10 Shocking Spring Injuries You Will Never See Coming

ray-ramirez-shocking-injuries

The nature of these Mets injury cover-ups will absolutely shock you. The details are so horrifying that you may never think of the team in the same way again. The information is being concealed all the way at the top of the….

Am I in the clear? Did that little preamble surpass the character limit on the sites that show blog samples? Well if not, oh well. Y’all got clickbaited baby! The truth is there are no shocking injuries in Metsland. Mets fans ALL know the injuries that are coming. Sandy knows. Terry knows. Ownership knows. Everyone knows.

Zack Wheeler stopped his bullpen session yesterday due to tenderness in his elbow. The Mets say it’s no big deal. This shutdown should come as a surprise to literally nobody on earth. Zack was the unquestioned lock to be the first member of #TeamTender. Lock city. He’s the only guy on our team that has somehow played less than David Wright (another injury lock) over the past two years.

As far as the rest of the pitching staff goes, they are all injury risks. If any of them are dealing with residual injury issues by Opening Day, the team isn’t allowed to shrug and say “never saw that coming.” Would it really be that surprising if at the end of March Matt Harvey is still recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, Wheeler still can’t pitch, and Steven Matz has a sore shoulder? I’m certainly not wishing that on any of these guys. I’m being realistic. I’m literally just citing the injuries they dealt with all of last season and assuming that there may be some lingering issues.

The rotation is full of question marks and the team should have treated them as such. Bartolo Colon should have been re-signed. The Mets should have signed a swingman for the pen. They should have signed at least one veteran arm to a minor league deal for insurance (Jon Niese will be back. It’s going to happen. I feel it).

As far as the bullpen goes, Jeurys Familia may not be an injury risk, but he’s a lock to be unavailable on Opening Day. He’s getting suspended. The team knows this. For some reason fans don’t seem concerned by this at all because they are assuming Addison Reed is going to 100% duplicate his career best 2016 season. That’s not even close to a guarantee, but even if it was the team is going to have a tough time replacing the innings of the suspended closer. And if the rotation fears mentioned above come to pass, you can forget about Seth Lugo or Zack Wheeler picking up the slack in the pen.

At least the position players are safe right? Wrong. David Wright hasn’t thrown a baseball. That was the first lock of Spring Training. I actually read articles yesterday where people are proposing we try playing Wright at first base. Ummm he can’t play anything. Why would we think first base would be any different at all? He can’t throw a BASEBALL.

Who’s next? Come on, you know the answer. Go ahead and say it. Travis d’Arnaud! If Mr. Glass goes down with some injury like he always does, I’m sure it’ll be the week after the Nationals sign Matt Wieters to some cheap one year deal. Yup. We’ll be rolling with Rene Rivera and Kevin Plawecki, and the organization will pretend they never saw it coming.

I’m not even going to get into the risks around Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and the rest of #TeamCrackedBack or the risks of Jose Reyes (aka Senor Hammy Strain) running around like he’s 20 years old in the World Baseball Classic.

The bottom line is we must pray for health. But if/when the injuries strike, please don’t act surprised and let the organization off the hook. I wasn’t clamoring for the team to sign players and make trades all offseason just for the fun of it. I was begging for it because our roster (although seemingly deep) is filled with fragile young pitchers and aging position players, and the injury risks are already starting to show in week one.

Wheeler Is Tender, Start Praying

It only took three days for the Mets to have their first pitching related hiccup of Spring Training.

Zack Wheeler has a tender elbow. Surprise! The man has had a tender elbow for two years now. His Tenderness attempted to throw a bullpen session, and the Mets quickly shut it down. Right now they are attributing the discomfort to scar tissue from the Tommy John surgery he had two years ago. The team says his physical at the start of camp showed no structural damage in the arm.

Whether it’s minor tenderness due to scar tissue or some massive injury being covered up by the Mets training staff, the bottom line is we must do what we always do when it comes to Mets pitching. We pray.

This early setback is really a reminder of two things.

  1. If Robert Gsellman has a strong spring he’s winning that fifth starter job.
  2. We should have re-signed Bartolo Colon.

These aren’t shocking revelations at all. Gsellman pitched great in September last year, and Wheeler hasn’t been healthy for two years. Gsellman has to be considered the favorite early on. And Colon was the horse of our pitching staff for three straight seasons. I never understood the dump Colon and pray plan. I mean I understood that the Mets didn’t want to pay Bart. But I didn’t understand it from a roster perspective (because it made no sense).

Anyway, here we are on day three of camp and we’ve learned David Wright hasn’t thrown a baseball yet and Zack Wheeler can’t throw one again. Sigh.

Meanwhile His Sexiness is strutting all over Braves camp like the dynamo he is.

I miss Big Sexy. At least we know Colon will be back midseason when we eventually trade Gsellman for Colon and Kelly Johnson.

Spring Training Begins: Thor Grows, Harvey Shrinks

Sunday was the report date for Mets pitchers and catchers, and on Monday the team officially kicked off Spring Training in Port St. Lucie. Even though the storylines from now until the end of March tend to be BS fluff, I still love to hear all of it. I’ll take the BS fluff stories over the Cold Stove any day. Baseball is better than no baseball.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve learned in camp so far:

Thor To Bring Heat: Noah Syndergaard showed up on Sunday and addressed the media. He basically told everyone he’s put on 17 pounds of muscle and plans to throw 110 MPH. I love the fire, but please Jesus will somebody tell him to take it easy for a few weeks? Pray for Thor’s UCL. We need that arm intact for 200+ innings.

Slimming Black: Matt Harvey on the other hand showed up on Sunday looking like he lost 17 pounds in addition to a rib. But after I saw him in his press conference and during his bullpen sessions I think it was just the optical illusion of his slimming black shirt. Great to see Matt back and looking healthy.

Yo Quiet: It’s been fairly quiet on the Yoenis Cespedes front (other than an incredible Cowboy photo shoot at his ranch). Unlike last year there were no stories about Yo showing up to camp in a sports car. Probably because he spent the day in the parking lot deadlifting all the other player cars.

No Familia: The only pitcher missing from camp on day one was Jeurys Familia. Apparently he was having some visa issues. At first I thought maybe Trump had him deported due to his criminal record, but then he rolled into camp on Tuesday. The only takeaway I had on Familia was that he typically speaks great English, but when it came to talking about his domestic violence arrest all of a sudden he’s using interpreters and lawyers. The old no comment treatment. Classic.

Vegas For Life: The Mets designated Ty Kelly for assignment to make room on the roster for one of their relievers, and he immediately cleared waivers because duh. Were people really worried about Ty getting claimed? No chance.

Forget Versatility: Terry Collins said he doesn’t plan to get Michael Conforto reps at first base. He feels Michael has too much on his plate already and doesn’t want him focusing on learning a new position. Terry did add that Jay Bruce aka the human statue might take some grounders at first though. I don’t care if it’s Michael or Jay (probably should be both), but Terry better have one of these guys learning some first base. He’ll probably just wait until Duda’s back flares up and then have one of them learn the position on the fly. Sounds smart.

He Hasn’t ThrownDavid Wright hasn’t thrown a baseball yet. Sounds like another guaranteed 162 game season for our boy D-Wright! No doubt about it. And by that I mean he’ll be a player/coach by May. Please sign Kelly Johnson. Now that we know Wright’s true status a Johnson signing is a no brainer.

7 Man Rotation: Terry Collins indicated that Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo are likely to start Spring Training as starting pitchers. I’m actually excited about a competition for the 5th starter job. Let’s just hope the competition stays limited to the 5th starter spot.

We Pray: The takeaway from the first few days of camp is that all the players and the organization are excited by the fact that our young pitchers are all in camp and supposedly healthy. That was a running theme of camp last year too, and we all know how that turned out. The bottom line is pray for the healthy rotation. Light your candles and build your shrines. Ask the old gods and the new to bless the shoulders and elbows. Pray that Bartolo Colon left behind some of his durability magic so these guys can make it through a full season.

Mad Scientist Torre Plans To Ruin Extra Innings

When Jayson Stark reported earlier this week that Major League Baseball made formal proposals to the MLB Players’ Union to raise the strike zone and eliminate the four pitch intentional walk, I stayed quiet. These possibilities have been floated before, and I just don’t see them as that controversial.

In my opinion the four pitch intentional walk is a waste of time. A wild pitch or random hit occurring during a four pitch intentional walk happens so infrequently that I could care less if they scrap it. Just make it a hand signal and let’s move on.

The strike zone change is slightly more controversial. The increase in fielding shifts has led to fewer balls in play, and they want to increase the action. They figure if they raise the bottom of the strike zone to the top of the batters’ knees it will force pitchers to leave balls up, and more balls will wind up in play. I get the goal.

As a pessimistic Mets fan, I can envision a scenario where the league implements this strike zone change and umpires wind up squeezing our young staff all season. If that happens I’m liable to put my foot through some dry wall by the All-Star Break. But in all likelihood, the hard throwing arms in our rotation will be able to adjust to any changes and execute their game plan. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and the other starters can locate with velocity. They should be fine.

In reality the league can change the “strike zone” all they want, but it won’t eliminate the variation we see across the league. Umpires have different zones and sometimes call different games from one day to the next. Nothing will substantially change that unless they bring in robot umpires, and that’s a discussion for a different day.

But the latest news from Mad Scientist Joe Torre is what has me at my wits end. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has reported that Major League Baseball is talking about testing a new extra innings protocol that would automatically place a runner on second base at the start of the 10th inning (and every inning thereafter). Apparently a version of this rule has been used in international baseball for ten years and it will be implemented in the World Baseball Classic this spring. MLB even plans to test it in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Arizona League this summer before considering it at the pro level.

According to Joe, the league wants to try to spur more action and eliminate situations where teams “go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch.” Is Joe Torre kidding? What league is he watching where utility infielders are pitching in relief all the time? This is where I draw the line on the league’s “baseball is boring” and “pace of play” crusade. In my opinion this is nothing but a forced gimmicky rule change that won’t do anything to increase excitement and action.

If you want to make the game more exciting by adding some home runs then juice up the baseballs. After all, home runs were up last year and baseball tampering allegations surfaced a number of times during the season. I don’t know what if anything the league did to baseballs last year, but I’m totally in favor of making changes to keep home runs flying.

If they want to increase offense in the NL then give us the DH so guys like Michael Conforto don’t have to waste away in Triple-A while Jay Bruce stumbles all over the outfield.

You want to avoid taxing young arms due to all these “18-inning games” that Torre is worried about? Then expand the rosters to 30 guys and let teams carry more pitchers. Bullpen usage was a major factor last year in the playoffs, and it’s vital to a team’s regular season success. Let teams expand their bullpens and give more players a chance to compete.

And if the league is dead set on doing some gimmicky garbage then how about they have teams install movable outfield walls in every stadium? Once extra innings start, teams can gradually move the walls in with each passing inning until infield fly balls wind up being home runs in the 18th inning. That should help Joe Torre sleep at night.

Listen, I’m not against rule changes. But don’t give me this dumb baseball version of a hockey shootout or a football overtime sudden-death rule. Baseball is fine the way it is. If the league thinks we need more on field action then work on cloning Yoenis Cespedes so every team has a stud like him. If MLB feels fans are bored watching the games then add fireworks between innings and have networks add a stand-up comedian to the booth. And if baseball feels the games are too slow then cut out the commercials.

Former Mets Should Brawl With The Wilpons At Citi


Last night at Madison Square Garden the New York Knicks’ universe continued to collapse on itself after years of fielding a garbage product due to the meddling of owner James Dolan.

Initial reports indicated former Knick Charles Oakley sat near Dolan and allegedly heckled him before security became involved. The altercation then became physical with Oakley assaulting multiple security guards and getting arrested/booted from the arena. Witnesses claimed they heard Oakley uttering “Dolan” as he was being escorted out.

Oakley after the game said “I was there for four minutes. I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother.” Obviously I don’t know what actually happened. But I love the idea of a former player taking on the role of hero and fighting a horrendous, incompetent owner.

I immediately imagined a former or current Met fighting the Wilpons at Citi Field with 45,000 fans looking on and chanting “Fire Wilpon!” I’m not much of an activist, but if there’s one thing that would inspire me to take it to the streets it would be a protest against Fred and Jeff.

Anyway, after a lot of fantasizing, I’ve settled upon these former and current Mets to lead the anti-Wilpon charge.

Keith Hernandez And Bobby Ojeda

The ’80s Mets immediately come to mind as the perfect group to take on the Wilpons. Fred bought his minority stake in the Mets in 1980 and took on half ownership in 1986. Keith Hernandez not only played during the ’80s, but he also works for these mooks currently on SNY. I’d love to see Keith, on one of his many days off, splash a beer in Jeff’s face while sitting with him in the Wilpon private box. Then Bob Ojeda could show up, still bitter after “parting ways” with SNY, and give Jeff a nice sweeping leg kick. Bobby could then jump into Keith’s arms, and they could celebrate like it was ’86 again.

Lenny Dykstra and Wally Backman

I was born in 1987, so I never had the chance to watch the Mets play in the ’80s. But Lenny “Nails” Dykstra and crazy old Wally Backman have insane reputations that transcend time. Lenny and Wally were hard-nosed when they actually played baseball, but Lenny’s an actual convicted felon and Wally also has a rap sheet. These two guys are the exact kind of wild cards that would randomly decide to take on the Wilpons at Citi Field. Wally is probably still bitter that he was canned by the organization as manager of our Triple-A Vegas affiliate. He’s probably sitting at a Vegas slot machine right now brooding. And Lenny? Lenny would probably do it just to make a few bucks on a tell-all book recapping his version of the story.

Mike Piazza

Piazza is my personal favorite Mets candidate from the ’90s/2000s. He’s a muscular freak, and we’ve all seen him rage at the ballpark in the spotlight. How much would you give to see Mike chuck broken bat shards at Jeff Wilpon as they cross paths at Citi? I mean if you’re looking for a true lunatic to do the job, Roger Clemens might be your best bet considering he tossed a 95+ MPH fastball at Mike’s temple. Roger clearly has the killer instinct. But we’re keeping this brawl in house.

Paul Lo Duca

I like former catcher Paul Lo Duca as a possibility because he was always a firecracker behind the plate. Plus he’s an Italian stallion from Brooklyn, and he’s active on Twitter. Not only could Paul get the job done, but he could recruit a posse of frustrated fans from Brooklyn in five minutes on social media.

Noah Syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard is the best player and personality on the team right now. And he’s the kind of player that could get away with brawling with ownership. If Matt Harvey said one word about his contract, the media would crush him for being a selfish jerk. But I’m pretty sure Thor could say publicly “the Wilpons are cheap schmucks, and they better pay me soon or else” and the media would praise him as the King of New York.

He’s the obvious current nominee to take on the Wilpons (physically). He threw at Alcides Escobar in the 2015 World Series, and he threw at Chase Utley last year as payback for Ruben Tejada SlideGate. I’d love to hear him tell Jeff Wilpon “meet me 60 feet 6 inches away” and then proceed to wrestle Jeff in the middle of the field.

There’s literally no wrong answer to the “who should brawl with the Wilpons” question. You can name any former Met or if you prefer it can be every Met that’s ever played at the same time.

I’d even accept some front office fan fiction scenario where Tony Bernazard shows up at Citi, rips off his shirt, and challenges the Wilpons to a fight before the Wilpons ultimately blame Adam Rubin and accuse him of trying to steal an ownership stake in the team. Actually that’s my preferred answer.

Sandy Gets His Man (Jerry Blevins)

Sandy finally got his man! His man being Jerry Blevins aka Mr. LOOGY aka Mr. Magoo aka Two Broke Arms aka the reliever formerly traded for Matt den Dekker. Sandy “took care of” the Mets bullpen deficiencies in less than 24 hours. When I say took care of I mean he brought back Fernando Salas (one year $3 million) and Jerry Blevins (one year $6 million and an option) and is going to run the same crew out there in 2017.

This should come as no surprise to any readers of The Metssiah. I told all of you the second the offseason started that the Mets were going to double down in 2017 with the exact same roster as last season. No meaningful additions or changes. I called this one.

And yes I spent the entire offseason worrying that Sandy wasn’t going to have the financial flexibility to even get that done. I mean technically he didn’t quite accomplish it because the Wilpons refused to pay to re-sign Bartolo Colon or Kelly Johnson. It’s not exactly the same team. It’s not any better on paper. But the hope is that the team is blessed with better health and that the young pitching dominates. Praying for health is a pretty standard daily practice in Metsland. Ray Ramirez swears by it.

I’m not going to use this post for another rant about the crappy Mets offseason. Instead I’m going to acknowledge the biggest takeaway from BlevinsGate. Sandy always seems to get his man on his terms. He did it with Yoenis Cespedes, and he always seems to do it when “his man” is an average player engaged in a one-year vs. two year deal standoff.

The Wilpons are lucky to have such a competent GM who can save them a few bucks here and there. The salary savings certainly don’t benefit me in any way. It’s not like Jerry takes a one-year deal and then they slash ticket prices or something. But it’s nice that Sandy never gives up and never seems to worry. And why would he worry? He goes into these “negotiations” with absolutely nothing to lose.

Player: “Hey I’d love to be a Met. I’d like a [insert multi-year deal request].”

Sandy: “Nope. One-year deal only. Frankly ownership will be happy if you just turn it down completely. But let me know.”

Then I imagine he gets up and walks out of the room. Lucky for the fans, guys like Blevins and Cespedes really want to be here. They like this team, the players, the fans, and this town. So they choose to stick around. Works for me.

Does it make me jealous to see the Dodgers sign Sergio Romo and the Giants sign Mark Melancon to bolster their respective bullpens while the Mets trot out the same crew? Yes it does. But whatever. At least we kept Blevins and Salad. Let’s just start the season.

yo-face

Cespedes Looks Enormous 

Well it wouldn’t be a Mets’ offseason without the mainstream media finding a way to take cheap shots at Yoenis Cespedes and his work ethic. I think today’s hit piece in the New York Post is meant to be complementary, but it essentially implies that Yo is committed to working out for the first time in his career and that his commitment is totally unexpected considering he just signed a new long-term deal.

The article also mentions that Yo said he’s playing less golf, and he sold his Lamborghini. Phew! I was worried all those distractions would stop Yo from being our most valuable hitter for the third year in a row.

I’ll never understand these old writers who are obsessed with the false narrative that Yo is a lazy player who has never been committed to winning. It couldn’t be further from the truth. However, the Cespedes hit pieces from dinosaur writers are old news.

The actual breaking news is the fact that Cespedes looks huge. Look at his arm:

yo-arm

Yo has been a freak physical specimen for years, but clearly he’s working out like a mad man this winter. He’s supposedly taking part in the Wilpon approved Barwis training program.

The Barwis method may not work for everyone, but based on those Yo muscles it’s obviously paying dividends for our star. If you read The Metssiah, you know I’m a glass half empty fan. Even as I write this I feel like I’m undoubtedly jinxing Cespedes. But I feel like this is going to be a big year for Yo. It’s been pretty clear over the last two seasons that Yo’s performance is trending up.

This season he’ll be back in left field where he’s comfortable, and he won’t wear down his legs chasing balls in center. This guy wants an MVP. This guy wants a World Series Championship. He wants to be the King of New York. If he stays healthy in 2017 and matches his 2015/2016 production then he’s obviously going to be in the NL MVP discussion. But what if he somehow ups his game even more? What if he blasts 40 homers?

I just need baseball back. I need La Potencia back in my life. Until then I’ll just keep doing what normal Mets fans do. I’ll watch an endless loop of his 2015 and 2016 highlight reels on YouTube and occasionally Google “Cespedes veiny muscles.”

Mets Re-sign Fernando Salad


The Mets continue to “improve” the team by bringing back most of the players from last year’s roster.

This time the Mets re-signed Fernando Salas aka Fernando Salad. Salad was the reliever Sandy Alderson acquired last August from the Angels. He was useful in his short stint with the Mets posting a 2.08 ERA over 17.1 innings. His actual 2017 salary hasn’t been released yet, but knowing the Mets it can’t be that much money. Signing Fernando on a one year deal sounds great to me. He’ll gobble up some late innings, and he’ll strike some guys out (8.9 K/9 in his career).

It’s not a major bullpen improvement considering he was part of last year’s crew, but as long as we re-sign Jerry Blevins I’ll have some confidence in the group of guys we’ve assembled for the 2017 pen.

As I said earlier today, it’s time to bring back Jerry Blevins. No more messing around. Sign Blevins Sandy. Get it done.

Mets Sign Guy That Isn’t Jerry Blevins

Oh my God, the Mets signed Tom Gorzelanny to a minor league deal! I know him! He’s that 33 year old fringe major league lefty starter/reliever who’s played with 6 different teams over 12 seasons and isn’t really worthy of a roster spot on a team that claims to be a World Series contender. You know who he’s not? Jerry Blevins. Relievers keep flying off the board with each passing day and the Mets keep watching it happen.

Sergio Romo is reportedly close to choosing a team, and it’s not likely to be the Mets.

Apparently the Dodgers want Blevins and Romo. Why? Why would the Dodgers want to improve their bullpen? If they fancy themselves a playoff contender why would they feel the need to make the team better?

The only Mets’ rumors from yesterday were more salary dump whispers this time involving Juan Lagares instead of Jay Bruce. Apparently teams are interested in trading for Juan, and there’s speculation that the Mets could then use the $4.5 million they save to improve the bullpen. What a freaking joke. I get that Juan’s contract stinks ($4.5 million in 2017, $6.5 million in 2018, $9 million in 2019 and $9.5 million option for 2020 with a $500k buyout) but he’s the only real center fielder on the roster.

I can totally see the Mets giving up on Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto in center field by May and sticking Juan out there most of the time (until he gets injured as usual). If the Mets have to trade Juan to save a few bucks in order to retain Jerry Blevins then the team is already screwed. Nothing has changed. Fire Wilpon. Cancel your tickets.

If the Mets refuse to pay for bullpen upgrades then Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles better step up in 2017 for the sake of my TV remote and couch cushions because I’ll be smashing the hell out of them on a nightly basis if the pen stinks. The long stretches of anemic offense combined with elite starting pitching have been tough to handle over the past two seasons. But a team with elite starting pitching that scores runs, but blows leads out of the pen every night is another form of baseball torture, and I’m not sure that I’m up for it.

Pray that Jeff Wilpon unexpectedly finds 6 million bucks in his jacket pocket for Jerry Blevins. Pray for Jerry. Bring back Jerry.

Stay Bruce? Fine By Me

According to the New York Post the Mets have informed Jay Bruce they plan to start the season with him as their everyday right fielder. And thus concludes BruceGate 2017 (Maybe? Is it really over?).

The prospect of Bruce being with the Mets on Opening Day doesn’t really bother me. Why? Generally, I refuse to get worked up over a Mets roster “dilemma” if the end result is the Mets have more roster depth. You may not like Jay Bruce’s skill set and you may wish the Mets could freely spend his 13 million dollar salary on other upgrades, but that’s seemingly impossible to achieve at the moment. So the doomsday scenario is the Mets have five outfielders, and in the long run additional depth is a positive not a negative.

Here are my thoughts on some of the fears Mets fans have cited due to Jay Bruce’s presence on the roster.

If Bruce Is here Michael Conforto will be ruined!

I’m skeptical of the claim that 23 year old Michael Conforto’s career will be derailed as a result of limited playing time in 2017. If you feel the Mets are a better team with Conforto starting everyday or that we shouldn’t “waste” a year of his pre-arbitration service time then fine. Those are valid points worth discussing. But after his time in Vegas in 2016 and his experience with a veteran filled roster towards the end of last season, I’m confident Conforto will be ready to battle Curtis Granderson and one-dimensional Bruce for at-bats in 2017. In an ideal world he’d outplay them and force his way into the starting lineup. T.J. Rivera and Rene Rivera certainly accomplished that at their respective positions in 2016.

There are not enough ABs to go around for all these outfielders.

Have the people saying this ever watched the Mets? An injury is likely to occur and a full time job will open up for Conforto before you can say “Spring Training.”

The position players on the Mets roster, as it’s currently constructed, are old and injury prone. Duda, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares dealt with injuries in 2016. Grandy will be 36 years old by Opening Day and Bruce had knee surgery in 2014. If he doesn’t have a starting job outright due to injury, I can see Conforto being double switched into games regularly for defense and starting a few days a week to keep these veteran guys fresh.

In addition to filling in at all three outfield spots, Conforto can work at first base in Spring Training. Conforto increasing his versatility is a positive thing for next season and beyond. If Dominic Smith isn’t ready to take over the job in 2018 then we’ll need someone to fill in for Lucas Duda if the Mets let him walk after the 2017 season.

The Mets Outfield Defense Will Be Terrible With Bruce

Unfortunately there’s not much I can say to refute that claim. The Mets outfield defense will likely be below average in 2017. But the outfield defense is going to be poor regardless of the alignment. This squad won’t specialize in run prevention as long as Granderson, Bruce, and Conforto are drawing the majority of starts in center field and right field.

If you wanted the Mets to acquire a true starting caliber center fielder this winter and shake up the roster to emphasize defense then you’re probably disappointed. But clearly the overwhelming supply of power hitters in the free agent market limited the Mets ability to move their expensive corner outfielders. If Sandy wants to prioritize upgrading the defense it will be easier for him to achieve that next offseason when many of our current position players become free agents.

The Mets don’t have any payroll flexibility to upgrade the bullpen

This may be true, but it’s hardly Jay Bruce’s fault if ownership has capped the team’s payroll at the current amount. If the Mets fail to upgrade the bullpen and that hurts the team down the road, the only people to blame are Sandy Alderson for misallocating financial resources and ownership for not providing additional funds to improve the pen.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of having Bruce on the team and here’s where I’ve landed:

  1. If Jay Bruce hits in line with his career numbers, then the Mets will benefit from the additional offense. The team’s struggle to generate runs is the reason they traded for him in the first place. If we dump him before the season we’ll probably wind up trading another prospect for someone like him by the trade deadline.
  2. If Bruce performs and the team is inexplicably blessed with health then he becomes a expendable trade chip to flip for a piece the team actually needs. And hopefully by then the market isn’t as flooded with comparable players.
  3. If Bruce struggles and Conforto stands out in his limited playing time then Michael starts and Bruce becomes an expensive pinch hitter. Will Terry Collins play Jay Bruce for three straight months even if he’s hitting .200? Maybe but that’s a problem with Terry’s managerial style not a Bruce issue.
  4. The stats show us that Jay Bruce’s contribution (at least from 2014-16) in the power department is essentially negated due to his below average defense. He’s basically a “net negative.” Just like our old friend Daniel Murphy. I’m hoping that Jay Bruce becomes the new Kevin Long reclamation project and somehow takes his power to the next level in a contract year.

In the end, the team defense may wind up stinking with Bruce in the fold and maybe Conforto won’t handle a reserve role well, but at least the 2017 Mets will hit a lot of dingers again. Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Granderson, Cespedes could all supply 20+ homers. If our starting pitching is healthy and returns to its 2015 form and the lineup has the Citi Field Home Run Apple popping on a nightly basis, good things will be in store in 2017 whether Bruce is in the lineup or not.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.