Stephen Nogosek

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Lose Cool And Opportunity

Well, it’s not the Mets unless they do something completely bizarre while also completely blowing an opportunity. Still, this seemed like a new one for the Mets:

1. First things first, we should be talking about Pete Alonso. He already broke Darryl Strawberry‘s rookie home run record, and he now has his sights set on the single season record shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. He also has his sights on the single season extra base hit mark (80) shared by Beltran and Howard Johnson.

2. What Alonso is doing this year is truly special, and more than anything he needs to be commended. He also needs to be commended for responding for a subpar May with a big June. More than the homers or anything else, that’s special.

3. Of course, we are not talking about Alonso because Mickey Callaway blew up at a Tim Healey of Newsday, and Jason Vargas challenged him to a fight while needing to be held back by Carlos Gomez and an injured Noah Syndergaard.

4. Callaway completely and utterly overreacted to Healey, and as the manager, he can’t do that. There’s no excuses even if the media is out there gunning for his job. As for Vargas, well, it is good to see this team is willing to fight for him, but needing to be held back is taking it way too far.

5. After the incident, the media members took their rounds discussing the altercation. The most eye opening statements came from Mike Puma of the New York Post who said Callaway is a puppet just following orders, inclusive of the bullpen. He also said he thinks Callaway was trying to get fired.

6. On that front, it’s bizarre how the media believes Callaway is a puppet making no decisions, and yet, they want him fired, and they’re not pursuing the answers to the questions they want answered. As a fan, we don’t know anything because it’s not at all being reported.

7. With respect to the blown game, Seth Lugo was pushed too far. He needed to be pulled after the 20 pitch seventh. He didn’t have it, and you got a clean inning out of him. Going beyond that was too greedy. Normally, this is where you criticize Callaway, but after Puma’s comments, who knows anymore?

8. On the bullpen, Brooks Pounders, Chris Flexen, Wilmer Font, and Stephen Nogosek combined to pitch eight scoreless innings in the series. That is a huge accomplishment, especially with the Cubs having the fourth best offense in the National League.

9. While you may want to attribute some of this to Phil Regan, as well as Edwin Diaz‘s clean inning, it would be surprising if this was all because of his working with the staff over a few days and not just things Dave Eiland had been working on with them.

10. With respect to Eiland and Chuck Hernandez, they join Travis d’Arnaud and Keon Broxton as scapegoats for an ill conceived roster. We will see how much further the scapegoating goes as the season progresses. What makes the scapegoating even worse was Brodie Van Wagenen’s refusal to accept any personal responsibility for the failures of the team. That’s callow especially when you’re firing two people.

11. One of the interesting tidbits which emerged after Eiland’s firing was how the pitching staff was frustrated with Wilson Ramos. The pitch framing stats shows part of the reason. You also see it when he seemingly doesn’t even bother on some passed balls and wild pitches. If he’s going to be this way behind the plate, he needs to hit much more than he is.

12. While respect to Zack Wheeler, this is the time of the year he typically turns things around. July is his second best month of his career, and his second half ERA is more than a full run lower than his first half ERA. With the way things are going, it seems like the has time to really raise his trade value.

13. Going back to Diaz, we already know how he’s used it dictated by the front office. Once again Callaway was left holding the bag while the reporters did not ask the specific question whether he was allowed to use Diaz for more than four outs. If you think Callaway is a puppet, the questions need to be asked accordingly.

14. Too much was made of Sunday’s lineup. Players need days off, and Cole Hamels was going. In addition to that, the Mets had Jacob deGrom. You can fly with the defense first lineup in these situations, especially if the team is just going to blow the lead in his starts anyway.

15. Jeff McNeil continues to show just how valuable he is. He played three positions well, hit a homer, and he deked Anthony Rizzo into a TOOBLAN to get Lugo out of a jam. This guy is a real baseball player who is not getting nearly enough attention.

16. The fact McNeil and Michael Conforto were not in the top 20 in outfield voting was a really bad job by Mets fans. On the topic of Conforto, he is as unappreciated a player as there is in baseball and really among this fanbase.

17. Todd Frazier went from a .164/.179/.291 batting line to a .267/.357/.453 batting line with a 1.3 WAR. That is a remarkable turnaround, and it is one of the few things which has kept this team (barely) afloat.

18. With respect to Frazier his throwing his bat in disgust on a homer shows how much the ball is juiced as well as what happens when the ball is blowing out in Wrigley.

19. It’s funny how completely in disarray the Mets have been before and after Sandy Alderson. Say what you want about Sandy, but he was able to control message, deflect attention, and he was able to make the Mets seem like a well run organization. Now that he’s gone, the team looks like a Mickey Mouse operation all over again.

20. The real problem with this team is Jeff Wilpon. Instead of calls for Callaway’s head, we need to have more and more articles and media attention criticizing him. If the attention is on Callaway for following orders, all you’re doing is throwing jabs at Jeff’s designated punching bag.

20/20 Hindsight: Braves End Mets Season

The Mets went to Atlanta with an opportunity to make a statement, and they did. It was just the wrong one:

1. The Mets needed to address their bullpen, defense, and depth. Brodie Van Wagenen completely failed in his efforts.

2. The bullpen has been the biggest culprit this year. What makes it all the more depressing is Anthony Swarzak has been better this year than Edwin Diaz. It gets better when you realize Swarzak is now a Brave pitching well against his former team.

3. The Mets followed a season with the second worst defense in the National League with the worst this year. There’s being a horrible shifting team, and there is also having players like J.D. Davis way out of position in left field.

4. On the topic of Davis, Gary Disarcina‘s send of him was inexplicably bad. It was the latest in bad decisions he’s made there. When you combine that with how horribly the infield has been shifted and his inability to help Amed Rosario improve defensively, you realize he’s been a bad coach for two years now. Really bad.

5. The defense killed Zack Wheeler‘s and Steven Matz‘s starts, but that was not the only reason. Both pitchers needed to be better in their starts. They needed to pick up their defense. They didn’t, and they unraveled and lost. Their failures are as much on them as the defense.

6. For Wheeler, this follows his career splits. His Junes are always terrible. He then rebounds to have a great second half. The problem for the Mets is his following this pattern is taking them out of contention, and it’s also not letting him build up trade value for when they have to sell him a month from now.

7. As bad as they were, Jacob deGrom is back and once again pitching to a Cy Young level. Sadly, he can only pitch once every five days.

8. You get a sense of how bad things are when Mickey Callaway felt compelled to use Robert Gsellman to handle the ninth after deGrom’s start. Essentially, Callaway said he didn’t want one of his other relievers tacking on runs to his starter and ruining the good feeling that start would’ve had on his ace and the club.

9. It’s funny. That seemed like the perfect opportunity to use Stephen Nogosek to break him in easily. That said, as fans we’re never privy to the internal dynamics of a clubhouse and wanting to build up your players.

10. Nogosek and Daniel Zamora showed they are not answers to what has been ailing the bullpen. Instead, this was the team shifting deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s something to keep in mind when they previously passed on Craig Kimbrel and still have yet to sign Cody Allen.

11. That said, Chris Flexen showed us something. When he entered that game, the Braves had a real chance to put it out of reach. He stepped up and pitched two scoreless innings. In what was a lost series, he emerged as a potential bright spot.

12. Michael Conforto has been great lately with a 10 game hitting streak and a hit in 15 of the 17 games this month. In addition to his good defense in right field, he is easily the most underappreciated player on this roster.

13. After a bad May, Pete Alonso has picked it back up in June. He’s been a monster at the plate. It will be very interesting to see how this continues to play out this season.

14. Why isn’t Jeff McNeil playing in center? Juan Lagares hasn’t been good. Neither has Carlos Gomez. Really, McNeil can’t be worse and making him the everyday center fielder would allow the team to get Dominic Smith into the lineup everyday. Sure, Smith in left won’t help the defense, but he’s a better option than Davis out there.

15. For all the talk about Adeiny Hechavarria needing to play over Rosario, if you look, he’s hitting like Hechavarria again with him hitting .176/.222/.176 over the last two weeks and a .241/.276/.434 batting line overall. If you’re going to go down like this as a team, shouldn’t you be looking at Luis Guillorme in this role?

16. Both Brandon Nimmo and Justin Wilson have been shut down after the team’s repeated efforts to try to get them to play through their injuries. You really have to question how the Mets continue making this mistake with their players. It takes an extra level of a complete lack of self awareness and examination to repeatedly make the same mistake.

17. While this is a very down time for the Mets and being a Mets fan, just remember this team still has a young core, and they have been better than anyone could’ve hoped. While the hope for 2019 is fading fast (if not completely gone), there is real hope for 2020.

18. We could talk about the division being unofficially being out of reach and the Mets needing to focus on the Wild Card, but that’s only fooling ourselves. It’s time to sell. That said, if the Mets sweep the Cubs, I’ll probably talk myself into this team being a competitor. With Walker Lockett starting things off for the Mets, the chances of that happening are remote.

19. The worst place in baseball to be is inbetween being a competitor and a bad team. The Mets were in that position in 2002, and they made a horrendous trade with the Rockies trading Jason Bay as part of a package for Steve Reed. A few years later, we’d see it happen with the Scott Kazmir/Victor Zambrano trade. With Brodie Van Wagenen’s hubris, another awful deal like this is a real danger.

20. If Brodie Van Wagenen did nothing this offseason but keep what was here, the Mets would still be a fourth place team, but instead they would’ve been one with payroll flexibility and a farm system on the cusp of being the best in the game.

Don’t Blame J.D. Davis, Blame Brodie Van Wagenen

The Mets didn’t lose this game because of J.D. Davis. Even though he was a central figure in the loss, you can’t blame him. Not in the least. And yet, he was a central figure to all that went wrong.

This game was lost on the sixth inning. In the top half, he’d get the rally started with a single off Braves starter Max Fried. He was on second when Wilson Ramos hit a single to right, and he was the one chugging home on an all time bad send by Gary Disarcina.

Davis did what he could do when really there was nothing he could do. Instead of bases loaded one out with Amed Rosario, who had hit a game tying RBI ground rule double in his previous at-bat, there were now two outs. The Mets still had a chance there, but Rosario struck out.

In the bottom of the inning, Davis would strike again. Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a routine fly ball which absolutely should have been caught. The problem is Davis is not a left fielder. He doesn’t belong out there. However, because of the complete lack of depth built by Brodie Van Wagenen, there was Davis playing a position he should not have been playing.

It was a rally started because Davis can’t play the position he was requested to play. However, it wasn’t Davis who melted down on the mound.

Up until that point, Steven Matz was pitching well. He only allowed two earned over the first five, and he had pitched four consecutive scoreless innings since the two run first. He dealt with some adversity, and he got through it.

Unfortunately, when that ball dropped in front of Davis, he was noticeably upset. It harkened back to the times when Matz had been called not mentally tough. He then allowed a two run homer to Josh Donaldson which effectively ended the game.

Matz would not get another out, but he’d allow another run. He’d depart leaving Ozzie Albies in scoring position. Chris Flexen entered the game. To his credit, Albies did not score, and he’d also pitch a scoreless seventh. In that seventh, he made Dansby Swanson look ridiculous on a strikeout.

But, it was too little too late. Stephen Nogosek made his Major League debut in the eighth. He’d get into trouble, and Daniel Zamora couldn’t bail him out allowing a two RBI double to Nick Markakis.

As if things weren’t bad enough, Anthony Swarzak, a reliever traded away by Van Wagenen, pitched 1.1 scoreless allowing just a hit. As bad as that was, with the loss, the Mets dropped to fourth place.

deGrom, Alonso, Conforto Lead Charge Blowing Out Braves

If you’re going to call a team meeting and shake things up, you do it on the day Jacob deGrom pitches. After all, at a minimum, you know you’re getting a very well pitched game.

But it’s more than that. This Mets team had continued to fight despite gut wrench loss after gut wrenching loss. All they needed was some sort of spark to put it all together. Tonight, they got it in the form of deGrom, Pete Alonso, and Michael Conforto.

Even Mets killer Julio Teheran couldn’t stop this team tonight.

Alonso’s first inning double off Teheran went for naught, but you wouldn’t say the same of his third inning double. That one would plate Jeff McNeil. Conforto would follow with a double of his own. These were part of a four run inning and six doubles hit by the Mets on the night.

At 4-0 in the third, the game was effectively over because deGrom was great. Cy Young caliber deGrom great. Through eight, he’d shut out the Braves while allowing three hits and striking out 10.

Things were so good for deGrom and the Mets, deGrom had five plate appearances, and he’d have one of the six Mets doubles.

Alonso had hit first career four hit game, and he’d walk twice putting him on base safely SIX times. Three of his hits went for extra bases including another mammoth homer:

He wasn’t the other one to hit a big homer on the night. We’d also see Conforto and McNeil collect homers.

In addition to those three All Star caliber Mets, Todd Frazier knocked in a couple of runs including a bases loaded walk. Robinson Cano had an RBI double. Every starter had a hit, and the Mets returned the favor from yesterday with their own blowout.

The only downside was deGrom couldn’t finish off the shutout. Of course, it was Freddie Freeman who ruined it with a homer. A Josh Donaldson homer pulled the Braves to within 10-2, and it chased deGrom after 8.1 innings.

For some reason, Robert Gsellman was the guy picked to mop this up. He did the job, and suddenly, even if for a night, the Mets season was still alive.

Game Notes: Jeurys Familia was placed on the IL, and Drew Gagnon was designated for assignment. In their place, Stephen Nogosek and Daniel Zamora were called up to help fix the beleaguered bullpen.

Jeurys Familia Trade Was Predictably Awful

Last year, the Mets traded Addison Reed, statistically the best reliever on the market for a trio of right-handed relief prospects in Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.

Bautista has a 12.46 ERA in five Major League appearances, and he has a 5.08 ERA in the minors.

Callahan had a 9.72 ERA in seven appearances for Las Vegas before going down with season ending shoulder surgery.

Nogosek has a 5.49 ERA with a 6.8 BB/9.

It is just one year, but the pieces received in exchange for Reed last year are actually worse than you could have imagined.  What makes that all the worse is the return for Reed was deemed underwhelming at the time of the trade.

This is important to note because as noted by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets had the audacity to liken the return they received from the Oakland Athletics for Jeurys Familia to what they received from the Boston Red Sox for Reed.

With that, you don’t need to go searching out for an analysis from a scouting outlet, reporter, or talking head.  The Mets themselves are telling you they got a terrible return for not just their biggest trade piece, but also for the top reliever remaining on the trade market.

But don’t take it from the Mets, take it from Keith Law’s scathing review in his ESPN Insider piece on the topic:

If the New York Mets are just going to trade their most valuable major league trade assets for salary relief, rather than try to improve the club, then it’s time for MLB to step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team, just as the league did with Frank McCourt and the Dodgers.  Trading Jeurys Familia for two fringe-at-best prospects is not how any team, regardless of payroll level, should operate in this environment.  For a franchise that operates in the largest market in the league to do this — and do so ten days before the trade deadline rather than waiting for someone to offer a legitimate return — is embarrassing for the Mets and Major League Baseball as a whole.

What makes this all the more maddening is the Mets have recently been quite public about how they are now in “excellent financial health” and that this time, they would be willing to eat salary to improve their return in a trade.

The very first chance they go to do it, they proved they were lying.  Sure, they can go and spin it any way they want, but plain and simple, the Mets were lying.

Remember, reports on Friday were the Mets were on the verge of completing a trade with the Athletics, and then there was a stall.  As reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the money, not the return, was the issue.  In fact, the reports were the holdup was there was another team more willing to take on more of Familia’s salary.

NOT another team jumping in with a better prospect haul.  No, another team willing to pay more of Familia’s salary.  The end result was the small market Athletics taking on all of Familia’s salary.

You have to look long and hard for a person who like the trade it prompted former General Manager and writer for The Athletic, Jim Bowden to write, “The return they got from Oakland was so light, I had to make calls and texts around both leagues to see if I was missing anything. I couldn’t get a single unbiased team to support the return the Mets got.”

That return was Bobby Wahl, William Toffey, and $1 million in international bonus pool money.

Wahl is yet another one of the Mets newfound hard throwing right-handed relief prospects.  He’s putting up really good numbers in Triple-A (albeit with scary peripherals), and like Matt Harvey, he’s a pitcher with TOS.

Toffey, well, he’s been described anywhere from a fringe prospect to a future bench player.  Oh, and as Law noted, “I know [Toffey’s] father and J.P. Riccardi, one part of the Mets’ interm GM structure, are friends, but I don’t know if that was a factor in the deal.”

Naturally, John Ricco would come out and say it was Riccardi who ran point on the deal with the Athletics.  Of course, this happened a day later because apparently one of the three GMs the Mets have had a previously scheduled engagement.

Think about that for a second.  The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and one of your GMs, the guy who is front and center with the media, has a previously scheduled engagement.  Seriously?

So, basically, if you take the Mets at face value, he wasn’t around when the deal went down.  But that’s fine because it was Riccardi who “ran point” on the trade because of his relationship with the Athletics.

Taking the Mets at face value, Riccardi made this deal, and yet, the former GM could not speak with the media because they needed the guy who has never been a GM and who has ducked the media in the past to be the point man with the media to speak on a deal he had no part (or very little part) in making.

And just when you didn’t think it could get any better, the Mets are hyping the international bonus pool money and what Omar Minaya can do with it.  Being fair, seeing how he signed Familia for $100,000, that’s a reason to like the deal.

So, in the end, we have the Mets coaxing the Athletics to eat more of Familia’s salary rather than get a better return, one of the GMs obtaining his friend’s son in a lackluster return, one of the selling points being how one of the GMs could use the international bonus money, and the one guy who has nothing to do with the deal or how it will be utilized being the guy who answers questions about the trade and the return.  Furthermore, the same front office is comparing the deal to a trade which has so far blown up in their faces.

Under normal circumstances, you would say this is display of complete and utter incompetence, and no organization would want to be embarrassed publicly in this fashion.

However, this is the Mets team run by the Wilpons.  As a result, this is just business as usual for what has become a complete and utter mess of an organization.

Ultimately, if you want a succinct analysis of the Mets trading Familia, it’s shame on the Mets and the Wilpons for continuing to operate their team in this fashion.

 

 

Sell? Mets Have Nothing To Sell!

With the way things are going with the New York Mets, it is becoming increasingly clear this team will be in position to sell at the trade deadline.  The question is what in the world do the Mets have to sell.

Well, the biggest asset the Mets have right now is Jacob deGrom.  If he was ever truly available, you would have 29 teams lining up to give you their best prospects.  The problem with that is, you could assume the Mets will not deal with either the Yankees or the Nationals.  With the Yankees, you are taking one deep farm system off the table, and that is assuming the Yankees would part with their top prospects in a trade with the Mets.

Overall, based on recent comments from Sandy Alderson, it does not appear the Mets are trading deGrom anytime soon, which is a relief because Sandy really does poor work at the trade deadline.  He’s much better working deals in the offseason.

So when looking at players to trade, you obviously begin with guys on the last year of their deals.  Well, the Mets don’t have much to offer there:

Jerry Blevins – the LOOGY has a 5.28 ERA, 1.761 WHIP, and a 6.5 BB/9.  Worse than that, left-handed batters are hitting .351/.415/.514 off of him.

Jose Bautista – When he was released, the Mets were seemingly the only team who called him, and it’s hard to imagine teams giving up much for a second division bench player with a .366 SLG.

Asdrubal Cabrera – A year after the Mets found no takers for him, they may be in the same position after having him play through injuries.  Since April 24th, he’s hitting .233/.269/.423 while playing the worst defensive second base in the majors (-10 DRS).

Jeurys Familia – If he returns from the DL healthy, Familia has real value because he has once again shown himself to be a good reliever and closer.  The issue with him is Sandy Alderson flipped Addison Reed, who was healthier and having a better year, for an uninspiring group of Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.

Devin Mesoraco – Briefly, Mesoraco was a revelation showing power and helping buttress a struggling Mets lineup.  The hot streak has worn off, and he’s hitting .107 with no extra base hits over his last nine games.

AJ Ramos – Ramos is contemplating season ending shoulder surgery.  That would take him off the table.  The same can be said for his 6.41 ERA.

Jose Reyes – He’s the worst player in all of baseball this year; one the Mets are reportedly asking to retire.

Alright, so the Mets don’t have much in terms of players on expiring deals.  Maybe, the team can look at players whose deals are expiring after the 2019 season:

Todd Frazier – The normally durable Frazier landed on the DL, and he has not been the power hitter he has been in his career.  The positives are he’s kept a solid walk rate while playing a solid third base.  Overall, he’s the type of player who is of more value to you than to what you would get back in a deal.

Jason Vargas – He’s now a five inning pitcher with a 7.39 ERA.

Zack Wheeler – Wheeler is an interesting case because he has shown promise, but he is still prone to the occasional hiccups.  He’s probably not due for a large arbitration increase from his $1.8 million, which should be enticing for a Mets team who probably doesn’t want to spend $8 million to replace him with next year’s Vargas.

So, right now, looking at the expiring deals by the end of the 2019 season, the Mets assets basically amount to Familia and maybe Frazier and Wheeler.  Arguably, Frazier and Wheeler are not bringing back the type of players who would be key pieces of a rebuild.  To that extent, you at least have to question why you would move them on a Mets team with a fairly solid core which includes Brandon Nimmo, Michael ConfortoSeth LugoRobert Gsellman, Noah Syndergaard, and deGrom.

And really, past that group, there isn’t much else available for the Mets to trade to justify blowing it up.

Jay Bruce is injured, and he already looks like he’s in a group with Jason Bay and Vince Coleman for the worst free agent mistake in Mets history.  Yoenis Cespedes is both injury prone and has a no trade deal, which will likely limit their ability to move him.

Really, what the Mets need to be doing is some soul searching.

Much like they did when they extended David Wright, the team needs to assess whether players like deGrom and Syndergaard will be here when promising young players like Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Justin Dunn, Mark Vientos, and Jarred Kelenic are here to open the Mets next World Series window.

If they’re not, you’re doing the franchise a complete disservice by hanging in this if everything breaks right structure.  Really, things only broke right in 2015, and the team has been ill designed every since.

Blow it up now, or start spending money on players like Manny Machado this offseaosn.  If you’re not doing that, this Mets team isn’t going anywhere for at least the next decade.

Mets Lose Sad Home Run Derby To Diamondbacks

While any game where the Mets are trying to snap out of this horrendous June skid has its own level of interest, this game had some extra intrigue because the Mets were facing one of the two pitchers they traded in 2015 to obtain Addison Reed.

Well, on this night, it seemed as if the Diamondbacks got a much better return for Reed than the Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, Stephen Nogosek triumvirate the Mets received from the Red Sox at last year’s trade deadline.

Things look good real early for the Mets as Brandon Nimmo hit a first inning homer off of Matt Koch.  After that, Koch allowed just a fifth inning single to Dominic Smith that went nowhere before he allowed a Michael Conforto solo shot in the sixth inning.

All told, Koch pitched six innings allowing the two homers while walking one and striking out five.  To be fair, with the way the Mets offense is going, we can’t tell if Koch is the one who got away or if a pitcher with a 4.20 ERA entering the game looked good because any semi-competent pitcher can shut down the Mets right now.

Now, the aforementioned Conforto homer pulled the Mets to within 3-2.  They were behind because Jason Vargas wasn’t great . . . again.

After getting a lead, he surrendered it almost immediately in the second on a rally started by his first issuing a leadoff walk to John Ryan Murphy and then hitting David Peralta.  Now, Peralta made no effort to get out of the way of the ball, a point Mickey Callaway seemed to be chirping about from the dugout, but there’s not point being bitter, right?

Anyway, Murphy came around and scored on an ensuing Ketel Marte single.

Vargas got out of that jam, but he allowed solo shots to Paul Goldschmidt and Peralta in consecutive innings to put the Mets down 3-1.

After his five innings, you could honestly say Vargas kept the Mets in the game.  That’s a real accomplishment from where he was to start the season.

By the seventh, the Mets were down a run, and they were still in this game.  After 1.2 fine innings from Hansel Robles, Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face a stretch of left-handed Diamondback batters starting with Daniel Descalso

With two outs and an inherited runner from Robles, Blevins first allowed Descalso to single, and then he hit the left-handed hitting Jon Jay to load the bases.This led to Callaway bringing in Sewald, who is struggling every bit as much as Vargas and Blevins.  He proceeded to walk Nick Ahmed to force home a run.

Think about that.  Robles was the Mets best reliever of the night, and he is the one charged with a run after Blevins’ and Sewald’s inept performances.

Speaking of poor performances, after Amed Rosario hit a solo shot in the eighth inning to pull the Mets within 4-3, Jacob Rhame came in and allowed solo homers to Peralta and Jake Lamb.  At that point, the Mets were down 6-3, and they were well past their quota for runs in a game.

Ultimately, this game amounted to the pitchers Sandy Alderson brought in to help this team completely failing, but sure, let’s all blame Callaway for this team’s performance.

Game Notes: Tim Peterson was sent down to make room for new Met Chris Beck on the roster.  Beck did not make an appearance.

2018 Mets Bullpen Auditions In Full Swing

With rosters expanding now, the Mets have called up Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan up to the majors. 

With Rhame being the return for Curtis Granderson and Callahan being one of the three prospects netted in exchange for Addison Reed, we get a glimpse of how well Sandy Alderson did at the trade deadline. We also get a glimpse into what exactly the 2018 bullpen could look like. 

So far, it’s safe to say Jerry BlevinsJeurys Familia, and AJ Ramos will be in the Mets bullpen next year. Most likely, but not as definitely, Hansel Robles will be in the bullpen as well. Assuming no moves, and based on Alderson’s tenure with the Mets, it’s a fairly safe assumption, there are three open spots in the bullpen. 

To a certain extent, Paul Sewald and Chasen Bradford have stated their case. 

Sewald has shown versatility in the pen coming on for multiple innings and being a late inning reliever brought on to get the Mets out of a jam. He’s pitched 57.0 innings in 47 appearances.  Overall, he’s 0-5 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, and a 9.8 K/9. 

Bradford has terrific in his first 17 appearances before his clunker against the Reds. Even with that poor performance, he’s still 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, and a 7.9 K/9. 

With they way they’ve pitched, you could certainly envision Sewald and/or Bradford being on the Opening Day roster. However, digging deeper, neither pitcher really fits the mold of what Alderson envisions from this bullpen. 

It’s clear Alderson now wants to see power arm after power arm after power arm coming out of the Mets bullpen. 

Rhame throws 98. Callahan can also touch 98. The other two pieces from the Reed trade Stephen Nogosek and Gerson Bautista throw even harder. For his part Bautista is routinely hitting triple digits. 

Clearly, these big arms are a sign of what Alderson wants in this Mets bullpen. The first wave will be Rhame and Callahan.  More will certainly follow. 

Hopefully, now, Alderson had found that right formula. Each and every year he’s been the Mets GM he’s started the year with bad bullpens, and he had to fix them on the fly. 

Hopefully, now, he has the arms in place. If he does, the Mets chances of returning to the postseason are much better. 

Assessing The Addison Reed Trade

In assessing how the Mets fared in the Addison Reed trade, let’s start with the obvious.  The fact Sandy Alderson was able to turn Miller Diaz and Matt Koch into a great run with Reed plus Red Sox prospects Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan, and Gerson Bautista was absolutely phenomenal.  No, it doesn’t rank up there with Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, but nevertheless, it was a coup.

Still, the question remains whether Sandy got a good return for the 2017 version of Reed.

Let’s start with this.  Since joining the Mets, Reed has been one of the best and more versatile relievers in baseball.  He has deftly handed the seventh, eighth, and ninth inning.  His 142.0 innings pitched since joining the Mets is fifth in baseball, and his 2.09 ERA over that stretch is great. Intuitively, you may not believe Reed is a top reliever in baseball, but he was.  From 2016 to the present, Reed posted the sixth best fWAR in the majors (3.5).  Aside from Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller, who we all know are otherworldly right now, Reed is as good, if not better than any reliever in baseball.

Looking over the list of potential free agents, Reed could have arguably been considered one of if not the best reliever on the free agent market.  With that being the case, it was likely worth gambling and giving him the qualifying offer putting his value at a second round pick or the equivalent.

Looking at the Mets haul, they most likely received that.  The trio of arms all throw in the upper 90s.  With respect to Nogosek and Bautista, they both have a good but inconsistent slider, and there are some control issues.  If they figure it out, and realistically speaking, they are in the right organization to do so, the Mets have two potential late inning relievers.  With Callahan, they have a near MLB ready reliever who can generate a high number of strikeouts and could be ready to help the Mets as soon as next year.  To that end, the Mets certainly did receive a second round equivalent.

Where the debate becomes dicey is when you ask the question whether the Mets could have done better.

For starters, there is no real way of knowing that.  We are not privy to the general back-and-forth between general mangers.  We also don’t know if there was a theoretical better offer the Mets rejected because they liked the players the Red Sox offered more.

We should also consider, last year, the Yankees seemingly built an entire farm system (hyperbole) by trading Miller and Aroldis Chapman.  Each trade fetched the Yankees two of their trade partners’ top five prospects.  In terms of Gleyber Torres, it got them one of the best prospects in baseball.

With Reed arguably being the top reliever on the market with at least eight teams interested, it makes you question how the Mets walk out of a deal without an organization’s top five prospect.  The counter-argument is the prices this year are not the same as they were last year.  In the end, we have no idea if this was the proverbial best trade, and the reviews on the trade have been all over the place.

Ultimately, I find the trade underwhelming, and I do question the Mets motives a bit.  If you look at their recent moves, they have all been bullpen driven.  Lucas Duda was moved for Drew Smith.  The team went out and obtained AJ Ramos.  Now, the Mets got an arguably low return for a trio of fireball throwing relievers.  I’m not so sure the Mets approached this trade deadline with the intent on rebuilding the minor league system as much as they were intent on rebuilding their bullpen.

In the end, if the Mets goal was really to build the bullpen in the trade market, they have to back that up by spending real money in the free agent market to back up their decisions.  If they don’t do this, they may not have only lost out on the possibility on maximizing their returns for the pieces they did move, they may also miss out on the 2018 postseason.

No One Wanted The Mets Position Players

Entering the trade deadline, the Mets had eight players who were impending free agents and another two who could be free agents if the Mets declined their 2018 options.  Despite the Mets looking to get something in return for each of these prospects, they walked away from the trade deadline having made just two deals:

Lucas Duda for Rays minor league reliever Drew Smith

Addison Reed for Red Sox minor league relievers Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan, and Gerson Bautista

If you are going to question why the Mets didn’t do more look no further than their 48-55 record.  Simply put, the teams in contention didn’t have much interest in the players who have led the Mets from potential World Series contenders to also-rans.

Sure, there will be people who point out it was not a robust market for position players.  That’s true, but it did not prevent the White Sox from moving Melky Cabrera, the Athletics from moving Adam Rosales, or for that matter, the Mets from moving Duda.  This brings about the question over why teams weren’t interested in the Mets pieces.  For each player, there is a different answer:

RF/1B Jay Bruce

2017 Stats: .263/.326/.523, 19 2B, 27 HR, 72 RBI, 2.3 WAR

When assessing why teams aren’t interested in Bruce, one thing to keep in mind is team’s don’t covet home runs much in the same fashion they once did.  Remember, Chris Carter went from winning the National League home run title last year to being a non-tendered free agent with little interest on the free agent market.  So, yes, the 27 homers are good, but they do not completely define a player’s value.

Keep in mind, Bruce is no longer considered a good defensive player.  While, it should be noted his 8 DRS and 2.6 UZR are good defensive numbers, it is coming off a season where he posted a -11 DRS and a -8.9 UZR.  To the eyes, Bruce does look a step slower in right.

As for the rest of the value, Bruce has shown himself to be a first half player who tapers off in the second half.  To that end, he hit .250/.281/.500 in July.  Potentially, this could be the beginning of a prolonged slump like we saw Bruce have with the Mets last year.  Certainly, other teams noticed that as well, and they might be scared off by how poorly he performed when asked to change teams mid-season.

INF Asdrubal Cabrera

2017 Stats: .260/.339/.404, 15 2B, 9 HR, 30 RBI, SB, -0.4 WAR

In 2017, Cabrera got hurt, and when he was asked to move off shortstop, a position where he has posted a -9 DRS and -4.7 UZR, he balked.  First, he demanded his option be picked-up, then he demanded a trade.  Things like that don’t go over well when you have shown yourself to have a lack of range at three infield positions, and you are not hitting well at the plate.

OF Curtis Granderson

2017 Stats: .224/.330/.446, 20 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB

To a certain extent, the relative lack of interest in Granderson is surprising.  After a slow and painful start, he has been a much better player since June 1st hitting .258/.404/.558.  He’s also accepted a role on the bench without being an issue in the clubhouse.  As a pinch hitter this year, he is hitting .267/.421/.533.  If your team has an injury, you know he can capably fill in at three outfield positions.  He’s also a tremendous clubhouse presence.  Ultimately, this tells us teams were scared off by his age and his $15 million contract.

INF Jose Reyes

2017 Stats: .226/.289/.387, 17 2B, 6 3B, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 13 SB, -1.0 WAR

Let’s start with the obvious.  Adding Reyes to your team is a potential PR nightmare.  The Cubs thought it worthwhile for Aroldis Chapman, but it is likely no one is going down that road with a below replacement level player.  As noted, the main issue is Reyes has been bad this year.  Even with the recent surge, he still hasn’t been great this year, and there was zero interest even before he was hit on the hand.

C Rene Rivera

2017 Stats: .232/.277/.374, 4 2B, 6 HR, 20 RBI

Rivera’s reputation as a defensive catcher and pitching whisperer has taken a bit of a hit this year.  Whatever the reason, he did not have the same touch with pitchers like Robert Gsellman like he did last year.  Also, while he is throwing out more base runners, he has taken a significant step back as a pitch framer.  Overall, he still has a good defensive reputation and is a good backup catcher, but he hasn’t excelled in the areas where he excelled in year’s past.

2B Neil Walker

2017 Stats: .266/.347/.455, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 0.9 WAR

If Walker stayed healthy, there may have been some semblance of a trade market for him.  When he has played he has hit, but he has only played in 63 games as a result of a partially torn left hamstring.  This was a year after he had season ending back surgery.  Between the injury history and his $17.2 million salary, the lack of trade interest in him is certainly understandable.

Looking at the above, it is understandable why there was at best tepid interest in the Mets trade pieces.  That is why they are still on the Mets roster.  However, this does not preclude an August trade.  To that end, Mets fans were all disappointed the Mets weren’t able to moved Marlon Byrd at the 2013 non-waiver deadline.  Twenty-seven days later, Byrd was traded with John Buck for Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

Hopefully, not moving these players is just a temporary set-back.  Hopefully, the failure to move these players does not prevent the Mets from calling up Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario to the majors.