Mets Merized Online » Metsmerized Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:36:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Fall 7-3 To Marlins In Emotional Contest Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:12:06 +0000 dee-gordon-travis-darnaud

With all eyes on the game and few eyes on the score, the New York Mets (83-74) fell 7-3 to the Miami Marlins (78-78) on Monday night in South Beach. With the Giants off and the Cardinals losing to Cincinnati, the Mets lead San Francisco by half a game and St Louis by one game in the NL Wild Card race.

The night began with a pregame ceremony to honor late Marlins superstar José Fernandez, after which the two teams spontaneously embraced each other in the infield. Every Marlins player wore Fernandez’s jersey throughout the game.

Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first for Miami, wearing Fernandez’s helmet and initially batting from the right side to honor his fallen best friend. After switching to his natural left side of the plate, Gordon drove a 2-0 pitch from Bartolo Colon over the wall for his first home run of the season, breaking down as he rounded the bases and embracing his teammates and coaches upon reaching the dugout.

The Marlins controlled the game from there, scoring four more runs in the 2nd inning and two in the 3rd to chase Bartolo early.


The Mets bullpen provided 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Colon, with Gabriel Ynoa (1.2 innings), Rafael Montero (1), Erik Goeddel (1.2), Josh Edgin (0.1) and Jim Henderson (1) keeping the game within reason. New York scored two in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera double that made it 7-2, but left the bases loaded in the sixth and managed only an RBI single from Lucas Duda the rest of the way, as Adam Conley (who pitched just three innings) and the Marlins bullpen held strong to finish off the 7-3 win.

The Mets need wins down the stretch, but it was hard to watch this game with that in mind.

Up Next: Noah Syndergaard will face Tom Koehler when the Mets face Miami on Tuesday at 7:10 in Miami.


]]> 0 Syndergaard Struggles As Braves Top Mets 7-3 Tue, 20 Sep 2016 02:36:35 +0000 noah-syndergaard-2

The New York Mets (80-70) fell by a score of 7-3 to the Atlanta Braves (59-91) on Monday night at Citi Field. The Mets lead the Giants by half a game and the Cardinals by 1.5 games in the Wild Card race, pending the outcome of tonight’s games.

Noah Syndergaard didn’t have it tonight for the Mets, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 3.2 innings.

Walks hurt Thor in the second inning, when the Braves took a 2-0 lead on RBI singles from Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte. Atlanta added another run on a Freddie Freeman homer in the third. Freeman got to Syndergaard again in the fourth inning for a two-run double before an infield hit by Matt Kemp ended Noah’s night.

Sean Gilmartin pitched well in relief, and the Mets clawed back against Aaron Blair with a two-run shot from TJ Rivera, but New York couldn’t get any closer than 5-2. Swanson knocked in two more runs with a single off of Hansel Robles (the runs were charged to Josh Edgin), and the Mets went quietly after that, getting only an RBI double from James Loney on their way to a 7-3 loss.

The Mets will be back at it on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Robert Gsellman (2-1, 3.08 ERA) will face Julio Teheran (5-10, 3.18) at 7:10 PM.

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Bartolo, Bats Make For A Stress-Free Labor Day As Mets Beat Reds 5-0 Mon, 05 Sep 2016 20:25:19 +0000 bartolo colon 2

The New York Mets (72-66) topped the Reds (57-79) by a score of 5-0 on a Labor Day matinee in Cincinnati on Monday. The Mets are now half a game back of the St Louis for the final Wild Card spot, pending the Cardinals’ game against the Pirates this evening.

Bartolo Colon pitched for the Mets and was terrific, scattering 5 hits and a walk over 6 scoreless innings, striking out 2. He was backed by a solid offensive performance from the “ReplaceMets,” with several key players getting the day off after a night game and a flight.

The Mets got on the board first in the top of the third inning against Robert Stephenson when a jetlagged, sleepless Matt Reynolds hit a solo shot in his first at-bat back from Triple-A. In the bottom of the inning, Colon put runners on second and third with no outs, but escaped the jam unscathed. Kelly Johnson then padded the lead with a solo shot of his own in the top of the fifth.

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Bartolo allowed another runner to reach third with no outs in the bottom of the sixth, but again got out of the inning without allowing a run. In the top of the seventh, the Mets scored 3 runs on a walk by Travis d’Arnaud, singles from James Loney, Reynolds, and Asdrubal Cabrera (off the bench), and a sacrifice fly from Alejandro De Aza.

With a 5-0 lead, Terry Collins went to Hansel Robles in the bottom of the seventh and got a scoreless frame from the hard-throwing righty. Jerry Blevins got a couple outs in the eighth before getting into a jam which Fernando Salas was able to work out of to keep the Reds off the board. Salas then pitched a perfect ninth to seal the Met victory.

With the Mets keeping much of their A-lineup on the bench, they looked to be opening the door for a vastly inferior Reds team to steal a game. Bartolo Colon made sure that didn’t happen, keeping a Reds lineup with a few pretty solid bats in check before giving way to the bullpen, which had a solid day as well.

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Meanwhile, the offense got the job done, and then some. Reynolds had a big day in his first game back, collecting 3 hits, including the homer, and 2 RBI. Wilmer Flores also had a nice day at the plate with 3 hits of his own, but didn’t fare so well on the basepaths, getting gunned down twice by Adam Duvall and getting doubled up for a third out on a line drive to Joey Votto.

Cabrera continues to rake. He only saw a minute of playing time, as he didn’t put a glove on and was pinch-run for after reaching base, but still made an impact with the base-hit that drove in the fourth run and set up the fifth.

Jay Bruce didn’t make any noise at the plate, but got a nice ovation from the Cincinnati crowd in his first game back since the trade. The only other time the Reds fans made any noise was in the ninth inning, when Ty Kelly became the tenth Met to strike out and in doing so granted the Cincinnati faithful the gift of free pizza.

This was a nice, comfortable win, albeit one against a team the Mets should beat comfortably on a regular basis. Hopefully they’ll keep it going on Tuesday.

Up Next: Rafael Montero (0-0, 3.68 ERA) will make his second start of the year when the Mets take on the Reds at 7:10 on Tuesday in Cincinnati. The Reds will counter with Brandon Finnegan (8-10, 4.19 ERA).

Happy Labor Day, and Let’s Go Mets!

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]]> 0 Mets Do Not Plan To Promote Michael Conforto Before September 1 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:00:06 +0000 michael conforto

Michael Conforto has been raking in Triple-A lately, but the New York Mets do not plan to call up the outfielder before rosters expand on September 1st.

“I’d say probably not,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York when asked whether Conforto would return to the big leagues in August.

Conforto got off to a red-hot start to the year in April, but fell into a massive slump that led the Mets to demote him to the minors. He hit well and was called back up before too long, but after continuing to struggle against big-league pitching and receive limited playing time for a team trying to stay afloat in a playoff race, Conforto was sent back down last week.

Conforto is hitting an absurd .684 since his second demotion, a mark which he would obviously never approach at the Major-League level, but one Alderson still views as legitimate despite the inflated hitting statistics often seen in the Pacific Coast League.

“To use [Brandon] Nimmo as an example, well, it’s the Coast League, but he’s leading the league in hitting. Adjust all of those guys for the Pacific Coast League, he’s still the best,” Alderson said. “And Conforto, the way he’s hitting, is very similarly successful. I’m happy he’s doing it, and I’m looking forward to seeing him back here.”

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Mets Trail All The Way In 10-6 Loss To Diamondbacks Tue, 16 Aug 2016 05:25:02 +0000 bartolo colon

The New York Mets (59-59) fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks (49-69) by a score of 10-6 on Monday night in Phoenix. The loss drops the Mets to 3 games back of both the St Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins in the NL Wild Card Race (the Mets also trail the Pirates by 2.5 games).

Bartolo Colon struggled on the hill for the Mets, allowing 5 runs (2 earned) on 9 (hard) hits and 2 walks, striking out just 1 in 4 innings. Bart did draw his first career walk, stripping him of his MLB record for most career at-bats without a walk.

The Mets fell behind early and trailed the entire game, which has happened far too many times this season. Jose Reyes walked to lead off the game, but with Reyes on the move to second, Curtis Granderson‘s rocket down the line found the glove of Paul Goldschmidt for what became an easy double-play. In the bottom of the first, TJ Rivera made an error to start the frame and the Diamondbacks strung together 4 hits to plate 3 runs, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.

The Mets got a pair of singles to lead off the top of the second, but a double-play killed the rally before it got going, helping Robbie Ray through the inning. New York did get on the board in the top of the third when Travis d’Arnaud singled, Colon reached first when a sacrifice bunt turned into a throwing error, and Reyes singled TDA home, but the Mets could not capitalize further, with Colon being stuck on third on a fairly deep Jay Bruce fly ball that would have scored any other player in the MLB.

The Diamondbacks got the run right back in the bottom of the third to make it 4-2, and after Colon’s first-ever walk set up another RBI single from Reyes, Arizona again erased the Mets’ progress with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Erik Goeddel replaced Colon in the fifth and allowed a pair of RBI doubles that put the hosts up 7-1, and the Snakes later stretched that to 8-2 with a run against Seth Lugo.

The Mets got a little something going in the top of the 7th with singles from Granderson and Neil Walker and walks from Bruce and Wilmer Flores forced in a run and set up a bases-loaded situation with no outs and the Mets trailing 8-3, but RBI sacrifice flies from TJ Rivera and Ty Kelly were of little use this late in the game. Hansel Robles gave up a  2-run shot to Yasmany Tomas in the bottom of the 8th to make it 10-5, and Neil Walker’s solo blast leading off the top of the 9th was just a speed bump for Arizona as they closed out their 4th victory against the Mets in as many tries, 10-6.

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Colon just didn’t have anything in this game, simple as that. The D-backs hit him, and they hit him hard. Arizona remains the only MLB team that Colon has never beaten.

The Mets hit some balls well against Robbie Ray, but had some rotten luck, with everything finding a glove or slicing just foul. As usual, the Mets also squandered a couple big chances with runners in scoring position, and while 6 runs on 12 hits will usually be enough with our pitching staff, it wasn’t on this day.

Wellington Castillo killed the Mets tonight with 4 hits, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. This was his first game back from the paternity list, which means his newborn child appears to be a good luck charm and also means that I forgot to put him back in my fantasy baseball lineup. Rats. Paul Goldschmidt also killed us tonight with 3 well-struck hits (including a triple and a double), but he kills everybody.

Travis d’Arnaud had a terrific game for the Mets with 3 hits and is suddenly red-hot. Neil Walker continued to be red-hot with 3 hits of his own including the solo home run in the final inning.

It’s one thing to lose games, but it’s downright deflating to give up crooked numbers in the first inning and play a feeble game of catch-up the rest of the way. It’s hard to watch, and it’s happened twice in the last four games and several times this season. When the Mets are doing well, they’re usually the ones striking in the first inning or two. Right now, they’re letting other teams set the tone. That has to change.

The Mets are now 0-4 against the Diamondbacks. They’re 3 games out of the playoffs, so that’s the difference right there. You have to beat the bad teams. The Mets have gotten beat over and over against by this bad team, and that has to change starting Tuesday night.

Up Next: Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 2.75 ERA) will face Braden Shipley (2-1, 2.96) ERA when the Mets take on the Diamondbacks at 9:40 on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

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Murphy Carries Nats To Sweep Despite Late Mets Rally As Washington Wins 4-2 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 02:35:05 +0000 daniel murphy

The New York Mets (40-37) fell by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday night in DC to the Washington Nationals (47-32). The loss capped off a sweep at the hands of the Nats and dropped the Mets to 6 games back in the NL East.

Logan Verrett pitched fairly well for the Mets in a spot start, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings.

But the Mets did nothing against Nationals stud Max Scherzer, who struck out 10 and allowed just 2 hits and a walk in 7.1 scoreless innings.

The Mets fell behind early, as they have done far too often lately, when former Met Daniel Murphy let off the bottom of the second with a solo shot. Washington scored again in the next inning when Brandon Nimmo misplayed a fly ball that turned into a double for Danny Espinosa, who later scored on a sacrifice fly from Jason Werth.

The game crawled on uneventfully for several innings until the top of the eighth. With Scherzer cruising and the Nats up 2-0, Nimmo put together a terrific at-bat that ended in a single up the middle. Former Met Ollie Perez came in and allowed a pinch-hit single to Curtis Granderson, before being replaced by Blake Treinen. Treinen got a slow roller from pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud for the second out, but the tying runs both moved up a base, bringing Alejandro De Aza up with a chance to tie the game with a single. But De Aza continued his monumental struggles, striking out against Shawn Kelley to end the inning.

The Nationals tacked on what seemed like unnecessary insurance against a lifeless offense in the top of the 9th, when Murphy took Sean Gilmartin deep with a man on base for his second home run of the year, tying his career high of 14 in a season (it’s June 29th).

But that insurance proved to be the difference, as the Mets put together a rally in the top of the ninth against Kelley. After Neil Walker struck out, Yoenis Cespedes singled and James Loney hit a two-run shot to make it 4-2. Asdrubal Cabrera then whiffed before Kelly Johnson doubled to bring Brandon Nimmo up as the tying run, but for the second time in his week-old Major League career, Nimmo struck out looking to end the ballgame.

logan verrett

Verrett did his job tonight. He kept us in the game, which is all you can ask from a guy making a spot start against one of the game’s best pitchers. The only thing he could have done better was give the Mets more length to rest a tired bullpen. If Verrett stays in the game longer, Gilmartin doesn’t pitch the ninth and give up that crucial home run. But Verrett’s shaky control ran his pitch count up early in the game.

The Mets led 4-0 in the third inning of game 1 of this series, but trailed after all but 2 innings the rest of the series. We didn’t make the Nationals work too hard en route to what was a huge sweep for our rivals, who are now six games up in the division.

There’s plenty of baseball left to play, but the Mets are in gut-check mode as far as the divisional race is concerned. They have 4 games with the MLB-best Cubs, while the Nationals will play 4 with the Reds (probably the worst team in baseball right now). We then play 3 with the Marlins while the Nats play 3 with the Brewers (another bad team, albeit one that has given both the Mets and the Nationals trouble recently) before the two teams meet again for a 4-game set, this time at Citi Field.

If things break well for the Mets between now and then, they will likely still be about six back. Winning three or possibly even four against Washington at home would keep the Mets right on the Nationals’ heels going into the break, so that series will be huge, and the Mets will need to play much better than they did over the last three days. If Washington wins that series, the standings will start to look ugly.

It was nice to see the Mets put together a rally in the ninth in this game, even if it was a bit frustrating (we needed 2 runs most of the night, and finally got 2 when we needed 4). The bats looked better in those final two innings, and maybe that’s what the team needs heading into a meeting with a team hell-bent on revenge.

Let’s sweep the Cubbies again, for old times’ sake.

Up next: Steven Matz, who pitched game 4 of the NLCS, will face the Cubs again on Thursday at 7:10 PM in New York. John Lackey will pitch for Chicago.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets Take Early Lead, But Fall Apart In Loss To Nationals Tue, 28 Jun 2016 03:24:13 +0000 syndergaard darnaud

The New York Mets (40-35) fell to the Washington Nationals (45-32) by a score of 11-4 on Monday night in DC. With the loss (and obviously, the Washington win), New York fell 4 games back in the division, while also falling half a game behind the now-second-place Miami Marlins.

The Mets had a nice start to the game, getting a run in the top of the first against Nationals pitcher Joe Ross. Curtis Granderson led off with a single, moved to third when Yoenis Cespedes hit a ball through a hole opened up by a shift, and scored on a well-hit sacrifice fly by Neil Walker. James Loney hit another ball well against a pitcher who was clearly missing his best stuff, but Ben Revere ranged back to make a nice catch and end the frame. Still, the Mets had given an ace a run to work with.

But it quickly became clear that Noah Syndergaard did not have his best stuff either on this night. Ben Revere led off with a single and swiped the first of many bases the Nationals would steal in the game. A pair of walks then loaded the bases with none out. Syndergaard got out of the jam on a force-out at the plate (thanks to a nice play by James Loney) and a double-play ball, keeping the lead intact despite failing to keep his pitch count low.

The Mets tacked on another run in the next inning, with Brandon Nimmo‘s first career hit setting things in motion. Another single from Travis d’Arnaud put runners on the corners and Granderson drove in the run with a liner that Bryce Harper just failed to reach. A walk loaded the bases for Cespedes, but the Mets could not blow the game open as Ross fanned the Met slugger.

Thor had a much cleaner second inning, striking out three around a lone single. And a few minutes later, the Mets seemed to be in complete control of the game. Neil Walker singled to lead things off and Loney doubled to set the stage for Wilmer Flores, who drove in a pair with a base-hit. Nimmo then beat out an infield single for his second hit to put runners on 1st and 2nd with none out and the Mets up 4-0. But the team could not capitalize further. After Flores moved to third on a sacrifice fly by d’Arnaud, Flores was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Syndergaard bunt, and Granderson grounded out to end the inning.

From that point on, it was all Nats. Revere led off the bottom of the third with another single, stole another base, and Werth walked again after a seven-pitch at-bat. Harper then singled to drive in Revere and stole second. Harper was then thrown out at third on the next play as Werth scored to make it 4-2. Wilson Ramos singled and a wild pitch put runners on second and third before a strikeout put Thor an out away from escaping the inning with the lead. But with 2 out, Anthony Rendon hit a slow grounder that somehow got through the hole on the right side (Loney could have had it) and the game was tied. Rendon then stole second and scored to give the Nats the lead on a Danny Espinosa single, before Syndergaard finally put out the fire.

That’s how the game was lost. The Mets wouldn’t score from that point on. Ross settled in a bit, the Mets’ bats faded, and Washington began to pile on. Sean Gilmartin got pounded, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings, and the Nationals added another run against Erik Goeddel in the sixth to make it 11-4 before Goeddel tossed a scoreless 7th and Antonio Bastardo pitched a clean 8th to stop the onslaught. The Mets managed several singles against Ross and the Nats bullpen, ending up with an impressive 14 by the game’s end, but didn’t make anything of it.

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That was as rough as it gets. The team appears set to cut the gap in the division to 2 games, and it ends up at 4 games. The struggling offense gave their best pitcher a solid lead and it ended up being a blowout in the other team’s favor. The success and the meltdown both came so early that most of the game was spent wondering how this could happen.

But even when the Mets went up 2-0 and 4-0, the lead didn’t seem as safe as it usually would, because Thor was clearly, as they say, “battling” tonight. It was like watching Jacob deGrom in Game 5 of the NLDS, without the happy result. Because Thor pulled the rabbit out of the hat in the 1st inning, but couldn’t do it the 2nd time he got into trouble. I completely agree with the decision to pull him early, after 71 high-stress pitches (pitches which the human arm isn’t built to throw— not that Thor is human).

The Nationals ran all over the Mets tonight. The Mets are the worst team in the league at holding runners and Washington knew it coming into the game. They made us pay. Every single was essentially a double, and there were far too many singles. The Nationals had 17 hits tonight, 14 of which were singles (The Mets, to their credit, had 14 hits of their own).

The Mets had an ineffective pitcher on the ropes early and didn’t make him pay. 4 runs is a nice tally early in the game, but it could have been more, and as we saw, the Mets could have used more. For all the complaining about home runs in the Mets fan community, a home run after a pair of singles does a lot more damage than another single. But the Mets also could have done with some better luck, and, in the top of the third, better baserunning.

Wilmer Flores being thrown out at the plate was the turning point in this game. I’m not sure if it was a safety squeeze or a sacrifice bunt, but Flores is not fast enough to take many risks, and he already got burned doing so last week against the Braves. It wasn’t a great bunt if the goal was to get Wilmer home, and he almost made it, but we ended up doing Ross a huge favor on that play.

Speaking of the Braves, this is why the Mets need (or needed) to fatten up on those teams. If we had taken 5 of 7 from the Braves in our recent meetings, we’d have been tied going into the series and only 1 game back after this bummer of a contest. Now, we’re 4 games back, and really need to win at least 1 of the next 2 before a 4-game set with the Cubs, 3 games with the Marlins and a huge 4-game series with these Nationals before the All-Star Break.

Congrats to Brandon Nimmo on a solid game and his first two hits— the first of many to come. Tomorrow is a new day, and let’s hope it’s a much better one for our Mets.

The Mets will look to get back on the horse on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital. Matt Harvey will face the MLB’s top prospect in Lucas Giolito, who will be making his MLB debut.

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Nationals Place Stephen Strasburg On 15-Day DL Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:28:45 +0000 stephen strasburg

The Washington Nationals placed star pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 16th, with an upper back strain on Sunday. Strasburg missed two consecutive starts with the back issue and also dislocated two ribs while lifting weights last week.

The Mets won’t see Strasburg in their upcoming three-game series with Washington, but the ace right-hander could pitch against New York in the four-game set at Citi Field before the All-Star Break.

Strasburg boasts a 10-0 record with a 2.90 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 93 innings pitched.

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MMO Players Of The Week: A Switch-Hitter and A Southpaw Tue, 31 May 2016 17:00:02 +0000 Mets POTW

As we head into the warmer months on the schedule, the New York Mets are looking to heat up themselves, trying to navigate through some injuries and under-performing players.

The bats have remained inconsistent from game-to-game, relying heavily on the long ball still, while Manager Terry Collins tries to get some of his veteran bats going. Choosing an offensive Player of the Week was a bit tricky, since most of the Mets’ lineup has ebbed and flowed more than the Hudson River.

But after some heavy consideration, I landed on a player that batted nearly .500 for the week of May 22-28. And the selection was very apropos, considering he led the offensive charge in Monday’s 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox with a solo home run in the 7th inning.

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Neil Walker had a strong week at the plate for the Mets, going 8-for-20 with one home run, one double, two runs batted in, four runs scored, and three walks. In the six games the Mets played during that stretch, Walker was on base in every game at least once.

Walker went back-to-back with Yoenis Cespedes in Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals in the fifth, giving the Mets a 7-1 lead, which would be the final score. Walker also knocked in the first run of Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, doubling off of rookie LHP Julio Urias to drive in Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Mets the early lead.

In terms of his production against the rest of the second baseman in the Majors, Walker is currently 2nd in home runs (12), 6th in slugging (.506), and 7th in OPS (.837) at the conclusion of Monday’s game. He’s provided solid defense up the middle for the Mets, and has been fun to watch partner with Cabrera on the double-play ball. It’s quite a change of what we’ve been used to watching up the middle defensively these past several years, at times having to close our eyes on balls hit up the middle and hope for the best.

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Steven Matz earns MMO’s Pitcher of the Week, pitching a gem against the Nationals in Wednesday’s rubber game. After another brutal outing by Matt Harvey the night prior, the Mets were looking to win their first series against their rivals.

Matz was brilliant in the day game, tossing eight innings of four hit baseball. Matz reached the eight inning mark for the first time in his Major League career, tossing 7 2/3 innings twice before. Matz didn’t give up a run in this game, after the Nationals scored seven on Tuesday night. He only walked one batter, and struck out seven, his fifth game this year with at least seven strikeouts.

Matz faced some trouble in he eighth inning, when he surrendered a pinch-hit single to Clint Robinson with two outs in the inning. That brought the tying man to the plate, which was pinch-hitter Bryce Harper, the reigning National League MVP. Matz got behind Harper 2-0 with two fastballs on the outside part of the plate. It was at this moment that pitching coach Dan Warthen turned to Collins and said, “”We’ll find out what he’s made of right here.”

And find out they did, as Matz threw another fastball that Harper took for a called strike, and went after him again with a 93 mph heater that Harper chopped over the mound. Matt Reynolds gloved it and tossed to Eric Campbell at first to retire the side, and keep the Mets lead in tact. Matz stayed tough and resilient in a moment where things could’ve turned ugly, considering he was facing one of the best hitters in the game. His poise and rise to the big moment should give Mets’ fans lots to look forward to from the 25 year-old lefty, as he and Noah Syndergaard have paired up to be in the discussion as one of the best one-two punches in the game.

What a rebound Matz has had since his disastrous opening start on April 11th against the Miami Marlins, when he gave up seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched. He’s won all seven of his next starts, and now has a stat line of 7-1, with a 2.36 earned run average, and a WHIP of 0.99. He’s currently a top contender for National League Rookie of the Year, where he leads all rookie starting pitchers in wins (7), earned run average (2.36), WHIP (0.99), and second in strikeouts (50), behind only Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers who has 51.

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Harvey and Familia Carry Mets To 1-0 Win By Still Being Really Good At Baseball Mon, 30 May 2016 20:08:46 +0000 matt harvey 2

He’s Back!

The Mets (29-21) beat the White Sox (27-25) by a score of 1-0 on Monday afternoon at Citi Field.

Matt Harvey tossed a gem for the Mets, allowing 2 hits and a walk in 7 shutout innings, striking out 6 on 87 efficient pitches.

Harvey went up against Chicago stud Jose Quintana (who the Mets originally signed in 2006), who matched zeroes with The Dark Knight for most of the day.

The Mets stranded a few runners in the first six innings, including Ty Kelly, who was left on first after his first career hit. The White Sox did little against Harvey (who got help from a great diving stop by Wilmer Flores) in the early going, and the game was scoreless going into the 7th. But the game turned right there. After Harvey worked out of a jam in the top of the inning, Neil Walker led off the bottom of the frame with a solo shot that would ultimately decide the contest.

Addison Reed tossed a quick, scoreless eighth, and Jeurys Familia, who got rocked in consecutive non-save-situation appearances against the Dodgers this weekend, posted a perfect ninth to get back on the horse and end the ballgame.

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What a big game for Harvey. After so many bad outings to start the year, he finally had a solid, steady performance today. It was his first time going into the seventh and his first time allowing zero runs. He got hit a bit harder after the first time through the order, and almost let the game get away from him the third time through, so he’s not out of the woods just yet. But this was a very, very encouraging performance with obviously stellar results.

Familia had a big outing as well, retiring the side in order to pick up his 32nd straight regular season save and ease whatever doubts may have arisen during the Dodgers series. He’ll need to get his slider going soon, but Dan Warthen can fix any slider in the land, so I’m not too worried.

It was another quiet night for the bats, but it’s hard to do much against guys like Quintana (let alone the Kershaws). Harvey kept the Mets in the game until somebody could get the big hit and eventually Walker got that hit, continuing his recent hot streak after a rough start to the month of May.

Rene Rivera is doing a great job with this pitching staff, and making a great case for some major playing time.

The Mets will look to make it two in a row against the ChiSox on Tuesday at 7:10 PM when Steven Matz (7-1, 2.36 ERA) takes on Mat Latos (6-1, 4.06) in New York.


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MMO Game Recap: Mets Throw Early Party For Bartolo In 7-1 Win Over Nationals Tue, 24 May 2016 03:06:42 +0000 bartolo colon

The Mets (26-18) cruised to a 7-1 win over the Nationals (27-18) in the opening game of a three-game set in the nation’s capital.

Bartolo Colon threw a gem for the Mets on the eve of his 43rd birthday. The Ageless One allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 7 quick innings, striking out 2 and walking 2 on 90 pitches.

The game was delayed an hour due to rain. Once things got underway, the Mets looked all set to jump on Gio Gonzalez early when Curtis Granderson singled to start the ballgame and Juan Lagares reached on a well-placed dribbler. But the Washington lefty held his ground, striking out David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes before getting Neil Walker to ground out and strand the runners. The Nats then took the lead in the bottom of the first on singles from Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.

But after a disappointing start to the game, the heart of the order made up for it, and then some. After Granderson was plunked in the third and Lagares got his second hit, Wright continued his recent revival with a three-run homer to left that put the Mets in front. Consecutive singles from Cespedes, Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera plated a fourth run and Eric Campbell made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly.

The Mets extended their lead in the 5th on back-to-back solo shots from Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker, and the 7-1 score held the rest of the way, as Jerry Blevins and Logan Verrett tossed scoreless frames in relief of Colon.

david wright

What a great job by Bartolo. He made it all look easy tonight, despite being squeezed at times by the umpire, who had a strange and inconsistent strike zone to say the least. Colon gave the Mets 7 innings which was huge in that it let Terry Collins rest his bullpen— and the big righty probably could have gone eight or nine.

UPDATE: Bartolo felt some back stiffness, which contributed to his relatively early exit. He had no interest in hitting tonight, though. I don’t think the bat left his shoulder once.

UPDATE: Bartolo said he told the Nationals’ catcher he promised not to swing. Actually. 

The Captain came up big as well. After failing to produce in the first inning with guys on base, he produced as much as possible in his next at-bat, plating both runners as well as himself. He made solid contact later in the game and looked good in the field as well. After a walkoff hit in the series against the Brewers, David looks to be on the right track. His blast tonight was his 240th, putting him 12 behind Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record.

Cespedes is just unreal. He now leads the league in home runs and RBI and has his batting average up over .300.

Walker’s home run was a nice sign, as he looks to be turning it around after a rough patch to start the month of May. With Lucas Duda out, Walker will need to step up in the #5 hole.

The Mets are now a half-game out of first place and will look to leapfrog the Nats on Tuesday night. Matt Harvey will take on Stephen Strasburg at 7 PM in DC.

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Wheeler Throws From Mound For First Time Since Surgery Mon, 23 May 2016 23:48:09 +0000 zack wheeler whiff

Zack Wheeler threw 10 fastballs off of the mound on Monday, his first time doing so since having Tommy John surgery before the 2015 season.  (Rubin, Carig)

Wheeler, the second of the Mets’ five stud pitching prospects (after Matt Harvey) to arrive in Flushing, went 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and 271 strikeouts in his first 285 big-league innings after being called up in the middle of 2013.

He pitched a full year in 2014 but missed the entire 2015 campaign.

The Mets hope to have the 25 year-old righty back some time around July 1.


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Wilmer Flores To Begin Rehab Assignment Tuesday Mon, 23 May 2016 20:25:39 +0000 wilmer flores

Manager Terry Collins told reporters at Nationals Park that infielder Wilmer Flores will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday.

Flores, 24, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 12 with a strained left hamstring. The earliest he can be activated from the DL is next Friday.

Flores will likely take over at first base for the injured Lucas Duda upon his return.

Original Report – May 12

Wilmer Flores is heading to the 15-day DL. The Mets’ beloved utility man was seen packing his bags after the team’s 4-3 win in LA and the news broke moments later that he had been placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury.

Flores hurt the hamstring in Monday’s series opener and tried to play through it on Tuesday.  He will fly to New York where team doctors will examine him.

Pitcher Sean Gilmartin will be called up to take his spot on the roster with Steven Matz scheduled to miss at least one start due to forearm soreness (he will be evaluated on Monday).

Flores has struggled this season (.180 BA with 1 home run) but had started to hit better recently.


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MMO Game Recap: Thor Single-Handedly Beats Dodgers In 4-3 Victory Thu, 12 May 2016 05:38:26 +0000 noah syndergaard dugout

The New York Mets (21-12) defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers (17-17) by a score of 4-3 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Noah Syndergaard got the ball for the Mets and did it all himself, tossing 8 brilliant innings (2 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 95 pitches) and driving in all four runs with a pair of home runs.

Thor became the second pitcher in Met history to go yard twice in a game, joining Walt Terrell on Terrell’s 58th birthday.

Rookie sensation Kenta Maeda pitched decently for a mere mortal, but was outperformed on both ends by his opposite number. Maeda surrendered one of Thor’s homers leading off the third and the other with two men on in the fifth.

Syndergaard allowed solo shots to Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal, but otherwise held the Dodgers in check.

The Mets could have won this game comfortably, but squandered many chances to get some insurance runs. The team left 9 men on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Thor had two chances at a three-homer game, but struck out both times. He did, however rip some screaming line drives in his third at-bat. The guy can hit.

Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto had two hits apiece, while Neil Walker snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a double.

Jeurys Familia had a rocky ninth, allowing a leadoff double and a pair of groundouts that got the run home (and were both nearly hits), but got some help from his defense and struck out Yasiel Puig to end the ballgame.

noah syndergaard hr

That was unreal. Thor is incredible. It’s huge when pitchers can help themselves at the plate, but you never expect a performance like this. Thor did it all, and nearly did some more— that liner in the sixth might have been a grand slam if it had gone out.

It didn’t hurt them in this one, but the Mets need to convert opportunities like the ones they had tonight in the sixth and seventh innings. In the last few games, they’ve often had the bottom of the order up in some huge spots, but with a team as deep as this one, you still hope to see the 7 and 8 hitters come through (#9 certainly did his part).

Puig hit a ball deep to left and flipped his bat like he had crushed it. Michael Conforto caught it easily. Other than our pitcher going yard twice, that was the highlight of the game.

This was a big win to secure at least a split, because the next game has us going up against a guy who’s pretty tough to beat.

Up Next: The Mets will finish their four-game set with the Dodgers on Thursday night at 10:10 PM in LA. Bartolo Colon (3-1, 2.82 ERA) will look to stay hot at the plate and on the mound, but he’ll be going up against the best of the best, as the Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (4-1, 2.04 ERA).

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The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals finished in a 5-5 tie this afternoon at Tradition Field.

Noah Syndergaard pitched very well for the Mets. Thor struck out nine and walked none in six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Syndergaard has struck out 19 and walked one in 17 2/3 innings this spring training.

The Mets had some good at-bats against Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. David Wright walked in the bottom of the first and looked limber tagging up from first to move to second on a sacrifice fly and sprinting around third on a Neil Walker single— although he was tagged out by Mets Nemesis Yadier Molina on a bang-bang play at the plate.

The Mets got on the board in the second inning. Kevin Plawecki reached on an error by former Met Ruben Tejada, who couldn’t keep a tough hop from getting over him. Juan Lagares singled to get Plawecki to third, and Matt Reynolds knocked the game’s first run home.

The Cards struck back in the fourth on doubles from Matt Holliday and Matt Adams, tying the game at one. New York got back out in front on a single from Wilmer Flores, a double from Plawecki and a single from Reynolds that made it 2-1, but Syndergaard hit into a double-play to end the inning before the Mets could capitalize further.

St Louis came right back in the next inning to tie it back up on a single from the pitcher Wacha and a double from Carpenter.  But in the bottom of the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out when Flores doubled, Plawecki walked, and Lagares reached on an error. Sacrifice flies from Reynolds and Travis d’Arnaud put the Mets up 4-2.

Jerry Blevins came in to face a lefty to begin the seventh and got his man, before Jim Henderson got the next two outs. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless eighth to get the ball to Jeurys Familia.

But the Mets closer struggled after getitng the first out. Randal Grichuk homered, Adams and Brandon Moss singled, and Jedd Gyorko doubled to tie the game at 4. After Familia intentionally walked the next batter to set up the double-play and a force at any base, he unintentionally walked Greg Garcia to force in the go-ahead run. Zack Thornton (the prospect from the Ike Davis trade) came in and induced a double-play to end the inning and keep the Mets in the ballgame.

The Mets fought back in the bottom of the ninth. After two quick outs to start the ninth, Eric Campbell singled and stole second, before scoring on a single from Kevin Kaczmarski that tied the game at five. The Mets could not score a sixth run, and the game ended in a tie, snapping the Mets’ seven-game losing streak.

kevin plawecki

There were some great signs today. Thor looked great, Plawecki, Reynolds, Lagares, and Walker did as well, the bullpen did a good job to get the ball to Familia, and the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth to pick up their closer on an off day. At the end of the day, you want to see the team win, but it’s March. Soon, it will be April, and when the calendar turns, then it will be time to obsess over the wins and losses.

Juan Lagares has looked like his 2014 self in the field thus far, although he hasn’t yet needed to make a huge throw, so we’ll have to wait and see whether the cannon is back.

It was weird seeing Ruben Tejada in a Cardinals uniform today. It was, however, nice to see the way in which he interacted with the Mets players whenever they got anywhere near him. Curtis Granderson even hugged him after getting tagged out at one point. I’m hoping for the best for Ruben going forward.

Wilmer Flores played a fine first base today. The more positions he can play, the more value he’ll add to this team. I was glad to see the Mets give him a look at that position today, especially since it made it easier to get Reynolds in the lineup.

It was also great to see Wright playing in back-to-back games. Just like us, he’s waited a long time for this team to be good, and he deserves a championship more than anybody.

The Mets will travel to Disney on Saturday to play the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 PM. Starting for the Mets will be  RHP Jacob deGrom who will oppose RHP Bud Norris for the Braves.

Note to Readers: I am pleased to announce that I will be working at Citi Field for the New York Mets this summer. I could not be more thrilled. However, there are obviously questions about any limitations on what I can and cannot write. I intend to continue writing for MMO. Like most writers on this site, I am already an openly biased Mets fan and will be positive toward the team more often than not, but I will not write things I do not believe. My thoughts and opinions (here, on Twitter, and elsewhere) do not represent those of the team, and I am not privy to inside information from a front office perspective. There are certain topics I might not be able to write articles on, but when I do write, I will put in the same effort I always do to help make this site and this community as amazing as it is.


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Special Feature: Keith Law Talks Mets Baseball With MMO Tue, 23 Feb 2016 14:00:14 +0000 keith law

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of spending 40 minutes on the phone with ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Keith Law. Keith is a lead baseball analyst for and senior analyst for Scouts.Inc. He formerly worked in the front office of the Toronto Blue Jays. I interviewed Keith before last season and he graciously agreed to do it again with the 2016 season approaching. Check out what Keith had to say about the state of the Mets minor league system, their young core players, pitching, infielders, positional logjams, top prospects, and so much more. Then hop down to the comments and share your thoughts! Here we go:

Tommy Rothman, MetsMerized Online: Hi Keith, thanks a ton for agreeing to do this again this year. So I guess I’ll start with the farm system rankings. You just put out your MLB rankings, your top 100 rankings, and your team-by-team rankings. The Mets fell from number 4 last year to middle-of-the-pack this year. Obviously some of that is because they graduated guys like Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto who are no longer “prospects,” but they also traded away some prospects to get the guys they added during the season. So how would you size up the state of the Mets’ farm system, not only in terms of the prospects who qualify for your rankings, but the young core in general?

Keith Law, ESPN: Well the young core’s a lot better, obviously, if you’re looking at most of the rotation. And if you’re looking at most of the rotation, it depends where you draw the line between who’s young and who’s not, you could argue that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are still a part of that young core. I’ve always been a big Michael Conforto fan, I obviously ranked Noah Syndergaard very high the last couple of years. The only part of that young core I’ve never been particularly high on is Steven Matz, because the injury history is so bad.

But I think their young core is one of the strongest in the game, which will [enable] them to continue to contend even though they’re not gonna spend that much money— the ownership group has made it clear that they’re not gonna spend the way a New York club should spend. So it’s critical to continue to compete through the farm system. And they have plenty of pitching for right now— they have no pitching depth. But they have plenty of pitching for the present, and you do have a lot of position players coming, as some of their guys… say, David Wright‘s tenure comes to an end, or Lucas Duda they decide to let walk, which I’m sure they will, and replace with Dominic Smith. You’ve got replacements for most positions on the diamond. So I think they’re in really great shape, I wish they’d spend more money obviously, but if they’re not gonna do that, they’re still in a great position even after the trades.

Tommy: Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised to see that when Yoenis Cespedes fell back into their range financially, they realized it was the move they had to make and pulled the trigger. But they certainly won’t be competing for those longer-term deals. So with that in mind, you mentioned the pitching depth— they do have the pitchers now, but after they traded guys like Michael Fulmer and Casey Meisner for Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, and other pieces, in the event of injury, they don’t have as many young arms in the pipeline. So obviously young pitching is the Mets’ strength, but is it also something they need to shore up in terms of depth?

 Keith: I mean, if they have the opportunity to add prospects somewhere, sure, adding more pitching would be great. I don’t know if they’ll target pitching in the draft because they’ve never drafted that way, it’s always been “best player available” since Tommy Tanous took over as Scouting Director. I want them to continue to do that. But the strength of the draft this year is probably college pitching anyway, so if the right one happens to fall into their lap, great, they certainly need it. But they’re not really in a position where they’re going to be able to add pitching prospects.

It might make sense for them to target somebody who might be a good sixth starter for them this season, who could spend part of the year in Las Vegas, but who you figure is probably going to make 12 to 14 starts this year for the big league club because you always need that. I don’t know who that’s gonna be, it might have been Fulmer if they hadn’t traded him for Cespedes, but there was nobody backing him up, even if he were still there, you could probably still ask the question, ‘What if Fulmer gets hurt again, who’s behind him?’ And the answer would be, probably nobody.

Tommy: Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Paul DePodesta left a couple months ago for the NFL. What impact do you think that will have on the Mets organization and how they do things?

Keith: Well, I think that’s a big loss, because I think Paul was kind of a philosophical thought leader too, helping drive direction in the draft and player development, and not just losing his intelligence, but losing his voice in the room, could have a lot of impact. Because I think you really had a split camp there last year where folks in the front office didn’t want to trade from the prospect depth to make a short-term run because they were looking at a long-term run of contention with this young core— and they still are. So don’t trade from it unless you’re getting longer-term assets in return. Instead they traded who I thought was their two best pitching prospects at the time in Fulmer and Casey Meisner for rentals. Without DePodesta there, is there going to be a strong voice in favor of continuing to build from within as opposed to making those short-term trades, as opposed to signing a Michael Cuddyer? I don’t know the answer to that. I will say I retain very high confidence in the amateur scouting department because they’ve had such good results and produced prospect value and produced big leaguers over the past couple of drafts since Tanous took over, and I think they’ll be able to continue to do so.

steven matz spring

Tommy: So like you said, you’ve never been high on Matz. Last year he didn’t make your top prospects list. Now you have him up there. Obviously it’s big that he could stay relatively healthy and it obviously helps his ranking that he pitched in the Majors, he pitched in the World Series… how do you analyze Matz, as an individual prospect but also among the Mets group? My personal opinion is that, well, I’m lowest on him of the four, or the five. What are your thoughts on him?

Keith: I would agree. I think he’s clearly behind the other guys. For stuff, it’s an above-average to plus fastball, a plus-or-better changeup, he will show you at least a solidly above-average breaking ball, it’s control more than command, and the delivery is still a little bit mechanical although it’s a million miles better than where it was in high school. But he has still yet to reach 150 innings in any regular season in his career, and he was drafted in 2009. And even last year, which was by his standards a full season, he was out twice with injuries that took him off the field for a period of time. And part of why he wasn’t on the list last year, and when I said it was kind of a fourth-starter type ceiling, and part of why he’s lower this year than Mets fans would have wanted him, is because I have no reason to believe he’s going to be a 180 or 200 inning starter, and certainly not on a regular basis. And a guy who pitches like a #2 starter, but only throws 140 innings a year, that’s not a #2 starter, that’s somebody who, by WAR, is going to produce more like a #3 or a #4.

If he hadn’t had— somebody asked where would I have him if he hadn’t had all the health problems, I said I wouldn’t have ranked him at all, because he would have been their #2 starter by now going into last season. It’s not that I don’t like him, but I have to be realistic about a guy who’s had this many injuries, some of which seem like they’re likely to recur, all of which I think adds up. Wheeler, Harvey, Syndergaard— who is like a machine— or Jacob deGrom, it’s funny, because three of those guys have had Tommy John Surgery, but we sort of shrug that off, whereas Matz it’s like almost anything he could break has broken at some point. And I feel bad for the kid, but we have to be kind of callous when looking at these guys’ futures.

Tommy: So if the Mets did need to make a move, or wanted to make a move, to get a major impact hitter or another asset— obviously Matz probably has the lowest trade value of the four, but he does still have value— is that the guy you think they would and should look to trade to make it happen?

Keith: I’ve never had that discussion with anybody in the front office, specifically in terms of trade value. I think my ranking of Matz has reflected their internal sense of Matz relative to the other pitchers, I think they’ve always had Syndergaard higher since he came into the system, obviously you know what they think of Harvey and deGrom, and I think they believe that Wheeler, as long as he’s back at 100% this year, is also going to be ahead of Matz. And I think Matz’s trade value is going to depend entirely on whether they find a trade partner undisturbed by his medicals. If somebody looks at him and says, ‘we’re comfortable with it,’ says that he’s gonna be healthy and he can throw 160 innings next year, then they’re going to get a really good return on him. It’s possible that there could be something we don’t know about, that would stop any potential trade. That’s the kind of thing we won’t find out— if ever— until there’s a trade out there that falls through because the other team saw something they really didn’t like. But there I’m just speculating…

Tommy:  Yeah, when I watched Matz in the playoffs, and I guess throughout the season, it seemed like he really was just a five-inning pitcher. He was fine, he was solid through five innings, but—

Keith: Yep. And that’s fine, if you’ve got the long guys in the bullpen. The Cubs have Adam Warren, and Travis Wood, and others, if you’ve got a couple of those guys, that’s fine. A five-inning starter as your nominal fifth starter is fine. I don’t know if the Mets are set up to have a five-inning guy as a fifth starter.

Tommy: So with deGrom, I would say he has the least— he doesn’t have Thor’s curveball, for instance. But he’s gotten it done two years in a row now. He’s shown that 2014 wasn’t a fluke. But sometimes you’re watching and you still don’t know how he does it, how they don’t manage to hit him. Do you think he’s a candidate for regression going forward? What are your thoughts on deGrom?

Keith: I’m all in. I don’t think he’s a candidate for regression. I think his fastball life is real, I think his aggressiveness is real, I’m a huge fan of anybody who’s that athletic on the mound, I think he adds value with his fielding, obviously he adds a little value with his hitting. But he can compete really well, he throws strikes, there’s some command, I think there might be even better command going forward, because he doesn’t have the same pitching experience as these other guys [deGrom used to be a shortstop], I’m a huge fan, and, no, I’m not worried about regression.

The only guy in the rotation— we’ve talked about Matz— of the other four, the only one I’d say I’m worried about, I don’t know what Wheeler’s going to look like, or be able to handle, in his first year back from Tommy John. But I was an enormous Zack Wheeler fan going all the way back to high school. If he’s still that guy, their rotation might be the best in baseball. With Matz as the five, Matz could be the best number five starter in baseball. I’m not worried about Thor, I’m really not worried about Harvey— Harvey gave us nothing to worry about last year— and I’m certainly not worried about deGrom. I think deGrom being better in the Majors than he was at any point in the minors is just a reflection of that he didn’t pitch a lot around Tommy John Surgery after signing, and I think the stuff picked up right around the time he got to the big leagues.

noah syndergaard

Tommy: Obviously with Harvey, his first full year, his second year overall in 2013, he had a monster season. Thor is going into that season now. What upside do you think he has, not going forward, but just for 2016 specifically?

Keith: Yeah, I think he could— look, I still think there’s growth here as a pitcher, I’ve talked in the past about how he’s a guy who seems to make gradual adjustments and come back to the curveball, which in high school was a 30 or a 35 (on the 20-80 scale), in the Blue Jays system was like a 40-45, around the time of the trade to the Mets it was average, or maybe a little less than average, but everybody liked where it was heading, and now, you’ve seen with Thor it was pretty consistently an above-average pitch for him [last season]. I know he was worth about 3 Wins Above Replacement in three-quarters of a season, I see no reason he can’t pitch at that level over a 200-inning season, because he’s a horse. He’s built like a horse, the delivery is easy, he repeats it, he does everything you want in a pitcher you’d ask to go out and throw 200 innings for you. And the command and control were better last year. That’s another guy— pitchers get to the Big Leagues with the Mets and they pitch better. And I don’t think that’s a fluke. We’ve seen this with a bunch of guys now. And I think that’s true of Thor too, where— could he be a 5 WAR pitcher over a full season? I think it’s within reach, as long as he’s healthy. And he’s always been healthy. He has the best track record of health of anybody in that rotation. Yeah, I think he could do it. (Note for reference: deGrom had a 4.7 WAR in 191 innings last season).

 Tommy: And then for the other main guy the Mets got in the R.A. Dickey trade, Travis d’Arnaud. Every year we think he can’t possibly have another freak injury, and then he gets hit by a ball a week in. When he’s on the field, I think the consensus amongst us fans is that his defense has been a bit disappointing, especially his throwing. But he’s still young. How would you evaluate him and his opportunity to grow this year and become more of a star all-around catcher?

Keith: I really wonder if his future is at catcher— and I said this last season too— because he can’t stay healthy. And he’s had at least one concussion, which last year I was concerned about just in a baseball sense, now I’m concerned, you know, in a human sense.

Tommy: Yeah.

Keith: So if you wanna remove him from that risk of injury, well if they were any other club, you could find a spot for him, first base, left field, but they’re full right now. I don’t know where you put him. Because they could put Kevin Plawecki behind the plate 140 games, and I think he’d be great in that role. He’s a better receiver, certainly, and I think he’s even more consistent in controlling the running game, but he doesn’t give you Travis’ potential for offense. I think Travis’ bat might play in left, and you might get him on the field more, it’s just not an opportunity that’s open to the Mets. So since he’s clearly going to be on the 25-man roster, my guess is he catches a bunch, gets hurt at some point, they’ll try to mix him in at other positions as they need to, if Duda needs a day off, or Conforto should go on the DL for whatever reason, they could just try d’Arnaud out there, maybe think long-term to see if there’s another opportunity. But I wonder if he’s a guy who ends up traded because they have guys at the other positions where he might play. He’s not gonna run Conforto off of left field, clearly. And if the defense is an ongoing concern— and I agree with you that it’s disappointing— maybe Plawecki ends up the long-term catcher instead.

michael Conforto

Tommy: So you mentioned Conforto, I don’t think many people saw him arriving by July, establishing himself as a starter, and helping during the World Series run. So I know you were definitely extremely high on him when we talked last year, but were you surprised by how quickly he developed and got up to the Majors?

Keith: The only thing I was surprised about was the power output in the Big Leagues— and it was only half a season, so I don’t want to read too much into it— but otherwise that’s kind of what I thought he would be. I thought he was the best college hitter in the draft in 2014, I thought it was a great pick when they took him 10th overall, I thought his approach was really advanced when he worked through the low minors, and I was critical of the Mets when they started him in the Florida State League because he was too advanced for that. I thought he had a lot in common with [young Cubs slugger] Kyle Schwarber, in terms of proximity to the big leagues. Where Schwarber has the higher upside because he’s a potential catcher, I thought Conforto was further along. I was probably a little more surprised by how good Schwarber was as quickly as he was, than I was by Conforto.

Tommy: I think a lot of people will be surprised, when they look at your prospect rankings, by how high you have Wuilmer Becerra, because a lot of people who know him just know him as the throw-in in that amazing Dickey trade. But how close do you think he is to having a chance to contribute, either to the Mets or to another team if they decide to move him?

Keith: He’s probably three years away, I mean maybe it’s a little faster now because he’s 20. I thought it was a real breakout year for him, where he always had the ability— Mets people were stoked when they got him in the trade— but you knew it was a long-term play for them. The approach there is good enough, so that he can get to the strength and to the power. And you and I talked last year about what a terrible park Savannah is for power. So maybe Becerra gets out this year, gets to the Florida State League and starts to hit for a little more power, maybe the next year he gets to Binghamton and then the power really blossoms, because he’s out of those deadly A-ball parks that I think haunt a lot of those Mets hitters, where they get there and they really can’t hit for any power. My only real concern on him— other than that he’s young and that there’s some volatility there— no one is really confident in his outfield defense, so I think you’re just hoping he ends up playable, at either one of the corner spots. And then if he hits for the power I think he’s gonna have, it’s not really gonna matter.

Tommy: So with people worrying about defense with prospects, the idea that the NL might get a DH at some point, would that change the way you value prospects, just because you won’t have to say ‘he can start but he’d need to be on an AL team,’ would that be a big shift for you and other people who look at talent from a young age and factor in the fielding?

Keith: I can only speak for myself here, but I think it really wouldn’t affect the rankings because I try to make all my rankings team-agnostic, so that if I’m evaluating a player for an NL team, who looks like he’s going to have to be a DH, like Josh Naylor with the Marlins, I evaluate him exactly the same. His role is limited. He’s maybe a DH, he may be a first baseman, we’ll see. But it’s a bad body, and it could potentially end up at DH. And that’s going to drastically reduce his value, because we know replacement level is higher, anybody can DH. So it’s not gonna change that. It may actually change his market value, because you’re doubling the number of teams that could have an opportunity to play a player like that. Like where the Cubs look at a prospect like Daniel Vogelbach and say, ‘The kid can hit, but we have zero use for him.’

Tommy: The Mets have a lot of outfield depth, so one guy who’s kind of being forgotten about as a prospect is Brandon Nimmo, obviously they picked him very high several years ago, despite him having not— I don’t think he even played high school baseball.

Keith: Right. They don’t have it in Wyoming.

Tommy: So where would you say he is in terms of his development at this stage?

Keith: I would describe his development as kind of stalling out, where he got to double-A, and did not take a step forward. And it looks like he’s not taking a step forward, he moved to Vegas at the end of the year, and still didn’t hit well, and still didn’t find any power. And nobody seems to think he can play center field. So now you’ve got a corner guy, with some on-base ability, but no power, and isn’t really hitting for a high- enough average that you feel super confident in the OBP, and I don’t think that’s a regular anymore. When he was 19 and drafted, I could see the pick, but it has to come with power. And I don’t know if the lack of power is a hand strength issue, or— he had a lot of problems with his knees when he was younger, maybe he’s not generating that power from his legs— but at some point I have to look away from the body and just look at the production. And even in a more favorable power environment, he’s still not hitting for power. And given his age, and how long he’s been in the system, and especially the fact that he went to Vegas and didn’t find power, I just sort of feel like, I don’t know, maybe it’s not gonna be there. And that would make him a fourth outfielder. And probably a fourth outfielder soon, but nothing more than that.

Tommy: And now for the middle infield, obviously it’s going to look a lot different this year with Wilmer Flores bouncing around, and then Asdrubal Cabrera at short, and then Neil Walker instead of Daniel Murphy at second. So the first question is, whether you think they upgraded, downgraded, whether there’s much of a shift going from Walker to Murphy on both sides of the ball?

Keith: I’ll say I like Walker more than Murphy. I think Murphy was pretty bad defensively and I think it really cost them, maybe even more than the defensive metrics might reflect, because of the way they might have had to compensate with guys at other positions. Because he never really could play second base. They were just trying to find a spot for his bat, and I respect that approach, but it didn’t work. Walker can play second base. He’s not great, but he’s turned himself into a perfectly serviceable defensive second baseman.

Cespedes Yoenis

Tommy: So speaking of defense— before I ask you about Cabrera— with Cespedes, he won a Gold Glove last year in the AL, in left field, obviously those aren’t much of a reliable stat, but he has the best arm in baseball and he has good speed. But people view him… statistically there are a lot of people who argue he’s a disaster in center field. Do you think there’s room for his physical tools to translate and for him to become a good center fielder now that he’s going to be playing there full time?

Keith: I don’t think so. Having seen Cespedes all the way back to his first Spring Training in Oakland, where they did run him around in center, no I don’t think so. I think he can really be excellent in a corner, but it’s too much of an ask to ask him to play average or better defense in center field. Maybe it’s something they can live with, because they want his power, because the middle of the order is a little short on power— it’s a much better OBP lineup, especially because of Conforto, but definitely light on the power. It’s a trade-off. And it may be that that trade-off is fine for them, but I do think they’re gonna miss— 2014 Lagares back in center would be an awfully nice thing to have.

Tommy: So what do you think goes into that, the idea that someone with great physical tools, and definitely the speed to have good range, could be great in left, what makes him just so hopeless out in center? Is it route-running, how he reads fly balls, or…

Keith: I mean I don’t think he’s super fast, either. It’s not like he’s a 70 runner, and his first step is not that quick. Underway, he’s fast. And underway, I’d wanna get the hell out of his way. But speed in center, speed translating to defense in center is often about that first step quickness. I don’t think he has that. Maybe I haven’t seen him enough in center, other than in the playoffs, where he didn’t look good, if you really evaluate that. I don’t think that’s gonna be— or I don’t think that is— a strength of his.  Where in a corner it’s a little bit less of an issue, and you mentioned the Gold Glove, it’s probably because he can really throw, the guy’s a human highlight reel if you let him throw. And really, if you run on him, you’re stupid. Because it’s, not only is it strong, it’s reasonably accurate. It’s not an arm I would actively want to test.

Tommy: So you mentioned the lineup earlier, you’re right that there’s not a ton of 30-homer guys— you’ve got Cespedes, and maybe Duda. But one thing they have that they definitely haven’t had in a long time is that when you go up and down, everybody in that lineup should be able to hit 15 home runs, plus, including Cabrera. What’s Cabrera— what does he have, first in terms of power, and then— because he’s been so streaky, he was a star a few years ago, then he had a slump, but last year he had a great second half— what should Mets fans, first of all, expect, and also, be able to hope for?

Keith: I mean, the big problem with him is that he can’t play shortstop. He CANNOT play shortstop, and he hasn’t been able to play shortstop for several years now. So I don’t understand— I mean yes, this is the front office that decided Wilmer Flores could play shortstop, he really couldn’t play shortstop either— but then to go from Flores to Cabrera— is Cabrera really better than Flores, at anything? I mean Flores, I know the production wasn’t great, but the swing’s good, he puts the ball in play a lot, and I still think he’s going to come into some power, whereas Cabrera, outside of that one crazy first half power-wise he had with Cleveland a couple years ago, you kind of never got it. So I don’t understand— do they think they’re getting a better defensive shortstop than they really are? Do they think he’s going to turn into a 20 homer guy? Because I don’t believe that that’s the case.

I didn’t understand that signing at all. It’s part of why— somebody asked me about the Mets offseason— it’s great that they did spend some money, but what if they had taken the money they gave to Cespedes, and Cabrera, and Alejandro De Aza, and thrown it at one of the more premium free agents on the market. They could have done something better. Cabrera over Flores, I don’t even know if that’s an upgrade, and if it is, it’s a fairly small one.

Tommy: So prospect-wise in the middle infield, I know you’re extremely high on Amed Rosario and you have been for awhile, and then there’s Gavin Cecchini, who you put in your top 100. I know Cecchini’s probably closer in terms of an MLB timeline, but how would you analyze those guys offensively and defensively, and in terms of when you think they’re going to be able to contribute?

Keith: Cecchini’s glove is ready. His arm, he had a little bit of a throwing issue, last year. And he was better in Fall League, he was even better in August or so, I know they started to work on him with— particularly if a runner was going fast, he hesitated a fraction of a second, and suddenly looked up and realized the runner was getting down the line, then he’d rush a throw and often overthrow the first baseman. Just trying to work with him on that, it looked like he was better in Fall League. If that problem is resolved, his glove is ready. A half-season or more at Triple-A is not gonna hurt him because he’s really only been performing offensively the way we expected when he was rafted for about a year and two months, or so. So I’m fine with taking it slow with a guy like that.

Rosario, it’s still more tools than performance. This will be a big year for him. Obviously they jumped him a level last year, which was aggressive, and I think in the context of his aging and experience, he had a great year. But now, alright, now let’s go, let’s see the harder contact, let’s see the power, because we think it’s all there, but again he pays in a crappy offensive environment in St Lucie. Let’s see him go to double-A and start to produce a little more. He doesn’t have to be a superstar statistically, because given his youth, if he performs even a little bit, if some of that power starts to arrive, I think we’ll all feel a lot better about him getting to that star upside. But I think he’s a solid two years away from doing anything in the Majors, and he may be a guy who gets to the Big Leagues, and it’s defense first and the occasional home run, but it takes another year or two for the whole offensive [set] to come together. I’m just betting on the huge upside, because from tools, I don’t think there’s louder tools anywhere in the system.

jeurys familia

Tommy: So now I have a few questions about the bullpen. What are your thoughts on that situation at large?

Keith: On the Major League bullpen? I didn’t like the Clippard acquisition, in part because I didn’t think he was that huge of an upgrade over a Hansel Robles, I think they paid for experience. Then they turned around and picked up Addison Reed for lesser prospects, and that made more sense, and Reed carried over so they get more than a couple months out of him. I think that they had enough power arms, still have enough power arm relievers, sticking around the system that they can certainly patch together a good enough, more than good enough bullpen for than this year, with Jeurys Familia being potentially a dominant, top five, top ten closer in the game for a couple years here. I certainly feel way better about their bullpen now than I would have going into last season. And I would really like to see them trust that, and not do what they did. Don’t go out and trade real prospects, like Meisner, for bullpen help, while that bullpen help is already in hand, somebody in the system, who maybe can convert. It’s not gonna be a guy like Robert Gsellman. They have power arms sticking around, who could potentially go into that role for them.

Tommy: So like you said, you’re not a big fan of big trades for relievers at the deadline. But because a lot of teams usually do make some veteran relievers available, do you think they still have some of the depth, possibly at the major league level, to—

Keith: Oh yeah. To go get one? Yeah. Absolutely. Well because you can swap a position player who doesn’t fit for you, to go get a reliever. Or— Nick Pivetta was the cost for Jonathan Papelbon. I do like Pivetta, but he is— I like Pivetta because I think he has a chance to be a fourth starter. But if you said to me, ‘Hey Keith, I want you to nitpick Pivetta to death right now,’ I could also do that for you. He’s not a perfect prospect. There are strengths and there are flaws. And the Mets have prospects like that, mostly on the position player side, but they have prospects like that who could return someone of value. Nimmo could be that guy, where they flip him in July, one-for-one deal for a reliever with an expiring contract, and because I don’t Nimmo’s ceiling is that high, I’m okay with that. You hope to get a good reliever, not a Tyler Clippard, but that concept is fine. My problem with the Clippard deal was they gave up a good prospect for a reliever who I just did not think was very good. And then he wasn’t good.

Tommy: So now, with a situation like Jenrry Mejia, you follow these guys, being in your position, you follow them from a very young age. And it kind of looked like he was gonna contribute, he had 30 saves a couple years ago, and then his career, and really his life, just fell apart so fast… what are your comments and thoughts on that situation?

Keith: It’s sad. And it’s sad that a guy like that would feel like he has to do that, to further his career. I don’t know what the path back is, for a guy like that, we really don’t have any precedent… If I were his agent, for one, you’re just trying to get the kid— do we have a problem here that needs to be addressed off the field? And the second thing is, you wanna work, you wanna pitch, let’s get you in one of those leagues overseas, whether it’s in Europe, or somewhere, or something. Let’s just have you go pitch somewhere, be healthy, be clean, for a year, two years, work his way back and then try to work with Major League Baseball to see if there’s a chance of reinstatement at some point. Because as much as the lifetime ban was intended to— I think it’s there to be a deterrent, rather than to actually kick someone out forever. My guess is they probably figured they’d never get to this point, now they are at this point. They have to at least create an appeals process for somebody like that to clean his act up and potentially get back into organized baseball here. And I hope he does. Because I, you know, his livelihood has been taken away from him. Through his own fault! But still, he’s not hurting anybody. You’d like to see him be able to, if he cleans up his act, to be able to get back into organized baseball.

Tommy: And finally, the Mets are obviously in a much different situation in terms of outlook than they were a year ago. And the way their division is set up, obviously the Braves and Phillies aren’t going to threaten them in any way, the Marlins, every year people think they might do something, but they usually don’t, and then there’s the Mets and the Nationals. So the Mets definitely aren’t a guarantee to repeat, but they definitely have one of the most enviable positions, in terms of winning their division, in Baseball. So what’s your outlook on the Mets this season, just what you’re expecting, what you think the upside and the floor is?

Keith: I think I’d probably pick them to win the division. I think they can at least match Washington for talent on the field. Washington might be more famous, obviously Washington has maybe the best player in the league playing right field. But I think the Mets have a little more depth, they probably have more players who are underrated on name value, and I trust their front office more. And I trust their manager substantially more. I do not wish to underestimate Dusty Baker‘s ability to make the wrong decision, to think Trea Turner isn’t ready and send him to the minors and let Danny Espinosa screw up at shortstop for two months before they make a change. We’ll know more on April 3rd or whenever Spring Training breaks, but for right now, I’d give the edge to the Mets in a couple for departments.

Tommy: Alright! That’s all the questions I have for you. Thanks again so much for doing this.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Again, a big thanks to Keith for his time and insight. Check out his recently released Prospect Rankings if you have ESPN insider.

As always, leave your reactions in the comments (Unless you’re Dusty Baker).

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Mets, Familia Reach Agreement, Avoiding Arbitration Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:30:54 +0000 jeurys familia

The Mets avoided arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia on Wednesday, agreeing upon a one-year, $4.1 million deal, per reports.

Familia, 26, emerged as a star in 2015, taking over the closer’s role and notching 43 saves and a league-high 65 games finished. Familia had an ERA of 1.85 and a WHIP of 1.00, striking out 86 and walking 19 in 78 innings.

He was dominant during the Mets’ run to the World Series, although many criticized his performance in the final series against Kansas City — Familia entered with the Mets ahead in 3 of their 4 losses — despite a 1.80 ERA and a 0.600 WHIP.

Familia is the highest-paid closer ever among pitchers with only one season of closing.

The Mets have avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.

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Mets trade Darrell Ceciliani to Blue Jays Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:03:20 +0000 darrell Ceciliani

The Mets have traded OF Darrell Ceciliani to the Toronto Blue Jays, the clubs have confirmed.

Ceciliani hit .206 in 68 at-bats last season. He started 13 games in the early part of the season, having a couple nice moments but mostly struggling before being sent back to the minors when the Mets upgraded their offense. He was DFA’d last week to make room for Yoenis Cespedes on the 40-man roster.

The Mets announced that they acquired cash considerations from Toronto, while the Blue Jays announced that they were sending a Player To Be Named Later to New York. (Reports suggest it is indeed cash)

Sandy Alderson did not manage to walk away with the tattered remains of Toronto’s farm system in this deal.

]]> 0 Mets and Yoenis Cespedes Agree To Three-Year, $75 Million Deal Sat, 23 Jan 2016 10:48:12 +0000 cespedes yoenis

Mets Reach Deal With Yoenis Cespedes!

Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets have agreed to a three-year deal worth $75 million dollars, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal includes a provision that Cespedes will be able to opt-out after one year (in which he will make $27.5 M).

The deal also includes a full no-trade clause. MLB Network’s  Jon Heyman followed up Rosenthal with a confirmation that the deal is indeed done. Jim Bowden of ESPN was the first to report that the two sides were making progress.

Cespedes hit .291 with an .870 OPS and 35 home runs in 2015. The Cuban slugger mashed 17 home runs in 57 games after being sent to the Mets at the trade deadline, powering New York past the Washington Nationals to the NL East title en route to a World Series run. Cespedes also won a Gold Glove for his work in Left Field with the Tigers.


Cespedes gets the security of a $75 million guarantee and lands the top annual salary for a hitter this offseason, while getting the chance to opt-out and be a top prize in a weak free agent class next year. In all likelihood, this deal only keeps “Yo” in Queens for one more year, but Cespedes turned down higher offers, including one from the Washington Nationals, to stay with the Mets, the team he wanted to be with all along.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Bringing back Cespedes will likely push the team’s payroll to roughly $140 million dollars and that’s a great sign anyway you look at it. But more importantly, his addition surely makes the Mets the odds-on favorite to win the National League East and arguably the World Series as well. This could potentially be a 96-98 win team this season.

That Cespedes turned down more years and significantly more dollars from the Nationals to return to the Mets makes this so emotionally satisfying as a fan. This has to be quite the gut-punch to the Nats, who have now been spurned by Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Justin Upton, and now Cespedes – even though they had higher offers to them.

You have to admire Cespedes who not only showed himself to be an exceptional talent and impact player, but also that he is a man of integrity as well. He said all along he loved playing for the Mets. He said all along he wanted to return to the Mets. And evidently he meant every single word of it. Amazing. Tons of respect for this man.

What else can I say… I’m absolutely thrilled and overjoyed… A truly fantastic job by the unwavering and always tactical Sandy Alderson for delivering an incredible offseason as the Mets look to defend their NL Championship with gusto and bravado. This is a huge win for the organization and their commitment to winning cannot be understated with this signing. Let’s Go Mets!

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Mets’ Latest Move Is Frustrating, Because Of What It Isn’t Tue, 22 Dec 2015 20:29:40 +0000 aza

Alejandro De Aza is a step forward, but not if he’s the end of the road

The Mets signed Alejandro De Aza to a 1-year, $5.75 M deal today.

When the news first broke, reactions were positive. De Aza is by no means a great player, but he is decent, and a solid upgrade over Kirk Nieuwenhuis (his four memorable home runs aside) in the 5th outfielder slot. With that need filled, the Mets were clear to address the two big concerns they have remaining: a center fielder (with a bat)  and a setup man.

It was a nice move. Some people wondered aloud, though— isn’t $4.5M a bit much for a 5th outfielder, especially for a team with a constrained budget?

And then further reports began to come out, reports saying that De Aza WAS that center fielder, the guy who will play against righties (read: most games) in a not-so-even platoon with Juan Lagares. Reports that this likely ends the Mets’ quest for outfielders.

That’s it. That’s the Mets’ move. Not the stat-geek’s darling Jason Heyward or the relatively young slugger Justin Upton. Not Yoenis Cespedes, the hitter the Mets waited years to get in their lineup and were rewarded beyond their wildest dreams when they made the move.

We braced for that. We saw Heyward sign with the Cubs, but not before the Cubs had signed Mets target Ben Zobrist and added John Lackey and Adam Warren to a rotation suddenly strong enough to make even the most confident of Mets fans— the ones who viewed four games in October as more predictive of the future than the 162 before that— wonder whether the teams’ next meeting will play out like the 7-0 Cubs sweep in the summer or the 4-0 Met triumph under the lights of October.

We heard Cespedes was unlikely to come back. Some of us talked ourselves into the idea that we didn’t want him back. A couple fans probably let one kicked fly ball during the World Series turn them against the man who got us there (unless you think that was Daniel Murphy, who will also be playing elsewhere). People complained about streakiness, or flukey contract years, but at the end of the day, nobody doubted that Cespedes was the scariest bat the Mets had employed since Carlos Delgado.

So we complained about the glove. Nevermind that Cespedes has the best arm in baseball and terrific speed. Forget that he won a Gold Glove in the outfield this past season. He couldn’t play center field and he couldn’t learn it— his arms and legs are blessed with that which can’t be taught, but nevermind that.

With our heads held high and our resolve as strong as ever, we prepared for Gerardo Parra (not a centerfielder himself, but competent, and cheaper) or Denard Span— (injury prone and currently injured, but catalytic, and again, cheaper). We weren’t going to get a big slugger, but we were going to get a real center fielder, who wouldn’t break the budget, and who wouldn’t be an automatic out against righties.

And now we see that we have settled for Alejandro De Aza. He doesn’t give us the bat Cespedes brings, the guy who changes the lineup regardless of whether he has it that day, and wins games when he does. The guy who gives you a team that doesn’t need to hope three of its 6-12 hits come in the same inning in order to score a run. But Cespedes wasn’t a center fielder.

Here’s the thing: Alejandro De Aza isn’t a center fielder. He played one game there last year and 16 in 2014. He isn’t good there when he does play— he’s not a good outfielder in general. And unlike Cespedes, he lacks the physical tools that the advanced metrics can’t argue with. Cespedes, Conforto and Granderson is a better defensive alignment than De Aza, Conforto and Granderson. Granderson could probably manage center just as well as De Aza, giving us our choice of slugging outfielders to fill that last corner spot. The Mets know this. Signing De Aza is a concession to the reality: We can’t afford Cespedes, or Upton.

Alejandro De Aza is a decent player and he’s better than one of the outfielders the Mets had last year. With that in mind, he makes the Mets better. But, as is often the case with our decent signings, this move seems to have lowered the ceiling on this team. If Cespedes is out the window, if Parra and Span are out the window, if the plan is to rely on several decent pieces to make up for our big slugger—God forbid we keep the slugger AND add some decent pieces— well, I’m not sure where that leaves us.

We hit the lottery with this rotation. It might cost a billion dollars to sign these pitchers in free agency. We have a window to win a World Series in front of us. If not for a cruel twist of fates— four losses in a best-of-four series in games where we brought Jeurys Familia in with a lead, after three months of undefeated baseball when we gave the ball to #27— we’d be going for a repeat right now.

But the window means nothing if we don’t take advantage. The Cubs have a similar window because of their young hitters, and they’re doing what needs to be done to make the offense (and defense) even scarier while making their relatively weak rotation a force as well. The Mets, supposedly swimming in playoff revenue, handed a gift with the retirement of Michael Cuddyer, and fresh off of weeks of seeing fans flock to the building they said they would spend to put a winner inside of if fans came to see those winners play, could have kept pace (no, we weren’t ahead) this winter. We could have signed a big bat and put him in the outfield, letting the fly balls work themselves out, UZR be damned. We could have signed a top reliever or two, building a bridge to our elite closer and putting out the fire we spent all of October playing with before falling in November to a Kansas City team that had enough reliable bullpen arms to go 9, or 12, or 14 innings many times over.

Sure, maybe Zobrist didn’t make sense. That’s a move you make when you’re the Cubs or the Yankees, with all the money in the world. The guy who isn’t elite, but makes a good team even better— a good team that can afford to pay top-dollar for that extra win or two that makes all the difference.

We know why the Mets don’t have as much money as the Yankees. But the Mets might have more than they do now if they spent responsibly with the money they did have. They came dangerously close to signing Zobrist to a deal that would have seriously limited the budget while not adding all that much to the team. They’ll pay Bartolo Colon, De Aza, Jerry Blevins, and Addison Reed about $24 Million this year, and while those are all one-year deals, that’s $24 Million the owners won’t have when they wake up on the first day of the offseason next year, so it’s nothing to spit at. The $5.5 M given to Reed is perhaps the most frustrating, with elite setup men having signed deals worth “only” $8M per season this month.

And while these relatively low-commitment contracts should leave room for a setup man at least, filling the second-biggest hole on the team, all the setup men have signed deals already. The only solution appears to be a trade for a guy like Jake McGee.

Now, I am a huge fan of Juan Lagares. I would rather have had Juan play every day than sign De Aza, and I am hopeful that he can get back to being an elite fielder (he wasn’t last year) who makes anything he does at the plate just added gravy— and I think his production at the plate will indeed improve. A full season of Michael Conforto will be a big boost as well. Curtis Granderson might regress a bit, but he certainly should get the job done (although his struggles against lefties had me wondering whether there wasn’t room— at least against some pitchers— for Cespedes in the corner, after all). David Wright should provide more than he did last season. Travis d’Arnaud can’t possibly keep suffering freak injuries. Neil Walker, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ruben Tejada give us four solid middle infielders to pick and choose from (but I’d rather quality over quantity). The likes of Danny Muno won’t be getting at-bats in 2016. Depth won’t be a concern.

But did the Mets do enough to take advantage of their pitching-based window? One big concern is the pitchers themselves. Harvey drama aside (Matt, not Steve), the Mets had good health from The Dark Knight, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. Will we get that again in 2016? It’s not a given. Zack Wheeler will bolster the rotation further, but he won’t arrive until July at the earliest, and he might not get fully back into form for some time after that. Steven Matz needs to stay healthy and prove he’s more than a five-inning guy, but he’s certainly on his way to being the best fifth starter of all time. It’s a great pitching foundation, but it has its risks, its (minor) holes, and it’s not all that deep after several trades of guys like Jon Niese and even Michael Fulmer.

We can take the Royals’ approach. Not much spending. No major sluggers. But the Royals have speed, elite defense, and a lockdown bullpen. Lorenzo Cain finished 3rd in MVP voting, so it’s a stretch to say they don’t have star power.

The Mets’ pitching isn’t enough for them to sit back and coast to a World Series championship. They need a bullpen and, most importantly, they need hitting. And it seems all but certain now that their best hitter— the best hitter they’ve had in a long, long time— will be playing elsewhere in 2016.

Is Alejandro De Aza enough to fill that void? Because he’ll be the one flanked by Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson on Opening Day against the team we just watched celebrate on our field.

There might be more to come. There should— SHOULD— be some payroll flexibility left. Heck, I still have a dream— a complete pipe dream— that Cespedes ends up here. And as we saw last year, impact players can be acquired mid-season to support a playoff push. Maybe De Aza DOES end up being used as a top-notch fifth outfielder. Reports aren’t too promising, but I won’t rule the Mets out just yet. With this team, new developments seem to come out of left field.

But if what we have seen so far is indeed the bulk of the Mets’ effort to return to— and win— the World Series, it makes for quite a letdown.

The championship isn’t won in December. But let’s hope the Mets surprise us (and the reporters, and the “sources,”) by making some moves that make them a more dangerous team when the games begin. Ya Gotta Believe, but ya gotta act, too. Tug’s crew didn’t win the World Series, did they?

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MMO Game Recap: Mets Advance To NLCS With 3-2 Win Over Dodgers Fri, 16 Oct 2015 04:01:57 +0000 mets beat dodgers

They broke our legs. We broke their hearts.

The Mets emerged with a gutty win in a winner-take-all Game 5 against the Dodgers on Thursday night in Los Angeles, earning themselves a date with the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

Jacob deGrom got the ball with the season on the line and battled through six innings to earn the win. Jacob allowed two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out seven.

The Mets faced a tall task in the form of Cy Young contender Zack Greinke. But in the top of the first, the Mets struck to grab an early lead. Curtis Granderson reached on an infield hit to lead off the ballgame (with a little help from a video review) and Daniel Murphy drove Granderson by hitting one to the wall in left-center for a double, taking third on an error.

But with one out and a runner on third, Greinke rebounded to strike out Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda, and the Mets were forced to settle for a single run. The Dodgers pounced on the opportunity to seize momentum, scoring two runs on four hits in the bottom of the inning against deGrom’s incredibly flat pitches.

Jacob continued to struggle in the next couple innings, but managed to work out of jams in the second and third innings to keep the Mets in the game.

Zack Greinke was 19-0 this season when given a lead. Was.

Murphy led off the top of the fourth with a single before Cespedes flied out. With one out, Duda worked a walk, and with the Dodger infield asleep and still in the shift, Murphy broke for third and reached easily as Duda ambled to first, somehow giving the Mets runners on the corners with one out. Travis d’Arnaud hit a fairly deep fly ball to right field, and Andre Ethier made the decision to catch it in foul territory, allowing Murphy to score the tying run.

After being taken off the hook, deGrom continued to be somewhat shaky, but fought his way through the middle innings despite some sloppy defensive plays. In the top of the sixth, Murphy came up big once again, pulling Greinke’s fastball over the right-field wall to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.

Given the lead once again, deGrom did his part in the bottom of the sixth with his first perfect inning of the night. Noah Syndergaard threw a scoreless inning in relief to get New York through the seventh, and Jeurys Familia stepped up with two perfect frames to close things out, retiring Chase Utley and four other Dodgers before striking out Howie Kendrick to send the Mets to the National League Championship Series.

degrom game 5

This is unbelievable. There is still work to be done (the magic number is at 8), but I could not be prouder of this team. They deserve it and so do we as fans.

deGrom came out flat tonight out of the gate. It was ugly. But he kept the Mets in the game the whole way, coming up with the big pitches and big strikeouts when needed. There was practically no margin for error against Greinke, and deGrom slipped, but he hung on and gave the Mets six innings of two-run ball, which gave the Mets a chance.

It was huge for the Mets to get on the board so early and make it clear that Zack Greinke was not invincible. But Cespedes’ approach with one out and a guy on third was dreadful, as he swung for the fences when all he needed to do was put the ball in play. For a few innings, it seemed like that might haunt them.

But this team is different. We’ve seen it all year long and we saw it tonight. Daniel Murphy came up absolutely huge in this one and was the unquestioned MVP of this series. Tim Teufel probably saw his career flash before his eyes when he looked up and saw Murphy barreling towards him after that walk, but it was the right move and a move the Mets needed. Gutsy baserunning can swing a playoff game. See Damon, Johnny.

I’m stunned that Ethier chose to catch that ball in foul territory knowing that the tying run would score if he did so.

Syndergaard looked great out of the pen. It’s scary what he could do as a reliever, not needing to hold anything back. But his true value is as a starter, of course, and that might be why Terry pulled him after just one inning. Collins trusted Familia to finish the job and keep Syndergaard fresh enough to pitch game one or two against Chicago. Jeurys was more than game, and I’m glad it was him getting to celebrate on the mound after the final out, after the incredible job he’s done this year filling in for (and far surpassing) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

The Cubs are a good, scary, dangerous team. But that will be talked about in the coming days. There are 4 teams left. We’re one of them. Bring it on.

Up Next: The Mets will host game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs on Saturday night at Citi Field. Matt Harvey will face Jon Lester at 7:30 PM.

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