This has been about one of the most disappointing New York Mets seasons in a long time. Part of the reason for it was how unexpected the team’s failures have been.
This is the type of season we never expected under Steve Cohen. Unlike with the Wilpons, this really isn’t his fault, and we can expect him to learn from it.
The Wilpons never learned, and some careers were ruined. Two of those careers were Amed Rosario’s and Noah Syndergaard’s. We were reminded of that when the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians for Rosario.
These were once two young players who were supposed to be part of a young Mets core. The next great Mets run that never happened.
The Mets failings with Rosario have been detailed here previously. His bat wasn’t Major League ready as he never developed enough plate discipline, and it’s held him back his entire career (cautionary tale for Ronny Mauricio).
He was given a mentor in Jose Reyes who was more interested in taking Rosario’s playing time for himself. When his defense wasn’t up to par, they never switched him to another position where he could thrive (like CF).
After all the Mets did to ensure Rosario never reached his immense potential, it’s a minor miracle the Guardians saw enough value in Rosario to make him a significant part of the Francisco Lindor trade.
As for Syndergaard, much of his issues were related to Jeff Wilpon playing doctor. There was the 2017 incident where Syndergaard didn’t get an MRI before exacerbating his last injury.
We can’t know if that incident led to Syndergaard’s future injuries, but it assuredly couldn’t have helped. Of note, Syndergaard’s rehab was rushed to get him back on the mound for some “starts” (read gates) before the end of that season.
Something was wrong with Syndergaard at the end of the 2019 season. Part of it seemed like the Mets forcing Wilson Ramos on him. In reality, it was Syndergaard was hurt.
Syndergaard had a torn UCL, and it was discovered during spring training. Controversially, he’d have Tommy John surgery during the height of the pandemic. Right then and there, his being Thor was over.
The Wilpons were in power during Syndergaard’s Tommy Joh rehab. For some reason, Mets pitchers never handled that rehab well. Syndergaard would be Jeff Wilpon’s last victim.
Syndergaard is now just another pitcher. He’s mentally broken, and not even the Dodgers could resuscitate his career. In fact, the Dodgers traded the injured pitcher away.
Rosario and Syndergaard were supposed to be great Mets who led the team to multiple World Series titles. After the Wilpon led Mets were done with them, they were no more.
Now, they’re bit parts getting traded at the deadline. One, Rosario, becomes a utility player. The other, Syndergaard, was just moved to just get rid of him.
This is a cruel fate for both players. They both should’ve been more. We wanted it for them, they deserved it, and we deserved it. The Wilpons ruined them like everything they touch. It’s cruel.
When you look at the New York Mets, the obvious area to address for offense is catcher. After all, Tomas Nido has a 47 wRC+, and Patrick Mazeika has a 39. That’s just indefensibly bad offensive production.
Now, this is the obvious spot where we say the Mets should call-up Francisco Alvarez. With Alvarez hitting a double and grand slam in consecutive games, we are not at that point yet. After all, he is hitting .125/.318/.281 over 10 games. You can argue that will probably translate better than what they are getting now, but with Alvarez, it is more than just what he can give you now.
Surveying the trade market, it would seem Willson Contreras and his career best 140 wRC+ would be a perfect fit. In actuality, this would be a mistake for the Mets.
Ultimately, this is a team built on its pitching. A large part of that has been the work Nido has done behind the plate.
Nido has been a terrific framer. In fact, as per Baseball Savant, he is tied as for 14th best among framers. He’s a good week from moving up to the top 10. While he doesn’t rate nearly as high, he does have impressive pop times. He is a defensive wizard back there, and he’s helping the Mets pitching staff.
This season, the Mets staff have the sixth best ERA (3.60) and FIP (3.65) and the best K/9 (9.65). They’re also walking few batters with their 2.86 BB/9 ranking seventh. The pitching staff is dominant, and more than anything else, that is why the Mets are in first place.
Look at it another way, this team cannot hit their way out of a paper bag right now. Still, they’re 9-7 over their last 16. The biggest reason is the pitching. Since Max Scherzer has come all the IL, the starting rotation has a 1.70 ERA, which is easily the best in the majors. This right here is the Mets strength, and it’s going to be more of a strength when Jacob deGrom returns from the IL.
This is also before you see Edwin Diaz is finally comfortable and dominating. He’s easily the best closer in baseball right now.
Contreras would only serve to diminish that.
Contreras has one of the worst called strike rates in the majors. Sure, part of that could be the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, and overall, Contreras has good framing numbers. However, as noted by the strike rate, that is deceiving. Maybe things will be better with the Mets, maybe not. Given what’s at stake, it’s too big of a risk to take.
If Contreras doesn’t jive with the Mets pitchers, that’s it. This team’s strength has taken a massive hit. Now, you have another Wilson Ramos situation where you’re just relying on him to hit. That’s a dicey proposition.
For his career, Contreras is a 127 wRC+ at Wrigley and a 108 on the road. That’s carried into this year where he is a 150 wRC+ at home and a 127 on the road. Again, he is far better at home, and an important note here, while it’s only a 15 game sample size, he hits .180/.263/.260 at Citi Field.
Ultimately, even if Ramos is at his career worst at the plate, he’s a significant upgrade over what the Mets already have offensively. However, catcher is a defensive position above all else. It is about the roughly 40 plate appearances you are behind the plate over the four you get yourself. Looking at it that way, what Nido is doing is far more valuable.
The Mets can improve their offense by addressing other areas. Even with Daniel Vogelbach, they can improve at DH. They can improve at third and left. Maybe if Alvarez is ready, they can improve there. What they can’t do right now is gamble on Contreras. That is a move that can hurt them more than it can help them.
After the opening series against the Washington Nationals was canceled due to COVID19, the New York Mets finally played their first series of the season. They should’ve taken the series, but didn’t;
1. That was your typical Jacob deGrom start. He’s dominant. The Mets don’t score. The bullpen blows it.
2. Much was made of deGrom coming out after six. People overlook deGrom being part of and agreeing with the decision. He had a long layoff, and it’s going to be tricky getting everyone through the season.
5. Pete Alonso looks like a man on a mission. He’s completely locked in at the plate, and his defense has never looked better. He could be on the verge of an MVP type season.
6. It was actually surprising to see his ball didn’t go out on Tuesday night. Last year and the year before those balls might’ve been 20 rows deep. Instead, that ball died at the wall. That may be a real sign the ball isn’t traveling like it did in prior years.
7. The Mets were down because the bullpen hasn’t been great so far.
8. Trevor May has struggled in both games, but it was good to see him come into the second game, fight it, and get out of the inning unscathed. That and his taking ownership of his poor performance is an indication he is going to be just fine in New York.
9. The Aaron Loup signing was curious, especially given the three batter rule. We saw just how that can help a team implode. After he plunked Bryce Harper, he was facing J.T. Realmuto. It should come as no surprise that inning got out of control.
10. There were some good signs out of Jeurys Familia and Miguel Castro. Overall, with Edwin Diaz not getting into a game, the Mets best reliever in the series was Joey Lucchesi, who is also their fifth starter.
11. There could be some questions as to how Luis Rojas managed these games, but it is first important to remember he is not the one who fills out the lineup card. Some of his decisions are also very defensible like leaving in Kevin Pillar in the fourth inning of a game where the Mets had deGrom on the mound and had a 2-0 lead.
12. The fact the Mets would not bat Brandon Nimmo atop the lineup is beyond crazy. Even with a left-handed pitcher on the mound, it’s crazy. In fact, Nimmo has been the Mets best hitter against left-handed pitchers the last two years. The second best? Dominic Smith.
13. Dominic Smith isn’t a platoon player, and he shouldn’t be treated as such. He showed that on his first at-bat of the season.
14. Jeff McNeil has hit the ball with real authority so far this season. It was probably a good idea to get him a mental break ahead of coming to New York.
15. On that note, we are likely going to see a number of players miss some unexpected games here and there as they get vaccinated and deal with the side effects. Well, everyone except Davis.
17. Francisco Lindor has been everything as advertised so far this season. His defense has been great. He is giving good at-bats. He was a real leader talking to David Peterson after a rough outing. The Mets are very lucky to have him around for the next decade.
18. The long layoff was probably a factor, but Peterson showed he probably needs more time in Triple-A, which is fine. It would’ve been better to put Jordan Yamamoto in the rotation to start the season. That goes double when the Mets could have skipped the fifth starter, which they are.
19. Michael Conforto struggled with runners on base during this series, so naturally people are going overboard in their reaction. Fact is, Conforto is still a .271/.393/.512 hitter with runners in scoring position in his career. He’s going to be fine, and the Mets should still be pushing to sign him to an extension to make him a Met for life.
20. The Mets were put at a disadvantage not playing the Nationals series, and the Atlanta Braves got to fact that decimated Nationals team. Mets showed some rust, but this is still a very good team. They’re now in the flow of things, and we should look for them to have a good first homestand of the season.d
When you think of Jacob deGrom, you think of the best pitcher in baseball. You also think of a pitcher who gets no run support.
Perhaps, you can understand why deGrom was against the universal DH. He knows he needs to provide his own run support in his efforts to try to get a win.
For the first (and last?) time in Mets history, deGrom became the first Mets pitcher to get the team’s first hit of the season. Overall, he’d go 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
Jacob deGrom is a two-way player, folks. pic.twitter.com/SXdLEvMMSq
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 6, 2021
He’d go six scoreless innings pitching phenomenally. He kept dialing it up to 100 MPH overpowering Phillies batters. When there was contact against him, the Mets defense actually showed up.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 5, 2021
The problem was, as usual, deGrom received no run support. In that fourth inning where he and James McCann drove in a run, the Mets had bases loaded and one out.
The Phillies lifted Matt Moore for Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler got Kevin Pillar to hit into the double play he needed to get out of the jam. Pillar was a surprise lead-off hitter even with the left-handed starter, and he wasn’t great at the plate.
There was some debate about Dominic Smith there. The problem with the thought process is the Mets already had a lead with deGrom on the mound. Arguably, at that point in the game, defense was the priority. There’s also your top hitters after Pillar if he doesn’t hit into that double play.
Now, deGrom would only go six despite 77 pitches. It made sense giving the layoff, the Mets wanting to use him Sunday, and trying to get him through 162 games after last year. Despite that, deGrom had another scoreless start.
In 184 career starts, Jacob deGrom has allowed one or no runs 86 times.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) April 6, 2021
The Mets offense went dead for the next four innings giving the Phillies a chance. In the seventh, Miguel Castro didn’t give the Phillies a chance with a strong inning. It was a much different story for Trevor May in the eighth.
The decision immediately blew up with Loup plunked Harper. He then allowed a game tying single to J.T. Realmuto. The game then changed on the next play.
Alec Brohm hit a chopper to Luis Guillorme, who was in for defense for J.D. Davis (who was turning routine pop outs into adventures). Guillorme made a high throw home James McCann misplayed in Wilson Ramos fashion. With his being out of position and lunging, it hit off his mitt allowing two runs to score.
All told, that disaster of an inning turned a 2-0 lead into a 5-2 deficit. From there, you have your glass half full/half empty analysis.
For a moment, it looked like a massive mistake as Alonso gave it a ride. However, it’d fall just short with Harper catching the ball at the wall.
With that, the Mets lost a game they had no business losing. Perhaps some of it was rust. Perhaps it was just this being the way it goes when deGrom starts. Whatever the case, the Mets lost.
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo hit eighth, and he was 1-for-3 with a walk. In the post game, deGrom agreed with getting pulled after six.
I had the privilege of appearing on the Simply Amazin’ podcast with the great Tim Ryder. During the podcast, names discussed include but are not limited to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Davis, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine, David Wright, Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Alex Cora, Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Aaron Loup, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Jose Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, James Loney, Moises Alou, John Olerud, Davey Johnson, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Corey Oswalt, Luis Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, Jim Eisenreich, Alex Fernandez, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Almora, and more
Please take a listen.
— Simply Amazin' (@SimplyAmazinPod) February 15, 2021
This wasn’t the best week for the New New York Mets regime. Jared Porter’s text messages surfaced, and he had to be fired.
George Springer signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Brad Hand signed with the Washington Nationals. The New York Yankees obtained Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates without having to part with a huge prospect cost.
Believe it or not, these has actually caused some anxiety and consternation amongst Mets fans.
Brutal…Mets needed to sign him https://t.co/oRIsNtgBZV
— Evan Roberts (@EvanRobertsWFAN) January 25, 2021
Seeing Mets fans beginning to lose their minds, it’s clear they’re forgetting just how vastly improved this Mets team is.
After all, the Mets obtained Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. With that, in one fell swoop the Mets got the best player and pitcher any team will obtain this offseason.
Keep in mind, many thought the 2020 Mets were a postseason team, and this team has made major upgrades:
- SP Rick Porcello -> Carlos Carrasco
- SP Michael Wacha -> Marcus Stroman
- RP Jared Hughes -> Trevor May
- C Wilson Ramos -> James McCann
- Andres Gimenez/Amed Rosario -> Francisco Lindor
Also, for the all the claims the Mets aren’t spending, people are ignoring just how much the Mets have already invested in the 2021 team. To date, the Mets have already added $61.3 million to the payroll.
Are people going to claim the Mets are being cheap when they’ve added what amounts to the Tampa Bay Rays entire payroll already? Consider that’s before the Mets are even done.
At the time no one say the Lindor trade happening. It went from rumored to confirmed in about an hour. Who knows what else is on the horizon.
Before jumping the gun and lambasting this front office like it’s one which has been run by the Wilpons, look at what they’re already done. Take time to realize they’re not done building this team.
There may come a time to criticize them, but it’s not today. It’s not when the Blue Jays gave Springer a way over the top contract, the Nationals had a closer job to offer the Mets didn’t, and the Yankees rolled the dice on a pitcher who has had two Tommy John surgeries.
Things have already improved immensely under Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson, and they will continue to get better.
In a vacuum, a four year deal for the 30 year old James McCann is a curious one. Essentially, the Mets are giving McCann a fairly long term contract deal off a career year.
If you’re doing that, you better believe his 2020 breakout is real. As has been well documented, it very well might be.
As broken down very well by Dilip Sridhar of MMO, much of McCann’s transformation was due to his working with Jerry Narron. This led to McCann altering his stance behind the plate helping him go from a very poor framer to becoming an elite framer in 2020.
In addition to the significantly improved defense, McCann has been steadily improving at the plate.
In each of the past three seasons, McCann’s exit velocities have improved. This coincides with an improved launch angle and barrel rate.
McCann has been increasingly hitting the ball harder and further, and he’s going it while walking more. Sure, he’s likely to regress from his 144 wRC+ for a few reasons, but that said, we can reasonably expect McCann to be an above average hitter.
That’s important because among catchers with at least 500 PA, there are only nine with at least a 100 wRC+. Nine in the entire sport. Not only is McCann one of them, but he’s also third overall.
In McCann, you’re getting a catcher in his prime who has put it all together. He’s become elite defensively and at the plate. Arguably, he’s one of the best catchers in the game.
Still, he’s not viewed as THE best. Routinely, that title is either bestowed upon Yasmani Grandal or J.T. Realmuto. Grandal is the catcher who has supplanted McCann in Chicago, and Realmuto is arguably the top free agent available this offseason. Certainly, Realmuto is the top catching target.
When you have a hole at catcher, and you have the deepest pockets in the game, you still have to wonder why the Mets are jumping the gun on McCann when Realmuto is out there.
There’s a number of very good reasons.
First and foremost, there’s no guarantee the Mets get Realmuto. It’s eminently possibly there is a bidding war for Realmuto and another team makes an offer the Mets don’t feel comfortable matching.
During this time, maybe another team has already swooped in to nab McCann. That leaves the Mets with a massively steep drop off to where they’re debating borderline starting options like Yadier Molina or Mike Zunino.
If you’re the Mets, you can’t put yourselves in that position. They need to do all they can to upgrade their catching position, and they can’t get flat footed where they’re stuck with Molina, Zunino, or even the return of Wilson Ramos.
It’s far better to act fast on McCann than being in a position to effectively get nothing or really overpay Realmuto.
In terms of Realmuto, there are issues. First and foremost, he had hip issues. That’s not something likely to improve now that he’s on the wrong side of 30.
Perhaps more of an obstacle than that is the price tag. There are rumors Realmuto is looking for a $200 million contract. Chances are Realmuto isn’t going to get that, but he may press for a $20+ million AAV.
Given his abilities at and behind the plate, he’s very likely well worth that. You can imagine there’s going to be at least one team willing to come close or surpass that.
Unfortunately, the Mets are not a team in position to do that. This is a team who still has a lot to do even assuming they’ve signed McCann.
The team still needs at least one other starter and another reliever. They also need a center fielder. In terms of center, George Springer appears to be the only truly viable option meaning the Mets will need to go that extra mile for him.
Cohen has deep pockets, but even he will have his limits. Keep in mind, that’s just this offseason. There’s still the matter of extensions for Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard on the horizon as well as arbitration raises for much of their roster.
In the end, it’s better for the Mets to secure McCann now to ensure they get a significant upgrade at catcher than to lose out all together. We should also consider this could very well be part of a larger plan both for this year and the ensuing years.
For some, McCann may be disappointing, and they may still believe the Mets should’ve pushed for Realmuto. To that, we just need to see what happens. The key will be what Realmuto receives in free agency, and more importantly, what the Mets do from this point forward.
Regardless of where you land on this and what happens, one thing is abundantly clear – the Mets are significantly better with McCann than they were previously.
The Mets had Jacob deGrom on the mound against the Nationals. That meant they had their best chance to stay alive. It didn’t happen.
Well, the answer is Brodie Van Wagenen. He’s a terrible GM who created a highly flawed team who is going to finish under .500, miss the postseason, and may finish in last place.
With two outs in the fourth, Wilson Ramos couldn’t block a ball a Major League catcher should be able to block. That led to the second run of the game for the Nationals.
If you recall, the Mets entered this season with two everyday outfielders. That has led the Mets to play players out of position. Worse yet, with Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith, the Mets continue to put three first baseman in the lineup.
That had Smith in left running hard into a wall. On that play, Andrew Stevenson would circle the bases for an inside the park homer tying the game at 3-3.
Miguel Castro would relieve deGrom to start the sixth. He immediately put two on putting the game in jeopardy. The Mets brought in Edwin Diaz, who is poor with inherited runners, into the game. Diaz allowed the go-ahead sacrifice fly to put the Nationals ahead for good.
In the seventh, Brandon Nimmo gave the Mets a chance by hitting an infield single. That didn’t matter as the -0.2 WAR J.D. Davis, the player who Van Wagenen seems to tout as his proof he’s not completely incompetent, struck out to end the game and the Mets postseason chances.
In the second half of the doubleheader, Rick Porcello struggled, and the Mets lost 5-3.
In the end, it was Van Wagenen’s players who failed this year, and as a result, Van Wagenen is the reason the Mets won’t make the expanded postseason.
No, the Mets have not been eliminated from the postseason . . . yet. Sadly, even with some things breaking their way, they couldn’t take advantage:
2. Again, putting deGrom up against pitchers not pitching in the NL or AL East is absurd as NL Central and West pitchers face completely different competition.
3. On that note, the level of competition the two pitchers have faced is completely different with Bauer dominating some of the absolute worst offensive teams in the game.
4. You do have to wonder how different things would be with deGrom’s campaign and really this entire Mets season of Wilson Ramos was capable of tagging a guy at home plate.
5. Edwin Diaz finally has more saves than blown saves this year.
6. Mets continue to be the Mets first announcing Michael Conforto was getting a day off for a must win game and then finally admitting he had a hamstring issue.
7. Conforto’s chances of signing an extension increased not just with Steve Cohen buying the Mets, but also with Sandy Alderson returning to the organization.
8. Should Conforto sign an extension, he’s going to knock David Wright off the top of the Mets all-time leaderboards.
9. It’s a shame Conforto broke down and Dominic Smith went in a slump for the final last ditch push. It’s a downright shame no one was really able to pick them up like they picked up the team this season.
10. Between J.D. Davis batting second or third despite his not hitting and Michael Wacha making starts despite his having no business pitching another inning for this team, it’s clear Brodie Van Wagenen decided to make this season about showcasing his acquisitions in the hopes of getting a new job.
11. Steven Matz went from breaking out in the second half last year to a great Spring Training to maybe pitching his way to a non-tender.
12. Matz is a clear example of a guy Jeff Wilpon would instruct dropped from his team with him being shocked the player succeeded away from the team. For some reason, despite this having happened continuously, there is still a contingent of Mets fans who still defend the team on this type of dumb decisions.
13. Ultimately, the juiced ball last year and the abbreviated 60 game season have made it near impossible to have a real evaluation and analysis of players.
14. Speaking of which, it was great to see Pete Alonso remind us how great he can be. The question is if he can be that over a 162 game season without the juiced ball. There are many indicators which suggest he can, but we still don’t know.
15. The Rays showed the Mets all the things this organization has flat out ignored with defense and good base running actually matter, and the end game isn’t to collect a bunch of bats to plug and play regardless of fit.
16. Again, we see in this series Seth Lugo can be a starter. However, the bullpen is a flat out mess without him.
17. Fortunately, the Mets have the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, and the beginnings of the right front office to address not only the bullpen, but also catcher, third, center, and the rotation.
18. It looks like Alderson is going to get his chance to do what he wanted to do when he took over the Mets. Essentially, that’s exactly what the Dodgers did.
19. After these last four games, it’s good riddance to the Wilpons. That’s both with the Mets and the horrendous SNY they created.
20. There’s no more fitting end to the Wilpon era than the team finishing below .500 despite having a top offense, the best pitcher in baseball, and an expanded postseason.
Well, if the miracles were going to happen, it needed to start tonight. Fortunately, Jacob deGrom was on the mound. Unfortunately, the Mets are still the Mets.
It started with Michael Conforto going from routine day off in a must win game to having hamstring tightness. Then, it was the Mets calling up Guillermo Heredia to replace the yet again injured Jake Marisnick while leaving Luis Guillorme in Brooklyn. Finally, it was the game.
The run in the second inning never should have scored against deGrom.
After deGrom issued a rare leadoff walk to Nate Lowe, Joey Wendle doubled. On the play, Lowe overran third and was dead to rights. However, that mattered little as Amed Rosario flat out dropped the relay throw. That allowed Lowe to not only retreat back safely but also to score on the ensuing Manuel Margot sacrifice fly.
That meant it was 2-0 Rays and not 1-0 Rays when Lowe homered off deGrom in the fourth.
The real shame is deGrom was otherwise phenomenal striking out 14 Rays. He rose to the occasion to keep the Mets in the game and the season. That included his working around a Wilson Ramos passed ball putting Lowe on third with one out in the sixth.
It didn’t matter as the Mets offense was stymied by the bullpenning Rays. The Mets were limited to just four hits and could only muster a two out rally in the fifth.
In that fifth inning, Heredia drew a two out walk. The bases were loaded after a Ramos single, and Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch.
Jeff McNeil came through with what should’ve been a game tying single. However, Willy Adames made a great sliding play up the middle to smother the ball. It was still an RBI single, but it was 2-1 instead of 2-2.
That was magnified when J.D. Davis lined out to end the inning. Overall, Davis was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk dropping his plummeting OPS to .777.
After Davis failed to deliver there, the Mets didn’t get another hit. In the end, the Mets went down weakly in this 2-1 loss and have now lost three out of four to all but destroy their postseason chances.
Game Notes: deGrom became the first Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to strike out 14 twice in a season.