Zack Wheeler

Phillies Have Brodie Van Wagenen To Thank

The Philadelphia Phillies won Game 1 of the NLCS against the San Diego Padres. They’re now three games away from the World Series.

This is as unexpected a run as you could imagine. First and foremost, one year ago, the Phillies would not be in the postseason. However, with the expansion of the postseason under the new CBA, the Phillies made it, and they’ve made the most of their opportunity.

They also took full advantage of the opportunities presented to them by Brodie Van Wagenen’s ineptitude.

When Van Wagenen was hired by the Mets, Bryce Harper was hitting free agency. Due to a multitude of factors, his market wasn’t as bullish as it nearly should’ve been.

Harper was always complimentary of the Mets pitching staff. He was a player who wanted a large market, and he liked what the Mets had. He could have been a missing piece which took them to another level.

Instead, Van Wagenen opted to trade for his former client Robinson Canó. He fulfilled his client’s wishes and brought him back to New York.

Cano came with a $24 million AAV. For the Mets, that was $20.25 million. Harper signed with the Phillies for a $25 million AAV. In terms of overall AAV, Harper was only making one million more per season.

Now, Harper wasn’t a guarantee for the Mets, especially with the Wilpons. However, this illustrates how the Mets opted to allocate their money.

Cano had a second PED suspension last year while Harper was the NL MVP. This year, Harper was an all-star while Cano was playing his way out of the league. Harper homered in Game 1 of the NLCS giving Zack Wheeler all the run support he needed.

Wheeler was very good with the Mets in his final few seasons. He was poised to be the steal of the 2019-2020 offseason. Of course, Van Wagenen thought differently.

He thought Wheeler only had two good halves with the Mets. His player valuation model which said to get Cano determined Wheeler was going to be overpaid.

Somehow, instead, Van Wagenen thought the Mets were better off with Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha. He was completely alone in that line of thinking.

Wheeler turned down more lucrative offers to stay local. He wanted to be a Met. He settled on the Phillies at a discount. The Mets just walked away from Wheeler to purposefully get worse.

Since that time, Wheeler was a Cy Young runner up last season, and he was in the top 12 a year before that. He was a first time all-star.

He also won Game 1 of the NLCS pitching seven shutout innings. He has a 1.40 ERA this postseason. He’s doing it all for the Phillies because Van Wagenen didn’t want him.

Harper and Wheeler led the Phillies to the postseason, and they led them to a Game 1 victory. Both are Phillies because Van Wagenen didn’t want them. That goes double for Wheeler

The Mets loss is the Phillies gain. The good news is the Mets have Steve Cohen now instead of the Wilpons and Van Wagenen. This situation will not happen again, and even if it were to happen, the Mets would have a lot more than Porcello and Wacha to show for it.

Mets Trading Jarred Kelenic Remains A Disaster

With Jarred Kelenic and the Seattle Mariners coming to town, many will attempt to re-litigate the shocking trade which sent Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners organization as a part of a trade package for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Of course, 2022 performances invite revisionist history here.

This season, Diaz has clearly been the top performer from this trade. Through 14 appearances, he is 1-0 with seven saves, a 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 15.4 K/9. He looks like he’s having a career year, but it’s important to note much of that is due to Jeremy Hefner.

Hefner has diligently worked with Diaz on his mechanics making sure his delivery has been repeatable, and he’s landing with his foot pointed towards home plate. He’s also helped Diaz create more break and spin leading to a 55. Whiff%. Really, it took four years for Diaz to be what the Mets expected him to be.

In many ways, Diaz is not the same pitcher he was in his first three years with the Mets. That’s very good to a certain extent because that Diaz was not the difference maker he was advertised to be.

On that point, it is important to remember the trade to obtain him was a win-now deal for the Wilpons who were nearing being forced to sell the New York Mets to the highest bidder. Really, the deal smelled like a one last shot to try to win a World Series, and ironically, it was the trade that prevented the Mets from winning that World Series.

In 2019, Diaz was dreadful with a career worst 5.59 ERA, 74 ERA+, and 4.51 FIP. He blew seven saves and lost seven games for a Mets team which missed the postseason by three games. Really, Diaz was a big reason why the Mets missed the postseason that year.

Cano might’ve been a bigger reason. Cano was the target as Brodie Van Wagenen sought to bring his former client back to New York as Cano wanted. Cano responded with a career worst season with a 0.6 WAR and a 94 wRC+. This was supposed to be a key bat in the lineup, and Cano was terrible while Van Wagenen ensured Mickey Callaway batted his former client third.

With Cano, it is the gift which keeps on giving. Yes, he had a bounce-back 2020 season, but as we learned, he was using PEDs again. That cost him the 2021 season, and with him able to physically return, it was $40.5 million the Mets did not get to spend.

Instead of keeping Aaron Loup or further addressing the bullpen, the Mets were restricted to Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. Instead of a Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto, or Seiya Suzuki, the Mets obtained Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, who have so far underwhelmed this season.

Really, that has been the theme of Cano’s time on the Mets. It’s been the organization wasting resources on him that could have been better spent. The biggest example of that is Zack Wheeler desperately wanted to stay with the Mets, but they couldn’t keep him because the money was going to Cano.

As a result, the Mets dead weight became the Phillies ace. The Wilpons didn’t have any money to spend in the ensuing offseasons, and Steve Cohen has $20.25 million per year he can’t spend on better talent through next season.

There’s also the matter of this season. The Mets completely wasted plate appearances over the first month of the season trying to see what they had in Cano. The answer was nothing, and they were happy to part with him and his onerous contract. However, that came with a consequence with Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis not getting the playing time they needed to succeed this season.

There were some who wanted to defend the trade because the Mets moved “untradeable contracts.” The Mariners had no problem trading Jay Bruce whatsoever. They also traded Anthony Swarzak, who helped the Atlanta Braves win the division.

Also, keep in mind the Mets parted with two Top 100 prospects in Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Certainly, Kelenic has struggled early in his career, and Dunn is dealing with a shoulder injury. Certainly, that is part of a very suspect Mariners player development system where we constantly ask why their prospects never seem to pan out.

However, this is also very much besides the point. Back in the 2018 offseason, that duo could have gotten the Mets anything they wanted. Teams would have been literally lining topping one another to get Kelenic and Dunn.

Remember, this deal came in the same offseason the Miami Marlins traded J.T. Realmuto. Instead, the Mets hastily accepted a closer and an albatross.

That deal cost the Mets the 2019 postseason. It cost them the opportunity to compete in 2020. It cost them the ability to make deadline deals in 2021 because that trade and all of Van Wagenen’s trades cost them valuable prospect depth needed to swing the trades the Mets needed. It was also $40.5 million the Mets did not have to spend on free agents.

It will again impact the Mets at the trade deadline and this ensuring offseason. All told, this deal remains an unmitigated disaster no matter how great Diaz is or how much Kelenic struggles.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Roll Over Phillies

The New York Mets traveled to Philadelphia for their first “test” of the 2022 season. While it started rocky, the team passed with flying colors.

1.  The Mets built this team on starting pitching, and it is working. They league the league in innings, ERA, and WHIP while being second in strikeouts. That could be the biggest reason they started the season 5-2.

2. Tylor Megill is doing everything we expected from Jacob deGrom did. Just imagine how good things will look when they are both in the rotation.

3.  Taijuan Walker looked great until he had to leave with injury. Fortunately, it appears he will be fine.

4.  David Peterson stepped up in long relief, and it appears he will rejoin the rotation. On that front, he started out jittery, and the K/BB wasn’t great. Still, there is talent there.

5. James McCann isn’t hitting now, but at least his framing seems much improved. So long as he and Tomas Nido continue to frame, they are more than doing their job.

6. As good as the starting rotation is, the bullpen has been that bad. Much of the blame there goes to how Buck Showalter chooses to utilize them.

7. Showalter knew Trevor May was dealing with bicep and tricep issues, and he still tried to push him another inning. This is all the more egregious considering it was cold and Showalter just came from a lecture about not pushing relievers early in the season. Fortunately, May is alright.

8. Joely Rodriguez is terrible when pitching to right-handed batters, which is exactly why trading away Miguel Castro for him made zero sense.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has been phenomenal atop the lineup. He has been everything we could expect and more.

10. The lineup in the finale of this series was perfect. Switching Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte makes so much sense analytically. Also, getting Robinson Cano out of the lineup right now makes even more sense.

11. Cano looks just about done. He has no bat speed. He has no speed. He isn’t hitting the ball with authority. This is already a huge problem.

12. Pete Alonso looks very comfortable as the DH. You still want to use the position to cycle through players on a modified rest, and you want to keep him engaged defensively, but it would be ideal for him to be the primary DH.

13. Dominic Smith needs to be better. Assuredly, some of the slow start is being sat to see if the Mets could get Cano or J.D. Davis going, but he needs to earn his way back into the linup. Hopefully, that sacrifice fly will get him going.

14. It is a pleasure watching Eduardo Escobar play. He gives his all on every play, and it was his hustle that allowed the umpires to award him a triple on that fan interference.

15. Sending Escobar was just plain dumb. Even a semi-competent throw gets him easily, and Escobar has real speed. The Mets have a very real Joey Cora issue, and it was an unforced error.

16. That Phillies lineup is frightening. As we saw on Monday, you give them an inch, and they can make you pay. More than that Joe Girardi alternates L/R so effectively you can never bring in a true LOOGY.

17. It’s a testament to this Mets offense they knocked both Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola out of the game early. It wasn’t that they put up a lot of runs, but rather, they just continued to grind and force up the pitch counts for both pitchers.

18. It should bother everyone Clayton Kershaw left a perfect game after seven innings with just 80 pitches. That is inexcusable, and there is simply no defending it. It really was everything wrong with baseball right now.

19. It is long past time we have a Tom Seaver statue, and it is going to be great seeing one on Opening Day.

20. The Mets still need to face some of the better teams in baseball to get a true feel for them, but so far, they look like a real contender this year.

Game Recaps:

Phillies Five Run Eighth Bucks Mets

Tylor Megill Outpitches Zack Wheeler

Mets Outlast Phillies

Tylor Megill Outpitches Zack Wheeler

We know Zack Wheeler is an ace, and we’re getting the sense Tylor Megill can get there. Tonight, they were on the same level, and truth be told, Megill was better.

Wheeler started out shaky plunking two and walking one to load the bases. However, he’d get out of it by striking out Robinson Cano.

Now, Wheeler got out of that inning unscathed, but it was a heavy toll. He settled in blowing through the Mets until he faced Brandon Nimmo to lead-off the fifth:

Wheeler was done after that, and we would walk off the mound on the losing side of the ledger. That’s because Megill out-pitched him.

Aside from a first inning double from J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies never really got to him. Megill pitched 5.1 brilliant scoreless innings striking out five and walking none.

He was lifted for Chasen Shreve, who did his job getting out of the inning unscathed. After getting Bryce Harper to lead-off the seventh, Drew Smith was greeted by Nick Castellanos with a double.

Smith worked around this double, and he’d pitch 1.2 scoreless as a perfect bridge to Edwin Diaz. Buck Showalter‘s pushing Smith needs to be questioned, especially with Smith’s injury history, but for tonight, it worked.

Diaz would have a two run lead in the ninth because the Mets got an insurance run in the eighth. After doing absolutely nothing against the Phillies bullpen, Nimmo drew a lead-off walk.

Nimmo was erased off the basepaths after a Starling Marte fielder’s choice. Marte got that base back after recording his first steal with the Mets. Francisco Lindor expanded the Mets lead to 2-0 after his RBI single.

Diaz did the job in the ninth to record his first save of the season. It got a little dicey after the Realmuto one out single, but Diaz struck out Harper.

Lindor made a phenomenal grab of a Castellanos hard hit ball, but Realmuto beat the throw. Rhys Hoskins was overmatched and struck out to end the game.

It was a big moment for a Mets team who blew leads in the eighth inning in consecutive games. The Mets now have a rubber game tomorrow looking to win consecutive road series before their home opener.

Game Notes: Phillies again went with the 6:40 start time. Cano was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Mets had three hits to the Phillies five.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Capitalize Against Bad Nationals Team

The New York Mets opened their season on the road against the Washington Nationals, and they came just this close to a four game sweep. It was a pretty good start which could’ve been better:

1.  Here’s how good the Mets starting pitching was. They didn’t miss Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer was their worst starter in the series, and he had a quality start.

2.  If Carlos Carrasco is what he was on Sunday, which was the same pitcher we saw in Cleveland, than the rest of baseball is in trouble.

3.  Trevor Megill was simply awesome. Not only did he dominate picking up the win on Opening Day, but he stared down Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in a big spot.

4.  Mets pitching held Soto to 3-for-14 with his homer coming off a mistake pitch from Trevor May. That is extremely impressive with Soto being one of the best in the game. With respect to May, he’ll be fine. It was just one pitch.

5.  In terms of Soto, the Apple TV+ game was a mixed bag, but the one thing they did well was try to promote star players like Soto. Trying to promote him and the images broadcast were definitely pluses. As for the rest, we will see how they improve after this game.

6.  Francisco Lindor has gotten off to a very good start at the plate which was something he and the Mets needed after last season. He had two errors, but we know his defense isn’t remotely an issue.

7.  The HBP were a significant issue with C-flaps saving Lindor and Pete Alonso from serious injuries. And no, this was not a sticky substance issue. The Mets managed to get through that series without hitting any batters.

8.  The HBP did prove an early season galvanizing moment with Buck Showalter and Jeremy Hefner leading the charge after Lindor’s HBP. It did lead to Steve Cishek‘s ejection, and we didn’t see more after that.

9.  There was a lot of good with Showalter this weekend, but his issues with bullpen management and giving veterans a long leash are still present.

10. Not pinch hitting for Robinson Cano and having Trevor Williams face Soto and Cruz helped cost the Mets a game. That isn’t something you want on your manager.

11. Alonso didn’t look great defensively this weekend, and that underhanded toss was something else. If he doesn’t button it back up defensively, the Mets are going to have to play Dominic Smith everyday at first. On that note, Smith was good in his game at first.

12. With respect to Alonso, he was one of two horrible sends from Joey Cora in this series. Remember, Cora was the worst third base coach in the majors last year before the Pittsburgh Pirates fired him. He got off to a very bad start to this season.

13. Eduardo Escobar looked very good in the series, and he is the early Major League leader in doubles. His defense looked better than career norms.

14. Mark Canha was excellent in the series going 7-for-10 with three walks. He also filled in as the center fielder in a pinch. Not too bad.

15. On the subject of how Mets new additions performed, Chris Bassitt was phenomenal in his start. In many ways, he could be the best addition the Mets made this offseason, and perhaps, they should be talking extension right now.

16. Who had Starling Marte as the only Met with a caught stealing and with Travis Jankowski having two stolen bases? Baseball is just funny sometimes.

17. Overall, despite one pitch from May and the Williams meltdown, this bullpen looked good albeit without much pressure. It will be interesting to see how they fare over the course of the season.

18. Jeff McNeil is back. Not only was he 7-for-16 with a homer, three RBI, and three walks, but he showed his versatility playing left field on Opening Day. If he’s McNeil again, the Mets lineup got much deeper and more dangerous.

19. Fortunately, it appears Brandon Nimmo‘s neck is alright. After missing the opener, he was 4-for-14 with a double and triple. He also survived a collision with the outfield wall. One odd thing with him is he only walked once and struck out five times.

20. It was easy beating what promises to be a very bad Nationals team. We’re about to find out more about this team as they travel to Philadelphia against that vaunted Phillies lineup and will face old friend Zack Wheeler.

2022 MLB Predictions

It’s Opening Day, so it is time to make some predictions (sure to be wrong) about the 2022 season.


AL East – Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays have the biggest home field advantage with Canada’s vaccine rules. Opponents will be missing key players whenever they visit. For example, Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole.

AL Central – Minnesota Twins

The Chicago White Sox might be better full strength, but losing Lance Lynn is a huge blow. The Twins also made some huge moves adding Carlos Correa, who is among the best in baseball, and they bolstered the rotation with Sonny Gray. With some health from Byron Buxton, they’ll be unstoppable.

AL West – Los Angeles Angels

With Noah Syndergaard, the Angels finally got that big top of the rotation starter, and they addressed the pen adding Aaron Loup. Oh, and by the way, they have the two best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

AL Wild Card 1 – Tampa Bay RaysThey’re the Rays. They do this better than everyone, and they will have a full season of Wander Franco and Josh Lowe.

AL Wild Card 2 Chicago White Sox – Even with the loss of Lynn, there is still more than enough there to get this team back to the postseason.

AL Wild Card 3 – Houston Astros – Many seem to be downplaying the loss of Correa, but in the end, that division appears to be so weak, especially with the Athletics stripping down, they can still make the postseason.

AL MVP – Mike Trout – For those who forgot, this is still Mike Trout. With a healthy season, he’ll remind everyone there is no one better.

AL Cy YoungAlek Manoah – This is a darkhorse candidate for sure, but his spin and velocity numbers are off the charts. Also, if the Blue Jays can make Robbie Ray a Cy Young, they sure can do the same with a former first round pick.

AL Rookie of the Year – Bobby Witt Jr. He seems the consensus pick and for good reason. He’s got the tools, and he’s playing for a team who will let him play.

AL Manager of the Year – Rocco Baldelli – This usually nothing more than an award for whose team exceeded expectations, and it will likely be the Twins this year.

National League

NL East – New York Mets

Yes, the Mets have lost Jacob deGrom, and Brandon Nimmo is battling injuries. However, this is a much improved club over the team who was atop the Atlanta Braves in the standings most of last year. Remember, that Braves team has lost Freddie Freeman, don’t have Ronald Acuna Jr.. back yet, and that bullpen which carried them was taxed.

NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals were a disappointment for much of last year, but they turned it on late. They are more analytically inclined to match that roster.

NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are a juggernaut, and they are just going to keep going out and finding ways and players to beat you. Keep in mind, they almost won the pennant, and they added Freeman to an already absolutely stacked roster.

NL Wild Card 1 – Milwaukee Brewers – Aside from the Mets, they have the best rotation in the National League, and that will help carry them to the postseason even in Christian Yelich is still not back to being in his MVP form.

NL Wild Card 2 – San Francisco GiantsThey’ll miss Buster Posey and Kevin Gausman, but this was still a very deep team, and they have the players and organization to keep this a postseason caliber team, especially in an expanded postseason format.

NL Wild Card 3 – Philadelphia Phillies – No, the Phillies cannot catch the ball. However, they can absolutely mash, and in that ballpark, they will wear opposing staffs out. They also have the top of the rotation and manager in Joe Girardi to do enough to stay above .500 (again) to claim the last spot.

NL MVP – Francisco Lindor – We’ve seen it time and again with the Mets. The first year is the transition year. The second is the break out year. Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran were denied their MVP, but Lindor will not be this season.

NL Cy YoungZack Wheeler – Wheeler was an unappreciated ace level pitcher when he was with the Mets, but with the Phillies, he has gotten the chance to shine. He should’ve won last year. He won’t be denied this year.

NL Rookie of the Year – Keibert Ruiz – The Nationals are going to let him play, and he has shown some signs in his brief Major League career.

NL Manager of the Year – Buck ShowalterAgain, this is a narrative award, and if the Mets win the division, he is going to get it.


Wild Card Round

Astros over Angels
White Sox over Rays

Mets over Phillies
Brewers over Giants

Divisional Round

Blue Jays over Astros
White Sox over Twins

Dodgers over Brewers
Mets over Cardinals

League Championship Series

Blue Jays over White Sox
MVP – George Springer

Mets over Dodgers
MVP – Jacob deGrom

World Series

Mets over Blue Jays
MVP – Brandon Nimmo

Dominic Smith And The Zack Wheeler Lesson

There were rumors Dominic Smith wasn’t going to be happy with a bench or part-time role with the New York Mets, and he wanted one elsewhere. As is typically the case, that came around the time he was almost traded. Well, Smith, himself, put those rumors to rest:

Smith has long made the case he should play everyday. We are seeing it again this spring. His shoulder is healthy, and Max Scherzer noted Smith is hitting balls he hasn’t hit before in his career out for homers. Once again, Smith is poised to have a big season.

More than that, Smith is someone who wants to be a Met. In years past, that is not something which the Mets have actually valued. It is an odd thing to see loyalty and allegiance not valued or honored, but that was the way the Mets were operated under the Wilpons.

That’s not to say those values should be treated in higher regard than performance. However, the Mets have taken poor stock of a player’s drive to succeed not just in baseball but with the Mets. They overlooked skills and conditions which served as detriments to performance. Instead, of removing those obstacles, they just removed the player and later lamented why that player is thriving elsewhere.

It is something we have seen time and again. Justin Turner and his new launch angle approach became an All-Star, NLCS MVP, and World Series champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wilmer Flores has been a coveted and very successful role player. The list goes on and on.

That list includes Zack Wheeler. When he and Flores were almost traded for Carlos Gomez, Wheeler went to the Mets and said he wanted to stay. He backed that up by getting healthy and improving each season. In his last season with the Mets, it was apparent he was emerging as an ace.

Wheeler went to the Philadelphia Phillies, and he arguably should have won the Cy Young award in 2021. He was that good, and he will continue to be that good as the Mets continue to try to address pitching depth in their organization. To be fair here, things are much improved under Steve Cohen.

When the Mets have a player who is on the verge of a breakout, and that player wants to be a Met, the Mets need to find a way to get that player to succeed here. Like Wheeler, Smith has. Now, the Mets need to make sure they allow him to succeed in 2022 and beyond. It is the right thing to do for someone who is going to be a very good and impactful player, and it is the right thing to do for someone committed to this franchise.

Mets Fans Should Take MLB Lockout Very Personally

As the lockout continues, it is becoming increasingly clear this isn’t just about trying to get the best possible deal for the owners. It is also about limiting just how much Steve Cohen can use his pocketbook to try to improve the New York Mets.

As noted by Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, not only is the laughably called Competitive Balance Tax going to remain, but there is going to be another threshold added. That third threshold is supposedly going to be directed at owners who seek to “spend well above the pack.” According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, there may be a fourth tier to address this.

Make no mistake here, this is directly aimed at Cohen. This also comes on the heels of his signing Max Scherzer and Starling Marte. We also know the Mets have inquired on a number of players including Kris Bryant and Freddie Freeman. We know they are looking to add another bat and another starter. When all is said and done, the Mets payroll may very well be a Major League record.

This is something Mets fans have been waiting to see forever. The Mets play in the largest media market in the world. Now that we have the owner to do it, the other MLB teams are actively trying to get them to stop. As Heyman noted, this is directly aimed at the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Suddenly, after a decade, MLB is concerned about the Mets payroll. This was a team which was leveraged to keep the Wilpons financially solvent, and the product on the field suffered. If the team spent like a large market team, that 2015 run could have been sustained instead of fizzling out after the 2016 season.

We also could have seen the Mets add what they really needed in 2019, and we should have seen the franchise re-sign Zack Wheeler. In many ways, what the Wilpons did led directly to Cohen spending wild this offseason. In fact, MLB being alright with a large market club artificially suppressing wages led to Cohen looking to break payroll records.

For a decade, Mets fans were absolutely cheated. They didn’t get nearly the product or team on the field they deserve, and MLB owners were laughing all the way to the bank as they got to sign the Mets free agents with little to no competition from the franchise. Now, that the Mets can return to their glory days of the 1980s is MLB stepping in to try to fix the Mets financial picture.

This is an outright insult to Mets fans, and it cannot reasonably be taken any other way, especially when Apple TV announces a lucrative deal the day after the New York Yankees were bemoaning just how much MLB is limited in trying to generate new revenue streams.

Our only hope is Cohen treats MLB the same way it treated Mets fans when they allowed the Wilpons to do to the team and the fanbase what they did. Hopefully, Cohen will be laughing all the way to the bank as we revel in multiple World Series titles. That would be the only way to make things right.

Kevin Gausman Will Be Paid Off One Big Outlier Year

Free agency is difficult. Teams need to look not just at track records but also trajectory. Perhaps, the perfect embodiment of this is Kevin Gausman.

Before signing with the San Francisco Giants, Gausman made 154 starts with 37 relief appearances. He was 47-63 with a 4.30 ERA, 1.344 WHIP, and an 8.3 K/9.

Really, he was a below average pitcher. That was reflected in his 99 ERA+ and 4.13 FIP. It’s also reflected in his being designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves in 2019.

To their credit, the Giants saw something in Gausman. To some extent, it was seeing his FIP and BABIP indicated he pitched better than his stats. It was also getting him to alter his pitch usage and sequencing. Gausman threw fewer fastballs and more splitters.

In the COVID shortened 2020, Gausman posted a 118 ERA+ and a 3.09 FIP. Up until that point of his career, it was his best FIP and second best ERA+ (minimum 60 innings). Much of that was driven by his strikeout rates skyrocketing from his 8.3 K/9 career mark to 11.9.

The problem was that was a shortened season. No one knew if he could do it for a full season. With that, the qualifying offer made sense for both sides.

Gausman responded with a phenomenal Cy Young caliber season. He was a real ace for a Giants team which won 107 games. In 33 starts, he was 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.042 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9.

By nearly every measure, this was a career year for the 30 year old hurler. It was his career best in wins, ERA, starts, innings, strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, WHIP, H/9, HR/9, and WAR.

That’s not to say there weren’t some red flags. Gausman’s .275 BABIP and 78.4 LOB% suggests regression. Gausman was also a far better pitcher in the first half.

In the first half, Gausman had a 1.73 ERA while averaging 6.1 innings per start. In the second half, he had a 4.42 ERA while averaging 5.0 innings per start.

Now, considering no one pitched all that much in 2020, there was some drop off expected for all pitchers. After all, there was bound to be fatigue with everyone. That was most likely the cause with Gausman even though he is typically a second half pitcher.

So, here’s the issue. Gausman is turning 31, and he’s had exactly one half of a season pitching like an ace. Essentially, hex was Brodie Van Wagenen miscast Zack Wheeler to be.

Notably, Wheeler was much more than that. Gausman hasn’t been.

There’s other issues as well. The Giants are ahead of most teams on the analytical front. They also had Buster Posey behind the plate. Really, no MLB team can match that. That may go double for a team like the New York Mets.

Essentially, if you’re a team in on Gausman, you are boasting you can help him repeat some of his luck while matching the Giants front office and analytics department. You believe you can make that first half last a full season.

Look, it’s certainly possible. However, that depends on the team. The possibility turns into impossibility depending on the ultimate destination.

Overall, any team interested in Gausman needs to tread extremely carefully. This is the ultimate boom or bust singing. With pitchers like Max Scherzer and Marcus Stroman still available, it’s difficult to ascertain why a team would take this risk.

Noah Syndergaard Leaving Further Shows Mets Are In Disarray

Going back to 2015, Noah Syndergaard arguably had the best career ahead of him out of any of the Mets proverbial five aces. He had just unparalleled stuff, and he had the swagger to back it up. More than that, he was a big game pitcher.

We saw Syndergaard come out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLDS to shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers for an inning. He followed that with a win in Game two of the NLCS, and he would be the only Mets pitcher to win a game in the World Series. You could see greatness in Syndergaard in those moments, and greatness would ensue.

In 2016, Syndergaard would fulfill every bit of his promise. He was a true ace, and he emerged as an All-Star and top 10 in Cy Young voting. To date, he is probably the only pitcher to go toe-to-toe with Madison Bumgarner in the postseason. In that game, Syndergaard actually outpitched Bumgarner over his seven innings, but unfortunately, there were two more innings in that game.

After that, we excepted Syndergaard to do what Jacob deGrom essentially did. The problem was Syndergaard faced injuries and the Mets medical staff as run by Jeff Wilpon. There was the torn lat, and then two years later, he required Tommy John surgery. That Tommy John rehab was interred with by a minor injury and COVID19.

This wasn’t new to the Mets. This is akin to what happened to Zack Wheeler. They saw it happen. It took Wheeler two years to get back on the mound. Then, it took him another half of a season just to get up to speed again. After that Wheeler was terrific, and then, he was out the door to Philadelphia as the Mets showed little to no interest in re-signing him.

The final indignity with Wheeler was Brodie Van Wagenen taking shots at him. Wheeler responded by being one of the best pitchers in baseball. In fact, he is a finalist for the 2021 Cy Young. While some sycophants may want to tell you otherwise, this was apparent at the time Wheeler hit free agency.

This is the same exact situation the Mets found themselves with Syndergaard. Actually not quite because they were going to get the opportunity to keep Syndergaard BEFORE he rebounded post Tommy John. Moreover, Syndergaard loved New York, and he wanted to stay. You couldn’t have scripted a perfect situation for the Mets.

They had the opportunity to learn from the Wheeler mistake. They were going to be able to keep an ace at a discount. They were going to be able to prove the organization was not in complete disarray as it looked with the president of baseball operations and GM search. Put another way, they could show the world this wasn’t just a more financially solvent version of the Wilpon run Mets.

Instead, Syndergaard is bolting for the Los Angeles Angels for a one year $21 million deal. No, Syndergaard didn’t get a multi-year deal. He ONLY received $2.6 million more from the Angels. The Mets lost Syndergaard over $2.6 million. This is so inexplicably and embarrassingly Wilponian.

While the Angels were talking with Syndergaard, the Mets were botching their GM search and choosing the worst possible candidate in Billy Eppler. Like he did with Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy, Alderson decided it wasn’t worth keeping a homegrown Mets player and build around him and let him flourish because he could get a compensatory second round pick.

This all makes you question how soon before Michael Conforto and Marcus Stroman are gone and replaced with lesser players? After all, that’s been Alderson’s MO with the Mets. Steve Cohen was supposed to change that, but as we’ve seen so far, it’s the same old with Alderson.

Really, everything sucks right now with the Mets, and you have no idea where it goes from here.