It was an emotional day at Citi Field. It was Opening Day, and it was the official unveiling of the Tom Seaver statue. Seeing Seaver with the drop-and-drive, the statue couldn’t have been more perfect.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 15, 2022
Also perfect was the Jackie Robinson Tribute. This was the 75th anniversary, and all MLB teams wore the solid blue numbers like appeared on the Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys.
Emotions were high, and the crowd was ready. Nothing was going to damper this day.
Part of the reason is Chris Bassitt ensures that would be the case. After all, if you’re honoring Seaver, a great pitching performance is a prerequisite.
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) April 15, 2022
The Mets offense continued to score. Zach Davies and the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff never really had a chance.
Francisco Lindor has homered from both sides of the plate today.
He has 3 home runs on the season, he didn’t hit his 3rd homer last year until May 15.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) April 15, 2022
Through eight, it was 10-1, and the final would be 10-3 after Sean Reid-Foley struggled again.
The Mets are the first team to six wins. They’re 10-4 in home openers at Citi Field. Lindor looks like a true MVP candidate. The starting pitching has been even better than advertised.
All told, right now, everything is (Tom) Terrific.
Game Notes: Nick Plummer made his MLB debut playing RF in the ninth. Travis Jankowski was 3-for-4 with a run scored. James McCann has started the year 1-for-16. Oliver Perez received a surprise ovation during player introductions.
The New York Mets traveled to Philadelphia for their first “test” of the 2022 season. While it started rocky, the team passed with flying colors.
1. The Mets built this team on starting pitching, and it is working. They league the league in innings, ERA, and WHIP while being second in strikeouts. That could be the biggest reason they started the season 5-2.
3. Taijuan Walker looked great until he had to leave with injury. Fortunately, it appears he will be fine.
4. David Peterson stepped up in long relief, and it appears he will rejoin the rotation. On that front, he started out jittery, and the K/BB wasn’t great. Still, there is talent there.
6. As good as the starting rotation is, the bullpen has been that bad. Much of the blame there goes to how Buck Showalter chooses to utilize them.
7. Showalter knew Trevor May was dealing with bicep and tricep issues, and he still tried to push him another inning. This is all the more egregious considering it was cold and Showalter just came from a lecture about not pushing relievers early in the season. Fortunately, May is alright.
9. Brandon Nimmo has been phenomenal atop the lineup. He has been everything we could expect and more.
10. The lineup in the finale of this series was perfect. Switching Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte makes so much sense analytically. Also, getting Robinson Cano out of the lineup right now makes even more sense.
11. Cano looks just about done. He has no bat speed. He has no speed. He isn’t hitting the ball with authority. This is already a huge problem.
12. Pete Alonso looks very comfortable as the DH. You still want to use the position to cycle through players on a modified rest, and you want to keep him engaged defensively, but it would be ideal for him to be the primary DH.
13. Dominic Smith needs to be better. Assuredly, some of the slow start is being sat to see if the Mets could get Cano or J.D. Davis going, but he needs to earn his way back into the linup. Hopefully, that sacrifice fly will get him going.
14. It is a pleasure watching Eduardo Escobar play. He gives his all on every play, and it was his hustle that allowed the umpires to award him a triple on that fan interference.
15. Sending Escobar was just plain dumb. Even a semi-competent throw gets him easily, and Escobar has real speed. The Mets have a very real Joey Cora issue, and it was an unforced error.
16. That Phillies lineup is frightening. As we saw on Monday, you give them an inch, and they can make you pay. More than that Joe Girardi alternates L/R so effectively you can never bring in a true LOOGY.
17. It’s a testament to this Mets offense they knocked both Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola out of the game early. It wasn’t that they put up a lot of runs, but rather, they just continued to grind and force up the pitch counts for both pitchers.
18. It should bother everyone Clayton Kershaw left a perfect game after seven innings with just 80 pitches. That is inexcusable, and there is simply no defending it. It really was everything wrong with baseball right now.
19. It is long past time we have a Tom Seaver statue, and it is going to be great seeing one on Opening Day.
20. The Mets still need to face some of the better teams in baseball to get a true feel for them, but so far, they look like a real contender this year.
The New York Mets will be led by Buck Showalter as the team sets to try to win their first World Series since 1986. Since this is their 60th season, here are 60 bold predictions for the season.
1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.
2. Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.
3. Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.
5. Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.
6. Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.
7. The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.
9. Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.
10. Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.
12. Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.
13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.
14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.
15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.
16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.
18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.
19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.
20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.
21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.
22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.
23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.
24. So will Eric Chavez.
25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.
26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.
28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.
30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.
31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.
32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.
34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.
35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.
36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.
37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.
38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.
39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.
40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.
41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.
42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.
44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.
45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.
46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.
47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.
48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.
49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.
51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.
52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.
53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).
54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.
55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.
56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.
58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.
59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.
60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.
On April 15, 2022, the New York Mets are finally going to reveal their Tom Seaver statue. It is something which should have happened when Citi Field officially opened on March 29, 2009, but with the Wilpons being the Wilpons, we needed to wait all of this time.
When you talk about the Mets, you talk about Seaver. He is the greatest player to ever don a Mets uniform, and in all likelihood, he will forever be the greatest. He deserved not just the statue, but he also deserved to be the first player to see his number retired.
For a time, Seaver was the only Mets player with his number retired. That was until Mike Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with Piazza opting to wear a Mets cap on his plaque. At that moment, there was a clear standard set. If you want your number retired with the Mets, you need to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap.
That was the standard until it wasn’t. As the Wilpons were on their way out, they announced Jerry Koosman was going to have his number retired. If you were going to outside the realm of Hall of Famers, Koosman more than deserved to be first in line for this honor. After all, his pitching was the biggest reason the Mets won the 1969 World Series.
After Koosman, Keith Hernandez had his number retired. Unlike Koosman, we can reasonably expect him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. What we don’t know is what cap Hernandez will opt to have on his plaque.
Gary Carter likely would have his number retired if the Hall of Fame honored his request to go in as a Met. In all likelihood, David Wright will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he will have his number retired one day. After that, who knows?
The one thing that becomes clear is as more numbers are retired the less that honor is for Hall of Famers. For some time, it was something special reserved for the Hall of Famers, and now, that is no longer the case. We can debate if that is a good or bad thing, but in the end, the Mets should have one separate and special honor for their Hall of Fame players.
Seeing the Seaver statue getting erected, it would seem that can and should be the new honor for Mets players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. Right now, that applies only to Seaver and Piazza.
This is why Piazza should get his statue. He’s a Hall of Famer deserving of an honor above all the rest. Perhaps, it can be that pose after he blasted yet another big homer.
Certainly, there is more than enough room for it outside of Citi Field. More than that, there is room to further celebrate Mets history and the greatest of the greats. Ultimately, this is why we need a Piazza statue.
With the institution of the universal DH, MLB has officially killed off National League Baseball. As such, the only real difference between the two leagues is their names. One just happens to be the American League, and the other just happens to be the National. Why are we even bothering anymore?
It’s not like changing up divisions and leagues is unheard of in this sport. Tom Seaver led the Mets to the first ever NL East title in 1969. Prior to that, there were no divisions in either league. Fast forward to 1994, and the Montreal Expos would have won the division led by players like Moises Alou, Cliff Floyd, and Pedro Martinez. Of course, that season didn’t reach completion because of the strike.
As a result, the first World Series with a Wild Card in the postseason was won by the Atlanta Braves with Tom Glavine taking home World Series MVP honors. The Braves would win the NL East as part of their journey. An interesting fact here is the Braves won the first ever NL West title, and they actually played the Mets in the inaugural NLCS.
Baseball has moved and changed teams and divisional structures as they have seen fit. When baseball expanded in 1998 to include the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the AL Central to the NL Central. In 2013, the Houston Astros, who were an expansion team the same season as the Mets, were switched from the NL Central to the AL West because baseball wanted six five team divisions.
Things change according to the random whims of the commissioner. We see that has happened with the institution of the universal DH, and we are likely going to see it again with MLB trying to increase the amount of postseason teams from the current five per league to seven per league. That is again completely radical, and it cries for the need for another correlative move.
Before delving further, one of the reasons for the push for an expanded postseason is increased revenues. It should also be noted the reason for revenue sharing and compensation systems is to address the (laughable) assertions owning an MLB franchise isn’t profitable and costs need to be reduced. One major cost which can be cut is travel fees.
To do that, you can more geographically align the divisions of baseball like it is done in the NBA and NHL. After all, we see MLB trying to more align their sport like those, so why not take a look at what that would look like:
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Mets
- New York Yankees
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Washington Nationals
- Atlanta Braves
- Cincinnati Reds
- Houston Astros
- Miami Marlins
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Texas Rangers
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Guardians
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Minnesota Twins
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
- Los Angeles Angels
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Oakland Athletics
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Seattle Mariners
Yes, this does call for the inclusion of two expansion teams. Let’s face it. It is well past time for MLB to expand. If the NHL can support 32 teams, MLB certainly can. There are markets in the United States and Canada which have been relatively untapped, and to a certain extent, the minor league retraction has created a void in many communities for baseball. At least geographically, the southeast with cities like Raleigh and Nashville makes sense, but MLB can look elsewhere and align differently if it makes more financial sense.
As for the blowing up of some rivalries, well, that’s a consequence. That said, it wasn’t a concern when the Brewers and Astros changed leagues. There is also the important consideration the geographical rivalries will be off the charts, and there will certainly be the development of new rivalries.
Now, the next step is especially radical, but then again, so was the death of National League baseball. Before delving further, we first need to acknowledge baseball’s crown jewel is the World Series. Baseball needs to do all it can endeavor to create the best possible World Series matchups to generate more fan interest. The best way to do that is to actually set up the best possible match-ups in the World Series.
For that, just eliminate the AL and NL in its entirety. Instead, just have the four divisions. If you want to keep an AL and NL for nostalgia stake and create new names for the other two divisions, fine. That said, the World Series should abandon the concept of the AL against the NL. Instead, it should be the two best postseason teams.
This is where MLB can borrow a bit from the NHL. Since MLB wants an expanded postseason, they can have the top three teams in each division make the postseason. After that, the next eight non-automatic qualifying teams, regardless of division and division rank, can play a one game Wild Card Game to qualify for the Division Series. The World Series will instantly become increasingly more interesting.
The potential match-ups can radically change. For example, one year, the Mets and Cardinals could meet in the World Series, and the next, they could meet in the Championship Series. As a bit of added intrigue, under this format, MLB could get their biggest dream to come true with a Yankees-Red Sox World Series. The ratings and revenues from that may set records never before seen.
Overall, MLB has been forever changed with the death of National League baseball. As a result, instead of trying to hold onto some vestiges of the NL, it is time to just let it go away entirely and focus on what would create the most interesting and exciting baseball. Creating a four league format would be refreshing, and it would create the best possible postseasons. From there, genuine interest (and associated revenues) would grow putting baseball in the best footing it has been in a century.
Once again SNY ran with pure garbage from Andy Martino. He once again levied libelous accusations accusing a loyal fan base of being racist with zero evidence to support the bone-headed contention. This is exactly what he does.
He says Mets fans should support Chase Utley. Its racist to boo a vastly underperforming Luis Castillo even if Martino, himself, called Yoenis Cespedes lazy for getting double heel surgery. Now, he wants us all to tell him why Mets fans don’t like Robinson Cano while again accusing Mets fans of being racist.
Before delving further on Cano, go back to 2019. You could argue Cano not performing up to standards was a key factor why the Mets missed the postseason that year. No, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was certainly a factor.
After all, the could be Hall of Famer had one of the worst years of his career with a 94 wRC+ and a -2 DRS. Cano was supposed to be a big bat in the lineup and steadying influence in the infield for a young Amed Rosario. Instead, in what was an injury plagued season, he underachieved and was at times a liability.
In year one, following that horrific trade where the Mets gave up both Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn while assuming nearly all of his contract, Cano was already the liability many thought he would be before the end of his career. What’s funny is despite that fans were not booing him when he took the field or came to the plate.
This was far from a Francisco Lindor situation. Mets fans may not have fully embraced Cano, but they certainly did not jeer him. No, he was treated with some level of reverence for all he accomplished in his career while many hoped getting away from Chili Davis could rejuvenate his career.
While you could’ve given Cano credit for his 2020 resurgence, we found out it was because of PEDs. His using PEDs that season did lead to his second suspension costing him the entirety of the 2021 season.
When Mets fans look at Cano now, they’re not angry with him or booing him. They’re not demanding he get released or traded. Sure, there are fans who want that, but if you go back to the 1970s, you could assuredly find Mets fans who were happy the team traded Tom Seaver. Mistaking a vocal minority or giving the lunatic fringe credit is always disingenuous and irresponsible (to be fair, that is what this article does in part by even addressing Martino).
When Mets fans look at Cano, they see a player who was the key return in one of the worst trades in franchise history. It was his contract which was yet another excuse why the Wilpons refused to spend to help get the Mets to the World Series. Now, he’s just an odd fit who is 39 trying to become a real everyday contributor to a Major League team for the first time since the 2017 season.
Mets fans don’t hate Cano. Saying they dislike him is a stretch. No, they’ve been frustrated with him, and now, they don’t know how he fits. When he does come back, he’s not going to immediately be booed, and if he contributes everything related to the trade and suspension will quickly be forgotten. Really, proferring otherwise is just plain wrong.
Then again, the Wilpons still own SNY, and as we know, they have nothing but contempt for Mets fans. This is why they pay Martino to go forth and spew pure unsubstantiated garbage like this.
It used to be in order for a New York Mets player to have their number retired, they needed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a New York Met. That is why Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza had their numbers retired, and why Gary Carter didn’t. Had the Baseball Hall of Fame not treated Carter differently than every other Hall of Famer in baseball history, his number 8 would be in the rafters at Citi Field.
Somewhere along the way, perhaps not coincidentally coinciding with Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets, the Mets changed their policy on retiring numbers. First, it was Jerry Koosman. Then, it was Keith Hernandez. Certainly, we anticipate David Wright will be next followed by a massive argument amongst the fanbase as to who gets their numbers retired.
Therein lies the problem. When the Mets had a stringent policy, there was at least one. A player wasn’t slighted by not having their number retired, and they weren’t having their career or impact on the Mets belittled. Rather, there was a policy in place, but there was a Mets Hall of Fame available for some of the true Mets greats.
Now, there is admittedly a quagmire. While you can argue Koosman and Hernandez tweak the standard to impactful and great Mets who have won a World Series, Wright’s eventual number retirement will throw all of that out. What follows is really just chaos, and more importantly, a need for explanation on a number of players.
John Franco is the all-time leader in team history in saves, and he was the third team captain in history. You can argue his number should now be retired. If it should, do you double retire 31, or do you retire his 45? If you opt for 45, why not Tug McGraw too?
What happens to Edgardo Alfonzo? By WAR, Alfonzo is the Mets best middle infielder, and he ranks ahead of Hernandez in the rankings. He was part of the best infield in Major League history, was a clutch hitter, won a pennant, and he won the New York-Penn League championship as a manager.
Bud Harrelson was the first Met inducted into the team Hall of Fame, and he’s the only man to win a ring with the 1969 and 1986 teams. Howard Johnson was the first Met to have a 30/30 season, he’s the only Met to do it twice, and he was part of the 1986 Mets.
Of course, you have Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Both symbolize all that was great and went wrong with those 1980s teams. To this day, you could argue they’re also two of the most beloved Mets ever.
Everyone is going to have their line and opinion. Without clear standards, each and every one of these players will be slighted by not having their number retired. There are and will be more.
Yes, honoring Koosman and Hernandez is great. They deserve to be honored. It feels good to honor them.
What doesn’t sit right is all those who won’t get that honor now wondering why they haven’t.
Since 1989, you would tune into the occasional New York Mets broadcast, and you would hear Howie Rose incredulous another Mets player wearing the number 17. With the New York Mets announcing Keith Hernandez‘s 17 will now be retired, we will be forever robbed of those moments, but we can look back at the players who wore the number after Hernandez left the Mets.
David Cone – Cone would change his number from 44 to 17 in honor of his teammate. It would be the number Cone wore when he led the league in strikeouts and tied Tom Seaver‘s then National League record of 19 strikeouts in a game.
Jeff McKnight – McKnight became the first player assigned the number after Hernandez wore it, and you could argue it was even more of an eyesore because it was the year the Mets had the underscore jerseys. Believe it or not, McKnight just had a knack for wearing great numbers. He would also wear David Wright‘s 5, Jose Reyes‘ 7, Carlos Beltran‘s 15, and Darryl Strawberry‘s 18.
Bret Saberhagen – Saberhagen changed from his usual 18 with the Kansas City Royals and the number he first had with the Mets after his good friend Cone was traded to the Toronto BLue Jays. While Saberhagen did have some success with the Mets, he was probably the player least suited to wearing the number after the bleach incident.
Brent Mayne – Again with the former Royals wearing 17. Mayne’s first hit with the Mets was a walk-off RBI single off Dennis Eckersley to take the opening series of the season. Even after that, he still couldn’t get recognized on the 7 line on the way to the park.
Luis Lopez – Lopez was a utility player for the Mets for three years including the beloved team. His biggest hit with the Mets was the time he punched Rey Ordonez on the team bus. Hearkening back to the team photo incident between Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, this may be the most Hernandez moment any of the subsequent players to wear the number 17 ever had.
Mike Bordick – Bordick was supposed to be the key pickup for the Mets to replace the injured Ordonez at short. He gave us all hope as he homered in his first Mets at-bat, but things would end badly as he would be benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series, and he would return to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency. Worse yet, 1999 postseason hero Melvin Mora, who was traded for Bordick, would go on to be a star for the Orioles.
Kevin Appier – With Cone, Saberhagen, and then Appier, it seemed Royals pitchers really liked wearing 17 with the Mets. Appier came to the then pennant winning Mets in the hopes of winning a World Series, but unfortunately, he is forever known as the key piece sent to the Angels for Mo Vaughn.
Graeme Lloyd – Lloyd was one of the few who thrived with the Yankees who pitched well for the Mets. He didn’t last a full season as he and many of the 2003 Mets who battled under Art Howe was moved at the trade deadline.
Wilson Delgado – Mets fans were thrilled to obtain Delgado in 2004 as he would be the return for Roger Cedeno. Delgado played 42 games for the Mets in 2004. He’d never appear in a Major League game after that.
Jose Lima – The 2006 Mets pitching staff was so injured that we’d get Lima Time! for four starts. After struggling mightily, this marked the end of his MLB career as he then played internationally.
David Newhan – There really isn’t much to tell with Newhan. In his one year with the Mets, he proved himself to be that classic Four-A guy who annihilated Triple-A pitching but struggled in the majors.
Fernando Tatis – Omar Minaya first signed Tatís as an amateur and would bring him to the Mets organization. Tatís rewarded Minaya’s faith by winning the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year. For a franchise known for “what ifs,” you can’t help but wonder if the Mets don’t collapse for a second straight season if Tatis didn’t injure his shoulder. While Tatís had many memorable moments with the Mets, perhaps, his most memorable was his being one of the few actually capable of hitting it over the Great Wall of Flushing.
After Tatis, the Mets had finally said enough was enough. They were taking the number 17 out of circulation like they had done in the past with Willie Mays‘ 24. That meant the number was not going to be worn again. That is, unless, the next Rickey Henderson came long. However, now, with the number being officially retired, no one will ever wear Hernandez’s 17 again.
The New York Mets made the announcement Keith Hernandez will have his number 17 retired during the 2022 season. After the Mets opted to break with tradition and retire Jerry Koosman‘s 36, there is no doubt it was Hernandez’s number which needed to be retired next.
Really, even if the Mets kept to the old standard, Hernandez’s number should have been retired eventually. When you break it down, Hernandez had a Hall of Fame worthy career. He was the best fielding first baseman of all-time, and he had a better career than first baseman already in the Hall of Fame. Chances are, Hernandez would go in the Hall of Fame with the Mets, but to be fair, that is probably wishful Mets fan thinking.
That said, the standards have changed. Now, it seems to be impact on the franchise. When you look at the Mets franchise as a whole, Tom Seaver undoubtedly had the biggest impact. After all, he was given the moniker The Franchise. He has been and always will be the best player in franchise history. After Seaver, there is no question Hernandez has had the biggest impact in franchise history.
It began in 1983. Hernandez was shockingly available, and Frank Cashen made a shrewd trade not just to obtain him but to give him a contract extension. There are many ways you can define his leadership and what he brought to the Mets. It could be the streak from 1984 – 1989 where they averaged 96 wins winning two division titles and the 1986 World Series. There are the five Gold Gloves, three All-Stars, three top 10 MVP finishes, and the Silver Slugger.
It was more than that. It was what the Mets players told you. They told you it was Hernandez who taught that young but extremely talented team how to win. He then showed them how to do it with his clutch hitting and otherworldly defense. It was the reason why he was named the first captain in Mets history. In many ways, it was Hernandez who ushered in and led the Mets to the greatest run in franchise history.
If that was all Hernandez did, you could make the case Hernandez had the second most impactful career in Mets history. However, Hernandez would prove to be more than that. Hernandez has become part of the beloved Gary, Keith, and Ron. Gary Cohen is the best in the business, and it was Darling whose terrific work which would lead to him getting national broadcasts. However, it is Hernandez who is the reason fans stay watching.
There are the guffaws and the adoration of players. He’s become the beloved uncle who comes into our homes on the SNY broadcasts. Really, dating back to when he was first acquired by the Mets, he has been the beloved uncle of the franchise. He’s been the adult in the room to show us all how things are done, and now, he is the one who has stuck around to tell us how great things are and used to be.
Overall, throughout the history of the Mets franchise, Hernandez has left an indelible mark. He was a great player and a great broadcaster. Much of what we know love about the Mets is all because of him. He deserves his number retired and far more than that.
Heading into the 2020 season, Jacob deGrom was definitively the best pitcher on the planet. He was coming off back-to-back Cy Young awards, and he was doing things only Hall of Fame pitchers do. Certainly, the Hall of Fame was on deGrom’s mind as he told us all he wanted to be an inner circle Hall of Famer.
Certainly, deGrom was well on his way to carving a path to the Hall of Fame. After all, he was fifth all-time in ERA+. He was bettering Tom Seaver‘s New York Mets records. He was otherworldly great. Think Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000.
Then, the pandemic struck. The 2020 season was shortened, and deGrom would suffer an injury which would just about end his chances of winning a third straight Cy Young. deGrom would being the 2021 season pitching better than he ever has, which is saying something. However, again injury would strike limiting deGrom to just 15 starts. Despite the injury, he still finished in the top 10 in the Cy Young voting.
However, for deGrom, it isn’t about Cy Youngs. Well, it is in part, but that is just part of the larger picture. Really, when it comes to deGrom’s career, it is about two things: (1) World Series rings; and (2) the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As of this moment, he has a 43.4 WAR with a 40.8 WAR7 and a 42.1 JAWS. The average Hall of Fame pitcher has a 73.0 WAR, 49.8 WAR, and a 61.4 JAWS. That puts the 33 year old deGrom in an interesting position.
Right now, he is 39.6 WAR behind the average Hall of Fame pitcher. For WAR7, he is only 6.4 behind the average Hall of Famer. He is 19.7 behind the average Hall of Famer in terms of JAWS. In some ways, that is actually achievable for deGrom.
Consider from 2018-2019, deGrom AVERAGED an 8.9 WAR (pitching only). If he puts together another two year stretch like that, and as we saw last year, he can, deGrom would have a 61.2 WAR. That puts him within an ear shot of the 73.0 mark. More than that, his peak numbers will be through the roof. He will have a 51.7 WAR7, which would be a giant step above the current standard. His JAWS would then be 56.5, which would be a hair behind the standard.
Keep in mind, narrative matters. As we see with players like Sandy Koufax having an absolutely dominant peak at a higher level than anyone else matters. That would certainly describe deGrom if he can put 2-3 great seasons under his belt.
On that front, this could be where Max Scherzer helps him. Scherzer was a pitcher who did not look like a Hall of Famer until he turned 28. From that point forward, he put together a stretch of nine consecutive Cy Young and Hall of Fame caliber seasons. If there is anyone who knows what a pitcher needs to do from their mid-30s to stay dominant towards their 40s, it is Scherzer.
With deGrom having a true peer in Scherzer in the rotation, not only will deGrom have a better opportunity to win a World Series, but he will also increase his Hall of Fame chances. Whenever the lockout ends, deGrom’s path towards the Hall of Fame and a World Series title will begin anew.