Well, it was bound to happen. After all the times the New York Mets were going to ignore his track record, they were bound to get Rich Hill through six. Tonight was that night.
This was Hill’s best start as a Met, and he was helped along by his defense and some Nationals snafus.
Garcia hit his second double in the fifth. If not for a terrific play off the wall by Michael Conforto and a strong relay throw, Riley Adams scores. Instead, Hill got Keibert Ruiz popped out to end the inning
As evidenced by the above and Francisco Lindor, really the play behind Hill was phenomenal. Hill dropping down some and getting Juan Soto out in big spots, like the sixth, is exactly how you pitch six shutout innings.
Hill got the win because the Mets offense did just enough. It also helped they were able to absolutely abuse Soto’s poor defense in right.
Fortunately, Nolin was able to move enough it didn’t hit him in the head. More than that, he was able to stay in the game.
In the third, Brandon Nimmo drew a one out walk, and Pete Alonso hit a ball the other 29 right fielders in baseball catch. Soto was the one who couldn’t turning it into an RBI triple giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
At this point, the hope was the Mets offense would take off and put the game away. Instead, the Mets offense went away leaving very little margin for error.
The Mets had chances. In the fifth, there were runners on second and third with one out. In the seventh, they had first and third with one out. They failed to score in either situation.
This is where Nimmo almost cost the Mets the game.
On an 0-2 pitch, Stevenson took off, and Adams lined it to center. Nimmo had no chance to catch it, but he dove anyway. If not for Conforto backing up the play, the Mets lose on an inside the park homer.
Instead, they lost their catcher. Conforto made a strong relay, and Báez made a strong but albeit offline throw. Sisco just got blown up on the play, Stevenson scored. and the game was tied with the tying run at third.
Patrick Mazeika came in, and Diaz settled down to get the next two outs to send it to extras. The Mets would score more in the tenth than the previous nine.
With Lindor as the ghost runner, Alonso golfed one to center giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. When Baez fouled out to deep left, Alonso had heads up base running to tag up and go to second.
This led the Nationals to intentionally walk Conforto to set up the double play. Instead, Kevin Pillar ripped a two RBI double to left extending the lead to 5-2.
That lead would be extended to 6-2 later in the inning when Jonathan Villar hit an RBI single. Remarkably, Villar started the game 0-for-2, and he would still have a four hit game.
Jeurys Familia entered the game in the 10th, and there would be no blowing it. He shut the door on a game the Mets had to have.
Well, the Mets need them all. In any event, the Mets turned what could’ve been a bad loss to a terrific 6-2 win.
Game Notes: Brad Hand was activated. Dominic Smith was placed on the bereavement list. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling went on the road to broadcast a game for the first time in nearly two years.
When making decisions at the trade deadline, it is not just about where your team is in the standings. It is also about where you are at as an organization. Right now, the Mets are 4.0 games up on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, two teams who are under .500. As for the organization, well, they are in a much more tenuous spot.
After this season, Michael Conforto, Jeurys Familia, Rich Hill, Aaron Loup, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Villar will be free agents. After the following season, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can also opt out of his contract, and Taijuan Walker can decline his player option.
Focusing more narrowly, after two years, the Mets could lose 2/3 of their outfield and 4/5 of their starting rotation. They can also lose four key set-up men as well as their closer. Put another way, this team is on the precipice of losing very important pieces of a team which is going to take it to the postseason this year.
Now, this is certainly a much different proposition with Steve Cohen at the helm than it was with the Wilpons. There is an implicit trust Cohen will continue trying to win. However, as we know, you’re not always successful identifying who to keep and who to let go as well as who the right replacements are.
When we look back to the early 90s, the Mets were coming off their best stretch in Mets history. They made the right decision letting Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez go. However, they made some bad calls like thinking Vince Coleman could replace Darryl Strawberry. They over relied on their belief Kevin Elster, Dave Magadan, and Gregg Jefferies could be first division starters. Of course, there was also the Worst Team Money Could Buy.
All told, when the Mets switched from build around a core to replacing and altering the core, things fell apart. We can look at other points in Mets history when that happened. It happened again when the Mets passed on Alex Rodriguez as part of a calamitous offseason after the 2000 pennant. The 2009 Mets made the mistake of keeping Oliver Perez. The 2017 Mets got their money tied up in Neil Walker, and they saw Robert Gsellman and Lugo couldn’t hang as starters for a full season.
In some ways, that leads us to now. The Mets have extremely important decisions to make on who stays and who goes. They need to see who the correct replacements are. From what we’ve see from this front office, we should have faith they are up to the task. That said, we all had very well placed faith in Frank Cashen, and he blew it up.
Seeing where the Mets are, the best decision they can make right now is to absolutely go for it. Yes, that may very well require overpaying for players and rentals. Back in 2015, that didn’t make much sense. It was year one of contending for a young core who was cost controlled. Their decisions, including letting Daniel Murphy walk, turned it into a two year window. That window slammed shut without a World Series.
Right now, the Mets window is definitely open, but it’s being propped open. Without the right options, this window can slam shut after this year. It may well be that after the 2022 season. The Mets definitely need to keep this possibility in mind as they look to add at the trade deadline.
Players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story dramatically changes the fortunes of this team. The same can be said for a player like Jose Ramirez. It may hurt to overpay for Max Scherzer or another top of the line starter, but imagine a two headed monster of deGrom and Scherzer (and having deGrom insurance) as the Mets look to win a World Series.
Ultimately, the Mets are going to see radical changes to this roster over the next few years. They’re in first place now with a team capable of winning a World Series. They need to make sure they do everything they need to do to get that World Series, or they may be ruing the missed chance for a team in transition over the next few years.
There are times when the New York Mets offense can’t do anything, and it leaves you baffled. Other times, there’s a pitcher like Brandon Woodruff they just need to outlast.
Tonight was one of those nights, but fortunately, Tylor Megill was very up to the task. The surprising rookie went toe-to-toe with Woodruff over five innings.
In the fourth, rut Milwaukee Brewers finally broke through with an Omar Navarez solo shot. At that point, Woodruff was perfect and looked like he had perfect game stuff.
However, yet again, Brandon Nimmo was a catalyst. He’d hit a lead-off double, and go the consternation of many, he’d move to third on a Francisco Lindor sacrifice bunt. If nothing else, this helped the Mets manufacture a run as Dominic Smith hit a game tying sacrifice fly.
After five, Megill was done having allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven. It was yet another step forward for him and further proof he can handle the fifth starter job.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, Woodruff had allowed just one hit and really just the one base runner. That changed when Lindor drew a lead-off walk, and Smith followed with a single putting runners at the corners with no outs.
Pete Alonso jumped on Woodruff’s first pitch driving an RBI double into the left field corner. On the play, we’d probably see Gary Disarcina‘s first aggressive send which didn’t blow up in the Mets face:
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 6, 2021
Alonso later scored on a Michael Conforto RBI single giving the Mets a 4-1 lead. This marked the second time all year Woodruff allowed over three runs and the first time outside of Colorado.
That was the score as Edwin Diaz entered in the ninth to try to earn the save. It was far from easy, and in many ways, it might’ve been Diaz’s most impressive save this year.
Willy Adames sjngied, and Narvarez. In his career, Diaz has had issues with runners in scoring position, and we’d see that here with Tyrone Taylor singling home Adames to pull the Brewers within two runs.
In what could be an NLDS preview, Megill held his own against the Brewers ace. The Mets then took advantage of Woodruff going through the other a third time. Mostly, the Mets again persevered.
Game Notes: Keith Hernandez had a day off but suffered an injury at his home which invoked trying to prune while standing at the edge of his hot tub. Mets are 35-6 when scoring at least four runs.
Sometimes, when you watch a player, you just see they are better than just everyone at something, and it’s pure magic. You see it when Jacob deGrom toes the rubber. You see it when Mike Trout steps to the plate. You also see it when a ball is put in play, and Marcus Stroman has the ability to make a play.
In many ways, that was Stroman’s introduction to the Mets. In his first ever inning, he made a great play to nail a Pittsburgh Pirates runner at the plate. Each and every time Stroman pitches, you realize that any ball hit near him is a play that he can make. That includes the plays no one else can make.
We saw that in the game between the Mets and the Rockies in the first end of the doubleheader. On balls hit to catcher turned first baseman James McCann, Stroman sprung into action directing McCann. The result was an inexperienced first baseman being able to pull off what was somewhat difficult 3-1 putouts.
If that was it, it was enough. However, this is Stroman, a uniquely athletic pitcher who plays the position defensively like he is a shortstop. With the Mets up 1-o in the fifth inning of a seven inning game, the speedy Garrett Hampson tried to get on to start the inning by laying down a bunt. It was a great bunt, but a better play by Stroman.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 27, 2021
That play as well as Stroman’s other plays in this game stood out, and it allowed the depleted Mets to beat a very good pitcher in German Marquez 1-0. The Mets needed everything they could muster to beat Marquez with this lineup. They got that from Stroman with his pitching and his defense. Looking at Stroman, he has been great in both aspect of his game all year.
Going through Mets history, Storman is just on another level defensively. Seeing him play defense as a pitcher is like seeing Keith Hernandez play first, Rey Ordonez play shortstop, or Juan Lagares play center. His defense is so special he even earned real praise from Howie Rose who has been a Mets fan from the beginning. Stroman’s defensive play has caused Rose to remark he would pay just to see Stroman play defense.
When you are receiving that level of praise from the great Howie Rose, and you are doing all you can do to help this depleted Mets roster win games, this is obviously the Mets Neon Moment of the Week!
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During this series between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, it was announced Keith Hernandez will FINALLY be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. It didn’t exactly go great:
The Edward Jones advertisement being larger than Hernandez’s name is embarrassing. Then again, at least the Cardinals are attending to their Hall of Fame.
The Cardinals have an official committee, and they have fan votes to determine who belongs in their Hall of Fame. More than that, they actually have a Hall of Fame.
When Citi Field first opened, there was some lip service to the Mets Hall of Fame. As time progressed, and the impact of Madoff continued, we saw the Team Store push into and completely overwhelm the Mets Hall of Fame.
Right now, 13 of the top 24 Mets by WAR have not been inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. Put another way, most of the best players in team history have not been recognized.
It’s more than that. Bobby Valentine led the Mets to consecutive postseasons. Johan Santana had many great moments including the first and only no-hitter in Mets history. There’s also Nelson Doubleday who purchased the Mets and brought in the right people leading to the best run in Mets history.
Point is, the Mets Hall of Fame is severely lacking. Case-in-point. David Wright has not yet been inducted. We can argue over retiring his number, but his not being in the Mets Hall of Fame is absurd.
The Mets need to have Wright and others in the team Hall of Fame. For that matter, there needs to be a real Mets Hall of Fame.
This is a franchise with real history and great moments. It’s well past time it’s celebrated and properly honored. The Mets need a real and proper Hall of Fame. Hopefully, it will happen soon.
There’s no mincing words here. Home Plate Umpire Ron Kulpa blew the call, and he would later admit it. While Kulpa blew it, Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling immediately knew it was a blown call, and they said Conforto should’ve been out.
MICHAEL CONFORTO GETS HIT BY A PITCH AND THE METS WIN IT 3-2!!!!! pic.twitter.com/R1QdgiRQJ5
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 8, 2021
As you can hear, they said a lot more than just that. First and foremost, we heard Cohen knew the rules cold, and he knew it wasn’t getting overturned.
Both Keith and Ron spoke about how that should’ve been called an out, and Darling took it a step further to point out it’s ridiculous replay can’t overturn this call.
Keep in mind, this is the Mets, not the Marlins telecast. GKR wanted it called correctly because they’re honest about what they see. They’re honest even when it comes to a player in Conforto they really like and respect.
Now, this should be the norm, but we all know it isn’t. What we got there, what we always get from GKR, was an honest assessment of what transpired. These are three people who love the game, and it always shows.
Mets fans are lucky to have GKR as is all of baseball. They don’t rely on shtick, and they’re not embarrassing homers. Rather, these are three people who are honest about what they see on the field no matter how much they all love the Mets.
One of the unspoken parts of the Francisco Lindor extension discussions was Steve Cohen and the New York Mets had the opportunity to add another Hall of Famer to the franchise. With the 10 year/$341 million contract, the Mets did just that.
Point is, it doesn’t matter where your career began. What matters is where you spent the bulk of your career and had the greatest impact. With a 10 year deal, Lindor will be in line to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
Make no mistake, Lindor will be a Hall of Famer.
Consider for a moment, the average Hall of Fame shortstop has a 43.1 WAR7 and a 55.3 JAWS. So far, through five-and-a-half seasons, Lindor is at a 27.9. If he continues his 5.3 WAR/year production over his first five years, he’ll hit a 37.4.
That’s right behind the 43.1 mark. However, it should be noted Lindor is entering his prime. He’s entering his prime after already establishing himself as a 30 home run, 100 RBI shortstop.
Shortstops with 125+ HR and 8+ dWAR before their age-27 season:
• Cal Ripken Jr.
• Francisco Lindor pic.twitter.com/4OxSlb4wWE
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) March 31, 2021
#Mets Francisco Lindor has played 777 career games.
Through first 777 games:
Francisco Lindor – .285/.346/.488
896 hits, 344 extra-base hits, & 138 homers
Cal Ripken Jr. – .292/.355/.489
873 hits, 320 extra-base hits, & 125 homers
Lindor tops Ripken in stolen bases, 99 to 8.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) January 7, 2021
Now, Lindor is with a New York franchise where his profile will be even higher. He’s also at a place more invested in analytics and getting the right data to players to help them perform at their peak. In some ways, Lindor finds himself in the position Gary Carter once did.
New York will be the place Lindor shows just how much of a leader he is. He’ll show his enthusiasm and love for the game on a bigger stage. God willing, this will be the place he leads the Mets to the World Series.
When all this happens, there will be no doubt Lindor should have his number retired, and he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He will wear a Mets cap on his plaque.
All that will be made possible because Steve Cohen stepped up to give Lindor the extra million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. received. It was possible because Cohen understands value. It was made possible because Cohen purchased the Mets.
Opening Day starts a new era in Mets history. It’s no longer just the start of the Steve Cohen Era. It’s now the start of the Francisco Lindor Hall of Fame Era in Mets history.
With Mike Piazza hinting more numbers are going to be retired, there were renewed calls for Keith Hernandez‘s 17 to be retired. Previously, the Mets had only retired the numbers of players who wore a Mets cap on their Hall of Fame plaque meaning the Mets first captain did not have his number retired.
One of the biggest issues with that is Hernandez should have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by now.
To put things in perspective, according to Baseball Reference, the average Hall of Fame first baseman has a 66.9 WAR, 42.7 WAR7, and a 54.8 JAWS. For his part, Hernandez is just a hair behind those marks with a 60.3/41.3/50.8. However, that is part of the story.
Currently, there are 24 first basemen in the Hall of Fame. Of those 24, only 10 of those players were above the 66.9 WAR mark. There were 11 above the WAR7 mark, and there were nine above the JAWS mark. The main reason for this is because Lou Gehrig, Cap Anson, and Jimmie Foxx skewed those numbers upwards. Notably, Gehrig’s and Anson’s careers were over before World War II, and Foxx has already played 16 years out of a 20 year career before the war began.
When you look at it, Hernandez has a higher WAR mark than eight of the first baseman inducted in the Hall of Fame, and he is 0.1 WAR behind Harmon Killebrew. Hernandez has a higher WAR7 mark than nine of the first baseman in the Hall of Fame including his being 1.2 ahead of Eddie Murray. His JAWS is better than 10 of the first baseman in the Hall of Fame including his being 0.4 behind Hank Greenberg.
When you look at the numbers of first baseman inducted into the Hall of Fame whose careers occurred post World War II and post Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, Hernandez is right in the mix of that group. In many ways, the two things that hurt Hernandez was he did it a different way than most of those first baseman.
Hernandez was not a slugger at the position in a traditional sense. Rather, he was more of a gap hitter who hit for average. Still, he was a good hitter with a 131 wRC+. That mark is good enough to tie him with Orlando Cepeda and put him ahead of Murray and Jim Bottomley.
Looking at traditional numbers, Hernandez had 426 doubles putting him ahead of players like George Sisler and Willie McCovey. His OBP is higher than Sisler and McCovey as well as Killebrew. The only ding against Hernandez is the power numbers you see with homers, RBI, and SLG where he would trail most Hall of Fame first baseman.
That said, all of those first baseman are a clear step behind Hernandez defensively. In fact, Hernandez was the best defensive first baseman to ever play the game.
This isn’t just the eye test, although when you look at plays like that, it helps. Hernandez is the all-time leader in Total Zone with a 121 mark. That puts him significantly ahead of Roger Connor, who has the second best mark at first base.
Keep in mind, when looking at defensive stats, Total Zone is the best one to look at when analyzing players across generations. On that note, here is the TZ leaders for each position across baseball history:
- C Ivan Rodriguez
- 1B Keith Hernandez
- 2B Bid McPhee
- 3B Brooks Robinson
- SS Ozzie Smith
- LF Barry Bonds*
- CF Willie Mays
- RF Roberto Clemente
With the exception of Bonds, who is not in the Hall of Fame purely due to steroids, the best defensive player at each position is in the Hall of Fame. Well, that’s everyone except Hernandez.
It’s not just the stats. There is also Gold Gloves. Again, we see Hernandez and Bonds as the only players to have the most Gold Gloves at their position not be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame:
- P Greg Maddux
- C Ivan Rodriguez
- 1B Keith Hernandez
- 2B Roberto Alomar
- 3B Brooks Robinson
- SS Ozzie Smith
- LF Barry Bonds
- CF Willie Mays
- RF Roberto Clemente
Really, when we look at baseball history, we have seen a number of players inducted into the Hall of Fame due to their ability to play defense at a virtuoso level. Smith is the classic example. It was the argument for inducting Bill Mazeroski. Yet, for some reason, that argument has not been advanced to push Keith Hernandez into the Hall of Fame.
Remember, Hernandez wasn’t just a glove at first base. As noted above, he contributed offensively. He won the 1979 batting title. He led the league in runs twice. In his career, he also led the league at one point in doubles, walks, intentional walks, and OBP. In his career, he won two Silver Sluggers. Hernandez was also an 11 time Gold Glover, five time All-Star, and the 1979 NL MVP. Hernandez also won two World Series titles in his career.
Another important point was Hernandez was seen as a leader in his playing days, and he was the first captain in Mets history. When you look at Hernandez, he had a Hall of Fame caliber career in every single sense of the word. As you see with his broadcasts on SNY, this was a player who loved baseball and understood it better than just about everyone.
All told, Hernandez is one of the best defensive players in baseball history, and he is one of the best first basemen to ever step foot on the field. He did it different than most others at this position, but all told, he did it better than almost everyone. Next time he is eligible for the Hall of Fame, he should be inducted.
Mike Piazza perhaps let the cat out of the bag when he intimated the New York Mets may start retiring more numbers. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a shock when the organization announced Jerry Koosman‘s 36 was going to be retired.
Looking at the Mets franchise history, this is quite the Steinbrenner type of move.
After the simply bizarre act of retiring Casey Stengel‘s number, the Mets put the highest of standards for retiring player numbers. In fact, prior to the Koosman announcement, it was an honor solely reserved for Hall of Famers.
It’s a standard which frankly makes sense. Number retirement should be an honor presented to the true legends of your franchise. By definition, that’s what the Hall of Famers are.
If we sort through team history, if not for a completely and arbitrary application of an theretofore unenforced rule Gary Carter would be in the Hall of Fame as a Met. That would’ve led to the retirement of his 8.
It’s also quite possible we may one day see Keith Hernandez and Carlos Beltran inducted. With that should come their numbers being retired. At least with respect to Hernandez, that would be an extremely popular decision.
Past that duo, the only player who you can conceive of hitting that level is Jacob deGrom. That’s something that needs consideration.
When a number is retired, the franchise is putting a player at the level of Tom Seaver, Piazza, and quite possibly deGrom. Looking at the team history, they don’t have players at that level. They really don’t.
That includes David Wright who is an extremely popular choice amongst the fans. If not for injuries, he very well might’ve. By the same token, if not for addiction, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry not only would’ve been at that level, but quite possibly, would’ve been a step above Wright.
Fact is Wright is a Mets great, but he’s not a baseball great. Yes, he deserves honoring by the Mets, but a number retirement is just too high of an honor. That should be reserved for the true legends to wear a Mets uniform.
Keep in mind, as discussed on the Simply Amazin Podcast, much of the case for Wright can dwindle over time. For example, if Michael Conforto re-signs, he should take over a good chunk of Wright’s records.
After that, we could see someone else surpass both players. Part of the reason is the records on the books isn’t particularly impressive for a franchise. Keep in mind, that’s not saying Wright’s career numbers aren’t impressive. They are. However, as a franchise leader, it’s not.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The issue just is where you start drawing lines.
For example, for all the push for Wright, John Franco remains the franchise all-time saves leader, has the most saves of any left-handed pitcher in MLB history, and he was a captain. Despite that, there seems little to no push to retire his number even with his being a Met longer just as long as Wright.
Really, when you look at both, yes, they should be honored, but in reality, it should be short of number retirement. In reality, that’s why there’s a Mets Hall of Fame.
The answer should be to make the Mets Hall of Fame into a destination at Citi Field. Really showcase the Mets greats honoring them the way they should be honored. That’s far more fitting than trying to elevate players like Wright to the levels of Seaver.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with not having many numbers retired. In many ways, that makes that honor all the more meaningful. It’s better to keep it that way while also finding an appropriate way to honor the Mets greats who aren’t in the Hall of Fame.
When the New York Mets obtain a star, some have some trepidation. There are bad memories associated with the 1992 Mets as well as with future Hall of Famers like Roberto Alomar and All-Stars like Carlos Baerga.
Yes, those names were specifically chosen. They were not just chosen because they were great players before joining the Mets. They were also great Cleveland Indians players traded to the Mets.
What does that have to do with Francisco Lindor? In reality, absolutely nothing.
Alomar was 34 when the Mets obtained him. Baerga was hitting .267/.302/.396 with the Indians when the Mets obtained him.
No one asked if Trout should get the $426.5 million he received. There wasn’t a question about Betts’ $365 million extension. Yet, somehow, we see fans and articles question whether Lindor should receive an extension at all.
Really, it’s nonsense hand-wringing. It’s assuming everything goes wrong for the Mets. It’s remembering only the bad while conveniently forgetting Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza, and even Johan Santana.
The Mets traded for those stars and gave them extensions. Hernandez led to the best stretch in Mets history and the team’s second World Series.
Piazza set records for homers as a catcher, led the Mets to consecutive postseasons for the first time in their history, the homer after 9/11, and he became the second player to wear a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
Santana had the last great moment in Shea Stadium history, and to date, he’s thrown the only no-hitter in Mets history.
Do the Mets want to sort through this class and have the Los Angeles Dodgers run up the bidding like they did with Trevor Bauer, or the way the Toronto Blue Jays did with George Springer. That’s nothing to say of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox who are resetting under the luxury tax to position themselves to attack free agency next year.
That’s whenever free agency does begin. Remember, the CBA expires at the end of the season, which very well may lead to a strike or lockout. In those circumstances, it makes it all the more difficult to navigate your way through the offseason.
Regardless, all of that distracts from the main point. Francisco Lindor is a top three player in the sport and future Hall of Famer who is in his prime. Instead of inventing reasons to try to justify not extending him, we should all just demand the Mets extend him.