Jun 11

Timing Of Gonzalez Release Is Bizarre

Not that Adrian Gonzalez was going to turn their season around, but the timing of the Mets releasing the 36-year-old first baseman after Sunday night’s game – even with three strikeouts – seems a little odd.

For a team in desperate need of offense, why would you release a player who is third in RBI with 26, especially with the leader Asdrubal Cabrera leaving Sunday’s game with an apparent hamstring injury and the second-ranked player in Yoenis Cespedes suffering a setback in his rehab and is out indefinitely?

GONZALEZ: Gone already. (AP)

GONZALEZ: Gone already. (AP)

Bringing up Dominic Smith, who wasn’t impressive in his trial last season, doesn’t appear to be the answer, especially when the Mets are also throwing out the idea of trying Jay Bruce and Jose Bautista at first base.

Smith, who was injured and missed most of spring training because of a strained quad muscle, never had the opportunity to compete with Gonzalez and learn from the All-Star.

As is often the case with GM Sandy Alderson, the announcement was made after the media availability to Gonzalez was over and reporters didn’t have a chance to speak with him.

The Mets will also bring up Ty Kelly with Smith and for the second time in a month, catcher Jose Lobaton was designated for assignment.

As far as Cespedes goes, there’s no timetable for his return any longer. Cespedes played in a rehab game Friday with Double-A Binghamton without incident and sustained a setback Saturday. He’s now in Port St. Lucie working with the Mets’ rehabilitation staff.

“We had been excited about the prospect of getting him back in a few days,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “But we can’t let these injuries stop us from doing what we need to do. We have other Major League players who can step up and get the job done, and that’s what we need to do.

“As this continues to move forward, and it continues to drag on, there has to be a level of understanding that it’s maybe something you battle throughout the rest of your career.

“But I don’t think we’re at that point yet. The goal is still to get him to where he can be out there and feel normal.’’

Cespedes missed 81 games last season and has already missed 24 with more games coming off the schedule on a daily basis.

Jun 02

Nimmo Needs Play, Even After Cespedes Returns

The Mets appear to have found something during what is fast becoming a lost season. Ignored for bigger names, Brandon Nimmo has gotten the opportunity young players covet – and is making the most of it.

With Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares injured – the latter is lost for the season – Nimmo is getting the regular at-bats that lefty-righty devotees denied him.

NIMMO: Needs to play. (SNY)

NIMMO: Needs to play. (SNY)

That must continue.

Nimmo entered Saturday’s game having homered in two straight games and getting at least two hits in four consecutive games.

“He’s been great,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s doing the job on both sides of the baseball. I feel like he’s playing good defense. He’s obviously swinging the bat well, and taking his walks, things like that. He’s a young player that’s blossoming in front of us, and I think that he’s making a case for himself.”

The numbers support Callaway.

Nimmo had nine hits through May 3, but with Cespedes out, he has 11 extra-base hits, and nine RBI in his past 11 games (hitting leadoff), for a .390 average and .927 slugging percentage. Five of those extra-base hits have been homers. On May 22, Nimmo was batting a pedestrian .244. Today he’s up to .294. It’s all because he’s getting a chance.

“The more playing time that I’ve gotten has helped me get in a good rhythm, and make good adjustments,” Nimmo said. “It might be the biggest thing. I haven’t done anything drastically different. That’s the biggest thing right there.”

More than his production is Nimmo’s passion and enthusiasm. It’s infectious. Nimmo plays every game as if it is his first … or last. How many times in these few weeks have you wondered, “what if everybody played like Nimmo?” Cespedes certainly doesn’t have Nimmo’s passion.

However, even with the emergence of Nimmo, the Mets are still pining for Cespedes. Both GM Sandy Alderson and Callaway spoke of the need for him to get back, and also the amount of money they are paying him. Cespedes will make $29 million this year and next, and $29.5 million in 2020.

“It’s been big,’’ Callaway said. “We count on his offense. We’ve paid him a lot of money to come out there and produce, and we don’t have him right, so it’s been tough.’’

What the Mets should have learned last month is even when Cespedes returns, Nimmo, who makes $555,968 this year, needs to play. The bench and minor leagues should be something said in past tense about him.

 

Jun 01

Mets Lose Another; Callaway Calls Team Meeting

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he didn’t believe in team meetings, but called one after Friday’s sloppy 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs to fall under .500 for the first time this season.

The headline was the bullpen that gave up five runs and allowed two inherited runners to score, but Callaway said the Mets haven’t been giving themselves a chance to win.

“We’re not snake bitten,’’ an excited Callaway said. “We’re not playing the game the right way. It’s a big snowball effect when you’re not playing the game the right way.’’

It was long overdue. Callaway has been even-keel, and his message was short and sweet.

“He said, `Keep your head up and come in here and do the right thing,’’ said Jay Bruce. “No one cares if you have injuries, you have to play the game the right way, do the little things and expect to come in here and win.’’

Callaway mentioned outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo overthrowing the cut-off man; failure to taking the extra base and advance runners, and pitchers issuing leadoff walks.

“He’s right,” Conforto said. “It’s something I’ve been working on. I just didn’t do it. This is something I can control. … This is a wake-up call that we needed. … It’s not about bad luck. It’s about playing better baseball.”

After starting the season at 11-1, the Mets are now 27-28, and losers of seven of their last ten games. They are 12-15 at Citi Field, and lucky to be one game under .500 considering they have a minus-23 run differential overall.

BRUCE HURTING:: Another day, another Met is hurting. Bruce left tonight’s game with tightness in his lower back. Bruce is also slowed with plantar fasciitis, and you have to wonder whether that brought on the sore back.

Bruce said he felt something prior to the game, but was unable to play through it.

The Mets already have outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares on the disabled list, so it would hurt to lose Bruce, but if he’s hurting he’s not doing them any good and should go on the DL. Bruce is hitting .228 with three homers and 15 RBI.

Callaway said Bruce should be available for Saturday.

The Mets added Jose Bautista, who has played well, and Nimmo is making the most of his opportunity. His OPS is over 1.000, and he hit a two-run homer in tonight’s 7-4 loss.

ROTATION WOES: Noah Syndergaard remains on the DL with a strained ligament in his right index finger and his not expected to be activated prior to next weekend’s series against the Yankees.

Zack Wheeler started tonight and pitched well, giving up just two runs [inherited runners that the bullpen allowed to score].

Jacob deGrom will start Saturday and Steven Matz Sunday.

Either Seth Lugo or Jason Vargas will start Tuesday against Baltimore. Whoever doesn’t start Tuesday – or Wheeler – could start Wednesday.

GSELLMAN SITS: Once again the Mets bullpen imploded, and surprisingly Robert Gsellman wasn’t used considering he didn’t pitch Thursday. Callaway said Gsellman, who had been pitching a lot lately, was scheduled to be off.

EXTRA INNINGS: Kevin Plawecki will start at first base Saturday. … Callaway is hoping for Todd Frazier and/or Cespedes to come off the disabled list for the Yankees series. … Jose Lobaton was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas, giving the Mets three catchers. That’s not a lot of flexibility for an already weak and thin bench. … Reliever Anthony Swarzak is expected to be recalled Tuesday.

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.

 

May 08

Mets Get Catcher For Harvey

The Mets did better than anybody expected today when they acquired catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash for Matt Harvey, who had been designated for assignment Saturday.

Catching has been a Mets’ weakness since injuries to Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud landed each on the disabled list. Mesoraco was activated for tonight’s game in Cincinnati.

The Reds will pay the remainder of Mesoraco’s $13.125 million salary and the Mets will pay the balance of Harvey’s $5.625 million contract.

Harvey will join the Reds this week in Los Angeles.

Immediate speculation, which makes a lot of sense considering Harvey will be a free agent this winter, is for the Reds to hope they can turn him around and try to trade him at the July 31 deadline. The Reds are in last place in the NL Central and it’s clear they won’t sign Harvey this offseason.

Mesoraco, 29, an All-Star in 2014, was hitting .220 with one homer and three RBI for the Reds this season. Injuries limited him to 113 games since the start of the 2015 season.

The Mets had no alternative but to DFA Harvey after he refused a minor league assignment to figure out his mechanics. In eight games, he was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA this season. Harvey was 34-37 lifetime for the Mets.

The only thing wrong with trading Harvey is that the Mets didn’t do it sooner, like after the 2015 season when he had some real value.

DeGrom Aces Bullpen: Jacob deGrom had a good up-and-down bullpen session today and is on schedule to start Sunday in Philadelphia. DeGrom hyperextended his right elbow swinging the bat last Wednesday against Atlanta.

“I feel like I am good to go,’’ deGrom said.

DeGrom is not expected to bat against the Phillies.

Frazier Goes On DL: Third baseman Todd Frazier was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Frazier is batting .237 with five homers and 21 RBI. In addition, reliever Anthony Swarzak was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.