May 22

Adding Bautista Could Mean End For Reyes

If there’s an indictment of the Mets’ cupboard farm system, it is this: They’ve agreed to terms with former six-time All-Star Jose Bautista, who was cast off by the Braves two days ago.

With Juan Lagares (toe injury and out for the season) and Yoenis Cespedes (strained right hip flexor), and an outfield full of lefty hitters, the Mets will be taking a flier of Bautista, who was hitting .143 with two homers and 12 games for the Braves.

BAUTISTA: Another bat added. (AP)

BAUTISTA: Another bat added. (AP)

Over his 15-year career, Bautista is a career .249 hitter, but with 333 homers and 923 RBI. He’s best known, however, for flipping his bat in the playoffs and his brawl with Rangers infielder Rougned Odur (he was cold-cocked in the brawl).

Although signed to as an outfielder, Bautista was playing third base for Atlanta. The signing could mean the end of Jose Reyes second tenure with the Mets. Reyes was in the Mets’ lineup for tonight’s game against Miami, but his playing time has been limited lately.

Reyes, who enters tonight’s game in a 2-for-22 slump, hears the whispers he could be DFA’s soon.

“The only thing I can control is to continue to work,’’ Reyes said. “Last year, I went through a similar situation, but it was a little bit different because last year I had the opportunity to play a little bit more. I can just do my work and routine and try to put my swing together. … It’s not a surprise to because I haven’t been playing too much. That’s nothing new. Whatever happens, happens.’’

Recently-promoted Infield prospect Luis Guillorme started at third base Monday. With the Mets opting to carry 13 pitchers and four role players, Guillorme could be sent down the Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Bautista.

However, if the Mets continue to carry 13 pitchers it stands to reason they could swap out Bautista for Reyes.

 

Apr 17

Time To Play Nimmo More

As long as Brandon Nimmo is up here, isn’t it about time Mickey Callaway find a way to get him regular playing time. He’s been a terrific pinch-hitter, and always seems to produce when he’s in the lineup like he did last night subbing for Jay Bruce.

As long as Bruce is still bothered by plantar fasciitis, Nimmo should play and he should rest. Nimmo should also play in place of Yoenis Cespedes, who is in a dreadful slump. He needs a few games to clear his head.

It shouldn’t be that hard to develop a rotation with Nimmo, Cespedes, Bruce, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares.

I understand the need of getting Nimmo regular at-bats at Las Vegas, but he’s here now and the Mets should take advantage of that and get him consistent at-bats while in New York.

 

Apr 01

Matz Fails First Test

It didn’t take long for Mets manager Mickey Callaway to learn today wasn’t going to belong to Steven Matz. When a pitcher throws 26 pitches in the first inning, even if he doesn’t give up any runs, you know he won’t be long for that game.

Callaway knew it was the same old problem for Matz – fastball command.

“He struggled with his release point and couldn’t establish the fastball needed to set-up his other pitches,’’ said Callaway. “He battled himself all game. He didn’t execute his pitches. He was struggling from the get-go and couldn’t locate his fastball.’’

Callaway said Matz didn’t have confidence, but that’s now how he started the day that ended in a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.

“I was trying to do a little too much out there. I was really smooth and easy before the game and was feeling really confident,’’ Matz said. “Then when a hitter stepped in, I was trying to make my pitches better and that’s when I get in trouble.

“I was leaving the ball up a lot and they were able to get their barrels on it. When I don’t have my fastball command that’s where it all starts for me.’’

Matz threw 73 pitches after three innings and finished with 89 pitches in four innings. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, including solo homers to Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong.

I’ve been saying all along that it is way too early to make any definitive judgments on anything pertaining to the Mets and that includes on Matz. However, today does raise a red flag.

With Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard the Mets have a strong front end of the rotation. But, it’s what they get from Matz and Matt Harvey that determines what will happen with the Mets this season.

EXTRA INNINGS: Juan Lagares started in center because Brandon Nimmo had flu-like symptoms and responded with three hits. Nimmo was sent home and not available. … Michael Conforto will return to New York and is scheduled to face Jason Vargas in a simulated game Monday. There is a chance Conforto could be activated from the DL as early as Thursday. … Anthony Swarzak will have his sore left oblique muscle re-examined Monday.

 

Mar 31

No Problems With Mets’ Lineup Change

Two Mets who were hot Opening Day – Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki – are sitting today, and it was another good move by manager Mickey Callaway.

“I don’t want guys to sit around for five days,’’ explained Callaway as to why Travis d’Arnaud is catching and Juan Lagares is in center. “I have faith in every player here and guys should play.’’

That’s not to say Callaway will ignore the hot hand. For example, Amed Rosario had two hits batting ninth and Yoenis Cespedes drove in three runs in the second spot. In theory, it is supposed to give Cespedes more RBI opportunities. Now, if Rosario doesn’t hit or gets a day off, that might change.

It’s only the second game of the season so it is too early to make any judgments. Let’s hope this makes it easier for Rosario and he adapts to hitting in the majors.

Mar 27

Seven Things For The Mets To Make The Playoffs

Can the Mets reach the playoffs? It would take at least 86 victories, which is 16 more than last season, and that’s a reach. I don’t think it will happen, but stranger things have happened with the Mets. If it does happen, the  Mets need the following seven things fall into place:

DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

           DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

No injuries: They are due for a healthy season, beginning with their rotation. They already had a few this spring, and Steven Matz and Matt Harvey are coming off surgery. They have to be incredibly lucky from here on out.

As far as their position players are concerned, they need Michael Conforto (shoulder) and Yoenis Cespedes (shoulder and hamstrings) to return and have monster seasons. Conforto will miss the first month, so that’s at least 100 at-bats they’ll miss.

Who will fill that void?

Rotation lives up to the hype: Zack Wheeler will open the season in the minors and Jason Vargas on the disabled list. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will have to win at least 17 games each, and Harvey has to win at least 15.

Relievers must fill their roles: Manager Mickey Callaway hinted at a closer-by-committee format, but Jeurys Familia will get the first chance to close.

Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will combine for the Andrew Miller role (once the latter is replaced in the rotation by either Vargas or Wheeler). That’s something new with Callaway and it is a gamble that must work.

The older guys’ encore: Specifically, that would be Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce. Frazier and Bruce must have big seasons, defined as at least 20 homers and 80 RBI.

The young guys can’t be intimidated: Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares will get at-bats in April with Conforto injured. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith – when he comes up – are offensive liabilities. That has to change.

Win the East: When the Mets reached the World Series in 2015, they did so in large part by Washington getting off to a miserable start and the Mets beating up on the Nationals and Braves. That has to happen again.

Sandy Alderson must not blink at the deadline: In 2015, when the Carlos Gomez trade fell through he immediately went after Cespedes. If the Mets are close at the end of July, Alderson can’t be afraid to pull the trigger.