If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.
They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.
That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.
1999 NLDS Game 1: NYM @ ARI: Edgardo Alfonzo (2nd of game, 2nd of postseason, 2nd of postseason career, grand slam) off Bobby Chouinard pic.twitter.com/ODym4T3BTK— Mets Home Run a Day (@MetsHRADay) February 26, 2020
There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.
The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.
The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.
As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.
Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.
That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.
That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.
This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.
We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.
Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.
Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.
In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.
Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.
But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.
Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.
Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.
You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.
Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.
Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Mychal Givens
- Tommy Hunter
- Joey Lucchesi
- Tylor Megill
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
- Trevor Williams
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.
After three straight embarrassing and inexplicable losses, the New York Mets seem back on track. They swept the doubleheader and destroyed the Pittsburgh Pirates in the process.
That was not the only good news. In fact, the Mets got plenty of good news.
Then, there’s the Max Scherzer news. In many ways, the reaction is based on your perspective:
The irony of Scherzer saying it’s not week-to-week is he’s on the 15 day IL. That’s literally two weeks and a day. By nature, that’s weeks.
Admittedly, that’s semantics. What truly matters is Svherzer is good to go after those two weeks. As with Carlos Carrasco, he’s not really going to be given a shot to make a rehab start.
Backdating it to September 4, Scherzer can return September 19. The Mets would have 14 games remaining. With a five man rotation and wanting to save billets for the postseason, that’ll mean Scherzer had two starts remaining.
That’s not a lot of time, so Scherzer will have to make do. He needs to use those starts do get fully up to speed because the Mets World Seriew hope now hinge on that right arm.
Chris Bassitt had stepped up in the second half. Conversely, Walker and Carrasco have been nicked up and have struggled. The Mets can’t go with them both in the postseason.
The offense has come and gone. That may happen in the postseason (as it usually does. That puts the onus on the starters.
The starters are up to the task, but only if they’re healthy and ready to go. Right now, they’re not. We need to see in two weeks.
If Scherzer is Scherzer, this Mets team could be the World Series favorites. If not, it may be one-and-done. We will find out soon.
If you want to crystallize everything going wrong with the New York Mets right now, that paragraph does it. The Mets can’t outscore the Pirates, and in a crucial spot, they have a rookie who had all of 0.2 innings to his career to the mound.
The Mets biggest need at the trade deadline was the bullpen. Billy Eppler walked away with only Mychal Givens. It was inexcusable then, and it’s all the more now.
When you look at this Mets team, they’re just imploding, and nothing is working. In many ways, this is why Showalter was hired. The Mets wanted a season leader to ensure things like this would never be an issue.
For whatever reason, Showalter hasn’t been that calming presence. We see a lot of that with Pete Alonso’s struggles and noticeable frustration on the field.
There’s a lot of panic everywhere. We saw that with Carlos Carrasco getting a start without so much as throwing one rehab inning in the minors.
A lot of this is outside Showalter’s control much like with Willie Randolph in 2007. In 2007, Randolph got a huge chunk of the blame. So far, Showalter is dodging that criticism even with his recent very questionable bullpen management.
Showalter isn’t the reason Max Scherzer left his last start early with a re-aggravated left side. He’s not the reason Luis Guillorme and Brett Baty went down. He’s not the reason Starling Marte got hit in the hand and had to leave the game.
Whatever the case, the Mets lost three in a row against teams on pace to lose over 100 games. Worse yet, each of those losses were by six runs. More than anything, that’s completely unacceptable.
It’s one thing to slump. It happens to everyone. Everyone loses to bad teams. However, there is no excuse to being non-competitive against flat out horrid teams.
Right now, the Mets are imploding. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, and they’re still in first place (for now). All it takes, is a big start or hit to turn things around and get the Mets back on track.
Fortunately, Jacob deGrom takes the mound in the doubleheader. After that, we shall see.
With Carrasco, it was very bad news. He has an oblique strain which takes about a month to heal. Depending on how he heals, his season may be in jeopardy.
With respect to Walker, it’s the second time in three starts he’s had an issue. This time, it was back spasms. At this point, there’s no telling when he can return.
Losing both pitchers hurts as both have been very good for the Mets this year. They’ve been the mainstays and stabilizing forces for a rotation which has dealt with more than their fair share of injuries.
That is exactly how we know the Mets rotation will be fine in their absence.
Carrasco and Walker stepping up were part of the reason. That was just part of it as the Mets needed pitchers to step up in the vacated rotation spots.
First and foremost, David Peterson has been in-and-out of the rotation due to a myriad of pitcher injuries. In his 14 starts, he’s 5-2 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, and a 10.5 K/9 while averaging five innings per start.
In sum, Peterson has shown himself to be a more than capable fifth starter with real upside. While he’s a step back from Carrasco and Walker, he’s a credible Major League starter who has flashes of brilliance.
Trevor Williams has served just about every role for the Mets. That includes emergency starter, spot starter, and fifth starter.
Wiliiams has been much better in the bullpen. As a starter, he’s pitched at least five innings just three times in eight starts. He has a 4.67 ERA as a starter with a drastically reduced strikeout rate.
That said, his last start was his best. On July 7, he shutout the Miami Marlins over seven innings while limiting them to just two hits. Ultimately, he has the ability to have a good to great start.
There’s also the Tylor Megill factor. The Mets had announced he was moving to the bullpen, but that was before these most recent injuries.
Overall, the Mets have credible starters to jump into Carrasco’s and Walker’s spots. We know the Mets have pitchers who can pitch well. In the end, that’s why there’s no reason to panic.
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.
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.
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.
Walker somehow got out of the first allowing “just” four runs. In the second, you saw he was off. It was 6-0 with runners at the corners and no outs. Doubleheader or not, Walker had to come out of the game.
That meant the New York Mets unsung hero Trevor Williams came into the game. He did what he always does. He gave the Mets innings.
En route to giving up the inherited runs, he got the Mets out of the inning. He’d load the bases in the third, but he wiggled his way out of the jam.
After throwing just one inning over two weeks, we was summoned to take the ball and do the thankless task of just eating innings. When all was said and done, Williams did not allow a run over four innings.
Williams answered the call and got the job done just like he has all season.
When the Mets were dealing with injuries to Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tylor Megill, he jumped back into the rotation. He gave the Mets eight credible starts including a seven scoreless against the Miami Marlins.
As a reliever, he has a 1.29 ERA over 12 appearances and 28 innings pitched. Of the 12 appearances, eight of them are multiple innings. Of those eight, five were 3+ innings.
His work in the rotation has meant credible starts helping keep the Mets in first place. His relief work has saved the bullpen and allowed their big arms to pitch another day.
Just look at what happened in this last game. The Mets fought their way back into the game. This forced the Braves to use all of their high leverage relievers.
The Mets didn’t have to use any, really just Williams. This is what makes Williams so vital to this team, and what he does goes beyond the numbers.
Williams is a reason the rotation has been great. After all, he was a part of it. He’s a reason the bullpen has been great. After all, he’s been a part of it. On the later, Diaz only needing to pitch in high leverage situations is part of the reason, Díaz is having an all-time great season.
Like with Pat Mahomes in 1999, Darren Oliver in 2006, and Sean Gilmartin in 2015, Williams is that long man who is a vital part of the team. Eating these innings while pitching very well makes the team great.
In the aforementioned three seasons, the Mets were a great team who went deep in the postseason. Williams will be a reason why the Mets do it again this season.
The New York Mets thought their offense needing addressing at the trade deadline, and they set out to do it. Apparently, that was really their objective.
It’s undeniable Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf, and Daniel Vogelbach make this a more potent offensive team. When you look at the high prospect cost, it appeared the Mets were not going to let prospects stand in the way of a World Series.
So, then, how does Billy Eppler and the Mets explain only coming away with Mychal Givens to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline?
Keep in mind, Colin Holderman was having a better season than Givens. Yes, Givens is having a good season, and he has a good track record, but overall, Holderman was better leaving the Mets in a worse spot than when they entered the trade deadline.
This is where you wonder what Billy Eppler was thinking.
He traded Holderman because of a purported robust relief market. Then, on the trade deadline, he admits it wasn’t all that robust, and that the prices were too high.
This doesn’t pass the smell test.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs for prospect Ben Brown, a soon to be Rule 5 eligible pitcher who has not reached Double-A. Sure, he’s the Phillies seventh best prospect, but their system is one of the very worst in the game.
The Minnesota Twins made an intra-division trade to acquire Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers. The cost was pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. He’s a 24 year old former sixth round pick with a 7.17 ERA in Double-A.
Baltimore Orioles All-Star closer Jorge López went to the Twins as well. Admittedly, it took quite a haul to get him. Really, he’s just about the only reliever who came at a steep cost.
Raisel Iglesias was basically a salary dump to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets could’ve thought outside the box to bring Noah Syndergaard back to recreate Game 5 of the NLDS. That Mickey Moniak led return was laughable.
Drew Smith and Tylor Megill may need a miracle to be 100% in time for the postseason, and Megill has to show he can pitch in the pen. David Peterson has shown he couldn’t, but now, he needs to be in that mix again.
That’s hope, and hope is not a plan. Whatever the case, that’s what the Mets are left with after the trade deadline. They just have to hope it’s enough.
That’s a dereliction of duty by Eppler, and that goes double when you consider his excuses in trading Holderman. What makes this all the worse is the relatively low prices at the deadline, and the Mets overpaying for bats.
In the end, we just have to hope the Mets have enough. If not, they’ll forever lament not going all-in as their trades indicated they were. They’ll be left wondering why they didn’t try to do all they could to win the World Series and why they gave up so much just to fall short.
We hear it all the time, especially from the New York Mets in the Wilpon Error (Era). When so-and-so comes off the IL, it’s like a trade deadline acquisition.
For the Wilpons, it was their way of excusing away having players in the lineup or rotation who had no business being there. For that matter, they might’ve had no business being in the majors.
That’s really how we know how things are different under Steve Cohen. The replacements for Jacob deGrom were definitively not at deGrom’s level, but they were Major League caliber pitchers.
Those are each credible MLB starters. Certainly, they can be a part of a regular MLB rotation. They proved as much this season.
That’s why deGrom coming back from the IL actually feels like he’s a trade deadline acquisition. He’s coming back as an upgrade and not as the Mets finally getting an MLB caliber player after weeks and months without one.
Assuredly, that feeling is magnified by deGrom returning on the actual day of the trade deadline.
If deGrom is deGrom, this Mets team got better at the deadline than any other team. That goes double when you consider what deGrom has done in the postseason.
After all, that’s what this is really about – it’s about winning the World Series. Sure, even after the day is done, this roster won’t be perfect. However, they will be built to win a World Series.
No team is topping deGrom and Max Scherzer atop the rotation. Some may think they’re close, but they’re not equals. The Mets have a massive advantage here.
After that, the Mets can roll out Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker in the matter they see fit. They each could be a two in most rotations, even good ones, and with the Mets they slot in three through five.
On the trade deadline, Jacob deGrom returns to the rotation. When healthy, he’s the best pitcher in baseball. He makes the Mets rotation the best in baseball. Ultimately, he makes this Mets team the toughest to beat in the postseason.
With Edwin Díaz, the New York Mets have the best closer in baseball. As for the rest of the bullpen, well, that’s a question mark right now.
The expectation is the Mets will address this at the trade deadline. At first blush, there’s a lot which needs addressing. However, when you dig deeper, maybe the Mets are in much better shape than originally contemplated.
Lets start with the fact Major League Baseball has a 13 pitcher limit. After the five man rotation, which will be further bolstered by Jacob deGrom’s return, a team can carry seven relievers.
We know Díaz is the closer. As a result, the Mets need to fill six bullpen spots. Here’s how they look.
Adam Ottavino has been terrific with a 2.29 ERA, 176 ERA+, and a 10.5 K/9. He’s emerged as a primary set-up man. That’s five spots remaining.
Seth Lugo looks like a different reliever out of the break. He’s yet to allow a run in 4.2 innings. His run goes deeper than that. Since June 8, he has a 2.70 ERA. That’s four spots remaining.
Trevor Williams has been an important pitcher for the Mets all season. With a healthy rotation Williams will now stay in the bullpen.
As a reliever this season, he has a 1.50 ERA striking out 10.9 per nine, and he recorded his first career save this season. He can be a long man, and we’ve recently seen him get some late inning opportunities. That’s three spots remaining.
Trevor May will be coming off the IL. He’s a high leverage reliever who had a 3.38 ERA, 130 ERA+, and a 12.1 K/9 out of the bullpen from 2018 – 2021.
He looked strong during his rehab outings. If he’s back to form, the Mets bullpen gets exponentially better and deeper. That’s two spots remaining.
However, that’s depth, and the Mets understandably aren’t going to rely on them come the postseason. Of course, with the innings they get from the starting rotation, the Mets may never really need anything beyond Diaz-May-Lugo-Ottavino.
Still, you build as strong a bullpen as you can. It’s possible the remaining two spots could bee filled internally.
Of course, that also applied to Drew Smith. However, no one knows if Smith can return this year. That may go double with Megill.
With Joely Rodriguez being a disappointment, and with the needless obsession with LOOGYS even despite the three batter rule, the Mets will likely bend backwards to get a left-handed reliever. It’s dumb, but that’s what they’ll do.
That leaves the team finding one more big arm. Given his success in New York, and how he’s pitched this year, David Robertson is THE perfect fit. Of course, there are other options.
Then again, if the Mets get no one, they will still be fine.
As noted, the starting pitching goes deep. So far this year, they average 5.2 innings per start. Remember, that’s without one deGrom start and the team getting 30 starts outside their projected Opening Day rotation.
Keep in mind, one of those five moves to the postseason bullpen. That takes one of the two needed slots. Maybe they also carry David Peterson even if he struggled in his two cracks at the short relief route.
Really, when you break it down, the Mets already can go with what they already have in October. That goes double if Megill and/or Smith return.
While very true, the Mets still should get Robertson. That’s a move that puts this bullpen in a different stratosphere and pushes them closer to being World Series favorites.