The New York Mets shocked everyone when they signed catcher Omar Narváez to a one year $7 million deal with an option for 2024. At the time of this signing, it did seem the Mets were trying to remove catchers from the equation rather than add to it.
On that front, MMN‘s own Michael Mayer reported the Mets have been aggressively shopping James McCann. With that in mind, this would seem all the more likely McCann will not be a Met in 2023. However, most Mets fans had just naturally assumed trading McCann would mean the organization was ready to hand the job over to Francisco Álvarez.
Signing Narváez puts an end to the Mets fans hopes of seeing Álvarez on the Opening Day roster. Between Narváez and Tomás Nido, the Mets are now set at the catcher position with two elite pitch framers. Barring injuries, that would mean Álvarez’s lone path to the Opening Day roster is as a part-time catcher and platoon DH partner to Daniel Vogelbach.
Right off the bat, we can dismiss that path. Álvarez is still just 20 years old and is regarded as the top prospect in the game. Yes, he was a late September call-up and made the postseason roster, but that was for a short time to address a need for a team with World Series aspirations. Come Spring Training, the emphasis is back on player development for Álvarez.
In terms of Álvarez’s development, it is important to note he only played 45 games in Triple-A last season. He would only catch in 33 of those games due to an ankle injury which nearly cost him the final month of the season.
Looking deeper, Álvarez has never caught more than 79 games in a season. For the sake of comparison J.T. Realmuto, the type of catcher the Mets hope Álvarez will one day be, routinely catches over 125 games a season, and he has twice caught over 130 games. Simply put, Álvarez needs to build endurance to be able to withstand that type of a workload at the Major League level.
Álvarez also still needs work behind the plate. In an all too small a sample size, Baseball Savant noted he had a very poor 42.9% called strike rate. That would rank him amongst the worst in the majors last season. Again, keep in mind the sample size. That said, Álvarez still has to develop his skills behind the plate for the Mets to trust him over a full 162 game season.
That’s exactly the point with the Narváez signing. The Mets know Álvarez still needs to develop, but with every swing he is closer and closer to the majors. That is why the Mets signed Narváez to a short-term deal. It allows Álvarez to develop like he needs to develop, and it creates a clear path for Álvarez to be the Mets starting catcher as soon as he is ready.
EDITORS NOTE: This post first appeared on MMN
When it comes to Steve Cohen spending this offseason, anything was on the table. To that extent, there really wasn’t anything that could shock you.
And then, the New York Mets signed Omar Narváez to a one year $8 million deal with a $7 million option for 2024.
However, McCann and Nido are still Mets. Keep in mind, the Mets ad constituted have to carry all three on the active roster. The caveat there is it’s still December.
Having the three catchers further blocks Francisco Álvarez’s path to the majors. Álvarez likely would’ve been called up the majors earlier last season if not for the ankle injury. In any event, he received a (very) late September call-up and made the postseason roster.
This is a long winded way of saying the Mets have four catchers on the 40 man roster with Álvarez being forced to Triple-A to start 2023. Again, that is unless another move is made, which you have to imagine will happen sooner rather than later.
Just looking things at surface value without contemplating anything further, Narváez is a clear upgrade for the Mets. In many ways, he’s what the Mets were hoping to get from McCann when he was signed years ago.
Per Baseball Savant, Narváez is an elite pitch framer. He ranked just ahead of Nido in catcher framing runs last season even if Nido had the superior called strike rate.
Narváez was also the far better hitter. McCann had a 59 wRC+, and Nido had a 74. Narváez, in a down year, had a 71 but is a 101 wRC+ hitter for his career.
Keep in mind, Narváez had a .248 BABIP indicating bad luck. While you may want to point to the elimination of the shift benefiting him, Narváez had a .304 wOBA against the shift as opposed to .228 with no shift.
There is also caution with Narváez having three year decline in barrels, exit velocities, hard hit rate, and his walk rate. Still, even with all these warning signs, Narváez has more offensive ability and potential than McCann and Nido.
Looking at the situation, a few things are readily apparent. The Mets do not believe Álvarez is ready. The Mets are intent on moving another catcher, but they were not going to miss out on Narváez while that process was playing out.
Again, we need to remember it’s still December. The Mets are likely to make other moves, and in the end, the hope is this signing makes a little more sense than it does today.
Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.
While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.
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.
Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.
3. Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.
Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.
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.
As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.
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.
Diaz was an All-Star.
7. The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.
Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.
It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.
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.
As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.
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.
Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.
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.
Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.
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.
For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.
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.
Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.
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.
With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.
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.
Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.
This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.
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.
Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.
19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.
Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.
20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.
Williams was a vital part of this team all season.
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.
This did not happen.
22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.
The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.
23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.
His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.
24. So will Eric Chavez.
Neither has him.
25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.
This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.
26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.
He did not.
While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.
28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.
To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.
For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.
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.
Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.
31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.
There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.
32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.
That did not happen.
Sadly, this was true.
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.
It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.
35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.
This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.
36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.
Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.
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.
There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.
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.
We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.
39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.
Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.
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.
This one was actually true.
42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.
This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.
Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.
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.
With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.
45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.
The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run 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.
The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.
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.
It was a chilly reception.
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.
So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.
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.
Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.
Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.
This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.
52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.
True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.
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).
True even as his team collapsed.
54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.
Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.
55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.
On April 29, the Co-No happened.
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.
This likely will not happen.
There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.
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.
MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.
59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.
It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.
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.
To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.
The popular sentiments is for the New York Mets to part ways with James McCann. Seeing the way he has completely underperformed his contract, you can certainly understand the sentiments. However, looking solely at the contract is misguided.
When looking at McCann, the discussion should be over what exactly he can provide to this franchise. Moreover, this should be an analysis over what exactly is out there as a replacement. On that point, lets look at what McCann is at the moment.
In 2022, McCann was limited to 61 games partially because of injury and partially because he was surpassed by Tomas Nido as the Mets primary catcher. While one of the reasons the Mets obtained him was the bat, he had a career worst 59 wRC+. For a second straight season, his hard hit rate was too low to provide any sort of power.
Realistically speaking, McCann is just not going to hit. He is a ninth place hitter. He is not providing anything with the bat. However, he is going to provide something behind the plate.
While not as good as Nido, he was top 20 in the majors in pitch framing. We saw during the season, he was able to get on the same page as his pitchers. That was especially true with Chris Bassitt who struggled at first when McCann went down. In fact, looking at the starting staff Max Scherzer was the only pitcher who pitched better with Nido.
In fact, looking at pitchers for next season, Tylor Megill and David Peterson were considerably better with McCann. Aside from Scherzer, those are probably the one two pitchers as close to guaranteed to be returning to the Mets next season.
The major caveat here is we are dealing with small sample sizes. However, behind that small sample size is something worth analyzing. Looking at Bassitt in particular, McCann seemed better than Nido when it came to getting on the same page as his pitching staff and calling games. This is an intangible skill for a catcher which should not be overlooked.
Of course, the big elephant in the room is Francisco Álvarez. He was called up at the end of last season, and it would seem to everyone he should be the Mets starting catcher in 2023. However, that could be more fan than organizational reaction.
At the moment, we really do not know what the Mets plans are for Álvarez next season. Perhaps, he will be the starting catcher. Maybe, they wanted his bat in September but still think he needs more time to work on his defense. The Mets may even want to try to manipulate his service time for a bit. At this moment, it is still a bit of a mystery.
What we do know is by its nature the catching position is one with a number of injuries. We saw the Mets have to make an emergency trade for Michael Perez and play him last season. Much like with starting pitching, the name of the game is depth. You really cannot have enough Major League caliber catchers.
Like it or not, that is McCann. You can argue it would behoove the Mets to carry both McCann and Nido and wait for one of them to get injured before calling up Álvarez. At that point, if Álvarez claims the job outright, you can look to trade one of McCann or Nido or just outright designate them for assignment.
The Mets could also have all three catchers on the roster. With Daniel Vogelbach, Álvarez could be the answer for the right-handed platoon option. We can see McCann and Nido link up with starters to become their personal catchers. The Mets could rotate them as needed to ensure all of them are fresh throughout the season. That goes double for Álvarez who has never caught 80 games in a season.
Another benefit of the three catchers is permitting McCann to mentor Álvarez. He can help him work on game plans and building a rapport with pitchers. McCann could be that veteran leader to help Álvarez. Certainly, seeing Álvarez’s future and McCann’s contract at its inception, you had to imagine on some level that would be the Mets plan.
Whatever the case, it would seem McCann serves some purpose to the Mets in 2023. He works well with the pitching staff. He frames very well. He provides depth at a position where teams need it. He can serve as a mentor for Álvarez. Overall, it would seem McCann has value to the Mets next season, and unless the right move is there, they should strongly consider bringing him back for at least one more season.
Before getting all undone about the Gold Glove Award snubs, we need to take note of the fact Juan Soto was a finalist for right field. Soto was literally the worst right fielder in 2022 with a -15 OAA. In fact, he was the second worst fielder in all of baseball.
That is according to OAA. Despite OAA being developed and becoming more trusted, it is not actually a part of the Gold Glove methodology. Per Rawlings, Gold Glove winners and finalists are a mix of coaches votes and SDI. Here’s the problem. Soto was also terrible according to that index. In fact, he was the second worst right fielder.
That brings us to the Mets. Before proceeding, it should be noted despite Luis Guillorme being top three in SDI for second baseman, he did not have enough innings to quality. That was even with Guillorme having a 6 OAA making him one of the best fielders in all of baseball. Again, there is an innings requirement, so we move along.
Francisco Lindor was the seventh best fielder in the NL by OAA and the the second best shortstop in all of baseball. However, SDI had him sixth, and apparently, the coaches didn’t love him. Lindor and Mets fans shouldn’t be too upset because Nico Hoerner led in SDI and was third in OAA, and he still was not nominated.
Jeff McNeil was the second best second baseman in the NL by OAA. He was fifth in SDI. He wasn’t a finalist. He spent time in both outfield spots as well, but he was one of the best fielders. To be fair, McNeil should not have won over Tommy Edman or Daulton Varsho. However, he was signicantly better than Brendan Donovan.
There was also Brandon Nimmo. He had a 6 OAA in center tying him for fourth in the NL. With Varsho being deemed a utility player, Nimmo was tied for third. SDI didn’t love him ranking him ninth. Coaches apparently don’t love his defense, so he didn’t get consideration for the Gold Glove.
As we see, while Rawlings may incorporate SDI and say offense doesn’t count, that’s not entirely true. After all, Soto, a truly terrible outfielder, got a nomination. This wasn’t as bad as Rafael Palmeiro, but this one does rank up there.
These snubs aren’t anything new for the Mets. Bartolo Colon led the league in DRS in 2016 and did not win. Last year, Taijuan Walker was the best defensive pitcher, but he didn’t win because he didn’t have enough innings at the right time of the season even if he would have enough at the end of the season to qualify. Lindor was the best shortstop in all of baseball last year per OAA, and he didn’t win.
On the bright side, Tomas Nido was nominated, and it was well deserved too. He may be the first Mets catcher to ever win the Gold Glove. Considering this franchise had Jerry Grote and Gary Carter, that would certainly be a huge accomplishment.
In the end, the Gold Glove was symbolic of this Mets season. The effort and results were there, but in the end, they aren’t going to be taking the trophy home. Hopefully, things will be better next year, both for the Mets and whomever is deciding who should be a Gold Glove finalist.
The reason the New York Mets lost to the San Diego Padres was Max Scherzer was terrible. It was a career worst postseason start for him.
The Padres hit four homers against him. FOUR! They knocked him out after scoring seven over 4.2 innings.
Yu Darvish was shaky over the first four, but the Mets couldn’t push a run across. For all intents and purposes, the game was over.
Except, it wasn’t. There were still five innings. It’s a best-of-three. It’s not a June game where you lick your wounds and come back tomorrow.
A team has to actively do everything in their power to win the game. There’s no 162 game picture. You absolutely have to do everything you can to try to win every game.
Except, Buck Showalter isn’t interested in doing that. Again, there’s a reason the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series after he was gone.
Eduardo Escobar got the crowd back into it a bit hitting a homer off Darvish. The seven run deficit was now six.
Eduardo Escobar showed up pic.twitter.com/W8LW31VhBj— Shea Station (@shea_station) October 8, 2022
It was 7-1 with one out. Tomás Nido was due up. There was zero excuse for him to bat in that situation. You don’t send him to the plate if you’re actually trying to win.
Nido has a career 62 wRC+. He was better than that this season with a 74 wRC+. He was ice cold heading into the postseason hitting .217 over the past two weeks.
Starting him was one thing. He’s a great defensive catcher. However, at this time, the Mets needed a bat.
Notably, James McCann has hit Darvish very well. He was 4-for-10, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, and 5 K against Darvish. He was also hot at the plate heading into the postseason.
Still, he had a poor year at the plate and May not have everyone’s trust. That’s fine. The Mets also had Francisco Álvarez.
The Mets had three catchers and could roll the dice here. The crowd would’ve gotten more into it.
Nope, he sent Nido to the plate. The same Nido who has been a poor hitter his entire career. The same Nido who was overmatched in his first at-bat when he failed to drive a runner home from third.
Nido would meekly fly out. After him, Brandon Nimmo tripled and would be stranded there.
What’s really frustrating about the entire situation was Showalter would pinch hit Luis Guillorme for Nido in the seventh. This wasn’t faith in Nido. No, it was Showalter thinking it was too soon to start trying to overcome a six run deficit.
Even between, with two outs in the ninth, Showalter would pinch hit Álvarez for McCann. Obviously, the best time to utilitize the benefits of having three catchers on the roster is two outs and down sixth in the ninth.
The truth is Showalter is a bad postseason manager. He blew it again tonight by just throwing away an out in the fifth on a batter he didn’t ultimately trust to get a hit.
The argument is batting Álvarez in the fifth probably doesn’t matter because the Mets were losing anyway. Its a garbage point.
The point is this is the postseason. You su everything you can to win. Showalter didn’t. His later moves proved that he didn’t believe Nido batting gave the Mets the best chance to win.
It is well documented the New York Mets have never beaten Yu Darvish. Not once. Now, he is taking the mound in Game 1 of the best-of-three Wild Card Series against the New York Mets. Fortunately, the Mets have Max Scherzer, but as we saw in July, that is not always enough.
While the Mets have not beaten Darvish, there are Mets players on this team who have had success against Darvish. Of course, there are some who have not had much. Here is a look at the overall stats in descending OPS order:
- James McCann (11 PA) 4-for-10, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB 5 K
- Daniel Vogelbach (3 PA) 2-for-3, 2 RBI
- Tyler Naquin (6 PA) 3-for-6, 2B
- Starling Marte (18 PA) 7-for-17, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB 3 K
- Pete Alonso (11 PA) 2-for-10, HR, RBI, 3 K
- Francisco Lindor (19 PA) 5-for-16, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
- Tomas Nido (3 PA) 1-for-3, K
- Eduardo Escobar (17 PA) 3-for-17, 2 2B, HR, RBI, 7 K
- Darin Ruf (5 PA) 0-for-2, 2 BB, K
- Jeff McNeil (13 PA) 1-for-11, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
- Luis Guillorme (6 PA) 1-for-6, 2B, RBI, 2 K
- Mark Canha (4 PA) 1-for-4, K
- Brandon Nimmo (7 PA) 0-for-6, 2 K
At the moment, we do not know Marte’s status, but you can see just how much the Mets need him in this lineup. Marte not only is a big part of this team, but he also hits Darvish. This team needs that against a pitcher this franchise has never beaten.
On the bright side, if he can’t go, Naquin has hit Darvish. In fact, both he and Vogelbach were brought in at the trade deadline to hit right-handed pitching. This is a right-handed pitcher they have both hit. In many ways, this is the exact moment the thought process behind these trade deadline moves comes to fruition.
The obvious caveat with those two, or really anyone in this lineup, is these are small sample sizes. However, behind these small sample sizes are illustrative of something.
The first thing which really stands out at you is the strikeouts. That should not come as a surprise. This is not only a team which racks up strikeouts, but Darvish is a pitcher who records a lot of strikeouts. However, there is something beyond those strikeouts.
Like any pitcher, Darvish will make mistakes, and as we see with this lineup, when he makes them, they have capitalized on them. When you have Scherzer on the mound, the Mets may only need for one batter to capitalize on a mistake and drive it out of the ballpark.
So yes, the Mets have never lost to Darvish. However, Darvish has never pitched against the lineup the Mets are going put out there in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series. Seeing this team’s ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark against him, and with Scherzer on the mound, you have to like the Mets chances.
There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.
With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:
Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.
No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.
Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.
We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.
- Edwin Diaz
- Mychal Givens
- Seth Lugo
- Trevor May
- Adam Ottavino
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.
Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.
Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.
In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.
If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.
They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.
That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.
1999 NLDS Game 1: NYM @ ARI: Edgardo Alfonzo (2nd of game, 2nd of postseason, 2nd of postseason career, grand slam) off Bobby Chouinard pic.twitter.com/ODym4T3BTK— Mets Home Run a Day (@MetsHRADay) February 26, 2020
There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.
The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.
The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.
As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.
Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.
That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.
That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.
This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.
We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.
Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.
Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.
In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.
Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.
But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.
Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.
Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.
You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.
Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.
Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.
On August 2, 2022, the New York Mets traded J.D. Davis along with prospects Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Zwack. for then San Francisco Giants 1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf. It was a trade widely panned at the time due to the prospect overpay. However, this is the type of trade where if the Mets won the World Series no one would really care about the overpay.
The converse to this is naturally the overpay is highlighted when the player struggles. This is why teams typically will not admit a mistake and do everything they can to try to make the trade work. If they can get just one big hit or a small hitting streak, they can point to that to say they didn’t completely mess up. What most teams don’t realize is that player struggling mightily only makes the trade worse because the player not only struggles, but they also inhibit a team’s chances of winning.
Things with Ruf actually started great. In his first Mets plate appearance, he hit a pinch hit double. The problem is Ruf has done absolutely nothing after that. In 28 games, he is hitting .152/.216/.197 with three doubles and seven RBI. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets have gotten more from him as a pitcher (two scoreless innings in a blowout loss) than they have as a position player.
DARIN RUF HITS A TWO-RUN DOUBLE IN HIS METS DEBUT! pic.twitter.com/xsR9dvTGXS
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 6, 2022
Part of this was probably the Mets fault. They took a player who played semi-regularly, and they asked him to be a pure bench/platoon option. Unfortunately, Ruf was not suited for the role. Make no mistake, this was an unforced error and a complete gaffe by the Mets. They gave it a little less than two months before admitting defeat and investigating their other options.
Mets teams of old play and lose with Ruf. This Mets team doesn’t care about how their image and competency are adjudged. They know that will solely be defined by winning the World Series. The Mets saw Ruf would’ve hindered those chances. Instead, the Mets needed to pursue other options who would give them a better chance to win.
First, it was Mark Vientos. In Oakland, it did seem like he was figuring things out. We would even see him hit his first Major League homer. He was cutting down on the strikeouts and taking better at-bats. The thing is he had chances in his last game in big spots, and he didn’t deliver.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 24, 2022
We have seen enough from Vientos to see he is going to be a power hitter at the Major League level. In his minor league career, he has shown the ability to make adjustments and thrive at the plate. However, with the Mets waiting so long before calling him up to the majors, he might not have that time he needs to get comfortable, adjust, and thrive before playing in the postseason.
With that in mind, the Mets called up Francisco Álvarez, the player Keith Law dropped a Mike Piazza comp on before the season. Certainly, with the 27 homers, Álvarez has backed that up. Mets fans have been waiting for this since Álvarez said in Spring Training his goal was to make it to the majors this season. He probably would’ve made it sooner if not for that ankle injury.
Francisco Álvarez against left-handed pitching this season:
— Michael Mayer (@michaelmayer22) September 30, 2022
Right now, it seems Álvarez is here to DH in one game and be available as a pinch hitting option. While Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were complimentary of his work behind the plate, a team that is going to win and lose the World Series based on their pitching cannot sit James McCann and Tomas Nido, who are exceptional framers.
No, for now, this is a one shot deal. Álvarez is here to DH. He is here because Ruf couldn’t do the job. He is here because the Mets are still unsure if Vientos can do the job. Mostly, he is here because this Mets team will not be defined by their mistakes. Instead, they will be defined by winning.