The emergence of Pete Alonso could have created a Dominic Smith problem for the Mets. After all, Smith and Alonso play the same position. With Alonso hitting 53 homers and winning the Rookie of the Year award, it’s clear the Mets view Alonso as not just part, but really, the core of this team.
While Smith is no longer going to get a chance to be the Mets first baseman of the current and future, he proved himself to be a very useful Major League player. In 89 games, he hit .282/.355/.525 with 10 doubles, 11 homers, and 25 RBI. He proved himself to be a good defensive baseman, and he showed he is quite capable of playing left field for some stretches.
He would also prove his mettle as a bench player. In 37 pinch hitting appearances, he hit .286/.459/.571 with two doubles, two homers, and six RBI. In the 34 games he entered as a substitute, he hit .318/.434/.568 with two doubles, three homers, and 12 RBI.
All told, Smith proved capable of doing something very difficult. He proved he could be a productive Major League bench player. Through the years, we have seen that’s easier said than done. More than that, he proved he is a Major League caliber player, and at 24 years of age, he’s showing he is still a very promising player.
There are plenty of Major League teams who could use a young first baseman. To that end, a Mets team who needs a fifth starter, bullpen help, a center fielder, and depth should really consider moving Smith to fill one or more of those needs. What the Mets should not be looking to do is just dumping Smith to do that.
However, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic the Mets are doing just that. Specifically, Rosenthal says the Mets are looking to use a player like Smith to entice teams to take on a bad contract like Jed Lowrie or Jeurys Familia.
This is because the Mets are going to refuse to exceed the luxury tax threshold despite receiving insurance proceeds from the David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes contracts. They are going to do that despite $12 million of Jacob deGrom‘s $25 million salary. That’s literally tens of millions of dollars the Mets are pocketing, and yet they are not going to be willing to take that next step.
This once again emphasizes the Wilpons mismanagement of team resources, and it highlights just how bad the Robinson Cano trade was for the Mets.
The 37 year old Cano is due $24 million in 2020 and in each of the ensuing three years. When you take out the $3.75 million covered by the Seattle Mariners, the Mets are paying Cano $20.25 million. That is essentially the money the Mets are paying to Familia and Lowrie combined.
Really, when you take the trio combined, that is $41.92 million in money the Mets are begging to get out from under. The Mets got almost literally nothing out of Lowrie. In terms of WAR, they got less than that from Familia. That leaves Cano and his injury prone season as the best of the group. That’s good because he and his 0.3 WAR is making more money than Lowrie and Familia combined.
The Cano trade has so far meant the Mets do not get to see Jarred Kelenic play in Queens. It has meant the Mets will not be able to just replace Zack Wheeler in the rotation with Justin Dunn while using their money to fill other needs. One of those needs is now the fifth starter spot, and right now, Wheeler is not going to be a part of that equation.
As if that all wasn’t bad enough, it could also mean the Mets are just going to give Smith away.
The short term ramifications of the Cano trade were quite bad with Cano having a subpar injury plagued year and Edwin Diaz having one of the worst seasons a Mets closer has ever had. The fact that this won’t be the nadir of the trade speaks to just how disastrous that trade actually was and will continue to be.
As the Mets plan to build a World Series winner in 2020, they are going to need someone to take the next step. One of the ways that could happen is either Pete Alonso or Jacob deGrom becoming the 27th player in Major League history to win both a Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP.
Can you name those other 26 players? Good luck!
Jackie Robinson Don Newcombe Willie Mays Frank Robinson Orlando Cepeda Willie McCovey Pete Rose Dick Allen Rod Carew Johnny Bench Thurman Munson Fred Lynn Andre Dawson Cal Ripken Jr. Jose Canseco Jeff Bagwell Albert Pujols Ichiro Suzuki Ryan Howard Justin Verlander Ryan Braun Dustin Pedroia Buster Posey Bryce Harper Mike Trout Kris Bryant Cody Bellinger
With today being Thanksgiving, it is time to go around the Mets roster and say things we are thankful for:
Pete Alonso – he’s been better than even the highest and most absurd expectations anyone could have of him both in terms of his on the field play as well as the type of teammate and person he is
Carlos Beltran – for coming home
Robinson Cano – showed some late positive exit velocities showing there is some hope for a 2020 rebound
Yoenis Cespedes – for everyone questioning the drive of a man severely injured and needing career saving surgery, he is out there in the cold taking batting practice
Michael Conforto – re-established himself as one of the best young corner outfielders in the game, and with his talent, he’s on the verge of an MVP caliber season
J.D. Davis – quickly became a fan favorite and like few others seemed to really enjoy being a New York Met.
Jacob deGrom – best pitcher in baseball and starting to etch his likeness on the Mets Mt. Rushmore
Edwin Diaz – he survived the season, made no excuses, and he is doing what he needs to do to be the pitcher he was in 2018.
Jeurys Familia – he stopped using “Danza Kudro” meaning we no longer go to very bad places when that music begins blaring
Luis Guillorme – proved if given a chance he is a Major League caliber player giving the Mets some real needed middle infield depth
Chris Flexen – his move to the bullpen gives the Mets an interesting upside option in the bullpen
Robert Gsellman – he is one of those throwback type reliever who is always willing to take the ball no matter what
Sam Haggerty – it’s not often a player comes out of nowhere to provide real value to an organization the way Haggerty did with this speed
Jed Lowrie – to his credit, he did everything he could just to get those pinch hitting appearances late in the season
Seth Lugo – the best reliever in baseball who now gives Beltran a reliever who can break knees with his curve
Steven Matz – took that step forward and put to bed the unfair and wrong mentally weak narrative
Jeff McNeil – the man just does it all. He hits, plays everywhere, and he saves puppies.
Tomas Nido – became the defensive minded back-up catcher many believed him to be, and he played a part getting Mets pitchers head in the right place during different parts of the year.
Corey Oswalt – he put behind some injuries and gross mishandling by the organization to show he is a viable depth starting option for the organization
Wilson Ramos – drove in a number of big runs last year, and he has promised to be better behind the plate in 2020.
Amed Rosario – just a tireless worker who seems to be on the cusp of fulfilling the immense potential we all saw he had in the minors
Paul Sewald – he keeps proving himself to be better than the narrative, and he finally got his first Major League win to put an exclamation point on what is one of the better stories of the Mets farm system
Dominic Smith – that walk-off homer was a beautiful exclamation point on a season where he proved everyone who ever doubted him to be very wrong
Marcus Stroman – few have fully embraced being a Met like he has and fewer have been ready to thrive on the New York stage
Noah Syndergaard – not just a great pitcher, but also a guy who wants to be a New York Met.
Justin Wilson – was terrific in 2019, and with the LOOGY rules, he becomes an even more valuable bullpen piece in 2020
In terms of the talent still here, there is a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully, we will see the return of Zack Wheeler giving us all the more to be thankful for in 2020 and beyond.
With Thanksgiving this week, we are on the eve of the Christmas season. Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and with that comes time for parents to have to find time to get pictures of their children with Santa Claus. If you have time, the little Mets fan in your life many want to also get a picture with Mr. Met.
To their credit, the Mets Team Store is offering “Blue Friday” Deals offering items half-off Friday morning, 35% off in the afternoon, and 30% off the rest of the weekend. If you are down there for the deals, you can get discounts on items for your favorite players like Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, or Noah Syndergaard. You could also be the first person on your block to get a Marcus Stroman #0 jersey or shirsey.
You can also bring your kids to get their pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Met. If you are interested, the Mets team mascots will be available at the following times:
11/30 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/1 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/8 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
12/14 11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
That’s three separate weekends you can bring your kids down to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Met. Seeing them at the ballpark is always a highlight for the kids, and the free before and during the game is always fun. It should be more fun to get these photos without having to worry about getting back to the game or dealing with the the massive crowds.
Give the Mets credit here. They are doing something fun for the kids, and the photos are free. Hopefully, everyone will be able to bring their children to the ballpark for a photo, and this will become a part of everyone’s holiday traditions.
When Jacob deGrom was officially announced as the 2019 Cy Young Award winner, the New York Mets officially had the Cy Young winner and with Pete Alonso, the Rookie of the Year. With the Houston Astros accomplishing the same feat with Justin Verlander and Yordan Alvarez, it is something which has only happened 14 times in Major League history.
The 1983 White Sox had LaMarr Hoyt, Ron Kittle, and the American League West title. The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers had Fernando Valenzuela and a World Series title. The 1965 Dodgers had Sandy Koufax, Jim Lefebvre, and a World Series title.
That leaves the 1994 Royals (strike shortened season), and the 1976 Padres as the only teams who had a Rookie of the Year and a Cy Young winner to not make the World Series. Digging deeper, things are much worse.
There have been three teams in Major League history who have had a player win a Cy Young and have another player hit 50 homers in a season. The first was the 1961 Yankees who had Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. The next was the 2001 Diamondbacks who had Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson. Both the Yankees and Diamondbacks won the World Series.
Basically, if you have a Cy Young winner and a Rookie of the Year, especially one who hits 50 homers, that team goes to the postseason. Not the 2019 Mets. While they made a late season surge, they ultimately came up short. What makes that all the more inexcusable is they went all in on the 2019 season trading away significant prospects in Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay, Jarred Kelenic, and Simeon Woods Richardson while taking on the very onerous Robinson Cano contract.
That’s to say nothing of the Mets trading away a full year of control of Alonso for two weeks of games without agreeing to a Scott Kingery type of contract or other form of forward thinking.
Anyway you look at it, the 2019 season was a complete failure for the Mets. It’s a sentiment Van Wagenen himself shares. The Mets had the best pitcher, the top rookie, and a host of other good players who had good years, and yet, they missed the postseason. No matter how you look at it, this is an indictment of Van Wagenen.
With Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson being free agents, you should expect every team who needs an upgrade at third base to be pursuing them heavily. That is everyone expect the New York Mets. The Mets have all but said they’re not pursuing either player, and they are not prepared to exceed the luxury tax threshold.
Getting the obvious out of the way, this is unacceptable. There is really no excuse for the Mets to not at least realistically pursue either player. That said, that is exactly where we are leaving the Mets to find “creative” ways to find someone to replace Todd Frazier at the hot corner.
Based upon Brodie Van Wagenen’s comments, that replacement is going to be an internal option. Looking at things, that is a scary proposition.
J.D. Davis simply cannot handle the position defensively. In 220.0 innings at third last year, he posted a -9 DRS. To put it into perspective, that is actually worse than how Wilmer Flores played the position, and back then, Mets fans were screaming to move him off third.
The other option mentioned was Jed Lowrie. Even mentioning his name is bizarre. Last year, he was limited to eight plate appearances and was not able to play in the field. At the moment, you are hard pressed to find a reason why the Mets can count on him any more than they can count on Yoenis Cespedes as the Mets readily admit they still do not know what is wrong with Lowrie.
The other name mentioned was Jeff McNeil. Due to his versatility, the 2019 All Star who had a 143 wRC+ and a 3 DRS at third is a very viable option for the position. However, for a moment, lets put a pin in that.
When looking at third base, the one name which hasnt’ been mention, but perhaps should be mentioned is Robinson Cano.
Last year, Cano had a bad year by any measure. Due to multiple stints on the disabled list as he battled hamstring issues, he played a career worst 107 games (in a non-PED suspension season). The 93 wRC+ was the second worst of his career, and the -6 DRS was the worst defensive year he has had since 2015. In fact, this was just the second negative DRS he has had since 2008.
With Cano coming off an injury plagued season and with next year being his age 37 season, we should hardly expect those defensive numbers to improve. With second being a fairly rigorous position, you wonder if it would be better for Cano to switch positions to one which would allow his legs more rest, and in turn, would help him offensively.
Looking back to when Cano came off his PED suspension in 2018, that is exactly what the Mariners did. From August 14 until the end of the season, Cano would play 41 games. His breakdown of those games were: 2B (23), 1B (14), 3B (2), DH (1). Yes, Cano’s primary position was second, but he only mainly played second.
Getting the obvious out of the way, there is no way Cano is an answer at first base as Pete Alonso is firmly entrenched there. As for DH, except for isolated interleague games, there is no long term solution at DH. That leaves third.
At the moment, there is little more than conjecture to see if Cano can handle third on a long term basis. We could look at hit -2 DRS in 2018 as evidence he can’t, but that’s as small a sample size as you get. Moreover, that was with him being thrown at the position with little to no preparation.
Through it all, we should remember Cano is a smart player with good hands and a strong arm. His real issue is his range and durability. This is not too dissimilar from what we saw with Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera wasn’t exactly great at third last year with a -4 DRS in 812.0 innings, but it should be noted it was a lot better than the -17 DRS he put up at second base the preceding season.
When it comes to Cano, you can reasonably expect him to be not just a negative defender at third, but also worse than McNeil. However, that is only part of the equation. Taking a more global view, McNeil at second and Cano at third probably presents the best possible defensive alignment while presenting Cano with a position less strenous on his legs thereby keeping him in the lineup more.
If you think about it more, this is a move which is going to have to be made eventually. Cano is signed through the the 2023 season, and he is signed for a lot of money. Looking at the team, they need his bat in the lineup to be successful. To that end, the Mets need to find the best way to both keep his bat in the lineup and help ensure his contract is not more onerous than it already is.
Looking at everything, the solution is to move Cano to third base. That is unless the Mets are actually going to do the right thing by pursuing Rendon or Donaldson.
Pete Alonso officially joined Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Jacob deGrom as Mets players who have won the National League Rookie of the Year. With Alonso surpassing Aaron Judge‘s rookie record for homers, the honor was not only well deserved, but it made the announcement more of a coronation than anything.
Before Alonso was announced Yordan Alvarez was named the American League Rookie of the Year, and it was unanimous. When the announcement was made, we were all expecting to have two unanimous selections, but that didn’t happen as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic was the only voter who voted for Mike Soroka.
Now, it should be noted Baggarly had a very sound basis for his decision. In addition to throw away narratives like Soroka being a real contender for the Cy Young Award, he also noted Soroka had a better WPA and WAR. He then explained how he was more impressed with Soroka keeping the ball in the ballpark than he was with Alonso hitting it out in an era of the lively baseball.
Even though Baggarly made the article more about himself and his concerns about Mets fans coming after him noting he had been warned by other writers “Mets Twitter is a special flavor of Twitter.” Still, even with the article being a bit too much “Look at me!” his justification for voting for Soroka wasn’t.
While 29 other voters and every single Mets fan alive disagrees, Baggarly made the determination Alonso was merely the second best rookie in the National League last year. At the end of the day, when decisions like this are made all you can ask from the voter is for due diligence and for their making a good faith argument.
That is exactly what Baggarly did here. Upon reading his article, you can disagree with his conclusions and the evidence upon which he relies. What you cannot disagree with is he didn’t undertake the analysis.
When all is said and done, the real question here isn’t about why Baggarly thought differently than almost everyone. No, the real question is who cares?
In annals of baseball history, there aren’t two separate lists for Rookies of the Year and unanimous Rookies of the Year. In fact, the voting is something which typically fades from memory.
For example, did you know Seaver wasn’t a unanimous choice? Neither was Strawberry or Gooden. The Gooden decision was all the more wrong than Alonso not winning the award unanimously.
In the end, what matters is the honor. Seaver, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame with a higher percentage of the vote than any starting pitcher, is every bit the Hall of Famer Gary Carter (sixth ballot) and Mike Piazza (fourth ballot) are.
The same holds true for Alonso. He is every bit the Rookie of the Year Alvarez is and all those who preceded both players. In the end, all we should care about is he won, and better yet, all the things that are to come.
Tonight, Pete Alonso is going to be named the National League Rookie of the Year. The only question right now is whether or not it will be unanimous. Considering Jacob deGrom wasn’t a unanimous choice for Cy Young last year, we should not discount anyone making a dumb decision by not voting for Alonso.
When Alonso is named as the Rookie of the Year, he will join deGrom in a list of Mets who have won the Rookie of the Year award. Those other Mets are Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden. If you’ll notice, Alonso will join Strawberry as the only other Mets position player to win the Rookie of the Year. Alonso will also be the first infielder.
If you dig deeper, there is something else you’ll notice. Each and every one of the Mets players who have won a Rookie of the Year award have been part of a Mets pennant winning team. Of the group, Strawberry had to wait the longest with his appearing in the 1986 World Series three years after he won the award.
Alonso is a middle of the order type of bat who can power the Mets to a pennant in the near future. He broke all of Strawberry’s rookie records. He surpassed the Mets single season mark shared by Todd Hundley and Alonso’ new manager Carlos Beltran. He also passed the rookie first base mark held by Mark McGwire and the overall rookie record held by Aaron Judge.
With Alonso’s drive and determination, we can see him being the type of player who can help lead the Mets to a World Series. He has shown that ability. The question is whether the team is going to help him and his teammates get there. But that is a question for another day.
For today, it is about Alonso. He is going to receive an award he has well earned, and with that award comes promise for the future. No matter what happens, Alonso will always carry that promise with his bat. For that reason alone, today is a day to rejoice and to appreciate the slugger whose ability on the field may only be surpassed by his ability as a teammate.
Edgardo Alfonzo is the greatest second baseman in team history, and he is one of the most beloved Mets players of all-time. To this day, he’s the only Mets second baseman to win a Silver Slugger.
He was a part of the best defensive infield in Major League history. He hit a two run homer in the first inning of the play-in game. Alfonzo hit a grand slam off Bobby Chouinard in Game 1 of the 1999 NLDS.
Alfonzo hit .444/.565/.611 to lead the Mets to their first pennant since 1986. Realistically speaking, either he or Mike Piazza should’ve been the MVP of that series over Mike Hampton. On the topic of Alfonso/Piazza, Alfonzo drew a walk before Piazza’s 9/11 homer.
After retirement, he’d return to the Mets organization to first serve as a coach and then manage the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Alfonzo guided the 2019 Cyclones to their first ever outright New York-Penn League title. On that team was Brett Baty and Matthew Allan. Baty and Allan were not just two of the Mets top three draft picks, but they’re currently two of the Mets top three prospects.
You don’t entrust a manager with those players unless they’re good on the player development side. There’s more evidence Alfonzo developed players well including the positive words Pete Alonso had about him.
Alfonzo is a Mets great. He’s a winner as a player and manager. He was entrusted with the Mets top prospects, and he helped develop him.
Brodie Van Wagenen had no interest in any of that. Despite entrusting Alfonzo with Baty and Allan, Van Wagenen claimed firing Alfonzo was a player development decision to put the prospects “in the best situation.” That forced Alfonzo to respond.
Edgardo Alfonzo isn’t happy about Brodie Van Wagenen saying Alfonzo losing his job as Brooklyn’s manager was “a player development decision.”
Alfonzo writes on Instagram that he has met with Jeff Wilpon & might stay with Mets as an ambassador, but he prefers to work in uniform. pic.twitter.com/LeK8PolrYU
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 7, 2019
Long story short, he wants to leave the Mets. He likes coaching/managing, and he wants to continue.
Nothing Alfonzo did was good enough for Van Wagenen. The winning. The player development. The attendance. None of it. In the end, Alfonzo was always going to be fired because he has the wrong agent as a player.
The Mets just let it happen. The chose Van Wagenen over Alfonzo without so much as an explanation to the fanbase. They chose a GM who severely damaged the short and long term ability to contend over someone who belongs in the Mets Hall of Fame.
In the end, they didn’t want Alfonzo anymore. They wanted Van Wagenen.
In 2004, Carlos Beltran was one of the best players in baseball. Between his time with the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros, he hit .267/.367/.548 with 36 doubles, nine triples, 38 homers, 104 RBI, and 42 stolen bases.
By WAR, he was the tenth best player in baseball. In the postseason, there was no one better than him as he hit eight homers in 12 postseason games.
This led to his signing a huge seven year $119 million contract. It was a contract befitting his burgeoning superstar status.
Only he wasn’t a superstar in 2005. Rather, he looked like a overpaid player who could make fans wonder if this deal would be as bad or worse as the Bobby Bonilla signing.
There was his rolling over on pitches hitting weak grounders to second. He had this inexplicable propensity to bunt. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, he and Mike Cameron dove for the same ball in San Diego leading to one of the more horrific collisions you’ll ever see.
Overall, Beltran only hit .266/.330/.414 with 34 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, and 78 RBI. The 97 OPS+ would be the third worst of his career. Things were so bad Beltrán was booed lightly during player introductions on Opening Day in 2006.
That 2006 season proved to be the best season of Beltran’s career.
The 8.2 WAR was the best of his career, and frankly, he was flat out robbed of the MVP award. His 41 homers tied Todd Hundley for what was then a Mets single season record (surpassed this year by Pete Alonso). He was an All-Star in addition to winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.
This was easily the best season any Mets outfielder ever had, and it is in the conversation for best ever season by a Mets position player.
After the complete and utter disaster that the 2005 season was, Beltran immediately turned things around, and he set himself on a path which will eventually lead to his Hall of Fame induction.
In 2018, Diaz was arguably the best closer in the game with a Major League leading 57 saves with a 0.791 WHIP and a 15.2 K/9. He was so great that year the Mets admitted to including Jarred Kelenic in a deal just to keep him away from the Phillies.
Like with Beltran in 2005, things were horrid for Diaz.
In addition to blowing seven saves and losing the closer’s role, Diaz allowed a career high 15 homers. To put it into perspective, Diaz allowed 15 homers over the 2017 and 2018 seasons combined.
He’d have a career worst 5.59 ERA, 9.0 H/9, 36 ER, 73 ERA+, 4.51 FIP, 1.379 WHIP, and other categories as well. It was a nightmare of a season which led to Mets fans first being frustrated and later booing him.
Through it all, like Beltran, Diaz remained incredibly talented. No matter how much people want to over emphasize the effect New York has on player performance, ultimately talent wins out in the end. No one knows that better than Beltran.
With Beltran now Diaz’s manager, he can pull his former Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic teammate aside and impart the wisdom which helped him overcome the adversity he faced his first year in New York to become a Hall of Famer.
Remember, Beltran is one of many who experienced struggles in his first year with the Mets, and he’s one of the few who overcame it and became an even better because of it. With him at the helm, he can make sure Diaz can have the very same transformation.