Zack Wheeler

A Mets Problem

I had a previously scheduled event at the precise time as first pitch yesterday. With the Mets 16 games under .500, that should not have been an issue. And yet, I couldn’t help but follow the game on my phone.

I was pumped when I saw the 7-0 led propelled by a Michael Conforto three run homer:

I got annoyed when I noticed Jose Reyes delivered a key hit fully knowing it would mean six more weeks without Jeff McNeil.

I was once again excited about how far Zack Wheeler has come, even with him allowing a homer to Matt Adams.

I then lamented how Wheeler may soon join Matt Harvey as an ex-Met as this dream rotation is dismantled before it really ever got off the ground.

The Mets bullpen, especially Anthony Swarzak for one-third of an inning, and Jeurys Familia held on. As for Familia, he’s great again in time to leave.

In the end, really, I write about the Mets because I love this team no matter how bad they are and no matter how awful ownership is.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Who Should The Mets Make Untouchable?

Well, the Mets are terrible, and we are at the point where the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline.  Given the composition of their roster, there isn’t much in terms of trade assets unless you start giving away some pretty major pieces.  Given the rise of the Braves and Phillies and this awful Mets season, it’s worth asking whether the Mets should burn it all to the ground and start over.

Then again, with Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper being free agents and the Mets starting pitching staff, there is a legitimate question whether the Mets truly need to tear it all down in a rebuild.  With that as the pre-text, our Mets Bloggers offered their opinion as to whether any of the Mets players should be absolutely untouchable at the trade deadline:

Michael Baron (nym.news)

I don’t think there’s anyone who is untouchable in this scenario. By doing so with sincerity severely handicaps one’s position in the trade market. I think that can be used to posture in an effort to drum up the cost, but in the end, the Mets cannot discount any one single trade scenario they are confronted with. But I also believe if they intend on contending next season, there’s no way they can trade any one starting pitcher. To get this value in free agency would cost 2-4x (if not more) that which they are paying now. That’s not to say Jacob deGrom will repeat his performance, or any one of them will be healthy, but its safe to say that about any starting pitcher. That plus the cost to get equivalent value in years they want to contend would make it foolish to trade from their only strength at this point in time.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

David Wright

Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)

My one untouchable is Jason Vargas, because no other team would dare touch him. Just kidding, I’d keep Brandon Nimmo and have him cloned eight times. That solves all of our problems.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Only pending free agents should be dealt.  I don’t trust this front office in the slightest, and while I like Omar immensely, he let Eddie Rosario walk and gave the reins to Tony Bernazard . . .

Joe Marcic (Loud Egg)

No player should be untouchable if there is a team out there willing to give a lot of value in return.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I’m sorry, but I have to flake out and say it’s deGrom AND Noah Syndergaard. I know you said one, but these are two guys that should be built around. And if the Mets spent more money on the fringes of the roster, and on scouting and development, you could rebuild rather quickly. Also, sign players for their baseball ability, not for their clubhouse presence.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Everybody is listenable. That’s the key. The Mets should listen to everybody who asks about anybody — and start conversations as they deem fit. They can decide on who shouldn’t be touched from there.

But, honestly, all things being equal, I don’t want anybody laying a finger on deGrom.

Mets Daddy

Unless you are a player on an expiring deal, you should be untouchable because this team does not have a front office in place for next season.  Seriously, should we trust John Ricco to trade Wilmer Flores or Zack Wheeler let alone deGrom or Syndergaard?

Say good-bye to Jerry Blevins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia.  Maybe Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco if anyone will actually give you something in return.  After that, unless you are firing Vargas and Jose Reyes into the sun, there’s no other realistic moves to be made . . . at least not by this front office.

As you can see in what has been a depressing season, there is still people putting out quality content about this team.  While the Mets really don’t have much to offer at the trade deadline, these writers do.  You should take the time to visit their sites.

 

Flores Walks Off Before Walks Kill Oswalt

Well, it was a topsy-turvy doubleheader with the Mete earning a split. With a lot to digest, instead of paragraph form, it might be easier to make some quick points:

  1. This was a Zack Wheeler start from earlier this season with him not making it through the fifth.
  2. Seth Lugo continues to both confound and be a weapon by pitching 2.2 scoreless in relief.
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera must really want to go to a contender because he was 2-4 with a double, homer, and two RBI.
  4. With Todd Frazier landing on the DL, Jose Reyes started both games, and according to Mickey Callaway, Reyes will get the bulk of the playing time.
  5. The Mets will continue to keep Dominic Smith languishing on the bench and refuse to call up Jeff McNeil, who the team only views as a 2B now.
  6. Pinch hitting for Tim Peterson in the 10th, Wilmer Flores hit a walk-off home run. He’s now the Mets all-time leader in walk off RBI (10).
  7. Mets won the first game 4-3 in 10 innings.
  8. Corey Oswalt looked much improved in the second game of the doubleheader starting things off with four perfect innings.
  9. In the fifth, Oswalt walked three batters. The first two led off the inning. The third was intentional so Oswalt could face Aaron Nola, who entered the game as a .067 hitter. He would hit a bases clearing double.
  10. Nola was dominant allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 10 over 7.0 innings.
  11. Entering the ninth inning, there were two hits total in the game, and yet, the Phillies lead 3-1.
  12. Callaway opted to bring in Jerry Blevins and force Gabe Kapler‘s hand. Kapler opted to go with that .190 hitter. over Odubel Herrera. Kapler went with Jesmuel Valdez who struck out.
  13. Flores ninth inning double to pull the Mets to within 3-1. Mets would lose by this score.
  14. There was a pop up with Amed Rosario calling for it. Instead, Reyes took it from him, and he walked away right as Rosario looked miffed.
  15. Mets lost the second game 3-1.

Mets Bullpen Is Bad, Cost Wheeler A Win

If you feel like you’ve seen this game before, you probably have.

After four-and-half innings. it was 5-0 Mets after homers from Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesoraco, and Wilmer Flores.

The Blue Jays lost their starter Marco Estrada after a third of an inning due to an injury. Meanwhile, the Mets had Zack Wheeler straight dealing.

The first crack against him was in the fifth as old pal Curtis Granderson double home a run. After that, Wheeler settled down and put up a couple of more zeros.

In the seventh, the Mets added an insurance run on a Michael Conforto double. At that point, the Mets had a 6-1 lead, and there was no indication the Mets would Mets this up.

They did.

After an eight pitch sixth, Mickey Callaway stuck with Wheeler to start the inning with 98 pitches. With one out in the inning, Callaway pulled Wheeler after a Randall Grichuk single.

Jose Bautista in his first game back in Toronto misplayed the Grichuk single into a two base error leaving him on third.

Oddly enough, pulling Wheeler was designed to prevent things from falling apart. The only issue is the Mets bullpen is bad.

After yielding an RBI groundout, Anthony Swarzak couldn’t get another out. He uncorked a wild pitch to allow a run, and he would leave two on with a 6-3 lead for Robert Gsellman.

Gsellman took care of that by allowing a game tying three run homer to the first batter he saw – Yangervis Solarte.

For those understandably clamoring for Tim Peterson in that spot, well, today wasn’t your day.

In the eighth with the score now tied 6-6, Peterson came on, but after two outs, he walked Grichuk before allowing a go-ahead two run homer to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.

That’s the ballgame with the finishing touch being former Met Tyler Clippard git Conforto to ground out to end the game.

Basically speaking, there is no lead the Mets bullpen can protect.

Game Notes: Dominic Smith got the start, and he played first. He was 2-4 with two doubles. Mesoraco was lifted in the seventh after getting hit by a foul ball and a swing in successive innings. So far, he has passed concussion protocols

Looks Like The Mets Messed Up The Harvey Decision

While the Mets are trying to pull out all the stops against a Marlins team actively trying to lose games, over in Cincinnati, it seems Matt Harvey is starting to put things together.

Over his last three starts, Harvey has been terrific pitching to a 1.47 ERA, 0.818 WHIP, and a 7.0 K/BB ratio.  Over these starts, opposing batters are hitting just .200/.257/.231 against the Dark Knight.  What makes these starts all the more impressive is when you consider they have come against the Cubs, Braves, and Brewers.

That’s three quality offensive opponents in games all started in hitter’s parks.

But it’s more than just the opponents and the results.  His velocity and control are back.  As already noted, Harvey is no longer walking batters, and apparently, he’s not leaving the ball in a position to be teed up by opposing batters:

According to Brooks Baseball, Harvey is back to throwing 95+ with a slider near 90.  Before getting traded to the Reds, Harvey was missing a tick or two on all of his pitches.  In some of his outings, he had nothing but guts out there.

As noted by C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, Harvey says he is feeling better than at any time since 2013.  That’s notable because in 2013, he had Tommy John and in 2016 he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

That could partially because the Mets never really let Harvey get back to full strength post TOS surgery.  It also could be because Harvey always believed he was getting better and getting there.  It just so happened that has actually proven true with the Reds.

Maybe the credit should go to Reds interim pitching coach Danny Darwin and an assistant pitching coach Ted Power.  The duo, especially Darwin, are beginning to get credit for helping turn not just Harvey around, but also what was once considered a bad Reds pitching staff.

That’s not a criticism of Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland.  After all, the Mets duo has helped Jacob deGromreach another level in his game.  They have also seen Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz possibly turn the corner in their careers becoming more reliably and healthy starters.

What it is an indictment upon is the Mets patience and their ability to properly evaluate their own players.  After all, Harvey’s spot in the rotation was effectively taken over by Jason Vargas to be an effective starter this season.  Therein lies the problem.

To that point, here’s the series of transactions and moves the Mets made immediately after designating Harvey for assignment:

Since that time, the Mets have designated both Robles and Conlon for assignment.  We’ve also seen the Mets give chances to Buddy Baumann, Scott Copeland, and Chris Beck.  At a minimum, this is really bizarre roster management, and you have to question what the Mets saw in Baumann, Copeland, and Beck that they didn’t see in Harvey.

Even if you invoke all the Justin Turner non-tender defenses (wouldn’t happen here and the like), that doesn’t mean getting rid of Harvey was the right decision.

It’s not the right decision when you look at the pitchers who have made appearances and struggled in his stead.  It’s not he right decision when you consider the team miscalculated on whether Harvey had something left in the tank.  Really, they miscalculated on his being a disruption.

Since his being traded, the Mets are 14-30 (.318).  They just had a 5-21 month.  On the other hand, the Reds 26-19, and they were 15-11 in June.

Overall, both the Mets and Reds are sellers, and right now the key difference between them is as a result of the deal, the Mets will be looking for someone to take Devin Mesoracowhereas the Reds will have Harvey, who is suddenly a pitcher who is building up trade value.

In the end, it’s funny.  Harvey was partially traded to remove a distraction to help them win ballgames.  In fact, in pure Metsian fashion, the opposite happened.  They fell apart with his replacement in the rotation, Vargas, going 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA and a 1.832 WHIP.

Wheeler Dominant, Bullpen Not So Much

Through the mess that has been the Mets of late, the one thing that has been consistently going well has been the starting pitching. Ok, Brandon Nimmo too, but the starting pitching has been quite good.

That is what has made this run so frustrating. The starting pitching has kept them in games and games close only for the team to invent ways to lose games.

Tonight was another outstanding start from the Mets rotation. This time it came from Zack Wheeler, who has recently been good except for that one inning or batter.

Tonight, there was no except. Wheeler was just dominant.

Through seven scoreless innings, Wheeler allowed just five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. It was about as good a performance as you have seen from him.

Better yet for him, he actually got some run support.

In the third, Amed Rosario, who was finally playing again after Jose Reyes got the playing time he demanded, started a rally by getting hit by an Ivan Nova pitch.

After being sacrificed to second by Wheeler, it seemed like he’d be stranded there. However, Jose Bautista would deliver a two out opposite field RBI double, and then he’d score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.

The Mets 2-0 lead would expand to 3-0 on a Wilmer Flores solo homer in the sixth.

The question with this bullpen was whether a 3-0 lead would be enough. Initially, the answer seemed to be no.

Robert Gsellman came in and he was hit hard with the only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly from Austin Meadows. When Josh Bell followed the sacrifice fly with a hard hit single, Mickey Callaway didn’t mess around.

Callaway pulled a struggling reliever for a hot one in Tim Peterson. Callaway’s faith in him was vindicated as Peterson got the next two outs to get the Mets out of the inning preserving the 3-1 lead.

Despite pitching 1.2 innings last night, Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth for the save.

Before he got an out, the Pirates had the bases loaded with no outs and a run scored.

For some reason, through most of this, the Mets had no one up in the bullpen after an inning where Gsellman got the quick hook.

After Familia gave up a four pitch walk, Callaway went well to Anthony Swarzak, who either doesn’t need much time to warm up or came in way too soon.

Well, it was the later as on Swarzak’s first pitch, David Freese hit a two RBI single to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Again, there were no outs in the inning.

All said and done, it was Pirates 5 – Mets 3. Another game and series lost by a Mets who is funding ways to lose games.

Game Notes: Cabrera is hitting again going 3-4 with a double, RBI, and a run. Corey Oswalt was held back from his Triple-A starts so he can make a start this weekend for the injured Jason Vargas. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto swapped defensive positions with Nimmo manning center and Conforto on left.

Nimmo Blasts Mets To A Winning Streak

Well, with two outs in the ninth, this once again appeared to be a typical Mets loss.

After Todd Frazier‘s first inning sacrifice fly, the Mets couldn’t muster more than a run.

The offense couldn’t muster more than a run.

While Zack Wheeler pitched well allowing just two earned on three hits in six innings, for the fourth time in five starts, he couldn’t hold onto a narrow margin.

Jay Bruce came up to the plate as the go-ahead run on two different occasions,and he failed to deliver.

In his first game off the disabled list, Jeurys Familia performed like most of the bullpen allowing the Diamondbacks to score an eighth inning insurance run to give them a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead.

After two quick outs in the ninth, the Diamondbacks choked this one away.

First, instead of allowing the Jose Reyes bunt to go foul, Alex Avila played it even though he has no shot to get him at first.

Jose Bautista hit a fly ball to right, and Jon Jay misplayed it into an RBI double.

This set the stage for Brandon Nimmo to hit the go-ahead two run homer.

While Brad Boxberger and the Diamondbacks were still dazed from the events leading to them blowing a two run lead with two outs in the ninth against an inept Mets offense, Asdrubal Cabrera would go back-to-back increasing the now Mets lead to 5-3.

This was enough room for Robert Gsellman to record his third save of the season.

With that, the Mets have won consecutive games for the first time in a month. Coincidentally, that time was also against the Diamondbacks.

This team looks better the last few days, and it will be interesting to see where the Mets go from here.

Game Notes: With his drawing two walks, Michael Conforto has reached safely in four of his last five games.

Sell? Mets Have Nothing To Sell!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mets Deep Sixed By The Braves

Things got interesting for the Mets in the sixth inning. Very interesting.

After five shutout innings, the Braves pulled Mike Foltynewicz in favor of LHP Jesse Biddle. The Mets got to work with Todd Frazierearning a one out walk. The ensuing batter, Brandon Nimmo, stuck out his elbow, and he was hit by a pitch.

Except, he wasn’t awarded a base because the home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater ruled Nimmo didn’t try to get out of the way of that pitch. Upon review, he was correct.

That didn’t stop Mickey Callawayfrom going absolutely ballistic leading to his first ejection in his managerial career.

With Dansby Swanson unable to get a hold of an Asdrubal Cabrera grounder the bases were loaded for Jay Bruce, who actually delivered by hitting a ground rule double to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

In case you were wondering whether this was going to be an offensive breakout, don’t.

Devin Mesoracoripped a ball right at Braves third baseman Johan Camargo, who tagged out the lead footed Cabrera, who was standing next to the bag, before throwing to first to complete the double play.

Considering how Mets starting pitchers haven’t had leads for nearly a week (with the exception of Sunday), you could almost understand Zach Wheelerseemingly not knowing how to handle the situation.

Wheeler’s first pitch in the bottom of the sixth was hit by Freddie Freeman for a game tying solo homer.

What was odd after that was even after Tyler Flowersbarely beat the throw on what was almost a double play grounder, Bruce would nail him at third on a Camargo single. On the play, Frazier fielded the throw and dove back to tag Flowers out.

In a what was impressive base running, Camargo moved to second on the Flowers gaffe.

With two outs and a runner at second, Wheeler couldn’t get out of the inning. Like most of the night, it was a soft single which did him in.

The go-ahead Ender Inciartesingle was blooped just past Amed Rosario‘s outstretched glove leaving Brandon Nimmono shot to get Camargo at home.

Now, before reflecting on the final score and Wheeler’s final line, consider this – the Mets should have gotten out of that inning down 3-2.

Inciarte took off for second, and Mesoraco made a perfect throw to second. Only problem was Cabrera flat out dropped the ball. What appeared to be a gassed Wheeler walked the next two batters.

Gary Disarcina finally went to Paul Sewald, who had been standing around for quite some time.

What is odd was with the pitcher’s spot due up third that inning, Disarcina didn’t bother double switching Sewald into the game. Considering it was a one run game, at a minimum, it was a curious decision.

It wound up not mattering as Sewald surrendered a grand slam to Ozzie Albies. With the Mets down 7-2, Sewald hit for himself in the top of the seventh because at that point, why not?

Sewald allowed another run in the seventh to make it an 8-2 game. That was the final score of a game the Mets had a lead and were in decent position of winning. Things are getting real bad.

Game Notes: The Mets have scored 14 runs in nine games this month.

Cabrera’s Bunt Epitomizes The Drag That Is This Terrible Team

There isn’t much to say about this team right now.

Zach Wheeler was great shutting out the Orioles over seven innings allowing just three hits and a walk striking out five.

At the same time, the Mets were dominated by Dylan Bundy, which is at least more palatable than getting dominated by Alex Cobb.

The Mets couldn’t get two on until the seventh, and it was due to a Kevin Plawecki two out double.

Buck Showalter took advantage of an opportunity to force Mickey Callaway‘s hand by intentionally walking Adrian Gonzalez to bring up Wheeler.

Despite Wheeler’s .286 batting average, with how horrid the Mets offense has been Callaway had little choice but to try to get that runner home by pinch hitting Jose Bautista.

In a tough at-bat, where Bautista took some borderline pitches, he walked to load the bases.

Then Amed Rosario had a terrible at-bat striking out on three straight pitches ending the inning.

Worse yet, he took it into the field misplaying a Pedro Alvarez hit into an infield single.

An Adam Jones single and Manny Machado sacrifice fly later, and the Mets faced an insurmountable 1-0 deficit with Jeurys Familia facing the loss.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, you got to see the epitome of the Mets offensive ineptitude.

After Brandon Nimmo singled to lead-off the bottom of the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera went to bunt his way on. Typically, this is a smart baseball play, especially for a player in a slump because the only real downside is you move a runner into scoring position.

That is unless you did what Cabrera did, which was pop the bunt up to the pitcher who could throw it quickly to first to complete the easy double play.

So, there you have it. The Mets limited the worst team in baseball to just three runs in two games, and they got swept because they could only muster one run. Just one.

This has to be rock bottom, right?

Game Notes: Mets are contemplating releasing Jose Reyes but want to do so in a way that honors him because anytime you get a chance to honor a player who threw his wife through a glass door, you just have to do it.