Collusion has been a very real thing in baseball history. That was no more apparent than when Andre Dawson signed a blank contract with the Chicago Cubs because no one would offer him a contract.
Ultimately, the Hall of Famer Bud Selig collusion efforts led to MLB paying $102.5 million to the player’s union. We’ve subsequently seen evidence of collusion, but the matter has not been subsequently taken to arbitration.
That brings us to the right now with Aaron Judge’s free agency.
As reported by The Athletic, MLB is requesting records between the New York Mets and New York Yankees regarding Judge. Specifically, they want communications between Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner.
This goes back to a report saying how both teams “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.” If you’ve been around New York baseball since free agency began, you knew this was going to be the case.
Typically speaking, the Mets and Yankees don’t pursue each other’s free agent players. That goes double for the higher profile players. Really, when you think about it, the Mets and Yankees never get into a bidding war over a player.
That’s not to say players don’t switch teams. We know Curtis Granderson signed with the Mets after four years in the Bronx. Pedro Feliciano signed with the Yankees after his second stint with the Mets.
What was notable about both players is their tenures with their previous team ended. To put it another way, the franchise was not pursuing their own player in free agency.
That may also explain the respective franchises historical obsession with their respective high profile players towards the end of their careers.
We’ve seen the Yankees sign players like Carlos Beltrán, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry. The Mets made trades made trades to obtain El Duque and Robinson Canó in addition to signing players like Willie Randolph.
This just doesn’t happen when these players initially hit free agency and their team wants to keep that player. Certainly, a large part of that was the Wilpons unwillingness (followed by their inability) to spend.
As we look to this offseason, both Judge and Jacob deGrom are free agents. These are franchise defining players. They are future Hall of Famers whose numbers will be retired by their respective teams.
They also solve problems for both teams. It’s just going to come at exorbitant salaries. Even with the money both teams have, they likely will not be able to sign both.
That’s part of the reason there is a détente between these franchises.
These two teams could be running up the cost on the respective players. Eventually, one is going to be signed by someone. That doesn’t mean the other will get signed.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument, the Mets sign Judge. Let’s also assume, this puts them out of the deGrom market.
We’ve heard rumors deGrom is looking for money similar to Max Scherzer. Let’s say the Mets were in that neighborhood before signing Judge and breaking off negotiations.
It’s entirely possible the Yankees were never going to that point. That leaves them out on deGrom, and we’ve already heard other teams balking at what deGrom wants. In the end, this means deGrom eventually signs for less than what he would’ve had this détente not existed.
The simple fact is this détente is necessary for the franchises and players. It’s not driving down player salaries. It’s keeping them all high. It’s allowing Judge and deGrom get the highest possible contract they could receive.
Both the Mets and Yankees now they have an uneasy relationship. They’re rivals who share a city, but they need one another. They’re allies when it comes to revenue sharing and the CBT, and they both know they both do better financially when both teams are thriving.
So, the Mets and Yankees have this unwritten détente which has served New York baseball well for 30+ years. We will now soon find out if this unwritten détente is also unspoken.
If there was an expanded postseason in 2007, perhaps history would’ve been kinder to Willie Randolph. That team would’ve had at least a three game series against the San Diego Padres giving them a chance at redemption.
That Mets team will forever live in infamy. That era of Mets history will be defined by a Carlos Beltran strikeout and collapses in consecutive seasons.
Well, this Mets era is so-far defined by consecutive collapses. No, it was not seven in 17, nor was it losing Game 162 at home to the Florida Marlins. That said, it was still horrid.
Last year, the Mets were in first place for 103 days. They’d set an MLB record for most days in first place and finishing with a losing record. That season will forever be defined by Javier Báez and Francisco Lindor giving Mets fans the thumbs down.
For the second straight year, the Mets have collapsed. Worse yet, they choked. Anyone saying different is lying.
They were 2-6 at home against the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Miami Marlins. They were swept by the Braves. This is an absolute choke job.
However, that’s not how we’ll remember that season. Truth be told, we don’t yet know how we’ll remember this season. In some ways, this is 1999.
The 1998 Mets collapsed, choked, and were left for dead. The 1999 Mets seemed to be facing a similar fate. That was until the Milwaukee Brewers took 2/3 from the Reds allowing the Mets to force a one game playoff for the Wild Card.
Instead of failure, we remember Al Leiter’s two hitter in the one game playoff. Edgardo Alfonzo homered in that game and hit three in a roughly 24 hour period including a Gabe winning grand slam in Game One of the NLDS.
Todd Pratt hit an extra inning, series clinching walk-off homer to win the NLDS. It was Pratt who stopped Robin Ventura giving rise to the Grand Slam Single.
That 1999 season will be forever remembered for all of that as well as that epic Game Six which ended with Kenny Rogers. That 1999 postseason was a roller coaster, and at no point was anyone focusing or dwelling on the Mets nearly choking it all away in the regular season.
The 2022 Mets collapsed. They choked. In true Mets fashion, they’ve made 98 wins feel terrible. At this point, we can only say, “So, what?”
In the Wild Card round, the Mets will have Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt lined up. While some might say, it didn’t work in Atlanta, others might say those three are about to make the next team pay.
If the Mets win the Wild Card Round, they get the Los Angeles Dodgers. As we saw at the end of August, they are two evenly matched teams with the Mets having a legitimate chance of winning that series.
If the Mets take out the Dodgers, no one is or should concern themselves with this collapse. Really, after first pitch in the Mets next series, there’s no need to mention this again.
The Mets collapsed. Fortunately, the Mets season won’t be defined by it. That part of the Mets 2022 season hasn’t been written. Anything is possible now. That includes winning the World Series.
It is long past time we stop sugar coating what is happening with the New York Mets. Moreoever, we absolutely need to stop giving the Atlanta Braves more credit than they are actually due.
Yes, the Braves were nipping on the Mets heels as the result of playing ridiculously well since June 1. That is even the case with them having a losing record against teams with a winning record, and the Mets leading the season series against the Braves. The Braves got themselves in it because they were resilient and won a a lot of games.
However, they are in a first place tie now (in the loss column) because the Mets are collapsing. Yes, it is a collapse, and we need to call it as such.
The Mets have the easiest September schedule in all of baseball. So far, the Mets are 6-7. That record looks worse when you consider they opened the month with a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. This means the Mets are 5-7 against teams with a losing record this month.
They were swept for the first time all season. It was the Chicago Cubs, who are on pace to lose 93 games. By the way, they didn’t even need Marcus Stroman to do it.
The Mets are the only team in the Divisional Era (1969) to get swept at home while 35+ games OVER .500 against a team 20+ games UNDER .500.
Last team to suffer such a sweep: Detroit Tigers in the final 3 games of the 1968 regular season.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2022
They had a three game stretch where the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates beat them by six plus runs. That was the first time in Major League history where a team with a 30 game differential in the standings lost three consecutive games by six runs. The first ever time. That’s how unacceptable those losses were.
They lost a series to the Nationals. They were swept by the Cubs. They couldn’t sweep the Pirates, who are dreadful. At least, the Mets took two-out-of-three from them. Of course, everything looked good after that series only for them to be swept by the Cubs. Yes, it is getting redundant saying that, but it is just that maddening.
We can and should note Starling Marte and Max Scherzer landed on the IL, but then again, so what? Did the Mets really need both of them to win these games. That is what was supposed to be so good about this schedule. The Mets could rest some players and allow players to heal. Also, with all the trade deadline moves, weren’t the Mets supposed to be in a position to be able to easily withstand injuries like these?
When it was Willie Randolph trotting out pitchers like Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, and David Williams, we all correctly termed it a collapse and were embarrassed by it. There were some who called for Randolph to be fired. The fact we’re not seeing similar anger is shocking.
Yes, the Mets are definitively going to the postseason. However, with the new format, not winning the division actually creates an addition hurdle. It actively works against their chances of winning a World Series. For some reason, everyone seems cool with Buck Showalter leading this collapse.
Keep in mind, he’s had some bizarre decisions. Joely Rodriguez in a close game against right-handed batters. Darin Ruf as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. Not giving Francisco Lindor or Pete Alonso a day off even after Lindor says he and the team is tired, and Alonso is actively showing his frustration on the field.
Showalter was supposed to be different than everyone who came before him. Instead, he’s doing the same exact thing we saw out of Randolph, Jerry Manuel, and Luis Rojas. Showalter was the one in charge when the Mets lost a 10.5 game lead, something that has only been done eight times in Major League history.
That’s not seven in 17 bad, but that’s really bad.
Right now, there are zero excuses for the Mets not winning the division. Failing to win the NL East would be completely and wholly unacceptable. This team is too good to be doing what they are doing right now. Supposedly, Showalter is such a good manager that this never could have even been contemplated.
However, the moment is here. Do the Mets collect themselves and right the ship? Or, are they going to collapse against terrible teams and cede the division to the Braves? With this pathetic schedule, the Mets are in the driver’s seat. It’s time they push the pedal to the floor and take off instead of going to go off path only to crash and burn.
Down by two to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. Buck Showalter sends Bryce Montes de Oca to the mound.
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.
Eppler was betting on injured players, and he wanted to move players from starting to the bullpen. With players like Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi, both situations applied.
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.
This is the same Showalter who used Tommy Hunter for the third time in four days. Much like how he did that very recently with Adam Ottavino, the ensuing homer wasn’t a shock.
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.
The trade deadline acquisitions stopped hitting. Really, everyone not named Eduardo Escobar, Brandon Nimmo, and Marte stopped hitting. Oh, and Marte is hurt.
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.
Timmy Trumpet coming to Citi Field was a huge deal. Everyone in the stands and watching on TV were waiting with baited breath to see him play Narco with Edwin Diaz running in from the bullpen.
Instead of watching Timmy Trumpet blow his horn, we got to see Joely Rodriguez blow the game. The pitcher brought to the Mets specifically to get out left-handed batters out was beaten by them turning a tied game into a 4-3 deficit.
Keep in mind, that game was close enough to try to find a reason to use Diaz. Instead, Buck Showalter did the right thing and saved his arm.
That isn’t something that would’ve happened under the Wilpons. With Timmy Trumpet there, they would have forced the manager to make sure Diaz enters the game.
We know this because of Pedro Martinez.
Back in 2005, doctors recommended Martinez shut it down due to injuries. With the postseason out of reach, Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson were of the same mind.
As Pedro detailed in his eponymous book, Pedro, Jeff Wilpon ignored the advice of the medical and baseball professionals. Rather than let Pedro heal, Wilpon pushed him to pitch in a game against Dontrelle Willis in an attempt to generate a gate.
The end result was Pedro worsening his toe injury, and it might’ve been a contributing factor in Pedro’s eventual career ending shoulder injury. With respect to the Mets, it might’ve cost them the World Series in 2006.
That was a problem with the Wilpons operation of the Mets. Not all decisions were baseball decisions. In some ways, you could sell they were selling the Mets but not baseball.
This led to odd choices. In a juxtaposition with Timmy Trumpet, the Mets invited the Baja Men in 2000. Now, we get the far superior Timmy Trumpet.
Except, we didn’t quite get what we expected, and there was disappointment. Assuredly, the team wanted to make good on Timmy Trumpet blasting Diaz as he ran in from the bullpen.
From a fan engagement standpoint, that’s what we all wanted. From a baseball standpoint, it didn’t make sense to use Diaz. To a certain extent, that’s why Cohen’s Mets (in a move the Wilpons probably don’t make) are having Timmy Trumpet again as a guest in the hopes that this time the moment will happen.
Make no mistake here. Both Wilpon and Cohen are trying to get people to the ballpark. The key difference is Cohen is trying to do that with baseball first and everything else second.
That wasn’t always the case with the Wilpons. In fact, you could reasonably argue baseball never really came first under the Wilpons ownership of the Mets.
The Wilpons very likely don’t leave Diaz in the bullpen, and in a similar vein, they don’t bring back Timmy Trumpet. Part of the reason we know this is they didn’t hold Old Timers’s Games bemoaning the costs involved.
Ultimately, Cohen understands the best way to get fans engaged and happy is putting a winning team on the field. The other stuff is great and important, but it comes a distant second to winning. In the end, the baseball is the product.
Sadly, the Wilpons never got that. That’s why Pedro pitched, and Diaz didn’t. It’s also why the Mets are far better run now than at any point during the Wilpon ownership of the team.
The New York Mets seem to be narrowing their managerial search, and reading the tea leaves, it seems Buck Showalter will be the next manager. There are reports Steve Cohen wants him, and there are ties from the New York Yankees between new general manager Billy Eppler and Showalter.
If we are going to go back to Eppler’s old Yankees ties, the Mets could also look at Willie Randolph for the managerial role. With Randolph, there are two things which stand out in his candidacy: (1) he’s actually had success as the Mets manager; and (2) he has unfinished business.
When we look back at Randolph’s Mets tenure, people mostly remember the bad. There was the 2007 collapse, and he was fired one game into a west coast trip. There was the chasm between him and Carlos Delgado. Of course, many forget the 2008 Mets also collapsed, but this time under the helm of Jerry Manuel.
Really, Randolph had to deal with more as the Mets manager than most did. He never had the full backing and respect of ownership. Things got so bad Manuel and Tony Bernazard were going behind Randolph’s back to not only spy on him but to find reasons to remove him from the job. The shame of it was Randolph was quite good at the job.
First and foremost, Randolph was immediately challenged in his job by trying to find a way to graciously end Mike Piazza‘s Mets career. Randolph did it in a way where Piazza not only had a strong season, but he had his dignity during the course of the season.
Randolph was gifted an old foe in Pedro Martinez atop the rotation. Notably, despite the many battles between the two during the heyday of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, there was nothing but respect between the two. Randolph had tried to protect Martinez from the team, but to no avail.
Another challenge with Randolph was the Carlos Beltran situation. He helped Beltran navigate through what was a disaster of a 2005 season and get him playing at a Hall of Fame level. By most accounts, the two had a good relationship, which is something a smart manager will have with their superstar.
One important part of that is the ability to adapt. When Randolph first took over the Mets job, he initially tried to make the Mets more like the Yankees. Case-in-point was the restrictions on facial hair. That is something he eventually rescinded.The ability to adapt to the job is of vital importance.
There were other highlights from Randolph’s tenure with the most important being his development of David Wright and Jose Reyes. With respect to Reyes, he was able to help him hone his skills to develop a more sensible approach at the plate to help him become an All-Star. With respect to Wright, he admitted in his book, The Captain: A Memoir, Randolph helped him become the Major League player he wanted to be. If not for injuries, that would’ve been a Hall of Famer.
Looking at Randolph, one of the biggest skills he had was his working relationship with Rick Peterson. The two worked together to get the most out of the Mets pitching staff, and we saw them do some things which may now be considered commonplace. For example, Randolph had a very quick hook in the 2006 postseason, and he was not afraid to let his superior bullpen win him games. The Mets will be looking for something like that in 2022 with Jeremy Hefner being retained as pitching coach.
Overall, Randolph had strenghts and weaknesses as manager. As we saw with him, the strengths far outweighed the weaknesses. That’s a major reason why he’s second only to Davey Johnson in winning percentage. He was a very good manager, who for some reason, never got another opportunity to manage.
Perhaps at 67, Randolph no longer has any designs on managing. If he does, we need to remember he was a good manager for the Mets. Unfortunately, he never received a fair shake. All told, Randolph knows what it takes to succeed with the Mets. No, he’ll never get the job, but there should have at least been some level of interest.
The New York Mets slipped the signing of Max Scherzer in under the wire before the owners voted unanimously for a lockout. That means they officially can’t pursue free agents and can’t make trades (again, not officially), so they now need to turn their attention elsewhere.
That’s probably a good thing for this team because they need a manager. Really, aside from having Jeremy Hefner as pitching coach, they need to assemble an entire coaching staff.
It seems the early odds-on favorite is Brad Ausmus. Sandy Alderson wanted to hire him previously. Billy Eppler did hire him before he was told to fire him. It’s assumed Steve Cohen doesn’t want a first time manager.
The popular choice seems to be Buck Showalter, but it’s hard to see the fit. Alderson wants to script and control managers, and Showalter isn’t that guy. Also, Eppler fired Mike Scioscia, who was very much cut from the same cloth as Showalter.
There are bound to be many names we haven’t considered. After all, that’s what we saw with the front office search.
While it’ll probably never happen, it’ll be great to see Willie Randolph‘s name in the mix. We know he can handle New York, and he has unfinished business here. It would be great to see him get another chance.
Overall, we don’t know who the Mets are targeting. What we do know is the players are locked out, and they probably will be for some time. With that being the case, the Mets are probably going to go full bore trying to hire a new manager.
With the New York Mets failing to make the postseason, and worse yet, with their collapse, the narrative has become this core hasn’t been good enough to win a World Series. Sandy Alderson seemed to echo that sentiment a bit when he said there were going to be changes to the core this offseason. Of course, with free agency and the like, that was probably going to happen anyway.
Before Steve Cohen purchased the team, the Mets core could probably be defined as Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, and Noah Syndergaard. At least, that was the homegrown core. In that core, you had two ace level pitchers, two All-Star level first baseman (yes, Smith was that in 2020), two All-Star level outfielders, and a jack-of-all trades All-Star.
When you add Francisco Lindor, who joins deGrom as a future Hall of Famer, you’d be hard pressed to find much better cores in all of baseball. This level of talent should be the envy of the other 29 teams in the league. That begs the question what went wrong in 2021.
On the one hand, this was a team which was 3.5 games in first place at the trade deadline. Their high water mark was 5.5 games up on June 16. As we know, this team had the bottom completely fall out as they finished eight games under .500 and 11.5 games back of a mediocre Atlanta Braves team for the division.
The narratives emerged. Luis Rojas was in over his head. The ReplaceMets got them the division lead, but the regulars couldn’t seal the deal. This team had no heart, no will to win, no killer instinct, etc. Basically, chose your narrative and apply it to this team.
In many ways, that’s what people said about the 2007-2008 Mets. As we all learned, firing Willie Randolph wasn’t a solution. Switching out leaders like Cliff Floyd was a mistake. Really, making change for its own sake proved to be a complete and utter disaster. Certainly, so was the Wilpons involvement in a Ponzi Scheme. That said, the level of dissatisfaction with “the core” rather than a real analysis of what was the problem led to the demise of that team.
The real issue with that Mets team was injuries and pitching. During the back-to-back collapses, the pitching completely fell apart at the end. Certainly, Jeff Wilpon playing doctor played a massive role in that happening. In some ways, we’re seeing the same thing happen but with a completely new regime.
Let’s take a look at the 2021 Mets. The first thing which should jump off the page is the team went into the season without a real third baseman or a left fielder. We all knew by Opening Day J.D. Davis could not handle the position, but there he was. Behind him was Luis Guillorme, who was as good a glove in the middle infield as they come, but he was a poor third baseman. After that was Jonathan Villar, but he has never been a good fielder.
As for left field, it’s the Mets mistake as old as time. You cannot just throw anyone in left field and expect it to work. Todd Hundley wasn’t a left fielder. Lucas Duda wasn’t a left fielder. Sticking a good bat in the outfield just never works, and oft times, we see diminishing returns for that player at the plate. While Smith did an admirable job, he again proved he couldn’t play left field.
Of course, the Mets could have gone with McNeil at either position as he’s played both positions well. Instead, the Mets were obstinate he was a second baseman because that was the belief Sandy Alderson stubbornly held during his first stint with the Mets.
This speaks to a real problem with the Mets and how it colored how the core was viewed. Players were asked to do things they shouldn’t have been asked to do. For example, remember Conforto in center field? It’s been an organizational approach to just plug bats everywhere. The end result was the team suffering as players failed to reach their ceilings as they struggled out of position, and we also saw the defense lag.
Now, the defense wasn’t really the problem in 2021. With the analytics and Rojas at the helm, the defense was much improved. However, to a certain extent, the damage had already been done. Steven Matz, who struggled in large part due to the absence of defense and analytics, was cast off for relievers who pitched poorly. We had already seen pitchers like Chris Flexen and Paul Sewald cast off. There’s more.
Really, the issue isn’t the core, but what the Mets did with it and how they built around it. For years, we knew Alonso and Smith were both first baseman, but they Mets absolutely refused to make the tough decision and pick just one of them and try to move the other to address a need. It’s a decision which has held this team back for three years now. As for the justification of the anticipation of the universal DH, that’s no reason to throw away three seasons, especially with Alonso and Smith is going to a free agency after the 2024 season.
Looking deeper, this was a team really harmed by injuries. Really, you can make the argument if deGrom was healthy, they don’t collapse. If Carlos Carrasco isn’t hurt in Spring Training, they don’t collapse. If Syndergaard returns when anticipated, they don’t collapse. However, that happened. That’s more of a sign of a snake bit team than it is a problem with the core.
Really, despite the flaws in roster building, this team was good enough. We actually saw it with this team being in first place despite the injuries and the odds. If you’re being honest in your assessment, you should be saying the Mets need to get a real third baseman and left fielder, and this team will be primed to win a World Series. After all, this team with a relatively shallow pitching staff and being plagued by injuries was on the precipice.
That brings us to the next issue. The front office didn’t try to go for it. There was the opportunity, and they chose not to get the pitching this team needed. There’s no good explanation why they didn’t.
As a result, the people who failed at supplementing a very good core is now going to call it an eroding one. They’re going to allow people to falsely accuse this core of not being good enough to win. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and it completely obfuscates what the real problem is – how this organization has approached building rosters.
Overall, if the Mets bring back this same exact roster replacing Davis at third with a real third baseman and putting McNeil in left field, they will be the best team in baseball. There should be absolutely no doubts about that.
Back in 2006, the New York Mets were in first place, but they were running out of starting pitchers. As a result, they called up John Maine.
Maine was a hard throwing right-handed pitcher who never quite looked ready for the majors, at least he didn’t in Baltimore. However, with Rick Peterson and Willie Randolph, something clicked.
Maine was able to use his fastball and slider to earn a permanent spot in the Mets rotation. Maine began to really force the issue at the end of his July 8 start.
Maine had allowed a go-ahead homer in the sixth before retiring the final two batters of the inning. That started a stretch of 26 innings. By that time, a Mets team looking to add a starter felt comfortable balking at the steep prices, and of course, they had to pivot due to Duaner Sanchez’s cab ride.
Maine would have a strong 2006 season going 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.113 WHIP, and a 7.1 K/9.
What ensued was a crazy postseason where he was an emergency replacement for an injured Orlando Hernandez right before Game 1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maine was terrific that postseason including his picking up a win in Game 6 of the NLCS.
What Maine did that season is difficult to emulate, but as previously noted, Megill is emulating that right now. We saw another sign in his last start where he went toe-to-toe with Brandon Woodruff over five innings.
Like Maine in 2006, Megill is only in the majors due to injuries, and he may be here to stay because of them. Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have yet to pitch this season, and their time tables keep getting pushed back.
Joey Lucchesi had season ending Tommy John surgery. Jordan Yamamoto is on the 60 day IL. David Peterson has hit the IL. The end result has been Megill rushed to the majors and getting his opportunity, and the Mets suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly being in a position where they’ll need to look to add a starter at the trade deadline.
With every start, Megill is alleviating those concerns. Working with Jeremy Hefner and Luis Rojas, he’s taken his game to another level. Working predominantly with his fastball and slider, he increasingly looks like a Major League starter.
So far, he’s made three starts. He hasn’t registered a decision yet, but he has improved with each start. He has a 104 ERA+ and a very impressive 11.9 K/9. That’s even with him walking a couple of batters more than you’d like . . . much like Maine.
With his poise, repertoire, demeanor, and this coaching staff, there’s no reason to believe Megill won’t continue to improve. With each successive start, he’ll make the case he not only should be a part of this rotation, but he can be a part of a World Series contending team.
Again, that’s where the Mets were in 2006. John Maine gave them some comfort they could address other needs because Maine stabilized the rotation. When the pitchers didn’t heal like the Mets had hoped, and others pitchers got injured, Maine had a strong postseason giving the Mets every opportunity to win the pennant.
Megill is showing he can be that type of pitcher. He can be the stopgap. He can be the pitcher who convinces the Mets they don’t need to add pitching at the deadline. He can have a real impact this postseason.
Look, it was only a matter of time before Chili Davis was going to be fired as the New York Mets hitting coach. If you’ve followed his career, his approach doesn’t work, and teams are better when they move past him.
Baseball has moved past his philosophies. His tutelage results in an increase of ground balls, decrease in homers, and an increase in strikeouts. It’s a disaster.
We saw the Mets falling into the same traps, and there was no juiced ball to bail them out. It certainly didn’t help Davis’ case Francisco Lindor, a traditional slow starter, had one of his worst ever starts.
There was also Zack Scott’s elevation to GM. As noted by Michael Mayer, Scott was with the Boston Red Sox when they fired Davis. A large part of that was his “old school” philosophies and their resulting decrease in offense.
Note that the Mets acting GM Zack Scott was the Red Sox head of R&D when they fired Chili Davis after a short stint.
Scott was initially hired to run the Mets analytics, not exactly something Chili is known to be well-versed in. https://t.co/I9UDpUsX8I
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) April 30, 2021
Firing Davis was absolutely the correct decision. The Mets could ill afford to continue to hold back their team. They needed to make the change.
They needed to make the change on Wednesday when they ended their homestand. They needed to make the change when the Mets prepared to depart Philadelphia, which is in driving distance to New York, to head to St. Louis.
Instead, the Mets opted to fire Davis after the team flew to St. Louis. They made him go through all that extra COVID19 screening and protocols only to fire him immediately thereafter.
It’s cruel and unnecessary, and it’s how inept front offices operate. It’s like when the Mets run by the Wilpons fired Willie Randolph one game into a West coast trip. That was a low moment for the Mets.
St. Louis isn’t Los Angeles by any means. However, it’s still a flight. It was unnecessary to have him on that flight if the intention was to fire him. The Mets had the notion they were firing Davis soon, and they should’ve done it before he got on that plane.
Hopefully, this will be the last time the Mets act in a way reminiscent of the way the Wilpons ran things. This should be the last time it ever happens because it’s unacceptable.