Keith Hernandez

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Toss Out Rotten Fish

From the rumors, the New York Mets are being threatened for National League East supremacy, but then again the Mets dispatched with another opponent. This time it was the Miami Marlins.

1.  It might’ve been Father’s Day Weekend, but Francisco Lindor proved it’s always Mother’s Day. His mom came to the game on Friday, and he hit his first of two homers in the series. After breaking his finger, he seemed understandably off, but this weekend, we saw the real Lindor again.

2.  Taijuan Walker has pitched like an ace since Max Scherzer went down. Over his last six starts,  he’s averaging 6.0 starts with an increasing strikeout rate. This could be one of the best two year deals in Mets history.

3.  The Mets DH situation was a disaster before J.D. Davis got hit on the hand. That could effectively end his season (it did last year), which is going to rob the Mets of a right-handed bat off the bench. And before people start, he wasn’t hitting for power before this hand injury.

4.  It seems the DH spot will now fall to Dominic Smith, who faltered earlier, and/or Daniel Palka, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2019. With respect to Smith, the only hope is he begins hitting again with regular at-bats.

5.  While Mark Vientos continues to be the best possible DH option, from a purely crazy standpoint, you do wonder if Michael Conforto would be available on a minor league deal. After all, Scott Boras has hinted Conforto may be able to hit this season. It would seem a mutually beneficial arrangement even if there’s a 99% chance Conforto doesn’t play this year.

6.  The biggest concern right now is Jeff McNeil‘s hamstring. As Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pointed out, he tried to play through a similar injury last year and struggled. Hernandez also noted the flight to Houston won’t help matters. Ideally, the Mets can give him a day or two to get healthy.

7.  David Peterson had a much needed good start. That was much needed for him and for the Mets.

8.  The fact Seth Lugo was pitching after his two year old just had surgery and his wife is expecting any day now is just remarkable. Given that context and how great he has been as a Met, we can afford him one bad pitch before freaking out.

9.  Where is it written in stone the Marlins play their very best against the Mets at all times?

10.  Chris Bassitt had a strong start but hit a bump. He is still a part of the solution this season and in the ensuing years.

11. Sandy Alcantara is just that good, and the Marlins have him effectively locked up until 2027. That would be very bad news for the Mets except you know the Marlins will get rid of him well before that.

12. The cavalry seems to be on their way with reports Scherzer could be a week away and James McCann on a rehab assignment.

13. The Mets have effectively shelved Patrick Mazeika, and you have to wonder just how much longer he will be a Met. With every homer from Francisco Alvarez, the chances of his getting designated for assignment increase exponentially because next time there is an injury, Alvarez may very well be called up to stay.

14. The Mets continue to do Josh Lewin dirty. First, he’s replaced by an inexperienced and poor announcer, and then, his podcast is replaced with amateur hour. He and Mets fans deserve much better.

15. Drew Smith is back to being Drew Smith, and as a result, the Mets bullpen is again a strength. That goes double with Adam Ottavino pitching well.

16. Very quietly, Starling Marte keeps getting better and better all season.

17. It’s obvious why we’re not talking about it much, but Pete Alonso‘s defense has really regressed. With the Mets DH options being what they are, you could move Alonso there, but the Mets obviously don’t want to interrupt his Silver Slugger caliber season.

18. Luis Guillorme is just a guy who gets on base and plays great defense. If the Mets cared about that in the past, perhaps they make the postseason prior to this year.

19. On this date last year, the Mets had a 5.5 lead game on the Atlanta Braves. The key differences is that Mets team had a +20 run differential, and this one has a +72. The other key difference is that team lost deGrom, and this one will be getting him back. These are not remotely the same seasons.

20. Interesting to think about, but this upcoming series against the Houston Astros might actually be a World Series preview.

Mets Ruining Old Timers Day With Reyes Invitation

One of the best things Steve Cohen has done in terms of fan engagement is Old Timers’ Day. The New York Mets now have their own history, and we now get the opportunity to celebrate it. Apparently, fans aren’t the only ones eager to celebrate it.

We have seen a number of players eager to return. Already on the docket are a who’s who of Mets greats including Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, John Franco, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Daniel Murphy, Mookie Wilson, and many, many more. Really, Mets players are coming out of the woodwork to try to attend this event.

With every name came more excitement and more fond memories. Then, the Mets announced Jose Reyes was returning.

While the Mets were blowing Game 4 of the 2015 World Series, Reyes was in Hawaii grabbing his wife by the neck and throwing her into glass doors. The altercation was so violent, the hotel would need to call the police, and his wife would need to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.

The Colorado Rockies (who also had Trevor Story ready) were so appalled they released Reyes. There was a debate whether Reyes would ever play a game again. After all, who in the world would want someone like that on their team? It’s one thing to deal with someone on your roster. It is a whole other to proactively go out and sign that player (or acquire him if you are the New York Yankees and Aroldis Chapman).

Well, frankly, the Mets were cheap morons, and their third base plan for 2016 was David Wright. That lasted until May 27. After that, the Mets were trying to figure it out on the fly. Instead of looking to make a trade, they opted to do the whole dog-and-pony show of trying to rehabilitate Reyes’ image.

Reyes was decent enough, and he had a big homer against the Philadelphia Phillies. The media acquiesced with the Mets demands and wrote the necessary articles (yes, they are 100% complicit) to support the Mets bold move to cheap out and take bad a wife beater. Everyone was so happy the Mets brought Reyes back.

Well, third base wasn’t good enough anymore for Reyes. With Asdrubal Cabrera‘s thumb injury, Reyes pushed his way to short. It was a bad year for Reyes, and it was apparent to the Mets, they needed to pivot. Amed Rosario was called up at the end of the year to be the shortstop of the future, and in the offeseason, they had to sign Todd Frazier to play the third base Reyes no longer wanted to play.

Reyes agreed to be the utility player. Anything to help the team. Again, just talk.

Reyes didn’t really put the time in to succeed in the outfield. He was terrible, and he stopped playing there. Then, the sham of the narrative he was going to mentor Rosario was exposed when he whined to the media about it. This came at a time when the baseball world was wondering if he was done and would soon be ticketed for being designated for assignment. Instead, he was rewarded with more playing time.

Despite the beating of his wife and acting bigger than the organization, he was given a big send-off as part of the Wright festivities. He got to retire as the Mets leadoff hitter and shortstop. He deserved none of this.

After he beat his wife, the Mets had kept throwing him olive branch after olive branch. None were good enough for him. He showed a complete lack of gratitude to this organization. And now, he’s going to be rewarded by being brought back for Old Timers’ Day like he didn’t beat his wife and wasn’t a completely selfish jerk on his way out?

Seriously? This is Wilpon level garbage and has no place in the Steve Cohen era. In reality, Reyes has no business being at Citi Field for Old Timers Day even if he bought his own ticket.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Ran Out of Gas

The New York Mets followed an inspired series split against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a less than inspiring performance against the San Diego Padres. To be fair, there are some caveats to this performance:

1.  The Mets played their 30th game in 30 days. Over that span, they had two west coast trips with no scheduled travel day prior to their trip out west. Overall, this team is exhausted, and when that happens, you are going to see what we saw.

2.  What’s impressive is the Mets actually grew their lead from 7.0 to 8.0 games over this stretch. Keep that in mind when they finally get some days off with a chance to rest and play at their peak level.

3.  The Mets won the only game of this series they did because Carlos Carrasco was great again. He stepped up big time saving the bullpen, and he helped secure the Mets only win in the series.

4.  Chris Bassitt has really struggled since James McCann hit the IL with his start in the series finale being the worst start of them all. There are many reasons why this is happening, but one overlooked one is he has really struggled pitching to Tomas Nido. He is just a different pitcher on the mound with Nido back there.

5.  It was great to see Jeff McNeil off the snide. After that recent slump, he was back to being himself at the plate. As noted by Keith Hernandez, McNeil never brings his slumps into the field which is another reason why you have to love him as a player.

6. Speaking of Keith, he was just overly kind to J.D. Davis about his play at first. He was making excuses for Davis dropping balls that where in his mitt and making poor throws. We gets it’s a difficult thing to do on the fly, but Keith went way out of his way to excuse a poor performance.

7.  Speaking of poor performance, Davis has been bad. On this west coast trip, he is 4-for-18 (.222). When it was between him and Dominic Smith, you understood choosing Davis because he was a right-handed bat on the bench. However, now, they need Smith because it appears they will need someone who can play first everyday.

8.  MetsWes put it best with Pete Alonso when he said, “Pete Alonso walked away from an awful car crash and been hit in the head and was fine. You think a little [Yu Darvish] “fastball” is going to break a bone? Tongue-in-cheek for sure, but it does speak to how much Alonso has dealt with this season.

9.  Starling Marte had quietly been one of the Mets best players for a few weeks now. They’re going to miss him in the lineup, and in many ways, they will miss his fire.

10. This is Nick Plummer‘s big opportunity to prove he can be a Major Leaguer. He started by going 0-for-3, but he did hit the ball hard. If he has a big stretch, the Mets would be hard pressed to send him back down to the minors again.

11. With Alonso and Marte down, you can understand the Mets scoring just two runs over the final two games. Of course, the Padres pitching had a lot to do with that as well.

12. In addition to the injuries, Luis Guillorme and Francisco Lindor chose the wrong time to go into slumps. More than ever, the Mets need them to start hitting again.

13. Eduardo Escobar is heating up at the right time, and as noted several times here, he is a player who breaks out in June. He became the first player to hit a cycle at Safeco, and the is the first player in Major League history to get his cycle after hitting a homer and triple over the final two innings.

14. Mark Vientos chose the wrong time to get injured. It is very possible he could’ve gotten his chance now with his hot hitting and the Mets recent injuries leaving them looking for offense.

15. Brandon Nimmo is obviously still dealing with his wrist. You can see it when he swings. Frankly, he won’t be put on the IL now because of the other injuries and the fact he provides offense with his ability to draw walks.

16. The Mets batters get plunked more than anyone because it is their approach. Really, do we think anyone is throwing at someone like Mark Canha? Of course not. This is a design of where they are positioned in the box and their approach at the plate. That said, retaliation every so often is merited especially with Sean Manaea buzzing Guillorme by the head multiple times.

17. In case you haven’t heard from Mets fans starting to panic, the Mets have the largest division lead in the National League and are tied for the second largest division lead in all of baseball. There’s absolutely no need to panic. This team is great and will be fine.

18. The impending matchup with Noah Syndergaard is going to garner a lot of attention. With respect to Syndergaard, he went to the Los Angeles Angels for more money and this front office and pitching staff. The Joe Maddon firing was a sign he might’ve been duped.

19. The Mets are catching the Angels at exactly the right time. They’ve lost 14 straight, and Mike Trout is hurt. They got a much needed day off. There is no excuse for not taking at least two out of three.

20. In some ways, the Mets need for the New York Rangers to win this series. They need the Rangers to have some buzz to keep some of the unnecessary heat off of the team at a time when they are tired and hurt. Mostly, I need the Rangers to win the series. so yes, I am selfishly saying this.

 

Mets Offense Explodes With Giant Win

Another game and another New York Mets starter with a big start. This time it was David Peterson‘s turn.

It didn’t start that way for Peterson. In the second, Brandon Crawford hit a two run homer giving the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The Mets would get him a lead in the top of the third. At the time, you wondered if it was going to be enough.

The Mets would nickel and dime Alex Cobb to death. For example, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had consecutive infield singles in the third to help load the bases.

Francisco Lindor followed with a bloop down the left field line. Darin Ruf lumbered over, but he couldn’t make the play as he and the ball landed in the stands for a two RBI automatic double.

The two RBIs tied the score at 2-2. It was also Lindor’s 500th RBI. He would then score his 609th career run as Pete Alonso absolutely launched one to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.

Peterson seemed poised to give that lead right back in the bottom of the third. He walked Ruf to start the inning and then plunked Wilmer Flores.

Peterson bore down, and he got Mike Yastrzemski to hit into the 1-6-3 double play. That play changed the game as Peterson got out of the inning, and the Mets would eventually blow out the Giants.

For Peterson, it was a well earned win. He limited the Giants to the two runs over six while striking out six.

Colin Holderman relieved Peterson in the seventh, and he continued to prove he belongs. He pitched a scoreless inning battling through a bleeding thumb on his pitching hand.

While Mets relievers literally bled, the Giants did figuratively as the Mets offense pounded them in the eighth to break the game open.

It started because Jeff McNeil just couldn’t get a bunt down all game. As noted by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, it was partially because his approach has him running towards first at the point of contact.

When McNeil couldn’t get the bunt down to beat the shift, he instead swung away and hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Mauricio Llovera.

And then, Mark Canha went back-to-back increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.

Patrick Mazeika capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI double. That gave the Mets a 10-2 lead. For Mazeika, it was his third straight game with a double as he attempts to get the starting catching job.

After another scoreless inning from Holderman, the Giants sent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to the mound. After the dog and pony show was over the 10-2 lead grew to 13-2.

The Mets ability to clobber the Giants pitching led to Gonzalez pitching. Things were so bad for the Giants J.D. Davis, who entered the game hitting .188 with a -0.4 WAR, had a four hit night. It was just one of those nights for the Mets.

Chasen Shreve, who has struggled mightily of late, took the mound in the ninth. Again, he let up a run, but in a 13-3 game, it’s a footnote.

The Mets are now eight up in the division. That includes being nine up on the Atlanta Braves. Yes, the Mets are this good.

Game Notes: This was Max Scherzer‘s spot in the rotation. This was Buck Showalter‘s 66th Birthday.

Dominic Smith Showed Signs Of Life

In the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the doubleheader, Dominic Smith came up as a pinch hitter with one out. St. Louis Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos had Smith right where he wanted him with a 2-2 count. If you’ve been watching the New York Mets and Smith all season, you expected a strike out.

As noted in the first half of the doubleheader by Keith Hernandez, Smith has been expanding his zone all season. Chiefly, it has been at pitches up in the zone. However, we have also seen it on pitches down-and-in. For some reason, Smith just can’t seem to lay off those breaking pitches breaking in off the plate.

Gallegos reared back and busted Smith in, and Smith laid off of it. Full count. Then, Gallegos made a very smart pitch. He threw that slider low-and-in. Smith has struck out on that pitch all year. Except, this time, Smith didn’t. He spit on the pitch, and he took his walk.

Right there, more than anything, was the biggest sign Smith might just be breaking out of his season long slump.

We had thought that what was going to happen with Smith after his four hit game against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, Smith went right back into his funk. After that game, he was 1-for-22 with six strikeouts. It was at the point where Buck Showalter was suggesting Mark Canha needed to get work at first base.

In the first half of the doubleheader, Smith looked much like the Smith of old. In his first at-bat, he got a rally started with a lead-off single. In the third, he hit an RBI double. Smith would finish the game 2-for-4 with a run, double, and RBI. Importantly, it was his first start since the beginning of the month where he did not strike out.

With Smith, we know what he can do. We’ve seen when he’s healthy, he hits. He needs to just get on track, and he hasn’t so far this season. As noted, part of the reason is the Mets initial need to see what they have in Robinson Cano leading to a season’s worth of disjointed playing time.

Case-in-point, after Smith had his four hit game, he did not start the ensuing game. Hopefully, the Mets are able to recognize how Smith has finally made the adjustments he needed, appears locked in, and is ready to contribute like we all know he can.

20/20 Hindsight: Mariners Make Mets Regret Sewald

For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series. To make matters worse, it was Mets incompetence of the past which came back to haunt them.

1.  Paul Sewald is absolutely right. The Mets gave up on him. More to the point, as I’ve pointed out, and as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen noted on the broadcast, the Mets completely and utterly botched how they handled him. Sewald absolutely deserved this moment.

2.  Sewald was all the more of a debacle when you consider the Mets kept Ryan O’Rourke, Tim Peterson, and Jacob Rhame over him. None of those three pitched past the 2019 season. Sewald is now a very good late inning reliever.

3.  It’s not just Sewald, but Chris Flexen where the Mets screw up was the Mariners gain. The good news here is the morons in charge who made those decisions are now gone.

4.  The people in charge now get us Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt who were again great in their starts. Much of the Mets success this season is directly attributable to bringing those pitchers onboard.

5.  That Patrick Mazeika start behind the plate was rough, and it limited Bassitt to 5.1 innings when he had the stuff to go much deeper.

6.  That said the legend of Mazeika grew. Not only did he have the game winning homer, but he also had a key hit in that ninth inning rally which fell short.

7.  You cannot have worst at-bats than what Starling Marte and Pete Alonso did with the game tying and go-ahead runs on base than what they did. The Alonso one was even worse considering he got one strike in that at-bat, and he didn’t even swing at the pitch over the heart of the plate.

8.  Brandon Nimmo came up huge in that inning with an RBI double. In fact, he’s been great all season and has been the Mets best player. He’s clearly an All-Star, and sooner or later, if he keeps this up, he is going to get MVP consideration.

9.  Drew Smith went from impenetrable to allowing runs in consecutive appearances. He will be fine.

10. Carlos Carraso looked bad. While he was worse against the St. Louis Cardinals, he arguably looked worse in this start. Again, he’s been very good for all but two starts, so there is no need to dwell too much here.

11. Good for Adam Ottavino for picked up that win. He’s responded well to that rough patch, and part of the reason is Buck Showalter has been much more responsible in how he uses them.

12. Congratulations to Colin Holderman on his Major League debut. It was rocky, but it was a scoreless inning, and he did flash what could be very good stuff out of the pen.

13. Sewald wasn’t the only pitcher to stick it to his old team. Edwin Diaz struck out all three batters he faced in his only save opportunity in the series. By the way, he’s now played more seasons with the Mets than the Mariners.

14. Joely Rodriguez wasn’t great, and Chasen Shreve allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On that note, Aaron Loup is having another great season. So far, this looks like an unforced error by the Mets, and you do have to wonder how much of that is attributable to the Robinson Cano contract.

15. James McCann being out is going to hurt the Mets. He was great behind the plate, and believe it or not, he was a starting level bat at the position in the majors so far this year.

16. Tomas Nido did step-up in this series actually drawing two walks. To put that in perspective, he drew five all of last season.

17. McCann’s injury is the type which may cost him this year even when he can return. Those hammate bone injuries tend to linger and hamper the ability to hit again. Unfortunately, Francisco Alvarez has been struggling in Double-A putting him even further off the horizon.

18. Francisco Lindor hit a big homer. The Mets need more of that from him.

19. One massive takeaway from this series, even with the series loss, is the Mets beat up on reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. It doesn’t matter if it was an off game or not from Ray, the Mets finally hit left-handed pitching.

20. The Mets were at the Rangers beating the Penguins in Game 7. Perhaps, we will see the Rangers at Citi Field watching the Mets win their own Game 7 this postseason.

Mets Win With Rat, Not Raccoon

For some reason, the New York Mets couldn’t get to Patrick Corbin even though he’s been terrible since the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Fortunately, he could only go five, and that would be the Nationals undoing.

Entering that top of the sixth, the Nationals were up 2-0. Carlos Carrasco was pitching well, but he allowed an RBI double to Maikel Franco (shocking) and a solo homer to Riley Adams.

The Nationals brought in Carl Edwards, Jr., and the Mets went to work. They loaded the bases with one out, and Jeff McNeil did what he does best – he got it in play.

It was hit hard, but it’s a play Josh Bell needs to make. In any event, Bell pulled a Dorn, and McNeil had a game tying two RBI double.

The Mets took the lead on a James McCann sacrifice fly scoring Eduardo Escobar. It was part of a big game for McCann. In addition to going 1-for-3 with the sacrifice fly and his usual terrific work behind the plate, he also threw out Drew Strange-Gordon attempting to steal second.

It was part of a tremendous defensive inning for the Mets. In addition to the caught stealing, Francisco Lindor robbed Franco of a hit.

That helped Drew Smith get through the seventh. He’d need a little help in the eighth.

Smith departed with one on and Juan Soto coming to the plate. Soto is having a down year (for him), and it didn’t get better as he popped out on the first pitch he saw from Joely Rodriguez.

Buck Showalter would have an interesting ninth. After Mark Canha reached on an error, he didn’t pinch run Travis Jankowski even though he’d bring in Jankowski later in the inning to pinch run, and he’d be the defensive replacement for Canha.

Canha wouldn’t score from second on a Lindor single.

He was also intending to bring in Dominic Smith for defense. However, he didn’t use him to pinch hit for J.D. Davis. Davis was overpowered by low 90s fastballs up in the zone by Erasmo Ramirez.

Davis did fly out. Fortunately, with the infield and outfield in, the Mets took advantage of the back pedaling Soto to not only score a run, but also to see all base runners advance.

The lead was 4-2, but it did seem the Mets left a big inning on the table with some of Showalter’s decisions playing a factor there.

Fortunately, two runs were more than enough for Edwin Diaz, who has been phenomenal all season. He slammed the door shut for his seventh save of the season.

While the win was fun in and of itself, there was some levity during that sixth inning rally when a Rat ran onto the field.

While Keith Hernandez was doing his best James Cagney, Mets fans were remembering the Ratcoon controversy. That’s the way it is when things are going well.

What was once controversy is now fun. Right now, everything is fun for a Mets team on pace for 110 wins.

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams On Road

When you have a staff like the New York Mets have, all the offense needs to do is score a couple of runs. When they didn’t for Max Scherzer last night, they needed late inning heroics.

Tonight, the Mets got runs for Chris Bassitt, and it seemed like everything was in cruise control. Again, Bassitt was terrific.

Bassitt did have to navigate through the first inning, but it was relatively smooth sailing from there. He was working well up in the zone much to the consternation of the St. Louis Cardinals.

He pitched so well Paul DeJong didn’t even have a hit. When things are going good, they’re going good.

On the other side, the Cardinals started Jordan Hicks getting the start. He was the only Cardinals pitcher to give up runs.

The Mets opened the scoring in the third on back-to-back doubles from Jeff McNeil and James McCann. McCann had a three hit game and is apparently heating up.

After Brandon Nimmo walked, Hicks left the game with an injury. Starling Marte greeted Andre Pallante with an RBI single.

The Mets were up 2-0 with two on and no outs, and they appeared poised to blow it open. After Francisco Lindor grounded into a double play, that was it for the scoring in the inning.

One thing that was noticeable was how the ball wasn’t carrying. It was a cool night in St. Louis, but this has been a much talked about issue in baseball this season. That said, this was seemingly the first time it was truly noticeable in a Mets game.

While there wasn’t much in terms of threats after that third inning, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t drama. In the eighth, Cardinals reliever Kodi Whitley hit Pete Alonso in the helmet.

Alonso and the Mets were furious, and the benches cleared. Intentional or not, Alonso was hit in the head for the second time this season.

The Mets wouldn’t make the Cardinals pay in the eighth, but they would in the ninth.

Mark Canha hit a one out single, and Travis Jankowski pinch ran for him. Jankowski went first to third on a McNeil single.

After McCann struck out, Nimmo had a typical tough at-bat where he drew a walk. That brought up Marte who was hit by a pitch forcing home a run.

Marte wasn’t happy, but a run scored showing it was unintentional.

An interesting aside here is after Alonso was hit by the pitch, warnings were issued. Despite that Adam Ottavino plunked Tommy Edman in the eighth. Marte was plunked by Aaron Brooks in the ninth.

With no intention adjudged, neither Ottavino nor Brooks were ejected.

Drew Smith had pitched a scoreless seventh in front of Ottavino’s scoreless eighth. Even with Seth Lugo also warming, Buck Showalter went with Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Traditionally, Diaz isn’t good on a second straight day. After a leadoff walk, it seemed like he was in for trouble again. However, he’d settle down and record the save.

With that, the Mets secured their fourth shutout of the season. It’s also the first time in franchise history they won the first six series to open the season.

Game Notes: Mets batters have been hit 18 times which is the most in the majors. Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were unavailable leading to Todd Zeile to join Gary Cohen.

Mariners Still Resoundingly Won Trade Even With Jarred Kelenic’s Struggles

Honestly, everyone thought Jarred Kelenic was a no-doubt future star. At a minimum, his floor was solid regular. So far, it just hasn’t happened. In fact, Kelenic looks like one of the worst players in baseball.

Through 97 career games, he has a -1.8 WAR. He has a 70 wRC+ and -2 OAA. The future five tool center fielder is a poor hitter not playing all that great defense in left field. Breaking it down, it is hard to find something positive with his career up to this point.

Of course, he’s a 22 year old player who is allowed to struggle. There are countless examples in Major League history. If you’ve ever heard a New York Mets broadcast, you’ll hear Keith Hernandez talk about struggling when he was first called up and getting sent back down was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Keep in mind, Hernandez won an MVP, was part of two World Series champions, is in the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, will have his number retired by the Mets, and he will one day be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Case-in-point, early career struggles from a player in his early 20s is far from dispositive on how his entire career pans out.

For some reason, people seem to want to take Kelenic’s struggles and want to play revisionist history on the Robinson Cano trade. That’s just ridiculous.

As noted, Kelenic’s career is far from over and treating it so it plain dumb. More than that, Kelenic’s value at the time was through the roof. The Mets literally could’ve gotten anyone they wanted had it been known he was available in trades. Because Cano was his former client, Brodie Van Wagenen opted to pursue him.

Keep in mind, the Mets return on this trade has been pretty lousy.

With respect to Cano, he has a had a 1.7 WAR< 107 wRC+, 3 OAA, and a season long PED suspension. More to the point, Cano was supposed to be a key piece of a win now Mets team in 2019. Instead, he had by far the worst season of his career. When you break it all down, he has done NOTHING to help this Mets team be a contender.

It’s worse than that. Cano displaced Jeff McNeil from his natural position. Now, he has a manager in Buck Showalter who is giving Cano playing time over players like Luis Guillorme and Dominic Smith. It’s ridiculous, but it is what happens when you are paying a player $20.25 million through his age 40 season.

With respect to Edwin Diaz, he was one of the bigger reasons the Mets missed that 2019 postseason. Like Cano, he had by far the worst year of his career with a 74 ERA+ and a 4.51 FIP. In that season, he blew seven saves and took the loss in seven games. The Mets missed the Wild Card by three games. Diaz has been good since then even if he’s had the propensity for blown saves.

Really, that 2019 team probably makes the postseason if that trade was never made. The Mets as a franchise would’ve been far better off because they wouldn’t have Cano eating up a roster spot and a significant chunk of payroll. Really, when you break it down, it is complete and utter tomfoolery to suggest the trade doesn’t look as bad because a 22 year old outfielder needs more time.

Overall, this trade was a disaster for the Mets and will continue being one. If you don’t believe that, you’re lying to yourself.

Finally An Apple Mets Fans Don’t Want To See

Ever since the 1980 season, New York Mets fans have loved the Home Run Apple. That Apple has become synonymous with the monster homers from Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza. For one evening, it actually rose for a single, well, it was Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single.

It should come as no surprise the Wilpons didn’t understand how much Mets fans loved that Home Run Apple. In fact, it left them scrambling before the opening of Citi Field to install a new one in center field. After not knowing where to put the old one, they finally found a fitting spot outside the main entrance leading into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Mets fans absolutely can not get enough of the Apple. Sure enough, Rob Manfred found a way to get Mets fans to no longer want it.

We discovered Apple TV purchased the rights to a Friday Night Game of the Week which will be streamed exclusively on their network. That means when Max Scherzer makes his Mets debut against his former Washington Nationals team, we will not get to hear GKR on the call.

As an aside, this must also be terrible for Nationals fans. As soon as he retires, Scherzer will likely have his number retired. More than that, he will one day become the first Nationals player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead of a hometown crew for the call, they get the national broadcasters.

In some ways, this is a good thing for Major League Baseball. We are seeing more and more people move to streaming services, and this is a way to reach a more national audience. Also, if you are doing this you are going to want to showcase things like Scherzer returning to Washington because it is a major story line.

That said, this isn’t great for fans. We all have our plans to watch the Mets whether that is an SNY or MLB TV subscription. Games over the first 12 weeks will be free. That means Friday’s game as well as the Mets June 10 game at the Los Angeles Angles will be free. However, this is a seven year deal. Eventually, if you are a fan who wants to watch 162 games, you need to eventually pay for Apple TV, which is right now $5/month with fees likely to rise in the future.

To make matters worse, there is also a Peacock TV deal. They are getting an exclusive Sunday morning game. Right now, the Mets will be featured in their June 26 game against the Miami Marlins. Peacock TV is an additional $5/month. Combined with Apple TV, that’s $10 per month or $120 per year. Of course, that is in addition to what you already pay to watch the Mets.

This is one of those things were it is good business for MLB, but it is bad business for fans. They’re removing games from local markets and charging the fans more. They’re gambling you’ll pay more or won’t care. In the end, this is the type of deal which may backfire in terms of generating fan interest, but in the end, MLB will have the revenue they want, so they won’t care.