Jul 08

Even If De Grom Stays, Mets Have Plenty Of Issues

Lifeless. That’s pretty much the only way to describe what’s going on with the Mets, now 16 games below .500.  The count is now 14 consecutive series the Mets haven’t won after today’s 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Tampa Bay.

That’s eight times they’ve been shutout this lost season.

And yet, the Mets – who will be sellers at the trade deadline – insist if they keep Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard they will be competitive next season. Of course, that’s contingent on Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce returning healthy and productive.

NIMMO:  A bright spot in lost season.  (Getty)

NIMMO: A bright spot in a  lost season. (Getty)

Let’s assume that happens, and they also keep Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, who continue to develop, they still have monumental holes, especially if they deal Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Here’s how they’ll starting nine will look like:

CATCHER: Devin Mesaroco has been one of the few positives this season since coming over from Cincinnati in the Matt Harvey trade. Kevin Plawecki has played well as a reserve, but he’s never going to be a full-time starter. Ditto for Travis d’Arnaud, who is again on the disabled list.

FIRST BASE: What does it say about Dominic Smith that he started today in left field? Since Adrian Gonzalez left, Wilmer Flores has been getting more playing time, but this is an opportunity that has come too late.

SECOND BASE: They are trying to move Cabrera, who should have value to a contender. If they are successful, they can play Flores at second. Of course, they are also looking to move Flores, which shouldn’t result in Tear Gate II.

SHORTSTOP: Do you remember all the angst when they didn’t bring up Amed Rosario? Of course, you do. He’s playing, but for all his defensive prowess he hasn’t shown much. And, many of the mistakes are mental which no team should tolerate. Rosario is getting time, but isn’t making the most of it, either in the field or at the plate. Here’s a guy with incredible speed, but you rarely see his draw walks and attempt to steal. For a team that lacks offense, that’s a huge mistake. Rosario needs to improve his plate discipline and learn to hit the ball on the ground. He’s shown nothing that leads me to believe he’s a long-time answer.

THIRD BASE: Todd Frazier was a good idea for a contender, but the Mets are far from that label. He’s been hurt and having a miserable season. What’s worse, is he’s signed for next year, too. Maybe they can get something for Frazier, if not they can always try again in 2019.

LEFT FIELD: Currently, the Mets have no idea when Cespedes will come off the disabled list. He’s starting to run in Florida, but we’ve been down that road before. There are times when I start to think the Mets might see David Wright again before Cespedes. There’s no telling how Cespedes will respond physically once he comes back. But, he has two more years after this year, and that’s not encouraging. Smith started in left today, but that’s no answer. Michael Conforto can play left, but started in right to give Jose Bautista got the day off.

CENTER FIELD: Brandon Nimmo won the job after Cespedes was injured and has been one of the Mets most pleasant surprises. Next season will be interesting if Cespedes and Bruce are back healthy, and Conforto and Nimmo are also there. Somebody will have to go, and it won’t be Cespedes.

RIGHT FIELD: Bruce is on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor, and has two more years on his contract. The Mets could try to trade him again, but will Bruce show anything in the next three weeks? It’s doubtful. Bautista has played well enough to open the eyes of a contender, but that doesn’t do anything to help next year’s logjam.

ROTATION: DeGrom and Syndergaard aren’t going anywhere any time soon. But, if the Mets are in similar straits next year, perhaps we’ll hear trade talks again. Then, maybe the Mets will not resist. The problem is the Mets are under the illusion they can compete next year. The sooner they get a realistic appraisal of their team the better off they’ll be. The last thing they need is to hold on to deGrom and Syndergaard for the next three years and don’t get any better. If that happens, all their chips will be gone.

BULLPEN: Jeurys Familia could be the first to be traded, which puts the Mets in the position to look for a closer in 2019. The obvious first choice would be AJ Ramos, who is on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. The next option could be to convert Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo or Wheeler into that role. Any of the other relievers you can have.

MANAGER: By rights, Mickey Callaway should come back. Callaway has a lot to learn, but it’s not fair to fire a manager after one year. The problems the Mets are having has little to do with Callaway’s in-game decisions. It’s because former GM Sandy Alderson did not give him enough talent, and he, along with John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya over-estimated how good their team is. It will be interesting how much leeway Jeff Wilpon gives the trio in making trades. If Wilpon goes outside the organization for a general manager it stands to reason he’ll want to hire his own manager.

Jul 06

Maybe The Real Issue Is When DeGrom Might Ask To Be Traded

As the Major League Baseball trade deadline nears, the speculation mounts as to whether the Mets will trade Jacob deGrom. As the Mets continue to waste his starts, the better question could be: Will deGrom ask for a trade?

DE GROM: Another no decision.. (AP)

DE GROM: Another no decision.. (AP)

After his last start, deGrom said he was tired of losing, and you can’t blame him for voicing his frustration. He hasn’t come out and said he wants out, but it could happen.

After eight innings tonight, deGrom’s ERA fell to major league-low 1.79 after giving up one run on four hits in eight innings. He’ll be a no-brainer to represent the Mets in the All-Star Game. Incredibly, he has given up more than three runs only once this season and has given up two runs or less in 13 of his 17 starts, but has just five victories to show for it.

He has eight no-decisions, which a hard-luck pitcher should get over a full season. After tonight, deGrom has gone 15 straight starts where he’s given up three runs or less. DeGrom came away empty tonight, but the Mets did not, winning 5-1 on Jose Bautista’s game-ending grand slam.

Given his production, and the Mets’ desire to sell tickets and be competitive in 2019, there is no reason why they should deal him. But, he’s 30-years old and if the Mets aren’t a contender next year, then when?

Realistically, deGrom could be 34 or 35 the next time the Mets sniff October. DeGrom has said all the right things, but eventually, he’ll have to think of himself, and if winning is what matters to him, it might not be in Flushing.

Jul 04

Familia Could Be First Met To Go

It’s not hard to figure out which Mets will net the most in the trade market. That would be Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but I don’t think either will be dealt. But, who will be first to go?

HARVEY: He could torment the Mets as a Yankee.. (AP)

HARVEY: He could torment the Mets as a Yankee.. (AP)

My guess is it will be Jeurys Familia, followed perhaps by Asdrubal Cabrera and Zack Wheeler. I think Familia would be the first because relievers are always a hot commodity this time of year, and he’ll be a free agent after this season.

And, with a $7.925 million salary that will be half paid by the deadline, he should come across as a bargain, providing, of course, he starts to pitch better.

As far Cabrera goes, he would provide a veteran presence, something all contenders need. He’s also hitting well and can play three infield positions. Boston, especially, could use an infielder.

As far as Wheeler goes, just because he hasn’t won since late April shouldn’t deter a contender needing a starter. However, it won’t be the Yankees, because the Mets are afraid of the predictable headlines in dealing with the Bronx.

The Yankees need pitching and Wheeler would help, but I’m thinking they might instead deal with Cincinnati – for Matt Harvey.

Since 2015 I’ve been writing Harvey would eventually pitch for the Yankees. This is a roundabout way of it happening, and it realistically could happen.

Jun 30

Mets Waste Another DeGrom Start

The Mets began the season favored by many to make the playoffs. After an 11-1 start, the Mets are 16 games under .500 and currently in sole possession of last place in the NL East.

They just finished their worst ever month of June at 5-21 and just this week assistant general manager John Ricco officially putting up the “For Sale’’ sign outside Citi Field.

DE GROM: Another start wasted. (AP)

DE GROM: Another start wasted. (AP)

They are on pace to win just 65 games in manager Mickey Callaway’s first season. Callaway, who has already called a team meeting – something he said he didn’t want to do – said after today’s 5-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, who already waived a white flag before Opening Day, yelling at his players in public won’t do anything.

Maybe not, but it might feel good to let off a lot of steam.

Outside of stinking up the joint, the only thing the Mets have consistently done this season is waste sterling starts by Jacob deGrom. They are now 6-11 when deGrom starts. He is having an All-Star type season with a 1.80 ERA.

Today, the did every wrong thing imaginable.

The Marlins broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth when Wilmer Flores misplayed a dribbler up the first base line. Flores hesitated instead of aggressively charging the ball.  Of course, first base isn’t Flores’ natural position. Dominick Smith is a supposed the be a highly-touted first base prospect.

However, the lefty-swinging Smith didn’t start for the third straight game against a right-handed pitcher.

This begs the obvious question: If Smith doesn’t play against right-handed pitching, then why is he here?

Then, in the seventh, the Marlins broke the game open on J.T. Realmuto’s two-run double, which was set up by Amed Rosario’s error.

In the seventh, Jose Reyes, pinch-hit for deGrom and jogged to first. Callaway calmly confronted Reyes in the dugout, and the player everybody is wondering why he’s still here, lamely told the manager “he felt something’’ in his legs.

If you hung around long enough, you might have felt something in your gut.

With the Mets having eight games against Philadelphia and Washington prior to the All-Star break, it’s conceivable they could be more than 20 games under by then.

It’s conceivable they could be as many as 40 games under when this miserable season ends.

“I’m tired of losing, to be honest with you,” said a glum deGrom.

As we all are.

Jun 28

Mets Place Fire Sale Sign Out In Flushing

The Mets are on record saying they will be sellers at the deadline for the second straight summer. For a team 14 games below .500, two games from the NL East basement and this comes as no surprise.

And, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the same thing happens next season.

“Obviously, the trade deadline is coming up [July 31]. And, that’s a big pressure point in which to better your club,’’ said John Ricco, who, along with Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi, are teaming to take over for Sandy Alderson. “Certainly, we’re going to take advantage of that and look to be active.’’

Ricco said he’ll listen to calls about everybody, including Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Personally, I’m open for the Mets trading anybody right now except deGrom, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. Anybody else, they can do want they want.

I would keep those three because the Mets do have to field a team next year.

First on the block should be Jeurys Familia, who as a closer should bring something in return. Plenty of teams can use a closer. Next would be Asdrubal Cabrera. The Boston Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia ailing and in a tight race with the Yankees, need a second baseman. Brandon Phillips might not be enough.

Third would be veterans such as Jose Bautista, who is playing well; Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. They probably wouldn’t get much for any of the four, but lower-ranked prospects aren’t out of the question, especially if put in a package.

I wouldn’t be against dealing Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Those three would likely bring back the most in terms of prospects or young major-league ready talent.

The Mets don’t have much talent in the minor leagues but do have major league prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, both I wouldn’t mind see dealt.