Sep 17

As Season Winds Down, Mets Should Consider Cutting Back On Pitchers

Jacob deGrom is competing for the Cy Young Award, so the Mets won’t limit him during his final two starts. However, they might ease up on the gas when it comes to the rest of their rotation.

However, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz – all of whom have been injured – could benefit if their innings are reduced.

“We have to do everything can to make sure a June doesn’t happen again,” manager Mickey Callaway said of the Mets winning only five games in June. “Because it derails your whole season.”

Syndergaard has thrown 135.1 innings; Matz has thrown a career-high 140 innings; and with seven innings tonight in Philadelphia, Wheeler has logged 182.1 innings this season.

Wheeler, 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, leads the majors with eight victories in the second half.

“He’s obviously had a great season, is in a very good spot health-wise right now, and we’re going to pay attention to him probably the most,” Callaway said.

That’s because Wheeler has had an extensive injury history, with Tommy John surgery keeping him out of the majors in 2015-16, and a stress reaction ending his 2017 season in July.

Wheeler needed to prove two things this season, 1) that he could stay healthy, and 2) that he could pitch up to his expectations. He’s done both, and with nothing else left to prove, it wouldn’t hurt for him to be shut down, or at least throw a minimum of five innings.

 

 

Sep 09

Mets Matters: Wright Still Wants To Play

Mets captain David Wright will play in his second simulated game Tuesday and still holds out hope he’ll return this season. The Mets have pronounced no such optimism.

Reports surfaced late last week the Mets were reluctant for Wright to return this season because it would void their insurance policy that covers 75 percent of his salary.

Coming with those reports was speculation there was tension between the franchise and its face.

“The last thing that I want to portray is that there is some sort of rift between the Mets and I,” Wright said. “That’s false. There has been communication, and I know where they stand and they know where I stand, so the communication, especially recently, has been fantastic, and I look forward to meeting with [chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon] in the coming days and formulating a game plan from here until the end of September.”

Wright will meet with Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon after the simulated game to discuss the action plan for the rest of the season.

While it is understandable why Wright wants to play, but also why the Mets want him to keep sitting for this summer. However, the catch is unless Wright plays, we’ll never know if he’s physically capable of playing.

One would think that it is important to both Wright and the Mets to get that answer, even if it means it costing the team several million dollars.

DeGrom Scratched: With heavy rain in the forecast, the Mets scratched Jacob deGrom from today’s start rather than risk starting him, having him sit through a delay and losing him for the day.

Fundamentally, it was a good call, but it is one less start for him to make his case for the Cy Young Award.

The Mets, carried by starter Corey Oswalt and Michael Conforto’s two-run homer put a crimp in the Phillies’ playoff aspirations with a 6-4 victory.

Syndergaard injured: Noah Syndergaard left Saturday’s game with bruised right ribs after he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez.

X-Rays were negative.

“It’s a scary situation,” Syndergaard said. “It’s been my nightmare ever since I’ve started playing baseball. Today was just my judgment day of having a screamer come back at me. I mean, everyone was asking if I’m OK. I’m just concerned if the ball is all right.”

 

Aug 25

How The Mets Should Play Out Their Schedule

The Mets just released their batting order for today’s game and it has Wilmer Flores playing first base and Jay Bruce in right field.

Why?

Although they have not been mathematically eliminated, we all know their season has been over for months. Right now, the Mets are operating in limbo with their three-headed general manager, which puts Mickey Callaway’s job for 2019 on shaky ground.

BRUCE: Needs to play first. (AP)

BRUCE: Needs to play first. (AP)

There has been no mention in the media as of yet whether the Mets have begun their general manager’s search other than compiling names. If any of the candidates are their assistant general managers, the Mets don’t have to wait until the season is over. If Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon’s choice is John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi or Omar Minaya, he can make the announcement now.

I’m concerned the Mets are dragging their feet to where they will miss out on their first choice. That being said, the Mets can still plan for 2019, and that begins with telling Callaway whom he should be playing and why.

If the Mets are sold on Flores as their first baseman of the future, then so be it, but we know that’s not true. We also know they have soured on Dominic Smith, who we also know can’t play the outfield.

Here’s what the Mets should do:

1)  From now until the end of the season, first base has to be Bruce’s position. As it is configured now, the outfield doesn’t have a place for Bruce with Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo playing the corners and Austin Jackson and Juan Lagares in center.

The Mets have talked about playing Bruce at first base, so if they don’t trade him – again – before the August 31 deadline, they should make the move permanent, because next season I want Conforto and Nimmo playing the corners. Including today’s game against the Nationals, the Mets have 34 games remaining, which is roughly a full spring training’s worth, to find out what can Bruce do at first base.

Should the Mets deal Bruce, then Smith should get the majority of the reps at first base. There is no reason why Flores should play first over Bruce and Smith.

Assuming Flores comes back next season it should be coming off the bench and play a rotation of a game at third, one at second and one at first. That accomplishes two things: 1) it gives Flores enough playing time to keep him sharp in the field and at the plate, and 2) it enables next year’s manager to rest Todd Frazier, Amed Rosario and Bruce once a week.

2) Jeff McNeil should get the reps at second base. This would also be an appropriate time to see if he can fill in at third and shortstop in a pinch.

The Mets should go into the offseason with second base a minor concern. It should be McNeil’s job to lose going into the offsason.. He had two morre hits today.

3) If the Mets are serious about a six-man rotation, which I doubt they are, then go for it. There are enough games remaining to go through a six-man rotation five times. That would be Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Jason Vargas and Seth Lugo.

Giving deGrom a chance to win a Cy Young Award is fine, but let’s face it, the most games he could possibly win are 13, which shouldn’t be enough to catch Max Scherzer, who is 16-6, and Aaron Nola, who is at 15-3.

It has been a lost season for Vargas, but he’s come off the disabled list and has pitched three strong games in a row.

I would like to see Lugo get some starts as to enhance his trade value. If anything, I would consider shutting down Matz for the final month. He’s been horrid lately and has a sore arm. Running Matz out there five more times can only hurt him. If he shows no progress in his next start tomorrow, then out he goes.

4) Figure Robert Gsellman as next year’s closer. With Jeurys Familia gone and AJ Ramos on the disabled list, this could give them a heads-up on their winter shopping.

If the Mets do these things, it won’t solve all their problems, but could settle one or two issues, or at least give their incoming general manager something to work with.

 

 

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.

Jun 26

Alderson Leaves Mets As Cancer Returns

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is taking a leave of absence to receive continued treatment on his cancer. Alderson has been receiving chemotherapy since his cancer returned since the end of April.

Alderson, 70, was initially diagnosed with cancer in September of 2015 shortly before the Mets made their improbable run to the World Series.

ALDERSON: Leaves Mets, maybe for good. (AP)

ALDERSON: Leaves Mets, maybe for good. (AP)

Alderson, speaking with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon at his side prior to tonight’s game at Citi Field, said he will forfeit all his decision-making responsibilities to his staff of John Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi, all decisions – the trade deadline is July 31 – will go through Wilpon.

“I’m just really concerned for Sandy’s health,” Wilpon said, “and that he’s back with his family, and doing everything he can to make sure he weathers this storm the best he can.”

Wilpon did not comment of the Mets’ new chain-of-command or Alderson’s future, but the general manager hinted he might not return.

“If I were to look at it on the merits, I’m not sure coming back is warranted,’’ Alderson said, but wouldn’t define the term `merits.’ Although, reaching the 2015 World Series was the pinnacle.

Alderson’s record with the Mets is 582-628, including 31-45 this season. His marquee decisions were trading Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler; buying out Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo; signing David Wright to an eight-year, $138-million contract; trading Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud; trading for Yoenis Cespedes, then extending him to a four-year, $110-million contract; firing manager Terry Collins, and finally giving up on Matt Harvey and trading him to the Reds this year.

Alderson has also been reluctant to spend lavishly in the free-agent market and unable to build up the farm system. Alderson also assumed responsibility for the Mets’ miserable season.

“I feel badly that we’ve had the season that we have had to date,” Alderson said. “I feel personally responsible for the results that we’ve had. At the same time, I have confidence in our manager, our coaching staff, our players, that this will change. John, Omar [and] J.P., I’m sure, will take a hard look at where we are, maybe take a fresh look at where we are. And I have every confidence that they will serve the franchise well over the next few months through the end of the season.

“I’m really disappointed with where we are and disappointed to have left Mets fans in this situation. I’ve said many times, I really do this to make other people happy. When you’re not making people happy, it’s difficult.

“None of us writes his or her script. You deal with circumstances as they arise. I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here, all the opportunities I’ve had in the game, and for whatever opportunities may arise in the future. This isn’t Disney World. We have to deal with life as it presents itself, and I’m OK with that.’’