Michael Wacha

How Brodie Van Wagenen Ruined 2020 Mets Pitching Staff

Upon taking over the Mets job, Brodie Van Wagenen has traded prospect after prospect in an attempt to win-now. Last year, the Mets fell short. This year, the Mets are under .500 and are currently on the outside looking in on an expanded postseason.

On that front, his trades have not planned out. Another way to analyze it is to see how the players he traded are faring:

Justin Dunn (-0.2 WAR) 1-0, 5.57 ERA, 1.381 WHIP, 6.4 K/9

Anthony Kay (0.5 WAR) 2-0, 3.14 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 7.5 K/9

Blake Taylor (0.8 WAR) 1-0, 1.38 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 9.0 K/9

Combined this trio of pitchers have accumulated a 1.1 WAR. Due to their absence and Van Wagenen letting players like Zack Wheeler walk, he’s had to replace them with these players:

Walker Lockett (-0.1 WAR) 0-0, 7.50 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 7.5 K/9

Rick Porcello (0.0 WAR) 1-3, 5.76 ERA, 1.640 WHIP, 7.6 K/9

Michael Wacha (-0.1 WAR) 1-2, 6.43 ERA, 1.643 WHIP, 11.6 K/9

Through his series of moves, Van Wagenen replaced 1.1 WAR with -0.2 WAR. That’s before you take into account Wheeler’s 1.6 WAR this year.

Now, this is where some will point out Noah Syndergaard undergoing Tommy John, and Marcus Stroman opting out. There’s an inherent problem with that line of thinking.

First and foremost, Van Wagenen traded away the depth which would’ve helped the Mets withstand those injuries. Furthermore, he was the one who opted to allocate money which could’ve gone to Wheeler with other assets. There’s also the fact the Robinson Cano trade hamstrung the Wilpons financially, or at least that’s what we’re led to believe.

What makes this all the more befuddling is Van Wagenen purportedly opted for this path for the sake of depth. If you follow the timeline, he purged depth, then quality, and then signed replacement level pitchers for the sake of saying the Mets had depth.

Overall, the Mets could’ve had a great pitching staff in 2020. Sandy Alderson has left behind great depth on that front. Instead, Van Wagenen pilfered it for short-sighted ineffective trades. Now, that pitching depth is gone. With the sale of the Mets, he may be gone as well.

Zack Wheeler Confirms Brodie Van Wagenen Is Professional Sports Worst GM

When Zack Wheeler signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, after asking the Mets to make an offer and not receiving one in return, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said, “Our health and performance department, our coaches all contributed and helped him parlay two good half-seasons over the last five years into $118 million.”

Put another way, Brodie didn’t think Wheeler was worth the money he received from the Phillies. Today, Wheeler beat the Mets after allowing two earned over seven while walking one and striking out four.

The losing pitcher? Well, that was Rick Porcello, the same guy who took over Wheeler’s spot in the rotation. Porcello took the loss after allowing four earned over six.

The loss dropped Porcello to 1-3 with a 5.76 ERA. The win improved Wheeler to 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA.

To be fair the disparity in the salaries allowed the Mets to also sign Michael Wacha. So far this year, Wacha is 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA. Right now, Wacha has a shoulder injury, and no one knows when he can pitch again.

All in all, the Mets lost 6-2. They’re 9-14. That’s the worst record in the NL East with the third worst winning percentage in the National League. By winning percentage, the Mets are the seventh worst team in baseball.

But hey, the Mets didn’t need Wheeler, and as Van Wagenen said, “I think that we’re probably the deepest starting pitching rotation in baseball.”

Again, the Mets are 9-14, and entering this loss, the Mets had the eight worst starting staff ERA. Mind you, that’s with Jacob deGrom, who has a 2.45 ERA.

Long story, short here is Brodie Van Wagenen is not only a terrible GM, he’s also the worst in professional sports. With each move he makes, he actually harms the Mets chances of winning, and he starts pushing himself toward the conversation of worst GMs in history.

Game Notes: Dominic Smith‘s streak of homering in four straight games was snapped. He did extend his hitting streak to five games. J.D. Davis now has an error in two of his last three games.

Mets Offense Wakes Up And Beats Nationals

Starting with just about the longest homer you’ll ever see off the bat of Juan Soto, the Washington Nationals would hit four homers. Two of those homers were by Soto.

That Soto homer off Robert Gsellman in the first was an ominous sign for a Mets team forced to bullpen this game due to the injury to Michael Wacha and the state of “depth” created by Brodie Van Wagenen.

If there were any concerns it was going to be another rough day for the Mets, Brandon Nimmo would assuage those concerns with a lead-off homer off Anibal Sanchez. That ignited that Mets offense.

After two quick outs, Sanchez plunked Michael Conforto. After that, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith hit back-to-back RBI doubles. Andres Gimenez hit an RBI single.

What had been a 3-0 deficit heading to the bottom of the first became a 4-3 Mets lead. The Mets wouldn’t trail again.

It was 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth. That’s when the Mets blew the game open. First, Conforto ripped a two RBI double over Adam Eaton‘s head. The ball probably could’ve been played better by Eaton, but it seemed as if Conforto was at least getting a hit even if Eaton played it well.

After that misplay, Alonso and Smith would go back-to-back to give the Mets a 10-4 lead.

Those 10 runs stood partially because the Mets got some decent work from their bullpen. They also had another night of exceptional defense. It began with Nimmo robbing Kurt Suzuki of a homer in the second.

Gimenez and Luis Guillorme were again great in the field turning two double plays. They were also forces at the plate again.

Gimenez was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Guillorme was 1-for-2 with a run, two walks, and a stolen base.

Really, nearly every Met was a force at the plate. That is except Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis each of whom were 0-for-5. Things were worse for Davis who struck out three times.

That was offset by Alonso getting back on track with two doubles and a homer. We also saw Smith have a double and a homer.

In terms of the bullpen, Chasen Shreve, Jeurys Familia, and Dellin Betances had scoreless outings. With Familia pitching two scoreless, he was awarded the win.

It was the best Betances looked striking out the side. Mostly, this 11-6 win was the best the Mets looked in a while. The hope is they can keep this going.

Game Notes: Alonso batted fifth for the first time this year. It was Gsellman’s first start since 2017.

Brodie Van Wagenen Can And Likely Will Trade Prospects Not Currently In Mets Player Pool

With Marcus Stroman opting out, Michael Wacha having yet another shoulder injury, and Noah Syndergaard undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Mets need a fifth starter. Based on what we’ve seen from Brodie Van Wagenen, we should not rule out his emptying the farm for that fifth starter.

After all, this was the same GM who has already traded Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Ross Adolph, Anthony Kay, Simeon Woods Richardson, Blake Taylor, and many more prospects to receive nowhere near value in return. Looking at the cumulative, it’s embarrassing how poorly the Mets have done in these trades.

As we saw last year at the trade deadline, the Mets postseason odds don’t matter. He overpaid for Stroman at the trade deadline last year despite the team being six games under .500 and 12.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the division.

Yes, the Mets went on a run, but in the end, it was Van Wagenen’s half measures which kept the Mets out of the postseason. He moved arguably two of his top prospects remaining in the farm system for another starter, but he didn’t back it up by getting a reliever or another outfielder that the team so desperately needed. That was a major reason the Mets fell short.

Based on his track record, we can assume he’ll ignore reason to make a trade for another player. It’ll be a half-measure, and it will further deplete the farm.

Now, this is where some will say teams are not permitted to trade players not in the player pool. This analysis and hope is very short-sighted.

Technically, that is correct. In 2020, teams cannot trade players unless they are part of their designated 2020 player pool. That should give some relief prospects like Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton, Francisco Alvarez, and Ronny Mauricio won’t be traded.

That is until they’re added to the Mets player pool. As per the rules, the Mets can add players to the player pool as needed. As a result, if a team wants a Mets prospect in exchange for a starting pitcher, all the Mets need to do is add that player to their pool.

It’s only a transaction. There is no requirement the player actually be present at the virtual training site. Much like Jose Bautista two years ago, the Mets can literally pluck a player off their couch and put them on a plane.

So, right now, no prospect is safe. Seeing how the Wilpons and Brodie Van Wagenen don’t remotely care about the future of the franchise as they push to win a World Series before they’re all gone, that goes double.

They’ll grossly overpay for anyone if they think that player gives them even a 1% chance greater of winning the World Series. It’s of no matter to them because they won’t be around while these prospects shine at the Major League level.

In the end, no Mets prospect is safe right now, and the situation grows more dire the longer this team has no fifth starter and languishes in last place in the NL East.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Win A Series

Well, the last place Mets took a series from the first place Marlins. That’s certainly something we never thought would happen in August 2020, but that’s where we are.

1. Andres Gimenez continues to prove he’s a Major Leaguer. When Robinson Cano is ready to return, it’s going to be impossible to pull him from the lineup.

2. If you’ll note, since the Mets have been forced to switch to a vastly superior defensive alignment, they’ve begun winning.

3. As we see that includes getting J.D. Davis out of left where he made you pine for the days of Todd Hundley, Daniel Murphy, and Lucas Duda.

4. Ty Cobb is the MLB all-time MLB leader with a .378 BABIP. Post World War II, Rod Carew is the leader at .359. Simply put, if you’re over those marks, your numbers are not sustainable.

5. On a related note, the Mets embarrass themselves, when they tout average plays as being great plays as part of their endeavoring to make a horrendous GM look somewhat competent.

6. Gimenez shows how great the Mets had been identifying Major League talent in the draft and international free agent market during the Sandy Alderson era.

7. The Mets bullpen had stepped up in August. Part of that is Edwin Diaz returning to his old form. No, it’s not because he’s out of the closer role. It’s because he has great stuff.

8. Seth Lugo needs to be used in the highest leverage spots. That’s not always the ninth, and that’s why he can’t be used as just a closer.

9. Speaking of pitchers with great stuff, Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball and not even a blister or “hot spot” can get in his way.

10. Tomas Nido has completely outplayed Wilson Ramos this year. You know the Mets will never make the switch, but you do wonder if the Mets will find more spots for Nido.

11. Jared Hughes is one of those players who come along and are a pure joy. Not only has he pitched well, but he’s also shown the ability to laugh at himself. Like the Juan Uribe era, the Jared Hughes era will go down as one of the most enjoyable in Mets history.

12. Even with the juiced ball appearing to return, the Mets offense has looked off all year. That’s most likely the result of their inability to hit with RISP.

13. Pete Alonso struggling doesn’t help either. The frustrating part is every time he appears to break out, he starts slumping again.

14. Mets have been lucky getting serviceable starts from David Peterson. He did it again in this series helping the Mets turn things around.

15. With Michael Wacha going down with a shoulder injury, the question before the Mets is whether Corey Oswalt or Franklyn Kilome can step in the way Peterson has.

16. This further highlights how the Mets desperately need Marcus Stroman back. That was the case when Wacha was “healthy.”

17. Michael Conforto has a hit in every game this season, and Brandon Nimmo has reached in 30 straight games (dating back to last year). Somehow, Mets fans still have a hard problem embracing them and instead ask why they’re not perfect.

18. The Cardinals have only played five games, and seemingly every time they appear set to return, there’s another positive test. Maybe they should just be contracted . . . at least for the 2020 season.

19. MLB went from not suspending or fining Carlos Correa for clearly violating COVID19 protocols. Let’s see if MLB continues their Astros double standard when dealing with Ramon Laureano.

20. If the Mets want to be taken seriously, they need to beat up on a Washington Nationals team who is undermanned and playing terribly right now.

Game Recaps

At Least Dominic Smith Homered

Mets Homegrown Talent Beats Marlins Youth

Andres Gimenez Shows Marlins He Belongs

Andres Gimenez Shows Marlins He Belongs

It was a shock to see Andres Gimenez Matt the Mets Opening Day roster. It was a shock because his Double-A numbers weren’t off the charts. It was a bigger shock because there was no obvious opportunity.

With the recent slate of injuries coupled with his strong play, he’s currently an everyday player. As we saw today, he may be here to stay.

The Mets would win 4-2, and Gimenez was in the middle of each rally serving as a spark plug for the Mets offense.

In the third, he led off the inning with a single off Marlins starter Pablo Lopez. He’d immediately put himself in scoring position by stealing second.

Lopez would walk the bases loaded moving Gimenez to third. He’d then score on a Jeff McNeil RBI groundout. The second run of the inning scored when Corey Dickerson couldn’t field a Michael Conforto liner.

In the ensuing inning, Gimenez again set the table. This time it was a one out double. He’d score on a Brandon Nimmo two out RBI single.

In the sixth, Gimenez laid down a great drag bunt to lead-off the inning. The Mets would load the bases, and he’d score on a McNeil sacrifice fly.

Overall, Gimenez was 3-for-4 with three runs, a stolen base, and a double. He had three of the Mets eight hits, and he scored all three of the Mets earned runs. In the end, he did the near impossible in providing Jacob deGrom with run support.

With deGrom, he dealt with an issue on his middle finger. Some called it a blister. He called it a hot spot. It was no matter as deGrom is deGrom.

You could say it led to back-to-back walks in the second, but that might’ve been more the result of Home Plate Umpire Mark Carlson who was terrible, and that’s being kind.

No one had any idea what was a strike. The only thing we did know was deGrom was going to overcome it. In that second inning, he got out of a bases loaded jam unscathed.

It wasn’t until the fifth the Marlins would get to him. He missed on a pitch, and Jesus Aguilar hit a two run homer. At that point, the Marlins pulled to within 3-2. They’d get no closer even with deGrom being done after the fifth.

The Mets bullpen continued their impressive August.

Jared Hughes struck out two in a scoreless inning of work. Even with Dellin Betances hitting 92 on the gun, he pitched a scoreless seventh. Then, Edwin Diaz pitched in a set-up role.

Diaz was brilliant even if he was nearly victimized. He blew the first two Marlins away, and he should’ve stuck out Ryan Lavarnway, but Carlson blew the call.

Lavarnway singled on the next pitch. Then, Eddy Alvarez hit what appeared to be an easy fly ball. Instead, in what looks like the return of the juiced ball, it carried to the wall.

Fortunately, it didn’t go out. Diaz shook it off, and he struck out Monte Harrison on an absolutely overpowering pitch.

That left Seth Lugo to pitch the ninth. Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the 4-2 win. It was his third save of the season and first one inning save of the year.

Through it all, the Mets won their first series of the year. They did it featuring their homegrown talent, talent like Gimenez.

Game Notes: deGrom’s back-to-back walks in the second was the first time he did that in 25 starts. Michael Wacha landed on the IL with shoulder inflammation, and Ali Sanchez took his place on the roster. Dating back to last season, Nimmo has reached safely in 30 straight games.

METS – Must End The Season

Maybe, it’s too soon to say this Mets team is bad. However, it’s extremely disconcerting when a Marcell Ozuna two run homer off Michael Wacha in the first essentially ends the game.

That’s not just because it would prove to be the winning runs in this ugly 7-1 loss, it’s also because that homer created that feel, especially after last night’s disaster.

The Braves scored five runs over the first two innings, and Touki Toussaint dominated the Mets over his four innings.

If you’re looking for positives, they were limited but there.

Brandon Nimmo extended his on base streak to 24 games, and he scored the Mets only run. Michael Conforto had a two hit game as did Robinson Cano, who is red hot right now. Dominic Smith reached safely twice.

Franklyn Kilome made his MLB debut, and he acquitted himself well. He did allow two runs over four, but he also struck out five without allowing a walk. This is a strong performance for him to build upon.

Still, this was another poor performance by a poorly constructed team. We are all rightfully counting the days until the team is sold, and presumably, Brodie Van Wagenen is fired.

Beyond that, why is anyone even playing? The Marlins had a COVID19 outbreak. The Cardinals appear on the verge of one. This has led Lorenzo Cain to be the first player to opt out since the season started.

Overall, there were five games postponed today. At the moment, MLB says they won’t quit on the season. They may soon have no choice. When that happens, we won’t get any more dreadful nights like this.

Game Notes: The Mets offseason pitching acquisitions (Wacha, Rick Porcello, and Dellin Betances) have a combined 10.57 ERA.

Brodie Van Wagenen Is Comically Bad

Last night, Travis d’Arnaud was 3-for-4 with five RBI. Three of those five RBI came on an eighth inning double which put the Braves ahead 11-10. This was the same d’Arnaud he rage released last year.

Since d’Arnaud was released he outplayed Wilson Ramos. That was readily apparent when Ramos’ framing, if you can call it that, cost Seth Lugo a strike in that fateful d’Arnaud at-bat.

You couldn’t help but notice the same game d’Arnaud won, the .208/.269/.250 hitting Ramos flew out with the tying run on second to end the game.

Ramos’ failures go beyond his offense. He can’t frame and his game calling has been poor. It’s one of the reasons Edwin Diaz has struggled in a Mets uniform.

Case-in-point, Ramos called six outside pitches when Marcell Ozuna was up last week, and on a 3-2 pitch, he called the same pitch Ozuna struck out on the previous day. Short of using a megaphone, Ramos couldn’t have made the pitch type and location any more obvious.

This is normally where we go to Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. On that note, the Mets called up Brian Dozier despite his bit really fully preparing for the season and his not taking part in summer camp.

By hastily starting an ill-prepared Dozier, the Mets have admitted Cano is no more than a platoon player making that trade somehow worse.

On the topic of the platoon, you know who was a really good right-handed platoon option? Wilmer Flores.

However, the Mets non-tendered Flores partially because of a knee condition he never actually had. Instead, they replaced him with Jed Lowrie, a player who actually had a knee injury.

That knee injury is the invented condition of PCL laxity. Even better than the conjured up diagnosis was it taking nearly a year-and-a-half to get a second opinion.

On the topic of the IL, Jake Marisnick landed on it. The Mets could’ve just signed a player like Juan Lagares for cheaper, but instead, they chose to trade Marisnick.

While the Mets are getting nothing from the impending free agent Marisnick, and their bullpen has been struggling Blake Taylor has been terrific out of the Houston Astros bullpen.

The list with Van Wagenen goes on and on. He told us he was replacing Zack Wheeler with Marcus Stroman, who was in the same rotation. He then let Wheeler walk and actually replaced him with Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha while trying to tell us the pitching improved.

Don’t forget his continuously telling us he wasn’t going to fire Carlos Beltran only to fire Beltran before he managed a game.

It’s like Van Wagenen is George Costanza. Every instinct is wrought with failure. The key difference is Costanza was the assistant to the traveling secretary, and Van Wagenen is the GM.

The other difference is Van Wagenen is real. He’s all too real.

No Joking: Wacha and Mets Offense Were Terrific

Whereas nothing went right in the series finale against the Braves, nearly everything went right against the Red Sox. That was all the more incredible when you consider Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil ran them out of the top of the first.

Rosario you understood as he was aggressive running to an open base, and honestly, it was shocking to see Xander Bogaerts beat him in a foot race. As for McNeil, he was just picked off.

This didn’t come back to haunt the Mets. For starters, it didn’t because Michael Wacha was very good over five innings against the Red Sox. He kept them off balance with his change, and he was pumping his fastball up to 97 MPH.

The only run off of him was a Mitch Moreland solo homer in the fourth. By then, the game was effectively over.

The Mets offense finally woke up against the bullpenning Red Sox. Every batter reached base safely at least once, and Robinson Cano was the only starter without a hit.

The Mets offense put together three straight innings with multiple run homers. First, it was a Michael Conforto two run shot off Josh Osich in the second:

Then, Pete Alonso got off the snide after struggling much of the early part of the season with an absolute laser over the monster:

Then, in the fourth, Dominic Smith hit a three run homer increasing the Mets lead to 7-1:

Of course, with this being the Mets, they can’t make anything easy.

Chasen Shreve, making his Mets debut, allowed a homer to Bogaerts in his two innings of work. That made it 7-2 Mets.

Jeurys Familia came on in the eighth, and unfortunately, he did not build on his impressive first appearance of the season.

The problems started when he issued a one out walk to J.D. Martinez. Rafael Devers doubled setting up runners on second a third with one out. Both runs would score leading to Luis Rojas to bring in Seth Lugo for the four out save.

Lugo got out of the eighth, and he retired the Red Sox in order to preserve the 7-4 victory. The Mets are now back at .500 and just hoping to be able to play another day.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo batted ninth again. Smith was the DH with Yoenis Cespedes getting the day off.

Pin Tonight’s Blowout Loss On Brodie Van Wagenen

Zack Wheeler desperately wanted to stay with the Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen wasn’t interested, and he went so far as to say what Wheeler signed for with the Phillies didn’t match how the Mets valued him.

Why be magnanimous about a very good pitcher who time and again made it clear he wanted to be a Met? Why avoid giving a starter in your division bulletin board material? Those are questions for another day.

The overarching question is what was Brodie thinking? He really signed Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha instead of Wheeler. In Porcello’s first start, we saw it for the mistake it was.

Porcello wasn’t good, but he wasn’t quite as bad as his final line seemed.

The Braves got to Porcello with two in the first, and he escaped trouble in the second by getting Ronald Acuna to hit into an inning ending double play. If you had any hopes that meant his sinker was working, they’d be quickly dashed.

It began with Jeff McNeil making an error allowing Ozzie Albies to reach safely. Then, with the Mets apparently being deathly afraid of Freddie Freeman (with good reason), Porcello walked him. Then disaster struck.

Marcell Ozuna doubled to put the Braves up 3-1, and Matt Adams walked. At that point, the Mets were still in it. Then, J.D. Davis completely misplayed what was a routine play for a left fielder into a two RBI double for Dansby Swanson.

Instead of it being 4-1 with one out, it was 5-1 with no outs and runners on second and third. With that, Porcello’s night was done, and the Mets night was effectively over.

Corey Oswalt was thrust into a relief role instead of preparing for a start against the Red Sox. Again, he was put in a position to fail, and he did. He’d allow inherited runners to score along with a few of his own. On the bright side, he ate four innings saving the pen a bit.

When all was said and done, it was 14-1 Braves with the only Mets run being driven in by ninth place hitter Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo batted ninth because of the left-handed starter Sean Newcomb.

Newcomb was terrible in his own right, but he was bailed out by an overly aggressive Mets lineup. This is the same lineup which was assembled due to their bats while punting defense. They punted defense with a starter with a low strike out rate and is coming off a season where he had the worst ERA in the AL.

You can point a lot of fingers tonight. No matter where you point them, make sure you point them at the GM. This is exactly how he designed the team, and it failed like anyone else could’ve predicted.

Game Notes: Tomas Nido started over Wilson Ramos. He scored on the Nimmo double. Davis is 1-for-10 on the season.