Billy McKinney

Mets Should Obtain Clint Frazier

With the deadline to protect Rule 5 players, you’ll typically see some shocking moves. The New York Yankees designating Clint Frazier ranks as a shocking move.

While shocking, it probably wasn’t all that surprising. It never really worked for him with the Yankees, and there are questions about whether he’s really recovered from his concussions and/or if he had other neurological issues.

Whatever the case, Frazier’s time with the Yankees appears to be over, and he will be with a new organization in 2022. That organization should be the New York Mets.

As constituted, the Mets only have Brandon Nimmo as an outfielder right now. Perhaps, depending on what they do this offseason, Jeff McNeil can slot back in left field. And no, once and for all Dominic Smith is not a LF.

In the minors, Khalil Lee is all the Mets have has Major League ready outfield depth. While we shouldn’t take away too much from an 11 game stint, he didn’t appear ready.

He looked overmatched for the most part. Certainly, he made improvements and should continue to improve. That said, he can’t be counted on as depth on Opening Day.

That’s what Frazier could be. He could be real depth for the Mets with upside. In some ways, he could provide the Mets with what Billy McKinney (another player designated for assignment) provided the Mets in 2021.

The two biggest positives with Frazier is he still hits the ball extremely hard, and his walk rate continues to improve. There is real offensive promise there, and a mixture of a new team, different analytical approach, and a new hitting coach could get Frazier to reach his potential.

On the latter two, we know the Mets are still addressing these needs. With the right people, the Mets could not only get the most out of Frazier, but really anyone on the team.

With Frazier, the bat isn’t the issue. There is enough to but in on the potential. That same probably can’t be said of the defense.

Aside from 2020, Frazier has put up a negative OAA. Part and parcel with that is Frazier’s decreasing spring speed. Even with improved positioning, it’s difficult to see how his defense would improve suddenly.

Of course, Frazier’s defense can improve, as we saw in 2020, but it’s difficult to see it improve to the point where he doesn’t hurt you everyday. With Frazier, that’s not an issue.

If the Mets got Frazier as a fourth outfielder, they can pick and choose his spots in the outfield. An even bigger benefit is he’s a right-handed bat who can complement what the Mets already have.

For this reason alone, this merits putting in a waiver claim on him. Perhaps, the Mets could swing a minor trade to endure they get him. In either event, there’s still real upside with Frazier, and the Mets could use another outfielder.

In the end, Frazier is very low risk with high reward. He’s well worth the gamble. That goes double for a Mets team which desperately needs outfielders.

Mets Platoon Obsession Dodged A Win

With the left-handed Julio Urias starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets panicked and sat most of their left-handed hitters. That meant the Mets sat their best hitters.

What’s annoying about it was Urias has reverse splits. It’s all the more annoying because players like Dominic Smith are better against left-handed pitchers than their right-handed hitters.

Well, the Mets shot themselves in the foot. Brandon Drury, Kevin Pillar, and Albert Almora combined to go 0-for-6 with one walk and two strikeouts. In defense of Almora, that walk was a great at-bat, and it began the way towards Luis Rojas substituting players into the game to undo the inane front office lineup.

The irony of the game would be the Mets didn’t do anything until the left-handed bats could themselves in the game.

Down 4-0 after a strong effort from Tylor Megill and some gaffes by James McCann, the Mets rallied starting with a Michael Conforto two out double.

The left-handed batters did their job. Smith followed with an RBI single getting the Mets on the board.

Brandon Nimmo walked (of course), and Alonso was walked to load the bases. Jeff McNeil, another LHP not in the starting lineup, hit a two run single pulling the Mets within one. That run scored on a Will Smith passed ball.

The bats who couldn’t be trusted to be in the starting lineup, the Mets best bats, tied the score with a big two out rally.

Edwin Diaz got into trouble in the ninth starting with his walking former Met Billy McKinney to start the inning. Diaz got out of the inning leading to more platoon based nonsense.

Now, Aaron Loup has been the Mets best reliever all year, and he was fresh pitching just once over the last week. Meanwhile, Jeurys Familia has been heavily worked lately, and he has been starting to show the strain.

Well, despite Loup’s success against right-handed batters over the past two years, and the reverse splits of Smith, the Mets opted for Familia. The end result was a tired Familia giving up a go-ahead two run homer.

The Mets did get one back in the 10th, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 6-5 in a game they severely hampered themselves by being overly beholden to 1960 platoon theory.

It’s annoying the Mets handcuffed themselves like this unnecessarily and really purposefully ran converse to the analytics. They need to be better and do better than this.

Marcus Stroman Comes Up Huge

It wasn’t just that Marcus Stroman pitched a great game. It was the fact New York Mets starters had amassed five innings combined over the three previous games.

The bullpen was beyond taxes and exhausted. Frankly, with the team leaning on players like Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb, they were well past the point of Plan B or C or well beyond.

With that backdrop, Stroman took the mound for the Mets in a day game the day after a tough loss. He brought his usual infectious energy, and he brought it on the mound.

Things got rolling after an inauspicious start. Stroman plunked the first batter he faced, but he quickly rebounded by getting Mets killer Jesse Winker to hit into a double play. After that, the Reds wouldn’t have a base runner until the third.

That single by Aristides Aquino was the only hit Stroman allowed over his eight shut out innings. From there, the Reds wouldn’t get another base runner until a Joey Votto two out walk in the seventh.

It’s somewhat of a surprise Stroman wasn’t given the opportunity for a complete game after throwing just 90 pitches, but that misses the point a bit. Stroman was great allowing just those two base runners while striking out seven.

Stroman would pick up the win as the Mets offense continued to hit for power and drive in runs. When Dominic Smith hit a second inning grand slam, the game was effectively over.

That was an inning after Jonathan Villar opened the scoring with a solo shot. We’d also see Luis Guillorme hit his second career homer in the fifth.

All told, this was a 7-0 victory for the Mets. At least for a day, the Mets offense was clicking. With an actual day off, Stroman gave the bullpen a long needed rest.

The Mets have more importantly righted the ship since Pittsburgh. Now, it’s time to make a move to lock things up as we head towards the trade deadline. .

Game Notes: After being designated for assignment, Billy McKinney was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Carlos Rincon.

Mets Lose Lindor And Inexplainable Game To Pirates

The New York Mets first game out of the break was a completely unmitigated disaster. To a certain extent, it was an embarrassment.

Against Chad Kuhl and the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen, the Mets kept threatening and faltering. In fact, this team was 0-for-12 with RISP. That’s only part of the story.

In three straight innings, they drew lead-off walks. They had runners on first and second three straight innings. They had eight different men in scoring position.

Just one of them scored. It was Pete Alonso on a Jonathan Villar RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth. That wasn’t enough run support for Marcus Stroman.

Stroman didn’t have his best stuff, and he was fighting it in more ways than one.

His toughest inning was the second. The Pirates loaded the bases against him with one out, and then the rains came. There was roughly a half hour rain delay.

He’d strike out Kuhl, but he’d allow a two RBI single to Adam Frazier giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead. After that Ke’Bryan Hayes hit one up the middle making Stroman look like Charlie Brown. Stroman escaped the inning without any further damage.

That damage would come later. The fifth inning would be as bizarre and damaging an inning as we’ve seen. It started with Francisco Lindor leaving with an apparent oblique injury.

In the bottom of the inning, we’d see Stromsn retire John Nogowski to get out of a tough jam to leave the game at 2-1. Stroman celebrated, and Nogowski thought he was tougher than Stroman.

Stroman couldn’t get to Nogowski because James McCann wouldn’t let him. We’d see Stroman bent over and run off the field. Apparently, he was alright as he back to the dugout to chirp Nogowski.

This was all well and good, but Stroman and the Mets took the loss. The 2-1 deficit grew to 4-1 when Drew Smith and Jeurys Familia each surrendered long homers.

It was another ugly, inexplicable, and unacceptable loss to a very bad Pirates team. They now loss three out of five to the Pirates, and worse yet, they’ve lost their best position player.

Game Notes: Gary Thorne came back to do play-by-play with Gary Cohen on vacation. Billy McKinney was designated for assignment to make room for J.D. Davis on the roster. Luis Guillorme replaced Lindor at short.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Brewing Something Special

The NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers came to Citi Field with their pitching lined up. It was the Mets who took two out of three:

1. While the consternation of the split doubleheader seven inning games is justified, the larger issue is the fact seven inning doubleheaders exist.

2. The extremely long rain delay at Citi Field was the first of the Steve Cohen era, but when you’re trying to get an extra Jacob deGrom start, you do it.

3. Recently, deGrom has gone from super-human to merely being just the best pitcher in baseball.

4. deGrom is correct. With his sitting out the All-Star Game, Taijuan Walker absolutely should take his place.

5. You hate to overreact to things, but it was incredibly frustrating watching Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith, and Pete Alonso strike out with the bases loaded in a 3-0 game.

6. It should be noted they’ve all been so good lately (and for the last few years) we shouldn’t blow it out of proportions. That goes double when you see how they combined to win Monday’s game.

7. Jose Peraza homering off Josh Hader was another indication this team is special and well built for October.

8. Speaking of that moment, Luis Rojas had an excellent series and was pushing all the right buttons. For example, one under the Radar move was pinch running Billy McKinney for Alonso in the late innings, which permitted him to get the faster runner and reset the defense.

9. One thing which is becoming increasingly obvious is Brandon Nimmo is the most important hitter on this team.

10. Jeff McNeil is turning a corner (i.e. getting some luck), and his game winning hit was a huge moment for him and the team.

11. That doubleheader really was a tale of the bases loaded. In the first game, McNeil delivered the walk-off hit. In the second, they literally struck out.

12. We don’t know if it’s the early usage, the lack of substances, or something else, but Miguel Castro looks done.

13. James McCann had a great AB in the first game of the doubleheader fighting for that walk to load the bases. It’s indicative of just how good he’s been lately, and how he’s outplaying J.T. Realmuto (h/t Brian Mangan).

14. Great job by Robert Stock to give the Mets a credible start in the second game of the doubleheader.

15. Giving him 89 is the continuation of a dumb practice of forcing Major Leaguers to try to prove they deserve a real number.

16. Tylor Megill is having a 2006 John Maine impact on this team. If he continues, and it looks like he will, they won’t need to add a pitcher at the trade deadline.

17. If the Mets won’t move McNeil to third, third base is their biggest hole and most important area to attack at the trade deadline. Josh Donaldson would make a lot of sense.

18. Of course Adam Fox is a Mets and Rangers fan. It’s because he’s awesome.

19. Win or lose, this Mets team has no quit. That makes them a very special group, and the Mets may not want to tinker too much with the clubhouse.

20. The Mets have seven straight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s time to make a big run.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Cruise Along Subway

This year’s edition of the Subway Series saw two struggling New York teams. After the series, the Mets weren’t the ones struggling anymore:

1. There shouldn’t be anymore doubt Brandon Nimmo is the Mets best offensive player, and he’s the real catalyst for the team.

2. If the point of replay is to get the calls right, there’s no point to replay when Nimmo is called out on a play he was clearly safe.

3. Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman certainly are not the same pitchers since the crack down on sticky substances.

4. Imagine being someone who thought Cole deserved to be in the same breath as Jacob deGrom let alone thinking he was better.

5. Taijuan Walker absolutely should’ve been an All-Star, and he proved it again with his no-hitting the Yankees for 5+ innings. Hopefully, he will be an alternate for when deGrom won’t pitch in the game.

6. Was the Aaron Judge homer off Walker the first time one 99 broke up the no-hitter of another 99?

7. Again, there is no way the Mets should even contemplate DFAing Jose Peraza, especially after that bases loaded double to clear the bases. Use one of J.D. Davisoptions and teach him how to play a position.

8. It’s funny that Tony Tarasco was on the field for the play where the Mets fan reached over the wall for the Peraza double. Tarasco was the Baltimore Orioles RF on the Jeffrey Meier/Derek Jeter play.

9. Pete Alonso‘s homer off Chapman was arguably the biggest hit of the year.

10. Alonso looks much more like the 2019 version hitting 275/.343/.517 with nine homers and 135 wRC+ over 134 PA since returning from the IL (h/t Tim Ryder).

11. Dominic Smith is red hot with a .875 OPS the past week and a .327/.365/.571 over the past two weeks. Like Alonso, he absolutely can keep this up.

12. That sure looked like the Jeff McNeil of old in this series.

13. The Mets made the right call keeping Billy McKinney up over Albert Almora. Now, McKinney needs to prove he can play off the bench effectively. He may get a week to prove it.

14. Considering he’s being stretched out, you absolutely take those five innings from behind Corey Oswalt, who looked good besides the one mistake.

15. On the bright side, while we may not see Carlos Carrasco or Noah Syndergaard until August or September, they’re going to be well rested and ready to dominate in the postseason.

16. What is going on with Michael Conforto?

17. Good thing Jeurys Familia is back because Miguel Castro doesn’t have it anymore.

18. This Mets team is built for the postseason because of their pitching and their ability to fight back late in games.

19. It was odd to see the Mets not optimize their defensive alignment behind Marcus Stroman, especially with the DH in play.

20. This series coming up against the Milwaukee Brewers is a good temperature check to see how good the Mets are, and for that matter, just how good the Brewers are.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Might Be In Trouble

The New York Mets traveled to Atlanta, and they lost yet another road series.

1. At 17-25, the Mets are an awful road team, and they’re not going anywhere if they can’t correct this.

2. When you include the one Washington Nationals make-up game, the Mets three out of four. Digging deeper, they’ve lost 10 out of their last 16.

3. Unless there was a sinkhole on the infield dirt, Luis Guillorme, who was charging in on the ball, was not out-running Ronald Acuña to third.

4. Only Jacob deGrom could have a seven inning game where he allows three runs while walking none and striking out 14 a bad start.

5. It’s very troubling Sandy Alderson hired Mickey Callaway (or at least was the GM when Jeff Wilpon did it), hired Jared Porter, and came extremely close to signing Trevor Bauer. Oh, and he was the guy who brought back Jose Reyes.

6. There’s absolutely no place for Bauer in baseball.

7. We’re starting to see more Jeff McNeil at third late in games. He should be there everyday.

8. Mets are a clutch James McCann three run homer from the walls caving in on them.

9. He was injured, but David Peterson hasn’t been good or consistent all year. The sad part is even with that they still need him.

10. Maybe it’s a blip, or maybe the league has figured out Sean Reid-Foley, but his last few appearances haven’t been good.

11. The Thomas Szapucki outing was disheartening as he didn’t really show any indication he’d be ready to help the Mets this year.

12. Tylor Megill has more than earned more starts, and seeing everything, Corey Oswalt should be slotting in behind him in the rotation as they continue to stretch him out.

13. Albert Almora has now surrendered more homers and RBI than he’s hit. Good on him for volunteering to pitch, but there’s no reason for him to stay up over Billy McKinney when Brandon Nimmo is healthy.

14. Mets need a lot more of what Dominic Smith provided this past week, especially since his LF defense isn’t good.

15. Pete Alonso has been hitting a lot better of late, but sooner or later, he needs to start hitting a home. The same could be said for this entire Mets team.

16. With the great second base defense Jose Peraza has provided and his big hits the Mets should be really be considering his role going forward with the team. You could argue he should be playing everyday.

17. The Mets will never do it, but J.D. Davis still has minor league options and can’t refuse an assignment to Syracuse. Given how he can’t play a position, and his activation may force a Peraza DFA, he should be sent to Syracuse where he can actually learn how to play defense.

18. Speaking of Syracuse, it’s an embarrassment to the Mets and MLB that the Mets organization is not providing housing and other needs to minor leaguers they’re barely paying.

19. The quote was met with derision but hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum is right. He needs to focus on processes. When processes are correct and clicking, the runs will then follow.

20. The Mets and Yankees both head into the Subway Series in complete disarray and with the threat of all three games being rained out.

Game Recaps

Mets McCann Hit

Albert Almora Pitched, So It Was an Ugly Loss

Nothing Luis Guillorme Could Do

Mets Offense Too Little, Too Late

The Washington Nationals are clicking offensively, so Jerad Eickhoff is just about the last pitcher you’d want to send to the mound to face them.

The Nationals hit four homers off of him including two from Kyle Schwarber, who is suddenly becoming a very annoying Mets killer. Just like that, it was 5-0 Nationals through six.

The problem is the Mets offense did nothing. That was until Luis Guillorme, who keeps finding a way on base, would single and go to second on an error. With two outs in the seventh, Jeff McNeil hit a single to finally get the Mets on the board.

That provided something of the spark. In the eighth, Pete Alonso and Billy McKinney went back-to-back to pull the Mets to within 5-4.

That’s where the Mets scoring ended. The rally was all for naught as Miguel Castro imploded in the eighth allowing a three run homer to Ryan Zimmerman. Yes, there were defensive gaffes and the like, bit a one run game became an 8-4 loss.

Right now, when it comes to the Mets offense, it’s a conundrum. If you’re glass half-full, you see a team poised on breaking out and who battles back. If you’re glass half-empty, you see an offense who doesn’t show up when needed.

Regardless of how you see things, this offense can and should be better, and the Mets are going to need it to be through this stretch of games into the break.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Couldn’t Take Full Advantage Of Phillies Bullpen

For once, it was nice watching another team struggle through a bad bullpen, but you still would’ve hoped the New York Mets made more of their opportunity against that dreadful Philadelphia Phillies bullpen:

1. Deepest condolences go out to Marcus Stroman who lost his grandmother.

2. The fact Stroman pitched through the pain of losing a loved one is another in a long series of how no one should ever question his heart or dedication. Again, this is the type of player and person the Mets want to keep around past this season.

3. Corey Oswalt has been really good and looks well poised to take over the role Robert Gsellman once had. That’s good because it doesn’t look like Gsellman is coming back anytime soon.

4. That spark Michael Conforto provided the Mets offense sure seemed short lived.

5. On that note, the Mets offense is aware they don’t have to wait for the ninth for a rally, right?

6. It’s really difficult to pinpoint what’s wrong with Jeff McNeil other than bad luck. His batted ball numbers are extremely similar to previous seasons. With that being the case, they just need to stick with him.

7. The Mets really need to switch McNeil with Luis Guillorme defensively. Aside from struggles in a COVID impacted season, McNeil is a good third baseman. Guillorme is other worldly at second and not so great at third. It’s time to fix this.

8. Zack Wheeler dominating the Mets is just another example of just how impossibly bad Brodie Van Wagenen was as a GM.

9. Just imagine if the Mets had Wheeler behind Jacob deGrom. They’d be absolutely impossible to beat in a postseason series. It would really be on the level of 2001 Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

10. deGrom is so amazing two earned over six innings is considered a bad start. When your worst is better than 99% of the league’s best, you know deGrom’s season is beyond hyperbole.

11. The Mets have a bit of a Pete Alonso problem. He’s just nowhere near his 2019 form, and he just seems to be getting further away. More troubling is the struggles hitting at home.

12. That’s not exclusive to Alonso. The Mets also have a Dominic Smith problem, and basically [INSERT PLAYER] problem. McNeil was noted above, and Conforto’s power had seemingly disappeared.

13. Brandon Nimmo appears nearing his return, and the Mets offense seems to need him. That’s problematic considering there are more than enough bats already in this lineup.

14. When Nimmo does return, Billy McKinney needs to stay on the roster. He’s earned his spot and has significantly outperformed Albert Almora.

15. Mark Vientos and Carlos Cortes are flat out raking in Double-A and need to be moved to Syracuse ASAP. They need to be ready to help this roster if needed come August and September.

16. David Peterson had a strong start. He needs to start stringing them together.

17. Francisco Lindor had a huge game winning hit, and he increasingly looks like the player he was in Cleveland.

18. There’s been focus on Guillorme’s batting average, but he’s got a terrific .403 OBP. Considering he’s an eighth place hitter, you can’t ask for more than that. That goes double when he just finds a way on base in the late innings.

19. It’s funny. The Mets have gone 6-6 in a 12 game stretch against the NL East, and their 4.5 game lead is now 4.0 games. The only real change now is the order of the trans behind them.

20. At some point, the Mets need to go on a run. To that, Noah Syndergaard does say the Mets are a second half team . . . .

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Can Beat Good Teams

After the Chicago Cubs swept the New York Mets at Wrigley, the Mets nearly returned the favor at Citi Field:

1. It all begins and ends with Jacob deGrom. If he’s healthy, he and the Mets are unbeatable. Right now, he’s not healthy.

2. Another important thing is no one knows what’s wrong. We just lived the era of Jeff Wilpon, MD. Let’s let the professionals actually call the shots.

3. Marcus Stroman picked up the slack with seven great innings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the win, but with the bullpen innings saved, it may mean one down the road.

4. That David Peterson start was huge, but he’s had those moments. The real key for him is consistency.

5. The Mets are usually known for the worst free agent signing. With Taijuan Walker, it’s nice seeing the Mets make the best one for once.

6. On that note, Kevin Pillar has been much better than advertised. It’s not just the offense and defense. It’s the grit.

7. Pete Alonso is great, but he has his moments where he tries to do way too much. Sometimes,he needs to take instead of jumping out of his heels. It’s why that AN was a sacrifice fly.

8. Its a tough spot for Drew Smith, but if you’re brought in to mop it up, don’t make a game of it. That’s how you eventually lose a roster spot.

9. The Dellin Betances rehab assignment has the feel of the old David Wright ones.

10. Luis Guillorme‘s ability to transfer is at another level, and as we saw with the play at the plate, it’s game changing.

11. Billy McKinney continues to play well. It appears he may need to hold the fort down just a little longer.

12. The new rules, or better put, efforts to enforce the rules, is merely a deflection from the change in the ball. It also has the added benefit for MLB to have a bargaining chip for the impending CBA talks.

13. Knock on wood, but so far, we’re not seeing any change in performance for Mets pitchers. We’ll see if that continues when enforcement officially begins.

14. With all these games bunched up, Sean Reid-Foley suddenly becomes massively important. His stepping in for deGrom is a sign of the value he can provide to this team

15. For all that narrative about the Mets not beating over .500 teams, they just took five of seven from the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs.

16. Again, you win with pitching a defense. The Mets have the best FIP and second best DRS. If that continues, they’ll continue to win.

17. The Mets have an opportunity to absolutely bury the Washington Nationals and force them to be sellers. They may be tired, but they can’t miss this chance.

18. Last time deGrom was the Mets only All-Star was 2015. That’s a good omen, but odds are the Mets will get a few pitchers.

19. Dominic Smith seems more comfortable in the OF, and he’s working counts, but he needs to pick it up.

20. The Mets have the largest lead in baseball, and they’re not really playing well yet. This team is scary good.