Getting into the holiday spirit, talking about the offseason and expectations. This is what was discussed at the New York Mets’ Kids Holiday Party on Thursday, Dec. 7 in the Foxwoods Club at Citi Field.
New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Jerry Blevins, catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Brandon Nimmo were on tap, with the former three decked out in elf attire and the latter appearing as this year’s Mets Santa Claus.
Speaking to the media first, Blevins said that he has talked to new Mets manager Mickey Callaway a couple times on the phone so far this offseason.
“The impressions are great,” Blevins said. “Being a former pitcher, it’s nice to relate on a different level with a manager. That will be my first time having a former pitcher at the helm. He seems super intelligent and knows the direction in which we want to head and is very assertive. [He’s] got those natural leadership abilities.”
Blevins added that he also recently spoke to new Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland on the phone and said it will be refreshing to have a new mind in there, while commending how great the rest of the staff is.
“He sent me some of the throwing program, so it’s nice to have someone else’s tactics and what they want to do,” he said. “All the old faces, all the new faces. We want to win, so we’re excited to move forward.”
When asked if adding another bullpen arm is important, Blevins responded that it is huge.
“It’s pretty obvious that we have a need back there for another big arm, especially with some of the limits we are going to have on the starting pitching between coming back from injury and lower innings limits,” he said. “If we can an Addison Reed type or a power arm at the back end, it will take a lot of pressure off [Jeurys] Familia, myself and AJ [Ramos] to be able to handle some of that workload.”
Blevins concluded by saying that he has talked to Matt Harvey and believes he is doing well.
“He seems to be heading forward,” he said. “He’s excited to come into a full season healthy. I know we expect big things from him and he expects big things from himself.”
Noah Syndergaard said he recently met Callaway at a Knicks game and he seem like an “awesome” guy.
“Having a manager and a pitching coach, specifically a manager with a pitching background should be pretty interesting with all the knowledge they have combined when it comes to pitching and throwing mechanics,” Syndergaard said. “I had a buddy on the Indians who texted me when the deal went down and said he was jealous and that Mickey is as good as it gets.”
“All my workouts right now are being programmed by Eric Cressey and Shane Rye,” he said. “It’s my first offseason working with them after working with them a little bit during the season. I feel like those guys are second to none in the business in terms of, not only baseball players, but just general public or any other sport.
“Those guys are at the top of their game and are always trying to learn more about the human body and how it functions. I’m still lifting heavy, but in a smarter way. Last year was not necessarily the most smart thing I was supposed to be doing in terms of exercises. For example, last year, I was doing a lot of pull-ups which is primarily a lat exercise. This year, I haven’t done a pull-up yet. It’s different, it’s still taxing workouts, but I have never felt better.”
Syndergaard added he has known Cressey since his time with the Blue Jays, but hadn’t worked with him because he is primarily based in Boston. He said he likes him and can see himself working with him for the entirety of his career based on how his body is feeling right now.
When asked if he had spoken to Dan Warthen, Syndergaard said he did after he got let go, but is excited to work with Dave Eiland.
Syndergaard also said that his throwing program this offseason will be more structured, with him having winged it in the past. Becoming more well-rounded athlete and more flexible.
Monday, Syndergaard was at a gym he works out at and the Canadian Olympic sprint coach was there. He worked with Syndergaard on his sprint mechanics. While he said he doesn’t plan on becoming an Olympic sprinter anytime soon, he will stop running like a “fat guy in flip flops.”
I️ asked Noah Syndergaard if 200 innings was a goal of his in 2018. He said that while that would be a great thing to accomplish, he wants to just go out there every fifth day and pitch. Said some things are out of his control but would love to accomplish that. @MetsMerized
— Rob Piersall (@robpiersall) December 7, 2017
Brandon Nimmo said while he has grown up in center, he has become more comfortable in right and left and that the team has emphasized getting comfortable at all three. Wants to just make sure wherever he plays, he has repetition.
When I asked if there was anything he wanted to improve upon in 2018, Nimmo said there will always be room for improvement. At the plate, just wants to hone in on strike zone and be selective. In the outfield, wants to work on his read and first step.
Kevin Plawecki, when asked about splitting time with Travis d’Arnaud, said that he thinks it can work. “Could help keep us fresh.”
In regards to Pat Roessler being bumped up to hitting coach, Plawecki said he was happy to keep someone who knows the mechanics and routines which is important.
This article will be updated with full quotes.