Aug 20

The Mets Put Smith It Position To Make Error

Zack Wheeler now knows what Jacob deGrom has felt like most of this season with the Mets wasting another one of his solid starts and coming away with a no-decision. Wheeler has been one of the Mets’ bright spot in this dark season and watched his team lose, 2-1, in 13 innings to the San Francisco Giants, Monday at Citi Field.

I GOT IT, YOU TAKE IT. (AP)

I GOT IT, YOU TAKE IT. (AP)

The Mets were beaten because two pop-ups fell in against the shift in the seventh, and Dominic Smith – playing left field – collided with Amed Rosario for a run-producing error.

“It’s frustrating when you make your pitch and there’s no result,’’ Wheeler said. “We should have had somebody there.’’

Wheeler said the shift gives and takes away, “and it’s part of the game.’’

What shouldn’t be part of the game is to have a first baseman play left field. That has the disaster written all over it. Manager Mickey Callaway threw Smith under the bus and put most of the blame on Smith.

“It’s inexperience,’’ Callaway said. “He hasn’t done this a lot. He has a learning curve he has to go through. That’s an easy play for our team and we messed it up. We cost ourselves the game tonight with fundamental stuff.’’

Smith played deep on the play and called for the ball late.

“I called it way too late,’’ Smith said. “That’s on me.’’

No, it’s on the Mets, who played Smith in left field, instead of his natural first base. Seriously, don’t the Mets already know all they need to know about Wilmer Flores, who is not their first baseman of the future?

The Mets have been telling us Smith is their first baseman of the future, and with the season long since over, he should be getting at-bats at the position. This is mismanagement at its highest.

Aug 13

Mets Could Explore Six-Man Rotation

The idea of the Mets going to a six-man rotation has been brought up before and again is an issue. But, everybody needs to be in on it. Using Jacob deGrom on his normal rest so he can squeeze in a couple more starts to boost his chances to win a Cy Young Award.

DeGrom deserves the chance considering how well he’s pitched, but if the Mets are serious about this they have to do it the right way: Pick your six pitchers and stick with them.

The worst thing about a six-man rotation is it would mean less starts each for deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. That would also mean fewer innings pitched, which theoretically would keep them fresher for longer. Currently, the target number of starts is 34; it would mean 27 starts in a six-man rotation.

A rotation of deGrom, Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Corey Oswalt and Jason Vargas would include two left-handers to keep things balanced. Ideally, I would separate deGrom and Syndergaard as to give more balance in the rotation regarding innings eaters to avoid taxing the bullpen.

“We want to see [Oswalt] pitch Saturday and then sit down and really see exactly what we want to do with all of our players after that,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Especially since we want to monitor guys like [Noah] Syndergaard and Wheeler, a six-man rotation might make sense at some point.”

Callaway is thinking about keeping his pitchers fresh for this season, but what about next season?

The game is always evolving, and with the investment teams have with these pitchers a six-man rotation could be invaluable in keeping them healthy. For this to really work, the pitchers have to be told at the end of the season that is the plan for 2019 and give them a chance to buy in.

It then has to be implemented in spring training with no deviation.

Of course, for this to work they have to pitch well.

Aug 06

Harvey Recalls Good, Bad And Ugly

In the end, Matt Harvey finally relented and spoke to the New York media – the group that built him up to folk hero status, but in his eyes lived to torment him – in his return to Citi Field Monday afternoon.

HARVEY: In the beginning.  (MLB)

HARVEY: In the beginning. (MLB)

After threatening not to speak with the press, Harvey, perhaps convinced by his agent Scott Boras, to do the right thing or have everything bad about his stay with the Mets dredged up all this week, gave in and talked about what was and what could have been.

As he recalled both the good and bad times of being both a fictional superhero and a prima donna, there were no regrets, no “do-overs,’’ and certainly no apologies.

But, there was an admission of mistakes.

In describing what went wrong with the Mets, Harvey always brought it back to his injuries. Unquestionably, they derailed his career. What was supposed to be a career of Cy Young Awards, no-hitters and World Series wins has turned out to be a 39-42 lifetime record and season-ending trips to the disabled list in four (including missing all of 2014) of his six partially controversial drenched seasons with the Mets.

“I kind of put myself in a bad position,” Harvey said. “Health was the biggest thing. Being as competitive as I am, and as all these guys are, when the injuries took a toll on me, and I wasn’t able to do my job the way I wanted to, I made a lot of mistakes. That was something I’ve definitely looked back on, and I wouldn’t say regret. People make mistakes, and I definitely made a lot of them.”

Harvey has gone through deep introspection since the trade that brought him to Cincinnati for Devin Mesoraco, and suggested the mistakes that made him back-page fodder for the tabloids stemmed from basic psychology of the need to be recognized.

“You realize that you don’t want to fail,” Harvey said. “I definitely didn’t. I never wanted to fail, especially when I spent my time here. The success that I had, I didn’t want to let anybody down — family, friends. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I put a lot of pressure on getting back to perfection. Kind of the way the 2013 season, the ’15 season, all those great games that I threw, I put a lot of pressure on making sure that that happened every time. And obviously, it couldn’t. It was tough. Mentally, it was very tough.”

Harvey will be a free-agent after this season, and while it’s possible he could still end up with the Yankees, which has been heavily speculated since he let it be known that was his childhood team. The Reds did not trade Harvey at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but he said he would welcome a deal before the end of the month to a contender.

“I do want everybody to know I do regret a lot of mistakes I made,’’ Harvey said. “But I did put my heart into this organization, as I will with future teams, and this team that I’m on now. I really enjoyed every minute here.”

Jul 31

Matz, Mets Routed; Can’t Avoid Worst Loss In Club History

As expected, the Mets didn’t trade any of their starting pitchers. Today’s trade deadline passed with only Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia becoming ex-Mets.

They never were going to trade Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but as today’s 4 p.m., deadline neared, it became apparent that even Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz wouldn’t be moved.

“We know the talent that we have, specifically on the pitching side,” assistant general manager John Ricco said. “We were not going to move those players unless it involved considerable talent coming back in our direction. While we had many offers and a lot of dialogue, we ended up not making a deal at this point through the Deadline.”

That means Wilmer Flores, Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco can all be traded if they pass through waivers prior to the August 31 deadline.

Ricco said the market was poor and that the Mets intend to compete next year. Then Matz went out and gave up seven runs in the first inning and the Mets had given up 13 runs through the third inning. They were down 19-0 in the fourth.

Jeff McNeil‘s first major league homer avoided the Mets from being handed the worst shutout in team history. After Jose Reyes gave up six runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Mets scored three times to lose 25-4 for the worst loss in franchise history.

This gives the Mets two months to figure out if they figure out what kind of team they can develop into a contender or should go into a complete rebuild.

“All that happened today is we did not make a trade by the Trade Deadline,” Ricco said. “I don’t think that necessarily means we’ve committed to one direction or another. What it does is it gives us another two months to evaluate not only the players themselves, but our club in general. It allows us to make a more informed decision this offseason with regards to the direction moving forward.”

If the Mets think competing was possible in 2019, they’ll have to do with pitching as they have little – other than pitchers – to offer in a trade and we know there’s precious little in the farm system.

As far as the Mets not dealing because of their trio of general managers in Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya, I’m not buying it. It’s not that I don’t think they are capable of making a trade, it’s just that there’s no reason to trade Wheeler or Matz now.

 

 

Jul 26

Mets Have To Believe Cespedes’ Days Are Over

Sure, the Mets caught a bad break in losing Yoenis Cespedes for the rest of this season and probably up to August of next year. However, the one thing the Mets must resist is the notation to think ”he’ll come back to superstar form in 2020.”

CESPEDES: His days with Mets are over. (AP)

CESPEDES: His days with Mets are over. (AP)

They have to avoid that line of thought because, after all, these are the Mets we’re talking about, so everything breaking right usually doesn’t happen. The best position for the Mets is to learn from their David Wright experience and just move on.

They have to believe they got the best of Cespedes, but with that means they have to accept the worse. They have to believe Cespedes is gone forever, and everything they might get from him in the future is a bonus.

But, they can’t believe they never collect on that bonus.

Assistant general manager John Ricco said the Mets won’t alter their short-term plans to accommodate losing Cespedes, and they shouldn’t change their long-term plans, either.

”Certainly, when you don’t have one of your best players on the field, you have to look at your team differently,” Ricco said, when asked if Cespedes’ surgery changes the Mets’ long-term strategy. ”At this point, we just found this information out in the last day or so. I think it’s a little bit too quick to speculate as to how we’re going to change our plan moving forward.”

He’s right on that. Trading somebody like Jacob deGrom for a power bat in the outfield isn’t the prudent move now, because where the Mets are situated today, losing a solid arm in exchange for a handful of home runs won’t make them any better. And certainly, it won’t elevate them to contender status.

Even with a healthy and productive Cespedes, the Mets aren’t a contender. The Mets shouldn’t concentrate on acquiring a Cespedes-type bat until they do reach contending status.

And, it isn’t imminent.

Currently, the Mets’ outfield consists of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Jose Bautista. When he returns, throw Jay Bruce into that mix. This isn’t to say the Mets don’t need a healthy and productive Cespedes, but they can’t count on that now.

Or ever again.