Perhaps, it should not have come as a surprise. After all, Matt Harvey wasn’t Matt Harvey anymore. There was a long suspension looming, and there was the stain of the Tyler Skaggs trial, but you just hoped there would be just one more act in Matt Harvey’s career.
Sadly, there will not be as Harvey announced his retirement on Instagram. With that ends a career which meant a lot to Mets fans.
People forget what it was like to be a Mets fan in 2012. The Wilpons were broke, and the last player they signed before they were officially tied up in the Madoff Scandal was Jason Bay.
Citi Field back then was a massive disappointment. There was no honoring Mets history. The depth of the outfield walls were a joke. It seemed like the Wilpons wanted it to be more Brooklyn Dodger than New York Mets. In fact, it was so bad they eliminated Dwight Gooden‘s improptu signature from inside the stadium.
Then, late in 2012, Harvey pitched in Arizona. He set a Mets record striking out 11 in his Major League debut. He gave us a glimpse of how good he could be. He started to give Mets fans hope.
Then, 2013 happened. It was a season that rarely comes along. From his first start of the season, you could tell this was going to be something special. While it didn’t culminate in a Cy Young, it was one of the more special seasons in Mets history.
There was the “Harvey’s Better!” chants when he pitched against Stephen Strasburg. He almost had the perfect game against the Chicago White Sox. There was the blood coming from his nose. The Cholula hot sauce meter with Harvey topping 100 MPH with his fastball.
Matt Harvey on the "Harvey's Better" chants from April 19, 2013:
"That day will forever stay in my dreams. I know I pitched well and we were on our way to a win, and as I'm sitting in the dugout, all I hear is the chants overtaking Citi Field…I never wanted it to end." pic.twitter.com/Skx6wMj6HU
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 5, 2023
He started the All-Star Game over Clayton Kershaw, who might’ve been at the peak of his abilities. The Mets were hosting the All-Star Game, and Harvey, our ace, was starting. This was almost unfathomable.
Sure, we were going overboard with the Tom Seaver comparisons, but could you blame us? We could tell greatness when we saw it, and Harvey was great. Sadly, he would be more Gooden than Seaver.
Because it’s the Mets, Harvey torn his UCL that magical 2013 season, and he was shut down until 2015. Little did we know then, but that 2015 season would effectively be the end of Harvey’s career.
Harvey started out great, and the Mets were trying to ease the workload because the team was better than they anticipated. Harvey hated the six man rotation, and Scott Boras hated the innings on Harvey’s arm. Harvey was caught in the middle.
The Mets definitively reneged on their promises. Mets created some theater with David Wright sitting down and talking to him all game long (because that’s how players really handle things – talking in the dugout and not in the clubhouse or away from the field). Harvey was a deer in the headlights who did mishandle things a bit.
In the end, Harvey pitched, and he would throw more innings post Tommy John than anyone before him. He won a pivotal Game 3 against the Dodgers in the NLDS. He was GREAT in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs setting the tone for the would be sweep.
It was the great Harvey game we don’t talk about as much. He really set a tone for a Mets team who was surging. Of course, we know why it was overlooked. It was overlooked because of Game 5 of the World Series.
While the Mets were down 3-1, you could still believe they had a chance. After all, momentum in baseball was your next day’s starting pitcher. For the Mets that was Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. First, there was Harvey, and he was everything the Mets needed him to be that night.
He shut out the Kansas City Royals over eight innings striking out nine. That’s where your head and your heart come into conflict. Your head said go to Jeurys Familia. Terry Collins followed his heart and sent Harvey back out there. After all, he was pitching like an ace, and he sent his ace to finish what he started.
It’s September 27th. Matt Harvey is through eight scoreless and begs Brandon Hyde to finish the game. Camden Yards erupts as he takes the mound. This time he gets it done. Orioles win 1-0 thanks to a Ryan Mountcastle homer. Baltimore takes 4th place pic.twitter.com/WH8EjoW9cP https://t.co/fzHdA4Ym7O
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) February 13, 2021
Citi Field was raucous after he took the mound. It’s about as loud as that ballpark ever got. We know it didn’t end well for him, and part of that was Collins not knowing when to pull him. Sadly, in many ways, that game was a microcosm of Harvey’s career.
Greatness was there for the taking for Harvey, but he could never complete it. There were rumblings back then, especially when Harvey didn’t show up for workouts. As we discovered, Harvey had a drug problem.
We finally knew that for sure with the Skaggs trial. It’s why the Mets had to begrudgingly designate him for assignment and trade him. It’s why he was bad with the Los Angeles Angels. It’s part of the reason his career is over.
That didn’t cause the TOS. In the end, the TOS was why he could never get it back. However, in the end, it was the looming suspension and the after effects of the trial that precipitated this retirement.
Fortunately, Harvey did have one last hurrah pitching for Italy int he World Baseball Classic. He was the ace for the surprise team of the tournament. He was the most pleasant surprise for sure. You had hoped it would lead to one last chance for him.
We now know it won’t come. He won’t have the redemption story Gooden and Darryl Strawberry had, at least not in the majors. However, that doesn’t change how great he was or his impact on the Mets.
Harvey is forever a part of Mets lore. He was an important figure who gave us hope when there was no reason to have any. He helped bring the Mets back to relevance. Mets fans know that and loved him for that, and that’s why he got a standing ovation the last time he pitched at Citi Field.
Hopefully, Harvey is at peace with his decision. Hopefully, there is more for him to do in baseball. Hopefully, he understands how much Mets fans will forever love him and how appreciative we are for what he did.
It’s a sad moment for Mets fans. The hope is that it’s not a sad moment for Harvey. The hope is that it’s a new beginning for him.
Before Steve Cohen, the only players who were New York Mets for life were Ed Kranepool and David Wright. Kranepool was a semi-regular player who set records mostly due to longevity, and Wright appeared to be a Hall of Famer until he succumbed to spinal stenosis. Taking them both together, the Mets never really had a homegrown star who spent their entire careers with the team AND had their career end on their own terms.
Now, with Steve Cohen, it now looks like there will be two. Earlier in the postseason, Brandon Nimmo was given the largest contract to a homegrown Mets player. It now appears he will spend his entire career with the Mets. It also appears as if he will be joined by Jeff McNeil.
As many Mets fans were hoping to see, McNeil signed an extension with the team. He received a four year $50 million extension. This contract also includes a team option which could make it a five year $63.75 million deal. Based upon his performance, it may not be too soon to surmise it is really a five year deal.
To many, there was a shock over how low the contract total was. That wasn’t necessarily the Mets being cheap, or McNeil undervaluing himself. Mostly, it is the system at play. McNeil would not have been a free agent for another two seasons, which suppresses his earning ability over that time frame.
Keep in mind, McNeil wanted to stay, so in some ways, agreeing to an extension now was to try to maximize his return now. He wasn’t going to be a free agent until his near mid-30s, and he would not be a free agent in his early 30s. Despite that, he had tremendous value to this Mets organization.
Remember, McNeil is already a two time All-Star. He has won a batting title. He is a very good second baseman and better left fielder. He’s perhaps the best suited in all of baseball to thrive in the soon-to-be no shift era. Mostly, he is a player who has been a great Met, and he wanted to be a Met for his career.
The Mets stepped up in a way they almost never did before Cohen. They signed a very good player important to the team’s success now. They signed a guy who was a fabric to this team and wanted to be here. Now, it appears he and Nimmo are set to join Kranepool and Wright as Mets for life, and Mets fans are blessed this is the case.
There was news recently the New York Mets plan on inviting David Wright to Spring Training to work with Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. The Mets interest is obvious because they want the best third baseman in team history to teach two of their best prospects to maximize their potential.
In terms of the Mets, this is something they and every franchise do. They always love bringing back the team greats to work with their young players. Years ago, the Mets had Mike Piazza work with Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. If not for the World Baseball Classic, maybe Piazza could be there working with Francisco Álvarez and Kevin Parada.
For the Mets, we know they won’t stop at Wright. When looking at it, one Mets legend they should invite to Spring Training is R.A. Dickey because he can have an impact like no other former Mets player could.
We’re all very aware of the Dickey story. He was a former first round pick of the Texas Rangers who was discovered to be born without a UCL in his right arm who threw a forkball which was more akin to a knuckleball. This led him on a long and transient path to the majors and eventually the New York Mets.
With the Mets, he would be named the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, and he would be the last Mets pitcher to win 20 games. He had taken the mantle from Tim Wakefield as the great knuckleball pitcher of his generation, but unfortunately, there has really been no one to take up that mantle since Dickey retired.
When looking at any farm system, the Mets included, there are pitchers who are never going to make it to the majors. There are various reasons including lack of velocity and/or control. For those prospects, and for the organization, the question is how long you play out the string with them until you change something about them or eventually cut them loose. It’s a sad reality of the minor leagues.
For the Mets, having Dickey in camp could permit him to teach those prospects not just the knuckleball but his knuckleballs. Remember, when Dickey was with the Mets he threw multiple ones which is what made him a unique and dominating pitcher.
R.A. Dickey's Knuckleballs (close up) 🦋 pic.twitter.com/pCi00TYw3U
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) December 26, 2022
To some degree, this is what we saw happen with Jacob deGrom and Johan Santana. When Santana taught deGrom his change, deGrom’s trajectory as a prospect went to the next level. Taking another ninth round pick and showing them the knuckleball could have a similar impact. Chances are, it won’t, but certainly, it is worth trying.
In the end, Dickey is just one of four Mets pitchers to win a Cy Young. He was a great Met for the short time he was here, and for that reason alone, he should be invited back for spring training. The fact he could help Mets prospects take their game to the next level makes inviting Dickey a must.
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:
- Curtis Granderson – retired
- David Wright – retired
- Daniel Murphy – retired
- Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
- Lucas Duda – retired
- Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
- Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
- 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 Robertson, Omar 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.
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:
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:
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.
Once again, give Steve Cohen credit. The team had no other choice but to sign Brandon Nimmo, and they did it.
With Nimmo now having an eight year $162 million deal, it’s relatively assured he will spend his entire career with the New York Mets. That is not something that happens with the Mets.
Essentially, the list of players who spent their entire careers with the Mets is Ed Kranepool and David Wright. They couldn’t have had more disparate careers.
Kranepool was a 17 year old local boy brought up to the original Mets team. He never panned out, but the weak hitting first baseman played 18 years with the team winning the 1969 World Series.
Kranepool was debating retiring after 1979, but the Mets would make sure of it releasing him prior to his even having an opportunity to retire. He filed free agent papers, but when no one came around, his career was over.
Wright grew up a Mets fan and would one day become captain of the team. If not for spinal stenosis, he’s a sure fire Hall of Famer setting records no Mets player would ever touch. For all we know, the Mets win the World Series in 2015 or another season.
Kranepool was a semi-regular player at best who set records mostly because there were no records before him. Wright was a great player whose career was cut short.
That brings us to Nimmo.
Never before in Mets history have we seen a homegrown lifelong Met retire on his own terms. Kranepool was released, and Wright had spinal stenosis.
Nimmo gets that chance. He could be the one Mets player who finishes his career as wants. He also has a chance to create his own Mets legacy.
Nimmo could be the captain. With the way Cohen is spending, he could have at least one World Series ring. He even has the chance to become the best position player in team history.
Before we get there, he has to stay healthy. Wright couldn’t. He also needs to remain productive. Kranepool couldn’t.
All-in-all, this promises to be a very unique Mets career. Kranepool had M. Donald Grant, and Wright had the Wilpons. Nimmo has Cohen.
This means Nimmo will have a chance for more postseasons than perhaps the two of them combined. With that comes chances for glory.
Every angle you look, this is a unique situation for Nimmo. Mets players don’t get to finish their careers with the team. They don’t have owners and front offices solely dedicated to winning.
Nimmo has that. That really does put Nimmo in a position to be one of the greatest Mets ever. Perhaps, he will be second only to Tom Seaver.
His name will be all over the record books, and he’s assured of passing Wright in multiple categories. He should have the most World Series rings (one ties him for the lead). He could be captain or even see his number retired.
We thought and wanted this for so many Mets. The stars aligned to make Nimmo the guy. Congrats to him, and let’s see how great this all becomes.
One of the topics discussed with Jacob deGrom‘s free agency was his New York Mets legacy. If he were to stay, he was definitively going to surpass David Wright as the best player in team history to spend his entire career with the Mets. However, deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers leaving Wright’s legacy secured.
That is not to say Wright’s legacy is set in stone. There are other players who could potentially challenge Wright’s status with the franchise. One of those players could be Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo has started to make some headway onto the Mets record books. He’s fourth all-time in OBP, 11th in SLG and triples, 21st in runs scored, and 29th in doubles. He’s in the top 30 in a number of other categories. He’s also fifth all-time in wRC+ and sixth in OPS+.
Put another way, Nimmo has been one of the more dynamic offensive weapons in Mets history. He is not seen as such, but one day he could be viewed as the best lead-off hitter in team history. At the moment, that title probably belongs to Jose Reyes partially due to his longevity, and also, partially because of the stolen bases and triples.
In terms of Wright and Reyes, Nimmo has proven to be the far superior defender. Yes, Wright has the two Gold Gloves, but for his career, he had a -24 DRS. We can ignore OAA because there is only data for his 2016 season when he should not have been in the field due to the spinal stenosis. For his part, Reyes had a -60 DRS at short.
Nimmo was great this year in center with a 6 OAA. Much of that is in thanks to the Mets rebuilt scouting and analytical departments who positioned Nimmo better in the outfield. At the moment, he is a very good defensive center fielder. Over the long term, we know he will age well as he has experience playing good defense in the corners.
All told, Nimmo looks like the type of player who can emerge as one of the true greats in franchise history. In fact, he could emerge as the best.
He’s knocking at the door in terms of advanced offensive metrics like wRC+ and OPS+. We also see his defense at a level where he has become very good. That all should translate to WAR. That did this past season with him having a 5.1 bWAR and 5.4 fWAR. Of course, that is where things get a little more dicey with him.
At the moment, Nimmo ranks 14th among position players in Mets history with a 17.2 bWAR. That leaves him trailing Wright’s 49.2 by 32.0. His 17.9 fWAR ranks 13th, and he trails Wright’s 51.2 by 33.3. That is a significant gap.
However, as we learned with Wright’s career, you need to both stay and be healthy. For his part, Wright did stay, but sadly, he was not healthy as his career came to a very premature end due to spinal stenosis. When it comes to Nimmo, for most of his career, he has been injury prone, but for the first time this year, he was relatively healthy.
If Nimmo can stay healthy and stay, there’s a chanced he catches Wright. Assuming he lands a five year deal, he would have to average a 6.4 bWAR and 6.7 fWAR to catch Wright. Considering Nimmo’s high is a 5.1, that is a steep ask, but then again, he is capable of doing it or coming close to it.
Keeping in mind there is a universal DH and an ability to move to one of the corners, there is a chance Nimmo could play longer into his career and remain productive. We did see it with a player like Curtis Granderson. Again, while we can dicker over the likeliness of it all, it still remains a possibility.
However, for all of that to even be a discussion, the first step has to happen. Nimmo has to stay and re-sign. Of course, that’s not all on Nimmo. Much of that is on the Mets. When it comes to that, Nimmo being the only real center fielder on the market means the Mets have no other choice than to step up and keep him.
We saw Jacob deGrom leave. That was unfortunate. The Mets cannot let Nimmo leave. They need to keep him and let him secure his own legacy as a member of the New York Mets.
The 2002 United States Men’s National Team shocked the world and captivated us all going to the World Cup quarterfinals. That team outplayed but ultimately lost to Germany.
This 2022 team appears on the verge of doing the same. Christian Pusilic is a national hero. He was already known in the soccer community as such, and well, the rest of the US is learning that as well.
If you go back to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, it was a nickname bestowed upon David Wright.
Only, that homer and that team didn’t captivate America’s attention. In some ways, it didn’t even register with baseball fans all that much.
There are several reasons for this. All of these several reasons wrap themselves up into one big reason – the event isn’t as big as it could or should be.
Keep in mind, the WBC is just held at the wrong time of the year. Baseball players are not in their peak form. Really, they’re just getting ready for the season.
That goes double for pitchers who have much needed pitch counts. One of the biggest complaints of the modern game is magnified in this tournament.
The United States never sends its best players because the players aren’t ready or interested. To some degree, it made the US winning more special, and it could possibly be a reason why we’re seeing Mookie Betts and Mike Trout playing now.
You’ll note we’re still not seeing the best pitchers, at least not from the US. Chances are we never will. That is entirely due to when the tournament is held.
You could do it in November after the World Series. However, many players have shit it down and will have to ramp it back up. Certainly, baseball is probably also intimidated by competing with the NFL for ratings in November.
You’re still going to see pitchers opt out because of that reason as well as players not wanting to go through a postseason gauntlet followed by this tournament.
In fairness to MLB, it’s hard to know when is the right time. Do you do it mid season and punt the All-Star Game? They may not be willing to forgo that revenue even for the long term gains of growing the sport more internationally.
Keep in mind, the Premier League (and other soccer leagues) suspended its season for this World Cup. The NHL used to put its season on hold for the Olympics (they don’t anymore trying to get their own tournament off the ground).
In both cases, the professional leagues invested more in the growth of the sport than its short team bottom line. That begs the question for Major League Baseball – just how invested in baseball are you? A corollary to this is how invested in the WBC are you?
Having it in Spring Training will forever make it feel a little gimmicky. If you’re a cynic, it’s a quadrennial cash grab.
If MLB is truly invested in the growth of the sport and the WBC, it will have to host the event mid-season. They will need players performing at their peak to get the best possible baseball to showcase to the world.
It’s at that point you can really see the sport grow and captivate interest. Certainly, they’ll get more interest domestically and will see better players participate. That’s what we all should want.
Maybe then we will see a homer resonate domestically the way that Pusilic goal did. Keep in mind, while Americans may not care all that much about soccer, they love the big moment on the biggest stage.
Until the World Baseball Classic becomes the biggest stage in all of baseball, the sport of baseball will continue to cede the big international moments to soccer and baseball.
The minute Jacob deGrom exercised his opt out was the exact minute anything could happen. At some point, a team could unexpectedly swoop in and offer him a deal to steal him right out from under the New York Mets.
Case-in-point: no one expected the Los Angeles Angels to sign Noah Syndergaard after the Mets offered him a qualifying offer. However, it happened, and Syndergaard is gone. There are some who expect the same will happen with deGrom.
From Jon Heyman, "Folks who have spoken to the Mets lately opine that they believe deGrom seems pretty likely to leave."
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) November 8, 2022
There are some who expect him to go to the Texas Rangers. There are some believing the San Diego Padres may be suitors. You can never count out the Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. There are reports the Atlanta Braves want to make a run (this doesn’t pass the smell test after they let Freddie Freeman go for less than deGrom will cost).
When you look around, there aren’t many people who expect deGrom to return to the Mets. Well, that is except for the people who know deGrom best. We have heard Chris Bassitt, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler say they expect deGrom to say. They say he’s happy with the Mets and only wants a fair market deal.
When deGrom signed his initial extension, he spoke about how he wanted to be a Met for life like his friend David Wright. We have heard exactly nothing that would have us believe deGrom has changed his mind on that. Really, all we have is conjecture from people that they believe deGrom might go.
If it comes down to money, well, the Mets have Steve Cohen.
Cohen was the same man who gave Francisco Lindor $1 million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. to get him to sign a contract extension. He have Edwin Diaz the largest ever deal for a reliever to get him to stay. He handed out the largest average annual value to Max Scherzer to get him to come to the Mets. Now, all of a sudden, he’s going to let deGrom walk over money?
If Cohen has shown us anything, he’s not going to necessarily let money stand in the way. He knows great players need to get paid, and that great players deserve more than their “value.” Mostly, Cohen understands deGrom is Mets royalty, and Cohen respects Mets history.
Cohen brought back Old Timers’ Day. Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays had their numbers retired. Former players like Ray Knight talk about how they loved the Mets, hated, the Wilpons, and now, feel more welcomed to return to the ballpark.
Cohen was also a Mets fan when Tom Seaver was traded. While not on the same level, deGrom is this generation’s Seaver. Arguably, deGrom is the second greatest Met of all-time. He could be their next Hall of Famer (depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran), and he could have his number retired by the Mets one day.
Does Cohen want to be the owner who let deGrom leave over money? Does he want to see deGrom leave on his watch? The answers should likely be no.
Another thing here is Cohen has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers as the model he wants to follow. Well, time and again, even with the injuries, the Dodgers have found a way to keep Clayton Kershaw, even with all of his injuries.
The Dodgers have understood for true franchise greats and Hall of Famers the typical rules don’t apply. You take care of those players because they’re a part of the fabric of your organization. Another important factor is when the Dodgers deal with Kershaw the entire baseball world is watching.
It’s the same with the Mets. Everyone wants to see how the Mets handle their first homegrown future Hall of Famer to hit free agency.
How he’s treated impacts whether other players want to play for the Mets or stay with the team. It’ll impact agents handling extensions. Again, there is a real impact.
Through all of it, we’re left with the simple fact Jacob deGrom wants to be a Met for life, and Steve Cohen has the ability to make it happen. If this is all truly the case, there are no excuses for not getting a deal done.
The 2022 World Series will be quite telling for New York Mets fans. This World Series will truly confirm once and for all the baseball gods hate us, and that Mets fans cannot have nice things.
After all, how else are we going to explain what is happening in the world of baseball.
Really, since Citi Field was opened there has been little more than torture for Mets fans. There was the Madoff Scandal and all the austerity measures. When the Mets finally got good in 2015, we effectively lost David Wright forever, and it was the beginning of the end for Matt Harvey, who would have a troubled injury plagued career mirroring his troubled life.
The Mets made a big run to get back into the 2016 postseason only to lose in the Wild Card Game. From there, nearly every single one of the Mets beloved starters would go down with injury. That included Noah Syndergaard, who went down twice with major injuries.
After some down years, which included the rise of Jacob deGrom as the best pitcher in baseball, we got Brodie Van Wagenen mortgaging the farm while simultaneously not going all-in to win. Van Wagenen was the guy who sought to redefine the role of a GM, and instead, he wound up merely redefining how to be a terrible GM.
After those horror years, we finally got Steve Cohen. The results have been disappointing. That’s not to blame Cohen or this front office who has done everything they could do to win.
We saw deGrom go from the best pitcher in baseball to unable to stay on the field for more than a few months at a time. Now, he is opting out of his contract. Javier Baez came, and the Mets fell apart last season leading to him being gone. There was yet another collapse this season.
To make matters worse, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series last season. They ran past the Mets and didn’t look past last year. This year, they chased down the Mets all year, and they finally caught them on the final weekend of the season.
Of course, it needs to be noted Travis d’Arnaud has been a leader for the Braves. They also got great relief work from Colin McHugh. This is what just seems to happen to the Mets. We can rattle off names like Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy. The Mets don’t understand what they have in players, they let them go, and then, they act amazed when good players thrive when given an opportunity to thrive.
That brings us to Zack Wheeler leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a pennant. Wheeler was an ace level pitcher on the Mets. He was that for the Phillies. Notably, this Phillies team also has Syndergaard.
There is absolutely zero reason to expect the Phillies to win. Then again, we should not have expected Howie Kendrick to become Reggie Jackson and for Stephen Strasburg to become Bob Gibson in 1999. We should not have expected the Braves bullpen to look like Jeff Nelson–Mike Stanton–Mariano Rivera last year.
The Houston Astros are one of the greatest teams we’ve ever seen. They haven’t lost a game this postseason, an unmatched feat in the Wild Card Era. They have Justin Verlander, and they have a manager in Dusty Baker who just needs that one World Series to ensure his rightful place in Cooperstown. Everything should point to them winning the World Series with ease.
And yet, there is the Mets factor. Make no mistake, if the Phillies win here, it is nothing more than the baseball gods taunting us Mets fans. It is what they did in 2019 and 2021, the last two World Series with a full season. For that matter, no Mets fan wanted to see the Los Angeles Dodgers win in 2020.
The Astros should win this series, and it should be a short series. As a Mets fan, we somehow know better.