Stephen Nogosek

Blue Jays Bomb Mets

Well, as Art Howe used to say, the Mets battled. Put another way, for a minute, this was a game.

In the battle of 99s, Hyun-Jin Ryu definitely outpitched Taijuan Walker even if neither pitcher got through five. Walker fell shorter.

For the second straight start out of the All-Star Break, Walker struggled. It started in the third when he allowed homers to George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez giving the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead.

Walker appeared to settle down in the fourth, but it all came crashing down in the fifth. This time, instead of starting with a Springer homer, it was a Springer single against the shift.

After the single, the Mets checked on him. Apparently, his non-throwing shoulder was bothering him after a swing. The Mets opted to keep him in the game. Perhaps, they shouldn’t have.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. followed by hitting a ball VERY hard for a double. Walker battled with Marcus Semien in an 11 pitch at-bat. Semien won by annihilating a pitch for a three run homer. Just like that, it was 6-0, and Walker was done.

For the Mets offense, the problems began with Gary Disarcina in the first. Again, he showed no ability to properly judge when to send runners.

Brandon Nimmo led off the first with a double, and he was there with two outs when James McCann singled to left. Disarcina had no business sending Nimmo, and yet, he did with Nimmo dead to rights to end the inning.

Beyond that, the Mets ability to score runs was somewhat of a story of two Springer plays. In the third, the Mets didn’t get a rally started because Springer absolutely robbed Nimmo of an extra base hit.

In the fifth, with one on, Brandon Drury appeared as a pinch hitter and drove one to right-center. The ball was in and out of Springer’s glove and was ruled a double.

Nimmo, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith each followed with singles to make it a ballgame again at 6-3. After the five straight hits, Ryu was pulled for Trevor Richards.

Richards stymied the rally by first striking out J.D. Davis. After McCann struck out the rally was over. While the Mets would amass some hits, their scoring was over too.

That wasn’t the case for the Blue Jays. Bo Bichette hit a monster homer off Drew Smith. In the ninth, the Blue Jays roughed up Anthony Banda for three more runs.

In the end, this was a 10-3 loss. If not for some mistakes, perhaps it would’ve been closer. It’s also possible the Mets win. Whatever the case, it all happened, and it’s just time to look towards the rubber game.

Game Notes: David Peterson went to the 60 day IL with a broken toe. Stephen Nogosek was put on the IL. Brandon Drury was recalled. Nick Tropeano was sent to Syracuse. Rich Hill was officially added to the roster and will start tomorrow.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Right At Home In Queen City

The New York Mets showed they had real fight in the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they would show even more in Cincinnati:

1. With all the injuries to the pitching staff, Marcus Stroman had the biggest start of the year. Those eight innings were a godsend.

2. The reason the Mets are in first isn’t just because of performances like we saw from Stroman. It’s because of performances like we saw with Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb. Even though they lost that game, it saved the pen.

3. Of course, Robert Stock, who is well past Plan Z, makes a spot start, and he leaves the game with an injury after an inning.

4. For over a month now, Dominic Smith has returned to form. He’s hitting for power, and he’s getting big hits.

5. James McCann has had his adjustment period, and he’s been better than the catcher they thought they were signing. Since May 29, he’s hitting .300/.361/.485.

6. People bemoan managers not making gut calls anymore, but Luis Rojas‘ bizarre decision to pinch hit McCann for Tomas Nido paid off to the tune of a go-ahead two run homer.

7. Actually, that wasn’t Rojas, it was Dave Jauss filling in for the suspended Rojas. Jauss certainly seemed to enjoy his time at the helm, and fans seemed to love his infectious personality.

8. We’re seeing it from Edwin Diaz again. There’s just too much Armando Benitez in him. Yes, that’s both a compliment and reason to worry.

9. Luis Guillorme might’ve had one tough inning defensively, but he’s been great all season. It’s long past time messing around and just let him play everyday.

10. Michael Conforto had a huge Two home run game in the comeback extra inning win. At the time, it seemed like he was taking off, but then he stopped hitting again.

11. That’s not too dissimilar from J.D. Davis who is one for his last 10 with five strikeouts.

12. This is just a reminder that unless the Mets move Jeff McNeil to third, they really need a third baseman at the trade deadline.

13. McNeil’s bat has awoken with him hitting .316/.395/.421 over the past few weeks.

14. The loss of Jose Peraza is going to hurt more than you expected at the beginning of the year. He’s been playing great defense, and he has a bevy of clutch hits.

15. People love to love situational hitting and small ball, but then they go berserk when the Mets are mashing homers.

16. Jesse Winker is a no-good evil Mets killer. Actually, he’s not evil. He has fun with the fans and the game. Still, the Mets should never even contemplate pitching to him in a big spot again.

17. In a big spot late in the game, you don’t know it Kevin Pillar is going to get a base hit, but he’s certainly going to tattoo the ball.

18. Gary Cohen deriding skyline chili was like Bud Harrelson punching Pete Rose combined with Al Leiter‘s one hitter. Put another way, Gare landed a punch, and there was no way Cincinnati could come back from it.

19. While we all call Taijuan Walker the best free agent signing, truth is, it might really be Aaron Loup.

20. The Mets certainly love playing in these band boxes in Cincinnati and Philadelphia because they continue to win games in these cities.

Game Recaps

Mets Refused To Lose

Mets Battled But Were Just Short

Marcus Stroman Came Up Huge

Marcus Stroman Comes Up Huge

It wasn’t just that Marcus Stroman pitched a great game. It was the fact New York Mets starters had amassed five innings combined over the three previous games.

The bullpen was beyond taxes and exhausted. Frankly, with the team leaning on players like Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb, they were well past the point of Plan B or C or well beyond.

With that backdrop, Stroman took the mound for the Mets in a day game the day after a tough loss. He brought his usual infectious energy, and he brought it on the mound.

Things got rolling after an inauspicious start. Stroman plunked the first batter he faced, but he quickly rebounded by getting Mets killer Jesse Winker to hit into a double play. After that, the Reds wouldn’t have a base runner until the third.

That single by Aristides Aquino was the only hit Stroman allowed over his eight shut out innings. From there, the Reds wouldn’t get another base runner until a Joey Votto two out walk in the seventh.

It’s somewhat of a surprise Stroman wasn’t given the opportunity for a complete game after throwing just 90 pitches, but that misses the point a bit. Stroman was great allowing just those two base runners while striking out seven.

Stroman would pick up the win as the Mets offense continued to hit for power and drive in runs. When Dominic Smith hit a second inning grand slam, the game was effectively over.

That was an inning after Jonathan Villar opened the scoring with a solo shot. We’d also see Luis Guillorme hit his second career homer in the fifth.

All told, this was a 7-0 victory for the Mets. At least for a day, the Mets offense was clicking. With an actual day off, Stroman gave the bullpen a long needed rest.

The Mets have more importantly righted the ship since Pittsburgh. Now, it’s time to make a move to lock things up as we head towards the trade deadline. .

Game Notes: After being designated for assignment, Billy McKinney was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Carlos Rincon.

Mets Battled But Were Just Short

Robert Stock was recalled, and he lasted all of one inning before leaving the game with an injury. That meant the New York Mets bullpen effectively needed to pitch the entire game.

They would do that, but it would feature pitchers like Stephen Nogosek (3.0 IP), Yennsy Diaz, and Geoff Hartlieb. Somehow, despite that, this was a close ballgame.

What did the Mets in this game more than anything with hitting with runners in scoring position. That problem reared it’s ugly head again with the Mets going 0-for-7 stranding nine runners.

On the bright side, Pete Alonso homered again, and Luis Guillorme had a pinch hit RBI double. Brandon Nimmo made a nice recovery on a Eugenio Suarez double to nail him at third.

On the downside, the Mets couldn’t take full advantage of their opportunities.

In the seventh, Jonathan Villar and Dominic Smith walked to start the inning. Villar would score from second on a Joey Votto missed catch error. However, the Mets couldn’t take full advantage as Jeff McNeil hit into an inning ending double play.

In the eighth. .Guillorme was stranded at second. Smith drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, but he wouldn’t advance.

In the end, it was a hard fought 4-3 loss. It shouldn’t have been this close, but the pitching held up. The only issue now is can it hold up again.

Game Notes: Jose Peraza landed on the IL with a broken ginger. Jerad Eickhoff was designated for assignment. J.D. Davis was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Mets Refused To Lose

After first inning homers by Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, the Mets lead 3-0. That lead didn’t last long.

It wasn’t Jerad Eickhoff‘s fault. Of the seven runs he allowed over his 3.2 innings, only two were earned. The four errors over the first two inning (somehow Luis Guillorme had three) didn’t help.

After all that, the 3-0 lead became a 7-3 deficit, and it looked like Pittsburgh all over again. In actuality, it was, but it was like the series finale.

Michael Conforto got the comeback started with a two run homer in the fourth.

Later in the inning, Tomas Nido drove in a run. Suddenly, just like that, the gap was narrowed to 7-6. That gap would be closed the following inning when Dominic Smith homered.

It was a brand new game, and it would stay tied into the seventh. Miguel Castro departed with one on and two out. He didn’t get out of the inning as J.D. Davis had his typical difficulty getting the ball out of his glove thereby costing the Mets of any chance to get an inning ending double play.

Seth Lugo came on, and he was getting pinched, and he had a tick off his velocity. This led to Jonathan India walking, and Jesse Winker doubling home the go-ahead run.

Josh Osich started the eighth, and he allowed a leadoff single to Conforto. Then, Dave Jauss, who was filling in for the suspended Luis Rojas, made a very curios decision.

At that point, Nido had a double and an RBI. James McCann had been scuffling amidst an 0-for-11 streak. Naturally, when Jauss tabbed McCann to pinch hit for Nido, he hit a go–ahead two run homer.

That shouldn’t been enough for a 9-8 win. The problem was for the first time in his career, Edwin Diaz would blow three straight saves.

Part of that was Diaz walking Kyle Farmer to start the inning. The other part was Jauss unnecessarily having Diaz pitch to Winker. Predictably, Winker hit the game tying single to tie the game at 9-9.

In extra innings, the took advantage of the dumb gimmick when McCann singled home the go-ahead run. Remarkably, the ball double tapped his bat on the singles. It was 10-9 heading into the bottom of the inning.

With all the bullpen usage, the Mets opted for Anthony Banda for the save. It didn’t go well. Two batters into the inning, there were runners on first and second with Tyler Naquin driving home the tying run.

After that, Jose Peraza made an impact against his former team starting the around the horn double play on Eugenio Suarez‘s grounder. He’d then get the put out on the ensuring Shogo Akiyama grounder to send the game to the 11th.

Brandon Nimmo led off the 11th putting runners at the corners. After a poor Alonso at-bat, McNeil delivered the go-ahead single giving the Mets an 11-10 lead.

For some reason, with Banda of all people up, the Mets put the contact play on. The end result was Nimmo getting nailed at home. Fortunately, the Mets weren’t done as Kevin Pillar and Conforto would go back-to-back.

That 15-10 lead was enough for even Banda. Although, he did test that allowing back-to-back one out singles pulling the Reds to within 15-11.

This led to Jauss bringing in Trevor May. Nick Castellanos gave one a ride, but it fell just short and into Conforto’s mitt. May then struck out Mike Freeman to end the game.

With that, May saved hid second in a row and third of the season. That’s a testament to the never give up mentality of this never give up clubhouse.

Game Notes: Mets are 177-0 all-time when scoring at least 12 runs. Johneshwy Fargas was designated for assignment. Travis Blankenhorn was optioned to Syracuse. Eickhoff and Stephen Nogosek were called up.

Rob Manfred Capitalizing On Global Pandemic To Kill Minor League Baseball

Let’s call it what it is. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball sought to kill the Major League draft not because of the COVID19 pandemic. No, he used it as a ruse to facilitate his plan to contract minor league baseball.

Remember, Baseball America first reported Manfred’s plans to contract 42 minor league teams in November. That plan included reducing the draft to 20 rounds, and it was going to be pushed back from June to August. There was also going to be a limit of 150-200 minor leaguers for each organization. Currently, there is no limit.

By and through these plans, short season ball is going to be effectively eliminated. In terms of the Mets, that means no more Kingsport Mets, and it means the Brooklyn Cyclones will have to pay a fee in the ballpark from $8 – $12 million dollars to move from the New York-Penn League to Double-A.

That also effectively puts the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in limbo. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The Rumble Ponies have already been pegged as one of the 42 teams subject to contraction. It is something they are fighting fiercely.

One of the key elements to having no short-season ball is to not accumulate a larger number of minor league players. With fewer minor leaguers, you do not have enough players for leagues like the Appalachian, Gulf Coast, New York-Penn, and other leagues. By moving the draft back to August, you no longer have the need to have a league for college and high school players to get some playing time in before the end of the year.

This is exactly what Major League Baseball is doing a year earlier, and they are using the COVID19 pandemic as an excuse. They’ll say they didn’t have an opportunity to scout players who are entering this year’s draft due to high school and collegiate years being shut down, but that’s a lie. Major League Baseball has been well aware of those players they were going to draft, and they have been scouting them for years.

What they missed is the opportunity to see them grow or regress. Keep in mind, they have no issue using their big money on those draft picks as the first five picks receive the largest bonuses. This was more about cost control by prorating bonuses paid to minor leaguers over a few years, by capping the bonuses given to now undrafted players, and by taking a step forward in eliminating a significant portion of the minor leagues.

To show you how short-sighted this plan is look at the New York Mets roster by where they were drafted:

Think about that for a second. Under this plan, the reigning two-time Cy Young award winner who has established himself as the best pitcher in baseball would not get drafted in 2020. Looking further, under Manfred’s master plan, Mike Piazza, one of two Mets in the Hall of Fame, would never have been drafted, and it is questionable if he ever would have received an opportunity due to the cap on minor league players.

Looking at this plan and agreement, there is one glaring omission. In addition to deferring payments to 2020 draftees, there was no provision in this agreement to pay minor league players their 2020 salary. On that note, both Rob Manfred and Tony Clark should be ashamed of themselves.

Really, this entire agreement is an embarassment for baseball. The sport needed better leadership than what they are providing, and worse yet, the commissioner is taking advantage of global pandemic to take away money and jobs from players and minor league employees.

Mets Things To Be Thankful For

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.

Brandon Nimmo – if someone created a stat measuring the quotient of talent and enthusiasm, he’d be the Mike Trout of the stat

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.

Stephen Nogosek – he is single-handedly trying to win the Addison Reed trade and the 2017 trade deadline for the Mets

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

Drew Smith – his coming back from Tommy John at some point in 2020 gives the Mets some hope for an improved bullpen.

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.

Mets Who May Soon Be Designated For Assignment

With the Mets protecting Andres Gimenez, Jordan Humphreys, Ali Sanchez, and Thomas Szapucki from the Rule 5 Draft, the 40 man roster is completely full. With the Mets needing to address a number of areas of this team, this means ever trade, waiver claim, and free agent signing is going to require a player coming off the 40 man roster.

Obviously, Drew Gagnon was the first casualty, but he is not going to be the last. Here is a look at some of the other players sitting on the bubble:

Tyler Bashlor

2019 MLB Stats: 0-3, 6.95 ERA, 24 G, 22.0 IP, 1.727 WHIP, 7.0 BB/9, 8.2 K/9

The success Bashlor has had in the minors has not translated at all to the majors. In fact, his control issues have only been magnified, and he has not been able to blow his fastball by anyone. This left him hittable, and he has been hit hard.

Sam Haggerty

2019 Stats: 11 G, 4 PA, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Haggerty was a September call-up with the Mets looking to add some late game speed as they were making a push for the Wild Card. With the current roster crunch, the Mets are too heavy on infielders. With Luis Guillorme firmly establishing himself as a Major League caliber utility player, Haggerty’s spot is all the more tenuous, and he’s very likely the first position player designated for assignment in the event a non-catcher is signed.

Chris Flexen

2019 Stats: 0-3, 6.59 ERA, 9 G, GS, 13.2 IP, 2.049 WHIP, 8.6 BB/9, 6.6 K/9

After struggling as a two pitch starter in his brief Major League appearances, Flexen was finally moved to the bullpen where he had fleeting success. You could argue with his stuff he could succeed next year in a bullpen role, but it’s very possible the Mets don’t see that happening as he was not called up last September. His being out of options may only accelerate a DFA decision.

Franklyn Kilome

2018 MiLB Stats: 4-9, 4.18 ERA, 26 GS, 140.0 IP, 1.343 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

Kilome is a promising prospect who has control issues and is coming off Tommy John surgery. So far, the Mets have indicated things are going well in his rehab, and he should be ready to pitch early in the 2019 season. That said, if he has a setback, he could be moved off the roster in short order.

Chris Mazza

2019 MLB Stats: 1-1, 5.51 ERA, 9 G, 16.1 IP, 1.592 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.1 K/9

Mazza was a 29 year old rookie who finally made his debut with the Mets last year. While he was on the September roster, he did not pitch in a meaningful game although he did pick up his first Major League win on the final game of the season.

Tomas Nido

2019 Stats: .191/.231/.316, 5 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI

Nido got his chance to be a defensive minded back-up, and he worked well with pitchers like Noah Syndergaard. Still, he effectively hit like a pitcher at the plate, and his framing numbers, albeit good, were not at the point where you could justify keeping him in the Majors with the way he hit. With him being out of options, and the Mets looking to upgrade, he has the most tenuous spot on the 4o man roster.

Stephen Nogosek

2019 Stats: 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 7 G, 6.2 IP, 2.100 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

Nogosek seemed to turn a corner getting his control under wraps in Syracuse, but those issues would resurface in his brief Major League appearances. There is promise in his arm, but his control issues may eventually make him expendable.

Corey Oswalt

2019 Stats: 0-1, 12.15 ERA, 2 G, 6.2 IP, 2.250 WHIP, 8.1 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

Oswalt was added to the 40 man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft after he was the 2017 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. Since that time, he has struggled, and it was partially the result of how the team left him sitting dormant for stretches and asking him to pitch on very short rest. He also dealt with some nagging injuries last year. In July and August, when he was healthy and finally giving a stretch of starts, he pitched well posting a 1.98 ERA in 10 starts which will probably save his spot on the 40 man roster. Still, with his not getting a September call-up, it’s not a guarantee.

Paul Sewald

2019 Stats: 1-1, 4.58 ERA, 17 G, SV, 19.2 IP, 1.068 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 10.1 K/9

Last year, Sewald was designated for assignment, and yet again, despite the odds, he pitched his way back to the Majors. In fact, at the end of the year, he was arguably the most reliable right-handed reliever in the Mets bullpen not named Seth Lugo. He has a low walk rate, good strikeout rate, and had a better FIP than ERA. One thing which may save him is his still having a Major League option remaining.

Daniel Zamora

2019 Stats: 0-1, 5.19 ERA, 17 G, 8.2 IP, 1.731 WHIP, 5.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Zamora is an interesting case. In his career, he has posted reverse splits, but he has a very good K/BB ratio against LHB flashing a wipeout slider. With MLB enacting rules effectively eliminating the LOOGY role, a pitcher like Zamora could actually have increased value, but for that to happen, he needs to harness himself better. Fortunately, he has options remaining.

Mickey Callaway Officially The Mets Scapegoat

There were plenty of reasons to fire Mickey Callaway if you wanted. In fact, his incident with Tim Healey in and of itself was grounds for firing. To the extent it was Callaway and not the front office making some of those curious moves, you certainly have further justification.

However, what you really can’t do is pin the Mets failures to make the postseason at Callaway’s lap, which is what firing him does. That was all the more the case when Brodie Van Wagenen was trying to spin the 2019 season as a positive, including but not limited to noting Edwin Diaz had 26 saves.

Before proceeding, some background is necessary here.

By and large, the Mets were seen as a third or fourth place team in the division with around 85 wins. For example, ZiPS predicted the Mets would finish the year 87-75 in a three way tie for second place in the division. Looking at the 2019 season, the Mets Pythagorean was 86-76, and it just so happened, that was the Mets final record as they finished in third place in the division.

To that extend, the Mets neither over nor underachieved. Rather, you could argue they performed as expected. Of course, lost in that was all that happened during the season.

Pete Alonso had a season greater than anyone could’ve imagined. Jeff McNeil was an All-Star. Amed Rosario figured things out in the second half. The Mets got more production from J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith than they could’ve reasonably expected.

Looking at that alone, you would say the Mets should’ve finished much better than they did. After all, when you are getting that level of production from your young players, the Mets should have been in the Braves position. They would fall far short of that.

There were many reasons for that. Brandon Nimmo would miss over three months of the season. Jed Lowrie would record no hits in only nine pinch hitting attempts. Robinson Cano had an injury plagued year, and when he did play he was not up to his typical standards. Aside from Seth Lugo, the bullpen was mainly a mess. Noah Syndergaard would struggle with the new ball and the new catcher.

The Syndergaard point brings up another interesting point. All the moves Van Wagenen made this offseason proved to be a downgrade from what was already on the team.

Ramos’ 1.4 fWAR was lower than Travis d’Arnaud‘s 1.6. Another interesting note is d’Arnaud would have a 107 OPS+ with the Rays, which is the same Ramos would have with the Mets the whole year. The Mets would cut d’Arnaud after one horrible game leaving the Mets with Tomas Nido as the backup for the full season. He’d have a -0.5 fWAR, which is lower than both d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki (0.2).

Cano’s 0.3 WAR was lower than McNeil’s 5.0. Worse yet, it was only 0.1 higher than Justin Dunn‘s 0.2 in four games with the Mariners this year. In fact, Dunn’s 0.2 WAR was much higher than Diaz’s -0.6. Things get worse when you consider Anthony Swarzak had a 0.0 WAR.

Long story short, the Mets would have been better off in 2019 if this trade was never made. What makes this all the more scary is this was supposed to be the year the Mets benefited most. Things are going to get much worse as Jarred Kelenic continues his way to the majors.

Now, people will want to say not all of Van Wagenen’s moves were bad with Davis being held up as the ideal. On that note, Davis was terrible in the field. Among players with at least 550 innings in left, his -11 DRS was the worst in the National League. Among third baseman with at least 200 innings, his -9 DRS was the third worst in all of baseball.

All told, Davis had a 1.0 WAR on the season. That’s just 0.2 higher than Wilmer Flores despite his having played 51 more games. All told, the Mets would have been better off keeping Flores over trading for Davis and signing Lowrie. It would have been a much better allocation of resources than what Van Wagenen actually did.

Beyond all of that, the Mets had players like Aaron Altherr, Keon Broxton, and Carlos Gomez serve as outfield depth. They’d cycle through relievers like Tim Peterson, Stephen Nogosek, Hector Santiago, Brooks Pounders, and the like all season rather than adding that one other arm the bullpen needed. That would make Jeurys Familia‘s season long struggles and Justin Wilson‘s needing to be limited all the worse.

In the end, you can see all the good mitigated against all the bad. In fact, you could argue given all that happened, the Mets probably could’ve been worse than their third place finish. This is all to say the Mets probably did about as well as could have been expected.

That brings us back to Callaway.

Given the Mets did not underachieve, you have a difficult basis to fire him. If you want to argue a better manager could have gotten more from this team, you certainly have a point. If that is the case, the Mets have to now go out and get that guy. That means you hire Joe Girardi or maybe Buck Showalter or Dusty Baker.

But make no mistake here. By firing Callaway, the Mets are essentially pinpointing him as the reason why this team missed the postseason. In the end, if the Mets are going to sell everyone Callaway was the problem, the next manager is going to have to take the Mets to the postseason. That is the bar which has now been set.

If the Mets don’t make the postseason, then we’ll know what we have known since Spring Training. The Mets weren’t good enough not because of their manager. No, they weren’t good enough because the Wilpons didn’t invest enough money into this team, and the General Manager they hired failed to assemble the roster good enough to back up the “Come get us!” hype.

Mets Should Be Considering Brach And Allen

While the Mets did not make a trade to improve their bullpen at the trade deadline, they did improve the bullpen by adding Marcus Stroman. Much like in 2015, the Mets are relying upon their starters going deep into games thereby requiring less from their bullpen. When that happens, a bullpen which only needs to use pitchers like Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, and Robert Gsellman suddenly looks very good.

Then, there is Friday night in Pittsburgh. With Steven Matz only lasting 3.2 innings, the Mets had to go to the part of the bullpen they have not had to in a while. It eventually caught up with the Mets with Tyler Bashlor allowing three earned over 1.1 innings putting a winnable game out of reach.

With the Mets cycling through relievers like Bashlor, Jacob Rhame (10 day IL), Chris Mazza, Stephen Nogosek, and others, it is clear the team is at least a bullpen arm short, and they are attempting to cycle through these pitchers until one sticks. So far, that hasn’t happened, and it is time for the Mets to make a real move. There are some free agent options available.

Brad Brach was recently designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs in a season where he has gone 4-3, 6.13 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, 6.4 BB/9, and a 10.2 K/9. After seeing his ERA jump in each of the two seasons since his 2016 All-Star season, Brach has put up a career worst 6.13 ERA and a 6.4 BB/9. Beyond the walk rate, opponents have been hitting the ball harder against him, and as a result, he has a high .375 BABIP.

Conversely, he also has the best K/9 since 2016 and the best K% since 2017. Baseball Savant indicates he is above league average in fastball velocity, K%, and xSLB. All told, he still has Major League talent. With Phil Regan and Mickey Callaway, it would be well worth signing a pitcher the Mets have actively pursued over the past few seasons.

Another veteran pitcher who is available as a free agent is Cody Allen. Allen is available because the Los Angeles Angles released him on June 18, and he was released by the Minnesota Twins on July 31 after pitching to a 3.38 ERA with a 1.500 WHIP and 1.40 K/BB for Triple-A Rochester.

The season had gotten off to a good start with Allen converting four save chances to begin the season. Since that time, he has an 8.10 ERA in the Majors. One of the possible reasons for his struggles is his losing fastball velocity. Another reason may be his over reliance on the curveball. While it has been a good pitch for him, he has thrown it with much more frequency with worse results. To be fair, the same can be said for his fastball. Ultimately, with Allen, this is now two straight down years for him, and really, this could just be a sign he is no longer the same pitcher he was for Cleveland.

The hope with Allen is reuniting with Callaway would pay off dividends. Similarly, there may be hope an Addison Reed return to New York would work out well for both sides.

Reed was released by the Twins before throwing a pitch for the team this year. In total, he only made five appearances for Triple-A Rochester during a rehab assignment for a left (non-pitching) thumb sprain. He was shelled over those five appearances allowing eight runs over 5.0 innings. Since being released on May 21, he has not signed with another team.

With Reed, he had not been the same pitcher with the Twins than he was with the Mets. There are a number of reasons including his losing about two MPH off of his fastball making him more hittable. Given the state of the Mets bullpen and depth, it may be well worth bringing him back to the organization on a minor league deal and seeing how he performs in Syracuse.

In the end, the Mets external options are extremely limited. Given how the internal options have performed, it may be well worth claiming Brach and having him work with Callaway and Regan. With his strikeout rate, he could well be worth a flyer. The same can be said with Reed on a minor league deal. Overall, with the performances from the pitchers the Mets are willing to pitch, these players present not just a current upgrade, but also more upside than what we’ve seen.