Seth Lugo

Mets Should Sign Dylan Bundy

The New York Mets are still looking to build their bullpen, and the one spot they haven’t quite addressed is the one now vacated by Trevor Williams. Williams held down the role once held by Seth Lugo. Like Williams, Lugo left via free agency, and the Mets really do not have a long man in their bullpen.

In many ways, the long man role is one that needs to be manufactured. it is for a starter who can’t quite start but needs to be good enough to fill-in that role on necessity. It also needs to be a reliever who is not quite dominant because those dominant relievers are better suited and more needed in the later innings of games.

Often times, the long man is just found out of necessity. For example, Williams had no options remaining. He was put in the bullpen where he was terrific. We have seen the Mets thrive with long men options in the past like Williams, Pat Mahomes, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin.

This is a role which should not go to  David Peterson or Tylor Megill, each of whom the Mets should be developing. Rather, the Mets need to sign a free agent for this role, and surveying the landscape, it would seem Dylan Bundy is well suited for this role.

Bundy, 30, was once a big time prospect being selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 draft. Coincidentally, he would play as a rookie and young player under Buck Showalter, and like we see with Tommy Hunter and Mychal Givens, the Mets have liked bringing back some of Showalter’s old Orioles pitchers.

Looking at Bundy, his only good year as a starter was the pandemic shortened season of 2020. With a career 92 ERA+ and 4.68 FIP, it is really time to admit Bundy isn’t a viable starting pitcher in the leagues. That is moreso the case for a pitcher who has been at a 77 ERA+ and 5.00 FIP over the past two seasons.

Going to Baseball Savant, Bundy does a few things very well. First, he has excellent control. Second, he gets good spin on his fastball. Overall, he doesn’t walk batters, but when batters make contact, they really create damage.

Remember, by signing Bundy you’re not looking for a shutdown reliever. Rather, the goal is to find a reliever who can just eat innings. They need someone out there who can save the bullpen. A pitcher who doesn’t walk batters and is accustomed to pitch more than 1-2 innings is exactly who you want.

In his career, Bundy is at his best the first time through the lineup. The first time through he limits batters to a .239/.298/.432 batting line. That’s exactly what the Mets want. Rather, it’s what they need. They need a pitcher who can handle the first time through the order exceptionally well and who can eat innings to save the bullpen.

This is what Williams was. Of note, Jeremy Hefner worked well with Williams to adapt to this role. Chances are, he and Showalter can do the same with Bundy. As a result, the Mets should sign Bundy to take over the long reliever role.

Mets Last Postseason Run Distant Memory

When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.

While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:

  1. Curtis Granderson – retired
  2. David Wright – retired
  3. Daniel Murphy – retired
  4. Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
  5. Lucas Duda – retired
  6. Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
  7. Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
  8. Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
  9. Kelly Johnson – retired

That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.

As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.

When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.

When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.

In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David RobertsonOmar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.

So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.

Revisiting 2022 Bold Mets Predictions

Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:

1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.

While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.

2.  Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.

Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.

3.  Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.

See above.

4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.

Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.

5.  Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.

As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.

6.  Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.

Diaz was an All-Star.

7.  The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.

Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.

8.  Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.

It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.

9.  Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.

As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.

10.  Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.

Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.

11.  Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.

It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.

12.  Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.

Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.

13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.

For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.

14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.

Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.

15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.

With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.

16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.

Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.

17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.

This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.

18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.

Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.

19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.

Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.

20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.

Williams was a vital part of this team all season.

21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.

This did not happen.

22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.

The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.

23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.

His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.

24. So will Eric Chavez.

Neither has him.

25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.

This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.

26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.

He did not.

27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.

While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.

28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.

To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.

29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.

For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.

30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.

Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.

31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.

There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.

32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.

That did not happen.

33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.

Sadly, this was true.

34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.

It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.

35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.

This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.

36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.

Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.

37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.

There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.

38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.

We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.

39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.

Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.

40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.

Whether or not it was the right call, Showalter won, and it was close to being unanimous.

41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.

This one was actually true.

42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.

This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.

43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.

Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.

44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.

With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.

45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.

The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run away with the division.

46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.

The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.

47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.

It was a chilly reception.

48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.

49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.

Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.

50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.

Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.

51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.

This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.

52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.

True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.

53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).

True even as his team collapsed.

54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.

Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.

55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.

On April 29, the Co-No happened.

56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.

This likely will not happen.

57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.

There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.

58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.

MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.

59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.

It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.

60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.

To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.

Mets Should Re-Sign Seth Lugo

When it comes to re-signing free agents, fans (and teams) always seem to take a grass is greener approach. Case-in-point – There are actually New York Mets fans who actually want Carlos Rodón over Jacob deGrom.

Another example is the Mets apparently not being one of the teams pursuing Seth Lugo this offseason. That’s a mistake.

For years, Lugo was the Mets best reliever, and he might’ve need the best reliever in baseball. He was a versatile pitcher capable of filling any role in the bullpen, and his ability to give more than one inning made him a rarity.

Well, for many reasons, he was not that player this season. Certainly, part of it might’ve been because of his oldest son needed heart surgery while his wife was pregnant with another child who would be born during the season.

All of this takes a mental and physical toll. Lugo never made excuses, but he did struggle at the start of the year.

Whatever the reason, he had a slower start to the season. Before his second child was born, Lugo had a 3.81 ERA while blowing three saves.

After his second child was born, Lugo made 35 appearances. He was 2-1 with one save and 3.44 ERA while not blowing a lead. Before one bad September outing where he allowed three runs, Lugo had a 2.59 ERA from June 25 – September 19.

In other words, he was Lugo. In fact. He was spinning the ball like none other. He’d take that into the postseason.

In the Wild Card Series. Lugo made three scoreless appearances. It marked the first time in his career he pitched on three consecutive days.

That’s especially notable with Lugo because the Mets have been extremely reticent to pitch him consecutive days due to the torn UCL. It’s also part of the reason they permanently moved him to the bullpen.

When you strip it all down, Lugo has thrived in New York. He’s been a big game reliever who gave more than ever expected of him in a postseason series.

These attributes should never be discounted. That goes double for Lugo’s spin rates.

If Lugo was on any other team, this is the type of reliever you’d hope the Mets targeted. However, the Mets aren’t pursuing him. That’s a mistake, and it’s difficult to know why exactly they’re making this mistake.

Hopefully, the Mets soon come to their senses and bring back Lugo. He’s been a very good reliever and promises to continue being that for years to come.

Buck Needlessly Compromised Bullpen For Game 3

One of the reasons the New York Mets lost the 2015 World Series was Terry Collins bullpen usage. Ironically, Collins lost the Mets the World Series chasing a win.

In Game 3, the only game in the series the Mets would win, Collins used Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia . . . to protect a six run lead. SIX. RUN. LEAD.

Collins would later admit using Familia in Game 3 impacted his decision making in Game 4. Instead of Familia for six outs, Clippard started the eighth with the Mets up 3-2.

That proved the turning point in the series. After two one out walks, Familia entered, and that’s when Daniel Murphy booted the ball leading to the Mets loss.

The Mets losing Game 4 had its roots with Collins needlessly using his best relievers in Game 3. The Mets lost because they did way too much to try to win.

That may be exactly what Buck Showalter just did in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.

In the seventh inning of Game 2, Showalter brought in Edwin Díaz to help preserve the Mets 3-2 lead. You could understand the decision with the San Diego Padres about to turn over their batting order again.

Getting Díaz through the Padres best hitters, regardless of the inning, was an inspired decision. Use your best reliever against their best hitters. The Mets had to win the game, and that was the best way to do it.

What the problem with what Showalter did was executing the plan and showing an inability to be adaptable to the game situation.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets offense finally exploded. They’d put four runs on the board to increase the Mets lead to 7-2.

During the inning, Díaz had not pitched in over 40 minutes. Despite that, Showalter showed no adaptability to the situation, and he never got another reliever warming.

Admittedly, there’s was way too much hand-wringing over the time. Díaz historically warms quickly and does not like to overdo it with the warm-ups. In many ways, he’s uniquely suited to this situation.

The time gap wasn’t the issue. It was going back to Díaz with a FIVE RUN LEAD IN THE EIGHTH INNING.

By losing Game 1, the Mets put themselves in a bad spot. They had to do everything to win Game 2. Realistically speaking, they won Game 2 by going up five heading into the eighth.

You could almost excuse Showalter for using Díaz to start the eighth. By getting through the rest of the heart of the order, you stop the Padres before they can start.

However, it’s a five run lead. Díaz threw an additional nine pitches. The hope is it won’t impact his availability to get six outs in Game 3.

While his use of Díaz was questionable, his use of Adam Ottavino was short-sighted and potentially very costly. Again, the initial idea was arguably defensible, but the totality of the decision making was deeply flawed.

Díaz left with a runner on. Ottavino came in and got the last out to end the inning. At that point, he had thrown five pitches and would’ve been fully available for Game 3.

The Mets had a number of bullpen arms they could’ve turned to in the ninth. Each one of them would’ve been able to hold a five run lead. Instead, Showalter stuck with Ottavino.

Relievers getting up and down like that is always a risky proposition. With respect to Ottavino, he didn’t have it in the ninth.

He would plunk a batter and walk three forcing home a run. In the process, he threw 30 pitches raising his pitch count to 35.

This means Showalter took a fully rested Díaz and compromised how much he might be able to pitch in Game 3. He then took a fully rested Ottavino, and he made him effectively unavailable for Game 3.

As bad as that was, Showalter made it worse because at that point he had no other choice.

After Ottavino walked in a run, Josh Bell came to the plate as the tying run. At that point, Díaz is out of the game, and Ottavino had to leave the game.

Showalter had little other choice than to use Seth Lugo. That is because Showalter’s decision making helped put the Mets in a position where they had to pull out all the stops.

Lugo got the job done. He only needed four pitches to earn his first career postseason save.

Using Lugo there was very problematic, and it may very well make him unavailable for Game 3.

By now, every Mets fan knows Lugo has a torn UCL. He’s opted not to have it surgically repaired, and based on his pitching, he made the right move.

However, it came with some compromises. For years, the Mets would not use him on back-to-back days. On the rare times this happens, Lugo typically struggles with a .788 OPS against and a 4.16 ERA.

He extremely rarely pitches three games in a row. If he were to appear in Game 3, that is exactly what would happen.

Some may say this is making too big of a deal out of the appearance. After all, he only threw four pitches. That position is severely misplaced.

Remember, Lugo got up to warm up multiple times in the game. When Jacob deGrom was struggling in the fifth, Lugo was warming to enter.

This means Lugo warmed twice in the game. He might’ve only thrown four pitches in the game, but he threw 17 over two days. In his career, he very rarely pitches on consecutive days, and no one will consider using him three straight.

As a result, he is probably out of the Game 3 mid. Even if he’s not, he probably should be. That’s an astonishing development.

After the Mets four run rally in the seventh, they were on their way to an easy win with a fully rested bullpen for Game 3.

Somehow, Showalter turned that possibly preventing Díaz from getting six outs (or impacting his effectiveness in doing so), not having Ottavino, and based on five plus years of history, having Lugo unavailable.

Having that happen is a complete and utter failure by Showalter. The only hope is this will not matter or cost the Mets from protecting a Game 3 lead. If it does, Showalter and Showalter alone will be to blame.

Mets 2022 Projected Postseason Roster (Final)

There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.

With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:

CATCHERS (3)

Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.

INFIELDERS (5)

No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.

DH (2)

Marte’s and Darin Ruf‘s injuries basically guarantees Vientos’ spot. He won’t start with Álvarez likely to go against Blake Snell, but we may see him in a big pinch hitting spot.

STARTERS (5)

We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.

BULLPEN (8)

This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.

Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.

Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.

In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.

Mets Projected Postseason Roster

While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.

While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.

CATCHERS (2)

Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.

INFIELDERS (5)

There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.

OUTFIELDERS (3)

The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.

DH (1)

Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.

STARTERS (5)

We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.

BULLPEN (4)

There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.

With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.

POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE

If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.

Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.

For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.

Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.

RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE

As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.

Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.

Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.

If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.

To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.

Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.

Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.

 

 

Buck Showalter Needs To Be Better

Back in 2015, the New York Mets blew the World Series in large part due to Terry Collins. While time has somehow been more kind to Collins, fact is he is the main reason the Mets didn’t win the World Series.

Yes, Jeurys Familia blew three saves. Daniel Murphy made an error. David Wright fielded a ball he shouldn’t have while Lucas Duda threw it away. However, there were a series of just baffling and just flat out dumb decisions from Collins which led to these events. Really, these were all consequences of Collins’ horrific managing.

All of his errors have been explained in full here and other places. Ultimately, this is the worst case scenario for a team. You cannot have a manager and his poor decision making be the reason a team does not win a World Series.

We are starting to see signs Buck Showalter is probably cut from the same cloth as Collins. His recent decisions are an indication of that, and that would be very bad news for the Mets.

The Mets last game against the Milwaukee Brewers should have each and every Mets fan very nervous for the postseason. To set the stage, Starling Marte is on the IL, and Brandon Nimmo had to come out of the game with a quad injury. The Mets were trailing 1-0 heading into the seventh despite having base runners on in each and every inning.

Before we get into the pitching, he would leave a very clearly hobbled Jeff McNeil on the field. For one game, Showalter risked losing McNeil for the rest of the season and postseason. He did that and then managed his bullpen horrifically.

Some questioned letting Taijuan Walker start the inning. That is a decision which can be debated with some of the bullpen arms probably unavailable including Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo. After Walker stumbled, Collins went to David Peterson.

Now, Peterson is a starter who has struggled out of the bullpen. This was a big ask of him. Runners were on first and second with no outs and a run already in.

The thing is Peterson did his job. The Brewers gave up the out with a sacrifice bunt before Peterson struck out Christian Yelich. The Mets were one out away from getting out of the inning. That’s where Showalter made a number of flat out dumb decisions.

While you can understand the impetus not to want to pitch to Willy Adames, intentionally walking him to load the bases is a bad move because it gives Peterson, a pitcher who sometimes inexplicably loses command, no lee-way. However, as we found out, it wasn’t going to be Peterson.

After Craig Counsell pinch hit Mike Brosseau for Rowdy Tellez, Showalter went to Drew Smith. This is the same Smith who has not pitched since July 24. This is the same Smith who has been homer prone this year. Well, he would go up 0-2 in the count before giving up that grand slam.

Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t dumb. He is the guy who prepares and over prepares. He is the type of manager who likes to take control and set innings into motion. He’s not a bystander. Put another way, Showalter put that inning in motion with the intent of having Smith pitch to Brosseau.

He was prepared for that eventuality when he sent Walker out there to start the inning. He had that plan when he ordered the intentional walk of Adames. This is the match-up he wanted. He wanted it, and it blew up in his face.

Unfortunately, this is Showalter in big moments. It is David Cone for too long before Jack McDowell. It is Bobby Chouinard over Matt Mantei. It is literally anyone but Zack Britton. It’s been a problem in Showalter’s managerial career, and it is a big reason why his teams have only won one postseason series, and it’s why Showalter is still chasing that elusive World Series ring.

Right now, we’re seeing that same Showalter. If he really wants to win this time, and he has the roster capable of winning a World Series, he is finally going to have to adapt and change. If not, we may see moments like this again come this postseason with Mets fans dreaming of what might have been.

Buck Showalter Getting An Undeserved Pass

The defining moment of Buck Showalter’s managerial career was leaving Zack Britton in the bullpen during the winner-take-all 2017 American League Wild Card Game. That’s who Showalter always had been, and apparently, always will be.

Edwin Díaz had last pitched on September 1. Why? Because that’s the last time there was a save opportunity.

Technically, Diaz earned the hold as he was used in the eighth to pitch against the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup. After that, Showalter found no need to use Díaz.

Keep in mind, the Mets have played some close games. Well, they were close until the bullpen imploded. The end result is the Mets current 2-4 stretch seeing their NL East lead completely evaporate.

Showalter found reason to use Adam Ottavino three times over four days helping lead to a loss. He used Tommy Hunter three times over four days and four out of seven. That helped lead to two losses.

Joely Rodriguez managed to pitch three times since we last saw Diaz. He let up a big homer against the Marlins. We even saw Bryce Montes de Oca, who Showalter thought wise to try to push to two innings.

Since we last saw Díaz pitch, Showalter’s bullpen usage has been baffling. He found no time to use Diaz and instead did this:

  • Tommy Hunter – 3 G, 4.2 IP, 2 ER
  • Joely Rodriguez – 3 G, 2.1 IP, 2 ER
  • Bryce Montes de Oca, 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 ER
  • Adam Ottavino, 2 G, 2,0 IP, ER
  • Seth Lugo, 2 G, 3.0 IP, 0 ER
  • Mychal Givens, 2 G, 2.2 IP, 0 ER
  • Adonis Medina, G, 0.1 IP, 4 ER
  • Alex Claudio, G, 1.0 IP, 0 ER

Finally, in the loss to the Miami Marlins, Showalter finally used Diaz. At that point, it was too little too late.

The bullpen ERA was 5.89 between Diaz appearances. The Mets record was 2-4 over this stretch. The Mets lead has evaporated.

This is partially because that’s how Showalter led this team. Certainly, his bullpen management is a factor. Whatever you want to point to, and there’s plenty, it’s come with Showalter in charge.

This should serve as a reminder Showalter has been very poor in the postseason and has never won anything. Unless he finally learns a lesson about bullpen management and adapts, he may still hold this Mets team back from winning this year.

Mychal Givens A Problem

Realistically speaking, Mychal Givens shouldn’t be a real issue for the New York Mets or any team seeking to make a deep postseason run. After all, Givens wasn’t the Chicago Cubs closer, and he shared primary set-up duties.

Keep in mind, the Cubs are a very bad team. Even with the expanded postseason, they sold at the deadline. That made Givens available.

For a team looking to make a postseason run, Givens is nice depth. A nice dependable battle tested arm at the end of the bullpen. He’s the guy who grabs some earlier innings and can steal some late inning set-up spots with a slightly larger lead or when your main guys are tired.

If Givens falters, you should be able to shrug it off. To date, Givens has faltered. In seven appearances with the Mets, he’s 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA, and a 2.167 WHIP. He’s almost allowed as many runs with the Mets (9) as he had in 40 appearances with the Cubs (12).

Again, a team like the Mets should be in a spot to shrug this off and adjust accordingly. However, Givens was the Mets ONLY trading deadline bullpen acquisition. As such, the Mets actually need him to be more than he is.

Except, he hasn’t been. That’s made all the worse by the Mets uncertainty in their bridge to Edwin Díaz.

Adam Ottavino has been great but needs rest. Seth Lugo has been inching back to peak Lugo form, but he’s still uneven. Trevor May is still working his way back to game shape.

Ideally, that group would’ve made Givens a luxury and not a necessity. The Mets may still get there, but they’re not quite there yet.

That’s also before the Mets face any injuries. On that note, the Mets still don’t know if they’re getting anything at all from Drew Smith or Tylor Megill the rest of the season.

Givens was a boom or bust gamble going bust. There’s still time for him and for the rest of the bullpen. The thing is after the trade deadline you’d think the Mets would’ve been in a far better spot than this.