Aug 19

Granderson Trade Officially Closes Mets’ Window

The Mets’ Great Salary Dump of 2017 continued today when the Mets traded Curtis Granderson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash. Dealing Granderson marked the symbolic closing of the Mets’ window of contention.

The Mets signed Granderson to a four-year, $60-million contract in 2013, and with their young pitching, they promised to be a contender. It wouldn’t be until 2015 that they overachieved and not only reached the playoffs but made it to the World Series.

GRANDERSON: Trade closes Mets window. (AP)

GRANDERSON: Trade closes Mets window. (AP)

They lost in the wild-card game last year but were heavy favorites to return to October – with many thinking the World Series – this season.

I ask: If injuries were the number one cause of the failure this season, doesn’t it stand to reason that with a little tweaking added to the present core, then how far off could the Mets be for 2018? That’s with, or without, David Wright.

That GM Sandy Alderson would cast off so many of the Mets’ veteran assets is only indicative how poorly he constructed this team. Granderson, combined with Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Addison Reed, and soon to be Rene Rivera, adds up to six future free agents after this season.

It stands to reason Alderson wouldn’t bring back all of them. But, to not bring back any of them is simply poor management.

You don’t construct your roster to have eight expiring contracts – don’t forget Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera – at the same time. That’s 33 percent of your roster. And, coupled with casting off Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy, and that’s just a terrible job by the man whose biographer refers to him as the game’s smartest general manager.

Maybe you don’t keep them all, but if you’re telling the public your goal is to compete, you try to keep the core together. Of all the remnants the Mets received in return, only AJ Ramos – projected in a set-up reliever role – figure to make the 2018 roster.

Turner, for spiteful reasons, brought nothing from the Dodgers. He’s an All-Star who could win the NL batting title this year. Murphy, of course, walked because they wouldn’t spend the money.

Hell, that’s the case with all of them.

The Mets threw good money after bad with trading for and extending Walker when they could have kept Murphy.

Duda, well he was only keeping the seat warm for Dominic Smith. Reed could have been extended when Jeurys Familia was first suspended, then injured. Bruce was signed as a hedge in case the Mets didn’t re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, who, so far, has turned out to be a bust.

Cespedes has been a health and hustling concern each of the past two years. Having Bruce’s 29 homers would be needed next season.

And, still, Alderson tells us he expects the Mets to compete next year. That is, if the three of the core rotation that is on the disabled list return healthy next year, and a fourth – Steven Matz – rights himself.

Ex-Mets Granderson and Turner could meet ex-Met Murphy or ex-Met Rivera, who was claimed on waivers by the Cubs, in the NLCS for the right to possibly meet ex-Mets Bruce or Reed in the World Series.

As it is now, the Mets have only Jacob deGrom from that vaunted rotation. What can you count on from Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Matz? Remember, that rotation has yet to pitch in turn since 2013.

Their best player is Michael Conforto, but they don’t have a set position for him. Smith and Amed Rosario are promising questions. They refuse to play Wilmer Flores full time and Wright can’t be counted on.

The bullpen outside of Jerry Blevins is awful. Do you really trust Ramos and Familia? Don’t tell me you trust Hansel Robles.

I think Rosario could be a star, but as with what happened with Conforto, there could be growing pains. I like Smith, but he needs to get into shape. How will Rosario and Smith fare in a full major league schedule?

So, in looking at the Mets’ current roster, I only trust Conforto, deGrom and Blevins. Everybody else is a question or a black hole.

We know the Mets won’t be big spenders this winter as all their money is tied up wet-nursing Cespedes. There won’t be big-name help coming in from the outside. So, you’re delusional if you think they really would go after Manny Machado or Evan Longoria.

The Mets window to compete opened when they signed Granderson. It officially closed today.

Aug 16

Mets Matters: Syndergaard Begins Long Road Back

If there’s one date in which the Mets’ season went into the toilet it is April 30 when Noah Syndergaard tore his right lat muscle in a game at Washington.

mets mattersSyndergaard threw in the bullpen for the first time since, throwing 20 pitches Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. There will be at least two other bullpens, then batting practice before getting a rehab assignment. It is quite possible the minor league season will be over before Syndergaard gets the opportunity to throw in a rehab game.

Syndergaard will still lift weights in the offseason, but said he plans to incorporate more flexibility exercises.

“I’m still going to lift heavy and be strong,’’ Syndergaard recently told reporters. “We’re still professional athletes here. We’ve still got to be strong and durable. I’m just going to be more smart about it. … I expect to be the same guy in terms of velocity.’’

LUGO TO DL; GSELLMAN STARTS: Seth Lugo is back on the disabled list with a partially torn elbow ligament and shoulder impingement. He will be replaced tonight by Robert Gsellman, who has been on the DL since June 28 with a strained left hamstring.

The Mets believe Lugo hurt his shoulder compensating for his elbow.

“That always concerns me that you’ve changed your delivery to compensate if you’ve got a bad elbow, and then all of a sudden your shoulder [hurts],’’ Collins said. “And I know one thing, I don’t like to hear shoulder problems. Those scare me more than anything.’’

Lugo was 5-3 with a 4.85 ERA in 11 starts and one relief appearance, but 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA in his last three appearances. Lugo believes his elbow is fine, and that surgery isn’t an option for either his shoulder or elbow.

“The doctors said this is an inoperable situation,’’ Lugo said. “Rest is just going to make it better. Surgery’s not even a thought.’’

ABOUT TIME: The Mets requested unconditional release waivers on reliever Fernando Salas, who has a 6.00 ERA in 48 appearances this season. Salas was designated for assignment last week, and barring the unlikely scenario at team claims him, the Mets will be on the hook for the balance of his $3 million salary.

The Mets should also DFA Hansel Robles, who doesn’t fit into their plans for 2018.

METS ACQUIRE OUTFIELDER: Travis Snider, formerly of Toronto and Pittsburgh, was purchased from Texas for cash. Snider, 29, was Baseball America’s sixth-ranked prospect in 2009.

Unless Curtis Granderson is traded, don’t expect to see Snider until the rosters are expanded Sept. 1.

PITCHING REHABS: Closer Jeurys Familia will make his first rehab appearance today. He is recovering from arterial surgery, May 12, to remove a blood clot in his right shoulder. … Matt Harvey will make his second rehab start today for Class A Brooklyn.

 

 

Aug 12

Walker Is Latest Former Met

The last time the Mets nearly traded an infielder to Milwaukee produced the iconic snapshot of Wilmer Flores crying at his shortstop position. There was no such image tonight with the breaking news the Mets had traded Neil Walker to the Brewers for a player to be named later.

Tonight’s optic was a video of Walker leaving the Mets’ clubhouse in a golf cart, presumably to the team hotel to pack before flying to Milwaukee to join a pennant race.

WALKER: Another good one is gone. (AP)

                               WALKER: Another good one is gone. (AP)

By the time the Mets lost to the Phillies, 3-1, the deal had not yet been announced.

Despite playing with significant injuries – and undergoing back surgery last offseason – Walker was a consummate professional, just as Jay Bruce was, and exceeded his run production expectations since acquiring him after the 2015 season from Pittsburgh.

Walker, acquired when the Mets didn’t re-sign Daniel Murphy after his historic 2015 postseason, hit 23 homers last year in an injury-shortened 2016. After not drawing interest in the free-agent market, Walker signed a $17.2-million qualifying offer last winter.

At one point this season the Mets said they’d consider bringing back Walker, but such talk quickly died on the vine as their season slipped away.

With a glut of infielders, there was no way the Mets would bring him back, and since players-to-be-named are mostly bottom-tier prospects at best, this was nothing more than a salary dump, even with them picking up a portion of the remaining $4.7 million left on Walker’s contract.

The Mets were close to trading Walker to the Yankees at the July 31 deadline, but the latter backed out reportedly concerned with his medical records. In addition to his back surgery in the winter, Walker missed six weeks this season with a hamstring injury.

A season that began with such optimism continued to unravel for the Mets. A team many thought could return to the World Series, has rid itself of Walker, Bruce, Addison Reed and Lucas Duda, in addition to losing for long periods on the disabled list of David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and Jeurys Familia.

Jul 29

Reed Waiting For Phone To Ring

This has to be an excruciatingly frustrating time for Mets closer Addison Reed. He’s a Met today, but could be a Dodger, or a Brewer, or a Diamondback, or on a half-dozen other teams tomorrow or Monday.

The Mets’ acquisition of A.J. Ramos from Miami on Friday, practically assures they will deal Reed by Monday’s deadline. If they don’t, he’ll be a free agent this winter because there’s no way the Mets will bring him back – at over $7 million – and Ramos – at over $6 million – to work out of the same bullpen with Jeurys Familia (over $7 million).

Those three, along with Jerry Blevins, would give the Mets a formidable bullpen, but we know they won’t spend that kind of money. So, Reed just bides his time waiting for his cell phone to ring.

What the Mets hope to do is swap Reed for a couple of prospects to make up for the two minor leaguers they traded to Miami for Ramos, just to get an extra year of reliever coverage for $1 million cheaper.

“As far as I know, I’m still here,’’ Reed told reporters in Seattle. “So, I’m going to keep pitching. Whenever the phone rings and they call my name, I’m going to be ready to go.’’

With Ramos expected to join the Mets in time for Sunday’s game, you can count on Reed not pitching Sunday as to not risk injury which would short-circuit any deal.

In replacing Familia, Reed has been superb this season with 19 saves in 21 opportunities with a 2.57 ERA.

Jul 05

Even DeGrom Can’t Save Mets

Do you want the truth from me about the Mets, or should I tell you what I think of them through blue-and-orange glasses? I’m guessing you want the truth because that’s all I’ve given you on this site.

I hope I am wrong and the Mets do something heroic, but even if Jacob deGrom beats the Nationals tonight, I think this over.

DE GROM: Can't help Mets now. (AP)

DE GROM: Can’t help Mets now. (AP)

Just when they take a step forward, like trim a 12.5-game deficit down to 8.5, they stub their toe. They not only failed to sweep the Phillies but got clobbered in the final game. Curtis Granderson hit a game-tying homer with two strikes and two down in the ninth, which is the stuff great pennant runs are made of.

But, they lost that game and were routed yesterday to fall back to 11.5 games behind.

They can’t beat the Nationals, Dodgers or Diamondbacks, and I don’t like their chances against St. Louis and Colorado.

There is too much going on with the Mets that doesn’t encourage a miraculous comeback. Their pitchers walk too many hitters and the bullpen is among the game’s worst. Their offense is all-or-nothing with the home runs. Hitting in the clutch? Uh, no.

And, let’s not forget the numerous injuries: Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey; David Wright and Neil Walker; Jeurys Familia and Michael Conforto.

Quite simply, the Mets need to pick up at least six games by the end of the month to have any chance of making it a race giving them two options: 1) maintain the illusion and keep the status quo, or 2) back up the truck and have a fire sale.

Whatever they do, I’ll keep watching and imagine you will, also, because that’s what we do.