Mets Merized Online » Mets bullpen Wed, 18 Jan 2017 13:45:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Orioles Get Lefty Hitting Outfielder Seth Smith From Mariners Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:41:48 +0000 seth smith

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo.

Smith, 34, fills the Orioles need for a lefty bat that can play both corner outfield spots. Smith hit .249/.342/.415 with 15 doubles, 16 home runs and 63 runs batted in over 438 plate appearances in 2016.

Gallardo, 30, went 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA, 1.585 WHIP and an ugly 1.39 SO/BB ratio for the Orioles in 118 innings this past season.

The trade also helps the Orioles save around $4 million.

Previous Report – 12:00 PM

The Baltimore Orioles are intent on adding a left-handed hitting bat according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. They’ve shown interest in corner infield free agent Luis Valbuena, but prefer someone with outfield experience.

Of course, Jay Bruce fits what the Orioles are looking for, and the New York Mets have been actively shopping the outfielder this offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, reports that the Mets will have to include cash to trade Bruce, but that the return could still be minimal.

Original Report – Dec 30

The Baltimore Orioles remain willing to trade right-handed reliever Brad Brach. However, they want a significant return for the set-up man according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.

The Orioles continue to look for a power bat to help fortify their lineup and remain interested in bringing back Mark Trumbo. They’ve also shown interest in left-handed hitting outfielder Michael Saunders.

Earlier this offseason it was reported that the Mets and Orioles had talked trade, but the O’s were more interested in Curtis Granderson than Jay Bruce. The Mets also showed interest the 30-year old Brach during those discussions.

Brach has been very strong out of the bullpen for the Orioles. Since 2014, he has gone 22-8 with a 2.61 ERA. In 220.2 innings he has struck out 235 batters and walked 88. He would be a big addition to the Mets bullpen, providing strong set up for Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.

Brach made $1.25 million in 2016 and is under team control for two more years through arbitration.

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Could Orioles Rekindle Talks with Mets on Jay Bruce for Brad Brach Swap? Sun, 18 Dec 2016 22:19:47 +0000 brad-brach

With the news that the Baltimore Orioles have pulled their offer to free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo, the O’s could again turn their attention to Jay Bruce and rekindle talks with the New York Mets.

Bruce would give the Orioles a 30-35 home run bat without having to invest big dollars or make a significant four year commitment. The current Mets right fielder is owed just $13 million for the 2017 season after which he becomes a free agent.

Reportedly, the Mets and Orioles had been discussing a deal that potentially included top right-handed setup reliever Brad Brach who posted a 2.04 ERA and a 1.038 WHIP in 79.0 innings last season while striking out 92 batters.

Things could get a little interesting this week so stay tuned.

- – - Joe D.

Original Report – Dec 16

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers are still willing to move some of their bullpen pieces this offseason.

Specifically, the Orioles are willing to trade Brad Brach. Earlier this offseason, there were reports the Mets were willing to trade Jay Bruce in exchange for Brach.

The Orioles were more interested in Curtis Granderson, and the Orioles wanted the Mets to pay part of the contract for either Bruce or Granderson.  Ultimately, the Orioles and Mets shelved these trade discussions.

Earlier this offseason, MMO’s own Logan Barer analyzed which Rangers relievers could be a fit for the Mets bullpen in the event the Rangers were interested in obtaining Bruce including lefties Alex ClaudioJake Diekman and righties Sam Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress.

With the outfield market still unresolved, and there being relievers still available on the trade market, the Mets may still be able to move Bruce for a valuable piece this offseason.

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Blue Jays, Rangers Have Little Interest in Bruce Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:05:52 +0000 jay-bruce

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays have minimal interest in trading for New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce. 

The Mets continue to struggle finding a taker for the left-handed hitting Bruce and his $13 million contract for the 2017 season.

Original Report – Dec 7

According to Texas Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan on Twitter, the Mets and Rangers met today to discuss possible trades. The Mets are still trying to trade Jay Bruce who the Rangers seem to be interested in.

The Rangers have four relievers that would be phenomenal additions to the Mets bullpen, two lefties and two righties. The first lefty is former Philly Jake Diekman.

Diekman, 29, is under team control via arbitration through 2018. He has averaged 96 mph on his fastball in his career, topping out at 100.3 mph. He was very wild with the Phillies, however after being traded to the Rangers in 2015, he has pitched much better.

In 2016, Diekman went 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA. In 53 innings he struck out 59 batters and walked 26, also saving four games. His slider, which averages at 84.2 mph, would greatly benefit from Dan Warthen‘s influence.

The second Ranger lefty the Mets should check in on is 24 year-old Alex Claudio. Claudio, under team control through 2021, has been phenomenal since his call-up in 2014, posting a 2.82 ERA.

He does not strike out many batters, only 34 in 51.2 innings in 2016, however he has tremendous control as he only walked 10 batters in that span (1.7 BB/9). One big reason he doesn’t strike out many batters is that his sinker averaged only 85.4 mph on the gun and topped out at 88.7 mph in 2016. Opposing batters had a .301 BAA off that pitch, however he threw it only 55% of the time.

Batters had a much harder time squaring up his other pitches, his best of which being his changeup. He threw it 27% of the time and batters managed a mere .196 average against it. He also features a slurve which he threw 18% of the time which batters hit to a .227 clip.

With Jerry Blevins becoming expensive asking for a three-year deal, acquiring Diekman or Claudio would provide a cheap and effective alternative.

sam dyson rangers

The first righty in the Rangers bullpen is acting closer Sam Dyson. The 28 year-old righty had a great year for the Rangers, saving 38 games and recording a 2.43 ERA. In 70.1 innings he struck out 55 batters and walked 23. Mets fans might recognize him as he was traded to the Rangers by the Miami Marlins during the 2015 season.

Dyson is particularly enticing because he is under team control via arbitration through the 2020 season. He has touched 100 mph on the gun in his career, and while he has a mediocre slider, Dan Warthen‘s influence would again be beneficial to him.

Last but not least is former Brewer, Blue Jay, and Royal Jeremy Jeffress. Under team control through 2019, the 29 year-old has been extremely effective of late. Since 2013 he has saved 27 games while pitching to a 2.46 ERA, striking out 150 batters in 160.1 innings and walking 55.

He is a very consistent, effective reliever that can toss flames, averaging 95.5 mph on his fastball in his career, touching 100 mph on many occasions. His curveball is his best pitch though, as batters have hit only .168 off it in his 7-year career.

All four of these pitchers would immediately upgrade the Mets bullpen and are relatively cheap. The Rangers seem interested in Bruce, but it seems unlikely they would give up more than one of those relievers for just him. If the Mets want to acquire two of these pitchers, they might have to throw a prospect or two into the mix which they’ve said they are willing to do.

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Mets Eyeing Orioles Reliever Brad Brach In Outfielder Trade Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:21:11 +0000 brad brach

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Mets and Orioles are talking about a trade. Both Rosenthal and Buster Olney (here) tweeted that the Mets are interested in reliever Brad Brach.

Brach, 30, has been very strong out of the bullpen for the Orioles. Since 2014, he has gone 22-8 with a 2.61 ERA. In 220.2 innings he has struck out 235 batters and walked 88. He would be a big addition to the Mets bullpen, providing strong set up for Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.

Brach made $1.25 million in 2016 and is under team control for two more years through arbitration.

While the Mets would prefer to trade Jay Bruce, the Orioles are more interested in Curtis Granderson. Bruce fits well in the Orioles’ lineup, too, so it’s possible they could “settle” for him.

According to Joel Sherman on Twitter, the Mets do not want to eat any of either Granderson’s or Bruce’s contract so that could inhibit any talks with the Orioles, who have been trying to bring back the expensive Mark Trumbo.

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Seattle Mariners To Sign LHP Marc Rzepczynski Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:15:00 +0000 marc rzepczynski

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Mariners are on the verge of acquiring free agent left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski.

Rzepczynski, 31, has developed a decent reputation as a lefty specialist over the years. In 2016 with the Athletics and Nationals, he went 1-0 with a 2.64 ERA, striking out 46 batters in 47.2 innings.

This directly affects the market for free agent Jerry Blevins, who the Mets have said they would like to bring back. He remains as the best lefty reliever on the free agent market, excluding closer Aroldis Chapman. As of now, the Mets bullpen includes young lefties Josh Smoker and Josh Edgin.

This also affects the Mets’ trade market. The Mariners are in the market for an outfielder and MMO predicts them as a possible landing spot for Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson. With this signing, the Mariners have more than enough bullpen depth to deal from, an area which the Mets would like to improve.

Mariner relievers Nick Vincent and Steve Cishek would both make solid additions to the Mets bullpen, setting up Addison Reed in the 8th and Jeurys Familia in the 9th.

The deal is reportedly for two years and is pending a physical as well as some “last minute details.” This post will be updated when the final terms are reported and the deal is official.

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Jay Bruce’s Days Are Numbered, Where Will He End Up? Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:30:16 +0000 jay-bruce

The Mets have re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, so all can rejoice. All, that is, with the exception of right fielder Jay Bruce. The return of Cespedes has all but guaranteed that Bruce will be on the move in the near future, so lets’ talk about what the Mets can expect to get for him and where he might go.

The fact of the matter is that Bruce, 29, is a good player who just plain does not have a place on the Mets. He will make $13 million wherever he ends up, and that will be a bargain if he hits 30 home runs with 95 RBIs as he is certainly capable of, as he has done four times already.

The three-time All Star and two-time Silver Slugger did not seem to enjoy his time in orange and blue, hitting only .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs after his midseason acquisition. However, he still finished the year with 33 home runs, 99 RBIs, and six triples making him as big a threat at the plate as ever. He should end up being a hot commodity this offseason, and here are Metsmerized’s predictions of where he will end up:

Toronto Blue Jays

After having 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and RF Jose Bautista elect free agency, the Blue Jays have over 80 home runs to replace. They already brought in DH Kendrys Morales on a 3-year $33 million contract, and with Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello available to play first base, it seems like they will shift their attention to right field.

Jay Bruce would be a great fit in the middle of their lineup with Josh Donaldson, Kendrys Morales, and Troy Tulowitzki, and they know that. Chris Cotillo reports that the Blue Jays are “making a push” for Bruce, as he would be a lot cheaper (and younger) than bringing back Bautista.

In return, the Mets could ask for reliever Danny Barnes. The 27 year-old pitched 13.2 innings for the Blue Jays in 2016, striking out 14 batters and recording a 3.95 ERA. However, in a minor league career spanning six seasons, he pitched to a 2.39 ERA, striking out an impressive 422 batters in 320.1 innings. He relies primarily on a fastball and slider combination, sounds like some Warthen could help get even better.

He could immediately bolster the Mets bullpen, and if the Jays were to add a high-level prospect to the deal, it could be a good haul for the Mets. Another player to keep an eye on his right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini who can start and relieve. Biagini dials his fastball up to 96 MPH, throws a hard slider at 90, while also throwing a curveball and changeup.

The Jays have also been linked to free agent Dexter Fowler, but as they already have the Gold Glove-caliber Kevin Pillar in center field, signing a corner guy like Bruce makes much more sense.

The last time the Mets and Blue Jays dealt with each other, it ended up working out pretty well for the Mets. They sent R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole to Toronto for Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra and Travis d’Arnaud.

Baltimore Orioles 

Jay Bruce going to the Orioles would be contingent on whether or not they bring back slugger Mark Trumbo, as currently they do not have a right fielder.

In return for Bruce, the Mets would love to get either a late inning reliever or some prospects to replenish the farm system. The Orioles could offer someone who can fill the 7th inning in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, and that’s little-known RHP Mychal Givens.

After posting a 2.75 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate in the minor leagues, Givens was called up in 2015 and pitched 30 innings for the Orioles, striking out 38 batters and posting a 1.80 ERA. He earned his spot on the 2016 roster and didn’t disappoint, going 8-2 with a 3.13 ERA. In 74.2 innings he struck out 96 batters, good for an 11.6 K/9 rate, up from the 11.4 he posted in 2015.

As the Mets have nothing to lose by trading Bruce and plenty to gain, bringing in a guy like Givens would be a great haul. He is only 26 years old and has five more years under team control.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners currently have Seth Smith patrolling right field. While he is very consistent, as you can bet you’ll get about 15 HRs and 50 RBIs out of him every year, he is an average corner outfielder at best. In left field they have 24 year-old rookie Ben Gamel who has yet to see any ABs in the Show, and has a .288/.345/.404 batting line spanning seven Minor League seasons. 

The Mariners, though, plan on being contenders, so those two just aren’t going to cut it. Having dealt for infielder Danny Valencia late last season and shortstop Jean Segura more recently, they have been racking up some good players to make a push in the AL West. A player like Bruce would certainly help solidify them as a contender.

They have a few relievers that the Mets would find very appealing. They have acting closer Edwin Diaz who saved 18 games last seasons. The righty had a 2.79 ERA, striking out 88 batters In 51.2 innings, good for an impressive 15.3 K/9.

They also have former Marlins closer Steve Cishek. While he is a bit more expensive, owed $6 million in 2017, he has proven himself as an effective late-inning reliever. He saved 25 games for the Mariners in 2016, posting a 2.81 ERA in 64 innings while striking out 76.

The righty has 120 saves in his career, so adding him into the mix with Addison Reed (106 career saves) and Jeurys Familia (100 career saves) gives the Mets a lot of experience in high-pressure situations. They would make for a solid 7-8-9 punch at the end of games.

jay bruce

Included in Jay Bruce’s contract is a limited no-trade clause, meaning he can veto any trades to the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks. I don’t see that as an issue, though, as most of those teams are either in selling mode or do not need a right fielder.

The Yankees could want Bruce, but judging by his apprehension about going to New York at the deadline, I doubt he would waive his NTC.

It is possible the Mets keep Jay Bruce. The Mets have the option to trade either him, Curtis Granderson, or even Michael Conforto if they wanted. However, if they were to trade Bruce, it is most likely that he will go to one of the above teams.

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Heyman Predicts Cespedes Will Get 4 Years, $110 Million Thu, 17 Nov 2016 18:30:46 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Jon Heyman recently released his free agent contract predictions on Fan Rag, writing about the top-56 players on the market. This list includes 2016 Mets Yoenis Cespedes, Jerry Blevins, and Fernando Salas.

Heyman predicts that Cespedes, the best offensive free agent this offseason, will get a four-year deal worth $110 million. The $27.5 million annual salary is consistent with MMO’s predictions as well.

Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBIs in 2016, solidifying himself as the Mets’ best hitter. He also provides excellent defense in left field, having won the Gold Glove Award in 2015. He is prone to the occasional unacceptable, lackadaisical gaffe, however he always seems to make up for it.

jerry blevins

Heyman describes Jerry Blevins as a “nice lefty specialist” and “good for a clubhouse,” and I couldn’t agree more. Blevins was phenomenal for the Mets out of the bullpen in 2016, going 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA. He appeared in 73 games, striking out 52 batters in 42 innings while also recording two saves.

His contract is predicted to be around two-years and $12 million, which the Mets seem to be able to afford. While the Mets currently have lefties Josh Smoker and Josh Edgin, it would not be the least bit surprising to see Blevins in the 2017 Mets bullpen.

fernando salas

Fernando Salas was great for the Mets down the stretch and represents yet another fantastic low-cost signing by Sandy Alderson. He appeared in 17 games, striking out 19 batters in 17.1 innings while pitching to a stellar 2.08 ERA and 0.635 WHIP.

Heyman predicts that Salas will receive a two-year, $8 million deal. The Mets, who already have Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, and others, seem to be in the market for a reliever a tier higher than Salas.

Not on Heyman’s list was Kelly Johnson, who will be sought after this offseason for his versatility in the field as well as his clutch bat. I find it unlikely that the Mets will be pursuing him because they already have Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and T.J. Rivera as infield depth.

This is already turning out to be an exciting and eventful offseason, but the fun is just beginning!

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Five Possible Free Agent Reliever Targets Sat, 05 Nov 2016 14:00:48 +0000 brad ziegler

Regardless of whether or not Major League Baseball hands down a suspension to Jeurys Familia stemming from his recent arrest, the Mets need to add another reliever to the bullpen. Seeing how the Indians relied on Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen during the postseason, many believe the Mets should create their own trio this offseason.

In order to do that, the Mets would need to add one of Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, or Mark Melancon. That may not be likely considering each one of them will command a lot of money this offseason. Each player should receive a contract with an average annual value in excess of $10 million. That’s a steep price for a Mets team that has a lot of needs to address this offseason notably re-signing Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker.

With that in mind, the Mets will have to turn their attention to the next tier of free agent relievers in the hopes of not only obtaining someone who can lock down the seventh inning, but also someone who can take Addison Reed‘s spot in the eighth inning should Familia face a suspension.  Here are a list of five potential targets:

Fernando Salas

2016 Stats: 3-7, 3.91 ERA, 75 G, 6 SV, 1.113 WHIP

Like Reed in 2015, Salas was a beneficiary of the Mets pitch framing. In 17 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.635 WHIP, and a 9.9 K/9. He has shown the ability not just to pitch in New York, but also to pitch in New York with a postseason berth on the line. Additionally, he has closing experience. Accordingly, the Mets should be interested in a reunion with Salas.

Brad Ziegler

2016 Stats: 4-7, 2.25 ERA, 69 G, 22 SV, 1.368 WHIP

The 37-year old Ziegler is coming off yet another good year out of the pen. The side-winding Ziegler does not throw the ball hard, topping off with an 86 MPH sinker, but he keeps the ball in the ballpark by generating a lot of ground balls.  As we have seen with Bartolo Colon, it is not really about how hard you throw, it’s about location and movement, which has been Ziegler’s forte. With him serving in a couple of different bullpen roles, he is an attractive free agent. Aside from his age, the one caution is that lefties have hit .271/.365/.392 off of him in his career.

joe smith

Joe Smith

2016 Stats: 2-5, 3.46 ERA, 54 G, 6 SV, 1.250 WHIP

The former 2006 Mets third round pick has had a successful 10 year career. From 2011-2014, he was absolutely dominant with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.060 WHIP over that stretch. He regressed a bit the past two seasons before getting traded to the Cubs in August. With the Cubs excellent pitch framers, he rebounded in his 16 appearances over the final two months of the season pitching to a 2.51 ERA and a 1.116 WHIP.  The hope is, like Salas, Smith would benefit from the Mets catching staff.  If so, a side-armed reliever, who has become a platoon neutral reliever, and has closing experience should be a good addition to the Mets bullpen in 2017.

Greg Holland

2015 Stats: 3-2, 3.83 ERA, 48 G, 32 SV, 1.455 WHIP

Before the 2015 season, Holland was a dominant closer that helped the Royals reach the 2014 World Series. He had a high 90s fastball with a mid to high 80s slider, a high 80s splitter, and a high 70s curveball. He was close to unhittable as evidenced by his 12.1 career K/9.  Unfortunately, Holland required Tommy John. By Opening Day 2017, he will be 18 months removed from his surgery meaning he could be ready to return to form. Whichever team signs him could be getting the free agent bargain of the offseason.

Joe Blanton

2016 Stats: 7-2, 2.48 ERA, 75 G, 0 SV, 1.013 WHIP

After taking 2014 off, Blanton returned to baseball. While he had his struggles with the Royals, the Pirates gambled on him in an August trade.  Blanton rewarded their faith by becoming dominant in the bullpen. In the offseason, the Dodgers hoped that Blanton’s stint with the Pirates wasn’t a mirage, and they were rewarded with a terrific season.

As a reliever, Blanton still throws all four of his pitches, but he mainly has become a fastball-slider pitcher, which is the type of pitcher Dan Warthen typically has success handling. While Blanton doesn’t have closer experience, he did finish 15 games this season, and he only lost the lead once in his 75 appearances. The caution with him is his age (36 next year) and seeing how well he will hold up in the bullpen a year after he was heavily used in the bullpen for the first time in his career.

Not mentioned is Jerry Blevins, who the Mets should make an effort re-sign. The aforementioned five pitchers could be difference makers in the bullpen, and they could help cushion the blow should Familia face a long suspension in 2017.

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Here’s Hoping Collins is Watching the Series and Taking Notes Tue, 01 Nov 2016 15:00:55 +0000 andrew-miller-2

One thing we know about sports is everybody is a copycat, and here’s hoping Mets manager Terry Collins is taking notes. Something Indians manager Terry Francona has known for a long time – and putting to use this postseason – and what Collins seems to ignore is a game’s critical moment doesn’t always occur in the ninth inning.

Sometimes, it is in the sixth, seventh or eighth inning. Often during these critical situations, Collins will turn to Hansel Robles, or Jerry Blevins who is now a free agent, or any number of other forgettable names. For Francona, this postseason – and down the stretch for the Indians – he gave the ball to Andrew Miller.

Yes, it is the postseason, so don’t remind me of the obvious. And, yes, the postseason has built-in off days, but the point is clear, he has a stud and isn’t afraid to use him. Collins does not have Miller but does have Addison Reed, who led the National League with 40 holds.

Reed has been stretched out, so he can handle up to six outs. If anybody can do what Miller does it is Reed. Here’s another thing to consider, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman proved they have the mettle and can be used for more than three outs if they aren’t in the rotation.

I’d rather concentrate on using these three guys for multiple innings, than load up on mediocrity in the middle innings. In doing so, perhaps they can carry one less reliever and add a bench player. More than a few times last summer the Mets got caught with a short bench.

It has been a compelling World Series, and what Francona, and to a degree, Joe Maddon showed Sunday night with his use of Aroldis Chapman, is that there is another way to manage a bullpen. For the most part, the back end of the Mets’ bullpen has been very good, but it can be better.

Francona is counting on his starters for five or six innings before turning the game over to Miller and the rest of the Indians’ bullpen. With the uncertainty of the ability of the Mets’ starters to go past the sixth, Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen have some thinking to do this winter.

Let’s hope they are taking notes during the World Series.

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What Role Should Josh Smoker Have in 2017? Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:51:32 +0000 josh smoker

Last November, the Mets added lefty reliever Josh Smoker to the 40-man roster less than a year after signing him to a minor league deal. The former Washington Nationals first round pick hadn’t thrown a pitch above A-ball and was coming off a season in the Frontier League when the Mets scooped him up.

In 2015, his first year with the Mets, Smoker pitched to a 3.12 ERA combined between the Savannah Sand Gnats, St. Lucie Mets and Binghamton Mets. He also struck out 60 batters in 49 innings compared to only 17 walks. Beyond those numbers it was the stuff that was enticing, lefties that throw 96/97 MPH don’t grow on trees. Add in a good split change and you have the makings of an effective reliever.

The strong lefty was sent to the Las Vegas 51s to start the 2016 season in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He had a 4.11 ERA and 1.474 WHIP in 57 Triple-A innings for the 51s. He did allow 66 hits including five home runs but struck out a whopping 81 batters and walked 18.

Smoker pitched in his first major league game on August 19th against the San Francisco Giants, giving up two runs and recording only one out. He continued his struggles allowing three runs over his next three appearances before finally settling in. Over his final 16 big league games he gave up five runs in 12.1 innings (3.65 ERA) while holding opponents to a .227 average. He struck out 22 batters in that span and walked four.

He finished his first big league stint with an unimpressive 4.74 ERA and 1.303 WHIP. However, he did strike out 14.67 batters per nine innings, the fourth best mark in all of the majors for the 2016 season.

Smoker is still perfecting his slider and has actually been better against right-handed batters in the minors and majors since joining the Mets. So he’s not your prototypical LOOGY out of the pen.

The 2016 Mets bullpen had a good primary lefty reliever in Jerry Blevins but he is entering free agency. The other left-handed reliever on the Mets 40-man roster is Josh Edgin who struggled in his return from Tommy John Surgery despite good numbers against lefties. They also have Sean Gilmartin who pitched mainly as a starter in the minors this year and who’s 40-man spot could be in jeopardy.

Smoker came to the majors showing off a good fastball and a solid split change at times. He still needs refinement on his slider and keeping his fastball out of the heart of the plate. His role on the 2017 Mets could be greatly affected by whether or not Blevins re-signs.

What role should Josh Smoker play on the 2017 Mets?

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Should Mets Re-Sign Jerry Blevins? Wed, 19 Oct 2016 17:56:00 +0000 jerry blevins

One of the resounding themes from the 2016 season has been how incredible it was the Mets made it back to the postseason despite Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz needing season ending surgeries. However, that didn’t mean the Mets didn’t have good pitching that led them back to the postseason.

In addition to Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon, the Mets had a terrific bullpen that helped them maintain leads when the Mets weren’t getting hits with runners in scoring position, and they helped buttress the young starting pitching that couldn’t go quite as deep into games. While it is imperative the Mets starters come back healthy next season, it is equally as imperative that the Mets bullpen return in tact next year.

This means the Mets need to re-sign Jerry Blevins.

Coming into the 2016 season, Blevins had a reputation of only being a LOOGY. It was with good reason. During his career, Blevins has limited left-handed batters to a .214/.266/.322 batting line whereas right-handed batters have been a more robust .243/.332/.387 against him. In 2016, that began to change.

In Blevins 73 appearances with the Mets, he was actually better against right-handed batters than he was against left-handed batters. Blevins would face right-handed batters 65 times, and he would limit them to a .182/.266/.345 batting line. Granted, it is a small sample size, but there were some things Blevins did to induce those results. First, he scrapped his cutter, which was not an effective pitch for him at all against right-handed pitching. In turn, he used his curveball and changeups at a higher rate, which led to a higher strikeout rate and fewer line drives.

What this meant was the despite your prototypical lefty specialist, you could trust Blevins to pitch a right-handed batter between two left-handed batters. It took some of the hand wringing out of which batter should you deploy your weapon. It also allowed you to rest some bullpen arms because you knew you could trust your LOOGY to actually go out and throw an inning.

Despite Blevins’ remarkable turn-around against right-handed batters, he is still a LOOGY, and as a such it’s his job to get the big left-handed batter out in a big moment in the game. For his career, Blevins has been terrific in those situations:

  • .228 batting average against with RISP
  • .226 batting average against in late and close games
  • .218 batting average against in high leverage situations
  • .220 batting average against in innings from the seventh inning on

* late and close and high leverage situations are as defined by Baseball Reference

We saw this in action when time and again, Blevins limited the damage in games. Overall, Blevins only allowed 14.5% of inherited runners to score this season, which was the best on the team (40 IP minimum). That number is all the more impressive when you consider he inherited more runners than anyone on the Mets staff.

In fact, Blevins inherited the second most runners in all of baseball this past year. Out of the pitchers that inherited over 50 batters in 2016, Blevins had the third best rate in preventing runners to score. It should come as no surprise then that he stranded the second most batters in the major leagues.

Overall, when you have a pitcher who gets lefties out, is improving better against right-handed batters, and is at his best in high leverage situations, that is a guy you need to keep in your bullpen.

There is an other important reason to keep Blevins. The Mets don’t have another option. At one point, Josh Edgin was considered to be the LOOGY of the future. Unfortunately, he needed Tommy John surgery before the 2015 season (which ironically was part of the reason the Mets traded Matt den Dekker to obtain him). Edgin was able to pitch this season, but he has not fully regained his velocity.

The other notable option is Josh Smoker. However, Smoker is a lefty with reverse splits. Effectively speaking, Smoker is a guy you bring in for the big strikeout, but he is not the guy you bring in to get the big left-handed batter out.

With the Mets having little to no internal options, and with Blevins being an effective LOOGY in his career, the Mets should make it a priority to re-sign him in the offseason. Fortunately for the Mets, Blevins has said he would like to return.

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Jeurys Familia Is Still Great Fri, 07 Oct 2016 15:10:16 +0000 jeurys familia

One thing that is strange about narratives is that they don’t stay static. Rather, narratives are dynamic and are often change wildly with a strong recency bias.

Last year, the narrative was the Mets blew Game 4 of the World Series because Terry Collins didn’t go to his closer to start the eighth inning. Instead, Collins brought in Tyler Clippard who proceed to walk consecutive batters after retiring the first batter he faced. With runners on first and second with one out, Collins finally went to Jeurys Familia. Familia induced a ground ball that went under Daniel Murphy‘s glove loading the bases. Two singles later, the Mets 3-2 lead turned into a 5-3 deficit.

In Game 5, again Collins was blamed for the loss because he did not go to Familia.  After eight absolutely brilliant innings, Collins allowed Matt Harvey to talk himself into pitching the ninth inning. After a leadoff walk and an RBI double, Collins brought in Familia to now protect a 2-1 with a runner in scoring position and no outs. Familia induced the groundout he needed for the second out. On the play, Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball that Lucas Duda infamously threw the ball away.

With that, Familia technically blew saves in Games 4 and 5 of the World Series. The main reason why Familia blew these saves is his manager brought him into difficult situations and his defense abandoned him. Now, all of a sudden, the narrative has shifted to he’s a choke artist.

In the Wild Card Game, Familia took the loss. It started with a Brandon Crawford opposite field double to left-center. On the play, Yoenis Cespedes, perhaps due to his lingering quad injury, made no effort whatsoever to cut the ball off before it went all the way to the wall.  Familia then struck out Angel Pagan who had been attempting to bunt Crawford to third. Familia then had Joe Panik 2-2, but he couldn’t put him away. With Panik walking, there were runners on first and second with one out. Familia got a sinker up in the zone, and Conor Gillaspie hit a three run go-ahead homer. From there, Familia got out of the inning, but it was too late. After the third out, he was booed off the Citi Field mound.

That’s right. Mets fans booed one of the best closers in the game off the mound. Worse yet, the narrative became Familia can’t pitch the big one anymore.

That’s nonsense. In the World Series, if Murphy fields a ground ball, or Duda makes an even average throw home, Familia saves both of those games. For what it’s worth, Familia had only allowed one earned run in the 2015 postseason, and neither were in those games.

Furthermore, focusing on those games ignores the work he did to get the Mets to the World Series. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Familia came on in the eighth inning to bail out Clippard. Familia would have to go 1.1 innings to get the save. In the Game 5 clincher, Familia pitched the final two innings not allowing a baserunner to send the Mets to the NLCS.

In Game 1 of the NLCS, he came on for Harvey, and he pitched the final 1.1 innings to earn the save. Between the NLDS and NLCS, Familia was a perfect 5/5 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.414 WHIP. This run is conveniently ignored in discussing how clutch Familia is.

What is also ignored is the phenomenal work Familia has done since taking over and becoming the Mets closer. Yes, his work has been phenomenal.

Over the past three seasons, Familia has thrown more innings than any other reliever in baseball. Over the past two seasons, he leads all major league closers in appearances, innings pitched, games finished, saves, and multi-inning saves. Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he has made 154 appearances pitching 155.2 innings recording 94 saves with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP. The advanced stats also indicate he’s been great as he has had a 2.56 FIP and an 180 ERA+.

jeurys familia

During the 2015 season, when the Mets were not getting any offense due to a mixture of injuries and poor performances, the Mets bullpen had no margin for error. From the time David Wright got injured until the Mets acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline, Familia made 42 appearances pitching 45.2 innings. In that time frame, he recorded 24 saves with a 1.97 ERA and a 0.985 WHIP.

Each and every one of those 24 games he saved was important as for much of the summer, the Mets season was on the brink of disaster.  If not for Familia, who had been unexpectedly thrust into the role due to the injuries and suspension of Jenrry Mejia the Mets may not have lasted in the NL East race.

All Familia would do for an encore this season was record the most saves by a Mets closer in a single season. His 51 saves would also stand as the single season record for a Dominican born pitcher. For a Mets team that tied with the Giants in the standings for the Wild Card.  By the Mets winning the season series against the Giants, they had the right to host the Wild Card Game.

In the three games he pitched against the Giants, Familia recorded two saves without allowing an earned run. Without Familia, the Mets play the Wild Card Game at AT&T Park.

The Mets also finished one game up on the St. Louis Cardinals, each and every single one of these saves were important.  If Familia falters just one or two times more, the Mets miss the postseason.

Overall, if Familia is not the best closer in baseball, he’s in the conversation. He’s also more durable than the other closers, and as we have seen with his work throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he is clutch. His defense failing him, and his making one bad pitch to Gillaspie doesn’t change that.

It’s a given that he will be the Mets closer next season. And he should be, because if the Mets have any designs on getting back to the postseason, they are going to need Familia to repeat his successes from the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Then in the 2017 season he can go out there and remind everyone just how clutch he is.

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Mets Wild Card Roster: De Aza Pushing Conforto Out, Campbell Looks To Be In Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:53:14 +0000 eric campbell

Latest Update – Oct 1

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets may put Eric Campbell on the Wild Card Game roster in the event they face Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.

Campbell’s chances of making the team have been bolstered by the recent news that Wilmer Flores is done for the season with the wrist injury he sustained sliding headfirst into home in a September 10th game against the Braves.

Additionally, Puma hears that the Mets are leaning toward Alejandro De Aza over Michael Conforto for the last backup outfield role in the playoffs. Mets believe De Aza is best suited to handling a bench role.

Original Post – Sep 29

One of the quirks of the Wild Card Game is a team is able to create a standalone 25 man roster just for that game. After the completion of the Wild Card Game, the winning team is able to reset its roster for the Division Series.

With that in mind, when the Mets construct their roster, they really have no need to carry extra starting pitchers. Instead, they can carry an extra reliever or two, and they can add a couple of bats on the bench for pinch hitting and running opportunities.

Here is how I would construct the roster -

Catchers (2)Travis d’Arnaud and Rene Rivera

With the Wild Card Game starting pitcher likely to be either Syndergaard or Lugo, it seems that Rivera will be Terry Collins choice as the starting catcher. If the Mets fall behind early, he may very well go to d’Arnaud for offense. However, for now, Rivera seems the likely starter.

First Base (2) – Lucas Duda and James Loney

The only variable we don’t know right now is whether Duda can play everyday during a postseason run. However, we have seen him play effectively here and there as he gets more playing time. If Duda is ready to go, he has to start. If not, Loney can start with Duda being the power bat off the bench. Loney is there for insurance for Duda’s back, and he can hit right-handed pitching reasonably well in the event the Mets need an extra pinch hitter.

Second Base (2) – Kelly Johnson and T.J. Rivera

If the Mets face the Giants and Madison Bumgarner, it is likely Rivera gets the start. If the Mets face the Cardinals and Carlos Martinez, it is likely Johnson gets the start. No matter which one gets the start, we know that the other one will be the best pinch hitting option when the Mets need a bit hit.

Third Base (1)Jose Reyes

At this point, barring something unusual happening, Reyes is the team’s everyday third baseman and leadoff hitter. He also serves as a backup shortstop in the event something happens to Cabrera

Shortstop (1) – Asdrubal Cabrera

Cabrera is the best hitter in the major leagues during the month of September, and while he has two injured knees, he is able to effectively handle all the balls that come within the vicinity of shortstop.

Outfield – (5) Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Alejandro De Aza, Curtis Granderson

Given how Bruce’s bat has come alive the past few games and with the way Conforto has been adapting to being a pinch hitter, both players should find themselves on the Wild Card Game roster. What will be curious is whether it is Bruce or De Aza that finds themselves in the outfield with Cespedes and Granderson. In a winner-take-all situation, Collins just might be inclined to go with the defense over the bat.

Starting Pitchers (3) – Bartolo Colon, Seth Lugo, and Noah Syndergaard

Whether or not Syndergaard pitches on Sunday, he has to be on the roster. You cannot go down without the ability to throw your best pitcher, even if it is for one inning. Same goes for your second best pitcher, which is why Colon should be on the roster. As for Lugo, he should make the roster because: 1) he has experience as a short reliever; and 2) it is his turn in the rotation, so he can give you as many innings as you need.

Bullpen (6) Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Fernando Salas and Josh Smoker

If things go to plan, it is likely the Mets are not going to need more than Reed and Familia. If the starter is able to go six, Reed can pitch the seventh and Familia can get the final two innings like he did in the NLDS clincher last year. In the event things don’t go as smoothly, this bullpen can effectively mix and match. Smoker seems like a given to make the roster because it gives the Mets an extra lefty in the pen, one with reverse splits, that can get a big strikeout when the Mets are in a jam.


Bubble –

If the Mets were to go with this group of players, and it seems likely they would that leaves the team with 21 players on the roster with decisions to make for the final four spots. Here is a case for each of the potential bubble players:

Position Players

UT Eric Campbell - As we saw when the Mets faced Adam Conley and the Marlins, Collins has fallen back in the habit of using Campbell as his right-handed first baseman. In the event the Mets face the Giants, Campbell may well find himself getting a postseason start. If not, he has shown the ability to be a very effective pinch hitter in tight games.

UT Ty KellyCollins has liked using as a pinch runner towards the back-end of the season. Even though he is much better hitting right-handed in his short major league career, Kelly’s switch hitting ability does have some usefulness in neutralizing an opposing manager’s ability to go to a lefty/righty in a big spot for multiple outs.

CF Juan LagaresIn his last couple of games, Lagares has finally been able to swing a bat after surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left thumb. If he is capable of handling a bat for consecutive days, and he has no flare-ups, he could see himself on the roster as a late defensive option and a pinch runner.

C Kevin Plawecki - Plawecki has not done much of anything offensively this season. However, he remains a good defensive catcher, and his presence on the team would permit Collins to be aggressive in case he wants to pinch hit for the starting catcher.

SS Matt ReynoldsEspecially given Cabrera’s injuries further limiting his range, Reynolds could very well be the Mets best defensive shortstop. Should Cabrera have to leave the game with an injury, Reynolds could step right in defensively. Additionally, in the event Collins needs to start double switching people in and out of the game to keep a pitcher in longer, Reynolds’ ability to competently play second, third, short, and left make him a versatile and valuable bench piece.

josh edgin


LHP Josh Edgin – His chances of making the roster increase if the Mets play the Giants given the presence of Denard Span and Brandon Belt. In that event, the Mets may want that one extra lefty to have multiple matchup opportunities. Against the Cardinals, the need for the extra left-hander won’t be as great.

RHP Erik GoeddelEven if it has been mostly in mop-up duty, Goeddel has pitched much better in September than he has all season. Unlike Edgin or Henderson (below), Goedell has also shown the ability to go multiple innings lately thereby increasing his usefulness out of the pen.

RHP Robert Gsellman - Gsellman could make the team as a long reliever with Collins then using Lugo as a one inning reliever who can let it fly for one or two innings. Additionally, with Gsellman’s sinker, Collins could elect to go with him in a situation in which the Mets need to get a double play.

RHP Jim HendersonHenderson hasn’t been the same since coming back from the disabled list. With that said, he’s still striking out 10.6 per nine, and so far this month, he has seven scoreless appearances. More than any of the above, he has the biggest upside. However, when he loses with 95+ MPH fastball, and it happens without a moment’s notice, he’s going to get hit around.

juan lagares


Who the Mets carry for the final three spots will be largely based upon the opponent. In the event that the Mets face the Giants, the odds of Campbell and Edgin making the roster go up significantly. If the Mets face the Cardinals, who have multiple effective lefties out of the pen, someone like Kelly with his switch hitting ability could see his chances of making the roster increase.

The wild card for the Mets is going to be Lagares. If he is truly able to swing a bat, he gives the Mets a right-hand hitting option of the bench, and he allows the Mets to protect a late lead as he is the best defensive outfielder on the team. With his speed and base running ability, he also serves as the team’s best pinch runner option off the bench.

Overall, considering how the Mets have handled the catching situation late in the season, the Mets should probably carry Plawecki as a third catcher.

If the Mets face the Giants, it is likely that Campbell will make the roster as the starting first baseman. Given the concerns over Cabrera’s knees, the need to double switch late in games, and because Reynolds has some extra pop in his bat than Kelly, Reynolds should be the choice.

In the event Lagares cannot play, the last spot on the team becomes a bit dicey. As the Mets bullpen is constituted, the team has multiple pitchers who can go multiple innings thereby negating the need to carry an eighth reliever, but depending on the opponent, the Mets can still benefit from that extra arm.

Right now, there are no easy choices towards the back end of the Wild Card Game roster. Ultimately, the Mets will have to make the right decisions as the last player(s) could very well be the difference between the Mets advancing to the NLDS and the Mets wondering what could’ve been.

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Noah Syndergaard Scratched From Saturday’s Start Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:28:08 +0000 noah syndergaard 2

According to Marc Carig, Noah Syndergaard will be scratched from tomorrow’s start due to strep throat. Sean Gilmartin will be starting in his place.

While this doesn’t have the same impact as Steven Matz being done for the year, Syndergaard having to miss a start is a blow to the Mets chances of claiming one of the two Wild Card spots. The impact could have far reaching implications as well.

Syndergaard was in line to pitch the Wild Card Game. The Mets hope Syndergaard will start next on Monday or Tuesday, meaning he will no longer be in line for the Wild Card Game. In that event, the Mets will likely look to Bartolo Colon or even Seth Lugo to make that start.

For his part, Gilmartin had not made a start since being called up from Las Vegas when the rosters were expanded. In 18 starts and one relief appearance for Las Vegas, Gilmartin was 9-7 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.425 WHIP. Last year, he made only one start for the Mets taking the loss against the Phillies after allowing two runs over five innings.

Between Lugo’s five inning start and the Mets going into extra innings, Gabriel Ynoa pitching tonight, and Gilmartin going tomorrow, it appears as if the Mets bullpen is going to be taxed after this four game set.

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Mets Rule 5 Draft Preview: No Shortage Of Options and Tough Decisions Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:28:45 +0000 amed-rosario-mlb-photo

With the Mets adding Gavin Cecchini to the 40-man roster to sit on the bench as the Mets are chasing down a Wild Card spot, the team had one less decision to make on who should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Even if the Mets didn’t add Cecchini now, he was going to be added in the offseason anyway as he is too valuable a prospect, and he would be snatched up immediately in the Rule 5 Draft.

Cecchini was not the only player the Mets were going to have to make a decision on this offseason. In fact, the Mets have to make a decision on 66 different prospects about whether or not they should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Here is a review of some of the more notable players that could be added to the 40 man roster:


SS Amed Rosario (Adv-A, AA) .324/.374/.459, 24 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 71 RBI, 19 SB

Yes, if it hasn’t been apparent this entire year, Rosario is in a class all by himself. If he’s not added to the 40 man roster someone is getting fired.


1B/3B Matt Oberste (AA) .283/340/.409, 21 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 1 SB

One issue that has plagued Oberste his entire minor league career is that he has had to fight for at-bats as he is usually stuck behind a more heralded Mets prospect. That has literally and figuratively been Dominic Smith (who is not yet Rule 5 eligible). Oberste was an Eastern League All-Star, however the issue that is always going to hold him back is the fact that he is a corner infielder who does not hit for much power. Most likely, Oberste will not be added to the 40 man roster.

CF Champ Stuart (Adv-A, AA) .240/.314/.349, 12 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 40 SB

Stuart is an elite defensive outfielder that has speed on the bases as evidenced by him stealing 40 this season. The issue with Stuart is that he is a maddening offensive player. He went from hitting .265/.347/.407 in 71 games for Advanced A St. Lucie to hitting .201/.264/.261 in 43 games for AA Binghamton. While he certainly has the tools to possibly be a big league player one day, he is too far away at this point. With teams putting more of a premium on offense than defense, it is likely he will not be protected, and  will possibly not be drafted.

C Tomas Nido (Adv-A) .320/.357/.459, 23 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB

This year was a breakout season defensively and offensively for the Florida State League batting champion. Normally, with Nido never having played a game in AA, the Mets would be able to leave him unprotected and be assured he wouldn’t be drafted. However, with catcher being such a difficult position to fill, it is possible a team like the Braves would take a flyer on him and keep him as their second or third string catcher all year. It is exactly how the Mets lost Jesus Flores to the Nationals in 2006.

SP Marcos Molina (2015 Rookie, Adv-A) 9 G, 8 GS, 1-5, 4.26 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.9 K/9

Molina did not pitch for the Mets organization for the entire 2016 season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Arizona Fall League will be his first time facing batters in a game since his eight starts for St. Lucie in 2015. It’s likely he will go unprotected and undrafted.


RHP Paul Sewald (AAA) 56 G, 5-3, 19 saves, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.0 K/9

In many ways, it is surprising that a Mets bullpen that was looking for an extra arm never turned to Paul Sewald. While he struggled to start the season like most pitchers transitioning to the Pacific Coast League do, Sewald figured it out and had a terrific second half with 10 saves, a 1.85 ERA, and a 0.95 WHIP. Sewald should be protected. In the event he isn’t, he could be as good as gone.

RHP Beck Wheeler (AA, AAA) 47 G, 0-3, 6 saves, 5.98 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 12.1 K/9

Wheeler went unprotected and undrafted last year, and based upon the numbers he put up in his time split between Binghamton and Las Vegas, it appears the same thing will happen this year. The one reservation is like with the Braves interest in Akeel Morris, teams will always take fliers on guys with mid 90s fastballs who can generate a lot of strikeouts. It just takes one team to think they can help him reduce his walk rate for him to go in the Rule 5 draft.

RHP Chasen Bradford (AAA) 56 G, 4-3, 4.80 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 7.4 K/9

Bradford regressed statistically from last year in large part because he is a sinker/slider pitcher that pitches to contact. On the bright side, he walks very few batters meaning if you have good infield defense, he will be a successful pitcher for your team. His numbers should scare off a number of teams in the Rule 5 draft just like it did last year.

RHP Ricky Knapp (Advanced A & AA) 25 G, 24 GS, 13-6, 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.3 K/9

Knapp started the year in St. Lucie, and he finished it with a spot start in Las Vegas. Knapp doesn’t have any plus pitches, but he gets the most out of all of his pitches because he is excellent at hitting his spots. He is a very polished product that is best suited to being a starting pitcher. Since he doesn’t strike out many batters, teams will most likely pass on him in the Rule 5 draft.

RHP Luis Mateo (AA & AAA) 51 G, 4-4, 1 save, 2.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.0 K/9

He’s a fastball/slider pitcher with a low 90s fastball that generates a fair share of groundball outs while keeping the ball in the ballpark. While his ERA should entice teams, his WHIP and strikeout rate may keep them away just like it did last year when the Mets left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He will most likely begin next year in AAA.


IF Phillip Evans (Ad-A, AA) .321/.366/.460, 30 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 1 SB

The Eastern League Batting Champion certainly raised his profile with a much improved offensive season. He’s starting to become more selective at the plate while learingn how to be less of a pull hitter. The main issue for Evans is he may not have a position. While he can make all the plays at the infield positions, he lacks range to be a solid middle infielder. He also lacks the arm strength and power numbers you would want at third base.

RHP Chris Flexen (Adv-A) 25 GS, 10-9, 3.56 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.4 K/9

Flexen appears to be in the mold of a typical Mets pitching prospect in that he has a high 90′s fastball and a good slider. Despite the repertoire, he is not generating a lot of strikeouts right now. On the bright side, he does generate ground balls while limiting home runs.

RHP Tyler Bashlor (A, Adv-A) 54 G, 4-3, 2.75 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 11.8 K/9

While the 5’11″ Bashlor is short on stature, he has a big arm throwing a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider which he used to dominate in the Sally League. Bashlor used these pitches to strike out 11.8 batters per nine innings. Like Flexen, there is danger exposing a big arm like this even if the highest level of experience he has is four games for Adv-A St. Lucie.

RHP Kevin McGowan (Adv-A, AA) 42 G, 4 GS, 2 saves, 2.35 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.9 K/9

McGowan is a fastball/changeup pitcher that still needs to develop a breaking pitch. While that fastball/changeup combination has been good enough to get batters out at the lower levels of the minor leagues, he is going to need another pitch if he is going to progress as a pitcher.

wuilmer becerra


RF Wuilmer Becerra (Adv-A) .312/.341/.393, 17 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB

Around the time of the Rule 5 Draft last year, the debate was whether a bad team like the Braves would take a flyer on Becerra just to get the promising young outfielder into their organization. Unfortunately, Becerra would have a shoulder injury that would rob him of his budding power. More importantly, that shoulder injury would require surgery ending his season after just 65 games.

1B/3B Jhoan Urena (Adv-A) .225/.301/.350, 17 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB

With the emergence of David Thompson, Urena was pushed from third to first. However, that isn’t what was most troubling about his season. In fact, many questioned whether he could stay at third given his frame. The issue was that the switch-hitting Urena stopped hitting for power this season. He should go undrafted in the Rule 5 Draft.

LHP Paul Paez (Adv-A, AA) 34 G, 4-1, 3.88 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.9 K/9

This year Paez failed to distinguish himself by not pitching particularly well for St. Lucie and then struggling in Binghamton. He only has a high 80′s fastball and lacks a true swing and miss breaking pitch. With lefties hitting .308 off of him this year, he may not even have a future as a LOOGY in a major league bullpen.


OF Patrick Biondi (Adv-A) .271/.352/.332, 17 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB

While Biondi’s stats look good on the surface, at the age of 25, he is still stuck at Advanced A. On the bright side, Biondi has speed and is a good defender in center field. However, until he starts getting on base more frequently, he will not be considered for the 40-man roster.

RHP Nabil Crismatt (-A, A) 13 G, 7 GS, 1-4, 1 Save, 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 10.1 K/9

Crismatt is only 21, but he is mature in terms of his ability to control his changeup and curveball and throw them at any point in the count. Couple that with a low 90s fastball that could gain velocity as he ages, and you have someone who has the repertoire to be a major leaguer. However, considering he hasn’t faced stiff competition yet in his career, he is nowhere ready for the majors, at least not yet.

IF Jeff McNeil 2015 Season (Adv-A, AA) .308/.369/.377, 18 2B, 6 3B, 1 HR, 40 RBI, 16 SB

Coming into the season, McNeil appeared to be more mature physically and at the plate. He seemed ready to begin hitting for more power while still being able to handle 2B defensively. Unfortunately, he would only play in three games this season for Binghamton before going on the disabled list needing season ending sports hernia surgery.

RHP Tim Peterson (Adv-A, AA) 48 G, 4-1, 2 saves, 3.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.3 K/9

At each and every level Peterson has pitched, he has shown the ability to strike people out with a fastball that touches on the mid 90s and a plus curveball. The only issue for him in his career so far was his PED suspension in 2014.


OF Travis Taijeron (AAA) .275/.372/.512, 42 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 1 SB

Taijeron continued to do what he does best, which is get on base and hit for power. Despite a strong Spring Training and another solid offensive season, the Mets really showed no interest in calling him up to the majors. He will most likely go unprotected, but maybe this year a team out there desperate for some power in the outfield or on the bench will give him a shot.

2B L.J. Mazzilli (AA, AAA) .239/.320/.348, 18 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 8 SB

Lee Mazzilli‘s son is a grinder out there who plays a decent second base. Unfortunately, it appears his bat will prevent him from ever getting a real shot to ever play in the big leagues.



Right now, the Mets have 46 players on the 40 man roster and 60 day disabled list. They are going to have some tough decisions to create some room on the roster to protect some valuable assets.

At this point, it appears a given that Jon Niese and Rafael Montero will be among the first cuts. Ty Kelly and Justin Ruggiano made contributions to the 2016 team, but could also be on the bubble. T.J. Rivera was left unprotected last year but he’s secured his spot on the 40 man roster. Eric Campbell, Josh Edgin, Sean Gilmartin, Logan VerrettErik Goeddel are some other candidates who could be bounced from the 40.

Yoenis Cespedes, Alejandro De Aza, Kelly Johnson, Fernando Salas, Bartolo Colon, and Neil Walker are among some of the Mets who will be free agents, but 2-3 of them could be back.

Here is how I see the Mets moving forward as to whom they will protect:

Guaranteed: Amed Rosario

Likely: Chris Flexen, Tomas Nido

Not So Likely: Tyler Bashlor, Ricky Knapp, Kevin McGowan, Paul Sewald, Beck Wheeler

As for the remaining players, the Mets may very well gamble by exposing them to the Rule 5 Draft and potentially losing one or two to another team. Or they could get lucky and walk away with no losses. You can’t protect everybody and remember, the Mets could be plucking someone from another team as well. In any event, the Mets have a number of important decisions to make that might have some far reaching implications.

Editors Note: This was written over a week ago as we waited for the right timing to post.

(Photos: MiLB, Ed Delany)

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Lugo and Gsellman Likely Pitching for a Postseason Roster Spot Sat, 10 Sep 2016 15:44:16 +0000 robert gsellman 2

Every time the Mets run Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to the mound, they’re out there trying to help the Mets return to the postseason. They’re also making their own case as to why the Mets should put them on the postseason roster.

Assuming the Mets make it back to the postseason, there is little guaranteed on who will and who won’t be on the postseason roster. In fact, as it stands today, Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon are the only two starting pitchers who will be guaranteed a spot on the postseason roster.

If, and it is becoming a bigger if with each passing day, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom can return from their injuries, they will be guaranteed not only a spot on the roster, but also a start in the postseason.

Assuming deGrom and Matz can return for the postseason, there will still be room in the bullpen. Last season, the Mets went with 11 pitchers in the bullpen.

The Mets were given that luxury, in part, because the team carried Colon and Jon Niese in the bullpen. This gave the Mets a number of pitchers who could go multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Coupled with a starting rotation that could go deep into a game, the Mets were able to add an extra bat on the bench.

Looking at the Mets bullpen as currently constituted, there are few absolutely guaranteed spots:

  1. Jeurys Familia
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Hansel Robles
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Fernando Salas

With teams only needing four starters in the postseason, that leaves two open spots in the postseason bullpen.

If deGrom and Matz are able to pitch in the postseason, that means Lugo, Gsellman, and Montero will be competing for the last two spots in the bullpen most likely with Josh Smoker and Jim Henderson.

If the Mets want to go with two lefties in the bullpen, Smoker could have the inside track. While he has been touched in three of his nine appearances, Smoker has shown he can strike people out. Currently, he strikes out 14.5 batters per nine innings, which is only slightly higher than his 12.8 strikeout per nine figure in AAA. If Smoker keeps striking people out, it is going to be hard to justify leaving him off the postseason roster.

Given his early season success, Henderson presumably has an excellent chance of being on the postseason roster. However, each and every time Henderson takes the mound, he makes a case why the Mets can’t trust him in a big spot. In his six appearances since coming off the disabled list, Henderson has a 7.20 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit .318 off of him.

If the Mets went with Smoker and Henderson, there may still be a spot for Lugo and Gsellman if the Mets decide to go with 12 pitchers this time around.

In that scenario, there would be one last bullpen spot available that which would most likely go to eithrt Lugo or Gsellman.  That means with every start, Lugo and Gsellman are not just pitching against the opponent, but also each other.

Overall, in order for Lugo and Gsellman to help their chances for a postseason roster spot, and for the Mets to even make the postseason, they are going to have to go out there and continue pitching as well as they have been.

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Mets Late Rally Keys Comeback Victory Over Braves

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Mets Matters: Reynolds Rakes With One Eye Open Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:30:35 +0000 bartolo colon 2

To a player, every year is an audition for the next, and here’s hoping the Mets are taking copious notes on Bartolo Colon. With how well he’s pitched, how ravaged the rotation has been, and the uncertainty of Zack Wheeler’s future, it should be a given re-signing Colon is a priority.

It doesn’t matter he’s 43, or can’t throw his fastball through a wall, or the ceiling of their younger pitchers, Colon knows how to pitch. Colon knows what he has, or more importantly, what he doesn’t possess.

“We had a man on the mound,” manager Terry Collins said. “Nothing fazes him. He gave us what he always does, which is quality innings. He’s an amazing guy.

“Every fifth day he takes the baseball. You don’t have to worry about pitch counts. You don’t have to worry about innings. All he does is make pitches.”

But, none of those pitches were more important than in the third and sixth innings when the Reds had a runner on third with no outs, and twice came away empty. That enabled the half-asleep Mets’ offense time to wake up with three tack-on runs to beat the Reds, 5-0, on Labor Day.

With the victory, the Mets kept heat on St. Louis for the second wild-card and moved to six-games over .500 (72-66), a level they hadn’t been since the night of July 27 when they lost to the Cardinals as Jeurys Familia blew his first save of the season.

The Mets, save Colon, who flew in Sunday afternoon, were dog tired after playing a night game and flying in well past midnight. The Mets were asking Colon to carry them, which he has done now for three seasons.

On Aug. 19, the Mets fell two games below .500 with a loss in San Francisco. Colon beat the Giants the next day to jumpstart the Mets on a stretch where they have won 12 of their next 16 games.

During that stretch, Colon won three games at a time when the Mets lost Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom from the rotation.

Colon gave up five hits and a walk in six scoreless innings to raise his record to a team-high 13-7 with a 3.22 ERA. Colon does it by keeping the Reds off balance by working quickly and staying ahead in the count with a fastball that didn’t stray much over 90 mph.

It’s something the vaunted Mets youthful rotation should benefit from as Colon gives them a pitching clinic every five days. In essence, he’s an active pitching coach.

“If you don’t learn stuff watching him pitch, you’re wasting your time,” Collins said.

For the bargain basement cost of $7.25 million, Colon leads the rotation in wins (13), starts (28) and innings pitched (164.2).

Colon doesn’t fit the prototype, but all he does is come through and that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

matt reynolds 2

REYNOLDS RAKES: While everybody was tired, probably nobody was more drained than Matt Reynolds, who flew all night from Salt Lake City and arrived a few hours before game time.

Reynolds caught the red-eye from Salt Lake City to catch a connection in Boston before heading to Cincinnati. And, it didn’t help he was seated next to one of those obnoxious fliers who insist on talking non-stop.

Reynolds drove in two runs on three hits, including a homer, to lead an offense that rested Yoenis CespedesJose ReyesCurtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera (he appeared as a pinch-hitter and singled).

“I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun,’’ Reynolds told SNY. “I didn’t try to put too much pressure on myself.”

Reynolds said a key was an adjustment he made in Triple-A to move closer to the plate, which forced him to shorten his swing.

BULLPEN STRONG AGAIN: Before this season is over, the Mets’ bullpen will throw a pile of innings, perhaps too many for Collins’ liking.

Collins was able to rest Addison Reed and Familia, who were both used in a non-save situation the night before.

Collins got an inning from the recently-and-frequently abused Hansel Robles; two-thirds of an inning from Jerry Blevins; and 1.1 innings from the recently acquired Fernando Salas.

BRUCE RETURNS HOME: Cincinnati will always be home to Jay Bruce, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his return to Great American Ballpark.

The Reds honored Bruce prior to the game with a video tribute and made a donation to his foundation that supports children with development disabilities.

“It was good. It was a bit odd,” said Bruce. “The Reds took the time to welcome me back. It was what I expected out of this organization. They treated me great the whole time I was here.”

EXTRA INNINGS: Kelly Johnson hit his tenth homer. In looking ahead, the Mets need to seriously consider bringing back Johnson, who doesn’t appear ready to retire. … Wilmer Flores had an interesting day, getting thrown out at second trying to stretch a single and at third attempting to stretch a double. I admit, I was hoping to see him try for an inside-the-park homer. C’mon, admit it, so were you. … The shutout was the Mets’ 11th of the year.

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3 Up 3 Down: Mets Take Three From Fish Fri, 02 Sep 2016 14:38:38 +0000 seth lugo

3 Up

1. CespedYES!

In the opener on Monday night, the Mets got a very much needed quality start from recent call-up Rafael Montero. He and the entire Mets bullpen kept the Mets in that game, and in the 10th inning of a tie ball game, Yoenis Cespedes finished the job by launching a game winning homerun to left center field to get the Mets off to the right start in the series. It was arguably the biggest hit of their season to date, and couldn’t have come at a better time. He collected five hits throughout the four game series.

2. Montero, Lugo Provide Quality Starts

The Mets are starting to get quality starts out of guys they figured wouldn’t even be here at this point in the season. Yet they are, and they are keeping the Mets in crucial ball games. First it was Montero on Monday in the series opener. He gave the Mets five solid innings while giving up no runs, and although he walked six batters, he only allowed two hits. The next night, Seth Lugo gave the Mets six strong innings while only allowing two runs on five hits. Lugo is now 2-2 with a very respectable 2.60 ERA since being called on to the rotation.

3. KJ Clutches Out

If Yoenis Cespedes had the biggest hit in the Mets season on Monday night, Kelly Johnson took that over on Wednesday night with his heroics in the eighth inning. In a tie game with the bases loaded and two outs, Johnson came through, ripping the ball down the right field line clearing the bases. The Mets took a three run lead and Jeurys Familia closed the door in the 9th. It was pandemonium at Citi Field.

jacob degrom terry collins

3 Down

1.  What Has Happened to Jacob deGrom

After getting hit around in his last two starts, Terry Collins decided to give deGrom an extra day of rest. Well, it didn’t work. deGrom struggled again, lasting five innings while allowing three runs on six hits. It was a slight improvement from his last two starts, but in a game the Mets would have like to have in order to sweep the Marlins, deGrom came up short. When he was taken out of the game, he was seen motioning to Mets trainer Ray Ramirez in the dugout.

2. Lousy Loney

For a while, James Loney had been filling in beautifully for injured Lucas Duda, but recently, he hasn’t been getting it done. He went 0-9 in the four game series against the Marlins, and is batting just .176 with one RBI in his last 15 games. At this point, you’d almost opt to play Flores at first and keep Kelly Johnson at second base.

3. Walker’s Season Over

After getting second opinions from two other doctors, Neil Walker and the Mets decided it would be best for him to opt for surgery, ending his 2016 season with the Mets. This is a HUGE blow to a team that needs all the help it can get in the injury department. The Mets will need to find a way to make up for his 23 home runs and 55 RBI. He was having a tremendous season and made Mets fans at least temporarily forget about the departure of Daniel Murphy. Now, how could they forget?

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Fernando Salas Should Help the Mets Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:15:26 +0000 Fernando+Salas+Cincinnati+Reds+v+St+Louis+PUjcmkSqUp-l

Like last year, the Mets acquired Addison Reed right before the August 31st trade deadline. He quickly assumed the seventh inning role for a pennant winner last year. This year, he has taken over the eighth inning, and he has been as good a setup man as there is in baseball.

The problem is Reed and most of the Mets bullpen is fatigued. With that in mind, enter Fernando Salas

Salas mostly relies on his fastball, change up, and a knuckle curveball. He has a slider he uses very infrequently, but when he does throw it, it has proven to be an effective pitch. Given the pitching philosophy of his new team and pitching coach, that may change.

Like Reed last year, Salas has struggled for the most part this year. For the season, Salas has a 4.47 ERA, 1.260 WHIP, and a 7.2 K/9.  Each of these stats are among the worst in his career.

However, it should be noted Salas has pitched much better of late. After a nightmare June and a bad July, he’s a much better pitcher in August. Batters are only hitting .211/.286/.368 against him this month. He had a 3.48 ERA, 1.161 WHIP, and a 10.5 K/9. It’s part of the reason he had taken over as the Angels closer.

For what it’s worth, his postseason numbers are a mixed bag. In his postseason career, he is 0-1 with a 3.54 ERA and a 0.984 WHIP in 18 games. Those stats are actually elevated as he had one bad inning in the 2011 World Series. Speaking of the 2011 World Series, Salas does bring championship experience.

Overall, Salas is a pitcher who should help the Mets. He should give pitchers like Reed rest, and before the season is over, he may very well lock down the seventh inning.

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Mets Acquire RHP Fernando Salas From Angels Thu, 01 Sep 2016 02:54:36 +0000 Fernando+Salas+Cincinnati+Reds+v+St+Louis+PUjcmkSqUp-l

According to the Mets on Twitter, the team has acquired RHP Fernando Salas from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for minor league RHP Erik Manoah.

The deal was actually first reported by our own Jacob Resnick before the Mets or anyone else confirmed it.

Salas, 31, has pitched to a 3-6 record, with a 4.47 ERA and a 7.2 K/9 in 58 games out of the bullpen for the Angels this season.

Those numbers seem underwhelming at best, but it’s worth noting that after a dreadful month of June, Salas has righted the ship the last couple months.

A seven year veteran, Salas bolsters the Mets bullpen for the stretch run and figures to secure the seventh inning for the Mets going forward.

In return, the Mets are giving up prospect Erik Manoah, a 20-year-old who was drafted by the Mets in 13th round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft.

Manoah has spent this season with Class-A Brooklyn, where the young righty pitched to a 5-5 record, with a 5.37 ERA and a 9.1 K/9 in 13 games (12 started).

To make room on the 40-man roster for Salas, Justin Ruggiano has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Credit to Jacob Resnick on Twitter, who reported that Manoah had been traded to the Angels.

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Verrett Implodes As Padres Defeat Mets 8-6 Sat, 13 Aug 2016 02:19:54 +0000 logan verrett

The Mets (57-58) were defeated by the San Diego Padres (50-65) by a score of 8-6 tonight at Citi Field, and in the process have dropped below the .500 mark for the season.


It seems like a lifetime ago, but Logan Verrett started this game for the Mets and was absolutely atrocious, allowing an alarming eight runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out four.

Verrett also allowed four home runs in his short outing, and was noticeably unhappy with himself as seen in the dugout after his poor outing.

Look for Verrett’s next start to be skipped in the rotation in favor of one of Gabriel Ynoa, Robert Gsellman or Jon Niese.

Verrett’s home run chronology breaks down as such: A grand slam off the bat of Ryan Schimpf and a solo shot by Jabari Blash in the first, and a two-run shot by Schimpf and a solo homer from Christian Bethancourt in the third that chased Verrett from the game.

After Verrett was removed, the Mets bullpen actually pitched very well, as Seth Lugo, Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles combined to pitch six scoreless innings, retiring the final 19 batters they faced.

travis d'arnaud


I’ll be honest, after the Padres put up an eight spot early on, I fully expected the Mets to lie down and take the loss like they have done so often this year. However, the Mets actually scored six runs to make a game of it at least.

Travis d’Arnaud who has struggled so mightily recently got the Mets on the board in the second inning with a two-run homer. D’Arnaud also threw out a runner attempting to steal, so it was an improvement of a night for the backstop.

In the fifth inning, Jay Bruce chipped in another run with an RBI single to right that scored Curtis Granderson.

Then in the sixth, Matt Reynolds hit a double with two men on which scored the aforementioned d’Arnaud and pushed Alejandro De Aza to third.

De Aza then scored on a hit from Ty Kelly, and Wilmer Flores plated a run on a fielder’s choice to trim the deficit to 8-6 Padres, but it would be all for naught, as the Padres bullpen buckled down to silence the Mets bats the rest of the way.

On deck:

Jacob deGrom (7-5, 2.35 ERA) takes on Jarred Cosart (0-0, 5.40 ERA) tomorrow night at Citi Field in game two of the weekend series with the Friars. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.


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