The New York Mets acquired Brooks Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Keyshawn Askew. It’s the type of trade where you really have to wonder what the Mets are doing.
First and foremost, you never trade with the Rays. That goes double when it comes to pitching. They always come up on top.
There may be a GM out there who will get the better of the Rays, but Billy Eppler is just about the least likely candidate. On the subject of Eppler, Naquin, and Ruf, Eppler has been far too cavalier trading prospects for moderate gains (if that).
Raley will turn 35 next season. In his career, he’s been a LOOGY, but we’re in the era of the three batter rule which neutralizes LOOGYS. In reality, it should make them an endangered species.
The counter is Raley was good against RHB last season, and that’s true. However, that came with a .281 BABIP. His career mark against RHP entering the season was .296.
That’s not too surprising with Park Factors rating Tropicana Field as an extreme pitchers park. Another factor is how well the Rays shift. On that note, there’s no more shifting next season.
Digging deeper, the 2022 season was an anomaly for Raley in total. It was his only season with an ERA lower than 3.94 and one of only two under 4.78. It was one one of his two seasons with an ERA+ higher than 94 and an FIP lower than 3.94.
Again, to buy this trade as a good idea, you’re buying he finally discovered it at 34 well past the prime of normal players. There is something to be said for his increased slider use, and it is a great slider.
Brooks Raley, Disgusting 83mph Slider. 🤮— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2022
19 inches of horizontal break. pic.twitter.com/c3cxSg5G49
However, batters and teams catch up over time. His 5.00 ERA over the last month of the season could be evidence of that already happening (or not).
Looked at another way, this is still a gamble. With pitchers like Andrew Chafin still available, Joey Lucchesi appearing ticketed to the bullpen, and Raley’s age, you really have to question the gamble.
There’s also the matter of Raley not wearing the Rays rainbow flag patch during Pride Night. Notably, Raley would not speak to the media personally about his decision.
We can have a whole debate about the stand inclusive of how Raley showed he’s not always going to follow organizational decisions. Beyond that is a very clear message the Mets sent to their fans.
Agree or disagree with Raley’s stance (which he couldn’t himself defend), the Mets made a clear message they don’t care about that portion of their fanbase. This is a far cry from when Steve Cohen removed the Chick-fil-A advertisements from the foul poles.
Again, was a 35 year old LOOGY in an era of the rules made against the use of LOOGYS worth sending that message to part of your fanbase?
There’s also the matter of Askew. He throws 95+ MPH, and he generates a high number of strikeouts (33.7 K%). Askew was an interesting and soon to be fast rising prospect. Instead, he’s gone to an organization who has a GM better equipped to analyze prospects.
In the end, the Mets gave up a lot for Raley. That’s in terms of prospect value and how fans view the team. Doing that for a reliever in his mid 30s with one good season in his career is highly suspect. In fact, it’s senseless. M
Billy Eppler joined Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman on a New York Post podcast to discuss the New York Mets offseason plans. In reviewing the podcast, Eppler didn’t say anything really all the surprising, which we should expect from a seasoned front office executive.
The Mets want Edwin Diaz to return. They also want Brandon Nimmo, but if they can’t keep him they will consider Starling Marte in center. They want and can keep Jacob deGrom. Basically, everything you expect is in there inclusive of Eppler saying he is in charge of the baseball operations.
That’s where things get a little dicey based on past performance.
In 2014, Jerry Dipoto built a Los Angeles Angels team which finished atop the American League West division before they were swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals. Unfortunately for him, he clashed with Mike Scioscia, and he lost leading to him resigning the following season. That led to Billy Eppler’s hiring.
When Eppler took over, he had Mike Trout, but he already had that albatross Albert Pujols contract. It was a roster that was somewhat flawed, but it had a good, young, and emerging starting staff with Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago, and Andrew Heaney. They also had a very good bullpen with Huston Street, Joe Smith, and Fernando Salas.
In many ways, this was a great job to have. There were pieces in place to make the Angels a winner and a deep pocketed owner. There is the caveat the farm system was not great, but overall, this was a good job to have. Well, while it looked like it was a good job to have, things would completely unravel.
The Andrelton Simmons trade did not pan out as he had hoped. That would become a habit for him with the same happening in future years with Cameron Maybin, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Kinsler. His signings never really panned out with Justin Upton never working out for the team. He began dabbling on the fringes of the pitching markets getting players like Matt Harvey for far too much while eschewing the higher priced and more established starters.
Making matters worse was the Angels farm system never really improved under Eppler. They were bad when he took over, and when he left, they were still bad. During his tenure, he never really had a player he drafted come up to the majors and be an impact player for him.
All told, Eppler only had three real accomplishments. First, he signed Trout to an extension. Second, he landed Shohei Ohtani. Finally, he did what Dipoto wasn’t able to do by outlasting Scioscia. Despite all that, his tenure was largely a disappointment and failure.
With the Mets, the good news is he built a very strong roster in his first season. He added Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Max Scherzer. His peripheral moves to address the bullpen like Adam Ottavino worked. All told, it was a 101 win team that tied atop the NL East (still losing the division due to Rob Manfred’s gimmick rules and postseason).
In year one, we saw Eppler have a stronger offseason than he ever had in any year with the Angels. Part of that was Cohen having the checkbook to add players like Marte and Scherzer. With Joely Rodriguez, Tyler Naquin, and Darin Ruf, you saw he still has a lot of work left to do in terms of trades, we should give him a lot of credit for Bassitt.
Overall, it is still difficult to ascertain if Eppler has learned from his previous mistakes and errors as the Angels GM. What we do know is Cohen is a better owner with more money than Arte Moreno. We also know the Mets have a far better farm system with Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos nearly ready to be Major League contributors.
Put another way, we are going to learn a lot about Eppler this offseason. We will see how he handles players like deGrom, Diaz, and Nimmo. We will see how he address the Mets need for power while having contracts like Canha and Daniel Vogelbach seemingly standing in the way of doing that.
This is a critical offseason for the Mets and Eppler. This offseason will go a long way to determining if the Mets can contend in 2023 and beyond until the farm is fully up to speed to provide depth to the Major League roster. It will also go a long way in determining just how good of a GM Eppler truly can be.
Last offseason, the New York Mets sought to hire a President of Baseball Operations. Unfortunately, they struck out for a consecutive year.
This had them shift their focus to GM. Eventually, they landed on Billy Eppler, who seemed more consolation prize than getting who they wanted.
The who, what, where, when, and why doesn’t matter. Eppler had the job. With that job came opportunity.
However, when you don’t win the division, and you’re out in the first round of the postseason, you didn’t do enough. For Eppler, there are a few areas where this definitely applies.
One criticism down the stretch was the Mets waited too long before calling up Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos. That may or may not be fair. On that point, it didn’t seem fair to declare them not ready all season only to throw them into a pennant race and demand/need performance.
The issue is that trade and not giving the prospects a look earlier forced his hand on Darin Ruf. With Ruf and Tyler Naquin, it was certainly a forgettable trade deadline for the Mets. For his part, Eppler has no remorse:
Billy Eppler does not feel that the Mets' decision to prioritize long-term thinking at the trade deadline impacted their chances to win this season:— SNY (@SNYtv) October 14, 2022
"It's hard to pinpoint what would've been better" pic.twitter.com/vN8DK082Mv
To a certain extent, only he knows whether he could’ve or should’ve done more. What we know is the Naquin and Ruf trades were maligned at the time (the packages, not the players), and the Mets didn’t win.
When a team wins, there is forgiveness on overpaying in trades or missing out on players. That’s the way it is and should be because at the end of the day, it’s about winning in both the short and long term.
Fact is, the Mets didn’t win. With that, Eppler blew his opportunity.
Yes, the Mets announced he was returning as the GM. As Eppler indicated, Steve Cohen wants him to immediately get to work. The Mets need that because there is a lot of work to do on the roster.
That all said, the Mets have said they’re looking to hire a President of Baseball Operations. It’s something they’ve been trying to do since Cohen purchased the team.
With that comes someone working over Eppler. Eppler’s autonomy and control goes away. He now reports to someone who also can recommend firing, retaining, or reassigning him.
At least in theory, if the Mets win the division and World Series, he becomes the POBO. Perhaps, the Mets don’t pursue one. After all, why hire a decision maker over the guy who just built a World Series winning roster?
However, the Mets didn’t win. Both Ruf and Naquin didn’t perform with Naquin being left off the postseason roster. The Mets are pursuing a POBO to whom Eppler will report.
In the end, Eppler blew his opportunity. He will now be second in command, and his power will be at the whim of the POBO and Cohen.
Hopefully, this is the best case for the Mets organization. For Eppler, it’s not the worst case, but it is also not ideal. After all, this is a job he certainly wanted.
When seasons don’t end the way you want or expect, people look for a reason or a scapegoat. To wit, the New York Mets announced both Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter were returning next season. On the one hand, it would seem obvious that was the case, but there was a collapse, so it was best to state it outright.
Certainly, both Eppler and Showalter have their fair share of the blame for what happened. However, it is much deeper and much more layered than that.
The seminal moment most Mets fans point to is Starling Marte‘s hand injury in the September 6 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ask a Mets fans, and they staunchly believe the Mets win the division if Marte doesn’t get hurt. To a certain extent, there is truth to that.
After all, it meant more Tyler Naquin, who was terrible in September batting .185/.232/.308. He was so poor he was left off the postseason roster despite his terrific numbers against Yu Darvish, a pitcher the Mets never hit.
Looking at Naquin, that should have us revisit the Eppler point. There was a post hoc analysis of the Mets trade deadline moves (which were debated in real time). Prior to the Daniel Vogelbach trade, Mets DHs had a 79 wRC+. From Vogelbach’s firsts game with the Mets to the end of the season, that mark improved to a 102 wRC+.
However, that was mostly Vogelbach. Against left-handed pitching. Darin Ruf had a 20 OPS+ with the Mets. Mark Vientos and Francisco Álvarez were throw into pennant races and struggled. Notably, Gary Cohen was highly critical of the Mets decision making process noting how the Mets didn’t call them up when there was a chance during the season and put too much on them.
To that point, the Atlanta Braves called up Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom well in advance of September games, and they got much better production. As an aside, the Braves are again extending their young core while the Mets aren’t, but that’s a separate discussion for another day.
All of the above is a worthwhile discussion, however, it is still not getting to the root cause. The Mets collapse began at Citi Field against the Washington Nationals. The Mets would lose two out of three games. It was part of the Mets worst stretch of the season.
From September 3 to September 14, the Mets were 5-6 against the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs. During that stretch, the Mets three game lead shrunk to a half game. Over a stretch where the Mets could put the division away, they put the division back in play allowing the Braves to sweep the Mets forcing the Mets to the Wild Card.
Fast-forward for a second to the Atlanta Braves series. There were a number of problems in that series. Chief among them was the starting pitching failed. Figuring out how to prevent this from happening again requires diagnosing how that happened. The answer may be unsatisfying to some, but it is as simple as fatigue.
Carlos Carrasco pitched a combined 121 2/3 innings over the previous two seasons. He would pitch 152 this season. At the 64 inning mark this season, Carrasco had a 3.52 ERA and was averaging 5 2/3 innings per start. After that, he had a 4.30 ERA averaging under five innings per start.
He had one of the Mets bad losses in September. On September 27, he allowed four runs to the Marlins over three innings. That was one of many games the Mets wanted back.
Taijuan Walker again had a poor second half, but he did salvage it a bit in September. Still, he faltered against the Pirates, and he took the loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both were big spots, and he and the Mets wish they had those games back.
Of course, neither Carrasco nor Walker were the biggest culprits, the ultimate blame seems to be directed at Chris Bassitt. Last year, Bassitt pitched 157 1/3 innings, and he had only thrown over 100 innings one other time in his career.
After his September 7 start, he hit the 161 1/3 inning mark. At that point, he had a 3.24 ERA while averaging a little over six innings per start. After that, Bassitt fell apart against the Cubs and Braves. He was very good against bad teams in the Pirates and Oakland Athletics.
Max Scherzer dealt with oblique issues. Jacob deGrom had a blister issue. Neither would ever admit it impacted their performances, but essentially, they were compromised pitchers. When you build a team on starting pitching, you can’t have all five starters limping to the finish line. That is exactly what the Mets had.
Unfortunately, they did not have the hitting to overcome this. That was apparent in Atlanta when they scored all of seven runs. Over the final month of the season, in their losses, they averaged 2.5 runs per game. Part of this was the Mets approach at the plate.
The Mets hit 171 homers this season ranked 15th in the majors. Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor accounted for 38.6% of the Mets home run production. The next highest was Eduardo Escobar with 20, and he hit almost half of them in September. Essentially, for most of the season, if Alonso and Lindor weren’t hitting it out of the park, no one was.
Combine that with very questionable managing from Buck Showalter in Atlanta and the postseason, and you have a 101 Mets team who fails to win the division. You have a Mets team who gets one hit in an elimination game.
With the Mets, it was no one thing. It was exhausted starting pitching who faltered. It was an offense overly reliant on two players. It was a manager who struggled in bad games making poor decisions in big games. And yes, it was a front office who failed to fully address the teams deeper issues at the trade deadline.
When all was said and done, this was a team built to sustain the rigors of the regular season. However, it was not prepared and built to last deep into the season and go deep into October. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it is difficult to overlook now.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published on MMO
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.
The last time a current New York Mets player was in the postseason, Jacob deGrom took the ball in Game One of the 2015 NLDS in the first step of their journey to the pennant. We saw deGrom set the tone with 13 strikeouts over seven scoreless to pick up the win.
It was part of a great postseason for deGrom. If they had an NLDS MVP, it would’ve been his. Overall, he was 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA that postseason racking up 29 strikeouts.
Believe it or not, deGrom is the only Mets player remaining from that 2015 team. The Mets made it to the postseason the following year, but Seth Lugo was left off the Wild Card Game roster. However, that does not mean deGrom is the only Mets player with postseason experience. Here is a look at how the other Mets have fared.
Stats: 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 0.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
Bassitt would receive two starts in the 2020 postseason for the Oakland Athetics. He was great against the Chicago White Sox picking up the win and evening the series. One note here is the Mets may be looking for him to pitch a Game 2 in the Wild Card Series again.
Stats: .138/.212/.241, HR, 3 RBI
This century, the Athletics have been defined by quick postseason exits. That is what Canha has experienced being part of teams who lost the Wild Card Game in consecutive years and never advancing to the ALCS.
Stats: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 4,.5 BB/9, 10.3 K/9
Carrasco would miss Cleveland’s pennant run with a broken right hand. Cleveland would lose in the ALDS in each of the ensuring years, but Carrasco did what he could to prevent that pitching well in his one start in each series.
Stats: .357/.357/.429, 2B
Escobar’s postseason experience is all of five games. While he amassed five hits, he didn’t have much of an impact for two teams that were quick exits.
Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 BB/9, 11.6 K/9
Givens lone postseason appearance came in that epic 11 inning Wild Card Game against the Toronto Blue Jays forever defined by Zack Britton not appearing in the game. Givens was brilliant in the game helping save the Baltimore Orioles by pitching 2 1/3 scoreless after Chris Tillman was knocked out in the fifth.
Stats: .000/.000/.000, 5 SB, CS
Gore is known as a lucky rabbit’s foot having been a part of two World Series winning teams. However, he has been more than that. He has been a pinch runner extraordinaire stealing five bases. One interesting fact is his one caught stealing was upon review when it was determined he slightly came off the bag against the Houston Astros in the 2015 ALDS.
Stats: .263/.327/.463, 4 2B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, SB, 3 CS
Lindor has had huge moments in the postseason. In 2016, he had a .979 OPS in the ALCS, the only LCS he has played in his career. In his last postseason appearance, the 2018 ALDS, Lindor was great against the eventual pennant winning Houston Astros with a 1.273 OPS.
Stats: .167/.231/.306, 2 2B, HR, RBI, SB
Like Canha, Marte played for a Pittsburgh Pirates team known for not being able to advance in the postseason. What is remarkable with Marte is this is the second straight postseason series he will not be able to appear in his career due to injury.
Stats: 0-0, 0.333 WHIP, 0.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9
May was part of those Minnesota Twins, so you knew they weren’t getting past the New York Yankees. That Twins team also didn’t get past the Houston Astros. May was not remotely to blame pitching three scoreless innings in two separate postseasons.
In the 2020 season which led to McCann getting a big contract with the Mets, he did not have an impact in the inaugural Wild Card Series.
Stats: .161/.188/.226, 2 2B, 3 RBI
As a rookie, he was part of that Cleveland team who came as close as any team could to winning the World Series. Unfortunately, Naquin did not do much that postseason or in his postseason career.
Stats: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.714 WHIP, 5.4 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
Ottavino really struggled in the 2019 postseason; however, Ottavino was overworked. He would appear in seven straight games to diminishing returns. In his postseason, with the 2021 Boston Red Sox, Ottavino was terrific allowing just one earned in five appearances.
Stats: .091/.091/.364, HR, RBI
Ruf’s first postseason experience came in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. The highlight for Ruf was hitting the game tying homer in the sixth off Julio Urias in a game the Giants ultimately lost. It should be noted Ruf will most likely not be appearing in the Wild Card Round due to injury.
Stats: 7-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 11.2 K/9
Remarkably, this will be the ninth postseason series for the Mets Game One starter. In his young days with the Detroit Tigers, he had flashes of brilliance. In 2019, he had a 2.40 ERA for the eventual World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Last year, he was great for the Dodgers until fatigue set in during his last start.
Stats: .167/.286/.333, 2B
Vogelbach did not have much of an impact for Milwaukee Brewers teams who were quick outs in consecutive seasons.
Stats: 0-1, 36.00 ERA, 18.0 BB/9, 27.0 K/9
Walker has made only one postseason start, and that came in the 2020 pandemic season. The Dodgers jumped all over him in the first, and he and the Arizona Diamondbacks never recovered.
Showalter will always be defined in the postseason by not using Britton in the American League Wild Card Game. Previous to that, he had been defined by his teams doing better with a different manager in the ensuing postseason.
Much of the reason is Showalter has made a number of curious to baffling decisions in the postseason. It’s not just Britton.
Showalter’s teams have only won one postseason series. He had his best chance of going to the World Series in 2014 where the Orioles were swept by the Kansas City Royals.
Right now, none of this matters. He has a Mets team built to win the World Series. If this Mets team does in fact win, no one will care about his previous failures, and Showalter will have the last piece to what would then be a Hall of Fame managerial career.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article will also appear on MMO.
The New York Mets were rained out, and the Atlanta Braves lost the first game of their series to the Miami Marlins. Should the Braves lose two more, and the Mets sweep, the Mets can still win the division. Cueing Lloyd Christmas:
Yes, there is an infinitesimal chance the Mets win the NL East. If that were to occur, the Mets would not have to play in the Wild Card series permitting their best players, especially their starters, extra rest. It cannot be understated just how important winning the division would be.
That said, the Mets need to pretend like they lost the division because they would need an absolute miracle to win the NL East. This is a team who has to actively prepare for the Wild Card Series against either the Philadelphia Phillies or San Diego Padres. Remember, the ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and in all likelihood, the Wild Card Series will be where it all begins.
Let’s say the Braves lose again, and the Mets sweep their doubleheader (should it be played). That would mean if the Mets win their final game, and the Braves lose their final game, the Mets win the NL East. That would get awfully tempting to go for it. After all, it is more than possible for the Braves to lose just one more.
The Mets still need to hold Jacob deGrom back. Sure, they’re be eviscerated in some corners if the Mets lose that final game without using deGrom. Those people should not be given the time of day.You can’t use deGrom on Wednesday leaving him unavailable for the first round of the postseason.
Most people will seem to grasp this with the Mets not having control of their own destiny. The next ask is where we may see fans be a little less inclined to agree.
The Mets doubleheader is the clinch day lineup. Actually, not really. Better put, it is a Spring Training type of lineup. These are the final three days to determine who can be on the Mets postseason roster. The Mets need to use them wisely.
That means Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos need to play all three games. We need to see Álvarez catch at least one, and we need to see Vientos at third or first. We need to see a little more what each can do because the time may come when the Mets need to rely upon them.
The Mets need to call up Dominic Smith. They need to see if he can start hitting. If Álvarez and Vientos aren’t, then the Mets need to see if Smith can. Fans may not believe in him, but it is the time to roll the dice, and see what hits. Keep in mind Tyler Naquin hasn’t been hitting. No, the Mets aren’t and shouldn’t going to leave Naquin off the roster for Smith, but Naquin’s struggles may demand the Mets add another player.
Moreover, key players need rest. That goes double for Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. Ideally, they would skip the doubleheader all together, and we can see them get a couple of at-bats in the season finale just to stay fresh.
We do not need to see Adam Ottavino or Seth Lugo pitch. They’ve pitched enough, and they are better rested. Let them be at maximum strength when the Wild Card round opens Friday. Really, anyone who needs a rest, and anyone who needs to be fresh should be given every opportunity to do so over the next three games.
That means if the Mets lose because a Smith or Vientos fail, it means they lose because they failed. If it means Tylor Megill blows up costing a game, it means it cost the Mets a game. That means if the Mets don’t win the division because David Peterson or Trevor Williams can’t get it done on the final game of the season, then the Mets will have to live with it.
The Mets are in the 2022 postseason. They have the best chance of winning the World Series if they get deGrom and Max Scherzer pitching like the aces they are. Everything the Mets do from here on out must be predicated upon that and nothing else. In the end, if the Mets win the World Series, no one will care about the last series in Atlanta, winning the NL East, or anything else.
There is way too much focus on the wrong things with the New York Mets right now. The real problems aren’t this series against the Atlanta Braves.
Sure, Starling Marte is on the IL. This is the same Mets team who can put Jeff McNeil in right field. They also traded for Tyler Naquin and his prowess against right-handed pitching. They were built for this potentiality.
Sure, the Atlanta Braves have played great baseball since June 1. Since that date, they’re 76-32 (.704). That’s a 114 win pace.
Guess what? None of the aforementioned factors should matter one bit. The Mets being in second right now is only about the Mets.
Lost in all of this is the Mets have blown a 10.5 game lead, a historical rarity. One classic example of this was the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, and we found out the New York Giants were cheating like the Houston Astros. That includes Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard Round the World.
Put that aside. Over the same timeframe, the Mets have played .577 ball, which is a 93 win pace. Put another way, the Mets have theoretically played well enough to win.
Except, well, they haven’t.
Remember, the Mets entered September with a three game lead and the easiest finishing schedule in all of baseball. Because of that, this series never should have mattered.
It does because the Mets have played terribly. They are a combined 2-6 at home against the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Miami Marlins. That’s a four game swing in the record for a Mets team down one in the standings.
Some will make this all about the Braves as if the Mets didn’t:— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) October 2, 2022
1. Once had a 10.5 game lead
2. Have a three game lead entering the month
3. Have the easiest closing schedule in baseball
4. Go 2-6 at home against the Nats, Cubs, and Marlins
Don’t take these people seriously
They’re 12-10 against teams with a losing record this month. That’s a .545 winning percentage. Entering this month, the Mets were 41-14 (.745) against teams with a losing record.
This Mets team should’ve had the NL East wrapped up about a week ago. That’s not hyperbole. The schedule was that bad, and this Mets team is that good.
When a team this good can’t be teams that bad, it’s on them. When they blow leads because they can’t beat bad teams, it’s on them. Saying otherwise is an outright lie, and that lie needs to stop now.
While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.
While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.
Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.
There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.
The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.
Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.
We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.
There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.
With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.
POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE
If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.
Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.
For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.
Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.
RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE
- Mychal Givens
- Tommy Hunter
- Joey Lucchesi
- Tylor Megill
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
- Trevor Williams
As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.
Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.
Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.
If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.
To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.
Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.
Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.