Brandon Nimmo

Mets Should Sign Trevor Bauer

Back when Steve Cohen first purchased the New York Mets, the team was very close to signing Trevor Bauer. That was even with there being issues with Bauer and his treatment of women. It’s fair to say the rumors weren’t at the levels of what would eventually led to Bauer receiving the largest ever suspension in Major League history, but there was something there.

Now, the Mets are in winner-take-all mode. This is an offseason where the Mets gave Edwin Diaz a record deal for a reliever, and they gave Brandon Nimmo the largest deal ever to a homegrown Mets player. Oh, by the way, the team also signed Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, and Omar Narvaez. They also did all they could do to sign Carlos Correa.

Cohen wants to win, and apparently, the Mets finish to the regular season and Wild Card round exit has only spurred him to push harder. That leads to Bauer being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s now a free agent with any team able to sign him for $720,000.

For Cohen, that amount is something he finds in his couch cushions. Based on his unprecedented spending spree this offseason, that is nothing to him. Certainly, you can argue he should use that money to sign Bauer like the Mets wanted to do back before Bauer signed with the Dodgers.

After all, by signing Bauer, the Mets would exclusively control his rights. They can use that to make sure he never pitches in a game in 2023 and perhaps never again. They would being a civic duty by doing this.

This is also doing a favor to baseball. Remember, back when Cohen was snatching up free agents, one of the prevailing rumors was the other 29 owners were angry with him and would be complaining to the commissioner if they had not already. By signing Bauer and not playing him, Cohen would be doing the other owners a favor.

First, he would be ensuring Bauer doesn’t play. Second, he would be saving the other owners from themselves. After all, we see what the Atlanta Braves did with signing Marcell Ozuna, and the Chicago Cubs did with their keeping Addison Russell. Sometimes, teams and Major League Baseball needs to be protected from themselves.

Here, Cohen should be the hero. Sign Bauer and then never play him. Let him rot into obscurity. Push him a further year away from ever playing again making the chances of him ever playing again all the more remote.

Mets Last Postseason Run Distant Memory

When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.

While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:

  1. Curtis Granderson – retired
  2. David Wright – retired
  3. Daniel Murphy – retired
  4. Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
  5. Lucas Duda – retired
  6. Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
  7. Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
  8. Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
  9. Kelly Johnson – retired

That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.

As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.

When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.

When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.

In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David RobertsonOmar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.

So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.

You’re A Reviled One, Mr. Cohen

You’re a reviled one, Mr. Cohen
You made Correa a steal,
You’re moves stings like a cactus, you got him even with McNeil, Mr. Cohen,
You’re a bad banana with an incredible infield

You’ve got Verlander, Mr. Cohen,
You filled the deGrom sized hole,
Your pocket is full of dollars, you have Gotham in your soul, Mr. Cohen,
I couldn’t touch your pitching with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Cohen,
You have Nimmo and his smile,
You have all Alonso’s sweetness of a swing hitting it a mile, Mr. Cohen,
Given a choice between the two of you’d call in sick for a while!

You’re a rotter, Mr. Cohen,
You’re the king of concession spots,
Your ballparks got helmet nachos with Mr. Softee instead of those lame Dippin’ Dots, Mr. Cohen,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut hotdog and double burger with extra Shack sauce!

You nauseate me, Mr. Cohen,
With a payroll super cost!,
You’re Scherzer is joined by a Koudai, and you sold McCann at a loss, Mr. Cohen,
Your opponents are left as an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most intimidating
assortment of pitches imaginable putting batters in tangled up knots!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Cohen,
You’re Omar catches pitches that sunk,
Your Edwin had us soil our jocks, your Quintana puts us in a funk, Mr. Cohen,
The three words that best describe the NL East opponents follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk”!

EDITORS NOTE: Adapted from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”

MLB Owners Didn’t Care When Wilpons Didn’t Spend

Truth be told, Steve Cohen has been spending at a level no one anticipated. We should have anticipated there would be backlash to that with Major League Baseball trying to establish a system to discourage spending to build a team.

To some degree, you have to give the other owners credit. They were tight-lipped last offseason when the New York Mets free agent spree was highlighted by Max Scherzer and Starling Marte in addition to the Mets trading for Chris Bassitt.

They bit their tongues as the Mets signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, and Koudai Senga in addition to re-signing Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo. It’s fair to assume they weren’t happy, but they didn’t react publicly. Then, Carlos Correa happened.

Cohen and the Mets initially made a too late push for Correa, and Correa signed with the San Francisco Giants. To be fair, the Giants offered more than the Mets were willing to offer. If you were a skeptic, you were left believing Scott Boras was using Cohen and the Mets to extract every last dollar from the Giants.

After that, Correa “failed” his physical leading the Giants to try to renegotiate the deal. Boras being Boras treated this as an opportunity to re-open the bidding for Correa with the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers re-entering the picture. In the end, it would be the Mets who signed Correa to a 12 year $315 million deal.

This is what caused the rest of baseball to snap. In an article from The Athletic by Evan Drellich, the other owners, who did not go on record, spoke about this disdain about how Cohen has conducted his business this offseason. There were a few choice quotes speaking about how Cohen was not stopped by control measures put in place for him to not outspend what other owners and markets were willing to do.

Note, the choice of the word willing isn’t of able. That choice was highlighted by an unnamed source who said, “There’s no collusion. But . . . there was a reason nobody for years ever went past $300 million. You still have partners, and there’s a system.” Another choice quote was, “We’ve got somebody with three times the median payroll and has no care whatsoever for the long-term of these contracts, in terms of the risk associated with any of them.”

Essentially, owners don’t like or feeling comfortable going to the lengths Cohen has been willing to go. That’s not the same as can’t go. They don’t want to go there, and as Drellich astutely points out, owners are not happy Cohen is raising the price of player contracts.

This is much in the same way the Wilpons restricted player salaries. They had a team in the largest market in the world, and they couldn’t spend on players. Having a very large market out on a player suppressed player salaries, which is why other owners had zero issues with the Wilpons.

They didn’t care about the psyche of Mets fans or what not having a large market non-competitive for all but two years in a decade was doing to the growth of the sport. All they cared about is players were cheaper. They left money and growth at the table to make their bottom line better. Now, they’re faced with the choice of spending a little more to be competitive, or as we see with the Tampa Bay Rays, find real ways to be competitive other than artificially suppressing player salaries.

Make no mistake here, the other 29 owners didn’t give a damn about their fans, especially Mets fans. It was all about their profit margin, which is what Cohen is directly impacting despite their efforts to stand in the way. In the end, not one fan should care what they think because they certainly didn’t care about Mets fans when the Wilpons were actively destroying baseball.

 

 

Carlos Correa Is A Met, Wow, Just Wow

When Steve Cohen took over the New York Mets and went on an unprecedented spending spree for the franchise, there were hopes he would land Carlos Correa. In fact, here, it was discussed how Correa was a future Hall of Famer and a perfect fit for the Mets.

To our shock and surprise, the Mets made a run at Correa this offseason even after re-signing Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo in addition to signing Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Koudai Senga, and Omar Narvaez.. We thought Cohen had his limits, but apparently, he doesn’t have a limit. He is just that intent on winning the World Series this season.

Well, Correa had an issue with his physicals, and Scott Boras does not renegotiate based on physicals. So, when the San Francisco Giants balked, Boras went right back to the Mets, who were apparently happy to re-offer the 13 year $315  million contract they were willing to give Correa. Just like that, one year later, the Mets got their perfect fit.

When healthy, Correa is just as good as any player in the game. With the exception of last year, he’s an exceptional fielder, and you can argue last year was an indication he needed to move to third now anyway. He is a phenomenal hitter who hits the ball hard and draws walks. His only weakness is his back, and we should note the Giants did not balk at the physicals when it came to Correa’s back.

There is nothing to like about this move for the Mets. The lineup is deeper and more potent. The infield defense is so much better in a year with no shift. It is going to accelerate position changes on Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio they were eventually going to need to make anyway. Again, this is a great move from every angle.

More than the fit, what really stands out is Cohen really is doing everything possible to win. After years of the Wilpons tomfoolery, we see how a New York team really should operate. For every owner who claims they don’t have money to expand the payroll, Cohen is showing that to be complete and utter nonsense. He is making a mockery of every owners excuses.

New York Mets fans knew the Wilpons could do much more than they did. They deserved better after the Wilpons. We expected more. However, in no way did we ever or could we ever expect this. This was simply astounding, and World Series or not, we can just appreciate a team really trying to win a World Series.

Braves Don’t Have A Shortstop

Give the New York Mets credit for a lot of things this offseason. Chief among them was keeping Brandon Nimmo.

It wasn’t just keeping a homegrown player who wanted to stay a Met. It was the fact there was no other everyday center fielders on the market.

The Mets were left with no other choice to but keep Nimmo. They did that giving him an eight year $162 million deal. This assured the Mets were going to well surpass the Cohen Tax.

The Atlanta Braves weren’t in the same position with Dansby Swanson to open the offseason. However, they’d eventually find themselves there.

Trea Turner went to the Philadelphia Phillies. After the San Diego Padres missed out on Turner, they landed Xander Bogaerts. After Carlos Correa signed with the San Francisco Giants, only Swanson remained.

This is where the Braves needed to step up and sign Swanson. Instead, he signed a seven year $177 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

As a result, the Cubs team derided most of the offseason for doing nothing has an All-Star, Gold shortstop. The Braves are left with nothing.

Sure, maybe the Braves had a trick up their sleeve when Freddie Freeman was a free agent. When he didn’t sign for their price, they traded for Matt Olson and gave him one of those classic Braves extensions.

With that in mind, when the Braves acquired Sean Murphy in the three way trade with the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers, they failed to shake Willy Adames loose.

There also doesn’t seem to be any shortstops on the trade market. That may end in them giving the job to Braden Shewmake. The 24 year old played 76 games in Triple-A and had a .715 OPS.

Whatever the result, despite the Braves being flush with cash, they punted at shortstop in free agency. Even better, there are rumors the Braves, who are again flush with cash, are rumored to be considering trading Max Fried to cut payroll.

The Mets are doing all they can to win. The Braves don’t have a shortstop. Keep in mind, both teams had 101 wins meaning the Mets are a much bigger leg up in capturing the NL East.

Luis Guillorme Should Be 2023 Mets Second Baseman

In 2023, Major League Baseball will eliminate the shift putting more of a premium on defense up the middle of the infield. As a result, the New York Mets should really be considering making Luis Guillorme their everyday second baseman in 2023.

Part of the reason for this need is Pete Alonso at first base. While Alonso had a promising defensive 2021 season, he completely regressed in 2022 with a -8 OAA. It was the worst he’s ever been, and the Mets can’t shift away his defensive issues anymore.

Now, Jeff McNeil was a good defensive second baseman last season. In fact, he was Gold Glove caliber with an 8 OAA. That wasn’t exactly a fluke with a 4 OAA the previous season. That said, Guillorme is just better.

Guillorme posted a 3 OAA at second last season in 301.1 fewer innings. With more chances and reps, he would have posted a higher total. Moreover, he’s lightning quick on the double play, makes the difficult seem routine, and he makes the impossible into an out.

To be honest, getting Guillorme’s glove onto the field has never really been the issue or a debate. Credit is due and owing to Buck Showalter for recognizing that importance over previous Mets managers, and we saw Guillorme have a strong 2022 season as a semi-regular/back-up player.

The issue has always been the bat with him, and certainly, people are going to argue they do not want to displace McNeil. With respect to McNeil, the truth is he’s typically hit better as an outfielder. In 2022, he had a .852 OPS as a second baseman. That’s phenomenal but not as good as the .863 OPS he had as a left fielder or the .896 he had as a right fielder.

That is McNeil’s career trend. As a second baseman, he has a .804 OPS as a second baseman. He has a .853 OPS in left, and a .860 OPS in right. This is probably the result of McNeil having fresher legs when he plays the outfield against second, but he has always been a better hitter when he has been in the outfield.

So, the move makes sense for McNeil, but that does bring the Mets power outage from 2022 into concern and the continued need to address it. Certainly, Guillorme and his .340 SLG won’t help that. That is true, but again, that is only part of the offensive equation. Another point here is how eliminating the shift will directly impact a player like Guillorme.

Guillorme is a player who sprays the ball around the field. Of note, when he hit against the shift, he had a .271 wOBA, but when there was not shift, he had a much better .313 wOBA. That pulls Guillorme more towards being an average hitter like his 106 wRC+ from last season would indicate.

Remember, that is league average offense at the bottom of the lineup. Guillorme isn’t going to strike out much, and historically, he walks a fair amount. For an eighth or ninth hitter, that is quite good. He can put it in play with runners on base, and he can help table set for when the lineup turns over to Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor.

Speaking of Lindor, he and Guillorme would be an elite combination up the middle. At a time with no shifting, they will be two middle infielders who can thrive without shifting.

Overall, Guillorme can provide elite defense at second at a time where the rules put an imperative on up the middle defense. He can be a very good eighth or ninth place hitter. His presence in the lineup and on the field can and will make the Mets a better team. As a result, the Mets really need to think long and hard about making him the everyday second baseman next season.

Carlos Correa Shows Steve Cohen Good For Baseball

If you blinked, you missed reports Carlos Correa was possibly going to the New York Mets. It would have simply been a stunning move for a franchise which already signed Justin Verlander and Brandon Nimmo to huge money as the Mets have been charging towards the $400 million payroll mark.

There was a report from Dan Hayes of The Athtletic. We also saw Steve Cohen out there liking tweets about the team going out and signing Correa. Normally, this would be unbelievable, but there was now belief this could actually happen:

Well, as we found out, it actually wasn’t to be. Correa went to the San Francisco Giants on a 13 year $350 million deal. For Correa, it was probably the better move, and as we know, the Giants had a far more desperate need for Correa than the Mets.

Certainly, it is possible Scott Boras was using the Mets for leverage. It’s also possible Cohen was having a little fun on Twitter.

However, one thing remains ostensibly clear – the New York Mets are not done looking for ways to improve the team. That means even if they have to continue to raise their payroll well above and beyond what anyone believes could be possible for a professional sports franchise.

Make no mistake, this is very good for baseball. Owners going out there and signing players to vastly improve their teams can only be viewed as good for the sport. We should actively celebrate and encourage teams trying to win.

Spending money on players is not a bad thing. Winning is not a bad thing. Believing those things are bad things is incredibly stupid.

Seriously, go as a New York Yankees fan if they regret winning the 2009 World Series after the team went out and signed Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett and trading for Nick Swisher. Go ask Pittsburgh Pirates fans what is is like to see their team never signing anyone of significance and watching beloved players just leave the franchise without winning anything.

As Mets fans, we know exactly what this is all like. We’ve been desperate for ownership to actually invest in winning. We were tired of the cheap moves. We wanted real action. After all, we watched it happen across town for over 20 years.

In the end, actively trying to win is good for the Mets, and it is good for baseball. It is as fan friendly as it gets, and keeping your fans happy is the best way to maintain and grow interest in the sport. Arguing otherwise is just plain stupid, and likely, it is sour grapes.

Michael Conforto Should Be Next

Go back to 2015. Michael Conforto was a superstar in the making, and Brandon Nimmo seemed like the disappointing prospect. Seven years later everything is different.

Nimmo received the largest contract the Mets ever handed out to a homegrown player, and Conforto is looking for work. As soon as three seasons ago, that seemed completely implausible.

In the 2020 COVID impacted season, Conforto played at an MVP level. It was a level we knew he was capable of playing, and it seemed like his career was just going to take off. It didn’t as he would suffer an injury plagued 2021 season greatly impacting his production.

After rejecting the qualifying offer, he became a free agent. However, he would go unsigned as Conforto would injure his shoulder in the offseason. While rumors surfaced he may sign somewhere, he would sit out the season waiting for this offseason where he could attempt to cash in on a weaker free agent outfield market.

There was a report from Mike Puma of the New York Post Conforto was not looking to return to the Mets because ” the outfielder might want an escape from the narrative that he erred last offseason in rejecting the qualifying offer from the club.” That would be stupid on his part, and as we see with the Mets spending, they may be able to entice him to return.

Better put, the Mets need to entice him to return.

In September and the Wild Card Series, one thing which was readily clear was the Mets had a power outage, and it was impacting their ability to score runs. When you face better pitching, mounting those rallies becomes increasingly difficult, and at some point, you just need a guy who is going to put it in the seats.

Looking at the roster last season, Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor were the only two who could consistently do that all season. Eduardo Escobar did hit 20 homers, but he hit eight of those in September, and it became increasingly clear he was really just a platoon option.

With Escobar, the Mets do seem to have Brett Baty ready or near ready to take over for him at third. We should eventually see Francisco Álvarez become the primary catcher. And yet, it does seem the Mets are one power bat short. That goes double with the DH situation and the inability to truly rely on rookies who are questionable to make the Major League roster.

Surveying the Mets roster, it would seem the biggest upgrade possibility would be in left field. Mark Canha did a good job there in 2022, but there remain question marks for him in 2023.

Canha’s defense was bad but not unplayable -1 OAA. His launch angle took a nose dive as did his barrel rates. With his value mostly wrapped in his OBP, it was at least concerning that his walk rate took a considerable step backwards. Again, this is a player in decline. He has value to the roster, but the more you look at him, it does not seem as if he is well suited to be the Mets everyday left fielder.

That’s not necessarily to say it’s Conforto. That said, he was a good fielder the last time he played, and assuming he’s stayed in shape, he promises to be one next season. He also has much more power than Canha, and really, if we want to look towards DH, Daniel Vogelbach. Another point there is Conforto has been able to hit left-handed pitching whereas Vogelbach is worse than a pitcher against lefties.

There’s the other point Conforto can handle New York, and we have seen him deliver in big moments here. When you consider the rules eliminating the shift, he should be even more potent at the plate than he was when he last played. Overall, Conforto should have some big hits in his bat, and the Mets need those big hits. The more you think about it, the more you realize Conforto needs to return to the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo Can Surpass David Wright As Mets Best Position Player

After David Wright signed his seven year $122 million contract, we knew he was going to re-write the New York Mets record books, and he did. If not for spinal stenosis, he would have put all the records well out of reach. Unfortunately, he did get injured, and as a result, he did put the records in play.

Other than Tim Healey of Newsday jokingly referring to Nimmo putting the hit by pitch record completely out of reach, we have not heard the same of Brandon Nimmo when he signed his eight year $162 million contract extension. However, that is very much in play.

Remember, Nimmo is now in his prime coming off a career year (in terms of WAR), and now, he has eight years to be able to accumulate stats. Here are the Mets records and how far Nimmo trails:

Category Holder Total Trails
WAR Wright 49.2 32
GP Kranepool 1853 1245
Runs Wright 949 614
Hits Wright 1777 1247
Doubles Wright 390 284
Triples Reyes 113 90
HR Strawberry 252 189
RBI Wright 970 757
BB Wright 762 439
SB Reyes 408 385
HBP Nimmo 57

Nimmo trails by a good number in most of these categories, but again, he has eight years to make up the difference. Here is what Nimmo would have to average over his eight seasons to go atop the leader-board in each of the respective categories:

Category Trails Average Career High
WAR 32 4 5.1
GP 1245 156 151
Runs 614 77 102
Hits 1247 156 159
Doubles 284 36 30
Triples 90 12 8
HR 189 24 17
RBI 757 95 64
BB 439 55 80
SB 385 48 9
HBP 22

Well, right off the bat, we can say Jose Reyes‘ team records will remain in tact. While both are lead-off hitters, they are completely different ones. As a result, while Nimmo can steal you a base, and he did lead the league in triples this past season, he’s simply never catching Reyes even if we may eventually view Nimmo as the best lead-off hitter in team history.

We can come close to saying Ed Kranepool‘s one remaining team record will remain in tact. With his injury history, it’s safe to say there is just no way we can reasonably expect Nimmo to play 156 games per season. If he plays 151 like he did this past season, that is a win.

Finally, we can be assured Nimmo will not threat Strawberry. Certainly, Pete Alonso may eventually destroy that record, but he is going to have to sign his own extension in the future to do that.

While the aforementioned Mets legends are safe, Wright’s position atop the leader-boards is a little tenuous. On the bright side for Wright, Nimmo shouldn’t be in a position to surpass him in RBI. It also looks like Wright’s doubles lead may be safe but is far from secure.

One thing to remember is going forward Major League Baseball has banned this shift. That creates chances for more hits, and Nimmo should be one of many beneficiaries of this change. As a result, we may seem him make a real run at Wright’s hits lead. With Nimmo’s ability to draw walks, he should claim that record as well, and with all of his times on base, Wright’s runs scored record may also fall.

In a circuitous way, that brings us to WAR, or put another way Wright’s standing as the best position player in Mets history. When Nimmo has played at least 140 games in a season he has surpassed that 4.0 WAR mark. The caveat is he’s only done that twice in his career. However, Nimmo will be a beneficiary of the Mets investments in player health, which is something we saw play out with him playing 151 games this past season.

Nimmo averaging a 4.0 WAR over the next eight seasons is very much in play. With some big seasons early in this contract, he may very well surpass Wright. Of course, who will be seen as the best position player in Mets history is usually more subjective than objective. For example, Wright is universally seen as being a better Met than Strawberry even though Strawberry averaged a higher WAR, was a better higher (higher wRC+), and has a World Series ring partially the result of Strawberry’s postseason success.

The key for Nimmo is health. That is something that eluded him most of his career, and health is the reason why many of Wright’s records are even in reach. In the end, it will be great to see Nimmo try to surpass Wright in all of these categories, and if he does that’s a good thing because it will mean success for him and the team.