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.

Jan 19

Why The Mets Won’t Deal Nimmo

Sure, the Mets like Brandon Nimmo and don’t want to trade him. It’s understandable the Mets would rather sign a free agent than give up their young talent.

However, there’s more than just Nimmo’s upside that kept him a Met and prevented Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison from coming to New York. And, the reasons are something GM Sandy Alderson isn’t telling us.

NIMMO:  Why the Mets want him.  (Getty)

NIMMO: Why the Mets want him. (Getty)

The Mets know Nimmo can hit major league pitching on a limited basis – he hit .260 with a .379 on-base percentage last year through 69 games – and is worthy of a fulltime gamble.

If the Mets were truly a contender this season, it would have been worth the roll of the dice to trade him for McCutchen. That Alderson didn’t pull the trigger on that trade tells us the Mets aren’t ready for primetime.

Rejecting McCutchen also tells us the Mets wouldn’t be willing to offer him a multi-year deal while Nimmo is two years away from being pre-arbitration eligible.

There’s a third reason why the Mets want to hang onto Nimmo, and it is the uncertainty with surrounding the health of Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.

Conforto (shoulder) will miss at least the first month of the season and nobody knows how much time Cespedes (hamstring) will miss at the start of 2018. And even if he does start the season, he missed substantial time over the past two seasons.

The Mets are perilously thin in the outfield with Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares and Nimmo the only immediate healthy bodies that represent any cost certainty.

Jan 08

This Is What I Hope For From The Mets

It’s ten degrees outside and there’s a foot of snow outside and the Mets, of course, are doing nothing for me to take my mind off of what has been the most dismal of winters. They’ve done nothing to encourage hope for this summer. Seriously, they’ve done zero to make me feel optimistic about the season, but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to Opening Day and the six months following.

It will be baseball season, and for that alone, I’m anxious to see what happens. While the future is a mystery, what I want to see unfold is another thing. Here’s what I’m rooting for:

* For Mickey Callaway to get it early and miss the bumps that derail most first-year managers.

* That Dave Eiland‘s off-season throwing program produces some immediate and tangible results.

* That David Wright‘s recovery program takes. To see him charge and barehand a slow roller and fire a seed to first, then come to the plate a line a gapper to right-center and leg out a double.

* I can’t wait to see Jacob deGrom go nine. Hell, I hope he goes nine lots of times and this year he wins 20 and starts the All-Star Game. Basically, I’d like to find out if he can still pitch with the new haircut.

* That Noah Syndergaard‘s lat gives him zero problems and he pitches the way comic book heroes are supposed to pitch.

* That all that I’ve heard this winter are true. That Matt Harvey is in great shape. I’ve never cared to hear about what supermodels he is dating, but that he’s happy. Seriously, I do.

* That Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler come back sound, and the Fabulous Five make it through the cycle at least once. Maybe two or three times.

* That GM Sandy Alderson’s trades last year for bullpen help pay off and some of these arms pan out.

* That maybe Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki form a productive platoon.

* That Dominic Smith shows up in shape and hits line drives.

* For Asdrubal Cabrera plays a solid second, or third. Hopefully at second and the Mets find their third baseman in Wright. I can’t help it, I like the guy and hope he makes it back.

* For Amed Rosario to hit .300 and steal 30 bases.

* For Yoenis Cespedes to prove me wrong … stay healthy and hit 35 dingers.

* For the bulked-up Juan Lagares hits up to his glove.

* Michael Conforto‘s shoulder to hold up and he comes back soon and he posts MVP-type numbers. Big ones.

Of course, I would love to see the Mets win the World Series, obviously against the Yankees. But, I would settle for them to be competitive and play the way we all hope.

Nov 22

Would You Trade A Package That Includes Cespedes And Harvey For Stanton?

Derek Jeter is hell bent on trading Giancarlo Stanton, primarily because he wants to shed the Miami Marlins of his $295-million salary. Now, we know the Mets don’t have the barrel of young talent to sway Jeter, but what if they offered a package that includes Yoenis Cespedes, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Hansel Robles and Juan Lagares?

I would offer it if I were the Mets, but would you?

STANTON: How much would you give for him? (Getty)

STANTON: How much would you give for him? (Getty)

This is a five-for-one trade, and the Mets would be adding to three voids in the Marlins’ 25-man roster – starting pitching, bullpen and outfield, and in doing so would slice Miami’s payroll.

Cespedes, of course, isn’t near the player of Stanton, but assuming he’s healthy, the Mets would be giving the Marlins a bat of 35-homer potential plus he would be a gate attraction for Miami’s huge Cuban population base. And, considering Cespedes has a home in Vero Beach, Fla., he might be inclined to accept the trade.

The Marlins have a strong outfield of Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, but possess little depth, which is why Lagares might be enticing to them.

The Marlins are in desperate need of starting pitching, but they would be taking a gamble about the health of Matz and Harvey. While the Mets have their issues with Robles, he’s not exactly a throw-in.

The Marlins are so desperate to get rid of Stanton’s salary they just might bite on this proposal. As for the Mets, this would be so ballsy of them to pull it off.  And, if they did, I promise I wouldn’t rip GM Sandy Alderson ever again.

Or, at least not until Opening Day.