from the Mets medical decision makers, we see d’Arnaud return to his 2015 form.

Again, what d’Arnaud is doing now is something we’ve seen him do in a Mets uniform.

Just because you were frustrated with his inability to throw out base stealers should dealing with a starting staff incapable of holding on runners doesn’t change that. Just because we saw the Mets use SNY and their influence with some media personalities or the fact there are just plain ignorant fans doesn’t change that.

So yes, there’s every reason to believe Travis d’Arnaud would have been this good if he stayed with the Mets. First and foremost, he was healthy. Second and just as important, he had already been this good in a Mets uniform.

And regardless of what he would or would not have done if he stayed with the Mets, d’Arnaud was good with the Mets. Being 11th best at his his position proves that.

Editor’s Note: Typically, this site uses bWAR. Catchers are the one exception as fWAR incorporates framing.

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 2 Mackey Sasser

In Mets history, there have been a number of people who have worn the number 2, and to some extent it is an almost cursed number in team history. Perhaps that is a function of Marvelous Marv Throneberry being one of the first people to ever wear the uniform.

Over time, we would see many wear the number and fall far short of expectations. It was the number of Jim Fregosi. It was also the number of Dilson Herrera and Gavin Cecchini. It was also the number of Justin Turner who had better days after leaving the Mets.

Seeing all the number is and what is represents, perhaps Mackey Sasser is the best Mets player to ever to wear the number.

Knowing Gary Carter‘s days being a top catcher were going to be limited, the Mets were proactive, and they addressed the future of the position by obtaining Sasser from the Pittsburgh Pirates on the eve of the 1988 season. That would make Sasser the back-up catcher for the Mets last division title of the century.

That 1988 season was the worst of Carter’s career, and the Mets needed their back-up catcher to contribute more than in year’s past. That season he was an above-average offensive catcher. In fact, he was better than that with his having the sixth best wRC+ among National League catchers with at least 90 PA.

That was the case for his two year tenure as Carter’s back-up. It was Sasser’s play which allowed the Mets to feel comfortable making the very difficult decision in releasing Carter at the end of the year to hand the reigns to Sasser. In 1990, Sasser would reward the Mets faith in him.

In 1990, Sasser would play a career high 100 games that season, and he would catch a career high 87 games. During that season, he would do what had been previously impossible by becoming the first Mets catcher to throw out Vince Coleman attempting to steal a base.

Up until that time, Coleman was a perfect 57/57 in stolen base attempts against his future team. Aside from the throwing highlight, Sasser proved his offense could withstand a heavier defensive workload with his being now the fifth best offensive catcher in baseball. Unfortunately, this season would be it for Sasser behind the plate.

The beginning of the end came on July 8, 1990. In that game against the Atlanta Braves, Sasser was already 2-for-3 at the plate raising his season stats to .336/.381/.455. In the game, Jim Presley ran over Sasser at the plate. Sasser would get the out (he was quite adept at the tag), but he would depart the game with a badly sprained ankle.

From there, Mackey Sasser Disease, the cousin of Steve Blass Disease was born. Sasser would soon begin having issues throwing the ball back to the catcher. This effectively ended his career even with the Mets keeping him around a few more years as a backup and utility player.

That would not be the end of Sasser’s impact upon baseball or the Mets. As it turns out, Sasser wanted answers to why he had the yips. He would seek them out, and as he said to Anthony McCarron then of the New York Daily News, he got that help from Dr. David Grand.

With that help, he was able to successfully be able to throw the ball again, and he would not have issues doing things like throwing batting practice. That would partially help him have a coaching career. In that coaching career, he would again help the New York Mets.

During his coaching career, Sasser would find himself coaching a young infielder named T.J. Rivera at Troy University. When Rivera was undrafted, Sasser called to the Mets and recommended the team sign him. This would eventually lead to Rivera becoming the team’s everyday second baseman in September 2016 and helping that Mets team claim the top Wild Card spot.

More than that, Sasser has made himself available to help those players who have had potentially career altering yips the way he once did. That included calling up Mike Pelfrey when the young right-hander was experiencing issues with balks.

Overall, Sasser not only helped the Mets as a player, but he did what he could do to help the organization after his playing career was over. As we saw, he did hit part to help save Pelfrey’s career, and he helped launch Rivera’s. Even with Turner having his moments and Juan Uribe becoming an instant Mets folk hero, it is difficult to argue any Mets player who wore the number 2 having a bigger impact on the franchise than he.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the best players in Mets history by highlighting the best Mets player to wear a particular uniform number. In this case, this is not saying Sasser was the second best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 2.

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1. Mookie Wilson

Bad Decisions Like Designating Chris Flexen For Assignment Matter

This past weekend, the Mets made a very shrewd move re-signing Brad Brach to help rebuild the Mets bullpen. The Mets got lucky Brach was released last year, and Brach made the best of the situation by pitching more like he did with the Baltimore Orioles. When you consider he only signed for $850,000 with an extremely reasonable $1.35 million option for 2021, this could be one of the best moves made by Brodie Van Wagenen.

Of course, Van Wagenen would follow it up with a flat out bad decision by designating Chris Flexen for assignment to make room for Brach on the roster.

With respect to Flexen, there have been many arguments which completely miss the point. First and foremost, there’s the argument others will be eventually designated for assignment, so the order doesn’t matter all that much. Of course, that is not true because more talented players like Flexen may have had some value to teams prior to his accepting a deal with the KBO. Also, it’s just plain bizarre supporting a team keeping worse players at the expense of better players.

The other argument was Flexen wasn’t good anyway, so why does it matter? This reasoning is one of the most problematic thought processes of them all.

It is without question Flexen struggled. While pitching with the Mets in parts of three seasons, he was 3-11 with a 8.07 ERA, 2.132 WHIP, 7.1 BB/9, and a 6.5 K/9. When you focus on the control issues, that is in no way a recipe for success at the Major League level or any level for that matter. However, there needs to be some context to those stats.

In 2017, Flexen was rushed to the Majors from Binghamton despite having thrown just 48.2 innings above the Single-A level. In the ensuing years, Flexen would deal with knee issues, and he would also be shipped back-and-forth between the minors and majors. There would be long periods of non-use, and there would be his being overused. Really, when you break it down, the Mets did not in any way set him up for any sort of success, and the numbers proved that out.

Going to Baseball Savant, we see Flexen has above-average fastball velocity and elite curve spin on his breaking pitches. In terms of just pure stuff, this makes him a poor man’s version of Seth Lugo. Put another way, Flexen absolutely has the arsenal to succeed as a reliever at the Major League level, but unlike Lugo, he has not found a way to quite harness his stuff and translate it to results.

Of course, this is the exact reason why the Mets hired Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach. During his time with the Twins, Hefner become conversant in analytics, and he showed a real ability to translate them to players. We saw Twins pitchers attack the zone differently and improve their pitch sequencing in addition to buttoning up some of their mechanical issues. When you hire a pitching coach like Hefner, or really any pitching coach, you are looking for someone who is able to finally reach talented pitchers like Flexen and get them to pitch to the best of their ability.

With the Mets designating Flexen for assignment over far less talented pitchers like Chris Mazza, the team is not going to see a return on their investment on both Flexen and Hefner. To that end, this is more of the same from the Mets organization.

At different points in years past with the Mets, we have seen the team part with talented players who needed coaching like Flexen with the common refrain being they never did anything at the Major League level, so who cares? This was the refrain when the Mets parted ways with players like Heath Bell, Justin Turner, Hansel Robles, and many others.

In some instances, this did come back to haunt the Mets, and admittedly, in others, it did not. However, that is all besides the point. The real point here is the Mets had a very talented player, and they hired a pitching coach to help improve and develop pitchers like Flexen. Rather than proceed with that plan, the team decided they wanted to keep far less talented pitchers and not even bother getting the most out of someone with stuff which could have worked extremely well in the bullpen. When looking at it from that prism, designating Flexen for assignment made little to no sense.

Justin Turner And Fallacy Of He Wouldn’t Have Done It With Mets

The Los Angeles Dodgers were staring down a 2-1 series deficit with Max Scherzer set to take the mound in Game 4. With Patrick Corbin on the mound, the Dodgers were in serious trouble. That’s when they put together a huge two out rally capped off by a Justin Turner homer effectively putting the game out of reach:

This was just the latest big hit from Turner. In his postseason career, he is hitting .316/.414/.518. That includes him being named the 2017 NLCS co-MVP. What is interesting is that wasn’t his best postseason series. In fact, his best postseason series was the 2015 NLDS against the Mets where he hit .526/.550/.842.

When we see the success of players like Turner, Collin McHugh, Hansel Robles, and others, it presents an opportunity to look at the Mets decision making process. We should be looking at why the Mets kept players who did not produce at all over them. We should be asking why these players found success at these levels away from the Mets that they did not here.

Instead, we see the oddest position emerge. Instead of an analysis, we see something akin to good for these players, and that these players could not have had that success here. For some reason, that is offered as a defense of the Mets and not a condemnation.

We can dig deeper into each player and see why they did or did not succeed. With McHugh, he’s with the Astros organization who have found a way of working with pitchers in terms of sequencing and grips to get the most of of pitchers. Robles was really just a matter of a team being more judicious in their use of him.

As for Turner, this was the beginning of a process which began with his working with Marlon Byrd during the 2013 season. Rather than see where that could lead, the Mets non-tendered him over what was $1 million. Turner would go off to the Dodgers where he’s been a very good player.

Even if Turner would not have had the opportunity to play and prove himself in 2014, he would have in 2015 when David Wright succumbed to spinal stenosis. However, that is besides the point. The point is Turner would have at least been a good utility player who still had upside even if he couldn’t play everyday.

That also overlooks the core problem here. The Mets have had an ability to find talented players, and they have found a way to develop that talent. What they haven’t done is find a way to be patient with that talent, and eventually they make penny wise pound foolish decisions. As the case with Travis d’Arnaud, we’ve seen rage cutting decisions.

In the end, saying a player could not have succeeded with the Mets is far from a defense of the team. Rather, it is perhaps the harshest criticism you could levy upon the team.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Look Like The Arnold Schwarzenegger Twin

The Mets had a two game set against the Twins as they continued their nine game road trip where they hoped to possibly bring themselves back into the Wild Card race:

1. Amed Rosario is playing the best baseball of his MLB career. Not only has he been red hot in July, but he has also played to a 2 DRS at short since the All Star Break. It’s a small sample size for sure, but it’s all a very encouraging sign.

2. Another good sign from the middle infield is Robinson Cano hitting again. His July numbers are reminiscent of the Cano of old, and like we saw on Tuesday, even when he’s not hitting, he can still drive in a run with an out.

3. Michael Conforto seems to have shaken off the effects of his concussion earlier in the year. In addition to his hitting like Conforto again, he made a terrific play in center field to rob Nelson Cruz of an extra base hit.

4. People calling Conforto overrated or a bust absolutely know nothing about baseball. It should be noted before his concussion, Conforto was hitting ..271/.406/.521 and in the 39 games after leading into the break he hit .217/.309/.420. We should be highlighting with Jason Bay and Ryan Church the Mets have a putrid history of dealing with players with concussions and not how a player struggles after suffering one.

5. Steven Matz‘s final line looked much better than how he pitched. He was hit hard by the Twins, and he was really lucky to allow just two earned over four. Still, it’s a positive step from where he was a month ago, so the hope is he can build off of it. Note, the use of the word hope and not expect.

6. Like Matz, Edwin Diaz has been hit really hard of late, and he is escaping trouble. While he converted that save on Tuesday, that was far too much of a high wire act, and it’s questionable how long the Mets can hang with these 20+ pitch innings and his walking the tightrope.

7. Even with Diaz allowing lasers, the bullpen has been MUCH better of late. After a 7.53 bullpen ERA in June, the team has a 3.78 July bullpen ERA which is tied for 10th best in the majors. This is partially the result of the Mets leaning on Seth Lugo perhaps more than they should and the return of Justin Wilson from the IL.

8. It looks like Ricky Bones helped fixed Jeurys Familia. He had two big and important appearances. We also saw him throwing that 99 MPH sinker again. Maybe this was all just mechanical with him, and that may or may not have been attributable to the shoulder issues. In any event, Familia finally looks like he is back on track.

9. We only get small snapshots of teams in Interleague Play, especially in two game sets, but it’s surprising to see this Twins team being atop the AL Central. Is this the result of the AL depth being that bad, or was this just a bad series? In any event, you take a two game sweep against a good team.

10. That six run inning against the Twins was huge. It took what could have been a tightrope walk with a bullpen leaned on heavily a bit of late, and it allowed the Mets to go to Chris Mazza to eat up two innings. That is a huge development which cannot be undersold.

11. While Dominic Smith hit the go-ahead pinch hit three run homer, it was Pete Alonso‘s 474 foot blast anyone could talk about. Certainly, that’s all Steve Gelbs wanted to talk about with Smith in the postgame. That and his striking out against a position player. To that end, why does everyone find Gelbs so charming? I don’t get it.

12. Gary Discarcina not sending Rosario to go try to get that inside-the-park homer was no fun at all.

13. It is really surprising the Mets would catch Wilson Ramos in a day game after a night game given his injury history and the fact the Mets were about to get on a flight to go to San Francisco after the game. You have to wonder how much the wear and tear here will linger.

14. Mets need to watch their usage of Lugo. As the pressure has ratcheted up a bit, they keep going to the whip there. When they did that with Robert Gsellman earlier in the year, they lost him. Really, at some point, the Mets need to learn this lesson before they lose a key piece.

15. Right now, you should feel good about the Mets. Whether we should feel good a week from now will depend on how they play.

16. With a 0.2 WAR, Wilmer Font was the best performing player Brodie Van Wagenen obtained via trade, and he was designated for assignment and traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations. This is both hilarious and a fine example of how completely inept Van Wagenen has been as the Mets General Manager.

17. Mets fans seem to want to defend the team on designating Travis d’Arnaud for assignment much like how they defend the team’s decisions on Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Hansel Robles, Collin McHugh, and others. Really, at what point do fans stop defending the team and just start asking why the Jeff Wilpon led team continues to make poor assessments and decisions like these?

18. Zack Wheeler getting hurt pretty much means the Mets need to hold onto him and offer him a qualifying offer because it’s doubtful the Mets are going to get a return commensurate with the comp pick they would receive if Wheeler rejected the offer and signed elsewhere.

19. People need to stop making luxury tax threshold excuses for the Mets for their building a team in 2020. Remember, that includes $15 million of David Wright‘s contract which is covered by insurance and has been settled by the Mets. Another $29.5 million is from Yoenis Cespedes who has part of his contract covered by insurance. Finally, $12 million of Jacob deGrom‘s $25 million is deferred. The Mets can and should go over the luxury tax threshold next year if they really want to compete.

20. Now that this series is over, the Mets play 20 straight games against teams with a losing record. After that, they have three against the Phillies, who currently hold the second Wild Card spot. If you have hopes the Mets can make a run, there it is.