Sep 17

As Season Winds Down, Mets Should Consider Cutting Back On Pitchers

Jacob deGrom is competing for the Cy Young Award, so the Mets won’t limit him during his final two starts. However, they might ease up on the gas when it comes to the rest of their rotation.

However, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz – all of whom have been injured – could benefit if their innings are reduced.

“We have to do everything can to make sure a June doesn’t happen again,” manager Mickey Callaway said of the Mets winning only five games in June. “Because it derails your whole season.”

Syndergaard has thrown 135.1 innings; Matz has thrown a career-high 140 innings; and with seven innings tonight in Philadelphia, Wheeler has logged 182.1 innings this season.

Wheeler, 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, leads the majors with eight victories in the second half.

“He’s obviously had a great season, is in a very good spot health-wise right now, and we’re going to pay attention to him probably the most,” Callaway said.

That’s because Wheeler has had an extensive injury history, with Tommy John surgery keeping him out of the majors in 2015-16, and a stress reaction ending his 2017 season in July.

Wheeler needed to prove two things this season, 1) that he could stay healthy, and 2) that he could pitch up to his expectations. He’s done both, and with nothing else left to prove, it wouldn’t hurt for him to be shut down, or at least throw a minimum of five innings.

 

 

Aug 13

Mets Could Explore Six-Man Rotation

The idea of the Mets going to a six-man rotation has been brought up before and again is an issue. But, everybody needs to be in on it. Using Jacob deGrom on his normal rest so he can squeeze in a couple more starts to boost his chances to win a Cy Young Award.

DeGrom deserves the chance considering how well he’s pitched, but if the Mets are serious about this they have to do it the right way: Pick your six pitchers and stick with them.

The worst thing about a six-man rotation is it would mean less starts each for deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. That would also mean fewer innings pitched, which theoretically would keep them fresher for longer. Currently, the target number of starts is 34; it would mean 27 starts in a six-man rotation.

A rotation of deGrom, Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Corey Oswalt and Jason Vargas would include two left-handers to keep things balanced. Ideally, I would separate deGrom and Syndergaard as to give more balance in the rotation regarding innings eaters to avoid taxing the bullpen.

“We want to see [Oswalt] pitch Saturday and then sit down and really see exactly what we want to do with all of our players after that,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Especially since we want to monitor guys like [Noah] Syndergaard and Wheeler, a six-man rotation might make sense at some point.”

Callaway is thinking about keeping his pitchers fresh for this season, but what about next season?

The game is always evolving, and with the investment teams have with these pitchers a six-man rotation could be invaluable in keeping them healthy. For this to really work, the pitchers have to be told at the end of the season that is the plan for 2019 and give them a chance to buy in.

It then has to be implemented in spring training with no deviation.

Of course, for this to work they have to pitch well.

Jun 28

Mets Place Fire Sale Sign Out In Flushing

The Mets are on record saying they will be sellers at the deadline for the second straight summer. For a team 14 games below .500, two games from the NL East basement and this comes as no surprise.

And, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the same thing happens next season.

“Obviously, the trade deadline is coming up [July 31]. And, that’s a big pressure point in which to better your club,’’ said John Ricco, who, along with Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi, are teaming to take over for Sandy Alderson. “Certainly, we’re going to take advantage of that and look to be active.’’

Ricco said he’ll listen to calls about everybody, including Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Personally, I’m open for the Mets trading anybody right now except deGrom, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. Anybody else, they can do want they want.

I would keep those three because the Mets do have to field a team next year.

First on the block should be Jeurys Familia, who as a closer should bring something in return. Plenty of teams can use a closer. Next would be Asdrubal Cabrera. The Boston Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia ailing and in a tight race with the Yankees, need a second baseman. Brandon Phillips might not be enough.

Third would be veterans such as Jose Bautista, who is playing well; Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. They probably wouldn’t get much for any of the four, but lower-ranked prospects aren’t out of the question, especially if put in a package.

I wouldn’t be against dealing Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Those three would likely bring back the most in terms of prospects or young major-league ready talent.

The Mets don’t have much talent in the minor leagues but do have major league prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, both I wouldn’t mind see dealt.

Jun 19

Alderson In No-Win Situation

Jacob deGrom isn’t my all-time favorite Met, but he’s close. I don’t want the Mets to trade him, but if GM Sandy Alderson pulls the trigger on a deal, I would understand the reasoning. I just don’t have faith he’d get it right. I don’t have faith he’d get it right with Noah Syndergaard, either.

ALDERSON: In no win situation. (AP)

ALDERSON: In no-win situation. (AP)

There’s no doubt the Mets could get something substantial for either one, but just how much? Both are highly regarded, but to put either one – or both – on the block is sending a signal the Mets won’t be competitive for at least four years.

The Mets are an old team, and by that time it is likely Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Jeurys Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes and probably the bullpen would be gone. Under the Alderson regime, the bullpen turns over nearly every year.

And although Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have pitched well over the path month, that’s such a small sample size to assume they become certified aces over the next four years.

The present roster has only two prospects – Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo – I’m confident will pan out. I don’t include Amed Rosario, but there’s always hope.

Given that, if Alderson keeps both deGrom and Syndergaard, there’s little to believe the Mets will have the necessary pieces to build a contender. With their history, it’s safe to believe they will not do any significant spending, and their farm system is barren, so they won’t build that way, either.

The last three games, including deGrom’s gem last night, have been fun to watch, but it’s not enough to think they’ve turned the corner, as even the 1962 Mets won three in a row.

So, whether or not deGrom is traded, will it even matter?

Jun 03

Callaway: Mets Need To Get Back To Work

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said his team isn’t focused and maybe it’s time to spend less time before games taking batting practice and more time revisiting spring training fundamental drills.

Callaway was upset when the Mets gifted the Cubs the only runs they needed in today’s 2-0 loss that enabled Chicago to finish its four-game sweep and extend the losing skid to nine of the last 11 games. In particular, he said Steven Matz was slow to first base on a pickoff attempt which enabled Javier Baez to steal home.

This came after Baez faked a steal on the previous pitch.

That was followed by Jay Bruce letting up on a pop-up to short right and letting inexperienced second baseman Luis Guillorme to make the play and allow Willson Contreras – who caught all 13 innings Saturday night – tagged up and score.

Clearly, the Mets didn’t anticipate on either play, which is a fundamental part of playing defense.

“I think we need to shift our focus,’’ Callaway said. “We are not focusing on that part of the game very well. If we have to go out and work on cutoffs and relays and pop-ups and PFP [pitcher’s fielding practice], that is what we will do instead of being on the field and hitting. I guess we need to make some adjustments on what we are focusing on.

“We go out there and do defensive work every day and we go out there and hit, maybe we need to shift our focus to make it more stuff like just ground balls and throwing to bags to be more fundamentals specific. I think it’s focus.’’

Matz said he was being cautious with a runner on third.

“I am not trying to snap a throw [to first] and throw it away,’’ said Matz, but conceded he has to throw the ball harder on the pickoff attempt. “It just caught me off guard. In the future, I’ll be more mindful of the throw. I wasn’t thinking about it.”

There’s no excuse for a left-handed pitcher to be surprised on that play.

As for Bruce, he said he thought Guillorme was already camped to make the catch. Even so, he later admitted that the outfielder has to take charge. He also conceded what we already knew: “I haven’t been good this year. That’s just the bottom line.”

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets are off Monday, then open interleague play with two games against Baltimore. … They have lost six straight home games and are 12-17 at Citi Field this season. … The Mets have been shut out four times, all at home. … The Mets’ offense has scored one run in its last 24 innings. The Mets have scored two or fewer runs 21 times this season. … Brandon Nimmo lead off to start the game and has reached base safely in 14 of 29 leadoff appearances with a .483 on-base percentage in the first inning.