On Thanksgiving, it’s time to go around the Mets 2017 roster and name something each player should be thankful for:
Nori Aoki – He looked so much better in September than he did in all of 2017 by being competent while playing on a dysfunctional team.
Jerry Blevins – Throughout all the stress of the season and his extreme workload, the man didn’t even put on one pound.
Chasen Bradford – With his call-up to the majors, he’s now on the short list for best beards in Mets history.
Jay Bruce – He learned from his experience last year, and he played well for a team that acquired him in a trade.
Asdrubal Cabrera – As we found out this season, all he wanted the Mets to do was to pick up his option so he could provide for him family. With the Mets having done that, he can now rest easy.
Jamie Callahan – One day when bards tell the tale of the six right-handed relievers the Mets acquired at the 2017 deadline, they will regale us all with stories of how Callahan was the first of them to finish out a game the Mets won.
Gavin Cecchini – He made the switch from short to second where it will be easier for him to make it to the majors. That goes double if the Mets who are tightening payroll off a poor season don’t bring in a free agent to play the position.
Yoenis Cespedes – With Cespedes missing half the season, that left a lot of time for him to hit the course.
Michael Conforto – Collins is gone meaning no one is standing in his way from being a superstar anymore.
Travis d’Arnaud – He became the greatest defensive second baseman in Mets history by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position.
Jacob deGrom – With him pitching so well this year, he knows he will finally be able to cash in in arbitration thereby allowing him to afford a haircut.
Phillip Evans – After winning a batting title in 2016, having a good Spring Training, and a good second half for Vegas, the Mets finally decided to let him post similarly good numbers for them in September.
Jeurys Familia – Blood clots in his shoulder costing him most of the season made most people forget why he missed the beginning of the season.
Wilmer Flores – He fouled a ball off his face, and he lived to tell about it.
Sean Gilmartin – With his going from the Mets to the Cardinals, he was able to prove he wasn’t bad. It was just the Mets as an organization did not employ anyone capable of knowing he was actually injured.
Erik Goeddel – No matter how much he struggled this season, he will never be the most hated person in pro sports with the last name pronounced GO-dell\n
Curtis Granderson – He had a front row seat to seeing Chase Utley fail in the postseason.
Robert Gsellman – He has so much self confidence he doesn’t care what anyone things of him.
Matt Harvey – Between the Tommy John, TOS, and the Mets rushing him into the rotation with atrophied muscles in his throwing arm knowing he wouldn’t really be ready until a month into the season, he should be thankful for getting out of the season with his right arm still attached.
Ty Kelly – He got out of here after one game thereby preventing Nurse Ratched from getting to him and ending his season.
Juan Lagares – With all the injuries and the Mets looking to cut payroll, he is once again the center fielder of the future.
Steven Matz – With him suffering the same injury deGrom suffered last year, we all know he can come back from this to be the same exact injury prone pitcher he was before the surgery.
Kevin McGowan – He will always have a special place in Mets fans hearts as it was his call-up that forced Ramirez off the roster.
Tommy Milone – He was able to find a team that was okay with him having an ERA over 8.00.
Rafael Montero – For the first time in his life, he wasn’t a complete abomination as a pitcher.
Tomas Nido – Even with his struggles at the plate in Binghamton, he can rest easy knowing the Mets don’t expect an OBP over .300 from their catchers.
Brandon Nimmo – No one, not matter what, has been able to wipe that smile off of his face.
Tyler Pill – In a year of embarrassing pitching performances by Mets pitchers, Pill actually acquitted himself quite well before suffering his season ending injury.
Kevin Plawecki – He’s so well liked by his teammates that someone left him a present in his locker, which apparently has inspired him to hit the ball harder and longer thereby resurrecting his career.
Neil Ramirez – Somehow, someway, he was not the absolute worst pitcher on a team’s pitching staff.
AJ Ramos – To him, getting traded to the Mets meant he was traded to a team that actually spends money in the offseason.
Addison Reed – He was so good this year he was worth not just one but three right-handed relievers.
Jose Reyes – The Mets didn’t cut him or his playing time no matter how horrible he played during the 2017 season.
Matt Reynolds – He got that long look in September Sandy Alderson promised him. Unfortunately, that only amounted to him getting 10 games to show what he could do at the MLB level.
Jacob Rhame – He’s with an organization that has had success getting flame throwing right-handed pitchers who have slimmed down since getting drafted reach their full potential.
Rene Rivera – After failing to whisper loud enough to help the Mets pitchers pitch better, he was able to go to the Cubs to help their pitchers lead them to an NLCS berth.
Hansel Robles – In his mind every ball hit in the air is an inning ending pop up.
Amed Rosario – He didn’t have to have his development hampered by being expected to be the savior when he was called-up to the majors as the Mets were well out of contention on August 1st.
Fernando Salas – Despite his rough stint with the Mets, he was able to land with the Angels to end the season thereby proving it was the Mets handling of pitchers and not him that was terrible.
Paul Sewald – As a reward for all of his hard work in Vegas, he got the privilege of being the arm Collins loved to abuse during the season.
Dominic Smith – He finally got his call-up in August in Philadelphia of all places allowing him to celebrate the accomplishment and the win with a cheesesteak from Pat’s. (NOTE: not a cheapshot at his weight, this actually happened)
Josh Smoker – After the Mets finally gave up on using a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues as the long man in the pen, he showed the team in September that he could be as a lefty out of the pen to get lefties out.
Noah Syndergaard – Mr. Met flipped off someone this year other than him.
Neil Walker – The Mets moved him to the Brewers where he was able to re-establish his free agency value by being productive and by staying healthy, which was coincidentally was when he was away from the Mets medical team.
Adam Wilk – Because Harvey was at home one day in his pajamas, he set off on a path where he would become eligible to earn a share of the postseason money awarded to the Twins for claiming the second Wild Card.
Zack Wheeler – Instead of missing two years due to injury, he missed two months.
David Wright – Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Mets still have not given up on him.
Terry Collins – At the end of the day, he was able to make a friend of Fred Wilpon who had his back no matter what. We should all be so lucky.
Dan Warthen – He found a new group of pitchers in Texas who have elbows waiting to learn how to throw that Warthen Slider.
Sandy Alderson – Collins was so poor at managing, he was able to convince ownership it was all Collins’ fault and not his for poorly constructing a roster.
Mets Fans – Well, even if it wasn’t at this post, we all still have a sense of humor, and we can still laugh at what we put up with from this team on a daily basis.
At some point today, Jon Niese is going to hold a workout for teams interested in signing him. Niese needs to do this workout because: (1) he’s coming off knee surgery; and (2) he was terrible last year. Absolutely terrible. And yet, despite that, the Mets should be interested in re-signing him.
Let’s get the obvious reasons why the Mets shouldn’t be interested out of the way first. He’s a malcontent that would likely complain about the weather in San Diego. He always has an excuse for when he fails. He’d blame the pitch the catcher for the pitch he called. He’d blame the designer of the ballpark for the configuration of the outfield walls. He’d blame God for the wind patterns. He’d do all of that before admitting he hung a pitch that was hit into the second deck. More than any of this, Niese was just horrible last year. Typically, you don’t want players like this.
That is unless they are really cheap, and they have something to prove.
Niese should be both. Working in reverse, Niese, perhaps for the first time in his major league career, has something to prove. He’s coming off a year with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.587 WHIP. Quite possibly, he was the worst pitcher in all of baseball, certainly the worst starting pitcher. Because Niese is who he is, he’ll probably give you a million reasons why this happened. I’m sure he’ll say PNC Park was not suited for him, or Ray Searage was not as good a pitching coach as Dan Warthen. The Pirates probably didn’t shift as well as the Mets did. He’ll certainly blame his knee injury. At least with the knee injury, there may be an actual valid excuse, and it could be reason to buy low on Niese.
Before being traded to the Pirates, Niese was 61-61 with a 3.91 ERA, a 1.361 WHIP, and a 95 ERA+. Basically, he was a fifth starter who constantly tricked the Mets into thinking he could be more than that. It’s partially why Sandy Alderson gave him a contract extension. It’s why the Pirates traded Neil Walker to get him. Maybe he fulfills that promise one day. Likely, he doesn’t. Still, Niese has already shown he’s a quality major league pitcher.
He’s a major league pitcher that is going to come cheap. With teams seemingly being devoid of interest in him during the offseason, Niese is likely going to garner little more than a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Essentially, Niese is going to go to a team where he has an opportunity to either make the team out of Spring Training or be one of the first call-ups should a pitcher get injured or be ineffective. That being said, signing Niese is theoretically no different than the Mets recent signing of Tom Gorzelanny, or back in 2006, when they signed Darren Oliver.
For the Mets, Niese could be an intriguing bullpen arm who surprisingly showed during the 2015 postseason, he can get the big out. He may have a second act to his career as a reliever much in the same way Oliver Perez has. By focusing on one or two pitches, he could be a reliable bullpen arm like Oliver. Or maybe, he could just be more starting pitching depth for a Mets team relying on three pitchers coming off season ending surgery and two unproven starters behind them.
Maybe just maybe, the Mets should offer Niese a minor league deal to come back to the team. It isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Last season, on the eve of September, Sandy Alderson went out and obtained Addison Reed from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Up until that point in the season, Reed was having a poor year that included a demotion to AAA. In his 38 appearances with the Diamondbacks, he was 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP while only striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings. When Reed joined the Mets, he became a much different pitcher. In his 17 September appearances, he was 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP, and a 10.0 K/9. With that, Reed locked down the seventh inning a Mets team and bullpen that would go all the way to the World Series.
Fernando Salas could be this year’s version of Addison Reed.
Like Reed, Alderson went out and got Salas right before the waiver trade deadline. Similar to Reed, Alderson pounced on a reliever with a good track record, had some closing experience, and was having a down year. In Salas’ 58 appearances with the Angels, he was 3-6 with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.260 WHIP. Now, he had been pitching better in August, but he still had a 3.48 ERA for the month. That’s a nice reliever to have, but that’s not the lockdown seventh inning reliever a team with World Series aspirations needs.
Well, like Reed the year before, Salas has become a better pitcher with the Mets. In his 14 appearances with the Mets, Salas has a sterling 1.88 ERA and a 0.628 WHIP. He has gone from striking out 7.2 batters per nine innings to striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings with the Mets. Salas is maintaining this high level with the Mets despite his throwing the fifth most innings in all of baseball in the month of September.
What is interesting bout Salas’ turnaround is that his stuff hasn’t changed all that much from the Angels to the Mets. He is getting slightly more movement, but it’s not so appreciable that he would become a completely different pitcher. He still rarely uses his slider, and he uses his changeup as an out pitch. Looking at these numbers, you would expect a regression. However, there is something different Salas is doing that is not indicated here that gives you hope this tremendous stretch is for real. He’s throwing strikes.
Salas went from walking 3.0 batters per nine innings this year with the Angels to not walking anyone with the Mets. The reason is Salas is throwing more strikes. He’s getting into the games, establishing his fastball quickly, and he is pounding the zone.
A large part of this is Salas making a concerted effort to throw more strikes. Another part of the reason is the difference between the Mets catchers and the Angels catchers. Again, Travis d’Arnaud has shown himself to be one of the better pitch framers in all of baseball. Rene Rivera is also having a better season in that respect than he has had in year’s past. As for the Angels catchers Carlos Perez and Jeff Bandy, they have not been good pitch framers at all this season. The difference between the two sets of catchers is a big one. It is the difference between falling behind early in the count allowing you to set up a batter for a strikeout to trying to get a pitch over so you don’t issue a free pass. It is the difference between a called strike three and a batter getting a free pass.
Overall, Salas has been the beneficiary of the Mets catchers exceptional pitch framing. The Mets have been the beneficiaries of Salas’ pitching. With him, the Mets have a pitcher that has allowed them to ease off the overworked Reed and Jeurys Familia down the stretch. With him, the Mets have a terrific 7-8-9 trio to close out important games.
Editor’s Note: this was first published on Mets Merized Online.
Look, even with the Mets remaining schedule, it was unrealistic to expect them to finish the year undefeated. They’re going to lose some games. Tonight was a game you’d expect with Sean Gilmartin, who hasn’t started a game in over a month, having to make the spot start because Noah Syndergaard has strep throat.
Things went worse than expected. Right off the bat, the Phillies went up 3-0 off a Maikel Franco three run homer. Gilmartin then loaded the bases, including an intentional walk to the right place hitter Jorge Alfaro. Things were going so poorly for Gilmartin tonight, he couldn’t escape the jam. Opposing pitcher Alec Asher would hit a two RBI single chasing Gilmartin from the game.
Terry Collins brought in Rafael Montero, who eventually got out of the jam. Of course with him being Montero, he’d make things a lot worse.
Under his watch, the Phillies lead would expand to 10-0. Given the state of the Mets bullpen, Collins did the smart thing and made Montero just get through it. Montero allowed five earned on 3.1 innings. Collins pulled him after 67 pitches.
The bright side about going down 10-0 is Collins was able to pull his starters and give them some time off. Collins gave his starters to put a run on the board, but they didn’t. With that, Collins pulled Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson. He replaced them with T.J. Rivera, Gavin Cecchini, Ty Kelly, and Brandon Nimmo.
Astutely, Collins also left in Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, and Michael Conforto. Each of these players need to get some reps if they are going to be the postseason contributors the Mets need them to be.
This is the group of players that would make the game some fun. While the starters couldn’t hit Asher the backups could.
Duda got the rally started by busting it out of the box and reaching on a Freddy Galvis error. After a d’Arnaud single, Franco would throw the ball away. Instead of a possible inning ending double play, Cecchini reached, and Duda scored.
After a Rivera single, Nimmo would hit a double scoring Cecchini. Kelly then hit a sac fly scoring Nimmo. Collins then pinch hit James Loney who ruined everything by making an out. Being fair, he did hit the ball hard down the line, but still, it’s Loney.
The 51s would then get two more in the sixth. Collins actually kept Conforto in against the left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez. Conforto got the rally started with a one out walk, and Duda followed with a single up the middle. After a d’Arnaud strikeout, Cecchini would get his first career hit with an RBI double to right-center. For some reason (oh right, he’s a bad third base coach), Tim Teufel held Duda who could’ve scored easily. Fortunately, it wouldn’t come back to bite the Mets as Rivera dribbled down the line for an RBI single. It’s a hard hit single in the box score.
In an attempt to not go to anyone who will pitch in the playoffs, Collins tried to push Jim Henderson to a second inning. Normally, this would a really bad move, but all things considered, it was understandable. When Henderson got in trouble, Collins went to Josh Smoker to try to get the Mets out of the jam.
With Cesar Hernandez reaching on a bunt single Smoker double clutched on, and A.J. Ellis swiping third when d’Arnaud tried to pick him off, it looked like the come back dream was dead. When Odubel Herrera lifted a fly ball to left, it was a foregone conclusion. Except it wasn’t. Kelly would unleash a parabolic throw home that would beat Ellis by a mile to keep the score at 10-6.
Kelly would then lead off the bottom of the seventh with a single. Alejandro De Aza pinch hit for Smoker and flied out to center. Eric Campbell then hit into an inning ending double play. It seemed as is the Mets best chance of winning the game was over. You would be wrong.
Phillies reliever Hector Neris would issue back-to-back one out walks to Duda and d’Arnaud. Cecchini would then hit his second career double, barely missing a home run, scoring Duda to make it 10-7. Finally, the Mets could bring the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately, Rivera flied out to shallow center, and Nimmo popped out.
At this point, you were expecting the Mets to come back in the ninth to win it.
Things got so insane Jay Bruce hit a pinch hit no doubt home run against Phillies reliever Michael Mariot. Campbell then came back from 0-2 and worked out an 11 pitch walk. That allowed the Mets to bring Conforto to the plate as the tying run with Duda behind him. Once Conforto walked, Duda came up as the go-ahead run. It was the first time all night, the Mets got the go-ahead run to the plate.
Duda popped out leaving it to d’Arnaud. Sadly, d’Arnaud hit a come backer to end the game. There was some slight disappointment with that. However, the young players made this a fun game to watch. Instead of losing 10-0, we got a sense of what the future may look like. It looks like a group of gritty, never say die, talented players.
Yes, the loss hurts, especially with the Cardinals having already won and the Giants winning. However, if you are going to lose, you might as well have your big guys get some rest and watch your young players thrive in the process.
Final Score: Phillies 10 – 51s 8 – Mets 0
Game Notes: With Cecchini, Nimmo, and Conforto playing, the Mets had three of Sandy Alderson’s first round draft picks in the same lineup. With the loss, the Nationals clinched the NL East.
With the Mets once again going with a Yoenis Cespedes–Alejandro De Aza–Curtis Granderson outfield, now seems like a good time to revisit Sandy Alderson’s deadline acquisitions. Can you name them? Good luck!
Danny Herrera, Francisco Rodriguez, Adrian Rosario, Zack Wheeler, Carlos Beltran, Kelly Shoppach, Pedro Beato, Eric Young, Collin McHugh, Kyle Johnson, Collin Cowgill, Dilson Herrera, John Buck, Marlon Byrd, Vic Black, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, John Gant, Robert Whalen, Tyler Clippard, Casey Meisner, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Fulmer, Luis Cessa, Eric O’Flaherty, Dawrin Frias, Addison Reed, Miller Diaz, Matt Koch, Akeel Morris, Jay Bruce, Jon Niese, Antonio Bastardo, Erik Manoah, Fernando Salas
Because this is Tim Tebow, the Mets signing him is going to elicit a number of strong reactions from all across the spectrum. However, once the smoke from that clears, what you have left is Tebow in a Mets minor league uniform. Ultimately it is a decision that makes sense.
Marketing and Gates
During the press conference, Sandy Alderson said the Tebow signing was a purely baseball driven move. Keep in mind, the Mets say a lot of things that prove to be untrue like their insistence they were not going to bring Jose Reyes back after being released by the Colorado Rockies. There was also the time that Sandy called Cespedes a “square peg” in discussing why the Mets were not interested in re-signing Cespedes. Reyes and Cespedes are both wearing Mets jerseys.
The fact of the matter is that while you can argue signing Tebow makes sense from a baseball standpoint (more on that in a minute) his ability to generate revenue cannot be dismissed.
When Tebow signed with the Eagles, he had the 15th best selling NFL jersey. That was for a guy out of the NFL for a year, and who was unlikely to make the roster. Fact is, Tebow sells. He is going to attract fans to the ballpark. What may seem like peanuts to you or I is a major revenue boost to a minor league affiliate, some of which the Mets own themselves.
Remember, minor league teams do everything they can do to get you to the ballpark with whacky promotions and on field events between innings. They do everything they can do to get you there short of giving you a turn at bat. In a world where the Mets have alienated the Buffalo Bisons and were sent to AAA purgatory in Las Vegas, the Tebow signing matters.
It could also generate revenue for the Mets. There are going to be more than a fair share of people who are online right now ordering Tebow jerseys at MLB.com or at Citi Field.
There is also the opportunity for the Mets, if they so chose, to sell Tebow merchandise to generate additional revenue. There will be a fair share of Tebow fans who may very well purchase a Kingsport Mets or Brooklyn Cyclones Tebow jersey.
Overall, while no one can quite quantify what the revenue boost will be, it is inarguable that Tebow will boost revenues for the Mets organization.
Generally speaking, Tebow is the type of person you would want to have around younger players.
Throughout his life, Tebow has built up a reputation as a good and devoutly religious person. He played at Florida and in the NFL, and there was never a scandal or even a cross word about him. Rather, Tebow was able to keep his nose clean (Mets pun intended), and he built a reputation as not only a good person, but also as a well spoken person. It’s why when his NFL career was seemingly over, ESPN came calling to ask him to be a commentator.
This is the type of person you want around impressionable young players who are not only trying to find their way into the majors, but also their way in life. Keep in mind that as an organization, you never falter when you add good people as they can have a positive effect on the others around them. There are too many prospects that fail not because of talent, but because of attitude and them losing their way off the field. Hopefully, someone like Tebow can help that type of player find their way either by speaking with them or by leading by example.
There’s another factor to Tebow’s presence. The guy is a winner. In college, Tebow won two National Championships and a Heisman Trophy. In 2011, Tebow took over a 1-4 football team, and he helped them win the AFC West. In his divisional round, he led the Broncos to an overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers throwing an 80 yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas. Ultimately, that was it for Tebow’s NFL career as he didn’t have the talent to stay in the league. However, despite his lack of talent, he was a winner everywhere he went. This is an asset every team and organization wants around.
He’s Giving Exposure to Other Teammates
One of the biggest fallacies surround Tebow’s signing is that he is going to cost another player a shot at playing in the majors. This simply isn’t true. Minor league rosters are full of organizational depth players that are signed so a minor league team can field a full roster. Also, keep in mind no one had this complaint when a 37 year old Mike Hessman was chasing the minor league home run record.
So no, Tebow is not going to cost the Mike Hessmans of the world their shot at making it to the major leagues. Quite to the contrary, Tebow may actually help other players get discovered.
As discussed above, Tebow is a draw meaning more people are going to go see his games. Ultimately, baseball people will want to go see Tebow, but they’re not going to watch just Tebow. They’re going to keep their eyes on everyone. When that happens, other players get additional exposure, and another organization could call the Mets and look to make a minor minor league deal to get the lesser known guy into their organization.
Tebow May Actually Be a Baseball Player
Fact is, no one yet knows what the Mets have in Tebow the baseball player. It is no different than when the Mets signed Wilmer Flores as a teenager out of Venezuela. You see a guy with some raw baseball tools, and you hope they make it to the major leagues.
Admittedly, Tebow is much older than Flores was. However, at 29 years old, Tebow is still young enough that he could go through the minors and eventually make the major leagues. After his showcase, he did show speed and some raw power. Given the right environment, he could develop into a fourth or a fifth outfielder on a major league team. If he doesn’t? No big deal. You eventually cut ties with him like you would any other prospect that didn’t pan out.
The Cespedes Factor
Right now, Yoenis Cespedes is the most important position player on the New York Mets. After this season, he is most likely going to opt out of his deal and become the top free agent available. When Cespedes does opt out, the Mets have to do everything they can do to keep him in Flushing for the long term.
Part of doing that is having a good relationship with Cespedes’ agents. No, it won’t lead to Cespedes turning down more money to play elsewhere, but it could give the Mets some advantages. For example, the Mets could be given the opportunity to match or beat any offer before Cespedes signs a deal. A good relationship with Cespedes’ agents could lead to the Mets striking quickly after the season and wrapping up Cespedes before he has an opportunity to hit the free agent market much in the way the Mets struck quickly with Mike Piazza after the 1998 season ended.
Overall, it is never a bad idea to have a good relationship with the agent who represents your most important pending free agent. Also, for what it’s worth Cespedes’ and Tebow’s agents also represent Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Eventually, the Mets are going to want to discuss an extension with each of those players. Again, it’ll help if the Mets and the agency are on good terms.
So yes, there are a number of reasons why people may not want Tebow. However, when taking everything into consideration, this was a good move for the Mets organization.
Overall, if you want to excuse the Mets performance due to injuries, there’s merit to the argument. However, don’t let that excuse away Terry Collins’ and Sandy Alderson’s performance. They chose to go with players have established they can’t do it instead of giving other players a legitimate opportunity.
On the Fourth of July, Matt Harvey made his last start of the season. Despite Harvey’s understandably poor performance, he left behind a gaping hole in the rotation the Mets didn’t fill.
First, the Mets went with Logan Verrett. In seven starts, Verrett went 0-3 with a 7.18 ERA and a 1.541 WHIP while only averaging five innings per start. He then lost his job to “fan favorite” Jon Niese who had been demoted to the bullpen by the Pirates before being traded to the Mets. In his lone start, Niese pitched 4.2 innings allowing four hits, four earned, and two walks with six strikeouts.
Combined, Verrett and Niese were 0-4 with a 7.30 ERA and a 1.524 WHIP. Last night, Seth Lugo walked off the mound after 6.2 terrific innings having only allowed seven hits, one run, one earned, and one walk with three strikeouts. He’d leave being two base runners that Jerry Blevins would allow to score.
Next up was Matt Reynolds, who not only helped fill-in for Wright, but also provide some days off for Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. Reynolds hit .211/.231/.382 with seven doubles, two homers, and 11 RBI.
Next up was Ty Kelly. As an infielder, Kelly is hitting .227/.292/.364 with one homer and three RBI.
Combined, Campbell, Reynolds, and Kelly have hit .191/.264/.315 with eight doubles, four homers, and 19 RBI. These are the options the Mets went with while making excuses why T.J. Rivera shouldn’t be called-up to the majors. When Rivera finally fot his shot, he hit .355/.344/.419 with two doubles and three RBI in nine games.
So yes, injuries have impacted the Mets. However, who they chose to replace those injured players had a similar negative impact. The Mets would’ve been much better with a healthy Harvey, Wright, and Duda. It’s possible they would’ve been over .500 and in the Wild Card race if they had given Lugo and Rivera a shot earlier.
Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera are supposed to come off the disabled list, but that doesn’t mean that the Mets are getting healthy for the stretch run. Not in the least. Seth Lugo will make his first career start as Steven Matz is going to miss tonight’s start due to his bone spurs. Sorry, he is going to miss the start due to shoulder discomfort.
Matz started feeling shoulder discomfort the day after his last start. Matz felt this shoulder discomfort after having gone 7.1 innings in his prior start and throwing 120 pitches over six innings the start before that. In his last start, Matz had all but scrapped his slider, and he started relying more on his curveball as a weapon to get batters out.
It is important to note the Mets pitched Matz because they believed there was no structural damage. As Sandy Alderson said, “Continuing to pitch will not cause any structural damage. We will continue to monitor his situation, but at this point it’s a function of if he can tolerate the discomfort while continuing to pitch.” (New York Post). It should also be noted that, according to Jon Heyman, the Mets talked Matz out of getting surgery to remove the bone spur. Instead, the Mets decided it was best to have their young lefty try to pitch through the pain and help the Mets win another World Series.
One thing that stood out in Matz’s last start was how everyone seemed to believe he turned a corner. Not just this season, but possibly his career. Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez talked a few times about how important it was for young players to learn the ability to pitch while being hurt, while having pain. As Darling would say, pitchers always have pain, and therefore, they need to learn how to deal with it if they are going to take that next step.
That begs the question – was Matz pitching through pain or was he pitching through injury? Matz is going to miss this start, and according to Terry Collins, he may very well miss his next start as well. What if Matz pitching with the bone spurs led to his shoulder injury? There will be many theories bandied about, but at the end of the day, no one knows quite for sure. However, what we do know is that the Mets best chances to win both this year and the years going forward is keeping their starting pitchers healthy. They haven’t been healthy this year.
For what it’s worth, after his last start, Matz didn’t feel there was an issue saying, “My arm’s been feeling great. I have no complaints there.” (Newsday). Except, now he does, and we don’t know why. The only thing we do know is that the Mets pressured him into pitching with an injury in his elbow, and now, they are sitting him with a shoulder injury.
With Sandy Alderson paying Terry Collins a visit in San Francisco, it makes you believe that the Terry Watch has begun. The Mets have fired nine managers in season, and if they were to fire Collins, that would make it a tenth. Can you name the nine managers fired in season? Good luck!
Wes Westrum, Salty Parker, Yogi Berra, Roy McMillan, Joe Frazier, Joe Torre, George Bamberger, Frank Howard, Davey Johnson, Bud Harrelson, Mike Cubbage, Jeff Torborg, Dallas Green, Bobby Valentine, Willie Randolph, Jerry Manuel
This past offseason Sandy Alderson and the Mets were heralded for building a deep roster that was better built to sustain a slate of injuries like the Mets fared last year. Here are how all the players Sandy Alderson acquired during the offseason have fared with the Mets this year:
So far, Walker has had a terrific 2015. In fact, he is on pace to have the best year of his eight year career. However, as the Mets offense has tailed off, so has Walker. Here are his monthly splits:
- April .307/.337/.625 with 9 homers and 19 RBI
- May .250/.333/.420 with 4 homers and 6 RBI
- June .224/.307/.289 with 1 homer and 6 RBI
Each and every month Walker has gone from one a career best year to stats worse than he has had over the course of his career.
Like his double play partner, Cabrera’s stats are masked by a hot April. In April, Cabrera hit .300/.364/.400. Since that time, Cabrera is only hitting .247/.307/.409. Worse yet, despite many raving about his defense, the advanced metrics disagree. So far, he has a -5 DRS and a -2.1 UZR.
He was supposed to be a platoon partner with Juan Lagares in center. Given his .165/.216/.242 batting line, it is a blessing that never came to be.
For the second straight year, Cespedes has been terrific for the Mets. His OBP and slugging are on pace to be the highest in his career. He’s also on pace for a career high 38 homers. Even with his poor defense in center field, he has been day in and day out the best player on the Mets.
Like every other backup catcher during the Sandy Alderson regime, Rivera has not hit. Initially, he was supposed to be a minor league depth, but after another Travis d’Arnaud injury, he was called-up to the majors. He has worked well with Mets pitchers this year, specificially Noah Syndergaard Mostly due to his defense, and also because of how poorly Kevin Plawecki has played, he has stayed in the majors when d’Arnaud came off the disabled list.
He was a minor league free agent that was never supposed to play in the majors. When he hit .148/.207/.259 in 14 games we found out why. Of course, he was pressed into action in part because the Mets found it wise to start with Eric Campbell on the 25 man roster instead of Ruben Tejada.
Somewhat surprisingly, at the age of 43, Colon is having his best season with the Mets. He’s 6-4 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.170 WHIP. He also did this:
After he went down last year, the Mets searched high and low for a lefty out of the pen. They never did quite find one. Blevins has been healthy this year, and he has been terrific going 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA. Only recently did he have a 21 appearance and 13 inning scoreless streak snapped.
He has been the worst reliever in the Mets bullpen with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.565 WHIP. Terry Collins has shoved him to the back of the bullpen and tries to avoid using him in high leverage situations at all costs.
The minor league free agent had a great Spring Training and made the Opening Day roster. He was having a terrific season until Collins pushed him too far for what he perceived to be a must-win game in April. His production tailed off, and now he is on the disabled list with an injured shoulder. This is the same shoulder that caused Henderson to miss all of the 2015 season after having had two surgeries on the joint.
Overall, looking over how these moves have panned out thus far, it does not appear that Sandy Alderson has had as good an offseason as many proclaimed him to have had. In fact, as the season progresses, it makes Alderson’s season look worse and worse. In order for the perception of Alderson’s offseason to change again, the underperforming players are going to have to improve. Time is growing shorter and shorter for that to happen.