Yoenis Cespedes

Francisco Lindor Already Better Than Advertised

When the New York Mets acquired Francisco Lindor, fans knew they were getting a future Hall of Famer. Well, it appears he is more than just that.

First and foremost, Lindor is just fun. He’s always smiling and seems to love playing more than anyone. Keep in mind, when you play with Brandon Nimmo that is really saying something.

He’s bringing an energy to the Mets much in the same way we once saw with Yoenis Cespedes and his Spring Training antics. For Lindor, that’s been dying his hair blue and donning the Eddie Murphy Mets jacket not only to go to work but later at picture day:

If we think this is fun, wait until he takes the field. When we see that, we’ll see what makes him a great player with an infectious personality. We should also see the Mets winning games.

In terms of that, Lindor is doing all he can to help the Mets be a winner in 2021. He’s already taken on a leadership role. We saw that in action as he worked to help J.D. Davis improve at third:

If Lindor can truly get Davis to even be competent at third, he will be pulling off a miracle. If miracle worker is part of his skill set, we probably shouldn’t be surprised.

Really, we shouldn’t be surprised by anything with Lindor. He’s fun. He’s a leader. He’s willing to help his teammates improve and raise their games.

All told, so far Lindor is everything promised, and he has already been far more. Just think, it’s already better than we all imagined, and he still hasn’t had the chance to wow us in the field.

DH Or No DH, Mets Need a Third Baseman And Center Fielder

The position of the New York Mets seems to be defense only matters when you can have a designated hitter. If you have no DH, then you need to shoehorn in as many bats as you can into the lineup. In other words, the Mets are purposefully going to put out a sub-optimal defense and torpedo their pitching staff because of one position.

It’s beyond ridiculous.

Brandon Nimmo has averaged a -4 DRS in center over the past three seasons, and that is despite his not having played more than 350.1 innings at the position in any one year. Dominic Smith has averaged -2 DRS in left over the past three seasons despite not having played more than 219.0 innings in any season. J.D. Davis has averaged a -6 DRS at third over the past three seasons despite not having played more than 269.1 innings there in a season.

All told, these three players have proven themselves ill suited to handle the positions they are currently slated to play. What is maddening when you look at Nimmo and Smith is they are actually quite good at their real positions. Nimmo has a 5 DRS as a left fielder in his career, and Smith, after taking away his rookie season, has a 0 DRS as a first baseman.

It just seems bizarre to purposefully put these players in a position to purposefully fail. Nimmo belongs in left, Smith belongs at first, and Davis belongs on the bench. If you are a team operating responsibly, that is what you should unequivocally do.

Obviously, this is not taking into account Pete Alonso. Frankly, the Mets not addressing this logjam was their way of ignoring Alonso. In reality, the Mets are carrying three first baseman with him, Smith, and Davis. That’s three players for one position. That number grows to four when you look at Jose Martinez, who was signed to a minor league deal.

The Mets unwillingness to move one of those players this offseason has created a very real problem with this roster. Unless it is all a smokescreen, which it very well might, the actual plan is to put three first baseman on the field everyday and put a left fielder in center. They then hope this plan which always fails doesn’t fail again this time.

For some reason, that is a Sandy Alderson tactic. In the early years of Citi Field, we saw him jam Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy into the lineup. We also saw him try Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson in center rather than get a player who could actually go other there and handle the position on an everyday basis. At this point, you just wonder how much this was an accident and how much this is his actual plan.

Certainly, you can and should argue Alonso, Nimmo, and Smith need to play everyday. No one will argue with that proposition. However, they can’t do it all on the same roster. Center field is far too important of a defensive position.

You have to go back to 2012 and 2014 with the San Francisco Giants winning with Angel Pagan to find a team who won with a bad defensive center fielder. Before that, you have to go to Johnny Damon with the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Before that, there isn’t publicly available DRS information. All told, in this century, there is really just three seasons teams won without an at least decent center fielder.

If you are operating a baseball team, you can’t look at purposefully punt center field defense. It’s even worse by putting a first baseman next to the center fielder in left. Then, to make sure you’ve done all you can do to screw things up, you throw a first baseman at third in front of the third baseman in left. It’s ridiculous.

Really, there is no way the Mets can go forward with this roster to begin the season. They need to add an actual third baseman and an actual center fielder. If one of Alonso or Smith has to sit, so be it. That’s the position the Mets put themselves in. If you need to move one of them in a deal to address a need, do it, but only so long as it is a good deal.

All told, it is poor planning and team building to purposefully put out a terrible defensive outfield. We saw in 2020 how much that can completely derail a season. We’ve seen it other times in Mets history. Whether or not there is a DH, the Mets still need to find everyday players at third and center.

Period.

Mets 20 Best Moments In 2020

The year 2020 was hard on us all, but there were some truly outstanding and unexpected uplifting moments scattered throughout the year. In no particular order here were some of the best moments for the New York Mets in 2020:

1. Steve Cohen purchases the Mets ending the Wilpons reign.

2. Dominic Smith finds his voice and that next level in his game.

3. Michael Conforto emerged as a real leader and showed he’s the star we all hoped he’d be.

4. While not winning the Cy Young, Jacob deGrom continued to prove he’s the best pitcher in the game.

5. Yoenis Cespedes gave us one last thrill with an Opening Day game winning homer.

6. Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant form.

7. Amed Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium to beat the New York Yankees.

8. David Peterson and Andres Gimenez made the jump from Double-A and had strong rookie seasons.

9. Mets were once again allowed to wear the first responders caps.

10. Sandy Alderson returned restoring credibility to the franchise and was given the opportunity to win a World Series with the Mets.

11. Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Mets.

12. Players like Trevor May and James McCann were excited about the new era in Queens and wanted to be a part of it.

13. Pete Alonso proved his rookie year was no fluke putting himself on what would’ve been a 42 home run pace.

14. Although in a circuitous route, Luis Rojas got the manager job he earned and did enough to earn at least a second season at the helm.

15. Luis Guillorme was great with the glove and better than we ever anticipated he’d be at the plate.

16. Brandon Nimmo proved his neck problems were no more while remaining an on-base machine.

17. Rick Porcello got to live out his dream by pitching for the same Mets team he loved as a kid.

18. The 1986 Mets were dubbed the best team ever.

19. Alonso honored the greatest Met ever by hitting a walk-off homer the first game the Mets played after Tom Seaver passed.

20. It was only 60 games and the Mets finished in last place, but we got to see Mets baseball. For at least those 3+ hours a day, we felt normal.

If you’re reading this now, chances are you went through a lot this year. The good news is you’re reading this meaning you’ve survived the year and can have hope for a better 2021.

God willing, that 2021 will be our best year ever, and we will see a Mets World Series title.

Jeff Wilpon Says Goodbye To New York Mets As Fans Say Good Riddance

According to reports, Jeff Wilpon has a Zoom call to say goodbye to New York Mets employees. Other reports confirmed he will not be seeking a role with the Steve Cohen led Mets even with his team holding onto a small minority ownership.

While he says goodbye, Mets fans say good riddance.

Everything that is wrong with the Mets is in large part due to him, and with him gone, he know stories will soon leak out about how he was even worse than what we already knew.

We already know they failed to capitalize on two pennants. In 2000, it was letting Mike Hampton walk, refusing to sign Alex Rodriguez, and then following that up with actually signing Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel.

In 2015, it was not re-signing Daniel Murphy. Also, if not for a miracle, they would’ve replaced Yoenis Cespedes with Alejandro De Aza.

There was forcing players like Pedro Martinez to pitch through injuries which everyone said should’ve shut down his season, and there was the attempts to try to prevent Carlos Beltran from getting career saving knee surgery.

There was not just signing Jose Reyes, but also holding him out as a role model. Better yet, around the same time, Ed Kranepool needed a kidney transplant only for pettiness to stop the Mets from initially reaching out to help (thankfully they eventually did).

Speaking of Mets greats, there is still no Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field, and now Tom Terrific is gone. Even when the Wilpons did think to finally act, they did it when Seaver had dementia and couldn’t enjoy the honors.

There was firing an unwed pregnant woman and really so much more. With actions like this, not only did Jeff Wilpon fail as a person in charge of building a winner, he disgraced the Mets organization.

Speaking of disgrace, the way the Mets got rid of people was deplorable. No one was allowed to keep their dignity. Willie Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and after the Mets won. Instead admitting they didn’t want to pay them fair value Justin Turner had his professionalism questioned and Wilmer Flores was said to have an arthritic condition he didn’t have.

Hopefully, Jeff Wilpon will be afforded the very same treatment he gave others when they left the Mets. It would only be fitting, and it would give Mets fans more reason to celebrate his being gone.

Sandy Alderson Back To Fix What Brodie Van Wagenen Did To His Team

According to reports, Steve Cohen is bringing Sandy Anderson back to the Mets as an advisor, and he is planning on finding a replacement for Brodie Van Wagenen. Both are excellent and needed decisions.

When it comes to Van Wagenen, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much damage he has done to the well built and talented Mets organization gift wrapped to him from Alderson. Essentially, all that Alderson built needs to be rebuilt.

Van Wagenen was given a starting staff comprised of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz. Behind them were well regarded prospects in Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay, and Simeon Woods Richardson.

The Mets rotation over the final week of the 2020 season will be deGrom, Rick Porcello, maybe Matz, and who knows what else?

The position player core was remarkably cheap and talented. There was Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and Amed Rosario. Behind them was Andres Gimenez and Jarred Kelenic.

Sure, there were some bad contracts, but they were short term in nature, and they were not going to serve as an impediment to either building on or retaining this core.

For example, the Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes contacts were set to expire after this season. That coincided perfectly with having to have the money to re-sign deGrom and to have extension talks with Conforto, Matz, and Syndergaard.

Instead, the Mets no longer have Kelenic giving them a buffet against losing one of Conforto or Nimmo. They also have Robinson Cano‘s onerous contract on the books which already served as an impediment to re-signing Wheeler.

That’s nothing to say of the quality prospect purge in the same of finding a late inning defensive replacement in center for a team who already had Juan Lagares and adding J.D. Davis to a team already overstocked in 1B/DH players.

Couple this with the Mets getting rid of Wilmer Flores for nothing only for him to be more productive than anyone Van Wagenen brought into the organization and signing Jed Lowrie for $20 million to get eight pinch hitting attempts, and the Van Wagenen stint as GM has been an unmitigated disaster.

If you want to point to Van Wagenen’s drafts as a positive, you should. However, in doing that, remember, that was a scouting group built by Alderson and Omar Minaya. The Mets will be keeping both advisors.

When you take everything into account, Alderson built the Mets to be a competitive team in 2019 and 2020. With any luck, he had a deep farm system to make the types of trades he made in 2015 to help get the team over the top.

The real window for this Mets team was supposed to open in 2021. Given the talent on the Major League roster and in the farm system, it promised to be a 1980s like run.

Instead, Alderson is back to figure out how yo fix this mess. Fortunately for him, he won’t have Van Wagenen or Jeff Wilpon standing in his way. Instead, he will have an owner with deep pockets who intends to let smart baseball people like Alderson do their jobs.

Marcus Stroman’s And Yoenis Cespedes’ Worst Fears Realized

When Marcus Stroman opted out, he did so because he has high risk family members. The same was true for Yoenis Cespedes. In fact, when Stroman opted out of the 2020 season, he specifically pinpointed this Mets road trip to Miami:

You see the Cardinals, the Marlins, you see (case) spikes everywhere in the country. You see protocols not being handled properly, from citizens everywhere. You see us going to Florida (to play the Marlins) soon. That was a big discussion I had with my family — going to see the Marlins. I don’t think that’s something where I want to be in that situation.

Well, after taking the first three of what was supposed to be a four game set with the Marlins, one Mets player and one Mets coach has tested positive for COVID19.

The Mets finale against the Marlins wasn’t played. The first two games of the Subway Series appears like they are going to be cancelled. If the Marlins and Cardinals previous outbreaks are any indication, the Mets aren’t playing anytime soon.

Worse than that, two human beings, after all that’s what a player and coach are, are now ill. As we’ve seen with other COVID19 cases, they may face serious and lifelong health issues. The same potentially goes for anyone they’ve come into contact.

This was exactly what Stroman feared. That same for Cespedes. The worst case scenario becoming true is exactly why they made the right decision.

To their detractors, you owe them an apology.

Overall, Stroman and Cespedes made decisions to protect their families. They did it at the cost of millions of dollars. And if you didn’t think their decisions were justified or felt they were alarmist, well, now, it’s unequivocal that they made the right decision.

Today, Stroman and Cespedes are safe. Hopefully, the same is true for the 26 other Mets players and the rest of the coaching staff who have not tested positive (yet). Hopefully, the player and coach who tested positive will suffer no long term heath issues.

Hopefully, those who did not support Stroman’s and Cespedes’ decisions now realize how wrong they were.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Season Falling Off The Wheeler

The Mets went into Philadelphia with a chance to make a statement. On the bright side, they made that statement. On the downside, it wasn’t the statement we wanted them to make.

1. This series only further cemented Brodie Van Wagenen as the worst GM in baseball.

2. It was poetic justice that after Van Wagenen chided Zack Wheeler when he signed with the Phillies, Wheeler not only beat the Mets, but he also beat Rick Porcello in the process.

3. Remember when Van Wagenen said the Mets had the deepest rotation in baseball? With Jacob deGrom dealing with a neck injury, Porcello and his 5.76 is now the Mets staff ace.

4. Oh, and Walker Lockett (career 8.66 ERA) and Robert Gsellman (last threw 5+ innings in September 2017) are now locked into the rotation.

5. Steven Matz had three good enough starts to begin the season before pitching terribly in his last three starts. Fortunately for him, the Mets don’t have other options to replace him in the rotation.

6. It’s easy to point fingers at Jeremy Hefner but even a pitching coach with a magic lamp would still be stuck with two incapable starters.

7. On the topic of Van Wagenen’s incompetence, Wilson Ramos has been beyond terrible this year. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, he completely whiffed on a tag allowing the game winning run to score.

8. Van Wagenen preached accountability and media access when he took the job. The Mets made Ramos unavailable after that lame tag attempt, and the Mets made every player who would rebut their fabricated version of events when Yoenis Cespedes opted out.

9. There’s a lot wrong with the Mets, but Luis Rojas isn’t one of them. The Mets are not losing games because of him. They’re losing because the GM is horrendous.

10. Knowing that and seeing all that has transpired since, everyone owes Mickey Callaway an apology for how he was maligned.

11. The weekend wasn’t totally lost as Dominic Smith and Luis Guillorme continue to play great.

12. Way too much was made of Drew Smith being optioned. The Mets bullpen has depth at the MLB level, and there were legitimate options in Brooklyn.

13. No, Smith didn’t deserve to be optioned as he pitched well, and yes, Brian Dozier had been terrible, but the Mets have nothing in reserve on terms of MLB caliber hitters.

14. Speaking of the Brooklyn site, the Mets added Francisco Alvarez and Matthew Allan which means they can now be traded.

15. We should be afraid they’ll be traded for pennies on the dollar with that being the defining characteristic of Van Wagenen’s tenure.

16. On the bright side, Van Wagenen is getting exposed, and the Wilpons will sell the team without winning a World Series as majority owners.

17. Mets fans deserve better. Hopefully, we’ll get that instead of getting Alex Rodriguez.

18. The St. Louis Cardinals have played eight games. The Miami Marlins are playing catch-up and have only played 15 games. The Cincinnati Reds aren’t playing games. Naturally, MLB’s response is to loosen COVID19 return to play restrictions.

19. Good for the Cleveland Indians for optioning Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger to the alternate site after breaking COVID19 protocols. It’s good to see someone in baseball take this pandemic seriously.

20. It’s the centennial of the Negro Leagues, and MLB did not do nearly enough to honor it. That goes double in a year where COVID19 prevented them from honoring Jackie Robinson. Shame on MLB.

Game Recaps

Wilson Ramos Cannot Be Allowed To Cost The Mets Another Game

Mets Lose Same Way They Have All Season

Zack Wheeler Comfirms Brodie Van Wagenen Is Worst GM In Pro Sports

Brandon Nimmo Casts Doubt On Mets Version Of Yoenis Cespedes Opt Out

To hear Brodie Van Wagenen tell it, the Mets were completely blindsided by Yoenis Cespedes opting out of the 2020 season. They had no idea he was contemplating this, and they had no idea he would do this.

Given the quirky nature of Cespedes, the Mets account was believable. Cespedes really was the guy you never knew what he was going to do next.

The Mets actions told another story. At that postgame press conference to address Cespedes’ opt out, Van Wagenen notably ended the conference somewhat abruptly with many questions still pending. After Van Wagenen was done, the Mets only made rookie pitcher David Peterson available.

There were other curious aspects of the Mets account. Earlier in the day, they obtained Billy Hamilton from the Giants despite already having Juan Lagares in the player pool.

They told everyone they knew he was alright despite admitting they weren’t in contact with him.

Yesterday, the Mets made their players available for the first time since Cespedes’ opt out. Pete Alonso was first. He sidestepped the question about whether he knew, but he did talk about what a great teammate Cespedes was and how the whole team supports his decision.

Then, there was Brandon Nimmo who would cast doubt on the Mets whole version of events. His version was his representatives told the Mets prior to the game. Specifically, as reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post:

There’s two sides of the story,” Nimmo said. “We have the side where [the Mets] were let known before the game and we’ve also heard the side where they weren’t let known until the eighth inning, so I honestly don’t know which one to believe and I’m not going to try to figure that one out, but as far as us, we knew that people could walk whenever they wanted.”

You’ll note Nimmo said the players understood Cespedes informed the team before the game. That would include Michael Conforto confirming to his teammates Cespedes opted out.

The other version, the wholly unsubstantiated version, is the one the Mets have been pushing. Their version is despite confirming Cespedes was safe without speaking to him and the Mets obtaining an outfielder before the game, they had no idea Cespedes would opt out.

The only thing which is clear is no one told Luis Rojas. That’s really unfortunate.

The players apparently knew and didn’t tell him. According to the players, Cespedes informed the Mets, and the front office didn’t tell the manager. The manager deserves to be treated better by everyone.

Honestly, Cespedes needed better treatment here too. For example, the Mets didn’t need to put their SNY smear machine into effect with their Wilpon paid talking heads saying he was never the same player after he signed his deal, and he quit over money.

This is typical for the Mets who never had a kind word for someone who departed the team. There is no graciousness with them.

Given the Mets history of smearing people, telling half-truths, and outright lying, there’s simply no reason to believe them here. This whole Cespedes situation is right out of their playbook.

With respect to Cespedes, yes, he’s quirky and maddening. He’s also honest and forthright to a fault. He told the Mets about his injury immediately including how he sidestepped a boar. He also spoke about how he’d like to return to Oakland before his career was over.

Looking at the respective histories, one is honest, and the other is notoriously not. One has their version of events substantiated by the players, the others don’t.

In the end, you can choose to believe what you want, but when doing so, keep in mind Cespedes has been historically honest, and the Mets really haven’t.

Mets Pay Price For Getting deGrom Run Support

In case you thought things were really bizarre with the Mets in 2020, we just saw something truly bizarre. The Mets gave Jacob deGrom run support.

The big outburst came in a four run third.

With runners at first and second, Michael Conforto delivered the hit the Mets desperately needed with an RBI single off Mike Soroka. After Pete Alonso walked, Robinson Cano delivered an RBI single scoring Conforto.

Disaster would strike that inning. When it seemed Soroka couldn’t get anyone out, J.D. Davis hit a fielder’s choice to Freddie Freeman. When Soroka went to go to first he pulled up lame, and he had to be helped off the field.

Soroka was not the only injury on the day.

Davis was plugged into the starting lineup because Jeff McNeil experienced lower back tightness. After hitting a single in the third, reaching third on a Marcell Ozuna error, Amed Rosario was pulled from the game with left quad tightness. Robinson Cano, who has been insanely hot of late, left the same with left groin tightness.

Aside from the injuries, the Mets offense was clicking. Cano would have another RBI single before departing the game. Wilson Ramos had an RBI single and a two run homer.

Those seven runs were more than enough for deGrom. He’d allow just two runs over six with one of them being a Travis d’Arnaud fifth inning solo homer. His final line was

It wasn’t complete smooth sailing for the Mets. Jeurys Familia loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. He’d strike out Ozzie Albies, and Justin Wilson would relieve him to get Freeman to ground out to end the jam.

Jared Hughes made his Mets debut pitching two scoreless innings to secure the 7-2 win. Even with all the injuries, it seemed like this was a game where the Mets got healthy.

Game Notes: Before the game, Brandon Nimmo cast doubt on the Mets account they were not informed of Yoenis Cespedes‘ opt out.

Hey Brodie, Defensive Replacements Shouldn’t Cost Real Prospects

In case you missed it with the Mets making a circus of the Yoenis Cespedes situation, the team once again traded a prospect for a defensive replacement in center. This is the third such trade the Mets have made since Brodie Van Wagenen was hired as the Mets General Manager.

The first trade was trading Adam Hill, Felix Valerio, and Bobby Wahl for Keon Broxton. Broxton played just 34 games with the Mets in 2019. He had a 3 OPS+ and a -0.5 WAR being released. He has signed a minor league deal with the Mariners. Currently, he is part of their 60 player pool, but he has yet to be recalled.

With Juan Lagares departing via free agency, instead of pursuing any one of the cheap defensive center fielders on the fee agent market, Van Wagenen traded Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona for Jake Marisnick.

Marisnick lasted just four games before landing on the IL. Meanwhile, Taylor has been sensational for the Astros. He’s pitched 7.1 scoreless innings over five appearances. Ironically, his 0.8 WAR would lead the Mets this year.

What is maddening about that is the Mets couldn’t just gone out this past offseason and signed Lagares. Last year, Lagares had a very good 5 OAA. This past offseason, he settled for a minor league deal with the Padres, which based upon incentives, could’ve reached $2.4 million.

The Mets not only gave up prospects for Marisnick, but the perpetually cash strapped franchise, agreed to pay him $3.3 million in arbitration.

Instead of Lagares, the Mets could’ve signed Billy Hamilton. This past offseason, Hamilton signed a minor league deal with the Giants.

Considering the Mets only use their defensive players sparingly, begrudgingly letting them bat on occasion, Hamilton was perfect for this team. He’s an elite defensive CF with speed which could be best utilized as a pinch runner.

But, Hamilton only required a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Since that wasn’t coupled with the unnecessary parting of prospects, Van Wagenen wasn’t interested.

However, now, that the Mets were able to give the Giants Jordan Humphreys, who is a very real prospect with a live arm, the Mets were suddenly interested.

They were interested despite Hamilton missing part of summer camp for undisclosed medical reasons. He would not make the Giants Opening Day roster. Instead, he would be part of their player pool.

The Mets made this trade despite having Lagares back. They also had other no-hit defensive replacements like Johneshwy Fargas.

Obtaining Hamilton when you already had reasonable facsimiles is an odd move. Trading an actual prospect for him when you had those pieces is a plain bad move. When you give up pieces for a player you could’ve had for a minor league deal and wasn’t even on a MLB roster at the trade of the trade is pure and simple incompetence.

Parting with five prospects and a MLB reliever for three defensive replacements, two of whom did nothing of value for your team, and the third not even being on a MLB roster, is a fireable offense. That goes double when Lagares has been with the organization.

This is an embarrassing misallocation of resources. Even if you want to make the dumb and highly flawed argument these prospects may not develop into productive major leaguers, the Mets lost the ability to move these players for actual useful pieces.

In the end, we focus on the loss of Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. We can and should look at that to use it to criticize Brodie Van Wagenen. However, if you want a real sign of how Van Wagenen doesn’t know what he’s doing, look no further than his parting with real prospects for the privilege of overpaying players who just could’ve been signed for the league minimum.

In the end, not even comprehending the market and how to properly manage and allocate his resources shows just how much Van Wagenen doesn’t comprehend how to do this job. Whenever the Mets are finally sold we can only hope the new owner has Van Wagenen follow the Wilpons out the door before he inflicts any more damage to the franchise.