The minute Jacob deGrom exercised his opt out was the exact minute anything could happen. At some point, a team could unexpectedly swoop in and offer him a deal to steal him right out from under the New York Mets.
Case-in-point: no one expected the Los Angeles Angels to sign Noah Syndergaard after the Mets offered him a qualifying offer. However, it happened, and Syndergaard is gone. There are some who expect the same will happen with deGrom.
From Jon Heyman, "Folks who have spoken to the Mets lately opine that they believe deGrom seems pretty likely to leave."
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) November 8, 2022
There are some who expect him to go to the Texas Rangers. There are some believing the San Diego Padres may be suitors. You can never count out the Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. There are reports the Atlanta Braves want to make a run (this doesn’t pass the smell test after they let Freddie Freeman go for less than deGrom will cost).
When you look around, there aren’t many people who expect deGrom to return to the Mets. Well, that is except for the people who know deGrom best. We have heard Chris Bassitt, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler say they expect deGrom to say. They say he’s happy with the Mets and only wants a fair market deal.
When deGrom signed his initial extension, he spoke about how he wanted to be a Met for life like his friend David Wright. We have heard exactly nothing that would have us believe deGrom has changed his mind on that. Really, all we have is conjecture from people that they believe deGrom might go.
If it comes down to money, well, the Mets have Steve Cohen.
Cohen was the same man who gave Francisco Lindor $1 million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. to get him to sign a contract extension. He have Edwin Diaz the largest ever deal for a reliever to get him to stay. He handed out the largest average annual value to Max Scherzer to get him to come to the Mets. Now, all of a sudden, he’s going to let deGrom walk over money?
If Cohen has shown us anything, he’s not going to necessarily let money stand in the way. He knows great players need to get paid, and that great players deserve more than their “value.” Mostly, Cohen understands deGrom is Mets royalty, and Cohen respects Mets history.
Cohen brought back Old Timers’ Day. Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays had their numbers retired. Former players like Ray Knight talk about how they loved the Mets, hated, the Wilpons, and now, feel more welcomed to return to the ballpark.
Cohen was also a Mets fan when Tom Seaver was traded. While not on the same level, deGrom is this generation’s Seaver. Arguably, deGrom is the second greatest Met of all-time. He could be their next Hall of Famer (depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran), and he could have his number retired by the Mets one day.
Does Cohen want to be the owner who let deGrom leave over money? Does he want to see deGrom leave on his watch? The answers should likely be no.
Another thing here is Cohen has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers as the model he wants to follow. Well, time and again, even with the injuries, the Dodgers have found a way to keep Clayton Kershaw, even with all of his injuries.
The Dodgers have understood for true franchise greats and Hall of Famers the typical rules don’t apply. You take care of those players because they’re a part of the fabric of your organization. Another important factor is when the Dodgers deal with Kershaw the entire baseball world is watching.
It’s the same with the Mets. Everyone wants to see how the Mets handle their first homegrown future Hall of Famer to hit free agency.
How he’s treated impacts whether other players want to play for the Mets or stay with the team. It’ll impact agents handling extensions. Again, there is a real impact.
Through all of it, we’re left with the simple fact Jacob deGrom wants to be a Met for life, and Steve Cohen has the ability to make it happen. If this is all truly the case, there are no excuses for not getting a deal done.
Billy Eppler joined Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman on a New York Post podcast to discuss the New York Mets offseason plans. In reviewing the podcast, Eppler didn’t say anything really all the surprising, which we should expect from a seasoned front office executive.
The Mets want Edwin Diaz to return. They also want Brandon Nimmo, but if they can’t keep him they will consider Starling Marte in center. They want and can keep Jacob deGrom. Basically, everything you expect is in there inclusive of Eppler saying he is in charge of the baseball operations.
That’s where things get a little dicey based on past performance.
In 2014, Jerry Dipoto built a Los Angeles Angels team which finished atop the American League West division before they were swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals. Unfortunately for him, he clashed with Mike Scioscia, and he lost leading to him resigning the following season. That led to Billy Eppler’s hiring.
When Eppler took over, he had Mike Trout, but he already had that albatross Albert Pujols contract. It was a roster that was somewhat flawed, but it had a good, young, and emerging starting staff with Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, and Andrew Heaney. They also had a very good bullpen with Huston Street, Joe Smith, and Fernando Salas.
In many ways, this was a great job to have. There were pieces in place to make the Angels a winner and a deep pocketed owner. There is the caveat the farm system was not great, but overall, this was a good job to have. Well, while it looked like it was a good job to have, things would completely unravel.
The Andrelton Simmons trade did not pan out as he had hoped. That would become a habit for him with the same happening in future years with Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Kinsler. His signings never really panned out with Justin Upton never working out for the team. He began dabbling on the fringes of the pitching markets getting players like Matt Harvey for far too much while eschewing the higher priced and more established starters.
Making matters worse was the Angels farm system never really improved under Eppler. They were bad when he took over, and when he left, they were still bad. During his tenure, he never really had a player he drafted come up to the majors and be an impact player for him.
All told, Eppler only had three real accomplishments. First, he signed Trout to an extension. Second, he landed Shohei Ohtani. Finally, he did what Dipoto wasn’t able to do by outlasting Scioscia. Despite all that, his tenure was largely a disappointment and failure.
With the Mets, the good news is he built a very strong roster in his first season. He added Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Max Scherzer. His peripheral moves to address the bullpen like Adam Ottavino worked. All told, it was a 101 win team that tied atop the NL East (still losing the division due to Rob Manfred’s gimmick rules and postseason).
In year one, we saw Eppler have a stronger offseason than he ever had in any year with the Angels. Part of that was Cohen having the checkbook to add players like Marte and Scherzer. With Joely Rodriguez, Tyler Naquin, and Darin Ruf, you saw he still has a lot of work left to do in terms of trades, we should give him a lot of credit for Bassitt.
Overall, it is still difficult to ascertain if Eppler has learned from his previous mistakes and errors as the Angels GM. What we do know is Cohen is a better owner with more money than Arte Moreno. We also know the Mets have a far better farm system with Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos nearly ready to be Major League contributors.
Put another way, we are going to learn a lot about Eppler this offseason. We will see how he handles players like deGrom, Diaz, and Nimmo. We will see how he address the Mets need for power while having contracts like Canha and Daniel Vogelbach seemingly standing in the way of doing that.
This is a critical offseason for the Mets and Eppler. This offseason will go a long way to determining if the Mets can contend in 2023 and beyond until the farm is fully up to speed to provide depth to the Major League roster. It will also go a long way in determining just how good of a GM Eppler truly can be.
The popular sentiments is for the New York Mets to part ways with James McCann. Seeing the way he has completely underperformed his contract, you can certainly understand the sentiments. However, looking solely at the contract is misguided.
When looking at McCann, the discussion should be over what exactly he can provide to this franchise. Moreover, this should be an analysis over what exactly is out there as a replacement. On that point, lets look at what McCann is at the moment.
In 2022, McCann was limited to 61 games partially because of injury and partially because he was surpassed by Tomas Nido as the Mets primary catcher. While one of the reasons the Mets obtained him was the bat, he had a career worst 59 wRC+. For a second straight season, his hard hit rate was too low to provide any sort of power.
Realistically speaking, McCann is just not going to hit. He is a ninth place hitter. He is not providing anything with the bat. However, he is going to provide something behind the plate.
While not as good as Nido, he was top 20 in the majors in pitch framing. We saw during the season, he was able to get on the same page as his pitchers. That was especially true with Chris Bassitt who struggled at first when McCann went down. In fact, looking at the starting staff Max Scherzer was the only pitcher who pitched better with Nido.
In fact, looking at pitchers for next season, Tylor Megill and David Peterson were considerably better with McCann. Aside from Scherzer, those are probably the one two pitchers as close to guaranteed to be returning to the Mets next season.
The major caveat here is we are dealing with small sample sizes. However, behind that small sample size is something worth analyzing. Looking at Bassitt in particular, McCann seemed better than Nido when it came to getting on the same page as his pitching staff and calling games. This is an intangible skill for a catcher which should not be overlooked.
Of course, the big elephant in the room is Francisco Álvarez. He was called up at the end of last season, and it would seem to everyone he should be the Mets starting catcher in 2023. However, that could be more fan than organizational reaction.
At the moment, we really do not know what the Mets plans are for Álvarez next season. Perhaps, he will be the starting catcher. Maybe, they wanted his bat in September but still think he needs more time to work on his defense. The Mets may even want to try to manipulate his service time for a bit. At this moment, it is still a bit of a mystery.
What we do know is by its nature the catching position is one with a number of injuries. We saw the Mets have to make an emergency trade for Michael Perez and play him last season. Much like with starting pitching, the name of the game is depth. You really cannot have enough Major League caliber catchers.
Like it or not, that is McCann. You can argue it would behoove the Mets to carry both McCann and Nido and wait for one of them to get injured before calling up Álvarez. At that point, if Álvarez claims the job outright, you can look to trade one of McCann or Nido or just outright designate them for assignment.
The Mets could also have all three catchers on the roster. With Daniel Vogelbach, Álvarez could be the answer for the right-handed platoon option. We can see McCann and Nido link up with starters to become their personal catchers. The Mets could rotate them as needed to ensure all of them are fresh throughout the season. That goes double for Álvarez who has never caught 80 games in a season.
Another benefit of the three catchers is permitting McCann to mentor Álvarez. He can help him work on game plans and building a rapport with pitchers. McCann could be that veteran leader to help Álvarez. Certainly, seeing Álvarez’s future and McCann’s contract at its inception, you had to imagine on some level that would be the Mets plan.
Whatever the case, it would seem McCann serves some purpose to the Mets in 2023. He works well with the pitching staff. He frames very well. He provides depth at a position where teams need it. He can serve as a mentor for Álvarez. Overall, it would seem McCann has value to the Mets next season, and unless the right move is there, they should strongly consider bringing him back for at least one more season.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to listen to Boomer and Gio. During that time, the subject of Max Scherzer arose, and well, there’s a reason I no longer listen to WFAN (nor should any respectable sports fan).
Per Gio, Scherzer was terrible, and he should only be known for three things:
- Failing against the Braves and Padres
- His oblique
- Making $43 million
Somehow, some way, Gio was able to reduce Scherzer’s year to two starts. Nothing else matters but those two starts.
Of course, those starts were massively disappointing. It was shocking. It was reminiscent of Tom Glavine. Just another future Hall of Famer from a division rival who failed the Mets in a big spot.
However, much like Glavine, Scherzer was much more than that one start.
Scherzer coming to the Mets was an immediate culture change. Not only did Scherzer add an ace, but he was a known fierce competitor. Mostly, the Mets were adding a Hall of Famer pitching near the top of his game.
In some ways, this was adding Pedro Martinez in 2005. With him came instant credibility for the franchise. It changed the narrative for the Mets. They were now a destination. They now meant business.
Much like Martinez, Scherzer backed it up. On the season, he was 11-5 with a 2.29 ERA, 0.908 WHIP, 1.5 BB/9, and a 10.7 K/9. He had a 5.3 WAR, 169 ERA+, and a 2.62 FIP.
Even with the oblique injuries, he was 12th in the majors in innings pitched. He still averaged 6.1 innings per start.
His FIP ranked third in the National League. His WAR was sixth. His K% was third. His K-BB% was second best in the majors.
In every sense of the word, Scherzer was an ace. That was of increased importance for the Mets with Jacob deGrom out until August.
This Mets team won 101 games, the second most in team history. Scherzer was a huge reason why the team was in that position. In fact, he ranked third on the team in WAR.
The end of the Mets season and Scherzer’s was disappointing. Both were in part due to Scherzer pitching through an oblique injury. That said, despite the oblique he battled most of the season, Scherzer was great.
Ultimately, the oblique might’ve robbed Scherzer and the Mets a World Series. This is not too dissimilar from how Martinez’s toe and shoulder helped rob the 2006 Mets of a World Series.
However, that doesn’t change how great Scherzer was in 2022. He was as advertised. He helped make the Mets a great team and pushed this franchise closer to a World Series.
If and when the Mets win next season, Scherzer will be a big part of that. The oblique will heal, but the guy who was an ace in 2022 remains. And yes, he was an ace. Look at the numbers and his impact on the Mets instead of people trying to lie to you because they had sour grapes about the end of the season.
Scherzer was great and will be great again next year.
When Steve Cohen purchased the New York Mets, there was a ton of excitement from the fanbase. We were finally getting an owner who knew what it was like to be a Mets fan. We were getting an owner with the resources to do what was needed to win.
Well, the first year did not go nearly as planned. We saw the type of influence Cohen could have dining with Francisco Lindor and then giving him the largest contract in team history. In a bit of panache, he gave him one million more than the San Diego Padres had given Fernando Tatis Jr.
Still, much of 2021 was “same old Mets.” Jared Porter was fired for harassment. A Cohen directed investigation uncovered more leading to more firings. The replacement GM, Zack Scott was fired after being arrested for a DUI. They would trade a top prospect for Javier Báez. With apologies to Trevor Williams, the trade was a disaster.
This was a Mets team who set the record for most days in first place only to finish the season with an under .500 record. The hated Atlanta Braves overtook them en route to winning the World Series. The Mets players were booing fans from the field. This was all reminiscent of the Wilpon Era.
In the offseason, the Mets once again struck out in their president of baseball operations search leading them to settle on Billy Eppler as the GM. The collective bargaining agreement would actually implement a Cohen Tax designed to stop him from flexing his financial muscle.
Cohen would be undaunted, and in fact, he would prove to Mets fans and all of baseball this is definitively not the same old Mets.
Cohen opened up the wallet. In the offseason, he paid for the Mets to sign star players in Starling Marte and Max Scherzer. They were not just great, but they changed the culture of a team which fell apart the previous season. That was part of an offseason which also saw the Mets overhaul their lineup and approach at the plate.
Cohen wanted and made sure to land Buck Showalter. The organization wanted to change their offensive mindset and approach, and they were able to hire Eric Chavez away from the New York Yankees to do it. They also continued to grow their analytics department, and late in the season, they purchased one of the famed hitting machines which can replicate pitcher deliveries.
Cohen understood the best thing an owner can do for the fans is to put a winner on the field. He gave the organization all the resources they needed, and they built a 101 win team. However, Cohen was not done there.
Being a Mets fan himself, he loved and appreciated the Mets history. He brought back Old Timers’ Day and would retired Willie Mays‘ number because he believed it to be the right thing to do (making this a complete departure from the Wilpons). He would also retire beloved player and broadcaster Keith Hernandez‘s number.
In essence, Cohen has given Mets fans everything they’ve ever wanted. Fans wanted this team to matter and be a contender. They were. They wanted the team history to be recognized and celebrated. It was.
The best news yet is Cohen is far from done. Eppler has already talked about getting the resources needed to improve upon this season. The organization has talked about spending to bridge the gap to sustained winning much in the vein of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No, the 2022 season did not end the way Mets fans had hoped. More important than that failure is the future. With Cohen, the future is bright, and we see how the focus is winning and making the Mets as fan friendly as possible. Seeing the totality of the season, Cohen did all he promised and more. That should leave all of us Mets fans excited to see what comes next.
Last offseason, the New York Mets sought to hire a President of Baseball Operations. Unfortunately, they struck out for a consecutive year.
This had them shift their focus to GM. Eventually, they landed on Billy Eppler, who seemed more consolation prize than getting who they wanted.
The who, what, where, when, and why doesn’t matter. Eppler had the job. With that job came opportunity.
However, when you don’t win the division, and you’re out in the first round of the postseason, you didn’t do enough. For Eppler, there are a few areas where this definitely applies.
One criticism down the stretch was the Mets waited too long before calling up Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos. That may or may not be fair. On that point, it didn’t seem fair to declare them not ready all season only to throw them into a pennant race and demand/need performance.
The issue is that trade and not giving the prospects a look earlier forced his hand on Darin Ruf. With Ruf and Tyler Naquin, it was certainly a forgettable trade deadline for the Mets. For his part, Eppler has no remorse:
Billy Eppler does not feel that the Mets' decision to prioritize long-term thinking at the trade deadline impacted their chances to win this season:— SNY (@SNYtv) October 14, 2022
"It's hard to pinpoint what would've been better" pic.twitter.com/vN8DK082Mv
To a certain extent, only he knows whether he could’ve or should’ve done more. What we know is the Naquin and Ruf trades were maligned at the time (the packages, not the players), and the Mets didn’t win.
When a team wins, there is forgiveness on overpaying in trades or missing out on players. That’s the way it is and should be because at the end of the day, it’s about winning in both the short and long term.
Fact is, the Mets didn’t win. With that, Eppler blew his opportunity.
Yes, the Mets announced he was returning as the GM. As Eppler indicated, Steve Cohen wants him to immediately get to work. The Mets need that because there is a lot of work to do on the roster.
That all said, the Mets have said they’re looking to hire a President of Baseball Operations. It’s something they’ve been trying to do since Cohen purchased the team.
With that comes someone working over Eppler. Eppler’s autonomy and control goes away. He now reports to someone who also can recommend firing, retaining, or reassigning him.
At least in theory, if the Mets win the division and World Series, he becomes the POBO. Perhaps, the Mets don’t pursue one. After all, why hire a decision maker over the guy who just built a World Series winning roster?
However, the Mets didn’t win. Both Ruf and Naquin didn’t perform with Naquin being left off the postseason roster. The Mets are pursuing a POBO to whom Eppler will report.
In the end, Eppler blew his opportunity. He will now be second in command, and his power will be at the whim of the POBO and Cohen.
Hopefully, this is the best case for the Mets organization. For Eppler, it’s not the worst case, but it is also not ideal. After all, this is a job he certainly wanted.
Since taking over the New York Mets, Steve Cohen has done everything he’s promised to do. He’s been a far departure from the Wilpon ownership.
He has celebrated Mets history. Old Timer’s Day came back, and along with it, came some ostracized fan favorites. In fact, Ray Knight would say he loved the Mets but hated the Wilpons.
More than that, he’s tried to win. His first bold move (or at least the organization’s under his stewardship) was to trade for Francisco Lindor. Lindor was then given the richest contract for a shortstop and player in Mets history.
The end result was a 101 win team which claimed the top Wild Card spot. Yes, it was a disappointment and a collapse, but the Mets still made the postseason.
Game 1 was a dud with Scherzer allowing seven runs. It was a complete and utter disappointment reminiscent of Tom Glavine in 2007 (although not nearly as short or fatal).
In Game 2, the Mets had Jacob deGrom. The Mets ace, and second best player in Mets history, wasn’t at his best. However, at 70% (or whatever percent you want to give him), he helped keep the San Diego Padres at bay until the bats woke up.
That set up a winner-take-all Game 3. It was at Citi Field. A ballpark we all promised we’d sell out if the Mets were good again and in the postseason.
Attendance at Citi Field tonight: 39,241.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) October 10, 2022
That is not a sellout.
Sunday night wasn’t an excuse. First of all, it was Columbus Day Weekend. Mostly, IT WAS THE POSTSEASON!!!!
These are things we’ve mocked other markets for doing. This shouldn’t happen here. The greatest city in the world. A National League baseball city. The postseason. An elimination game.
The Mets had an owner who spent and spent to get the Mets to this spot. This was the dream. October baseball because of ownership who cared.
And then, fans couldn’t sell out the ballpark.
This was an embarrassing moment for a fanbase who has prided itself on being a great and loyal fanbase. Honestly, Mets fans, we’re better than this.
Put aside the frustrations leading to that game. There was a postseason game at Citi Field, and as a fanbase, we didn’t show up. Not nearly enough.
Steve Cohen promised us everything we’ve ever wanted, and he delivered. The very least we can do is show up for a winner-take-all postseason game at Citi Field.
When seasons don’t end the way you want or expect, people look for a reason or a scapegoat. To wit, the New York Mets announced both Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter were returning next season. On the one hand, it would seem obvious that was the case, but there was a collapse, so it was best to state it outright.
Certainly, both Eppler and Showalter have their fair share of the blame for what happened. However, it is much deeper and much more layered than that.
The seminal moment most Mets fans point to is Starling Marte‘s hand injury in the September 6 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ask a Mets fans, and they staunchly believe the Mets win the division if Marte doesn’t get hurt. To a certain extent, there is truth to that.
After all, it meant more Tyler Naquin, who was terrible in September batting .185/.232/.308. He was so poor he was left off the postseason roster despite his terrific numbers against Yu Darvish, a pitcher the Mets never hit.
Looking at Naquin, that should have us revisit the Eppler point. There was a post hoc analysis of the Mets trade deadline moves (which were debated in real time). Prior to the Daniel Vogelbach trade, Mets DHs had a 79 wRC+. From Vogelbach’s firsts game with the Mets to the end of the season, that mark improved to a 102 wRC+.
However, that was mostly Vogelbach. Against left-handed pitching. Darin Ruf had a 20 OPS+ with the Mets. Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez were throw into pennant races and struggled. Notably, Gary Cohen was highly critical of the Mets decision making process noting how the Mets didn’t call them up when there was a chance during the season and put too much on them.
To that point, the Atlanta Braves called up Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom well in advance of September games, and they got much better production. As an aside, the Braves are again extending their young core while the Mets aren’t, but that’s a separate discussion for another day.
All of the above is a worthwhile discussion, however, it is still not getting to the root cause. The Mets collapse began at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals. The Mets would lose two out of three games. It was part of the Mets worst stretch of the season.
From September 3 to September 14, the Mets were 5-6 against the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs. During that stretch, the Mets three game lead shrunk to a half game. Over a stretch where the Mets could put the division away, they put the division back in play allowing the Braves to sweep the Mets forcing the Mets to the Wild Card.
Fast-forward for a second to the Atlanta Braves series. There were a number of problems in that series. Chief among them was the starting pitching failed. Figuring out how to prevent this from happening again requires diagnosing how that happened. The answer may be unsatisfying to some, but it is as simple as fatigue.
Carlos Carrasco pitched a combined 121 2/3 innings over the previous two seasons. He would pitch 152 this season. At the 64 inning mark this season, Carrasco had a 3.52 ERA and was averaging 5 2/3 innings per start. After that, he had a 4.30 ERA averaging under five innings per start.
He had one of the Mets bad losses in September. On September 27, he allowed four runs to the Marlins over three innings. That was one of many games the Mets wanted back.
Taijuan Walker again had a poor second half, but he did salvage it a bit in September. Still, he faltered against the Pirates, and he took the loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both were big spots, and he and the Mets wish they had those games back.
Of course, neither Carrasco nor Walker were the biggest culprits, the ultimate blame seems to be directed at Chris Bassitt. Last year, Bassitt pitched 157 1/3 innings, and he had only thrown over 100 innings one other time in his career.
After his September 7 start, he hit the 161 1/3 inning mark. At that point, he had a 3.24 ERA while averaging a little over six innings per start. After that, Bassitt fell apart against the Cubs and Braves. He was very good against bad teams in the Pirates and Oakland Athletics.
Max Scherzer dealt with oblique issues. Jacob deGrom had a blister issue. Neither would ever admit it impacted their performances, but essentially, they were compromised pitchers. When you build a team on starting pitching, you can’t have all five starters limping to the finish line. That is exactly what the Mets had.
Unfortunately, they did not have the hitting to overcome this. That was apparent in Atlanta when they scored all of seven runs. Over the final month of the season, in their losses, they averaged 2.5 runs per game. Part of this was the Mets approach at the plate.
The Mets hit 171 homers this season ranked 15th in the majors. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor accounted for 38.6% of the Mets home run production. The next highest was Eduardo Escobar with 20, and he hit almost half of them in September. Essentially, for most of the season, if Alonso and Lindor weren’t hitting it out of the park, no one was.
Combine that with very questionable managing from Buck Showalter in Atlanta and the postseason, and you have a 101 Mets team who fails to win the division. You have a Mets team who gets one hit in an elimination game.
With the Mets, it was no one thing. It was exhausted starting pitching who faltered. It was an offense overly reliant on two players. It was a manager who struggled in bad games making poor decisions in big games. And yes, it was a front office who failed to fully address the teams deeper issues at the trade deadline.
When all was said and done, this was a team built to sustain the rigors of the regular season. However, it was not prepared and built to last deep into the season and go deep into October. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it is difficult to overlook now.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published on MMO
As a New York Mets fan, you thought it couldn’t get worse than 2007. Seven in 17. Tom Glavine not devastated after allowing seven runs in 0.2 innings.
That was a horror show we all watched unfold, but at least we could see it coming. There were starts in the final week of the season from David Williams and Phillip Humber. Billy Wagner was battling back spasms, and Aaron Heilman was gassed.
There were many issues with that team, and they were not remotely built to win the World Series. That makes that team vastly different than the 2022 Mets, a team which will also live in Mets infamy.
Make no mistake. The 2022 Mets collapse and choke was far worse than the 2007 Mets. The aftermath may only punctuate that.
On June 1, the Mets led the National League East by 10.5 games. This the third largest blown division lead in Major League history. It is the largest blown lead over a full 162 game season since the inception of division play. Notably. it is only the second such collapse since the inception of the Wild Card.
From a Mets perspective, this was made all the worse by their September. Remember, they had the easiest closing schedule in baseball with a three game lead.
The Mets were 2-6 against the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Miami Marlins at home before the Atlanta Braves series. Really, the NL East never should have been at play when the Mets traveled to Atlanta.
Despite the Mets having their rotation aligned, they were swept by the Braves. This wasn’t Williams or Pelfrey faltering. It was Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt faltering with each pitching worse than the last.
Yes, Starling Marte was injured, and he was a very good player and emotional leader all year. That said, the Mets should not have needed him to beat the worst teams in baseball. Again, this is far more about the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Miami Marlins stretch than it was about the Braves series, a series that never should have mattered.
The Mets controlled the division and their own destiny. They completely and utterly failed doing it in historic fashion. As a result, they were the Wild Card and not a division winner.
In the Wild Card series, the Mets only showed up for the second game. It’s a harsh but fair criticism. Note, this isn’t saying they didn’t want to win. Of course, they wanted to win. They were desperate to win . It’s odd to say for a 101 win team, but they didn’t have what it took to win.
Like the Braves series, Scherzer and Bassitt were bad. For his part, deGrom was good but human. It is very clear by now Scherzer’s oblique and deGrom’s blister compromised them. Bassitt was just one fumes after pitching a career high in innings. However, it is more than that.
There’s plenty of blame to go around here. That includes Buck Showalter, who made a series of baffling decisions in the Braves series and the postseason. It’s Billy Eppler who failed at the trade deadline and who failed to call up his prospects in Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez who were just not given sufficient opportunity to get acclimated to the majors before being thrown into a pennant race.
What remains is the first 100+ win team to make the LDS since the inception of the series. It is the largest blown division lead in a full 162 game season since the inception of division play. It is a team which managed just one hit in an elimination game, the fewest a team has ever had.
The Mets entered the postseason with the best home winning percentage in the postseason. They lost two out of three getting outscored 16-8. They scored a total of one run in their two losses. ONE RUN.
This was a complete collapse from a team we all expected to be a true World Series contender. It failed because it couldn’t beat bad teams. It failed for so many reasons. In the end, this was a historic collapse in its own right, and yes, it was absolutely worse than 2007 because this team should have won the World Series.
The reason the New York Mets lost to the San Diego Padres was Max Scherzer was terrible. It was a career worst postseason start for him.
The Padres hit four homers against him. FOUR! They knocked him out after scoring seven over 4.2 innings.
Yu Darvish was shaky over the first four, but the Mets couldn’t push a run across. For all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Except, it wasn’t. There were still five innings. It’s a best-of-three. It’s not a June game where you lick your wounds and come back tomorrow.
A team has to actively do everything in their power to win the game. There’s no 162 game picture. You absolutely have to do everything you can to try to win every game.
Except, Buck Showalter isn’t interested in doing that. Again, there’s a reason the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series after he was gone.
Eduardo Escobar got the crowd back into it a bit hitting a homer off Darvish. The seven run deficit was now six.
Eduardo Escobar showed up pic.twitter.com/W8LW31VhBj— Shea Station (@shea_station) October 8, 2022
It was 7-1 with one out. Tomás Nido was due up. There was zero excuse for him to bat in that situation. You don’t send him to the plate if you’re actually trying to win.
Nido has a career 62 wRC+. He was better than that this season with a 74 wRC+. He was ice cold heading into the postseason hitting .217 over the past two weeks.
Starting him was one thing. He’s a great defensive catcher. However, at this time, the Mets needed a bat.
Notably, James McCann has hit Darvish very well. He was 4-for-10, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, and 5 K against Darvish. He was also hot at the plate heading into the postseason.
Still, he had a poor year at the plate and May not have everyone’s trust. That’s fine. The Mets also had Francisco Álvarez.
The Mets had three catchers and could roll the dice here. The crowd would’ve gotten more into it.
Nope, he sent Nido to the plate. The same Nido who has been a poor hitter his entire career. The same Nido who was overmatched in his first at-bat when he failed to drive a runner home from third.
Nido would meekly fly out. After him, Brandon Nimmo tripled and would be stranded there.
What’s really frustrating about the entire situation was Showalter would pinch hit Luis Guillorme for Nido in the seventh. This wasn’t faith in Nido. No, it was Showalter thinking it was too soon to start trying to overcome a six run deficit.
Even between, with two outs in the ninth, Showalter would pinch hit Álvarez for McCann. Obviously, the best time to utilitize the benefits of having three catchers on the roster is two outs and down sixth in the ninth.
The truth is Showalter is a bad postseason manager. He blew it again tonight by just throwing away an out in the fifth on a batter he didn’t ultimately trust to get a hit.
The argument is batting Álvarez in the fifth probably doesn’t matter because the Mets were losing anyway. Its a garbage point.
The point is this is the postseason. You su everything you can to win. Showalter didn’t. His later moves proved that he didn’t believe Nido batting gave the Mets the best chance to win.