In his Major League career, Terrance Gore has 43 stolen bases against only 15 hits. Roughly speaking, Gore is three times more as likely to steal a base than it is for him to get a hit.
With getting on base being a condition precedent to a team being able to steal a base, those numbers are shocking. However, when it comes to Gore, it really isn’t. His whole raison d’être is pinch running and stealing bases. It is why the 31 year old has appeared in parts of eight seasons only playing in 107 games.
We all know Gore exists to join the roster late in the season with expanded rosters. He’s there to pinch run in a key spot and steal a base. Teams want to deploy him to do that in the postseason as well. The thing is they just don’t want him at the plate and really aren’t looking for him to play defense.
For the Mets, we saw him pinch run late in games twice against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On both occasions, he not only stole second, but with the catcher so frantic to unleash the throw, he was able to take third on the errant throw. That is game changing. From a pure entertainment perspective, it was exciting to have Gore on the basepaths.
That Terrance Gore speed pic.twitter.com/7NS2BiFdI3
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 17, 2022
This is actually the type of baseball Major League Baseball is seeking to manufacture. In 2023, base sizes are going to expand, and pitchers are going to be limited to the number of pick-off attempts they can make per batter. The hope for baseball is the expansion of stolen base attempts. Of course, none of that is needed when you have a player of Gore’s capability.
Seeing that is the case, why wouldn’t baseball look to implement a Designated Runner like they have a Designated Hitter?
Does it sound dumb and gimmicky? Sure, but that’s the entirety of the existence of the DH. The excuse is pitchers can’t actually hit, so why make them? Wouldn’t it just be better to have a guy in the lineup who is solely there to hit? Supposedly, that creates a more exciting or entertaining brand of baseball.
Turning that logic on its head, who wants to see a player like Daniel Vogelbach run the bases? According to Baseball Savant, he is the 12th slowest player in the majors. His running the bases adds nothing of excitement to the game. He’s not taking that extra base or forcing a good throw from the outfield. He’s not stealing a base or even attempting one.
But Gore? Well, Gore is a human green light. He spends all of his time studying pitchers and their moves. His entire existence is predicated on stealing bases. He knows it. The other teams know it. However, there is only a small two month widow where his genius is allowed in the game.
It is so bizarre Major League Baseball will institute gimmick rule after gimmick rule after gimmick rule to try to generate offense and excitement. Let’s add a DH. Also, the bases need to be bigger and closer together. Fielders can only stand here, and pitchers can only look the runner back or throw over so many times. However, if you dare insinuate the need for a designated runner, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.
In the end, the question is if you can have Vogelbach at the plate because you don’t want to see pitchers hit, then why can’t you have someone run for him when no one wants to see him run?
We live in a world where many, many things can be simultaneously true. With his play on the field in 2022, the New York Mets were justified sending Dominic Smith down to Triple-A.
By keeping him in Triple-A, Mets have made it abundantly clear Smith is not part of the future of the franchise. That includes the makings of the postseason roster.
We can all dicker over whether that’s the prudent move for this team. That’s besides the point. What is clear now is the Mets actually need Smith in the majors right now, and they need him at first.
The reason why is Pete Alonso.
All season long, Alonso has given absolutely everything he has to the Mets. He’s very clearly one of the reasons why this team is still in first place. Saying he’s the reason Smith needs to be recalled is no slight to him.
The truth is Alonso is just exhausted. As a result, he’s slumping, and he’s showing his frustrations out on the field.
Historically, Alonso finishes the season strong. So far this September, he’s batting .249/.314/.457. This will mark the third straight month he’s had a SLG under .500 and and OPS of .800 or lower.
Alonso’s last day off was the All-Star Break. Keep in mind, he participated in the Home Run Derby and game. He also had to fly back-and-forth from Los Angeles.
His last day off was June 8. He’s played in both ends of the doubleheader in all eight of the Mets doubleheaders this season. He last DH’d on September 3. He’s only done it four times in the second half.
At this point, the Mets are getting diminishing returns from Alonso. Yes, it’s better than the alternatives, but it’s still not Alonso being Alons, and this Mets team needs that to win games.
When you break it down, as this roster is currently constructed. Alonso is the only option to play first base. That’s all well and good up until the point we started to see Alonso slump and increasingly start showing his frustrations.
Alonso needs a mini-break. The Mets need to get him out of the field a bit to rest and clear his head. Looking at the organization, Smith seems to be the only player capable of playing a game or two there defensively.
Let Smith spell Alonso for a game or two. In the event of blow outs, let Smith come in late in games. Just get someone out there who can give Alonso a breather and get some rest.
The Mets have been failing Alonso. They need him to be great, and they’re running him into the ground. It’s time to get Smith up here to find an inning or two or game here and there to get Alonso the rest he needs.
It’s time to recall Dominic Smith.
That said, he seemed to improve after April. Admittedly, his decision making at third base had not been an issue since April.
However, we are now seeing the return of Cora from April; the return of the worst third base coach in the game.
In the second game of the five game set against the Atlanta Braves, the Mets were down 8-0 in the second. Bases were loaded with two outs. Brandon Nimmo ripped a single scoring one.
The Mets had one on the board with Ian Anderson on the ropes. They had a chance to get back into the game with Anderson all over the place and the heart of the lineup due up. Then, Cora happened:
The play wasn’t even close. Guillorme was out by a large margin. Cora had run the Mets out of the inning. It’s the type of decision you get from the worst third base coach in the game.
The first game of the three game set was a pitchers’ duel. It was 1-1 with Starling Marte at third and one out. Remember, this is the same Marte who has been very cautious with a nagging injury, and as a result, we have not seen him trying to steal bases.
Marte was out by a significant margin. That ended the inning, and the Mets would lose in extras.
On both plays, Cora made a send he never should have made. He also clearly didn’t account for the catchers.
Travis d’Arnaud and J.T. Realmuto are great on those tag plays. d’Arnaud is probably the best in the game. They lessen the need for the “perfect throw,” and they’re not flubbing it the way Tomás Nido did.
Another thing, neither play required the perfect throw. It just needed a throw. Both runners were easily out. In the end, they were both indefensibly bad decisions.
Cora cost the Mets a chance to win in both games. The hope is that he doesn’t do that come October when his decision making may cost the Mets a postseason series.
So far, the New York Mets have dominated the Atlanta Braves over the first four games of this five game set. Like the prior matchups, the Mets are just proving they’re the better team.
The only game the Braves won was when Taijuan Walker had that odd step on the mound. He says he was alright, but his pitching was clearly impacted.
As Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, and Max Scherzer have shown, the Braves cannot handle the Mets starting pitching. Then again, who can? Oh, and by the way, the Mets have Jacob deGrom up for the finale.
After the dominant starting pitching comes Edwin Díaz. Like the rest of baseball, the Braves haven’t been able to do anything against him either.
Showalter also had the stones to have Tomás Nido lay down that suicide squeeze. With Naquin’s speed and Nido’s bunting ability, that’s knowing your roster and managing to their strengths.
Win or lose the finale, the Mets have taken the series. Win, and the Mets will have wrapped up the NL East in the beginning of August and can their sites on catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top overall record.
For those nervous at this statement, put 2007 aside. That year never happened, and really, this is a far different and deeper team.
This is the Mets team with the best chance of winning the World Series since 1986. It can and will happen. This Braves series is all the proof we need.
When you think of the New York Mets offseason, you think Max Scherzer. How can anyone blame you. After all, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he’s still pitching like he’s in his prime.
The other big move was Starling Marte. He’s possibly been even better than expected. He’s an All-Star and may find himself getting down ballot MVP votes.
These are two great moves which have helped the Mets be in first place. They’re phenomenal moves having the exact impact you’d hope. There were other decisions which have fallen short.
First and foremost is the DH disaster.
The Mets decision to go with Robinson Canó at the start was a mistake. Just ask the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves.
Stubbornly trying Canó shelved J.D Davis and Dominic Smith, neither on whom got going on the season. Davis flopped in his extended chance and was shipped out to replace him. Smith never got his shot, and now he’s injured.
While they’re useless against same side pitching, they’re absolutely lethal against opposite side pitching. That makes this platoon nearly unstoppable, and it seems platoon is the name of the game with the Mets.
One platoon move they made without a trade is at third base. That was forced by Eduardo Escobar’s play. After a strong first month, he’s stopped hitting right-handed pitching, and he has a -4 OAA at third.
There were indications signing him to play out of position was a bad idea, but the Mets proceeded anyway. To a certain extent, they’ve been bailed out by Luis Guillorme (and the organization finally being willing to give him a shot to play everyday).
What’s a surprise is the Mets thought they needed a platoon partner for Mark Canha. By all accounts, Canha was having a good season, and the Mets were finding a way to get the best of him.
Canha has a 121 wRC+ and a -1 OAA. The defense isn’t great, but it’s playable.
That said, we did see continued signs of regression. Canha hit but with no power. He got on base but with a reduced walk rate and high .321 BABIP (.290 career).
That was with Travis Jankowski as his caddy. Jankowski was the late inning replacement in the field and on the base paths. The issue was Jankowski got hurt and then stopped hitting.
Rather than be victims to regression, the Mets were proactive acquiring Tyler Naquin. In a sense it was necessary with the Canha risk, but in another, it was odd considering Canha has always hit right-handed pitching better than left-handed pitching.
For that matter, he’s a better hitter overall than Naquin regardless of the split. However, Naquin has power, and Canha doesn’t. Looking at all the moves, this is an area the Mets specifically targeted.
The offseason approach was players who put the ball in play. That worked over the first two months of the season as the Mets had the best offense in baseball.
However, as the Mets hitting with runners on regressed to the mean, so did the offense. Over the past two months, this was an average to below average offense.
The Mets pitching, more specifically the starting pitching is too special to waste. Rather than wait for players to start hitting while hoping others didn’t stop, the Mets made a course correction.
Rather than be stubborn, the Mets acknowledged the limitations of their offseason plan. They made the necessary pivot. The end result is a far more dangerous team.
Whether this results in a World Series remains to be seen. What we can see is the Mets better positioned themselves to win because they acknowledged what wasn’t working and worked to fix it.
The New York Mets thought their offense needing addressing at the trade deadline, and they set out to do it. Apparently, that was really their objective.
It’s undeniable Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf, and Daniel Vogelbach make this a more potent offensive team. When you look at the high prospect cost, it appeared the Mets were not going to let prospects stand in the way of a World Series.
So, then, how does Billy Eppler and the Mets explain only coming away with Mychal Givens to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline?
Keep in mind, Colin Holderman was having a better season than Givens. Yes, Givens is having a good season, and he has a good track record, but overall, Holderman was better leaving the Mets in a worse spot than when they entered the trade deadline.
This is where you wonder what Billy Eppler was thinking.
He traded Holderman because of a purported robust relief market. Then, on the trade deadline, he admits it wasn’t all that robust, and that the prices were too high.
This doesn’t pass the smell test.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs for prospect Ben Brown, a soon to be Rule 5 eligible pitcher who has not reached Double-A. Sure, he’s the Phillies seventh best prospect, but their system is one of the very worst in the game.
The Minnesota Twins made an intra-division trade to acquire Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers. The cost was pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. He’s a 24 year old former sixth round pick with a 7.17 ERA in Double-A.
Baltimore Orioles All-Star closer Jorge López went to the Twins as well. Admittedly, it took quite a haul to get him. Really, he’s just about the only reliever who came at a steep cost.
Raisel Iglesias was basically a salary dump to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets could’ve thought outside the box to bring Noah Syndergaard back to recreate Game 5 of the NLDS. That Mickey Moniak led return was laughable.
Drew Smith and Tylor Megill may need a miracle to be 100% in time for the postseason, and Megill has to show he can pitch in the pen. David Peterson has shown he couldn’t, but now, he needs to be in that mix again.
That’s hope, and hope is not a plan. Whatever the case, that’s what the Mets are left with after the trade deadline. They just have to hope it’s enough.
That’s a dereliction of duty by Eppler, and that goes double when you consider his excuses in trading Holderman. What makes this all the worse is the relatively low prices at the deadline, and the Mets overpaying for bats.
In the end, we just have to hope the Mets have enough. If not, they’ll forever lament not going all-in as their trades indicated they were. They’ll be left wondering why they didn’t try to do all they could to win the World Series and why they gave up so much just to fall short.
On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, the New York Mets put J.D. Davis into the lineup as the DH. Even better, he was batting fifth.
That was once true. It’s not any more. It may be in the reverse now. Including this game, he’s 1-for-8 with two GIDP, three strikeouts, and a walk.
Not only is that against a pitcher he’s owned, but it’s also against someone who is probably the worst pitcher in baseball right now. What exactly does that say about Davis?
To answer the rhetorical question, it means Davis cannot play anymore. Not for a team looking to win a World Series.
Credit Buck Showalter for removing Davis for Vogelbach when the Washington Nationals went to their bullpen. That decision should be for good.
The Mets simply have to do better. Davis strikes out over 30% of the time. He hits the ball into the ground half the time. We can go on and on and delve deeper and deeper, but it’s best summed up by his bring lifted and benched.
The sad part is that’s all Davis can do. He’s horrendous in left and at third. Even if you want to overblow that one game saving pick at first, you’re not playing him over Pete Alonso.
Davis has lived far too long off the fluke 2019 season fueled by a juiced ball and an unsustainable BABIP. There’s too much at stake now, and there are players available.
Maybe there’s a Wilmer Flores reunion where the Mets can undo that massive mistake of non-tendering him and trading for Davis. There’s other smaller options, and of course, the chance at J.D. Martinez.
Davis had two at-bats in the game ahead of the deadline. He’s entitled to no more. Not upgrading from him is too egregious to even ponder.
Overall, Davis has to have played his last game as a Met. Once he’s gone, we can then focus on a complete roster ready to win a World Series.
The New York Mets struck a deal to acquire OF Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl from the Cinnanati Reds for prospects RHP Jose Acuña and center field prospect Hector Rodríguez. From a Mets perspective, the move really didn’t make any sense for the team.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way. Diehl has not been all the good in his career, and that may be kind. His strikeout rates from the minors has not translated to the majors, but his control issues have. If this is the Mets answer for left-handed reliever, the Mets have completely failed on that front. Chances are, he goes to the minors and stays there.
As for Naquin, over his career, he is a good bat against right-handed pitching, and he has real speed on the basepaths. This season he has a 117 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and for his career, he has a 111. Between him and the Daniel Vogelbach acquisition, you see the Mets are attempting to address the team’s offense against right-handed pitching.
On that front, while the Mets have one of the best offenses on the season with a 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, they have only had a 101 wRC+ since June 1. Another note here is the Mets only have 67 homers belying a real power outage in the lineup. On that front, you understand Naquin who has a .472 SLG this season against right-handed pitching.
However, is has to be noted here Mark Canha has actually been a better hitter against right-handed pitching. This season, Canha has a 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and he has a 122 for his career. While he has zero power left, sitting him to play Naquin doesn’t make all the much sense. That goes double when you consider Naquin is a very poor outfielder.
While Naquin is fast, he has always been bad in the outfield. This year, he has a -1 OAA, and for his career he has a -25 OAA in the outfield. This is not a late inning replacement by any means.
Yes, he does hit better than Travis Jankowski, but in terms of roster construction, Jankowski offered more to this team. While Naquin has a 28.0 ft/sec sprint speed, Jankowski has a 29.0 ft/sec sprint speed. Whereas Naquin has historically been a very poor base stealer, Jankowski has been a very good one.
Another factor here is Buck Showalter has liked lifting Canha for Jankowski for late inning defense or to pinch run. In his career, Jankowski has been a very good fielder capable of playing all three defensive positions. As noted, Naquin is a horrible fielder and should actually be lifted late in games.
Seeing all of this, you have to question what is the end game here? Did the Mets look at Canha and not trust he can keep up his offensive production? You can understand that because his hard hit rates are very low, and that .317 BABIP is due for a course correction. If that is the case, Canha didn’t last a year before the Mets admitted they needed to upgrade over him making his signing a mistake (even if he has a half season worth of good production).
If it was to have Naquin sit on the bench, well, he’s been an awful pinch hitter in his career. In his 65 attempts, he is hitting just .196/.292/.286.
Again, it’s just a bizarre move. Either, you want him to take over for Canha, who is hitting better against right-handed pitching, or you want him to be a reserve where he is a poor pinch hitter, doesn’t steal bases, and plays bad defense.
Given all that, it would seem a mistake to give up Acuña and Rodríguez. These are two very promising prospects who were already considered top 30 prospects in this system. That’s a high cost to pay for an outfielder who does not really have a role on this team.
Hopefully, the Mets are not done, and there are still moves to be made where eventually this move will make sense. It’s doubtful, but the Mets do have five days to make good on this. If they don’t, they got rid of two promising and rising prospects to not really improve the team.
From a New York Mets perspective, the first installment of the 2022 Subway Series was a success. After all, they completed a sweep.
None of these moments were more important than Seth Lugo’s appearance.
In the previous game, both Díaz and Adam Ottavino pitched over an inning. In all likelihood, neither were available for this game. That goes double for Ottavino.
And yes, Lugo has been part of the problem. On-and-off the field has been mentally tasking for him. There’s the injuries, a sick child, a pregnant wife, and then the missed birth of his second born child.
In some ways, it’s no wonder we hadn’t seen the real Lugo yet. As a result, we see a pitcher with a career worst year out of the pen.
He has a 4.01 FIP and 2.83 K/BB with his strikeouts down to an 8.3 K/9. He has a 9.64 ERA on no rest. He hasn’t been nearly as effective in a second inning of work.
This played a part in Peterson over Lugo to start the inning. Now, if this was the Lugo of old, he’s out there for the six inning save. Well, after the Peterson blown save, we got to see the Lugo of old:
Lugo’s curve embarrassed and struck out Josh Donaldson. It was the first out of the five Lugo recorded en route to his second win of the season.
Lugo was excellent.
After getting two quick outs in the eighth, he would face Aaron Judge with the go-ahead run on first. He would get Judge to ground out to end the inning and the rally.
This is what Lugo once was not long ago. He was dominant for more than an inning golf work. He took control of the game. Lugo chalked it up to adrenaline.
If that’s all he needed, he needs to make sure he has it in his next outing and each of the ensuing ones. If a full house ramped up with energy brought out the best in Lugo, he’s ready and will be phenomenal for October.
It wasn’t just this outing. This is his second one after the All-Star Break. That’s 3 1/3 scoreless. Seeing Lugo out there, there’s a lot more to come.
If so, that’s one fewer reliever the Mets need at the deadline. If so, the Mets could have a lights out bullpen. That goes double with Trevor May returning from the IL.
For at least one moment, Lugo was Lugo, and the Mets won. We’ll see the if he is his next time on the mound. Odds are, Lugo will be great again, and if so, this Mets team is on a whole other level. Just ask the Yankees.
When you look at the New York Mets, the obvious area to address for offense is catcher. After all, Tomas Nido has a 47 wRC+, and Patrick Mazeika has a 39. That’s just indefensibly bad offensive production.
Now, this is the obvious spot where we say the Mets should call-up Francisco Alvarez. With Alvarez hitting a double and grand slam in consecutive games, we are not at that point yet. After all, he is hitting .125/.318/.281 over 10 games. You can argue that will probably translate better than what they are getting now, but with Alvarez, it is more than just what he can give you now.
Surveying the trade market, it would seem Willson Contreras and his career best 140 wRC+ would be a perfect fit. In actuality, this would be a mistake for the Mets.
Ultimately, this is a team built on its pitching. A large part of that has been the work Nido has done behind the plate.
Nido has been a terrific framer. In fact, as per Baseball Savant, he is tied as for 14th best among framers. He’s a good week from moving up to the top 10. While he doesn’t rate nearly as high, he does have impressive pop times. He is a defensive wizard back there, and he’s helping the Mets pitching staff.
This season, the Mets staff have the sixth best ERA (3.60) and FIP (3.65) and the best K/9 (9.65). They’re also walking few batters with their 2.86 BB/9 ranking seventh. The pitching staff is dominant, and more than anything else, that is why the Mets are in first place.
Look at it another way, this team cannot hit their way out of a paper bag right now. Still, they’re 9-7 over their last 16. The biggest reason is the pitching. Since Max Scherzer has come all the IL, the starting rotation has a 1.70 ERA, which is easily the best in the majors. This right here is the Mets strength, and it’s going to be more of a strength when Jacob deGrom returns from the IL.
This is also before you see Edwin Diaz is finally comfortable and dominating. He’s easily the best closer in baseball right now.
Contreras would only serve to diminish that.
Contreras has one of the worst called strike rates in the majors. Sure, part of that could be the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, and overall, Contreras has good framing numbers. However, as noted by the strike rate, that is deceiving. Maybe things will be better with the Mets, maybe not. Given what’s at stake, it’s too big of a risk to take.
If Contreras doesn’t jive with the Mets pitchers, that’s it. This team’s strength has taken a massive hit. Now, you have another Wilson Ramos situation where you’re just relying on him to hit. That’s a dicey proposition.
For his career, Contreras is a 127 wRC+ at Wrigley and a 108 on the road. That’s carried into this year where he is a 150 wRC+ at home and a 127 on the road. Again, he is far better at home, and an important note here, while it’s only a 15 game sample size, he hits .180/.263/.260 at Citi Field.
Ultimately, even if Ramos is at his career worst at the plate, he’s a significant upgrade over what the Mets already have offensively. However, catcher is a defensive position above all else. It is about the roughly 40 plate appearances you are behind the plate over the four you get yourself. Looking at it that way, what Nido is doing is far more valuable.
The Mets can improve their offense by addressing other areas. Even with Daniel Vogelbach, they can improve at DH. They can improve at third and left. Maybe if Alvarez is ready, they can improve there. What they can’t do right now is gamble on Contreras. That is a move that can hurt them more than it can help them.