Timmy Trumpet coming to Citi Field was a huge deal. Everyone in the stands and watching on TV were waiting with baited breath to see him play Narco with Edwin Diaz running in from the bullpen.
Instead of watching Timmy Trumpet blow his horn, we got to see Joely Rodriguez blow the game. The pitcher brought to the Mets specifically to get out left-handed batters out was beaten by them turning a tied game into a 4-3 deficit.
Keep in mind, that game was close enough to try to find a reason to use Diaz. Instead, Buck Showalter did the right thing and saved his arm.
That isn’t something that would’ve happened under the Wilpons. With Timmy Trumpet there, they would have forced the manager to make sure Diaz enters the game.
We know this because of Pedro Martinez.
As Pedro detailed in his eponymous book, Pedro, Jeff Wilpon ignored the advice of the medical and baseball professionals. Rather than let Pedro heal, Wilpon pushed him to pitch in a game against Dontrelle Willis in an attempt to generate a gate.
The end result was Pedro worsening his toe injury, and it might’ve been a contributing factor in Pedro’s eventual career ending shoulder injury. With respect to the Mets, it might’ve cost them the World Series in 2006.
That was a problem with the Wilpons operation of the Mets. Not all decisions were baseball decisions. In some ways, you could sell they were selling the Mets but not baseball.
This led to odd choices. In a juxtaposition with Timmy Trumpet, the Mets invited the Baja Men in 2000. Now, we get the far superior Timmy Trumpet.
Except, we didn’t quite get what we expected, and there was disappointment. Assuredly, the team wanted to make good on Timmy Trumpet blasting Diaz as he ran in from the bullpen.
From a fan engagement standpoint, that’s what we all wanted. From a baseball standpoint, it didn’t make sense to use Diaz. To a certain extent, that’s why Cohen’s Mets (in a move the Wilpons probably don’t make) are having Timmy Trumpet again as a guest in the hopes that this time the moment will happen.
Make no mistake here. Both Wilpon and Cohen are trying to get people to the ballpark. The key difference is Cohen is trying to do that with baseball first and everything else second.
That wasn’t always the case with the Wilpons. In fact, you could reasonably argue baseball never really came first under the Wilpons ownership of the Mets.
The Wilpons very likely don’t leave Diaz in the bullpen, and in a similar vein, they don’t bring back Timmy Trumpet. Part of the reason we know this is they didn’t hold Old Timers’s Games bemoaning the costs involved.
Ultimately, Cohen understands the best way to get fans engaged and happy is putting a winning team on the field. The other stuff is great and important, but it comes a distant second to winning. In the end, the baseball is the product.
Sadly, the Wilpons never got that. That’s why Pedro pitched, and Diaz didn’t. It’s also why the Mets are far better run now than at any point during the Wilpon ownership of the team.
One of the best things Steve Cohen has done in terms of fan engagement is Old Timers’ Day. The New York Mets now have their own history, and we now get the opportunity to celebrate it. Apparently, fans aren’t the only ones eager to celebrate it.
We have seen a number of players eager to return. Already on the docket are a who’s who of Mets greats including Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, John Franco, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Daniel Murphy, Mookie Wilson, and many, many more. Really, Mets players are coming out of the woodwork to try to attend this event.
With every name came more excitement and more fond memories. Then, the Mets announced Jose Reyes was returning.
While the Mets were blowing Game 4 of the 2015 World Series, Reyes was in Hawaii grabbing his wife by the neck and throwing her into glass doors. The altercation was so violent, the hotel would need to call the police, and his wife would need to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.
The Colorado Rockies (who also had Trevor Story ready) were so appalled they released Reyes. There was a debate whether Reyes would ever play a game again. After all, who in the world would want someone like that on their team? It’s one thing to deal with someone on your roster. It is a whole other to proactively go out and sign that player (or acquire him if you are the New York Yankees and Aroldis Chapman).
Well, frankly, the Mets were cheap morons, and their third base plan for 2016 was David Wright. That lasted until May 27. After that, the Mets were trying to figure it out on the fly. Instead of looking to make a trade, they opted to do the whole dog-and-pony show of trying to rehabilitate Reyes’ image.
Reyes was decent enough, and he had a big homer against the Philadelphia Phillies. The media acquiesced with the Mets demands and wrote the necessary articles (yes, they are 100% complicit) to support the Mets bold move to cheap out and take bad a wife beater. Everyone was so happy the Mets brought Reyes back.
Well, third base wasn’t good enough anymore for Reyes. With Asdrubal Cabrera‘s thumb injury, Reyes pushed his way to short. It was a bad year for Reyes, and it was apparent to the Mets, they needed to pivot. Amed Rosario was called up at the end of the year to be the shortstop of the future, and in the offeseason, they had to sign Todd Frazier to play the third base Reyes no longer wanted to play.
Reyes agreed to be the utility player. Anything to help the team. Again, just talk.
Reyes didn’t really put the time in to succeed in the outfield. He was terrible, and he stopped playing there. Then, the sham of the narrative he was going to mentor Rosario was exposed when he whined to the media about it. This came at a time when the baseball world was wondering if he was done and would soon be ticketed for being designated for assignment. Instead, he was rewarded with more playing time.
Despite the beating of his wife and acting bigger than the organization, he was given a big send-off as part of the Wright festivities. He got to retire as the Mets leadoff hitter and shortstop. He deserved none of this.
After he beat his wife, the Mets had kept throwing him olive branch after olive branch. None were good enough for him. He showed a complete lack of gratitude to this organization. And now, he’s going to be rewarded by being brought back for Old Timers’ Day like he didn’t beat his wife and wasn’t a completely selfish jerk on his way out?
Seriously? This is Wilpon level garbage and has no place in the Steve Cohen era. In reality, Reyes has no business being at Citi Field for Old Timers Day even if he bought his own ticket.
Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Billy Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig Paquette, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and many, many more.
As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).
With the institution of the universal DH, MLB has officially killed off National League Baseball. As such, the only real difference between the two leagues is their names. One just happens to be the American League, and the other just happens to be the National. Why are we even bothering anymore?
It’s not like changing up divisions and leagues is unheard of in this sport. Tom Seaver led the Mets to the first ever NL East title in 1969. Prior to that, there were no divisions in either league. Fast forward to 1994, and the Montreal Expos would have won the division led by players like Moises Alou, Cliff Floyd, and Pedro Martinez. Of course, that season didn’t reach completion because of the strike.
As a result, the first World Series with a Wild Card in the postseason was won by the Atlanta Braves with Tom Glavine taking home World Series MVP honors. The Braves would win the NL East as part of their journey. An interesting fact here is the Braves won the first ever NL West title, and they actually played the Mets in the inaugural NLCS.
Baseball has moved and changed teams and divisional structures as they have seen fit. When baseball expanded in 1998 to include the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the AL Central to the NL Central. In 2013, the Houston Astros, who were an expansion team the same season as the Mets, were switched from the NL Central to the AL West because baseball wanted six five team divisions.
Things change according to the random whims of the commissioner. We see that has happened with the institution of the universal DH, and we are likely going to see it again with MLB trying to increase the amount of postseason teams from the current five per league to seven per league. That is again completely radical, and it cries for the need for another correlative move.
Before delving further, one of the reasons for the push for an expanded postseason is increased revenues. It should also be noted the reason for revenue sharing and compensation systems is to address the (laughable) assertions owning an MLB franchise isn’t profitable and costs need to be reduced. One major cost which can be cut is travel fees.
To do that, you can more geographically align the divisions of baseball like it is done in the NBA and NHL. After all, we see MLB trying to more align their sport like those, so why not take a look at what that would look like:
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Mets
- New York Yankees
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Washington Nationals
- Atlanta Braves
- Cincinnati Reds
- Houston Astros
- Miami Marlins
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Texas Rangers
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Guardians
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Minnesota Twins
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
- Los Angeles Angels
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Oakland Athletics
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Seattle Mariners
Yes, this does call for the inclusion of two expansion teams. Let’s face it. It is well past time for MLB to expand. If the NHL can support 32 teams, MLB certainly can. There are markets in the United States and Canada which have been relatively untapped, and to a certain extent, the minor league retraction has created a void in many communities for baseball. At least geographically, the southeast with cities like Raleigh and Nashville makes sense, but MLB can look elsewhere and align differently if it makes more financial sense.
As for the blowing up of some rivalries, well, that’s a consequence. That said, it wasn’t a concern when the Brewers and Astros changed leagues. There is also the important consideration the geographical rivalries will be off the charts, and there will certainly be the development of new rivalries.
Now, the next step is especially radical, but then again, so was the death of National League baseball. Before delving further, we first need to acknowledge baseball’s crown jewel is the World Series. Baseball needs to do all it can endeavor to create the best possible World Series matchups to generate more fan interest. The best way to do that is to actually set up the best possible match-ups in the World Series.
For that, just eliminate the AL and NL in its entirety. Instead, just have the four divisions. If you want to keep an AL and NL for nostalgia stake and create new names for the other two divisions, fine. That said, the World Series should abandon the concept of the AL against the NL. Instead, it should be the two best postseason teams.
This is where MLB can borrow a bit from the NHL. Since MLB wants an expanded postseason, they can have the top three teams in each division make the postseason. After that, the next eight non-automatic qualifying teams, regardless of division and division rank, can play a one game Wild Card Game to qualify for the Division Series. The World Series will instantly become increasingly more interesting.
The potential match-ups can radically change. For example, one year, the Mets and Cardinals could meet in the World Series, and the next, they could meet in the Championship Series. As a bit of added intrigue, under this format, MLB could get their biggest dream to come true with a Yankees-Red Sox World Series. The ratings and revenues from that may set records never before seen.
Overall, MLB has been forever changed with the death of National League baseball. As a result, instead of trying to hold onto some vestiges of the NL, it is time to just let it go away entirely and focus on what would create the most interesting and exciting baseball. Creating a four league format would be refreshing, and it would create the best possible postseasons. From there, genuine interest (and associated revenues) would grow putting baseball in the best footing it has been in a century.
Heading into the 2020 season, Jacob deGrom was definitively the best pitcher on the planet. He was coming off back-to-back Cy Young awards, and he was doing things only Hall of Fame pitchers do. Certainly, the Hall of Fame was on deGrom’s mind as he told us all he wanted to be an inner circle Hall of Famer.
Certainly, deGrom was well on his way to carving a path to the Hall of Fame. After all, he was fifth all-time in ERA+. He was bettering Tom Seaver‘s New York Mets records. He was otherworldly great. Think Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000.
Then, the pandemic struck. The 2020 season was shortened, and deGrom would suffer an injury which would just about end his chances of winning a third straight Cy Young. deGrom would being the 2021 season pitching better than he ever has, which is saying something. However, again injury would strike limiting deGrom to just 15 starts. Despite the injury, he still finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young voting.
However, for deGrom, it isn’t about Cy Youngs. Well, it is in part, but that is just part of the larger picture. Really, when it comes to deGrom’s career, it is about two things: (1) World Series rings; and (2) the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As of this moment, he has a 43.4 WAR with a 40.8 WAR7 and a 42.1 JAWS. The average Hall of Fame pitcher has a 73.0 WAR, 49.8 WAR, and a 61.4 JAWS. That puts the 33 year old deGrom in an interesting position.
Right now, he is 39.6 WAR behind the average Hall of Fame pitcher. For WAR7, he is only 6.4 behind the average Hall of Famer. He is 19.7 behind the average Hall of Famer in terms of JAWS. In some ways, that is actually achievable for deGrom.
Consider from 2018-2019, deGrom AVERAGED an 8.9 WAR (pitching only). If he puts together another two year stretch like that, and as we saw last year, he can, deGrom would have a 61.2 WAR. That puts him within an ear shot of the 73.0 mark. More than that, his peak numbers will be through the roof. He will have a 51.7 WAR7, which would be a giant step above the current standard. His JAWS would then be 56.5, which would be a hair behind the standard.
Keep in mind, narrative matters. As we see with players like Sandy Koufax having an absolutely dominant peak at a higher level than anyone else matters. That would certainly describe deGrom if he can put 2-3 great seasons under his belt.
On that front, this could be where Max Scherzer helps him. Scherzer was a pitcher who did not look like a Hall of Famer until he turned 28. From that point forward, he put together a stretch of nine consecutive Cy Young and Hall of Fame caliber seasons. If there is anyone who knows what a pitcher needs to do from their mid-30s to stay dominant towards their 40s, it is Scherzer.
With deGrom having a true peer in Scherzer in the rotation, not only will deGrom have a better opportunity to win a World Series, but he will also increase his Hall of Fame chances. Whenever the lockout ends, deGrom’s path towards the Hall of Fame and a World Series title will begin anew.
The New York Mets seem to be narrowing their managerial search, and reading the tea leaves, it seems Buck Showalter will be the next manager. There are reports Steve Cohen wants him, and there are ties from the New York Yankees between new general manager Billy Eppler and Showalter.
If we are going to go back to Eppler’s old Yankees ties, the Mets could also look at Willie Randolph for the managerial role. With Randolph, there are two things which stand out in his candidacy: (1) he’s actually had success as the Mets manager; and (2) he has unfinished business.
When we look back at Randolph’s Mets tenure, people mostly remember the bad. There was the 2007 collapse, and he was fired one game into a west coast trip. There was the chasm between him and Carlos Delgado. Of course, many forget the 2008 Mets also collapsed, but this time under the helm of Jerry Manuel.
Really, Randolph had to deal with more as the Mets manager than most did. He never had the full backing and respect of ownership. Things got so bad Manuel and Tony Bernazard were going behind Randolph’s back to not only spy on him but to find reasons to remove him from the job. The shame of it was Randolph was quite good at the job.
First and foremost, Randolph was immediately challenged in his job by trying to find a way to graciously end Mike Piazza‘s Mets career. Randolph did it in a way where Piazza not only had a strong season, but he had his dignity during the course of the season.
Randolph was gifted an old foe in Pedro Martinez atop the rotation. Notably, despite the many battles between the two during the heyday of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, there was nothing but respect between the two. Randolph had tried to protect Martinez from the team, but to no avail.
Another challenge with Randolph was the Carlos Beltran situation. He helped Beltran navigate through what was a disaster of a 2005 season and get him playing at a Hall of Fame level. By most accounts, the two had a good relationship, which is something a smart manager will have with their superstar.
One important part of that is the ability to adapt. When Randolph first took over the Mets job, he initially tried to make the Mets more like the Yankees. Case-in-point was the restrictions on facial hair. That is something he eventually rescinded.The ability to adapt to the job is of vital importance.
There were other highlights from Randolph’s tenure with the most important being his development of David Wright and Jose Reyes. With respect to Reyes, he was able to help him hone his skills to develop a more sensible approach at the plate to help him become an All-Star. With respect to Wright, he admitted in his book, The Captain: A Memoir, Randolph helped him become the Major League player he wanted to be. If not for injuries, that would’ve been a Hall of Famer.
Looking at Randolph, one of the biggest skills he had was his working relationship with Rick Peterson. The two worked together to get the most out of the Mets pitching staff, and we saw them do some things which may now be considered commonplace. For example, Randolph had a very quick hook in the 2006 postseason, and he was not afraid to let his superior bullpen win him games. The Mets will be looking for something like that in 2022 with Jeremy Hefner being retained as pitching coach.
Overall, Randolph had strenghts and weaknesses as manager. As we saw with him, the strengths far outweighed the weaknesses. That’s a major reason why he’s second only to Davey Johnson in winning percentage. He was a very good manager, who for some reason, never got another opportunity to manage.
Perhaps at 67, Randolph no longer has any designs on managing. If he does, we need to remember he was a good manager for the Mets. Unfortunately, he never received a fair shake. All told, Randolph knows what it takes to succeed with the Mets. No, he’ll never get the job, but there should have at least been some level of interest.
In a recent article by Mike Puma of the New York Post, he indicated the New York Mets were going to have difficulty finding a President of Baseball Operations just like they did last offseason. That article cited the errors in the hirings made by Sandy Alderson and Cohen’s Twitter account.
Considering former Miami Marlins executive David P. Samson was the source, you can take all of this with a grain of salt. After all, Samson loved operating his teams and treating the Marlins fans every bit like the Wilpons did with the Mets.
That right there is the problem. There have been years of transgressions by the Wilpons largely unreported and/or criticized in the press. These are the same people who claimed they were duped in a Ponzi scheme. They had a number of hirings and a lawsuit hostile to women in their workplace. They threatened the press about the coverage of their team, and they would go so far as to restrict access in response to a negative story about them or a favored player.
They stripped the team down for financial solvency. They used SNY as an intermediary to do exactly what the McCourts did with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jeff Wilpon interfered with medical decisions which cut short Pedro Martinez‘s career, and he tried to interfere with Carlos Beltran‘s career saving knee surgery. By and through Sandy Alderson, there was the lie about Matt Harvey‘s innings limits, and we saw what happened with Harvey’s once promising career.
Overall, the Wilpons were just flat out bad people. They did horrid things, and they did them purposefully. They cared about no one but themselves and their own power. This largely went unreported and uncriticized except when a reporter would leave the beat.
However, with Cohen, if his eye glasses are askew or he tweets something, it is a capital offense demanding the power of the pen. In the end, those now criticizing him have let us know they’re not reporting what they know, but rather, what ownership tells them they’re allowed to report. If anything, these reports attacking Cohen are a credit to Cohen because he is not standing in the way.
If nothing else, that tells us the Mets are truly in a much better spot. It’s not just the money or the desire to win. While there have been missteps requiring reflection and growth, things have truly changed in how the team is operated. The only hope is these mistakes are cleaned up, and the Mets get back on the path towards winning a World Series.
Earlier in the season, Jacob deGrom landed on the IL with tightness in his right side. Since coming off the IL, deGrom has left games for various reasons.
There was fatigue. There was a flexor tendon issue. The latest was his leaving a game with a shoulder issue. Overall, since that IL stint, it needs to be reiterated deGrom has left starts for reasons other than he hit his pitch count, and it was time to bring in a reliever.
With that being the case, everyone has a theory on what the issue is and how to handle it. He has too much velocity. He didn’t heal and is pushing it. As usual, there was Dr. Sal Licata with his input saying deGrom never should’ve made the start:
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 17, 2021
Actually, no, Licata doesn’t have an MD. The same goes for people like Chris Carlin, who proffered similar advice. Really, anyone rendering an opinion has the same level of medical expertise as Jeff Wilpon, which is to say they have none. As we saw with Wilpon, when people with zero medical expertise renders an opinion on what should be done, bad things happen.
On that note, there is something to be said for what Pedro Martinez said. Remember, Pedro was once what deGrom is now, and we did see Pedro’s prime and career shortened due to injuries. When he speaks, it should carry weight.
It’s unfortunate for DeGrom to have left tonight’s game. The @Mets cannot afford to lose him for the rest of the season. I would just rest him for an outing or two
— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) June 17, 2021
Pedro’s advice was rest, and while his words should be heard, it’s not dispositive. Really, nothing is right now.
At this moment in time, no one knows what’s wrong. We don’t know if these injuries are all linked by one core problem, if one injury begat the other, or if these are just three isolated injuries which happened.
No one knows, and those offering advice are just trying to get heard and sound smart. Well, everyone except Pedro, who is someone speaking from experience.
To the question of how to keep deGrom healthy, the answer is no one knows. If they did, he wouldn’t be dealing with different issues right now. That said, someone will figure it out, and everyone will go on from there.
Overall, just be patient and wait with baited breath until we find out what’s wrong and how to best address it. Hopefully, sometime soon, we’ll see deGrom back out there pushing for a third Cy Young and leading the Mets to the World Series.
Yet again, Jacob deGrom flirted with a perfect game. Yet again, he drove in more runs than he allowed. Yet again, records were set.
After facing the minimum through six, deGrom has a 0.56 ERA through 10 starts, which is the best in MLB history. Coincidentally, he has allowed just four earned runs on the season while driving in five himself. He’s the first pitcher to ever accomplish that feat.
During the game, deGrom struck out 10. He now has 103 on the season. With his doing it in 64.0 innings, he’s the fastest in MLB history to record 100 strikeouts.
His career numbers are already heading into another stratosphere. His 2.50 career ERA is already ahead of Tom Seaver for best in Mets history. It’s also just a hair behind Clayton Kershaw for the best since World War I.
deGrom’s 156 ERA+ has not only surpassed Seaver for best in Mets history, he’s also moved past Pedro Martinez and tied Kershaw for best all-time.
Tim Keefe had the best single season ERA+ with a 293 mark in 1880. The modern day record is Martinez with a 291 in 2000. Right now, deGrom has a 689.
Read that again. Jacob deGrom has a 689 ERA+. He’s more dominant than anyone ever has been. He’s going to completely re-write record books. That is why his virtuoso performance is the Neon Moment of the Week!
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Just like looking at the records, the San Diego Padres were a much better team than the New York Mets. It certainly didn’t play out this way in the weekend series:
1. Over the first two games of this series, the Padres had Yu Darvish and Blake Snell against Taijuan Walker and Joey Lucchesi. It took everything the Padres had to beat a Mets team with 17 players on the IL.
2. Give Lucchesi credit. He’s fixing his release points, optimizing the churve, and he’s turned his season around.
3. Did it look like Darvish was cheating? Who knows, and really we should stop these witch hunts because: (1) you don’t know; and (2) you don’t know who is and who is not cheating.
5. deGrom is taking another run at Bob Gibson. In 2017, it was the quality start streak. Now, deGrom has had a better nine start beginning to his season than Gibson had in the Year of the Pitcher.
6. For that matter, deGrom has had a better start to his season than Pedro Martinez had in either of his best seasons.
7. Honestly, it was a treat to watch Fernando Tatis, Jr. for four games.
9. We have another example why GKR are the best with Gary Cohen asking where the Bartolo Colon home run plaque is calling it the most significant event in Petco Park history.
10. Not to be sour grapes, but while the Steve Gelbs segment was funny, we should be reminded he’s the guy who gets to ask the first question at every press conference. If he’s just the sideline guy or in the studio, this is all well and good, but he’s not trying to be just that.
12. When Stroman talks about how good the clubhouse is we should listen. It should also be noted this is one of the more likable Mets teams we’ve seen in years.
13. Jose Peraza doesn’t hit many homers, but when he does, it gives the Mets the lead.
14. Brandon Drury is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of this team right now. He probably hasn’t been a viable Major Leaguer since 2017, so, of course, he makes a game changing double play.
15. For those questioning why the Mets are still winning games right now, the answer is pitching and defense. Pitching and defense always wins more games than optimizing your offensive lineups.
16. It took a while, but we’re seeing the real Francisco Lindor, and it’s glorious. Phenomenal defense. Great offense. Unparalleled leadership.
17. Someone awoke the power in Dominic Smith‘s bat.
18. Sometimes you get lucky finding the right guy at the right time. That might’ve just happened for the Mets with Billy McKinney who is playing a good right field and has a 148 OPS+ with the Mets so far.
20. The Mets are on pace for 90 wins right now, and that’s while they’re incredibly injured. Who knows just how good this team can and will be.