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.
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.
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.
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.
According to reports, Jeff Wilpon has a Zoom call to say goodbye to New York Mets employees. Other reports confirmed he will not be seeking a role with the Steve Cohen led Mets even with his team holding onto a small minority ownership.
While he says goodbye, Mets fans say good riddance.
Everything that is wrong with the Mets is in large part due to him, and with him gone, he know stories will soon leak out about how he was even worse than what we already knew.
We already know they failed to capitalize on two pennants. In 2000, it was letting Mike Hampton walk, refusing to sign Alex Rodriguez, and then following that up with actually signing Kevin Appier and Steve Trachsel.
There was forcing players like Pedro Martinez to pitch through injuries which everyone said should’ve shut down his season, and there was the attempts to try to prevent Carlos Beltran from getting career saving knee surgery.
There was not just signing Jose Reyes, but also holding him out as a role model. Better yet, around the same time, Ed Kranepool needed a kidney transplant only for pettiness to stop the Mets from initially reaching out to help (thankfully they eventually did).
Speaking of Mets greats, there is still no Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field, and now Tom Terrific is gone. Even when the Wilpons did think to finally act, they did it when Seaver had dementia and couldn’t enjoy the honors.
There was firing an unwed pregnant woman and really so much more. With actions like this, not only did Jeff Wilpon fail as a person in charge of building a winner, he disgraced the Mets organization.
Speaking of disgrace, the way the Mets got rid of people was deplorable. No one was allowed to keep their dignity. Willie Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and after the Mets won. Instead admitting they didn’t want to pay them fair value Justin Turner had his professionalism questioned and Wilmer Flores was said to have an arthritic condition he didn’t have.
Hopefully, Jeff Wilpon will be afforded the very same treatment he gave others when they left the Mets. It would only be fitting, and it would give Mets fans more reason to celebrate his being gone.
(1) Tom Seaver – Seaver is dubbed The Franchise for taking the team from a losing franchise to World Series winners. He holds nearly every pitching record in team history, and he is considered to be, if not the greatest, among the greatest right-handed pitchers in Major League history. He was the first Mets player to have his number retired, and he was the first Mets player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. To date, he is the starting pitcher with the highest percent of the vote.
(5) Ed Kranepool – Kranepool was an original Met called up during the 1962 season as a 17 year old. He would spend his entire 17 year career with the Mets making the 1965 All-Star team and holding almost every Mets offensive record when he retired after the 1979 season. He was there for nearly the first of everything in team history. Once a persona non grata with the Mets for chastising ownership on how poorly they’ve run the organization.
It should come as no surprise the top three seeds, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Cleon Jones advanced easily. There was a mild upset with Ed Kranepool over Bud Harrelson. Overall, it looks like Seaver is primed to go to the Elite 8 with Koosman and Jones having an interesting match-up.
(4) Bud Harrelson – First Mets player to ever inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. Two time All-Star and first infielder to ever win a Gold Glove. Started a brawl with Pete Rose during the 1973 NLCS. Only person on the field in Mets uniform for both the 1969 and 1986 World Series. Briefly a manager who led Mets to end of epic run of second or better finishes.
(5) Ed Kranepool – Kranepool was an original Met called up during the 1969 season as a 17 year old. He would spend his entire 17 year career with the Mets making the 1965 All-Star team and holding almost every Mets offensive record when he retired after the 1979 season. He was there for nearly the first of everything in team history. Once a persona non grata with the Mets for chastising ownership on how poorly they’ve run the organization.
The first round of the Miracle Bracket is complete, and for the most part it went chalk. The first round winners were Tom Seaver, Rusty Staub, Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, and Jerry Koosman.
If you want to call Agee over a Jon Matlack you could, but that could have also been the case of seeding issues with this part of the tournament.
The next round has some interesting match-ups. In particular, the Kranepool/Harrelson and the Grote/Jones ones should be close. With the other two, it is expected for Seaver and Koosman to continue through to their Elite Eight clash between Mets pitchers who have had their uniform retired.
(5) Ed Kranepool – Kranepool was an original Met called up during the 1969 season as a 17 year old. He would spend his entire 17 year career with the Mets making the 1965 All-Star team and holding almost every Mets offensive record when he retired after the 1979 season. He was there for nearly the first of everything in team history.
(12) Felix Millan – Arguably, Millan, or El Gatito, is the greatest defensive second baseman in team history. While a slap hitter with not much power, he was nearly impossible to strikeout making him and his choked up bat a pest at the plate. He was a key figure on the 1973 Mets who shocked the world, and sportswriters named him the MVP of that team. In 1975, he would become the first ever Mets player to play in all 162 games.
Results of this poll and the Twitter poll will be combined, and the winner of this contest will be updated here.
With all due respect to Ed Kranepool, an original Met who held many team records, there is no doubt whatsoever Jose Reyes was undoubtedly the best player to ever wear the number 7 for the New York Mets.
From the moment, Reyes was called up to the majors, he was one of the most exciting players who ever donned the Mets uniform. He had this rare combination of speed, hustle, and a rifle of an arm. Really, the best word to describe him was “electric.” That was evident in his first ever game hitting an infield single to second in his first ever at-bat against John Thomson and then scoring from first on a Roger Cedeno double.
Not too long after that was his first injury, triple, homer, and stolen base. On the triples and stolen bases, no one in Mets history would have more. On the homer, it showed how Reyes was just a dynamic lead-off hitter who was this incredible combination of speed and power.
For some reason, the Mets didn’t quite know what they had in him, and they went out to sign Kazuo Matsui to be their shortstop, and they moved Reyes to second. Ultimately, as would be the case many times in his career, his talent would shine through, and he would eventually overtake Matsui and force him to second.
However, due to injuries, he wouldn’t have his first full season until 2005. In that year, the once injury prone player would play all but one game. That year would be the first year of a two year stretch where he would lead the league in both triples and stolen bases. It was the next year which would be year he figured it out.
Working with Willie Randolph, Reyes finally harnessed himself, and he would become an All-Star. Mostly, he was a dynamic threat atop the lineup. He drove that powerful Mets lineup, and he would be just about as important as any player in the league. We saw an example of that when he had a great Game 6 in the NLCS when the Mets were in danger of elimination:
That game could have been the best game of his career. He led off the game with a homer to help get the Mets an early lead. He was 3-for-4 with two runs, a homer, and an RBI. He was also a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts against Yadier Molina. After his second stolen base in the seventh, he put himself in scoring position for Paul Lo Duca‘s two RBI single to seal the game. In Game 7, he would be absolutely robbed of a series winning hit.
Really, it was during this 2006 season Reyes established himself as the best lead-off hitter in the game, and he was on his way to becoming the best lead-off hitter in Mets history. In 2007, he beat Cedeno’s record for stolen bases in a year, and by the end of 2008, before the Mets moved out of Shea Stadium, he surpassed Mookie Wilson for the Mets all-time record.
While Citi Field seemed ill-suited for the Mets, it wasn’t for Reyes. The ballpark seemed designed just for him. When he wasn’t dealing with injuries, he was hitting the ball hard into the gaps. Finally, in 2011, he did what no other Met had ever done by winning the batting title. For a moment, his bunt single to ensure the title on the last game of the season would seem to be his last moment as a New York Met:
There was a war of words over whether the Mets offered Reyes a contract or not, and for some reason, Reyes was actually booed when he returned to New York as a member of the Miami Marlins. From there, he would go to Toronto, and then Colorado. Things took a completely unexpected turn when Reyes was arrested for domestic violence on the same day the Mets blew a lead in Game 4 of the World Series.
Reyes found himself suspended and without a team as the Rockies used the incident as an opportunity to release Reyes to hand over the shortstop duties to Trevor Story. With his friend and longtime teammate David Wright unable to play due to spinal stenosis, the Mets came calling to bring him back and begin his redemption.
Even with all that happened, Reyes would be greeted with open arms by the fans, and he would be welcomed again with the “Jose!” chants. It was during this run, Reyes would have his truly last great moment as a member of the New York Mets homering in the bottom of the ninth against the Phillies in one of the games which propelled the Mets to the top Wild Card spot:
From there, Reyes would not be able to replicate the type of success he had in his brief 2016 stint, but he would stick around to mentor Amed Rosario. He would also be there for one last time to play alongside Wright in 2018 in what would prove to be the final game they’d play beside one another in what was the final season for both players.
Overall, Reyes is not just the best shortstop in team history, he is on the shortlist of the best players in team history. He is undoubtedly the best lead-off hitter they have ever have with team records in triples and stolen bases. While his story is as complicated as they come, he is undoubtedly the best Mets player to ever wear the number 7.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the best players in Mets history by highlighting the best Mets player to wear a particular uniform number. In this case, this is not saying Reyes was the seventh best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 7.