The New York Mets were always in a predicament with Seth Lugo. Lugo wanted to start, but he proved to be far too valuable of a reliever. In fact, there was a time you could argue he was the best reliever in all of baseball.
With the Mets controlling his rights for years, Lugo had to sit and wait for his chance to start again. He got that with the San Diego Padres. He signed a one year deal worth $7.5 million with a $7.5 million option for 2024, which he turned down.
Lugo bet on himself, and he won the bet. In 26 starts, he was 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9. He averaged 5.2 innings per start. He failed to pitch five innings four times, and he came within one out of having a complete game in his last start of the season.
From an advanced stats perspective, he had a 1.8 WAR, 115 ERA+, and a 3.83 FIP. Per Baseball Savant, his fastball was great, and his curveball spin rate remained off the charts. By and large, he was a very effective pitcher.
Digging deeper, we saw he had a .298 BABIP. That’s right in line with career averages and with league averages, so we should not anticipate regression. The same goes for his LOB%. In essence, with Lugo, with the possible exception of age, we should not see regression.
We also know Lugo has the ability to pitch in New York. He arrived in 2016, and he was great down the stretch for a team that made a near miracle run to the postseason. He pitched three days in the row for the first time in his career in the 2022 Wild Card Series, and he was again fantastic.
The moment and the market does not overwhelm Lugo. Rather, he thrives in those situations. That is always of the utmost importance for the Mets.
That goes double for a Mets team looking to rebuild their rotation. So far, they only have Kodai Senga and José Quintana lined up for the rotation next year while they debate what to do with David Peterson and Tylor Megill.
The Mets need dependable starters and pitching depth. Bringing Lugo back does that. If he had enough innings to qualify, he would have ranked in the top 25 in FIP making him a top of the rotation starter in this league. Ideally, the Mets would be bringing him aboard to pitch at the back-end thereby further strengthening their rotation.
When we look forward, Lugo can then be redeployed in the bullpen come the postseason. With that, you get the best of both worlds. You get Lugo being an effective starter, and then you get to see him pull off what Andrew Miller did in 2016. Put another way, Lugo significantly strengthens the Mets chances of winning the World Series.
In the end, there may be better options available. Lugo may want to look elsewhere. However, in the end bringing Lugo back to start for the Mets advances their chances of winning a World Series more than many of the other starters on the free agent market.
Being a hockey dad means you’re traveling a lot and going/passing through places you may not normally travel. While you may be tired and want to go home after a tournament, sometimes it’s well worth making stops along the way.
Being the avid New York Mets fan I am, my family opted to stop in Binghamton. It made sense as a stop to stretch, eat, and of course, take in Mirabito Stadium.
One thing to know right off the bat is it’s pronounced MER-AH-BIT-TO. A local quickly corrected me when I mispronounced it.
More importantly, the ballpark is open everyday. I found that out when I mentioned to a security guard that I owned this site and was an editor at MMN and I was hoping to walk around the park. His response was, “Okay, well, everyone can walk around as long as they stay off the field.”
Right off the bat, the ballpark has that minor league feel we lose somewhat with the Brooklyn Cyclones. There’s not a bad seat in the house, and you’re right there for all of the action.
Rowdy the Rumble Pony on the outfield high top chairs was a nice touch. A nice touch describes much of the ballpark which embraces its own history as well as their affiliation with the Mets.
The bullpen carries the monitor “The Road to Queens Runs through Rumbletown.” That was certainly true for current Mets pitchers Grant Hartwig, David Peterson, and Drew Smith. It may also hold true for current Rumble Ponies like Christian Scott and Dominic Hamel.
In terms of the history, Binghamton has a “Binghamton Baseball Shrine” honoring all the Binghamton players of yesteryear. It’s there you are reminded Binghamton hasn’t always been a Mets affiliate.
As you can see, most of the players were before the Mets even existed. You see names like Whitey Ford and Thurmon Munson. You can see the Mets feel and acknowledgement with Jason Isringhausen on the far right.
For those wondering where David Wright is, don’t worry, he’s there. He just couldn’t make the main image and is instead off to the side on the door.
As odd as it was seeing him off to the side, it was even stranger seeing him with the number 44. For those that remember, Wright wanted to wear 4 (he didn’t ask for it) until Charlie Samuel decided Wright should wear 5 for Brooks Robinson and George Brett.
Shockingly, Samuel didn’t remember Robin Ventura of Grand Slam Single Fame. But, I digress.
Unfortunately, the Baseball Shrine is out of the main view, but it is en route to the gift shop. On the way, you will also see things like the lineups and league leaders (Eastern League and MLB).
The gift shop has what you’re really looking for with hats, jerseys, cards, and of course, stuffed animal mascots. You can get the jerseys personalized (but not t-shirts). It’s all reasonably priced with discounted winter items. I walked away with a cap.
The only downside of the trip to the ballpark was it was not a game day. That said, the staff was great, and my kids had a blast running through the park. Certainly, there will be a trip back to Binghamton to catch a game or two.
Just when you got good vibes going with the New York Mets winning six in a row to open July, they enter the All Star Break losing two in a row. The Saturday loss wasn’t that bad as you knew it was going to be a tough game.
The Mets started David Peterson, who battled and kept the Mets in the game. They had Pete Alonso and Francisco Alvarez up as the tying run in the ninth, but Josh Hader was better. You tip your cap and move onto the next game.
The next game was the real problem.
After what seemed like a resurgence, Max Scherzer again wasn’t good. The struggling Manny Machado tagged him with a three run homer in the first inning. This wouldn’t prove to be one of those get the ace early because he’ll shut you down moments because Machado would hit a two run homer against Scherzer in the fifth.
The Mets offense sputtered, and this time Joe Musgrove didn’t need an oil slick on his ears to do it.
Tommy Pham went down with an injury. Buck Showalter made sure to bat one of his old Baltimore Orioles, DJ Stewart, above Alvarez and Brett Baty. Really, no one was particularly good on the day, and Brandon Nimmo continues to be mired in an 0-for-20 stretch. He’s also 3-for-30 in July.
To a certain extent, these last two games might have caused fans needless hand-wringing. We did get a little excited with the winning streak, especially with it coming against good teams. We thought there might be a glimmer of hope that the Mets were getting back into the race. With the way the starting pitching was going, there was good reason for it.
As it stands now, the Mets are 18.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves. They are also seven games back in the Wild Card. They trail five teams for that last Wild Card spot including the San Diego Padres who leaped ahead of the Mets after this series.
It’s too much to say this series ended the season. After all, their putrid June probably did that. Rather, this might’ve just been another nail in the coffin. No, it’s not over, and we have seen stranger things happen (1973, 2016). However, it is a series like this that should have us temper our expectations until further notice.
Out of nowhere, Steve Cohen announced he was going to have a press conference before the series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers. What Cohen will say is a mystery, but we can pretty much rule out any changes to the organization based upon the events of the day.
I will be doing a press conference tomorrow before the game. You will get it from me straight.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) June 27, 2023
After Cohen announced he was doing a press conference, we got to hear impromptu press conference from Billy Eppler. That press conference all but confirmed Eppler and the Mets were sticking by Buck Showalter. Basically, Eppler said the Mets were sticking by everyone and everything they have been doing this season.
Does Billy Eppler still feel the Mets are a playoff team?
"I believe in the talent of this team. I believe they can play at that win percentage" pic.twitter.com/R4P7jdPKBa
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 27, 2023
Eppler told us some of the obvious. The pitching is underachieving, and they need to find ways to fix it. He seemed alright with the offense but not the overall execution. Mostly, Eppler was there giving a vote of confidence in Showalter as the Mets manager. In fact, he came just short of the job Showalter has done this season.
Notably, Eppler has never fired a manager in season in his career. You could argue Eppler doesn’t have it in him to fire a manager.
He inherited Mike Scioscia as the Los Angeles Angels manager. Scioscia would walk away from the team on his own terms (partially due to his frustrations with how Eppler ran the organization). Yes, Brad Ausmus was fired so the Angels could hire Joe Maddon. That was really a decision by Arte Moreno and not Eppler.
You can draw a number of conclusions from this including Eppler does not have what it takes to fire a manager. He doesn’t have the ability to make the call that needs to be made. You can even argue it’s all just a coincidence. Who knows?
What we do know is Eppler is supporting a manager flaunting the analytics. He’s even flaunting Eppler’s decision making. For example, Eppler called up Mark Vientos only for Showalter not to play him.
In the end, this is all semantics and guesswork. The only thing we know at the moment is the Mets are falling well out of the postseason picture, and they may soon need to sell off more than just Eduardo Escobar.
The reason we are here is Eppler built a poorly constructed roster, and it looks like the team will not be alive in the race for Eppler to try to fix it at the trade deadline. Then again, based on his work last year, you don’t exactly want him making trades.
You can’t trust the combination of Eppler and Showalter at the moment. That was clear from what we have seen from their collective body of work. In terms of Eppler, that includes his support of Showalter.
Eppler will get to continue to support Showalter and this failing Mets team as we can anticipate Cohen will support Eppler and Showalter. Make of it what you will, but in the end, staying the course with Eppler and Showalter leaves you even more pessimistic the Mets can fight their way back into the race.
And no, not even a shocking David Peterson start could make us believe otherwise.
Right now, the New York Mets are 34-40. They’ve recently lost a home series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Good luck finding hope for this season.
The Mets are 13.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They’re seven games back in the Wild Card.
Only the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Colorado Rockies have a worse record than the Mets. The Mets have lost a series to all three of those teams.
Mark Canha and Tommy Pham are playing well lately. They give a team a veteran bat and presence. Daniel Vogelbach is hot of late, so you can hope he can keep it going until another GM is dumb enough to trade for him.
Point is there are assets, and there could be teams looking to trade sooner rather than later. After all, teams like San Diego and Seattle are always desperate to make a trade.
For various reasons, the Mets just shouldn’t expect much in return. We’re not talking about game changing players, and Billy Eppler is the Mets GM. Maybe if Steve Cohen eats some money, they can maximize the returns.
In reality, you’re not doing this for the lottery ticket prospect. Mostly, you’re doing it for the prospects and young players who are here.
Mark Vientos should at least be the DH. Ronny Mauricio should now get the call-up to play whatever position he is going to play. You need them to get acclimated to the majors and be ready to take on a big role in 2024.
You need to let David Peterson finish the season in the rotation. It’s time to see if he can be a fifth starter, reliever, or look to cut bait. After all, they’re effectively doing that already with Tylor Megill (he’s really a reliever).
Maybe take a glance at Luke Ritter. Sure, he’s an older prospect with very little Triple-A experience, but he’s breaking out this season. After all, what do you have to lose? Games? They’re doing that already.
Mets have to find out about these young players. They need to make it beyond impossible for Buck Showalter to sit them.
Maybe they surprise you like the Cincinnati Reds are surprising everyone. Likely, they won’t, and the Mets will falter. However, it’s better to falter with young players getting experience than watching this.
It’s time to start selling.
The New York Mets finally broke glass for emergency and called up Mark Vientos from Triple-A Syracuse. The move was needed after the Mets went 56 innings without a homer, and the team dropped to three games under .500.
VIentos is not going to fix all that ails that Mets. After all, he can’t help José Quintana heal faster. He can’t get Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to rewind the clock a year. He can’t get David Peterson to rediscover his ability to pitch.
All Vientos can do is go out there and hit. Even on a team with Pete Alonso, Vientos could possibly be the Mets best power bat at the moment. So far this year, he has a 169 wRC+ and 1.104 OPS with Triple-A Syracuse. He has also posted historically higher exit velocities than Alonso did in the minors.
Of course, none of that is here or there. Mostly, it just highlights how the Mets have two very similar power bats in the lineup in Alonso and Vientos. Of course, the Mets can only take advantage of that by actually playing Vientos.
Mark Vientos with his 13th HR of the season.
107.2 mph off the bat and traveled 411 feet.
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) May 17, 2023
So far this season, we have seen Buck Showalter reticent to play his younger players and/or give them more responsibility. When Brett Baty was called up, he started in a platoon. When Francisco Álvarez was called up, he was named the back-up catcher, and even after winning the job from Tomás Nido, he still can’t get above hitting ninth in the lineup.
With Vientos, the Mets already have Daniel Vogelbach as the DH. Showalter does not like playing rookies over veterans, and it is going to be difficult to do that with Vogelbach with him being productive with a 119 wRC+.
That said, Vogelbach has been slumping, and he has not come close to posting the power numbers expected from a DH. More to the point, Vogelbach is not capable of providing the damage at the plate Vientos potentially can.
Certainly, there will be the impetus to make Vientos a platoon option with Vogelbach usurping the role Tommy Pham was supposed to have. Notably, Vientos struggled in that platoon role last season, and you have to believe Showalter remembers those struggles.
To his credit, Vientos has been better for those struggles. He has significantly cut down on his strike out rate. With his making more contact, he is destroying baseballs in Triple-A. He promises to add a dynamic to the Mets offense they sorely need.
However, that only works if he actually plays. That does not mean a platoon at third with Baty. It does not mean a platoon at DH with Vogelbach. It means in the lineup everyday. That is the expectation, but we will see if that is the plan Showalter has.
In 2022, we saw a glimpse of what David Peterson could be as a starter for the New York Mets. Seeing that pitcher, the Mets cannot just give up on him as a starter. However, that does not mean they’re obligated to let him figure things out at the Major League level.
Through eight starts, Peterson is 1-6 with an 8.08 ERA, 1.744 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 10.4 K/9. The advanced statistics don’t provide much more promise either with Peterson having a 52 ERA+ and a 4.82 FIP.
At Baseball Savant, we see Peterson has a decent whiff rate and an excellent extension. However, that is just about all he is doing well with batters squaring him up easily and he’s getting little to no spin on his pitches.
His slider remains an effective weapon getting a 35.6 Whiff%. However, that is a steep drop-off from the 45.0% it was last year. With Peterson’s fastball being flat and hit hard, he can ill-afford the slider not being as elite as it was last season.
Part of the issue may be pitch mix with Peterson throwing fewer sliders and more change-ups and sinkers. The change has been effective pitch, so you understand the increased usage. However, for two years running, Peterson’s sinker gets mauled. At some point, he is just going to have to scrap that pitch because it is completely ineffective at the Major League level.
Between the pitch mix and whatever else is ailing Peterson, he has not been the pitcher he was last season. We see that being one of the driving forces in what has been a disappointing start to the Mets season.
Through his first eight starts (and two relief appearances) last season, Peterson was 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 4.4 BB/9, and a 8.3 K/9. Over that stretch, his FIP was 3.91. This is a completely different pitcher. He was one who gave the Mets a chance to win.
The Peterson we see this season is not giving the Mets much of a chance to win. With the Mets lineup devoid of power, they don’t have the chance to win games or even be competitive.
This leaves the Mets with few good options. Maybe, they need to give José Butto more of a look until Carlos Carrasco comes off the IL. At least, Butto has been more competitive. Again, it may not be the best option, but it is a better one at the moment.
Whatever the plan, the Mets are going to need the Peterson we saw in 2022 at some point this season. It is better to get him to Syracuse now to have him figure it out because right now it is just not working, and the Mets don’t have the bats to let him figure it out.
The New York Mets were swept in a doubleheader by the Detroit Tigers. With the Tigers being a very bad team (entered the day 10-17), that’s bad news in and of itself, but it’s not quite cause to overreact.
Losing with Adam Ottavino blowing the save in game one is what it is. Ottavino hasn’t quite been what he was last season, and this is the second time out of five chances he has faltered in ninth inning duties. Considering he had a 2.70 ERA before the appearance, this is not cause for alarm.
No, the real cause for alarm was Max Scherzer was very bad . . . again.
In a homecoming of sorts, Scherzer lasted just 3.1 innings allowing six earned on eight hits and one walk. He only struck out three. He allowed two homers. There’s no other way to say it. He was horrible.
More to the point, he has been very bad this season. He’s averaging 4.2 innings per start. Yes, that is partially because of the 10 game suspension, but he also has not pitched beyond 5.1 innings since his Opening Day start.
The 7.9 K/9 stands to be the worst mark of his career. The same goes for the 20.8 K%. His 2.00 K/BB and 2.4 HR/9 also stand to be the worst. Really, all across the board, this looks like it is going to be the worst season of Scherzer’s career.
With Scherzer being 38, this is cause for panic. He is supposed to be a co-ace, and instead, he looks like a pitcher who could be done. He’s not even pitching like an effective fifth starter.
Maybe it was the altered off-season routine because of last season’s oblique issues. Perhaps, it is the pitch clock. Maybe, just maybe, it is the fact, he’s 38 years old, and sooner or later, we were just going to see his performance drop.
Scherzer thinks the layoff hurt him. Maybe, he’s right, but then again, he seemingly has had a lot of excuses this season. He’s needed them too with his performance.
His fastball velocity is down almost a full MPH with it dropping to 92.5 MPH in the start against the Tigers. The average exit velocity against us by more than three MPH. The hard hit rate is a troubling 40.9%. Batters have been able to barrel him up.
Looking at the spin rates in his first start back from the suspension, they were all notably down. That’s not de facto evidence of cheating or a drop off. It could just be frustration and confusion on what to do now after being suspended for using rosin. Remember, David Cone effectively defended Scherzer on Sunday Night Baseball.
The cheating or not aspect misses the point. If Scherzer is now at a loss for what he can and cannot do, we should be at a loss for how Scherzer reclaims his ace form.
The Mets are missing José Quintana. Carlos Carrasco looked done before going on the IL. David Peterson regressed. Tylor Megill hasn’t lit the world on fire. Joey Lucchesi followed a great start against the San Francisco Giants with diminishing returns in his subsequent starts.
This Mets team was built on their starting pitching. Considering they did not improve the offense, their chances of contending are tied to this rotation. Even if Justin Verlander is what we hoped he would be, it looks like the rotation as a whole won’t be. If that’s the case, the Mets are in a very dangerous place.
The start of the season has not been kind to the New York Mets rotation. José Quintana is out until July after his bone graft surgery. Justin Verlander started the season on the IL, and it looks like he’s ready to return after over a month on the IL.
Max Scherzer needed a day between starts, and then, he was given the bogus 10 game suspension. Carlos Carrasco struggled with the pitch clock, and then, he was shut down with right elbow inflammation,.
Kodai Senga has so far struggled getting accustomed to pitching in the Major Leagues. We don’t know if it is the quicker turn around between starts or the ball. Whatever the case is, he’s walking the ballpark, and as a result, he can’t go deep into games.
It’s possible some of the Mets pitchers issues is fatigue caused by the pitch clock. It could also be age. It may just be a mixture of everything. Whatever the case, the Mets rotation is a bit of a mess.
We saw David Peterson struggle and get sent down to Triple-A Syracuse. Tylor Megill has been uneven, but he has probably been the Mets best starter to date. Joey Lucchesi has been a pleasant surprise, and it may be difficult to lift him from the rotation with his early season success.
Looking at everything, the question is why should the Mets look to remove Megill or Lucchesi from the rotation? Sure, it would push the rotation to six starters, but at the same token, that’s what the Mets need right now.
The team is already giving Senga an extra day with Senga not being used to pitching every five days in Japan. Verlander had all of one rehab start, and that didn’t go five innings. Scherzer has needed a break, and Carrasco may return soon.
Another factor is the Mets start a stretch of games where they play six games in five days. Right there, they will need six starting pitchers. After that, they have an off day on Monday, May 8. After that, the Mets play 13 straight games before their next break. Overall, they are set to play 25 games over the next 27 days.
That schedule includes three separate road trips, and the stretch ends with a trip to Coors Field. As we know those Coors Field trips mess up with your pitching staff something fierce.
Taking it all into account, the Mets have pitchers who are still building arm strength. They are still getting accustomed to the pitch clock, and they have been battling fatigue a bit. There is a lot of games bunched together with a lot of travel.
The best way for the Mets to handle it all for the moment is to go to a six man rotation. Keep arms like Scherzer and Verlander fresh. Give Senga a better chance to acclimate to New York. Give Lucchesi and Megill a longer look in the rotation to see who can stick while Quintana and Carrasco is sidelined.
The six man rotation is what the Mets need now to ensure they make it healthy and strong to the end of the season. They need it now to let them survive a tightly packed May schedule.
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.