We knew the New York Mets trading David Robertson was coming. After all, Robertson was on a one year deal, and with the Mets completely out of it, he needed to be moved at the trade deadline. With closers traditionally netting good returns, he was a must move.
The shock was that Robertson was moved to the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are surprisingly still in the heat of the race to the postseason. They’re also never a team you think would be adding money at the deadline. All that said, there they were making a huge move at the trade deadline.
For the Mets, the return was a bit of a shock. Perhaps, that is a big reason why much of the reaction has been misplaced.
First thing we need to ignore is the prospect rankings. Those rankings were made before the season, and they do not account for the progress prospects have made, and none of them account for the 2023 draft.
Another important note here is no top 10 or 20 prospect in an organization is the same. A top 10 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers system is a whole lot different than being a top 10 prospect in the San Diego Padres system. The Dodgers are loaded, and the Padres aren’t.
An example there is when the Mets traded Michael Fulmer to the Detroit Tigers in 2015 for Yoenis Cespedes. At the time of the trade, the talk was the Mets traded a prospect who was rated outside their top 15 prospects.
Well, that wasn’t exactly true. As we discovered soon thereafter, Fulmer was vaulting up lists and would be a top 100 prospect, and he would actually become the Tigers fifth best prospect. The following season he would be the American League Rookie of the Year. This is all a long winded way of saying ignore prospect rankings and generally see what the discussion is on the prospects.
With Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernandez, the Mets got very high ceiling players. Both make a great deal of contact, don’t strike out, have great plate disciple, and they have very real power potential. On one or both, we may one day be talking about how the Mets absolutely stole these two prospects from the Marlins.
These are prospects who typically are thrown into a deal to try to pry a major leaguer away from a team. An example here was the Mets jumping into the Joe Musgrove trade by sending Endy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates so they could get Joey Lucchesi from the San Diego Padres. We have also seen the Mets send Felix Valerio to the Milwaukee Brewers to help grab Keon Broxton.
Put another way, the Mets have been throwing prospects like Vargas and Hernandez away for years for bit players. Now, they’re using a big trade chip to get prospects of this caliber (perhaps even better than that).
Another thing that immediately stood out was this really didn’t address the Mets organizational needs. The team needs pitchers and outfielders at the upper levels of the minors who can contribute in the next year or two at the major league level. The Marlins did not have the outfielders that fit that bill, but they did have the pitching.
Certainly, there were other teams out there who had what the Mets needed. That said, we don’t know if those teams were actively pursuing Robertson, and if those types of prospects were even put on the table.
There are some who like the return for the Mets, and there are many who don’t. It does seem a little underwhelming, but ultimately, the trade is going to be adjudged by the Mets player development’s ability to make Vargas the type of prospect the Mets desperately need him to be.
All that said, this was the type of trade a team makes when they are tearing it down for a rebuild. With Justin Verlander reportedly being shopped at the deadline, perhaps that’s what the Mets are doing. Maybe not.
With the Mets failing the way they have this season, there is much uncertainty surrounding the future of the team. This does not seem to be a team set for a complete rebuild, which makes this type of trade stand out. In the end, the Mets have a lot of work to do before the trade deadline and even more this offseason. Whatever the case, their system is better for having Vargas and Hernandez in it.
Back in 2016, after we saw Michael Conforto hit a home run in the World Series against a left-handed pitcher, Terry Collins still did not believe Conforto could hit left-handed pitching. As a result, he stuck Conforto into a platoon.
Now, Conforto was 23 years old, and despite the heroics of Yoenis Céspedes, he was probably the best outfielder on the roster. More than that, Conforto was the present and the future of the Mets. Despite that, Collins said Conforto was in a platoon because, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.”
It was nonsense at the time he said it, and it remains nonsense now. The goal as a manager is to win games, and it is to get the most out of your players. You win more games in the long run by developing and learning how to get more out of your players.
Fast forward to 2023, and we are seeing Buck Showalter is really no different than Collins.
At the moment, it at least seems like Brett Baty is in a third base platoon with Eduardo Escobar. Now, Escobar did hit left-handed pitching well, but then again, Baty is up here because of Escobar’s failings. Moreover, Escobar could be inserted into the lineup at the DH spot because Daniel Vogelbach cannot hit left-handed pitching at all.
However, it is Baty sitting with Showalter eschewing player development. On that topic, Showalter talked around the fact he has instituted a platoon:
Buck Showalter says that he doesn't see third base as a strict platoon with Brett Baty and Eduardo Escobar right now:
"Want to use both their skills, make sure that I don't close the door on anybody. We're gonna need both of them." pic.twitter.com/kutxXjRWLt
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 26, 2023
Showalter can say whatever he wants, but until Baty plays against left-handed pitching regularly, he’s lying. Again, he’s sacrificing a chance to develop Baty for the sake of playing Escobar and Tommy Pham. That wont’ work for the long term, and we are not talking about future years. it can impact the Mets in August, September, and October.
This isn’t too different than what he is doing with Francisco Álvarez. All offseason and spring, the Mets said when he gets called up to the majors, he is the everyday catcher. Omar Narváez was injured early in the season leading the Mets to call up Álvarez sooner than anticipated.
Well, instead of sticking to the player development plan, Tomás Nido was elevated to starter. He has been that despite not performing offensively or defensively. In fact, in his limited duties, Álvarez has been outperforming Nido.
Sure, it makes sense to keep Nido with Kodai Senga. Asking Álvarez to catch him may be too much, too soon. That said, there is no reason why Álvarez is not regularly catching the other four Mets starters.
Perhaps, it is because Showalter subscribes to the Collins school of thought where you don’t develop young players. Getting players to improve is somehow antithetical to winning in their minds. It’s notable Collins never won anything, and despite all the Manager of the Year Awards, neither has Showalter.
Perhaps, the key to winning is to play your best players. Perhaps, the key to winning is to take your most talented players and get the most out of them. It seems to work for other teams. Perhaps, it could work for the Mets.
Back in 2015, it seemed like the New York Mets were about to become perennial contenders. It seemed like Matt Harvey was going to be the guy who got the ball in big postseason games, and it was Mike Piazza‘s duty to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
So much has happened since then.
Harvey had TOS as well as his own personal demons. he would be designated for assignment and traded to the Cincinnati Reds. At the moment, after his suspension stemming from the Tyler Skaggs death and subsequent investigation, he seems like he will soon be out of baseball.
With that, we thought we saw the end of Harvey and Piazza being united on the same team and on the same field. That was until the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Piazza represented Italy in the first WBC, and he has worked his way up to become their manager. Due to the relative paucity of options for his team, he found himself turning to Harvey to not only join the team, but also be their ace.
Matt Harvey's return to the mound went about as well as anyone could have hoped, as the 33-year-old threw three scoreless innings this morning for Team Italy vs. Cuba in the WBC.
That included a groundout of former teammate Yoenis Céspedes in their only meeting. pic.twitter.com/8QOnVcom2i
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 9, 2023
Harvey pitched three scoreless innings, and he had a moment with former Mets teammate Yoenis Céspedes. They gave each other a nod, and Harvey would get Céspedes to ground out.
The game went extra innings with Italy pulling out the surprising win. It would also prove to effectively eliminate Cuba from the World Baseball Classic. This isn’t Italy’s biggest or more surprising win in the WBC, but it was an important first step to make noise in this year’s classic.
Credit for this win deserves to go to Piazza for leading Italy the way he did. Credit should also go to Harvey who stepped up and pitching three scoreless.
Seeing Harvey and Piazza out there for big games and coming away with a victory was part of the dream in 2015. We hoped it would continue for the next decade, but it didn’t.
Now, we have this one final glimpse. As Mets fans, we should relish this run for as long as it lasts because in reality, the next time we see these two together will be at an Old Timer’s Day at Citi Field.
One of the great things we have seen happen with Major League Baseball in recent years is the correct spelling of players’ names on the back of their jerseys. For example, Yoenis Céspedes jersey in 2015 had “CESPEDES” on the back, but in 2016, that was changed to the correct spelling of “CÉSPEDES.”
This matters because that is how you actually spell his name. The accent mark directly impacts how the names is pronounced. More than that, by not having the accent mark, tilde, or other marking, you are misspelling a player’s name. That is offensive and wrong.
It took way too long, but Major League Baseball finally got it right. Give credit where it is due. For some reason, Fanantics refuses to do the same despite being the entity which sells approved team and player jerseys and other merchandise.
If you go to Fanatics, there are player jerseys available, but your favorite player may not be one of the ones available. Fortunately, Fanantics has a drop down menu for every player on the roster. The problem is not all of the players are available or are spelled correctly.
Take Francisco Álvarez as an example. There is a very clear accent mark on the “A” making it an “Á.” With Álvarez being an uber prospect on the verge of making it to the majors, there are fans who will want his jersey. There’s a significant problem.
When you go to the Fanatics personalized Mets jersey selection, they do not have Álvarez as an option. Instead, it is the incorrectly spelled Alvarez.
At least, you can choose Álvarez as Alvarez for a personalization option. However, you cannot opt for reigning National League batting champion Jeff McNeil.
McNeil is a name of Irish origin; one of the few on the 2023 Mets. If you want a St. Patrick’s Day Mets shirt for McNeil, you can’t. That is because Fanatics deems the little c because of the “special spelling of the name.”
That’s right a lower case c is not worth Fanatics making a screen printing. They’d rather have shirts for the reigning NL batting champ and two time All-Star completely unavailable. If you want to be clever and have an apostrophe in front of another Mets player, forget it. They don’t offer apostrophes either. If you wanted an O’Díaz, you might as well just forget it.
You can probably guess like McNeil, Díaz is unavailable as well. After all, who would want the jersey of the very popular closer?
You see, rather than offer options for popular players or spell names properly, Fanatics decides they shouldn’t bother. They won’t because they don’t care and know you can’t go elsewhere. This is unacceptable, and it’s shocking MLB or the MLBPA has never sought to intervene and halt these offensive and discriminatory practices.
When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.
While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.
Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:
- Curtis Granderson – retired
- David Wright – retired
- Daniel Murphy – retired
- Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
- Lucas Duda – retired
- Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
- Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
- Kelly Johnson – retired
That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.
As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.
When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.
When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.
In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Omar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.
So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets made the mistake of trading Michael Fulmer to acquire Yoenis Cespedes. No, it was not a mistake to obtain Cespedes, but rather, Fulmer was far too high a price to pay. As it would turn out, the Mets needed starting pitching the ensuing two seasons where Fulmer was winning Rookie of the Year and being named an All-Star.
Well, from there, Fulmer had some injury prone years and moved to the bullpen. For his part, Cespedes needed double heel surgery, and then, he would have an incident falling off his horse or something with a feral hog during his rehab. The details are still murky.
Regardless, the Detroit Tigers received a 12.2 WAR out of Fulmer and a prospect at the trade deadline. The Mets received an epic run from Cespedes amounting to a 2.1 WAR and not postseason production at the plate past Game 3 of the NLDS. In essence, the Mets made a win-now trade and didn’t win.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Fulmer is a free agent while Cespedes is trying to get back into the majors. The Mets are also looking to build a bullpen which can get them their first World Series since 1986. It already looks formidable with the following relievers in place:
There are other pitchers in the mix, but these are the relievers who are guaranteed. With five starters, that leaves up to four more relievers who can be added. The presumption is at least two of Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson will start the season in Triple-A to provide organizational starting pitching depth.
That probably leaves pitchers like Jeff Brigham and John Curtiss on more of a solid footing to make the Opening Day bullpen than they probably should. Even with those names likely to make the bullpen, the Mets are still at least one arm short.
Fulmer, 29, would be an excellent fit. As a reliever, he has a 128 ERA+. As per Baseball Savant, he does an exceptional job limiting hard contact and barrels. We’ve also seen Jeremy Hefner work well with pitchers how have a similar repertoire. All told, he probably remains the best arm remaining on the market.
While we are very confident in this Mets roster, they probably remain an arm short in the bullpen. Fulmer would go a long way to resolving that issue and make this Mets team even better. All this time later, the Mets now need to sign Fulmer instead of trading him to try to help put this Mets team over the top.
With respect to Daniel Vogelbach, some things should be made clear. The trade did help the New York Mets last season.
Vogelbach was a definitive upgrade over J.D. Davis. He was a DH for a team in need of one. He was cheap in every sense of the word.
Colin Holderman was a light price to pay for an established Major League hitter. His $800,00 contract was absurdly low as was his $1.5 million option.
Vogelbach kills right-handed pitching. He had a 150 wRC+ against them in 2022. In three of the last five years, he’s been a 127 or better, and in four of the past five, he’s been 117 or better.
However, as good as he’s been against right-handed pitching, he’s been even worse against left-handed pitching. For his career, he has a 41 wRC+ against them.
That’s unplayable necessitating the Mets platoon him. The issue there was Davis is/was not good necessitating another trade.
While Vogelbach was cheap to obtain, Darin Ruf wasn’t. The Mets gave up too much to obtain him. No one would normally care all that much, but Ruf was bad.
Ruf did not adapt well to being a strict platoon DH. With the Mets, he had a 24 wRC+. Mets fans may actually be surprised to learn it was that high.
With Ruf being 36 years old, it’s difficult to see him turning things around. After all, he was already having a poor year with the San Francisco Giants.
This does leave the Mets in a position where they’re looking to address the DH position this offseason. As noted, that’s complicated by the presence of Vogelbach.
Remember, Vogelbach is a platoon DH and really nothing else. That hamstrings your roster flexibility. It also restricts who the Mets can use to address the other half of the platoon DH spot.
As we’ve seen, Ruf struggled, and there’s not much hope for a rebound. They won’t want to restrict Mark Vientos as just a platoon DH. Short of a reclamation project like Yoenis Cespedes, it’s difficult to imagine who will want to sign to be a short side platoon DH.
Perhaps, you could force Mark Canha or Eduardo Escobar into the role, but that forces you to make other moves. In some ways, that may make Brett Baty’s readiness to be an Opening Day third baseman the lynchpin to eventually making the Vogelbach trade work.
However you analyze it, it becomes clear Vogelbach has restricted the Mets ability to address the DH spot, and really, improve the roster overall. Yes, in the short term, it was the right move especially given all the costs involved, but in the long term, the trade isn’t working out well for the Mets.
Things with Yoenis Cespedes did not end well with the New York Mets. After signing his second extension, he had the double heel surgery against Mets wishes, which was something of a Jeff Wilpon specialty with him trying the same with Carlos Beltran‘s career saving knee surgery.
During his rehab, he had the incident with the wild boar. His return was kaput as he now had to contend with a broken ankle. He would return in 2020 for eight games actually hitting two homers before leaving the team.
He opted out like many others did during COVID. While Cespedes told his teammates and the organization, an account backed up by players like Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets lied to the public saying they had no idea. After that, there was a significant amount of backlash against the player.
What is interesting is Cespedes was supposed to be one of the players who was to return for Old Timers’ Day. However, he didn’t. This was not a snub, but it had more to do with Cespedes looking to make a return to the Major Leagues. So far, Cespedes is off to a great start in the Winter Leagues:
Yoenis Céspedes had a monster night in the Dominican Winter League:
4-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
— Michael Mayer (@michaelmayer22) October 20, 2022
Does this mean Cespedes can return and be an impact player in the majors? No, we absolutely cannot ascertain anything from one game against lesser competition. Still, with Cespedes, we see he can still have some of that magic in his bat.
This is the type of player for whom a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training exists. In terms of Cespedes, he actually could fill a need for the Mets.
At the trade deadline last year, the team acquired Daniel Vogelbach. That necessitates a right-handed platoon partner. That was supposed to be Darin Ruf, and that did not end well with his 20 OPS+. With Ruf under contract next year, there needs to be competition for him next year.
Internal solutions could be Francisco Álvarez or Mark Vientos. However, they are prospects, and the Mets do not want to have them be a short-sided platoon partner getting very limited plate appearances. That’s not good for them or the organization.
This is where Cespedes could help. He could be competition for Ruf. He is that rare player who raises his game on the New York stage. If there is anything left, the Mets could use it. There is still plenty of time in the Winter Leagues to look at Cespedes more, but the Mets should be tracking him intently while looking to bring him back to the organization.
The line of demarcation for the New York Mets season seems to be June 1. Somehow, someway, it is always June for the Mets.
Entering June, the Mets had the best offense in baseball, and they were running away with the National League East. Since that time, the Mets offense has a 99 wRC+ which is 21st in the majors and seventh worst in the NL.
Keep in mind, the only teams with a worst offense are also-run teams with zero shot at making the postseason. What makes this worse is the Mets starting pitching has been phenomenal over this stretch. Their 3.45 ERA ranks sixth best in the majors and third best in the National League.
Keep in mind, much of that time was while the team had Trevor Williams in the rotation, Chris Bassitt was trying to get on the same page with Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika, and Carlos Carrasco was fighting fatigue. It was also a rotation without Max Scherzer for over a month.
Since Scherzer has been back, Mets starters have easily been the best in the majors with a 1.70 ERA. However, the Mets are only 9-7. Moreover, the Mets as a team are 25-20 since June 1 seeing their NL East lead dwindle from 10.5 games to 1.5 games.
Yes, part of the reason is the Atlanta Braves are on a historic tear. However, it has more to do with the Mets. Again, this team is not hitting. Morevoer, the bullpen has just been flat out bad.
Right now, Edwin Diaz is the only reliever the Mets can and will trust. The problem is he only throws one inning a night. The second best reliever on the team by ERA, Colin Holderman, was traded for Daniel Vogelbach. It’s at the point right now where the only set-up reliever the team can trust is Adam Ottavino.
Look at it another way. For the season, Mets relievers have a 3.53 ERA. On the surface, that is pretty good as it ranks as 10th best in the majors and fourth best in the NL.However, that includes Diaz and Holderman.
When you back out Diaz and Holderman, the Mets bullpen ERA rises to 3.90, which would rank 16th. That’s where the Mets bullpen is. They have a great closer, but they have a middling and unstable bridge to him. Arguably, they need a whole new bullpen.
That’s the thing. It’s not just getting players. It’s getting them to perform. Also, as we saw with 2015, the team got healthy and had help from the minors with Michael Conforto.
The Mets need to get a right-handed bat to push out J.D. Davis once and for all. They need a Francisco Alvarez or Mark Vientos to get called up to help at some point. Seeing the Mets catching situation, the Mets really need Alvarez to go on a tear in Triple-A to force a call-up.
Jacob deGrom needs to healthy. With him and the rest of three rotation going deep, it’ll lessen the burden and innings required from the bullpen.
Vogelbach needs to hit as does Davis’ eventual replacement. The ship has probably sailed on relying on Eduardo Escobar hitting leaving his replacement needing to hit.
Really, the Mets need a lot. We’ve previously seen it can be done. Maybe not by Billy Eppler judging from his Los Angeles Angels tenure, but it can be done.
The trade deadline is a little more than a week away. What the Mets do will likely determine whether they win the division and just how deep they’ll go in the postseason.
Once again SNY ran with pure garbage from Andy Martino. He once again levied libelous accusations accusing a loyal fan base of being racist with zero evidence to support the bone-headed contention. This is exactly what he does.
He says Mets fans should support Chase Utley. Its racist to boo a vastly underperforming Luis Castillo even if Martino, himself, called Yoenis Cespedes lazy for getting double heel surgery. Now, he wants us all to tell him why Mets fans don’t like Robinson Cano while again accusing Mets fans of being racist.
Before delving further on Cano, go back to 2019. You could argue Cano not performing up to standards was a key factor why the Mets missed the postseason that year. No, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was certainly a factor.
After all, the could be Hall of Famer had one of the worst years of his career with a 94 wRC+ and a -2 DRS. Cano was supposed to be a big bat in the lineup and steadying influence in the infield for a young Amed Rosario. Instead, in what was an injury plagued season, he underachieved and was at times a liability.
In year one, following that horrific trade where the Mets gave up both Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn while assuming nearly all of his contract, Cano was already the liability many thought he would be before the end of his career. What’s funny is despite that fans were not booing him when he took the field or came to the plate.
This was far from a Francisco Lindor situation. Mets fans may not have fully embraced Cano, but they certainly did not jeer him. No, he was treated with some level of reverence for all he accomplished in his career while many hoped getting away from Chili Davis could rejuvenate his career.
While you could’ve given Cano credit for his 2020 resurgence, we found out it was because of PEDs. His using PEDs that season did lead to his second suspension costing him the entirety of the 2021 season.
When Mets fans look at Cano now, they’re not angry with him or booing him. They’re not demanding he get released or traded. Sure, there are fans who want that, but if you go back to the 1970s, you could assuredly find Mets fans who were happy the team traded Tom Seaver. Mistaking a vocal minority or giving the lunatic fringe credit is always disingenuous and irresponsible (to be fair, that is what this article does in part by even addressing Martino).
When Mets fans look at Cano, they see a player who was the key return in one of the worst trades in franchise history. It was his contract which was yet another excuse why the Wilpons refused to spend to help get the Mets to the World Series. Now, he’s just an odd fit who is 39 trying to become a real everyday contributor to a Major League team for the first time since the 2017 season.
Mets fans don’t hate Cano. Saying they dislike him is a stretch. No, they’ve been frustrated with him, and now, they don’t know how he fits. When he does come back, he’s not going to immediately be booed, and if he contributes everything related to the trade and suspension will quickly be forgotten. Really, proferring otherwise is just plain wrong.
Then again, the Wilpons still own SNY, and as we know, they have nothing but contempt for Mets fans. This is why they pay Martino to go forth and spew pure unsubstantiated garbage like this.