The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.
Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.
Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.
Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.
Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.
Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.
Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.
Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.
When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.
That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.
The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.
Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.
Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.
Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.
The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.
With respect to that, here are the respective wRC+ this season for the players at issue:
* Canha 123 wRC*
* Guillorme 119 wRC+
* Vogelbach 118 wRC+
Vogelbach is the worst hitter of that group. Of course, it’s more about Vogelbach against right-handed pitching. With respect to that, he is better.
However, not so much, you ravage your bullpen. Vogelbach does have a 149 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, but both Canha and Guillorme are at a 136.
Again, they’re better against right-handed pitching, but they were already good against right-handed pitching, at least with an optimized lineup. Also, their bullpen is worse.
We saw it in the Mets 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. Max Scherzer left with the Mets down 2-0 after six. Joely Rodriguez was wholly ineffective allowing two runs before needing to be bailed out by Seth Lugo.
It was a perfect illustration as to why the Mets couldn’t just frivolously part with Colin Holderman. As noted above, with the offensive production so close, it was frivolous because it further weakened a weakness.
On the season, Holderman was 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, and a 9.2 K/9. Seeing those numbers and his pure stuff, you understand why the Pirates wanted him.
However, it’s why the Mets couldn’t afford to part with him, at least not now. Right now, there is no bridge to Edwin Diaz. Holderman was emerging to be part of that bridge, but now, he’s gone.
Sure, Billy Eppler said there’s plenty available on the relief market. However, you have to be able to get them. Moreover, you now need another arm to replace Holderman.
The Mets did this to incrementally improve their offense against right-handed pitching while ignoring the very real problems against left-handed pitching. Their bullpen is overall worse.
So yes, Vogelbach serves a need and is a slight improvement. However, the team is on more uneasy footing because it cannot handle the innings leading up to Diaz.
In the end, you can argue this trade actually hurt the Mets chances. That makes the next 10 days vital to the Mets chances to win the division and World Series.