If you tune into WFAN (why would you do that yourself), you will hear the narrative being pushed that the Steve Cohen tenure as New York Mets owner has not been successful. If you hear someone espouse that, please ignore them because they are just espousing ignorance.
That’s not to say there haven’t been missteps. Of course, there have been missteps.
Since purchasing the Mets, Cohen has had difficulty building the front office he envisioned. A very large part of that is the fact Cohen wanted the best of the best for the role, and David Stearns was not available until this year. When Stearns became available, Cohen pounced.
What is important with the rocky GM history is Cohen’s response to each of them. With Jared Porter, his alleged improprieties cost him his job. The same for Zack Scott. This led to the hiring of Billy Eppler, which was a mixed bag.
What was interesting during Scott’s tenure is he traded Pete Crow-Armstrong for Javier Baez and Trevor Williams. At the time, the Mets were in first place and the only team in the division over .500. At the time, no one knew injuries would dismantle that team, and the thumbs down drama would ensue.
What Cohen did learn from that is not to double down on a flawed team. We saw that at the trade deadline this past season as the Mets moved David Robertson, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham, and Dominic Leone. Having learned lessons, the Mets completely revamped their minor league system.
Looking back on that 2021 season, Luis Rojas was foisted upon Porter and Scott. With Stearns being hired, he was permitted to fire Buck Showalter even though he was a popular figure with the media and players. Again, Cohen learned a lesson.
People will want to harp on and mock the signings of Scherzer and Verlander. However, that purposefully ignores the 101 win season. You can’t mock the signings while ignoring where it was successful.
We can opt to hold the Mets payroll and failures against them in 2023. It was definitively a failure. However, it was a failure borne out of an owner attempting to win and build off of a successful season. When it didn’t work, Cohen changed course.
Keep in mind, this wasn’t the Mets 2017 sell-off to save money and collect right-handed relief prospect after right-handed relief prospect. No, Cohen continued to use his financial might to fortify the farm system.
Cohen is now entering his fourth year of ownership. Let’s take stock of where the Mets are now.
They have Stearns as the POBO. They have a future Hall of Famer in Francisco Lindor. They kept Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil over the long term. Top prospects like Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos have had successes to build upon for 2024. Kodai Senga was phenomenal, and Edwin Diaz is coming back healthy next year.
The Mets are in great shape to build a competitor in 2024, and they have what they need to make the Mets contenders year-in and year-out. If you don’t think this has been a success, you’re a fool.
As had been detailed here when the Mets fired Luis Rojas, Buck Showalter was never the right man to manage the New York Mets. When you’re looking to overall your organization top to bottom to be more analytically driven like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays, you can’t hire someone who never was willing to adapt his style of managing to suit the modern game.
Assuredly, there were people who loved him. He talked a good game. He kept the media in check even despite the Mets collapse of yesteryear. A lesser respected manager would have routinely mocked for the way he handled the Joe Musgrove glistening ear situation in the deciding game three.
Perhaps, that was also the result of low expectations and an unwillingness to recognize just how good and deep the 2022 Mets roster was. Certainly, that was a driving force behind his winning Manager of the Year.
As for this year, he and the Mets were a bit snake bit. Edwin Díaz was injured during the World Baseball Classic. José Quintana had a cancer scare and bone graft surgery. Starling Marte never fully healed from offseason surgery. Justin Verlander was injured to start the season.
There was the Mets inability to adapt to the new rules right away. Max Scherzer had difficulty adapting to the old rules. The list goes on and on with that article from The Athletic doing him no favors in terms of just how ill suited he was for the job this season.
That’s not to say Showalter is too old to adjust. That’s unfair and unwarranted. He still has a sharp mind, and he knows what he knows. The issue is he was taught to manage a certain way, and that worked wonders for decades. He has just been unwilling to change.
Part of the issue is his apparent loyalty and affinity for older players. In the case of Tommy Pham, the Mets were better for it as Pham had a good year, and it led to a great trade at the deadline. However, in the case of Daniel Vogelbach, it severely damaged the team in the short term and the long term.
Maybe the Mets were always going to hire David Stearns. Certainly, it didn’t seem like an accident Craig Counsell‘s contract was up the same time as Stearns’, and Counsell wasn’t looking to sign a contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers.
To that end, it does seem like Showalter was hired for two years with a chance to force himself upon Stearns. Certainly, if Showalter was more like Dusty Baker in his willingness to balance his strengths while accepting the analytics more, perhaps we would have seen Showalter remain on the job.
However, for better or worse, Showalter wanted to manage this team like he wanted to manage. In the case of players like Francisco Lindor, they loved him for it. Perhaps, they would’ve loved him more if he changed even a little bit, and the Mets won the World Series.
All this said, Showalter does deserve respect for taking this job and not embarrassing the Mets organization in the process. He did come at a time when things were going sideways, and he did in fact restore some public credibility, and he did keep the media pressure off in ways Bobby Valentine and Willie Randolph (two better Mets managers) ever could.
He deserved the dignity of being able to end it publicly on his terms. He earned the respect of his players, and he does deserve some gratitude from the fans, especially with all the damage that had been done to the organization since Brodie Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway did, and the shadow it cast until Showalter’s hiring.
In all honesty, hopefully, we will see Showalter get one more crack at managing. Hopefully, like Baker, he will accept the game has changed, and we can see his strenghts carry him to that elusive World Series title. With that, he may eventually get into the Hall of Fame.
While not specifically called as such, Will Sammon and Tim Britton of The Athletic wrote an autopsy of the 2023 New York Mets season. It was an excellent article with players being more open and honest than usual. It should be noted no one was attacking other players or throwing anyone under the bus.
Keeping that in mind, while reading the article, it became glaringly obvious Buck Showalter was the wrong manager for this 2023 Mets team.
The key quote out of the whole article was Tommy Pham saying, “Out of all the teams I played on, this is the least-hardest working group of position players I’ve ever played with.”
People will run a million different directions on this, but Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo were at least receptive and took it to heart and improved. Notably, we have seen Lindor and Nimmo have big second halves. Putting player reaction aside, this is an indictment on Showalter.
This was the sort of theme with why the season failed. The players weren’t working hard enough. There were miscues. The play was sloppy. The team was doubting themselves. They had a manager who didn’t have the pulse of the team.
When the team was holding player meetings pushing better play and accountability, Showalter had a rah-rah meeting the following day. His players were too comfortable with some being too complacent. There were mistakes, miscues, and as we would see with Max Scherzer unnecessary suspensions.
As noted by one unnamed player in the article, this is the sort of thing that comes into question when you don’t win. However, the Mets didn’t win, which allows these issues to be investigated.
For sure, Showalter isn’t the only reason the season failed. There was blame on the World Baseball Classic not allowing the team to adapt to new rules, but that also wasn’t the reason for the losing. There were the injuries, which were a major reason for the losing early on, and based on Adam Ottavino‘s comments, we saw the Edwin Díaz injury damaged the Mets psyche more than we ever appreciated (again, this is on the manager).
Again, we can point to injuries, but Showalter’s managing was an issue all season. Currently, we are seeing Mark Vientos mashing, but we had to watch Daniel Vogelbach flounder all season long. He was hands-off and being a rah-rah guy when players are talking about needing more accountability from one another.
If you wanted the reasons to look in another direction (Craig Counsell), it was detailed in that article. Keep in mind, this article was not a hit job or even directed at Showalter. However, when you have all that evidence, it is hard to ignore.
Francisco Álavarez‘s presence at the meeting with Pham, Lindor, and Eduardo Escobar about how to turn around the season speaks volumes to how he is viewed by his teammates. We heard stuff like this when he was in the minors, but it was interesting to see him quickly become not just a part of the fabric of the team, but to be a part of these leadership moments.
Fans have long pushed for Pete Alonso to be named captain, but Lindor and Nimmo are the unquestioned leaders of this team.
Alonso really cares, and he puts pressure on himself to succeed. If anything, his going into Showalter’s office is another reason why the Mets should be pushing for an extension.
Pham was great for the Mets, It wasn’t just his production, but it was seeking to hold everyone across the board more accountable. The Mets will be better for years to come because of Pham’s time spent with the team.
It would see Showalter leaned heavily on having Mark Canha, Escobar, and Starling Marte last year on a team full of leaders. With Canha pushed down the depth chart, Escobar traded, and Marte injured all year, Showalter was missing something he needed to have the team run as smoothly as it did last year.
The injuries and struggling to adapt to the new rules was certainly a factor (albeit probably small) in the need to pivot and move to younger players.
It was interesting Pham specifically said he had respect for Lindor and Nimmo and their work ethic with the article immediately going to Jeff McNeil saying “everyone comes ready to play and does what they need to do.” Immediately after that Nimmo says, “Ultimately, a lot of this comes down to individuals and what they’re willing to do.”
This was as interesting an juxtaposition as you can have, and you do have to wonder how purposeful the presentation was.
Mostly, it was injuries that hampered the Mets with the team not having the pitching depth it did in 2022. It will now be incumbent on Billy Eppler to work with David Stearns to make sure a season like 2023 does not happen again.
When we discuss the New York Mets bullpen, it always need the caveat that the Mets are without Edwin Díaz. Naturally, not having the best closer in baseball is going to severely impact your bullpen and how it is constructed.
For example, David Robertson was signed to be the eighth inning set-up man. That means he steps up to closer with everyone filling in behind him. That naturally weakens the bullpen even with Robertson being almost as good as Díaz was last season.
Now, if the Mets had Robertson and Díaz, they would have the 8th and 9th innings completely locked down. However, they would still have issues with the earlier innings. That was always going to be the place, but for some reason, that was always going to be the plan.
The Mets are suffering from that plan. Putting aside the plan, here are who the Mets key set-up relievers were supposed to be, and here is how they are performing this season:
- Adam Ottavino 0-2, 4.38 ERA, 96 ERA+, 4.79 FIP
- Brooks Raley 1-1, 3.10 ERA, 136 ERA+, 4.52 FIP
- Drew Smith 3-2, 3.74 ERA, 112 ERA+, 4.03 FIP
Raley and Smith have been alright, but they have not been dominant. Ottavino has struggled. What is really concerning with this trio is when you look at their FIP, they are over performing how they are pitching. The last thing the Mets can afford is any of them to regress, and from the looks of it, all of them are due for a regression.
Past them, it’s been a revolving door of relievers. The flavor of the week is Jeff Brigham and Dominic Leone. Previously, it was Jimmy Yacabonis, Denyi Reyes, Dennis Santana, John Curtiss, etc. The only conclusion to be drawn from these names is Billy Eppler and the Mets purposefully opted for relievers who can go back-and-forth instead of one or two more established arms.
The end result of all of this is a bad Mets bullpen. Their 4.17 bullpen ERA is 10th worst in the majors and fifth worst in the NL. The 4.51 FIP is sixth worst overall and third worst in the NL. Overall, the bullpen is just plain bad even with Robertson being dominant.
It needs to be reiterated the Carlos Correa deal fell through. That left the Mets with money to spend on the bullpen, and they didn’t. They instead wanted to go with a bunch of journeymen like Tommy Hunter. Again, this was the plan.
With that being the plan, we should not be surprised the bullpen has not been good. Chances are, it will get worse, at least from what we see with the team FIP. While the Mets didn’t plan on this being the case, that is the end result of their plan, and frankly, they should not be surprised by these results.
Back when the New York Mets acquired Daniel Vogelbach, early analysis on this site was it hurt the Mets in the short-term. It was also noted as a bizarre trade as the Mets in-house options were more than capable of handling the duties the Mets were seeking Vogelbach to handle.
As we have become further removed from the trade, we see it is a trade which has continued to hamper the Mets.
This is not to say Vogelbach has been bad. In fact, Vogelbach has been better with the Mets than he has at any spot in his career posting a 130 OPS+ with the Mets.
That may be news to some Mets fans as they have become frustrated with the designated hitter. They will point to his numbers with RISP (.200/.455/.200) and his lack of power. While productive as a DH, Vogelbach is not the classic power hitter you expect from the position, or frankly, someone with his physique.
That is very noticeable when Mark Vientos is raking in Triple-A. So far this season, Vientos is hitting .331/.416/.677 with 11 2B, 12 HR, and 35 RBI. By every measure, Vientos should be in the majors.
However, he isn’t, and it is inextricably linked to Vogelbach. Yes, fans are frustrated with him, but he has been productive at the plate. As a result, the team is not going to have Vientos join the club to sit.
This is a consideration Billy Eppler should have had last year and this past offseason. Keep in mind, Vientos was raking with Syracuse last season, but the Mets outright refused to give him a look at DH. Instead, they opted for the Vogelbach/Darin Ruf tandem at the trade deadline.
Vientos did not succeed in a short-side platoon in September. This is a reason not to call him up now no matter how much he hits. Arguably, he’s the Mets best DH option now (and probably was last season), but he’s blocked due to the veteran forward approach of Eppler and Buck Showalter.
The trade is made worse by Colin Holderman‘s success with the Pittsburgh Pirates. So far this season, Holderman is 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.313 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and a 10.7 K/9. He has established himself as a very good late inning relief option.
The Mets could use Holderman now, especially after the Edwin Díaz injury. At the moment, David Robertson, Drew Smith, and Adam Ottavino have been the only real reliable relievers so far this season. Past them, the Mets have been cycling through injured relievers and hoping for one or two good outings from the Jimmy Yacabonis and Dennis Santana of the world before they hit the IL or are designated for assignment.
Of course, the there is also the matter of how the Holderman for Vogelbach trade led to the Mychal Givens trade last season. Therein lies the real issues with the Vogelbach trade.
The value of Holderman for Vogelbach was fine. In fact, it might’ve been an underpay for the Mets. However, that trade has forced the Mets into many bad and short-sighted decisions. As a result, we see Vientos stuck in Triple-A, and the Mets still seeking power and production from players who were never going to provide it – players like Vogelbach.
Right now, the New York Mets are 17-18. They’re under .500. As Bill Parcells has been credited with saying, “You are what your record says you are.” Well, that means the Mets are not a good team.
There are caveats we can throw out there, and to be fair, they should be noted.
Losing four starters like that takes a toll on your rotation and team. Of course, that is a complication of having the oldest rotation in the majors. As oft noted this offseason, rotations this old usually do not make it to the postseason.
The bullpen was thrown a bit into chaos with the unexpected season ending injury to Edwin Díaz. To be fair, the Mets were prepared for that with the addition of David Robertson. The problem is no one outside Robertson and Drew Smith have been very good in the bullpen.
Of course, that is a function of the rotation not going deep into games. That is going to tax the bullpen. However, it is also a function of Billy Eppler not building a complete bullpen over the winter. The bullpen needed 1-2 more arms, and he never got them. He also never replaced Trevor Williams as the long man, which only exacerbates the starting pitching being unable to go deep into games.
Maybe the Mets could weather this storm with more offense, but the offense was left unaddressed in the offseason. The world knew the Mets needed more power in the lineup, and their only attempt was the failed Carlos Correa signing. As a result, the Mets went right back to the lineup which failed against the Atlanta Braves in September and then failed again in the NL Wild Card Series.
The Mets did call up Brett Baty, and he has been good. Francisco Álvarez was put on ice after the Omar Narváez injury, and he has started hitting pretty well. Over the past 13 games, he is hitting .286/.342/.429. These are competent bats right now that are not yet lighting the world on fire.
Of course, that also means they’re some of the Mets more productive bats. You wouldn’t know that because Buck Showalter thinks they belong in the bottom half to bottom third of the lineup. Starling Marte and his 68 wRC+ is permanently entrenched in the second spot in the lineup (the most important spot in the lineup) because he’s fast and a veteran.
Mark Canha has a 91 wRC+, and he mostly bats fifth or sixth because, well, he’s a veteran. Therein lies the problem. Showalter is making decisions based upon 1980s decision making and deference to veterans. It’s not about what best suits the team now.
Sure, not all that ails the Mets is going to be solved by lineup construction. However, when your pitching is struggling this much, and there are so many unproductive bats, you need to get as much of a competitive advantage as you possibly can.
Right now, the Mets aren’t. As a result, they’re an under .500 team. They’re just not a good team, and the manager isn’t really doing what is needed to be done to get some wins right now.
Sure, the Mets can turn things around and still make the postseason. That said, they’re seven games behind the Atlanta Braves and tied with the Miami Marlins for second in the division. The more they don’t do anything the more the division is out of reach leaving them back in that dreaded best-of-three series.
Now is the time for the Mets to focus on their productive players. Let the young players play and thrive. If not, the Mets could be in serious trouble.
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.
The New York Mets played their opening series of the season, and they took 3/4 games. All-in-all, not a bad start to the season:
1. The Mets defense was exceptional to start the season. Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor appear on their way to having Gold Glove caliber years, and Starling Marte might’ve made the most important play of all.
2. Kodai Senga‘s ghost splitter was all; the more impressive in game action recording all eight strikeouts on the pitch. It’s also a good thing it really took him just one inning to fully acclimate.
3. It took Lindor three games last season before he started hitting, and he would have a great year. Nothing to be concerned about his slow start to the season.
4. Brandon Nimmo is back to walking a lot, which means his OBP should be through the roof this season.
7. If Baty is not called up within the next week, the Mets are going to forfeit the chance to get an extra first round pick and international bonus pool money. This seems like a dubious decision to say the least.
8. Mark Canha‘s and Tommy Pham‘s bat looked very slow to start the season, but they turned it on the last two games. At least with Sandy Alcantara and Jesus Luzardo, you still have to wonder if velocity will be an issue for Canha, but for now, he seems like he will be productive.
10. Way too much was made by some people over Max Scherzer allowing three runs. He was completely dominant over the first five innings, and he had one bad inning. He will be fine and pitch like an ace again this season.
11. It seems like something that only happens to the Mets, but somehow poor defenders like Garrett Cooper and Jorge Soler looked like Keith Hernandez and Roberto Clemente in the field this past series.
12. Jeff McNeil hit a lot of balls hard right at someone. Not what you expected to see with the elimination of the shift.
13. The games did move much faster, but there is still going to be some issues to be ironed out. For example, McNeil getting assessed a strike because of Pete Alonso at first base. After the game, MLB admitted a strike should not have been assessed against McNeil.
14. Any Mets fans rejoicing in Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt struggling is an outright fool. First, they did nothing to the Mets. Second, it meant you enjoyed the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals offense going off. Nothing says I’m a Mets fan more than rooting for the Phillies and Cardinals.
15. We knew the bases being closer together meant not only more stolen bases but more opportunities to take an extra base. We didn’t know that meant Daniel Vogelbach going first to third and scoring on shallow sacrifice flies.
16. Jazz Chisholm Jr.was not good at all in center for the Miami Marlins. That is going to be an issue for that team all season.
17. Omar Narváez. has looked PHENOMENAL in all aspects of the game so far. If he is going to be this good, the Mets are a different level team than originally anticipated.
18. Dennis Santana might’ve been a find for the Mets.
19. Alonso was safe at first base.
20. This was a good start for the Mets. They took three out of four, and their best players haven’t quite gotten going just yet. Hopefully, this is a sign we are in for a special 2023.
The New York Mets got even more bad news from the starting rotation front when it was announced Justin Verlander was going to start the year on the IL. While Verlander sounds optimistic, at the moment, we do not know how long he will be on the IL.
This comes after we learned José Quintana is going to miss much of the year due to his bone graft surgery. As a result, the Mets are going to have David Peterson and Tylor Megill in the Opening Day rotation when the team understandably wanted to use them as pitching depth.
Arguably, this is a very good thing. First and foremost, it is going to allow Peterson and Megill to further establish themselves as Major League caliber starting pitchers. Remember, after this season, Carlos Carrasco will be a free agent with the Mets almost a lock not to re-sign him. That means one of these two can grab a spot in the the 2024 rotation by pitching well next year.
The other alternative is either one of them show they can’t stay in the rotation. To a certain degree, that is what happened years ago with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Both were forced to the bullpen by a mixture of the Mets then starting pitching depth and their struggles in their first full year in the rotation. Gsellman struggled while Lugo went on to become the best reliever in baseball for a stretch.
Remember, Megill and Peterson are Major League caliber pitchers. It is now incumbent on the Mets to find their best role. With the Edwin Díaz season ending surgery, the sooner we find out one is a reliever the better. Of course, that assumes one or both can’t last in the rotation, which is an unfair presumption. After all, both have had success in their limited chances in a Major League rotation.
Another factor going forward is Verlander’s age. The 40 year old has been a workhorse throughout his career, and it was one of the reasons the Mets acted quickly to sign him after Jacob deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers. Part of his being 40 is he is older and probably needs more rest than he needed 10 or even five years ago.
The innings the Mets need from Verlander are in September and October. As long as they get a fresher and healthier Verlander then, we can count his saving his arm right now as a win. Of course, that assumes he can come back at a reasonable point while the Mets stay afloat with him out of the rotation. Based upon everything, that sounds like a reasonable presumption.
In the end, we have two options. We can first throw our hands up and decry this being the same old Mets. Or, we can acknowledge that while this sucks, this may work out better for the Mets in the long run. You can pick which one you want, but no matter how you look at it, this is a great opportunity for Megill and Peterson, and it may also be for Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi, who are the next up should any starting pitcher fail.
Brandon Nimmo was the player of the game for the New York Mets. He knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Later in the game, he hit a two RBI double which put the Mets up for good.
Max Scherzer was great for five, but he stumbled in the sixth giving up the three run lead. Still, he got the win because of the aforementioned Nimmo RBI double in the seventh.
There was also some terrific defense from Francisco Lindor. The hitting and defense was expected. The bullpen stepping up for Scherzer and the Mets was a pleasant surprise.
After Edwin Díaz went down for the season, how the Mets were going to finish games was very much in question. At least for the season opener, it was seamless.
Brooks Raley made his Mets debut in the eighth. He’d pitch a 1-2-3 inning.
That led to David Robertson for the ninth. Robertson was signed to be the eighth inning set-up reliever, but with Díaz out for the year, he’s now the closer.
The good news is Robertson has been a very good closer in his career. More than that, he’s thrived in New York. In many ways, that makes him the perfect stopgap.
Well, he was perfect in his first save opportunity with the Mets. After striking out the first two, he got Soler to fly out to end the game.
The Mets won on Opening Day. That’s what they do. Sooner or later, we will find out if shutting down the opponent is what this bullpen does. At least for this game, the bullpen looked great, and if that’s the case, the Mets will be great.
GAME NOTES: Justin Verlander was put on the IL before the game. Bryce Montes de Oca underwent Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom made his first start with the Texas Rangers. He allowed more extra base hits against the Philadelphia Phillies than he had ever allowed in a game.