Mets Merized Online » roster http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:21:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 Five Reasons To Be Excited About The 2017 Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/five-reasons-to-be-excited-about-the-2017-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/five-reasons-to-be-excited-about-the-2017-mets.html/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2017 12:30:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228805 USP MLB: MIAMI MARLINS AT NEW YORK METS S BBN USA NY

1. Back in the New  York Groove

This one is pretty obvious. The man in that picture is pretty freaking good, and he’s going to be a Met for the next four years. Since becoming a Met, Yoenis Cespedes has been an offensive juggernaut, and now with the incentives in his contract, we might not have to deal with his lackadaisical antics. With the Mets Cespedes has a career .903 OPS compared to a .790 OPS before coming to New York.

Those incentives include $50k for an All Star selection, $50k for Silver Slugger, $100k for Gold Glove, $125k for NL MVP, $50k for NLCS MVP, and $100k for World Series MVP. It is exciting in itself to see those playoff incentives which say a lot about the team’s goals.

2. All Together Now

Going into 2017, all of the Mets’ “Fab Five” will be healthy. A rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler may finally be coming to fruition. It remains to be seen how Harvey and Wheeler will come back from their surgeries, but Thor, deGrom, and Matz will have a totally normal spring training.

While it is unrealistic to expect them all to make 30 starts, having the rotation intact at the beginning of the season is nothing to scoff at. If they are all healthy and pitch close to their potential, they would be the best rotation in the Majors.

Syndergaard is coming off a Cy Young caliber season and is still just 24 years old as he’s primed to be the Mets ace for the foreseeable future. DeGrom is coming off a “down” year in which he still posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.7 bWAR. We’ve all seen what the trio of Harvey (career 2.79 FIP), Matz (3.16 ERA) and Wheeler (9.1 K/9 in 2014) are capable of when healthy.

3. I’ll Be There

If a member of the Fab Five does get injured, though, the Mets have an insurance plan. Last year saw the emergence of pitchers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Both pitched extremely well down the stretch and earned spots on the 2017 roster as far as I’m concerned. Unless the Mets go to a six man rotation at various points during the season, these guys will probably be in the bullpen for the majority of the season where they performed well last season.

Lugo and Gsellman were both welcome recipients of the Dan Warthen boost in velocity once they hit the big leagues which will help them whether they’re in the rotation or in the bullpen. Both pitchers maxed out at 97 MPH with their fastballs in the big leagues and 91 MPH on their sliders.

michael conforto

4. Take A Chance On Me

This upcoming season may also see the permanent emergence of Michael Conforto. We all know how abysmal he was during the 2016 season, but the silver lining is his .422/.483/.727 slash line with nine home runs in 33 Minor League games. He is certainly capable of putting up monster numbers, as we saw in 2015 and April of 2016, so hopefully we will see him put it all together in 2017.

It’s easy to forget, that overall as a big leaguer, Conforto has still been an above average major leaguer with a 105 OPS+ and has been a plus defender as well with 10 defensive runs saved in only 137 games.

5. The Prodigal Son

The Mets will have Jose Reyes for an entire season, and that is certainly something to be excited about. The spark he provides at the top of the lineup completely changes the team and he will almost certainly be worth more than his league minimum salary. It remains to be seen how much playing time he will get, which will be directly proportionate to David Wright‘s health. When he does play, though, he will be a difference maker.

What are you most excited about this upcoming season? Comment below!

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MMO Mailbag: A Frosty Christmas Brew With Some Mets Thoughts Too http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mmo-mailbag-a-frosty-christmas-brew-with-some-mets-thoughts-too.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mmo-mailbag-a-frosty-christmas-brew-with-some-mets-thoughts-too.html/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 15:59:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228211 adam-eaton

Here are some questions straight out of our comment threads or that were supposed to be responded to during our Talkin’ Mets Live podcast but never got to them.

1. The Nationals have made a significant upgrade to last season’s division winning team, while the Mets are essentially the same team minus Bartolo and Blevins. Is this shaping up to be another wild card chase for the Mets?

To begin, last I checked there was still almost two months left to the offseason so I’ll hold off on any declarative statements. As it stands now, the Mets still have work to do, and while the Nationals whiffed on Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale and Kenley Jansen, they still got themselves a solid player in Adam Eaton who was actually much better than Cutch last season.

I’m pretty sure Sandy Alderson still has some tricks up his sleeve and likewise Mike Rizzo, the GM of the Nats. Let’s see how both these rosters look when pitchers and catchers report in mid February.

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2. Do you really think all four starting pitchers returning from offseason surgery are going to simply make the opening day roster without any setbacks? It seems very far fetched.

It is very far fetched. While Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Zack Wheeler are returning after significant surgeries, left-hander Steven Matz underwent a simple procedure to remove a bone spur so I’m very confident that he’ll return without any setbacks.

The one pitcher I worry the most about is Wheeler because of the numerous setbacks he’s had already and he’ll always be an injury concern because of his delivery. Although I heard he’s made some modifications to his release point and foot plant, I’ll believe it when I see it and of course we’ll have to see how any tweaks will affect his effectiveness on the mound.

In the last two weeks, all four Mets pitchers have said they feel great and their confidence is high. But we heard those same things from Bobby Parnell and Zack Wheeler in 2014 and we saw how that worked out in spring training. So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best when Mets camp opens.

3. Joe your best guess. 0-100 we acquire a CF of any significance? I say -27.

I have about a 15% confidence level that we will get a center fielder of significance. I could see the Mets targeting a left-handed platoon center fielder to pair with Lagares. But that won’t happen unless they decide to trade Granderson as well as Bruce. And if that happens, I can see them adding a RH right fielder to pair with Conforto too when the Mets face a tough left-hander.

This is just my best guess. And it’s based on the unlikely event the Mets trade both Bruce and Granderson. And remember that the Mets are very reluctant to move Granderson because of how integral a part he plays on the field and in the clubhouse. I’d be shocked if they move Granderson.

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4. Who is the Mets second baseman of the future? And now that Dilson Herrera was traded for two moths of awful baseball and we’re paying someone with a long history of back issues $17.2 million dollars, can we all admit not re-signing Daniel Murphy was a huge mistake?

I’m going to ignore the Daniel Murphy part of your question because it’s been beaten to death by me and my staff. Now, as to who is the Mets second baseman of the future, that prospect has yet to rear his head. We simply don’t have a second baseman of the future right now. We can slide Gavin Cecchini over to second and say it’s him, we can play T.J. Rivera exclusively at second and say he’s the future guy at second, but honestly I don’t have a name for you. We have some internal bandaid solutions but that’s all.

Interesting thought here, but did you know that before Walker accepted his qualifying offer the Mets were mulling a three-year offer to him? And here’s a scary thought, Sandy Alderson alluded to shortstop prospect Amed Rosario potentially getting exposure at other positions next season, namely second base. That pretty much tells you what the Mets are thinking about the second baseman of the future. At present they don’t have one.

Send your questions to me at JoeD@MetsmerizedOnline.com, or you can try your luck and post them in the comment threads, maybe I’ll see it.

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Orioles Pull Offer to Mark Trumbo Off the Table http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/orioles-pull-offer-to-mark-trumbo-off-the-table.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/orioles-pull-offer-to-mark-trumbo-off-the-table.html/#comments Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:54:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228196 mark-trumbo

Negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and free agent Mark Trumbo may have come to an abrupt end as the O’s have decided to pull the offer to their former slugger, according to reporter Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal the O’s had on the table was reportedly for four years and worth $52 million dollars, far short of the $80 million that Trumbo is believed to be seeking.

Trumbo, who turns 31 next month, led the league with 47 home runs last season while batting .256/.316/.533 and posting a 120 OPS+ and collecting 108 RBIs in 159 games for the Orioles. He played 95 of those games in right field, but his poor defense relegated him to the DH spot for more than a third of his playing time.

The Orioles reportedly had the best offer on the table to Trumbo and were very aggressive in trying to bring him back after a solid offensive campaign with the team. Kubatko mentions that last year, the O’s and first baseman Chris Davis had a similar breakdown in negotiations, but the two sides ultimately came to an agreement.

So at least for the time being, Trumbo remains a part of a large group of power-hitting first basemen and outfielders that are still unsigned almost two months into the offseason. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose BautistaPedro AlvarezMike NapoliAdam LindBrandon MossMark Reynolds and Chris Carter are among some of the big bats still available in the free agent market.

Blackmon

The breakdown in negotiations with the Orioles might open the door for the Colorado Rockies who are reportedly very interested in trying to land Trumbo to play first base and allow them to move the recently signed Ian Desmond to the outfield. The Rockies signed Desmond to a five year, $70 million dollar contract last week and forfeited their first round pick (No. 11 overall) in next year’s draft in the process.

If the Rockies are able to land Trumbo, they would then certainly deal one or two of their current outfielders which include David DahlCharlie BlackmonCarlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. It’s believed that Blackmon or Gonzalez will be flipped for some help in the rotation despite ownership’s assurances to both players recently that they are not being actively shopped. Certainly, the addition of Trumbo would change that.

Both CarGo and Blackmon are coming off very solid offensive campaigns with the latter looking like a nice option for the Mets who lack a true everyday center fielder. What makes Blackmon all the more impressive is his .939/.926 home/road splits in OPS.

Blackmon, 29, batted .324 last season with 35 doubles, five triples, 29 home runs, 111 runs scored and 17 stolen bases while batting leadoff for the Rockies. He still has two years of team control.

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Talkin’ Mets: Winter Meetings Preview and New CBA http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/talkin-mets-winter-meetings-preview-and-new-cba.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/talkin-mets-winter-meetings-preview-and-new-cba.html/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:54:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227513 jay bruce

Tonight I discuss all the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its impact on the league with Maury Brown of Forbes.

Tim Donner of Metsmerized Online joins me to preview the Winter Meetings. We react to the signing of Yoenis Cespedes and look towards how Sandy Alderson can round out the roster. Should the Mets trade both Bruce and Granderson?

Will they surprise everyone and make a play for a catcher to replace Travis d’Arnaud? What relievers should they be interested in? Hear our thoughts about what we would like to see happen at the 2016 Winter Meetings in Maryland.

Special Note: We will be doing a Live Call-In Show on Thursday at 9:00 PM to wrap up the Winter Meetings and talk about what the Mets got accomplished. Mark it down!

 

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Asdrubal Cabrera Will Play in WBC for Venezuela http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/asdrubal-cabrera-will-play-in-wbc-for-venezuela.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/asdrubal-cabrera-will-play-in-wbc-for-venezuela.html/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:05:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227441 asdrubal-cabrera-grand-slam

New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is going to play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for Team Venezuela according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com

Cabrera, 31, played for Venezuela back in the 2013 WBC when they went a disappointing 1-2 and were eliminated in the first round of pool play. Team Venezuela is under turmoil right now after replacing manager Omar Vizquel with Eduardo Perez, causing some of the veteran Venezuelan players to say they won’t play unless Vizquel is the manager come March.

Cabrera had one of his best career offensive seasons in 2016 with the Mets hitting .280/.336/.474 with 30 doubles, 23 home runs and 62 RBI in 141 games.

The WBC starts on March 6 in four different countries with 16 teams participating. The opening round will take place in Tokyo (Japan), Jalisco (Mexico), Seoul (Korea) and Miami at Marlins Park.

Jose Reyes and Jeurys Familia are listed on the 50 player provisional roster for the Dominican Republic. The 25-man roster doesn’t have to be finalized until February.

Team Israel is hoping that they can get Mets utility guy Ty Kelly to play for them in the WBC. He was on their initial roster for the qualifier in September, but was with the Mets at the time.

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Talkin’ Mets: Latest on Yoenis Cespedes with Rich Mancuso http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/talkin-mets-latest-on-yoenis-cespedes-with-rich-mancuso.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/talkin-mets-latest-on-yoenis-cespedes-with-rich-mancuso.html/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2016 20:45:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227106 yoenis-cespedes-2

This week, Rich Mancuso of New York Sports Day gives me the latest rumors on the Mets’ pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes.

Last year, Rich was one of the first to report the return of Cespedes to the Mets. He lets me know what his sources are saying as to the odds of a Cespedes return, what he believes the years/dollars will be and what team should worry the Mets the most. He also gives me a preview of other improvements to the roster that Sandy Alderson may be eyeing this winter.

 

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MLB Considering Changes to Roster Sizes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mlb-considering-changes-to-roster-sizes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mlb-considering-changes-to-roster-sizes.html/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:55:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226710 mlb_e_manfred11_600x400

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Major League Baseball and MLB Player’s Union are discussing multiple changes to regular season rosters.

One of the changes being discussed is the regular season roster size growing from 25 to 26 players. In exchange for that, the player’s union may be willing to agree on limiting the September roster expansion to only 28 players. Teams would also be able to swap out players in September, but it’s unclear right now how often they would be able to do so.

Rosters expanding to 26 would allow teams more flexibility on the bench or in the bullpen and decreasing the roster size in September would cut down on the excess of pitching changes.

Adding a 26th man could also make it easier for teams to carry a player they take in the Rule 5 for the entire season.

The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on December 1.

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Players On the Mets 40 Man Roster Bubble http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/players-on-the-mets-40-man-roster-bubble.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/players-on-the-mets-40-man-roster-bubble.html/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:15 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225197 gilmartin-collins

With the Mets losing the Wild Card Game, the front office has the difficult task of assessing what the weaknesses on the roster were and how those spots could be improved. Each player is assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if that player could be a valuable contributor for the 2017 season. If not, it is clear they need to be removed in some way, shape, or form for their valuable roster spot.

Unfortunately, no decision is made in a vacuum. With a team keeping one player, they then potentially put another player’s spot on the 40-man roster in jeopardy. For example, keeping one utility player makes the other utility player less valuable or needed. An additional complication is the Mets have 66 minor league players the team needs to decide if they are worthy of protection or if the Mets should risk losing that player in the Rule 5 Draft. Actually, it is 65 players as the Mets are definitely putting Amed Rosario on the 40 man roster.

At some point, with the Mets adding prospects like Rosario to the 40-man roster, eventually some players currently on the 40 are going to have to be removed to make room.

During the 2016 season, there were players like T.J. Rivera and Josh Smoker who solidified their spot on the 40 man roster. However, there are other players who have given the Mets a reason to designate them for assignment to make room on the roster for a more promising player. Here is a look at those players:

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PITCHERS

Josh Edgin

Heading into the 2015 season, Edgin was supposed to be the Mets LOOGY for years to come. Those plans changed when he needed Tommy John surgery causing him to miss the entire 2015 season.

He returned in 2016, and he wasn’t the same pitcher having yet to regain his previous velocity. As a result, Edgin got hit around. In AAA, he had a 3.51 ERA and a 1.650 WHIP. In his limited stints in the majors, he had a 5.23 ERA and a 1.548 WHIP. Another complication for Edgin is he is arbitration eligible meaning the Mets are presumably going to have to pay him more to keep him on the roster.

On a positive note, Edgin still did get left-handed batters out at the major league level. In a very small sample size (20 plate appearances), lefties only hit .235 off of him with no extra base hits. It is a big reason why he was on the Wild Card Game roster when the Mets faced a San Francisco Giants team stacked with lefties. Between his ability to get lefties out, the hope his arm could improve a second year removed from surgery, and his still having options available, there is still some hope for Edgin.

Sean Gilmartin

Gilmartin has gone from an important bullpen arm the Mets acquired in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft to a player who is seemingly lost his ability to get batters out.

Despite Gilmartin being a valuable long man in the pen, the Mets had him start the year in AAA to become starting pitching depth. In 18 starts and one relief appearance, he was 9-7 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.425 WHIP. On a couple of occasions, he was recalled, and he pitched exclusively in relief for the Mets. Things did not go well for him in those 14 relief appearances as Gilmartin had a 7.13 ERA and a 1.585 WHIP. Between his performance and his having to go on the minor league disabled list with shoulder soreness, it was a lost year for Gilmartin.

Some of the struggles of Gilmartin were the result of his uneven usage between AAA and the majors. The other issue was his shoulder soreness, which for now, appears to no longer be an issue. Another strong factor in his favor is the fact that he is not yet arbitration eligible meaning the Mets do not have to pay him much to see if he returns to form. His having options available is also a positive. The Mets could still keep him on the roster with the idea of returning him to the role he was most successful.

Erik Goeddel

There is perhaps no Mets pitcher that evokes such split opinions than Goeddel. For years, there were people who saw a pitcher that was able to go out there and get outs. There were others who saw a guy who had fringy stuff that was more the beneficiary of good luck than good pitching. After the 2016 season, most people agree that Goeddel was a liability for the Mets.

In 36 appearances for the Mets, Goeddel had a 4.54 ERA and a 1.318 WHIP. It should be noted this was a big departure from how he had previously pitched with the Mets. In 2014 and 2015, Goeddel had a combined 2.48 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. His prior success, his pre-arbitration status, and his having options remaining, gives him a chance to remain on the 40 man roster.

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Jim Henderson

In April, it would’ve have been blasphemy to suggest Henderson would have been at risk for being taken off the 40 man roster. After that fateful game against the Marlins, it no longer was the case. Henderson lost velocity on his fastball, and he went on an extended trip on the the disabled list to deal with a shoulder impingement.

Despite his hot start, Henderson finished the year with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.400 WHIP. If the Mets believe he can regain his April form, they could be inclined to offer him arbitration and keep him on the 40 man roster to start the year in the majors or AAA. If not, he is as good as gone.

Rafael Montero

Saying he is on the bubble is a misnomer. Montero has to be as good as gone from the 40 man roster. Entering the 2016 season, the Mets had it with him, and they sent him a message by making him one of the first people sent down to minor league Spring Training. Montero responded by pitching so poorly in Las Vegas that he was demoted to Binghamton. It was only due a rash of pitching injuries that he got a shot at pitching in the majors again, and like his other opportunities, he squandered that.

Logan Verrett

Strangely enough, the Mets had to make a decision on whether to expose Verrett to the Rule 5 Draft or to remove a player from the 40-man roster to protect him in 2015. The Mets chose the former, and lost him for a period of time. After Verrett struggled with the Rangers, the Mets took him back where Verrett pitched well out of the bullpen and the rotation for the Mets.

The Mets envisioned Verrett succeeding in that role in 2016, but it wasn’t to be. He wasn’t as effective replacing Matt Harvey in the rotation as he was in 2015. He went from a 3.63 ERA as a starter to a 6.45 ERA. He performed so poorly out of the rotation that the Mets gave Montero a chance to start over him down the stretch of the season.

Still, there was a silver lining to Verrett’s 2016 season. In his 23 relief appearances, he had a 2.84 ERA. When you consider his reliever ERA, how well he performed in 2015, his pre-arbitration status, and his having options remaining, there is still a chance for Verrett to remain.

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POSITION PLAYERS

Kevin Plawecki

Thinking of Plawecki being on the bubble is a bit odd especially when he is only 25 years old, has shown himself to be a terrific pitch framer, and he has only had 409 plate appearances at the major league level.

The problem there is Plawecki hasn’t hit at all in those 409 plate appearances. In his brief major league career, Plawecki is a .211/.287/.285 hitter. That’s worse than what Rene Rivera could give you, and Rivera has firmly established himself as Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher. Worse yet, Plawecki is not the defensive catcher Rivera is.

When you also consider Tomas Nido‘s breakout season in St. Lucie possibly forcing the Mets to protect him a year earlier than anticipated, the Mets are going to be faced with the dilemma of carrying four catchers on their 40 man roster. With Nido perhaps passing him as the catcher of the future, and Travis d’Arnaud having shown he has more offensive ability than Plawecki, it is quite possible, Plawecki could find himself having run out of chances with the Mets organization.

With all that said, it is hard to believe the Mets moving on from Plawecki this soon in his career.

Eric Campbell

For years, the Mets have seemingly valued Campbell’s exit velocity, his defensive versatility, his willingness to do whatever was asked of him, and his willingness to learn different positions to make himself as versatile and useful as possible. It’s one of the reasons why he was on the Opening Day roster, and it is a reason why despite some similarly talented players having surpassed him on the depth chart, Campbell made the Wild Card Game roster.

Overall, the results just aren’t there for Campbell, and he gets worse at the plate every season. In 40 games this year, Campbell hit just .173/.284/.227. Still, with the Mets apparently holding him in higher esteem than the fans, with him still having options remaining, and with him not yet being arbitration eligible, there is still the chance he remains on the 40 man roster.

Ty Kelly

This is an interesting situation for Kelly to be in considering he was signed to be minor league depth last season. With a rash of injuries and some hot hitting in AAA, Kelly finally reached the majors after his long seven year odyssey in the minor leagues.

After some time, the Mets actually discovered who Kelly was. Despite his switch-hitting skills, he really could only hit from the right-hand side against major league pitching. He was versatile, but his best position was left field. Overall, his main asset down the stretch in September was as a pinch runner. With all the said, he did make the Wild Card Game roster, and he got a pinch hit single off Madison Bumgarner.

Basically, all the reasons you can make for him being kept on the roster or being cut from the roster are the same exact things you could say about Campbell. At this point, there is really no telling if the Mets are going to keep both, cut both, or favor one over the other.

Justin Ruggiano

Believe it or not, Ruggiano was a member of the 2016 Mets this past season. In fact, he would play eight games, and he would absolutely annihilate left-handed pitching. While you could easily envision a role for Ruggiano as a platoon outfielder, there are some major hurdles to him remaining on the 40 man roster.

The first is his being out of options meaning if the Mets do not envision him on the Opening Day roster, they are going to have to cut him at some point. The second and most important is the Mets are already bursting at the seams in outfield depth, and that is before you consider the fact the Mets have yet to make a decision on re-signing Yoenis Cespedes. With respect to Ruggiano, it just appears to be a numbers game, and despite what he can do against left-handed pitching, he does not seem long for the roster.

PROJECTION

At the moment, the Mets have 46 players (45 once the Jon Niese buyout becomes official) on the 40 man roster meaning there are going to be a lot of tough decisions to be made. Those decisions are made even tougher when you consider the Mets are likely going to want to add somewhere between two to five players from the minor leagues onto the 40 man roster.

The Mets also have Alejandro de Aza, James Loney, Kelly Johnson, Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, Bartolo Colon and Neil Walker who are pending free agents. That knocks the Mets 40-man roster down to 38 and the inevitable Yoenis Cespedes opt out puts it at 37.

Seemingly, the one player who is all but guaranteed to be removed from the roster is Montero. After Montero, Ruggiano seems to be the player most likely to be removed from the roster. The Mets have many either/or decisions, which include, but are not limited to Gilmartin or Verrett, Goeddel or Henderson, and Campbell or Kelly.

Out of all the aforementioned players, the player that seems safest is Plawecki. Still, as we have seen, even those players whose spots are seemingly the safest are all but guaranteed.

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Is a Dickey Reunion Possible? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/is-a-dickey-reunion-possible.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/is-a-dickey-reunion-possible.html/#comments Sat, 15 Oct 2016 17:05:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224867 dickey tips cap

Let me say this right off the bat. I’m not writing this to sell people on the notion that R.A. Dickey has another Cy Young caliber season left in his right arm. I’m not writing this to try and convince people that Dickey the knuckleballer is a better rotation option than our five young aces, our newly emerging Triple-A starting depth, or our other 43 year old Big Sexy starting pitcher. But I am writing this to say that it may be worth bringing in some cheap veteran rotation insurance this offseason considering all the injuries we witnessed this year.

Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve), and Steven Matz (elbow bone spur) all had season-ending surgery to repair their pitching arm issues. Noah Syndergaard was pitching this season with a bone spur, but the team decided against surgery to repair the issue. Robert Gsellman had his labrum surgically repaired in his non-pitching shoulder. Zack Wheeler has missed two straight seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery (he’s probably still listed as day-to-day).

From now on every single conversation about one of the Mets’ young starters will include the caveat “if he can stay healthy”.

Bartolo Colon will eventually be a free agent at 43 years old, and there’s no guarantee he returns to the Mets. The young aces are all supposedly going to be recovered and ready to pitch come spring training. But on the off chance that one of the young starters experiences a slightly delayed recovery timeline (very unlikely because as we all know an injury recovery setback has never happened to a single Mets player in history) it might make sense to have a veteran innings eater like R.A. Dickey as an option.

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Dickey will be 42 years old this month and wasn’t that effective last year for the Blue Jays (10-15, 4.46 ERA). His walk rate was up (3.3 BB/9) relative to his career norm (2.8) and his strikeout rate (6.7 K/9) was down relative to his best seasons where he averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. But prior to last year, he had pitched 200+ innings for five straight seasons. In 2014 and 2015 he posted an ERA under 4.

He said he’s considering retirement after the season, but if he does continue to play he’s openly said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win it all. The Mets certainly fit that description. If the interest in Dickey is limited league-wide, and he would sign a one-year deal at a minimal cost (significantly less than the 12 million he made in 2016), I think he’d be a fine rotation insurance policy for the Mets.

The Mets have plenty of major issues to tackle this offseason before they even begin to think about starting pitching depth. And despite all the question marks surrounding their young starters, it’s unlikely the Mets will spend big money in free agency on a starter or trade for a big time arm.

This team is built on the backs of our five young aces. If we are ever going to make it to the promised land in October, the young arms will be the ones that lead us there. But Bartolo Colon emerging as the most durable pitcher in the Mets rotation in 2016 has served as a very real reminder of how fragile the young rotation can be.

Plus, imagine how amazing the 2017 storyline would be if we paired Bartolo and Dickey in the same rotation even for a short stretch. If the stars align and the cost is minimal, I would have no problem watching two 40-year old fan favorites serving as insurance for the Mets young studs. After all, whether they are among the youngest arms in the league or the oldest, you can never have enough pitching.

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The Mets Will Double Down In 2017 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-will-double-down-in-2017.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/the-mets-will-double-down-in-2017.html/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:09:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224759 mets-wild-card

Do you like teams built around talented young power arms that could fall apart due to injury at any moment? Do you like streaky power hitters and an offense that scores the majority of its runs via the long ball? Do you like short term contracts and a hard mandate from ownership to avoid expensive long term deals? Well then you probably love the team Sandy Alderson has assembled in Queens. Pitching, power, and payroll flexibility have been three of the hallmarks of Sandy’s New York Mets. And if you’ve watched him operate over the last six years you also probably realize that he’s unlikely to change his approach for the 2017 season. That’s right folks. Don’t get excited about the prospect of the Mets adding a number of new high-priced free agents. Brace yourselves. Sandy is about to double down on the current roster.

Pitching:

Despite the injuries to our pitching staff of young aces, the Mets had the third ranked team ERA (3.58) in 2016. Noah Syndergaard emerged as a stud ace. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz are all supposed to be healthy and recovered from their surgeries by Spring Training. Bartolo Colon has stated he wants to return to the Mets in 2017, and considering he was the most durable arm on the staff in 2016 (led the team with 191.2 IP) the Mets have every reason to bring him back. Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Gabriel Ynoa stepped up down the stretch and gave the Mets confidence in their organizational rotation depth.

Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed were arguably the two most reliable relievers in baseball in 2016. The Mets aren’t likely to shell out big bucks on a late inning reliever like Aroldis Chapman when they already have an elite back-end bullpen combo. They aren’t likely to bring in another starter when they have all the young aces due back for Spring Training and other young arms ready to step up at Triple-A. All signs point to the pitching staff remaining fully intact and mostly unchanged next season.

granderson cespedes

Power:

The Mets hit 218 homers as a team in 2016 (5th in baseball). They had four regulars who hit 20 or more homers (Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera). Jay Bruce hit 8 home runs as a Met and 33 on the season. Lucas Duda and David Wright failed to amass double-digit home runs totals due to injury, but they’ve both done so many times during their careers. Travis d’Arnaud had an awful season at the plate in 2016 and struggled to throw out base runners, but it’s possible that some of that was due to the rotator cuff injury he suffered during the season.

D’Arnaud is under team control for three more seasons, and the Mets will almost certainly bank on him returning to his 2014/15 form where he showed his power potential. Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for next season and his second half power surge helped propel the team to the Wild Card game. David Wright seemingly plans to attempt another comeback and has no interest in retiring. Lucas Duda is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility and is likely to be tendered a contract. Curtis Granderson is signed for one more season, and when the Mets inevitably pick up Jay Bruce’s one year 13 million dollar option he’ll be under team control as well. If Sandy has his way, this entire group of power hitters will return in 2017.

Payroll Flexibility:

The final characteristic of Sandy’s club is an emphasis on payroll/roster flexibility. Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jose Reyes are all likely to return next year on one year contracts. That sounds like a Sandy Alderson payroll/roster flexibility dream scenario. It will allow him to re-evaluate a large portion of the roster at the end of next season.

The only real offseason question marks surround the future of Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes. This is where the payroll flexibility trait becomes a double-edged sword. On the surface, it makes sense for the Mets to retain Yo and Walker. They were arguably the two most productive hitters on the roster last year. But we all know ownership is unlikely to engage in a bidding war and pay Yo the contract he deserves if he decides to opt-out of his deal. Based on historical precedent, it’s unlikely that Sandy signs Neil Walker to a long-term deal either. But his late season back surgery at least makes it conceivable that he will entertain accepting a one year $16.7 million dollar qualifying offer if the Mets extend it. If by some miracle Walker accepts a qualifying offer and ownership is willing to add a few extra years to Cespedes’ current deal to keep him from opting out, the Mets might just be able to keep the entire roster intact while also meeting Sandy’s long-term payroll flexibility standards.

The bottom line is once you take a look at the state of the roster outlined above, it becomes pretty clear that Sandy is going to double down on his three pillars- pitching, power, and payroll flexibility. They may look to trade some outfield depth for another player that fits better on the roster and to create an opportunity for Michael Conforto to play. But based on how Sandy has operated in the past, I wouldn’t expect a massive roster overhaul. He’s more likely to make every effort to bring back this entire 87 win squad and hope that the team has some better luck in 2017. And considering Sandy led this team to two straight playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history, it’s hard for me to doubt him if that turns out to be his approach.

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Mets Wild Card Roster: De Aza Pushing Conforto Out, Campbell Looks To Be In http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-wild-card-roster-de-aza-pushing-conforto-out-campbell-looks-to-be-in.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mets-wild-card-roster-de-aza-pushing-conforto-out-campbell-looks-to-be-in.html/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:53:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223907 eric campbell

Latest Update – Oct 1

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

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

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

Original Post – Sep 29

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

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

Here is how I would construct the roster -

Catchers (2)Travis d’Arnaud and Rene Rivera

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

First Base (2) – Lucas Duda and James Loney

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

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

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

Third Base (1)Jose Reyes

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

Shortstop (1) – Asdrubal Cabrera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bubble –

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

Position Players

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

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

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

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

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

josh edgin

Bullpen

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

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

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

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

juan lagares

Prediction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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With Lower Expectations, Mets Became More Entertaining http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/with-lower-expectations-mets-became-more-entertaining.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/with-lower-expectations-mets-became-more-entertaining.html/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:31:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224072 jerry blevins terry collins

Mets fans are not exactly known for being passive when it comes to our team. Just about every game over the marathon of a season is discussed, analyzed and scurtinized like its Game 7 of the World Series. That pressure is amplified when the Mets are in the final days of a tight playoff race.

Most of this season was no different for me. The team entered with huge expectations, which made every game feel almost like a must-win situation, similar to the NFL. For the majority of the season the Mets were a major disappointment – a roster full of big names that severely underachieved. In a way, the mediocre team we watched all summer long was less enjoyable than the many flat-out bad Mets teams we have seen, given our high hopes.

Everything changed when the Mets were hit with a seemingly never-ending string of significant injuries to key players. Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz joined Matt Harvey on the shelf of injured young star pitchers, turning the Mets’ other-worldly starting rotation into a glorified Triple-A staff.

Then throw in losing starting second baseman Neil Walker’s season ending injury, as well as huge chunks of time missed by key role players Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores (not to mention Lucas Duda), and the Mets quickly turned from a major disappointment into a scrappy underdog facing an uphill battle.

robert-gsellman

Now, the likes of Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Gabriel Ynoa – or “Generation Who?,” as I like to call them – are starting critical games for a contending team. And they’re winning! Hitters like Eric Campbell, Ty Kelly and Alejandro De Aza – none of whom have done anything to deserve playing time on even a last-place team – are suddenly being called upon to hit in important situations. And they’re hitting!

Because of this, the pressure has been alleviated, as least a bit, even during a tight playoff race. In turn, the Mets have become easier and more entertaining to watch than the one full of stars that was disappointing us for most of the summer. It’s no longer a complete shocker when Mets’ pitchers give up 5 or 7 or 10 runs, but it’s especially cool when a no-name like Gsellman fires seven shutout innings, or a journeyman like Eric Campbell gets a huge pinch-hit.

The last few games will be as nerve-racking as ever, and a final weekend “collapse” with this group would still be difficult to handle. But the Mets, who were written off by almost everyone a month ago, are basically playing with house money. If they are able to reach the Wild Card game, win that showdown, and face the much more talented Cubs in the NLDS, that will especially be the case.

It’s a rare opportunity to watch a team, particularly one from New York, play October baseball without that signature “championship or bust” mentality. Of course we’ll all still be on the edge of our seats for each remaining game, rooting hard for the ride to continue. But anyone taking an objective look at this current roster, particularly the rag-tag pitching staff, would have to render the Mets underdogs against the Cubs, Dodgers and Nationals. The 2016 Mets have gone from under-performers to overachievers in just a few weeks, and it’s been fun to watch.

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Lugo and Gsellman Likely Pitching for a Postseason Roster Spot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/lugo-and-gsellman-likely-pitching-for-a-postseason-roster-spot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/lugo-and-gsellman-likely-pitching-for-a-postseason-roster-spot.html/#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2016 15:44:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=222297 robert gsellman 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mets Late Rally Keys Comeback Victory Over Braves

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The Future of the Mets Outfield Logjam http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/the-future-of-the-mets-outfield-logjam.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/the-future-of-the-mets-outfield-logjam.html/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=221105 jay bruce

When the New York Mets traded for Jay Bruce, it made a logjam in the outfield even worse. What makes matters worse is it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The Mets could have six MLB-caliber outfielders under contract next season, and it’s likely a problem they will need to solve before doing anything else this offseason.

So here’s a look at those six outfielders and what their future might hold for the Mets:

Jay Bruce

The Mets created a lot of these outfield problems when they traded for Bruce, and his poor play hasn’t made it even better. The most likely scenario is that Bruce will be the Mets’ starting right fielder in 2017, as he has talent and they traded a good piece in Dilson Herrera to get him. However, the Mets could also look to trade him. With only 13 million on the hook for next season, Bruce could be an attractive trade chip for another contender looking for a bat and would solve some outfield playing time issues for New York. They could still get a nice return for Bruce.

Yoenis Cespedes

The most necessary offensive player to have on the roster in 2017 and beyond is also the least certain. Cespedes has a well-publicized opt-out clause after this season and can hit the open market. Just this past weekend’s seres with San Francisco shows how different the Mets are with him in the lineup, and the Mets will likely try to come to an agreement before other teams get start a bidding war.  Even if the Mets get this done, his days of playing centerfield seem to be over.

Michael Conforto

The Michael Conforto question will likely be the toughest to answer in the offseason. It would be foolish to give up on a young hitter that just a season ago was a major offensive piece for the Mets. At the same time, it seems highly unlikely he’ll get regular playing time in any corner outfield spot. The Mets could trade him, but his value has never been lower. The Mets could also play him at centerfield or first base, but he has little experience at both positions. Also, if Lucas Duda is on the roster in 2017, he’s already a lefty. It’s just completely unclear what Conforto’s role will be in 2017, but playing everyday seems unlikely unless the Mets move a corner outfield bat.

Curtis Granderson

There hasn’t been much good to say about Granderson’s 2016 season and with the veteran set to enter his age-36 season in 2017, the end of his career could be near. Considering he’s hit below .230 in three of his last four seasons, the Mets can’t really rely on him for 2017. The Mets should either use him as an expensive bench bat or try to unload his $15 million for next season on a team that has a bigger need for a veteran outfielder. Given his reputation and clubhouse presence, the Mets could likely find a taker for him in a trade if they aren’t expecting much in return.

Juan Lagares

In a perfect world, the Mets would just release Laggers or send him to Triple-A. Over the last two seasons, he’s hit .255/.292/.365 and has failed to play the defense the way he did when he won a Gold Glove in 2014. But alas, Lagares is the owner of the worst Mets contract that no one talks about, as he is due $20 million from 2017-2019. So the Mets can’t cut or demote him and no one will really want to trade for him unless New York eats a lot of money from that contract. Still, the Mets cannot continue to force at-bats for Lagares simply because of what they are paying him. There are too many better options.

Brandon Nimmo

It seems reasonable enough that Nimmo will start 2017 in Triple-A and be the first potential call-up to the major leagues if there is any outfield injury. However, his ability to play centerfield might help his cause to find a way on the major league roster. Still, it’s a cloudy long-term future for Nimmo in terms of having a role with the Mets, so just like his name was popular at the trade deadline, he’ll likely be involved in winter trade discussions.

The prediction

This could go a number of ways (including trading for a true centerfielder), but the best guess here is that the Mets start 2017 with Cespedes in LF, Bruce in RF and Conforto given a chance to play everyday in CF with occasional starts at 1B. Lagares will likely be an expensive fourth outfielder, while the Mets should be able to find a home elsewhere for Granderson. Finally, Nimmo should start 2017 in Triple-A.

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New Month, Same Old Problems, As Collins Mismanages His Way To A Loss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/new-month-same-old-problems-as-collins-mismanages-his-way-to-a-loss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/08/new-month-same-old-problems-as-collins-mismanages-his-way-to-a-loss.html/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 13:30:28 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219498 terry collins

New month, a new player, same old problems.  Having a Triple-A team in Las Vegas, or approximately 2,250 miles from your big league club is just one of the things that burned the Mets in the Subway Series opener Monday night.

In what feels like a terminal condition, the Mets were playing with a 23 man roster as both Asdrubal Cabrera  and Yoenis Cespedes active but unavailable. And it burned them, again.

After a DL-bound Cabrera limped out of Sunday’s game against the Rockies at approximately 2:10 pm, 29 hours before Monday’s series opener, the Mets recalled Matt Reynolds, who took a red eye to New York and arrived early Monday morning.

Next, Antonio Bastardo was traded close to the 4:00 pm deadline, the Mets had no one to replace him on the active roster and entered the game with only six available players in the bullpen, and their fifth starter on the hill.  How bad did they want to unload Bastardo, huh?

In game, an early Ruggiano hamstring strain, a quick Logan Verrett exit after five innings, and a Steven Matz pinch-hit appearance where he walked and took third on a single, the Mets numbers were dwindling. Reynolds performed valiantly, giving the Mets a 5-3 lead with a powerful three run homer in the bottom of the sixth, but it was not enough.  The Mets had a chance to extend the lead but the  scoring position woes highlighted in depth Monday continued, as Neil Walker left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.

The Mets entered the 8th inning ahead by two runs after a shutdown inning by Hansel Robles and were poised to hand the ball to the best set-up man in franchise history, statistically speaking, Addison Reed. Prior to Monday, Reed had been riding a career-high 16.1 scoreless inning streak during which he yielded only six hits while striking out 25 since June 25th. He has the third best ERA of any relief pitcher in baseball since being acquired by the New York Mets in August of 2015. Addison Reed, the man who, prior to Monday, held lefty hitters to a .186 average this season.

Instead, while playing with six men in the bullpen, Terry Collins chose to play matchup baseball in the 8th inning with his short bullpen and bring in their accomplished lefty specialist Jerry Blevins.  Though solid, Blevins has not done as well against lefties as Reed this year, holding them to a .214 average. After a leadoff walk, then a strikeout, on came Addison Reed.  The only knock on Reed during his tenure in orange and blue was his propensity to allow inherited runners to score last year.  He has been strong in that category in 2016, but the bugaboo would rear its ugly head as he relinquished the lead and allowed the Yanks to tie it.

After pitching a shaky Jeurys Familia in the 9th in a tie game, the Mets entered bonus baseball with one relief pitcher available and no bench players left.  After last man standing Seth Lugo allowed a go ahead run in the top of the 10th during an inning that necessitates its own post, the Mets were facing an uphill battle.

Notoriously slow James Loney led off the inning with a double but could not be lifted for a pinch runner given the bench status. There the Mets were, with a runner in scoring position and no outs. The struggles continued.  Matt Reynolds was asked to bunt the tying run to third and did so successfully, despite the fact that Yankees closer Dellin Betances could have easily put him out at third if it weren’t for his yips. After Alejandro De Aza was hit by a pitch, the winning run was aboard.  Rene Rivera grounded out with De Aza running and the Mets were down to their final out with the winning run in scoring position.

As discussed earlier, the Mets are the second worst baseball team in history with runners in scoring position and two outs (.172 AVG).  The numbers would not improve last night, as Curtis Granderson struck out to end the game with the tying run ninety feet away.

Situational hitting would prove to be the difference once again on a day where the Yankees traded their best hitter, former Met Carlos Beltran. leaving them with a lineup full of vagabonds. The Mets went 1-for-7 with RISP and the Yankees went 3-11.  The acquisition of Jay Bruce will hopefully alleviate the issue, by lengthening the lineup and bringing his .360 average in these situations to Flushing where it is hopefully not too late.

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Gilmartin Placed on DL with Triple-A Las Vegas http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/gilmartin-placed-on-dl-with-triple-a-las-vegas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/gilmartin-placed-on-dl-with-triple-a-las-vegas.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 20:45:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218619 sean gilmartin

Las Vegas 51s  announced that pitcher Sean Gilmartin has been placed on disabled list with what is being called shoulder “soreness”. No word yet as to the severity or full diagnosis. Though with Matt Harvey in our recent memory, having a not so optimistic outlook can’t be helped. On the season Gilmartin is 9-5 and has a 4.63 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 26 walks in 93.1 innings.

In a corresponding move the Mets have promoted Ricky Knapp from St. Lucie to take his place in Vegas. Knapp started the season in Advanced A with St. Lucie and has dominated. With a 9-4 record with a 2.14 ERA in 105.1 innings. Knapp is limiting damage by walking only 1.9/9 and allowing 8.1 hits/9; good for a 1.111 WHIP. He also has one start in Binghamton, a four-hit complete game on July 2.

There are two things I take away from this roster shuffle. With Gilmartin’s status in question, there is one less option for the big league rotation/bullpen. Possibly adding to the need/desire to add a back end/long-man to the big league club. Secondly, Rafael Montero is being bypassed by Knapp, who was sent back to St. Lucie after his excellent AA debut, tells you how much he has fallen out of favor.

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Collins Says Syndergaard Will Pitch In All Star Game http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/collins-says-syndergaard-will-pitch-in-all-star-game.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/collins-says-syndergaard-will-pitch-in-all-star-game.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:24:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=216825 noah syndergaard tall

A quick update on comments Terry Collins made this afternoon regarding who he will start in the All Star Game next Tuesday in San Diego.

Noah Syndergaard will indeed pitch in the All Star Game. “He deserves it and the world needs to see him,” Collins said.”The world needs to see him”

As for who will start, Collins says he hasn’t made that decision yet. “They are all legit,” Collins explained. “Jim Leyland told me to pick who I want.”

It was believed that Collins would make his decision based on tonight’s matchup between Syndergaard and Washington ace Stephen Strasburg.

But the Nationals reached out to Collins a short while ago and told him they do not want Strasburg to pitch in the All Star Game because they want him to rest his back.

— MMO News Desk

Original Article – I Hope Syndergaard Starts For NL In All Star Game

Wow, I can’t believe how fast this season is going. We’re only a week away from the All Star Game and tonight’s the night that Major League Baseball announces the starting position players for this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

Make sure to tune into ESPN at 7:00 PM to find out this year’s All Star class. For the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes should be their only starting position player. During the last All Star voting update, Cespedes was leading vote-getter for the National League.

Terry Collins, of course, will be the National League manager tasked with selecting the rest of the roster and determining who pitches in the game and in what order.

“It is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been a part of,” Collins said this past weekend. “There are numerous guys who are going to be left off, who are deserving to be on the team. I was told it’s not much fun, and they are correct.”

Noah Syndergaard will be a no-brainer for Collins, but does he also give his young right-hander the starting nod or does he turn to a Madison Bumgarner or Jake Arrieta?

“There’s going to be a lot of consideration,” Collins said on Sunday. “There’s probably five really, really good, legitimate names who deserve to start the game.”

“I can tell you Jake is right near the top of the list. But I kind of like my guy too, those guys have great numbers.”

I hope Collins goes with Thor, mostly because I hate the All Star Game and if I know Syndergaard is starting I may actually watch it this year.

Another Met who’s a cinch to make the roster is the MLB saves leader Jeurys Familia.

We actually have three Mets who could significantly impact the game and give the NL home field advantage in the World Series – potentially setting up a Game 1 at Citi Field. Okay maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. :-)

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Rafael Montero Has Fallen Off The Map For The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/rafael-montero-has-fallen-off-the-map-for-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/rafael-montero-has-fallen-off-the-map-for-the-mets.html/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=216210 Rafael - Montero

Over the course of a full 162 game schedule, it is extremely rare that a team is able to get through a season with just five starting pitchers. In most cases anywhere between 8-12 pitchers will make starts in an average season.

We are reminded of that with the news that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are both dealing with bone spurs in their pitching elbows.  Apparently, the situation is worse for Matz who may eventually require surgery.

If Matz, Syndergaard, or really any Mets pitcher cannot make a start, the Mets have options.  There is Logan Verrett who has already made four spot starts this season and will pitch in tonight’s finale against the Nationals.

There is left-hander Sean Gilmartin who began the year in Las Vegas, in part, so the Mets could stretch him out and allow him to further develop as a starting pitcher.  The Mets also have well regarded prospect in right-hander Gabriel Ynoa who becomes more and more major league ready with each and every start.

Whenever the Mets need an arm this season, these are the three names that are usually in the discussion for a start.  You know who’s name doesn’t get brought up anymore?  Rafael Montero.  In fact, the Mets have no interest in calling up Montero.

This is a precipitous fall from grace for Montero.  As recently as 2014, the Mets had considered Montero a major league caliber starting pitcher.  He even ranked ahead of Jacob deGrom on the organizational depth chart.  That didn’t last long after deGrom got a chance to go out there and perform while Montero was injured.  As a result, when the 2015 season began, the Mets had deGrom in the rotation and Montero ticketed for the bullpen.

Still, Montero would get his shot to start as the Mets wanted to implement a six man rotation to limit the innings for deGrom and Matt Harvey.  Montero would make one start, and he would be sent down to AAA.  However, that demotion would be rescinded as Montero was found to have rotator cuff inflammation.

Eventually, the Mets would question his willingness to pitch.  Subsequent tests would show there were no significant injuries.  The team would suggest that while there was inflammation, Montero should’ve been able to pitch through it.  During a late season road trip to Florida, Terry Collins traveled to Port St. Lucie to meet with Montero to try to get him going.  Eventually, Montero would pitch in a few minor league games at the end of the year, but it was too little too late in terms of making the postseason roster.

When the team reported to Spring Training this season, Collins pulled Montero aside and tried to motivate him.  He told him the Mets had to re-sign Bartolo Colon because he hasn’t fulfilled his promise.  If he had, he would have been slated at the Mets’ fifth starter.  Montero responded to the pep talk by getting shellacked by the Nationals.  When the Mets had to trim down their roster, Montero was one of the first people selected to go to Minor League camp.  It seemed like it was his last chance, but he would get one more.

After Matz’s first start of the season exhausted the Mets bullpen and Jacob deGrom’s newborn had complications, the Mets needed an extra arm.  They turned to Montero.  Collins seemingly went out of his way to not use him going so far as to pitch Jim Henderson in a game he had no business pitching.  When Montero finally got into a game, he didn’t perform.  In his two appearances, Montero had an 11.57 ERA and a 2.571 WHIP.  The Mets had no problem sending him down.

In the minors, Montero has continued to be underwhelming.  In 14 starts this year, he is 4-4 with a 6.62 ERA and a 1.736 WHIP.  To be blunt, Montero is doing nothing more right now than occupying a spot on the 40 man roster.

We saw the effect of that when the Mets had subjected and lost Dario Alvarez on waivers when they needed to make room for Ty Kelly on the 40 man roster.  With the Braves, Alvarez has gone 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.923 WHIP.  So far, Alvarez has accomplished more than Montero has and perhaps ever will.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Montero.  He was supposed to be the guy in the top half of the rotation.  It hasn’t panned out that way.  He’s not even a consideration anymore. Eventually, he’ll lose his spot on the 40 man roster for someone with more promise and value to the team.  It has been a sad fall from grace for Rafael Montero.

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Michael Conforto: I Want To Be Here And Help Team Win http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/michael-conforto-i-want-to-be-here-and-help-team-win.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/michael-conforto-i-want-to-be-here-and-help-team-win.html/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 16:30:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215376 michael conforto

Left fielder Michael Conforto made it perfectly clear he wants to remain with the team as rumors swirl about a possible demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas.

“I want to be here and I want to help the team win, help us get out of this tough time we’re having,” Conforto told the New York Post after the Mets were swept by the Braves at Citi Field. “It’s out of my control. All I can do is go out there and try to produce as much as I can.”

When asked about Conforto’s struggles the last two months, manager Terry Collins cut off the question, and said: “Still is struggling. We’re looking at it.”

Collins also added that Conforto is not going to sit on the bench here if it comes to that, asserting that he will play everyday whether at the big-league or minor league level.

My guess is that he gets demoted before Tuesday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, and that they will promote Brandon Nimmo who is already on the team’s 40 man roster.

Nimmo can slot right in at the top of the order and give the team the on-base presence they have lacked all year.

(Joe D.)

Original Report – June 19

Michael Conforto could be headed to Triple-A soon, Terry Collins hinted in his post-game remarks to the press.

Collins said some big changes may be in order for the roster that go beyond changing the order of the lineup.Part of that shakeup could be Conforto, who Collins said will not be benched no matter what, but could be sent to the minor leagues. “We’re going to look at every angle,” said Collins.

That could mean top prospect Brandon Nimmo finally gets a shot at the major leagues. Nimmo, 23, was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2011. He is currently tearing it up in Las Vegas, batting .327/.408/.520 with five home runs, 16 doubles, six triples, and four stolen bases in 57 games. Nimmo has spent time at all three outfield positions, but has played the vast majority of time in center field.

Collins refused to elaborate specifically on any roster moves, but we’ll presumably know more in the coming days.

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MMO Fan Shot: Mets Can’t Afford To Trade Zack Wheeler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-fan-shot-mets-cant-afford-to-trade-zack-wheeler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-fan-shot-mets-cant-afford-to-trade-zack-wheeler.html/#comments Fri, 17 Jun 2016 15:52:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=215157 zack wheeler

An MMO Fan Shot by The Metssiah

This season, the injury plague has spread throughout the Mets clubhouse much like it did in 2015. As soon as David Wright went down, the fan base started clamoring for a big time trade. Every fan has a pipe dream proposal where they just name a bunch of guys on the Mets top prospect list and assume the package will land the Mets a franchise type bat.

But I’ve poured over the lists of prospective trade options as well as the Mets farm system, and I keep coming to the same conclusion. If the Mets want to land a big time bat that is under team control for more than just this season, the trade talks will begin and end with Zack Wheeler. For most fans, that price doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Well it should be. Trading Zack Wheeler would be a mistake, and it’s a price the Mets cannot afford to pay if they want to remain competitive over the next few seasons.

In 2015, the Mets had a pitching surplus. They had arguably the top rotation in the game and two frontline starter types in Zack Wheeler and Michael Fulmer that weren’t even a part of the major league equation. The Mets knew they had the flexibility to deal from that surplus, and at the deadline they clearly made Wheeler and Fulmer available. We saw the Carlos Gomez for Wheeler trade play out and ultimately fall through. And we saw the Mets ultimately pull the trigger on the Michael Fulmer for Yoenis Cespedes deal that catapulted the team to the NL East crown.

In his brief major league stint so far this season, Fulmer looks like he’s going to be a top of the rotation starter (7-1, 2.52 ERA). The Mets already knew that was the likely outcome with Fulmer. It’s the reason they were hesitant to deal him. But that trade netted the Mets Cespedes, and it’s a deal the 2015 Mets make 10 times out of 10. Why? Because the 2015 Mets had the pitching depth to afford it. Unfortunately, after dealing Fulmer and a number of other pitching prospects in 2015 deadline deals, the 2016 Mets lack that luxury.

The Mets blueprint for making the playoffs includes them putting an ace on the mound every single day. Five aces baby. That’s been the plan for years. Wheeler is that fifth ace. The one area the Mets have been blessed this season is the health of their young pitchers (Yeah I said it. I’m ferociously knocking on wood. Relax). Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that run of luck lasts year after year.

In order to make the most of this championship window and have any chance of sustained success, the Mets are going to need all five aces to carry them. Period. You think Bartolo Colon will be around forever? You want to trade Wheeler and possibly roll with Logan Verrett or Sean Gilmartin as the fifth starter next season? Trust me, don’t look at the list of available free agent starting pitchers for next offseason. There’s a reason front line guys get paid so much. There’s not that many of them.

I’m not saying the Mets shouldn’t look to deal some minor league talent to upgrade the roster. But the available crop of infielders that I’ve been reading about (e.g. Danny ValenciaYangervis Solarte) does not include a franchise level bat, and Jonathan Lucroy is a catcher. I realize Lucroy can play first base, but it’s not his true position. He’s started just over 30 games at first base in his 7 year career. Travis d’Arnaud is supposed to be back next week, and Lucas Duda is supposed to be back before the end of the season.

To give up Zack Wheeler for a player that ultimately creates a roster conundrum for the end of the season and into next season seems foolish to me. In the short term for this season, I think the best move for the Mets is to look to make marginal upgrades to the roster via trade, utilize internal options (e.g. Dilson HerreraBrandon Nimmo), or make a big international signing (*cough* Yulieski Gourriel *cough*).

In the long term, I think the Mets are better served holding on to all the pitching and looking for ways to upgrade the major league roster in the offseason via free agency. To me that’s the most effective route to elevate this specific roster to a championship caliber level without sacrificing the key strength upon which all the hope for success is predicated. We will live and die with our core of five aces. We cannot afford to compromise that blueprint for the sake of a quick fix. At least not this year.

* * * * * * * *

This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader The Metssiah who you could follow at @TheMetssiahHave something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Mets Recall LHP Sean Gilmartin, Officially DL Wilmer Flores http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-recall-lhp-sean-gilmartin-officially-dl-wilmer-flores.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/05/mets-recall-lhp-sean-gilmartin-officially-dl-wilmer-flores.html/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 23:15:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=211771 sean gilmartin

The New York Mets today announced that the club has placed infielder Wilmer Flores on the 15-Day Disabled List with a strained left hamstring and recalled left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin from Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League.

Gilmartin, 26, spent all of last season with the Mets after being acquired in the Rule 5 draft on December 11, 2014 from Minnesota. In his first season in the major leagues, the lefthander went 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA (17 earned runs/57.1 innings) in 50 games (one start). He held righthanded batters to a .216 (25-116) average while lefthanded hitters batted .260 (25-96) off Gilmartin in 2015. With runners in scoring position last season, opponents hit .236 (13-55) off Gilmartin.

In the postseason, Gilmartin was added to the active roster during the NLCS and was also on the active roster for the World Series. He pitched in Game 2 of the World Series and tossed 0.2 innings and retired the only two batters he faced.

This year, he was 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA (nine earned runs/32.2 innings) in six starts for the 51s. In his 32.2 innings, the southpaw struck out 34, walked eight and was holding opposing hitters to a .230 (29-126) batting average against. Gilmartin was fifth in the Pacific Coast League with his 2.48 ERA.

In seven games, two starts, with the Mets during Spring Training this year, Gilmartin was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA (seven earned runs/14.0 innings pitched) and one save.

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