Yoenis Cespedes

Mets Need Offense, Bullpen, Luck At Trade Deadline

The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.

Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.

Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.

Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.

Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.

Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.

Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.

Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.

When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.

Really, the Mets need luck. They need the kind of luck they had when Yoenis Cespedes became the best player on the planet and Addison Reed was the best set-up reliever out of the 2015 trade deadline.

That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.

The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.

Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.

Trevor May needs to be healthy. David Peterson needs to transition well to the bullpen. Peterson and Williams need to pitch well there, and Buck Showalter has to be willing to use them.

Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.

Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.

The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.

Mets Fans Issues With Robinson Cano Isn’t Rocket Science

Once again SNY ran with pure garbage from Andy Martino. He once again levied libelous accusations accusing a loyal fan base of being racist with zero evidence to support the bone-headed contention. This is exactly what he does.

He says Mets fans should support Chase Utley. Its racist to boo a vastly underperforming Luis Castillo even if Martino, himself, called Yoenis Cespedes lazy for getting double heel surgery. Now, he wants us all to tell him why Mets fans don’t like Robinson Cano while again accusing Mets fans of being racist.

Before delving further on Cano, go back to 2019. You could argue Cano not performing up to standards was a key factor why the Mets missed the postseason that year. No, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was certainly a factor.

After all, the could be Hall of Famer had one of the worst years of his career with a 94 wRC+ and a -2 DRS. Cano was supposed to be a big bat in the lineup and steadying influence in the infield for a young Amed Rosario. Instead, in what was an injury plagued season, he underachieved and was at times a liability.

In year one, following that horrific trade where the Mets gave up both Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn while assuming nearly all of his contract, Cano was already the liability many thought he would be before the end of his career. What’s funny is despite that fans were not booing him when he took the field or came to the plate.

This was far from a Francisco Lindor situation. Mets fans may not have fully embraced Cano, but they certainly did not jeer him. No, he was treated with some level of reverence for all he accomplished in his career while many hoped getting away from Chili Davis could rejuvenate his career.

While you could’ve given Cano credit for his 2020 resurgence, we found out it was because of PEDs. His using PEDs that season did lead to his second suspension costing him the entirety of the 2021 season.

When Mets fans look at Cano now, they’re not angry with him or booing him. They’re not demanding he get released or traded. Sure, there are fans who want that, but if you go back to the 1970s, you could assuredly find Mets fans who were happy the team traded Tom Seaver. Mistaking a vocal minority or giving the lunatic fringe credit is always disingenuous and irresponsible (to be fair, that is what this article does in part by even addressing Martino).

When Mets fans look at Cano, they see a player who was the key return in one of the worst trades in franchise history. It was his contract which was yet another excuse why the Wilpons refused to spend to help get the Mets to the World Series. Now, he’s just an odd fit who is 39 trying to become a real everyday contributor to a Major League team for the first time since the 2017 season.

Mets fans don’t hate Cano. Saying they dislike him is a stretch. No, they’ve been frustrated with him, and now, they don’t know how he fits. When he does come back, he’s not going to immediately be booed, and if he contributes everything related to the trade and suspension will quickly be forgotten. Really, proferring otherwise is just plain wrong.

Then again, the Wilpons still own SNY, and as we know, they have nothing but contempt for Mets fans. This is why they pay Martino to go forth and spew pure unsubstantiated garbage like this.

 

Kevin Long Again Made Case To Be Mets Manager

It was a very poorly kept secret back in 2017 if he had his druthers Sandy Alderson wanted to hire Kevin Long to succeed Terry Collins as the New York Mets manager. Long didn’t take anything for granted coming extremely prepared for the interview with binders of information. More than that, he had already had a profound impact on the Mets organization rejuvenating Curtis Granderson while transforming Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy.

However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, Jeff Wilpon got it in his mind he wanted to have Mickey Callaway as the manager. Despite Callaway interviewing poorly, it was enough for Wilpon to hire Callaway after one interview because the Philadelphia Phillies showed interest. As Mets fans can recall, this went over about as well as when the Mets included Jarred Kelenic in the Robinson Cano trade because the Phillies showed interest in Edwin Diaz.

Since then, the managerial position has been a disaster for the Mets. Callaway proved to be an awful human being harassing female reporters. After him, the Mets hired and then were effectively forced to fire Carlos Beltran. In a mad scramble, they hired Luis Rojas while completely failing to give him any chance to succeed in the position. Rather that let him continue to grow, the team has decided they need to go in a different direction.

Now, there are many moving pieces before the Mets get to hire a new manager. The biggest is the need to hire a new president of baseball operations. Presumably, that is the person who will and should have the biggest input on who the Mets next manager will be. Whatever the case, the Mets have the right to correct the mistake they made in 2017 and hire Long.

For his part, Long served the world with a reminder why he was managerial material. During the National League Wild Card Game, he was sitting next to superstar Juan Soto, a player Long has helped get the most out of his ability. Soto was wearing a Trea Turner jersey (another player Long has helped immensely) while Long wore a Max Scherzer jersey.

In that moment, you saw everything you could have possibly wanted to see from a future manager of your team. He was standing there with his star player, a player in Soto he helped take from a 19 year old wunderkind to a bona fide Major League superstar. More than that, he showed the incredibly great relationship he fostered with his superstar player, the very type of relationship a manager absolutely needs to have any level of success.

We also saw the sense of loyalty he has for his players. He went out there to support both Turner and Scherzer. It was a moment which meant so much to them Scherzer made sure to go over to the stands to celebrate his team’s walk-off win with them. Keep in mind here, Scherzer is a free agent who should be on everyone’s radar.

When we look at the modern game and the current status of the managerial role, it is increasingly about relationships with the players and the ability to communicate. It’s no longer about Gil Hodges playing a hunch or Davey Johnson trusting his eyes over the data. Increasingly, it’s about taking the game plan prepared by the front office and not just executing it, but getting the players to buy in on the plan.

Putting aside what happened in the NL Wild Card Game, this is exactly what Long does. He helped transform Cespedes from a wild swinger to a player better able to identify his pitch and become a monster at the plate. There was also Murphy who went from gap to gap hitter to a legitimate threat at the plate. Murphy showed the 2015 postseason wasn’t a fluke by any means when he became an All-Star and MVP candidate with the Washington Nationals. It should be noted Long followed Murphy to Washington, D.C.

In total, Long is what you want in a manager. He can process data and translate it to players in a way where they can understand and execute it. We also see he is a coach who can foster great relationships with this players. He is also loyal to his players, and they love him. Short of being able to steal away the Bob Melvins of the world, you’re not going to find a better managerial candidate than Long.

Alderson knew it in 2017, and he can do what he wanted to do back then and make Long the Mets manager. If that is the case, we can expect the maddening Mets offense to finally click and for this team to reach the World Series potential we know they have.

El Mago Show In Miami

The New York Mets obtained Javier Baez to be a difference maker as the team tries to hold on and win the division. In the 5-3 win against the Miami Marlins he was just that.

In the Mets three run second, Jesus Aguilar had him dead to rights on a Tomas Nido fielder’s choice. Aguilar made a perfect throw home, but Baez made a slide only he can to score the run:

The Mets would eventually blow that 3-0 lead, but they’d get the lead back in the eighth when Baez hit the go-ahead homer in what would become a Mets 5-3 win:

It’s difficult to know how things will go when you add at the trade deadline. Sometimes, you get Jay Bruce in 2016. Other times, you get Yoenis Cespedes in 2015.

In that game, Baez was much more Cespedes than Bruce. If that continues, the Mets will win this division. After that, if everyone gets heathy, who knows?

Mets Teetering With Reds Loss

This should’ve been a great day for the New York Mets. The black uniforms were back for limited engagement, Carlos Carrasco was making his season debut, and they added Javier Baez at the trade deadline.

Instead of this being the Yoenis Cespedes celebration with Lucas Duda carrying the Mets to first place, you have to wonder if the Mets are in real trouble.

For his part, aside from surrendering a homer to Jonathan India on his first pitch, Carrasco was terrific. Over four innings, he allowed just that one run on three hits and one walk while striking out four.

It should be noted, part of the reason he gave up one run was a phenomenal play by Luis Guillorme to rob Eugenio Suarez of a would be RBI single.

At that time, the Mets should’ve had a lead. Before Sonny Gray could blink Jeff McNeil doubled home Brandon Nimmo to tie the score. Then, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs.

The promising rally completely fell apart. Michael Conforto struck out in what would be an 0-for-4 night with a golden sombrero and a dip below the Mendoza Line.

Jonathan Villar then hit into an inning ending double play. That was about it for the Mets offense for the night. They wouldn’t get a runner into scoring position until the eighth, and they squandered that opportunity as well.

That wasn’t the case with the Reds. Miguel Castro‘s struggles continued. He allowed a double to India, and Jesse Winker was a Mets killer again driving him home.

Drew Smith‘s long ball troubles continued as he allowed a homer to Joey Votto the following inning. This was the seventh consecutive game Votto homered.

It was still theoretically a game in the ninth as it was only 3-1. That was until the Reds roughed up Anthony Banda in his second inning of work for three runs making it a 6-1 Reds lead.

In the ninth, in what may prove to be his last Mets at-bat, Brandon Drury hit a pinch hit RBI double. It proved to be nothing more than window dressing in the Mets 6-2 loss.

As if that loss wasn’t bad enough, Nimmo was going to be taken out of the game with a hamstring issue resulting from a dividing catch. Jacob deGrom was shut down again with more forearm inflammation. It should also be noted with the Mets falling to add a reliever the bullpen struggled.

All told, even with the Baez addition, this was just about as bad a day as you can get. The Mets looked bad and might be in real trouble soon.

Game Notes: In addition to getting Baez for Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Mets also obtained Trevor Williams. Williams was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse.

Alonso Is Re-Pete Home Run Derby Champion

Each of the Home Run Derby contestants wore the number 44 in honor of the late Hank Aaron. Much like Aaron once before him, Pete Alonso once again established himself as the real home run king.

First, Alonso knocked off Salvador Perez. Then, he squared off against Juan Soto. Alonso did so well that round, he actually used his time out solely for the purpose of hyping the crowd.

Finally, Alonso faced Trey Mancini in the finals. The cancer survivor was a crowd favorite, and really everyone on that planet, except Mets fans, were rooting for him.

Mancini had a great round hitting 22 homers. That just so happened to be the same amount Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit two years ago. Once again, Alonso beat that number.

In total, Alonso hit a very nice 69 total homers. If not for his going second in his matchups against Soto and Mancini, he very likely would’ve hit more. Those homers traveled a combined 26 miles.

With that, Alonso joins Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes as the only players to successfully defend their title. There’s every chance Alonso can and will go for the three peat, sorry three Pete, next year in Los Angeles.

There have been many great at this event, but Alonso could be the best ever at this. Really, he’s to the Home Run Derby what Jacob deGrom is to pitching.

Speaking of deGrom, he won the Cy Young in 2019 when Alonso won the Home Run Derby. It looks like that feat will be repeated this year. Certainly, we can also expect the Mets to have a big second half much like they had that year as well.

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.