Luis Castillo

Mets Fan Ideal 2019 World Series Winners

First and foremost, we all know the ideal 2019 World Series would involve the Mets beating whichever American League team won the pennant. As it stands, the 2019 World Series winner is not going to be an ideal situation for Mets fans. To that end, here’s a ranking on what Mets fans would probably like to see happen.

Houston Astros

The Mets and Astros broke into the Majors together in 1962. Through that time, the only time these two franchises ever really clashed was the 1986 NLCS. In the NLCS, there were (proven) allegations Mike Scott was scuffing the ball. Fortunately, thanks to a miracle rally in Game 6 and Keith Hernandez threatening Jesse Orosco if he threw another fastball, the Mets prevailed in that series.

Really, if you want to be sour grapes about the Astros, you could pinpoint how an Astros World Series would cement their status as a better expansion franchise than the Mets. Still, when you see the other options, that is the least of Mets fans concerns.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals franchise began in 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos. Before the time the Expos moved to Washington, the only real issue you’d have is the Expos taking out the Mets in 1998 ending their Wild Card dreams. Of course, with the Expos sending the Mets Gary Carter in 1985, you could overlook it.

Really, if you look deeper, there isn’t much to the Mets/Nationals rivalry. The two teams have only been good together in three seasons. In 2015, the Mets embarrassed a Nationals team who choked figuratively, and thanks to Jonathon Papelbon attacking Bryce Harper, they literally choked too.

In 2016, Daniel Murphy tipped the power balance between the two teams, but that still didn’t keep the Mets out of the postseason. After that season, the Nationals would remain a competitive team while the Mets fell by the wayside.

This year, the two teams were good again with some memorable games. The August 10th game was a real highlight for the Mets with Luis Guillorme‘s pinch hit homer followed by J.D. Davis‘ sacrifice fly to give the Mets an exciting victory. Of course, the less said the better about Paul Sewald, Luis Avilan, Edwin Diaz, Ryan Zimmerman, and Kurt Suzuki, the better.

New York Yankees

Putting aside Yankee fans crowing about all the rings won back in the days of the reserve clause and the game being integrated, there is enough history between these teams to despite the Yankees. There’s Derek Jeter being named the MVP of the 2000 World Series. As bad as the blown game against the Nationals was, Luis Castillo dropping Alex Rodriguez leading to Mark Teixeira scoring the winning run arguably felt all the worse.

Since Interleague Play started, this has been an intense rivalry with the Mets having a number of low moments. Aside from these, there was Mariano Rivera being walked to force in a run, Johan Santana having a career worst start, and everything Roger Clemens. Really, Clemens throwing a ball and bat at Mike Piazza with the Yankees who once accused Clemens of head hunting rushing to his defense is sufficient enough to hate them.

Of course, we then have Joe Torre, who has been the one who not only delivers the message but also defends Major League Baseball not allowing the Mets to wear the First Responders’ caps on 9/11.

St. Louis Cardinals

The so-called “Best Fans in Baseball” called the New York Mets teams of the 1980s pond scum. That’s how intense this rivalry was, and really, continues to be.

Going back to the 1980s, this was as intense a rivalry as there was in baseball. You can pinpoint to any number of plays and player like Terry Pendleton, John Tudor, and so much more. Even with realignment, this rivalry never truly subdued. The Mets got the better of the Cardinals with Timo Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, and NLCS MVP Mike Hampton running roughshod over the Cardinals.

In 2006, Adam Wainwright freezing Carlos Beltran is forever crystalized into everyone’s minds. Beyond that was Scott Spiezio‘s game tying RBI triple off Guillermo Mota (why did he shake off Paul Lo Duca) and So Taguchi‘s homer off Billy Wagner. There was much more including Albert Pujols trash talking Tom Glavine (back when that was a bad thing).

Overall, the absolute worst case scenario is a Cardinals-Yankees World Series. Really, Yankees against anyone is the worst case scenario. Of course, that is the worst case for this World Series. The real worst case is seeing what Brodie Van Wagenen has in store as he tries to top trading away Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to get Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

Luis Guillorme Showing Why He’s A Valuable Bench Piece

Last night, Luis Guillorme came up as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning of the game between the Mets and Indians with the score tied 1-1. On a 1-2 pitch, he would hit an Adam Plutko fastball for a go-ahead RBI double. While impressive, it was not his biggest pinch hit of his career.

That came in the August 10 game against the Washington Nationals. In that game, Guillorme came up as a pinch hitter leading off the eighth inning with the Mets trailing 3-2. Against Fernando Rodney, Guillorme would hit his first career homer tying the game at 3-3 sending Citi Field into an absolute frenzy.

These are just two snippets from Guillorme’s brief career, and they are certainly highlights. When you dig deeper into Guillorme as a player, you see why he was able to deliver in both spots. Moreoever, you can see why he has been such a good pinch hitter in his brief career.

While you may be inclined to focus on Guillorme’s career .209/.269/.273 batting line, you should dig a little deeper on what remains a brief sample size with him having just 119 career plate appearances. Taking an even smaller sample size, Guillorme has hit .296/.387/.481 with two doubles, a homer, four RBI, and four walks in 31 pinch hitting appearances.

There’s no doubt in his limited pinch hitting appearances Guillorme has produced. Certainly, you can argue those numbers are high for him. After all, it’s much higher than the numbers he has overall as a Major Leaguer. However, it is slightly closer to the .305/.396/.434 batting line he has had across two seasons in Triple-A. No, we should not expect those numbers in the Majors, but rather, we should look at what he does well to help fuel those numbers.

When Guillorme was ranked as the Mets 13th best prospect heading into the 2018 season, Baseball America noted he was a contact oriented spray hitter with a patient approach at the plate. John Sickels when he was with Minor League Ball classified Guillorme as someone who “makes contact, controls the zone.”

The numbers have bore out those scouting reports.

In his career, Guillorme has numbers you’d expect from a contact oriented hitter walking 7.6 percent of the time and striking out 11.8 percent of the time. He has used the whole field pulling the ball 28.1 percent of the time, going up the middle 30.2 percent of the time, and going the other way 40.2 percent of the time.

Ultimately, Guillorme is a guy who is coming up to the plate looking to make contact, and he is looking for a place to put the ball. When you consider how he’s a good bunter, he is somewhat reminiscent of what Luis Castillo would do at the plate with the key difference between the two being Castillo being much faster.

Ultimately, with Guillorme’s approach at the plate and with his tenacity, he is going to give you a good at-bat every time he steps to the plate. In the late innings, he is someone you can trust to put the ball into play. That’s a much bigger deal than many my realize with many teams putting a premium on high velocity and high strikeout rate players in the bullpen.

In addition to his adeptness at making contact and giving a good at-bat late in games, he is also a very good defender up the middle. He has sure hands, and he is quick on the pivot when turning a double play. While not a fast runner, he is a smart base runner. Like with him in the field, you trust him on the base paths.

Overall, Guillorme is a player who is going to give you a good at-bat late in games, which is part of the reason why he has been a successful pinch hitter so far in his career. He is a very good defender up the middle who you want on the field. He is a good base runner who is not going to have a TOOBLAN out there. Ultimately, he is exactly the player you want on the bench when you are building a team.

For seemingly the first time in his career, he is getting a real opportunity to be that bench player, and he is succeeding. Considering his skill set, we should anticipate his continuing to succeed in this role.

Mets Should Never Hold Onto Prospects, Make Trades, Or Sign Free Agents

Looking at this past offseason, the Mets have traded away much of their future to improve the 2019 team. Top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn were part of a package for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Ross Adolph, Scott Manea, and Luis Santana were traded for J.D. Davis. Finally, Adam Hill, Felix Valerio, and Bobby Wahl were traded for Keon Broxton.

There has been some debate on each of these moves. Whereas many saw the Mets undervaluing assets, there have been a contingent who have justified the deal under the auspices of how not all prospects work out.

To a certain extent, there is validity to the prospects not panning out. With respect to Generation K, only Jason Isringhausen had a successful career, and that was as a reliever not the front line starter we expected him to be. Outfielders Fernando Martinez, Lastings Milledge, and Alex Ochoa weren’t even so much as a part-time player. Relievers like Eddie Kunz did nothing. The list goes on and on . . . .

Of course, this overlooks the prospects which have had successful careers. Tom Seaver was a Hall of Famer. David Wright, Jose Reyes, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Edgardo Alfonzo were all-time Mets greats. As we know, that list is much longer than that. It also includes Nolan Ryan, which was a trade which lives on in Mets infamy.

That was a trade of a young player who hasn’t figured it out for a past All-Star Jim Fregosi. While prevailing wisdom is that trade was a Mets disaster, the school of thought were you trade young players for proven Major League talent would be fully onboard with that deal. That does beg the question why people are against keeping prospects and are not against the Mets making trades.

Looking over Mets history, this team has made many horrible trades. In addition to the aforementioned Ryan for Fregosi trade, we have also seen several other poor trades in Mets history:

There are several others which have blown up in the Mets faces. In addition to that, there have been trades for players which have greatly under-performed for the Mets. In addition to the aforementioned players, you can include Roberto Alomar, Willie Mays, Joe Torre, and a litany of others did not perform when wearing a Mets uniform.

With the Mets losing valuable young players and with the team getting veterans who have not performed, you have to wonder why the Mets don’t just operate on the free agent market. Of course, the reason there is the extensive failures the Mets have made on that front. The list is well known, and Mets fans can cite them in their sleep – Jason Bay, Bobby Bonilla, Luis Castillo, Vince Coleman, George Foster, Oliver Perez, and many, many others.

Point is, no matter which way you look, you see a history of failures when it comes to the Mets organization. Their prospects always fail. They only trade for veterans in decline. Every free agent signing is a bust.

Of course, that’s not remotely the truth. When looking at each area, the Mets have had plenty of successes and failures. The goal for every General Manager is to have more success than failures and for those failures to not come back and bite you. That’s what defines periods like the 1980s Mets and also the period immediately thereafter.

So in the end, when judging moves, do it on their own merit and not because you believe the Mets prospects fail, trade acquisitions production declines, and every free agent is a bust.

Mets Worst Free Agent Signings

In their history, the Mets have had a number of truly awful free agent signings.  Their foibles on the free agent market have inspired books, and they have led to the Mets having prolonged down periods which have led to the team being under .500 for extended periods and eventually rebuilding.  Their mistakes are not limited to just any position.  Really, they have made mistakes across the diamond:

C Rod Barajas (1 year, $500,000) – In the Mets history, they have had just four free agents catchers as their Opening Day starter with Barajas being one of them.  With respect to Barajas, he was the cheap option in a truly uninspiring free agent group of catcher, and he would not last the season getting released towards the end of August.

1B Eddie Murray (2 years, $7.5 million) – Murray was the first piece the Mets locked down in what was to be known as the Worst Team Money Could Buy.  In his previous stops, he was a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the best switch hitters to ever play the game.  With the Mets, Murray had two disappointing seasons where he hit .274/.330/.446.

2B Luis Castillo (4 years, $25 million) – In 2007, the Mets needed a second baseman, and the team was able to get Castillo for nearly nothing.  While that team collapsed, Castillo was hardly to blame hitting .316/.404/.418 over the final month of the season.  To that end, it made sense to bring him back but not for the extreme overpay which was immediately panned by everyone.  Castillo would disappoint from that point forward, and eh woudl become a symbol of what was wrong with the team with the seminal moment being his dropping Alex Rodriguez‘s pop up leading to the Mets losing a game to the Yankees.

3B Todd Frazier (2 years, $17 million) – After a year in which Frazier had his first ever trips to the deisabled list and he had a careeer worst .390 SLG and .693 OPS, he was an obvious candidate.  Frankly, the choice was much easier when you consider how well Robin Ventura played during his Mets tenure and the Mets predominantly using homegrown players or trades to fill the position.

SS Kazuo Matsui (3 years, $20.1 million) – Despite the presence of Jose Reyes, the Mets opted to sign Matsui to be their shortstop.  It looked like a great move when Matsui homered in his first ever at=bat, but it was all downhill from there as Matsui disappointed at the plate and in the field.  Matsui dealt with injuries, was moved to second base, had a negative WAR in his last two years with the Mets, and he was eventually traded for Eli Marrero, who lasted just two months with the Mets.

LF George Foster (5 years, $10 million) – The Mets first free agent splash was Foster, and in many ways, Foster set the tone for some for the big moves the Mets would make in the future.  Foster would go from being an All Star who hit .295/.373/.519 to someone who hit .252/.307/.422 in a Mets uniform.  Overall, Foster had a rocky tenure with the team, and he would be released in 1986 after making comments to the press.

CF Vince Coleman (4 years, $11.95 million) – It wasn’t enough the Mets let Darryl Strawberry go to the Dodgers they replaced them with Coleman, a player who tortured the Mets.  If Mets fans didn’t despise him enough when he wore a Cardinals uniform, they certainly did during his Mets tenure which featured not just poor play but also throwing firecrackers at a group of fans.

RF Roger Cedeno (4 years, $18 million) Cedeno wasn’t just an important part of the 1999 team, but he would also serve as a key piece of the trade which brought the Mets Mike Hampton.  When he was a free agent, the Mets pounced to bring him back.  Just three years later, he was a shadow of the player he was leading to his being traded to Wilson Delgado.

SP Oliver Perez (3 year $36 million) – After being obtaine by the Padresx, Perez was great in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, won 15 games in 2007, and gave the Mets every chance to win in the final game every played in Shea Stadium.  Despite all of that, there were red flags everywhere, and Perez predictably failed after getting his big free agent deal.  He struggled, and he would refuse a stint in the minors leading to the team freezing him out.  His Mets career would end in infamy as he was brought into the 14th inning of the final game of the season after not having pitched in nearly a month.  He’d be released after the season with a one year and $12 million left on his deal.

 RP Francisco Rodriguez (3 years, $37 million) -Needing a close, the Mets went out and signed the closer who just set the single season saves record to a massive contract.  In his first year in the deal, he had the second most blown saves in the NL and a then career worst ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, HR/9, BB/9, and K/9.  In the second year of his deal, he was placed on the restricted list after being arrested for assaulting his girlfriend’s father in the family room at Citi Field.  The Mets finally traded him in the last year of his deal to accomplish both rebuilding and to prevent an onerous option from being activated.

In Brodie Van Wagenen’s first offseason as Mets manager, it is incumbent upon him to navigate through the minefield of potential free agent busts which are lurking.  The success of the 2019 Mets and his success during his tenure as the Mets General Manager depends on it.

Kevin Plawecki Better Than You Think

For some reasons, Mets fans become fixated on players from other teams, and there is a constant call for the team to acquire those players at all cost. In recent years, one of those players has been Jonathan Lucroy.

Last night, Lucroy made Luis Castillo‘s gaffe not even worth mentioning. In the bottom of the 11th with one out and runners at first and second, Alex Bregman hit a ball right in front of home plate. Lucroy pouned on it, missed the tag, dropped the ball, and then threw it into Bregman’s back. As the ball rolled into right field, Kyle Tucker scored the winning run.

No, it’s not fair to judge Lucroy from one play, but it does merit looking a little deeper into his stats. On the season, Lucroy is hitting .245/.298/.318. Since 2017, he’s hitting .257/.328/.352 with a 79 wRC+.

Simply put, Lucroy isn’t the player Mets fans think he is, not anymore. The same rings true for Kevin Plawecki.

In 2015 and 2016, Plawecki just was not a good baseball player. Rushed to the majors due to Travis d’Arnaud injuries, Plawecki hit .211/.287/.285 in the two year stretch which equated to a 59 wRC+.

If you want to expand it further to the first two months of the 2017 season where he was again thrown into the majors due to a d’Arnaud injury, Plawecki started his career hitting .206/.282/.272 with a 55 wRC+.

At 26 years old, Mets fans had seen more than enough, and they were not only too happy to label him a bust, but they have also been quite upfront about being done with him.

Well, after being sent down in May 2017, Plawecki FINALLY received consistent playing time, and he got to put the work in at Triple-A he needed to do for the past two-and-a-half years. The guy who couldn’t hit was suddenly hitting .338/.386/.529 since his demotion. With Rene Rivera being released, it was as good a time as ever to see if Plawecki was for real.

Well, since August 19, 2017, his first game since being recalled again, Plawecki has been hitting .256/.378/.417. Really, this is much improved from his play to start his career. Digging deeper into the numbers, he’s been much more impressive than you could actually believe.

In this time frame, Plawecki ranks third in wRC+ among catchers. That puts him ahead of catchers like Buster Posey, J.T. Realmuto, and Gary Sanchez.

Now, you may believe each one of the aforementioned catchers are better than Plawecki, and when you assert that belief, there are going to be very few if anyone who dares contradict you. However, making this argument completely misses the point.

The point is Plawecki is continually showing himself to no longer the catcher from 2015 to the first few months of 2017 who had no business being in the Major Leagues. Regardless of where you want to rank him among MLB catchers, one thing is increasingly clear – Plawecki has the bat to play the position.

Also, given his historical pitch framing numbers, he has the ability to be an everyday catcher at the Major League level. Saying differently ignores the progress he has made over the past year and asserts personal biases built up after the terrible start to his career.

 

Cespedes Great, Rest of Team Not So Much In Loss To Braves

With the Braves sending to the mound RHP Mike Soroka for his Major League debut, you knew this was going to be a rough game for the Mets.  The players change.  The managers change.  Even the uniforms have changed.  And yet, somehow, whenever a pitcher makes his Major League debut against the Mets, you know he is going to shut the Mets down.

For a brief second, it seemed like Soroka would be the exception.  The Mets had two on and two out, but Todd Frazier would ground out to end the threat.  From there, it was pretty smooth coasting for Soroka.  Even with he was in trouble, he would be aided by an Adrian Gonzalez double play grounder in the third and a Mets team who was 0-4 with RISP.

Really, the only blip from Soroka on the night was one pitch he threw to Yoenis Cespedes:

Even in this frustrating loss, the good news was Cespedes was still sizzling hot even after his thumb injury which forced him to leave Sunday’s game.  On the night, he was 3-4 with a run, homer, and an RBI.  In the field, he made a couple of nice plays, and he had one of those trademark Cespedes throws:

The problem with the Mets tonight was they needed more than just Cespedes.  Ideally, that would have come in the form of Noah Syndergaard.

It wasn’t to be as the Braves were very aggressive against Syndergaard with many attacking the first pitch.  To start the game, the Braves got consecutive hits from Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Nick MarkakisAfter that Syndergaard settled in a bit, and he gutted through six innings.  That’s what a true ace does.  Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way.

Unfortunately, even with him figuring a way to get a quality start, the Mets just didn’t have it.  After Soroka, Dan Winkler, who was pressed into action after a Shane Carle injury got through the seventhIn the eighth, Michael Conforto, Cespedes, and Jay Bruce failed to plate Asdrubal Cabrera, who had led off the inning with a single off A.J. Minter.

In the ninth, the Braves turned to Arodys Vizcaino for the save, and Frazier got it all started with a single that bounced just in front of the diving Markakis.  Then, the Braves did their best Luis Castillo impersonation with seemingly their entire 25 man roster incapable of fielding a pop up to right before second base.

Amed Rosario twice tried to butcher boy it, and he swung and missed both times.  He then just fanned on the third pitch of the at-bat.  Still, the runners would advance on a Vizcaino wild pitch thereby allowing Frazier to score on a Wilmer Flores RBI groundout.  With the Mets down 3-2, the game was then in Jose Reyeshands.

In a surprise to no one, Reyes failed to deliver.

Game Notes: The Mets are now 7-9 since Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down.  Fortunately, Plawecki is a few weeks away.

Guillorme, Not Reyes Should Play SS If Rosario Isn’t Ready for Opening Day

On March 4th, Amed Rosario was hit on the kneecap with a pitch. He’s undergone an MRI, and it came back negative. While that is great news, it is important to note Rosario has not played since that March 4th game. More to the point, he is no longer being listed on the group of players available to participate in Spring Training games. When he will be able to return to the Mets is anyone’s guess right now.

The Mets are easing Rosario back, but given how this is the Mets, Rosario’s status for Opening Day is still in doubt. As such, it is time the Mets begin looking at alternative options.

To some, the answer should obviously be Jose Reyes. Reyes was signed to be the team’s top utility player, and as an extension of those duties, Reyes is the most obvious candidate to step-in and play any infield position for long stretches of time should any of the regulars get injured.

While the obvious choice, Reyes may not necessarily be the correct choice.

Defensively, Reyes’ -27 DRS made him the worst infielder in Major League Baseball last year. At his natural position of shortstop, Reyes had a -15 DRS in 630.1 innings played there last season. Believe it or not, the last time Reyes had a positive DRS season at shortstop was in 2007.

Given his experience at the position, the Mets would be more than jusified putting Reyes at shortstop for the occasional game. However, asking him to play there for extended periods of time would be to significantly compromise the Mets defense. Worse yet, you are doing that at the most important defensive position.

With the Mets signing Todd Frazier to play third, the left side of the infield defense has become one of the strengths for this Mets team. It would certainly behoove the team to keep it that way even in Rosario’s absence. That is why the Mets should really consider Luis Guillorme to take over for Rosario should he not be able to play on Opening Day.

In the absence of Rosario, Guillorme is the best defensive shortstop in the Mets organization. In fact, there are some who would argue Guillorme is the better of the two. Playing Guillorme at short in Rosario’s absence would maintain a great left side of the infield defense.

The obvious caveat here is Guillorme’s bat. He’s never hit for power, and there are many who question if it will ever play at the Major League level. Truth be told, the Mets are going to have to find that out sooner or later, so why not now?

Looking at his minor league numbers, this is a player who has shown an ability to get on base, which could give the Mets some hope he could profile as Luis Castillo – the Marlins version, not the Mets version. With Guillorme working on driving the ball, and showing some positive results for those efforts this Spring, his ability to stick in the lineup becomes less of a doubt.

And if we are being honest, his bat should not be a deterrent; at least not now. Since 2015, Reyes has been a 91 OPS+ hitter, and in each of those seasons Reyes has gotten off to some dreadful starts. Since 2015, Reyes has hit .205/.263/.301 in the Month of April.

With that being the baseline April production, the Mets should really consider starting Guillorme on Opening Day should Rosario not be available. The offensive floor is low, and his defense right now has no ceiling.

New York Daily News Owes Shohei Ohtani An Apology

Unless you walked by a newstand on your way to work or you saw their Tweet, chances are you missed the front page of the New York Daily News:

Judging from their steep decline in circulation, you probably did.

Make no mistake about it, the front page was an unnecessary shot at Shohei Ohtanti, and it was for the “crime” of spurning the Yankees.

As is typical with the New York Daily News, facts have not relevance here.  The front page claims he “fears big city,” which is completely absurd when you consider his final list includes Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Arlington, with is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.   But sure, he’s really afraid of the big city or big market teams.

Speaking of fear, are we really sure a 23 year who is eschewing tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars just to compete at the highest level is afraid?  Do we really want to say someone who wants to do the unprecedented in both pitching and being a position player is scared of anything?  Seems like Ohtani loves a challenge.

That’s actually backed up by the seven contenders he has selected.  In a few of these locations, he’s going to have the follow in the footsteps of some terrific Japanese players:

As we have seen with the Mariners and the Dodgers, the list goes well beyond those two legends.  Throw in the Giants, who had Masanori Murakami (first ever Japanese MLB player) and Tsuyoshi Shinjo (first Japanese player to play in a World Series), and you have someone who is not intimidated by anything.

Still, none of these facts prevented the New York Daily News from publishing something just plain wrong.

Really, it should come as no surprise.  The New York Daily News has been known by push beyond the lines of common decency for its front pages, including but not limited to, showing a blow-by-blow of how a woman was murdered.

It’s also a newspaper that once had the gall to publish an Andy Martino gem saying one of the reasons Mets fans hated Luis Castillo was because he was Hispanic.  Put another way, he was calling Mets fans racist for not liking a player who turned in this gem:

Overall, the New York Daily News published yet something salacious, incendiary, and just plain wrong for reasons they only know.  Only this time, they did it because someone had the temerity to select the baseball destination that was best for him.  If we followed their standards, we could go as far to call them racist.

However, I won’t.  I have actually standards.

Mets All Eclipse Team

With the solar eclipse happening, now is as good as any to create a Mets All-Time Solar Eclipse Team.  These are players who are included due to their names and not because of their exploits.  For example, the will be no Mike Piazza for his moon shots, or Luis Castillo for his losing a ball in the moon.

SP – Tim Redding

He is the great nephew of Joyce Randoph of Honeymooners fame where Ralph threatened to send Alice right to the moon,.

C – Chris Cannizzaro 

Cannizzaro is the name of a lunar crater

1B – Lucas Duda

Lucas means light giving

2B –Neil Walker

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon

3B – Ray Knight

Pretty self explanatory, first sun rays, and then night.

SS – Asdrubal Cabrera

Asdrubal means helped by Baal.  Baal is a moon god

OF – Kevin Mitchell

Mitchell was one of the 12 men to walk on the moon

OF – Don Hahn

Hahn means rooster, which is an animal that crows at sunrise.

OF – Victor Diaz

His first and last name combined translate to day conqueror, which is effectively what the eclipse does.

Mets Were Right To Move Cabrera to Second Base

For starters, lets concede that Jose Reyes has been playing so poorly he should unseat no one for a starting position unless he was going to play for the Long Island Ducks.  In turn, it also needs to be conceded Asdrubal Cabrera is no longer a major league caliber shortstop.  In his interview on the topic, Cabrera admitted as much saying, “I think next year, I have to go – I have to move to another position . . . I’m fine with that.”

Cabrera needs to be fine with that as he’s not a shortstop now.  His -10 DRS is the worst among shortstops with at least 100 innings played at the position.  His -5.5 UZR is the second worst in the majors among players with 100 innings played at short.  But it’s more than the advanced metrics.  Visually, you can see he no longer has the range.  His sure hands aren’t so sure anymore.  His 11 errors are the third most in the majors and are four more than he had all of last year.  The final indignity for him came when he had his Luis Castillo impersonation.

It was time to move Cabrera to second base.  With the team having an eye towards the 2018 season, it was time to see if the team should pick up his 2018 option in the offseason to play him alongside Amed Rosario.  With the team looking to sell, it was also a chance to improve his trade value.

Now, this isn’t the first time the Mets have asked Cabrera to change positions.  Earlier in the year, they asked him to move to third base.  He wasn’t amendable going so far as to demand the team pick up his 2018 option if they planned such a move.  Rather than promote discord throughout the clubhouse, Terry Collins dropped it.  The team had to know moving him to second base was going to create issues.

And it did.  Cabrera demanded a trade from the team.  Sure, part of it could be the Mets didn’t give him the courtesy of speaking with him first, or the team not giving him the opportunity to play some games at second base during his rehab stint in the minor leagues.  Still, even with the Mets mishandling the situation, given how Cabrera responded to moving to third base, this incident was going to happen anyway.

It is better for that incident to have occurred with Reyes supplanting him than Rosario.  It is hard enough for a rookie to get acclimated to playing in the major leagues.  It is even more difficult with a disenchanted veteran angry you took his job.  This is the same veteran you would want to mentor a young Rosario to help ease his transition.  Seeing Cabrera’s actions, this was not going to happen if Rosario was the one who replaced him.

That is why having Reyes take over at shortstop made sense.  Reyes is a veteran better capable of handling the situation, especially when he previously faced the same situation when the Mets signed Kaz MatsuiLet Reyes deal with the fallout now so all issues are resolved by the time Rosario is called up to the majors.

Overall, while we can quibble with how the Mets handled moving Cabrera to second base, we can all agree they made the right decision.  They got to find out more about Cabrera both in terms of his ability as a second baseman and how he handles a change in his roles.  More importantly, they made Rosario’s transition to the major leagues that much easier.