Aug 01

It’s Rosario’s Time

Well folks, you got your wish as Amed Rosario will be in the Mets’ lineup tonight in Denver. The player GM Sandy Alderson refused to bring up until the white flag was officially raised on this season is supposed to represent the rebuilding of the team many thought could be heading to the World Series.

How good is Rosario?

ROSARIO: It's time. (AP)

ROSARIO: It’s time. (AP)

His .328 batting average tells us he can hit Triple-A pitching. Limited glimpses of him during spring training says he has the potential to become an elite defender. Minor league instructor Tim Teufel told The Post a lot when he said, “he’s not a finished product, yet,’’ yet admitted he might have become a little bored in the minors.

Getting bored and his Tweet literally screaming at the Mets to bring him up aren’t positive signs, but at 21 he gets a pass. Not every young player becomes a David Wright or Derek Jeter in that they always say the right things.

I called for the Mets to bring up Rosario nearly a month ago, but I appreciate part of Alderson’s reluctance. His inability to deal Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Jose Reyes creates a logjam in the infield, but that’s manager Terry Collins’ problem. However, limited playing opportunities for Cabrera might make it more difficult to trade him, unless the Mets are willing to nearly give him away.

Alderson’s problem in making trades is he continually holds out; his priority is to “win’’ the trade, which turns off other general managers. At least, that’s his reputation. It is the primary reason he couldn’t – thankfully – move Jay Bruce last winter.

The timing of the promotion is good with the Mets are on the road, which should give Rosario three games to get rid of the butterflies. Opening up at home, against the high-flying Dodgers, would have put undue pressure on him. It’s also a good time because it is August, and the competition will be sharper than in September when opposing rosters are littered with call-ups. That’s also why first baseman Dominic Smith’s promotion soon is important.

“We want to see what we have, so going into next season or going into the offseason we will have a better sense of what we need,’’ Alderson said yesterday on a conference call. “I think it’s important for guys like Rosario and Smith to get more than just playing time in September. To make it meaningful, it has to be a little bit longer than that, and against more regular-season competition as opposed to expanded rosters.’’

I suppose it is possible if Rosario is a bust for the next two months it might change the Mets’ thinking on Cabrera and Reyes. But, Rosario won’t play every day, said Alderson, because “he’s never played that many games in a year.’’

Huh? He’s 21. He’s not a pitcher. Sure, he should get a day off this weekend, just to clear his head from the call-up, but I want to see this guy play. I want to see what the Mets have.  I would play Rosario more in August when the competition is better and let him rest more in September.

What I also want to see is patience with him if he struggles at first. Give him a chance to experience and learn how to get out of slumps. Above all, the Mets – and the fans and media – should give him a little breathing room and acknowledge he’s one piece to the puzzle, he’s not a savior.

Look back within the past ten years at some of the prospects the Mets used, and burned out, with too high expectations: Lastings Milledge, Mike Pelfrey, Carlos Gomez, Jenrry Mejia, Kaz Matsui and Ike Davis. You can even make cases to a lesser extent for Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and even Matt Harvey.

The expectations on all of these guys created a burden that was too heavy for them to carry. Let’s enjoy Rosario’s skills, but realize he alone won’t lift the Mets to the next level.

ON DECK:  Can Steven Matz snap out of his funk?

Jul 31

Whoopee!!!! Reed Dealt For Prospects

As promised, the Mets rid themselves of their most valuable trade commodity today when they shipped Addison Reed to Boston for three minor league pitching prospects.

So, the Reed deal, coupled with trading Lucas Duda for another minor league prospect, and acquiring AJ Ramos from Miami, what the Mets accomplished is addressing their bullpen – in 2020.

REED: Goes to Boston. (AP)

REED: Goes to Boston. (AP)

None of these prospects are what you would call blue chippers, and have a timetable of at least two years out. So, for a team anticipating to contend next season, they shouldn’t expect an immediate return from these deals.

In return for Reed, the Mets will receive Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan and Gerson Bautista, the Red Sox’s 18th-, 23rd- and 28th-ranked prospects. Callahan pitched for Class Triple A Pawtucket, so it is possible he could help the Mets next season.

How good these guys will be is unknown, but we already know how good Reed is, having saved 19 games in 21 opportunities.

Basically, the Mets swapped Reed for Ramos.

Of course, the Mets can still move players during August, but they must clear waivers. That’s the only way they’ll move Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce or Rene Rivera.

Jul 30

Free Agents The Mets Could Keep

The trade deadline is always an interesting time of the baseball season because of its potential for October, but there is a twinge of sadness this year for the Mets because it signifies an end. There will be no playoffs for the Mets and for some players – such as Lucas Duda – their time in Flushing will be over.

Of will it?

BRUCE: Hope they bring him back. (AP)

BRUCE: Hope they bring him back. (AP)

The players the Mets are currently shopping will be free agents this winter, which begs the question: If they are unable to trade them, which players should they bring back?

Addison Reed: Imagine a bullpen of him, Jeurys Familia and AJ Ramos. Throw in Jerry Blevins and that’s potentially a killer bullpen. Of course, that would run into some money which the Mets won’t want to spend. Too bad, but didn’t they say they plan to compete.

Jay Bruce: Reportedly, there isn’t much interest in him, which could be a good thing if it makes it easier for the Mets to re-sign him, which they should because they will need his left-handed power. I hope they bring him back.

Curtis Granderson: He’s been a terrific Met and I’ve enjoyed watching him. A contender needs a left-handed bat with pop coming off the bench, but with Brandon Nimmo, there’s little chance of bringing him back even though he is a pro’s pro.

Asdrubal Cabrera: To hear manager Terry Collins talk about him, he’s invaluable. But, that’s more likely a commercial aimed at other teams to drum up interest. The Mets are more likely to bring back Jose Reyes as Amed Rosario‘s mentor.

Rene Rivera: The catcher’s version of Cabrera would benefit any contender. Since it appears Kevin Plawecki has fallen out of favor, the Mets could use a veteran back-up presence for Travis d’Arnaud, who may also be falling out of favor.

Neil Walker: Since he just came off the disabled list, there probably hasn’t been much interest. The Mets gave him a qualifying offer because they needed a second baseman and weren’t willing to give him a long-term contract. That hasn’t changed.

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 27

Mets Do As Well As Can Be Expected In Duda Trade

Since they weren’t going to bring back Lucas Duda anyway, the Mets did about as well as could be expected in today’s trade to Tampa Bay for Triple-A pitching prospect Drew Smith.

Duda had been linked to the Yankees and Seattle, and with the Rays, he has a chance to make the playoffs for a third straight season.

DUDA: Traded to Rays. (AP)

DUDA: Traded to Rays. (AP)

It wasn’t too long ago that the Mets chose Duda over Ike Davis, both high-strikeout first basemen with plenty of power. Duda ranks seventh on the Mets all-time homer list with 125. While it is unfair, Duda’s Mets’ legacy will be his wild throw to the plate in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

“I’m excited to join the Rays. They’re in the hunt,’’ Duda told reporters in San Diego. “Kind of mixed emotions. There are guys here I’ve grown pretty close to, and [the Mets] are a first-class organization. I was very proud to be a New York Met, and I’m gonna be very proud to be on the Tampa Bay Rays.’’

With his power, Duda would fit in well with the Rays, who have the DH in the American League. He is hitting .246 with 17 homers and 37 RBI.

Trading Duda opens the door for Dominic Smith’s promotion to the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas, but until he gets here they have other options, namely Jay Bruce, who is in the lineup tonight in San Diego, T.J. Rivera, Wilmer Flores and even Neil Walker. Playing Bruce at first also enables the Mets to play Curtis Granderson in center, until they trade him.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dom,’’ the ever classy Duda said. “I hope he becomes a 10-year All-Star.’’

Duda will be a free agent this winter.

In Smith, 23, the Mets will add to their bullpen, which will be important especially if the Mets are successful in dealing Addison Reed. Smith was a third-round pick by Detroit in 2015 and traded to Tampa Bay in April. He has pitched for four minor league teams in the Rays’ organization and compiled a 1-2 record with a 1.60 ERA and seven saves in 31 games.