2017 Mets Season Preview: Change Is Bad?

The start of the 2017 MLB season is upon us. Other than Steven Matz being shut down for three weeks due to his sore elbow, it appears the Mets may make it out of Florida with the majority of their projected 2017 roster intact. Obviously David Wright isn’t coming north but nobody actually thought that was happening. He’ll be in Port St. Lucie forever.

2017 Outlook

This team has a chance to be anywhere from very good (86-93 wins) to the class of the National League (94-97 wins). It all depends on the performance and health of the pitching staff and Yoenis Cespedes. Same story as last season.

Other than retaining Yo and letting rotation workhorse Bartolo Colon walk, Sandy Alderson decided to double down with the same roster as last year. The Mets will be using the same roster all over again and expecting different results. Einstein called that insane. Sandy says to hell with Einstein. He’s going all in on this Metsane approach, and the entire season is riding on his bet.

I actually like the idea to some extent. The pitching staff was ravaged by injury in 2016. Pitchers always break, but the odds tell us we should fare better this season in terms of rotation health. The lineup is made up of the same group of veteran feast or famine sluggers. Last season we had historically bad luck with runners in scoring position and set a franchise record for homers. The odds say we’ll fare better with RISP this season if we launch homers at a similar rate.

The Walk Year Season

I’m always a big fan of players in contract years. Whether the data supports it or not, I feel like these types of players come into the season hungry and ready to earn a big payday. So I love that Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera (unless we pick up his 2018 contract option), Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Addison Reed are all playing for the big bucks.

Position By Position Thoughts

Outfield: I love Yoenis Cespedes. I think he’ll probably play left field for the majority of the 2017 season which will seriously boost his value on defense. He also arrived at spring training looking jacked. I think he’s about to have an MVP caliber season in the first year of his new deal.

I’m hoping Grandy survives the season at 36 years old and gives the team his usual 25 bombs. But honestly it’s unrealistic to expect that he will survive a grueling full season in center field. The roster doesn’t have a true center fielder and based on that I see no reason why we wouldn’t just shove Michael Conforto out there some of the time. The Mets should be rotating their outfielders to keep the veterans fresh and to ensure Conforto plays almost everyday. The potential re-emergence of Conforto is the type of development that could launch this team to an elite status.

Everybody hates Jay Bruce, but I think he’ll do what he’s historically done this season i.e. hit home runs and suck on defense. I think he will add value to this club even if WAR and the other advanced metrics tell you he won’t. But the roster still needs a true center fielder, and I can imagine the team will be forced to address that at some point this season. If old man Grandy goes down to injury they’ll be forced to play Juan Lagares out there for long stretches. Lagares can’t hit or stay healthy so that’s not an ideal backup solution. Brandon Nimmo offers some nice depth at Triple-A.

Infield: Half of our infield crew is dealing with chronic back problems. Neil Walker says the surgery fixed his back issue. Duda says rest healed his back pain. Wright says he hopes to throw a baseball again this season. Hopefully at least Walker and Duda are telling the truth. Walker, Cabrera, and Duda can/should all mash 20 plus homers which will hopefully make up for their mediocre defense. Reyes should be able to fill in for Wright at third base and handle the top of the order until his hamstrings blows out.

Catching: The Mets should have added a catcher in the offseason. Travis d’Arnaud
can’t throw the ball to second base and struggled to hit all of last season. He’s supposedly fixed the mechanical issue that caused his 2016 hitting woes. I still suspect the issue was injury related, and I don’t expect Mr. Glass to magically transform into a durable player in 2017. It would be nice if he hits during his 80 games instead of serving as a useless black hole in the lineup. Rene Rivera is solely here for defense. Kevin Plawecki is solely here to remind us that prospects can wind up being total busts.

Bench: T.J. Rivera showed everyone last season that he’s more than a quadruple-A bum. He keeps hitting .300. Minors. Majors. World Baseball Classic. He just keeps hitting. I like his bat off the bench. Wilmer Flores hit like Babe Ruth against left-handed pitching last season. It’d be nice if he could boost his production against righties. He’ll wind up playing everyday if he’s able to bridge the gap in his splits.

I’d prefer to replace Ty Kelly with Kelly Johnson. It can still happen since Johnson is still on the free agent scrap heap. Overall I think the bench has some versatility with Flores and Rivera. If Lagares ever returns from that oblique strain he’ll serve as a nice late inning defensive replacement off the bench. That’s really all he’s good for at this point.

Starting Pitching: The entire season rides on the health and performance of the starting staff. I wrote about this recently but we really need three of these guys to be reliable and give us close to 200 innings. Last year we depended on Noah Syndergaard and Colon as those full season constants on the mound. Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom gave the team quality innings when they were healthy, but they fizzled out by September. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo saved the team in September once deGrom and Matz fizzled. Without them the team never makes the playoffs.

Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are total wild cards. Will Harvey recover from thoracic outlet syndrome? After a two year absence will Wheeler thrive now that he’s been named as part of the Opening Day rotation? I have to believe that three of these seven young arms will step up and stay healthy for a full season. There’s a scenario where this team has the best pitching staff in the league by far and Thor/deGrom make a Cy Young push while Gsellman/Lugo battle for Rookie of the Year. There’s a scenario where Rafael Montero is making meaningful starts by the All-Star Break. I expect something closer to the former scenario. I think we are bound to see a few of these guys come up big and stay healthy.

Bullpen: The Jeurys Familia suspension turned out to be a light 15 games. He’ll be back in no time and after seeing him toss 100 MPH fastballs during the World Baseball Classic, I’m expecting a big season. I know he’s in a contract year, but I expect a regression from Addison Reed. He was arguably the best reliever in the NL last season. I think he’ll be serviceable as a set up man, but I’m not getting my hopes up for the level of dominance he displayed in 2016.

Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins should form a nice late inning righty/lefty tandem. We need Hansel Robles to step up and show some consistency. At times last year he was a dominant go to arm. And then he had stretches where he seemed to crumble every time he stepped on the mound. It’s always Terry’s fault. He overuses all of these guys. Josh Smoker and Josh Edgin will probably round out the pen to start the season. We’re going with a lefty heavy pen mainly because Edgin is out of options.

Prospect Watch: I think we are about a year away from seeing some of our big time prospects like shortstop stud Amed Rosario and first baseman of the future Dominic Smith. However, one injury could speed up the major league path for these guys. If Rosario and Smith are mashing at Triple-A they could be in line for a promotion if Cabrera’s knees act up at shortstop or if Duda’s back remains cracked.

Weaknesses: The team defense is going to be horrendous. Infielders with no range, a catcher that has no arm, guys playing out of position, no true center fielder. There’s really no positive spin for this club on defense. The Mets could wind up shopping for a new catcher and center fielder during the season. I also think the bullpen could be a weakness. If the starting rotation remains healthy, then guys like Lugo and Wheeler could wind up seeing time in the pen and potentially bolstering that crew. But if they are needed in the rotation for long stretches, I think Sandy winds up trading for an arm in June or July.

Predictions: I think that Thor and Cespedes have a chance to post close to the highest combined WAR for a Mets pitcher/position player in team history. It’s going to be tough to match the 19 WAR posted by Gary Carter (6.9) and Dwight Gooden (12.1) in 1985, but I can see Thor/Yo making a run for the crown.

Ultimately, I think this team wins 91 games and wins a Wild Card spot again. The Mets will battle the Nationals for the division crown up until the final week of the season. I cursed the one game Wild Card playoff the day it was created. At that time I thought the Mets would never make the playoffs again, but now I know that we were simply destined to be a victim of the one-game crapshoot format every time we qualify for the playoffs.

Familia Gets Soft 15 Game Ban; Matz Gets MRI

Well it only took the league four months to determine his punishment, but we finally learned today that Jeurys Familia will receive an extremely soft 15 game ban for his domestic-violence arrest.

I’m not going to say much about the league’s domestic-violence policy or how Commissioner Manfred chose to apply it in the case of Familia. The bottom line is the charges against Familia were dropped, the league conducted an investigation and determined nothing happened that warranted a significant suspension and that’s really the end of it.

I’ve already written on a number of occasions that the league doesn’t take domestic-violence seriously, and that it’s absurd that steroid suspensions are typically more severe than suspensions stemming from an arrest for a violent crime involving a player’s family member. Fans tend to forgive and forget when it comes to domestic-violence crimes involving professional athletes. It is what it is. I hope one day that mentality changes.

The more ridiculous thing is the amount of time it took for the league to determine Jeurys Familia’s suspension. The arrest happened in November, and the charges were dropped in December. What the hell took the league office so long to decide?

I kind of want to work in the MLB Commissioner’s Office and review conduct violations all day. It sounds like the most laid-back job on the planet. You just sit at a desk waiting to get a call from a team asking you to investigate a violation of league policy.

Then you say: “Yes sir, we’ve received the conduct violation details and we are processing your case.”

Then you just spend the next 1-18 months putting all the court papers in big binders occasionally taking the papers out of the binders and pushing them around your desk for a few hours before re-filing them away.

And then after making a team wait for months, you arbitrarily pick a number of games ranging from 15-45 and notify the team a few days before Opening Day.

In the end we only have to wait until April 20th for Jeurys Familia to return to the closer’s role in Flushing. The guy was throwing 100 MPH in the World Baseball Classic so I’m pretty pumped to see if that velocity carries over into the season. I’m sure the velocity will last for a few months until Terry Collins blows Familia’s arm out like he does every season.

The other takeaway from today is the Steven Matz MRI news. Pray for him. Bad news from this MRI would be a classic Mets pre-Opening Day gut punch. I’m expecting the worst.

Matz Tender, Harvey Looks Better

The baseball gods giveth, and the baseball gods taketh away.

This morning we hear that the curse of Team Tender strikes again. Steven Matz has been sidelined with a tender elbow. What else is new? This is just a reminder that Steven Matz’s endless battle with arm tenderness will continue to be a thing this season.

The Mets say he’ll miss a start, and then they will re-evaluate the situation.

Translation: The Mets will force him to pitch through pain just like they did last season. Pray for Matz.

Then during today’s Grapefruit League game we see Matt Harvey step on the mound and pitch a nice game. His fastball had some life, he was able to locate his slider, and he was efficient over 6 innings. Sure he only faced a few of the Braves’ regular players, but it was nice to see a solid outing from Harvey especially considering the Matz news.

The Mets pitching situation is really precarious in my opinion. On the surface it looks like they have depth. The “experts” all talk about how the Mets rotation is stacked with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo. Seven pitchers for five spots! Wow. But in reality the Mets could wind up short-handed in no time at all. First of all, teams normally use seven or more starting pitchers during the season. Realistically teams use more like 10 starters over the course of the year.

If the Mets are able to get close to 200 innings from at least three of these starting pitchers the team should be in great shape. But is that realistic? None of the seven pitchers I mentioned above have ever tossed 200 innings. Not one of them. They’ve all had serious arm injuries. Most of them have had arm surgeries. Right now I’m penciling in Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom as our horses. And they aren’t guaranteed locks to be healthy. I’m afraid to rely on Matt Harvey for anything. His thoracic outlet surgery was a serious, career threatening procedure, and it’s not really fair to expect him to return to his 2015 form this season or in the future.

Have you noticed that the Mets are really hyping up Rafael Montero this spring? They love what they are seeing from him. I think in reality the organization is starting to realize what could happen if Team Tender turns into Team DL, and we’re left with Rafael Montero making meaningful starts during the season. They’re preemptively giving Montero a vote of confidence because they can see how close he is to cracking the rotation depth chart.

Just cross your fingers and light your candles for Thor and deGrom. If they can stay healthy we should be able to piece together the rest of the innings from the other starting pitchers. If we are fortunate enough to get a solid full season from one of the other guys (Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Gsellman, or Lugo) the rotation should be in great shape.

If not, Sandy will likely be left frantically searching for a contingency plan like Montero or worse…Jon Niese.

Juan “DL” Lagares Strains Oblique, Out Forever

It’s the final week of Spring Training and you know what that means for the Mets. Everyone starts going down with injuries. The Final Destination injury ride begins now and never stops until the season is over.

It started with Brandon Nimmo tweaking his hamstring in the World Baseball Classic two weeks ago. The team said he was day-to-day. I don’t think Nimmo has even tried to run yet. At the time of that injury I wrote that Nimmo and Juan Lagares were going to form the most injury-plagued center field platoon in the league in 2018. And then right on cue Juan Lagares goes down with a strained oblique and leaves us with 36 year old Curtis Granderson as our only center fielder.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen this movie before, but Juan is out forever. That oblique will be barking all season. He’ll rush back and re-strain it. Then we’ll see him in August if we’re lucky. That Lagares contract turned out to be a terrible mistake. He really can’t stay healthy or hit. I’m not an advanced scout, but those feel like two pretty important qualities for a baseball player no? He never had the Juanny John surgery on his torn throwing elbow ligament. He was Juanny One Thumb for the entire 2016 season once he tore his thumb ligament. He’s seemingly strained just about every muscle in his body over the last few seasons.

To be honest, I’m not that upset with Nimmo and Juan being removed from the Opening Day roster equation. This should ensure that Michael Conforto makes the team which should have been the case no matter what considering Conforto has had an incredible Grapefruit League campaign. The Mets should just put Conforto in center field and right field and play him regularly while giving old man Grandy, barking quad Cespedes, and slow poke Jay Bruce plenty of days off. It’s a no brainer.

David Wright is gone. Juanny and Nimmo are gone. Travis d’Arnaud must be hiding and trembling in the clubhouse because everyone knows that the Mets’ injury Final Destination train is coming for him next. Unless fate decides to skip over the position players and turn to the pitching staff next…

MLB Has A Pace Of Spring Training Problem

Can we stick a fork in Spring Training and start the goddamn MLB season already? I came out of the gate extremely excited for Spring Training as I always do, but my excitement turned to impatience almost immediately. The last month has been filled with nothing but non-stories, fabricated headlines, and Tim Tebow BS every other day. I can’t take it anymore.

Rob Manfred never shuts up about pace of play, but how about we cut down the freaking length of the pre-season? Two months of Spring Training BS is completely ridiculous and unnecessary.

The only thing that’s been saving me this year is the World Baseball Classic. Obviously the risk of injury to major league players in the tournament is real and for many fans that taints the entire experience. But let’s be honest, this WBC tournament has been absolutely incredible. Top notch entertainment.

If you’ve watched these WBC games and you can’t acknowledge how entertaining the games have been then you must be a grumpy old baseball purist who hates fun. Every game that I’ve watched in the later rounds has had a playoff caliber atmosphere.

And for all the fans out there against the WBC due to the injury risks, it’s not like these guys are magically protected from harm during Grapefruit League games. The Mets were probably screwed whether they had guys in the tourney or not.

It’s been written about to death but the major reason the tournament is so fun is that the players let loose and play with raw emotion. They temporarily abandon the uptight regular season style of ball and instead the guys are flipping bats, dancing in the field, leaping out of the dugout. It’s so damn refreshing. Just look at this pimp job from last night.

One of the reasons the NFL and NBA are so popular is that the players are encouraged to display raw emotion on the field. Post sack celebrations and electric slam dunks are some of the most entertaining elements of football and basketball respectively. The WBC has shown how fun baseball can be with that element of raw emotion and pageantry incorporated into the games, and we really need to see more of it during the regular season.

As far as Spring Training news goes, every time I try to write a blog, the “story” I wanted to write about turns out to be a non-story. Here’s the latest crap:

Tebow Fake News: The Tim Tebow news cycle this spring has made me want to vomit. He’s a total embarrassment. But look at how ridiculous the Tebow Fake News cycle was last week. The guy went from great game to media gag order to gag order lifted to banished from camp to starting the next day. Total joke #FakeNews.

Nimmo Out Forever With Hammy Strain: Brandon Nimmo demonstrated an absolute classic Mets injury news cycle last week. It was laugh out loud hilarious. He hurt his hammy in the World Baseball Classic (screw the tournament, I take everything I said back) and then went from out for weeks to totally fine to out forever. He’s dunzo. I keep forgetting that his major flaw is he can’t stay on the field. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares are going to form the most injury prone platoon in the league next season in center field.

Be Patient Flo: Wilmer Flores this week indicated to the media that he’s not happy about a part time role this season. Ummm hey Wilmer how about you be a little patient. David Wright is finished. You’re already in line to snag regular at-bats at third base. Just wait for Duda’s back to start barking and you’ll be playing everyday at first base. I guess Wilmer forgot how injuries work on this team.

Dead Beat Reyes:

Just a friendly reminder that Jose Reyes is a scumbag husband and a deadbeat parent. Don’t normalize his behavior because he’s a professional athlete. If you found out your neighbor didn’t pay his child support, had a second family, and was arrested for beating his wife you probably wouldn’t even make eye contact with the guy when you took out your trash.

Harvey Still Swinging:

Harvey’s fastball velocity may be lacking, but he hasn’t lost his touch with the ladies.

The return of Matt Harvey is one of the few meaningful spring storylines for the Mets. I was going to write a “sky is falling” blog last week when Harvey had a crappy appearance and lacked velocity. But in yesterday’s outing he was hitting 96 MPH. Now I don’t know what to believe. Everything I read about the thoracic outlet surgery tells me that his recovery is not guaranteed. There’s a chance he may never be the same. There’s a chance he may take this entire season to regain his velocity and command. But let’s just let this rehab process play out and pray. Harvey’s condition really is important though. A dominant Harvey could be the difference between an NL East title and just missing the second wild card.

Thor, Yo, and deGrom: I’ll close this post with the only news that matters: The health and performance of Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom. If these three guys are healthy and performing at an elite level this season I truly believe the Mets will have a successful year. Obviously overall roster health is vitally important, but we learned last year that Yo and Thor can carry this club even when the rest of the roster is banged up. And so far this spring Yo is mashing and Thor/deGrom look healthy and nasty. Pray for them.

Tebow’s Insane New Girlfriend Surprises Him At Work

Apparently some crazy Christian nutjob showed up to First Data Field this Spring Training to see Tebow! Actually, I’m pretty sure hundreds of crazy Christian nutjobs have shown up to First Data Field this spring to see Tim Tebow play. But only one lady showed up on February 28th, told cops she was Tim Tebow’s girlfriend, and then got arrested.

But Tebow’s totally not a distraction at all. Sure his presence is leading to crazed religious stalkers getting arrested at our Spring Training facility. But that’s not unusual right? Just your classic spring training stalker arrest. Nothing to see here.

In this insane lady’s defense, I actually have no idea what she did wrong other than return to the stadium two days after being asked to leave by police. Initially when she was there on February 26th, the article basically said she was loitering at the stadium all day and told cops she was Tebow’s girlfriend. Who cares? It’s not like she was caught tunneling into the clubhouse or something in an attempt to see Tebow naked in the shower. She was just standing around. I’m surprised the Mets didn’t invite her to the Arizona Fall League to play with Tim.

It was also reported prior to today’s game that Tim Tebow and Yoenis Cespedes were having a catch and Tim kept airmailing throws to Yo.

I couldn’t stop laughing at my desk imagining Yo slowly trotting to retrieve a ball that Tebow airmailed 10 feet over his head. Yo almost got lapped this week on the basepaths by Jay Bruce during a game when Jay Bruce cranked a home run. There’s no way Yo was hustling to snag balls that Tebow sent into the stands.

Then I started to imagine myself having a catch with Yo or doing anything baseball related with a superstar like Cespedes. I’m pretty sure if I was having a catch with Yo I’d be bouncing throws to him and chickening out on catching his laser tosses at the last second.

If I was sent to the outfield to catch Cespedes’ fly balls during batting practice I’d probably look like the 12 year old kids at the All-Star game that chase the fly balls during the Home Run Derby. I’d fall over myself or collide with somebody else on the field. No doubt about it. But I’m not a 29 year old man pretending to be a professional baseball player. I’m just a 29 year old scrub who’s accepted that his dream of becoming a professional baseball player is totally dead. The only difference between me and Tebow is I’m not in denial and nobody wants to buy my stupid shirsey.

The Tebow Publicity Stunt Is A Wilpon-Driven Embarrassment 

Wednesday’s game was the first of what will likely be two spring training days fully devoted to the pathetic embarrassing Wilpon-driven publicity stunt that is Tim Tebow’s “professional baseball career.”

As expected, Tim Tebow went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and was hit by pitch. The only at-bat I witnessed was the pathetic strikeout where Tebow had the balls to turn back to the umpire and question his strike zone. Rick Porcello should have drilled him in the teeth during his next at-bat for questioning a strike call for even one second. Hell the umpire should have field-goaled Tim in the nuts for questioning his expertise.

The whole thing is an embarrassing joke, and a reminder that Jeff Wilpon’s shadow will always hang over this organization. Sure Sandy Alderson makes the majority of roster decisions nowadays. His wise decision making is the primary reason the Mets have a chance to win a World Series in 2017. But we must never forget that Jeff could reassert his control at any time and send the whole franchise spiraling out of control.

When Tebow worked out for MLB teams, scouts agreed he lacked the skills to achieve anything at the major league level. Keith Law said (paraphrasing) Tebow was the most pathetic piece of crap to ever grace the Arizona Fall League.

Where were the Wilpons when all these talent evaluators were ripping Tebow apart? They were busy drawing up merchandising agreements with Tebow and his people to cash in on all the Tebow Mets jerseys in perpetuity.

I hate this Tebow crap so much because it’s a total loser franchise move. It’s the type of BS move that the Jets or Knicks would make. It’s certainly not the type of move that a World Series contender makes. The Mets have been trending away from this type of foolishness in recent years. It pains me to see the team return to that type of decision making even if the move is considered by many to be a harmless publicity stunt.

I’ve got news for you people. It’s not harmless. This Tebow stunt isn’t about raising money for charity like when Garth Brooks was invited to camp years ago. This isn’t like letting some celebrity take batting practice hacks during the spring for fun. It’s not about Tebow’s stupid leadership skills. That’s just the lie the Wilpons spread. If you believe that you’re a fool.

Oh you’re a fan of Tebow? Then go watch his college football highlights on Youtube. It’s fun for you to see him play? This was never about fun. The whole stunt is solely about #Cash4Wilpons. His presence doesn’t hurt anybody? Yes it does. It hurts young developing players that deserve to play and instead are forced to take grounders in the minor league complex while Tebow does a stupid ass photo shoot on MLB Network.

If the league actually wanted to make the game more fun, they wouldn’t promote this Tebow crap. They’d find a way to ensure the most talented international players make it to the states. While Tebow seamlessly jumps from football/broadcasting to professional baseball without any real qualifications other than being marketable, we still have Cuban players taking perilous journeys just for the chance to play in the big leagues. Now admittedly that’s more of a stupid United States problem than a Tebow problem. But what about the best player in Japan?

Shohei Ohtani is supposed to be the next Babe Ruth. The guy is 22 years old, mashes home runs, and throws 100 MPH on the mound. And we have to wait another full season for him to come to the states thanks to baseball’s stupid posting rules and bureaucracy? What a joke. But at least we have Tebow to watch while we wait right?!?

Okay, insane rant over. Tebow starts for the Mets in the outfield on Friday. Lock of the century that he somehow finds a way to collide with Yoenis Cespedes in the outfield and send him to the DL right? Or maybe he’ll just lose his grip on his bat and send it flying into Yo’s quad in the dugout.

You laugh but I’m only half kidding. The guy isn’t qualified to play Major League Baseball. He’s a goddamn liability and a potential danger to the real professionals on the field. The Wilpons already know this and trust me, they couldn’t care less.

Pleasure Overload: Syndergaard To Be On Game Of Thrones 

My two favorite leisure activities (watching Mets and watching GoT) are officially merging into one. Noah Syndergaard announced he’s going to appear in this coming season of Game of Thrones on HBO. 

This is the ultimate visual pleasure scenario for me. I’m actually a little concerned that it could wind up being reminiscent of when George Costanza incorporates food and television into his sex life to totally maximize pleasure. It sounds incredible in theory, but perhaps I’ll fly too close to Citi Field on the wings of a dragon and wind up in a situation where I need to have Game of Thrones and the Mets playing at all times to enjoy anything. Or I could wind up with a full blown Throner the next time I’m casually watching a game on SNY. 

As far as Thor’s actual appearance on the show goes, he’s a perfect addition to the cast. He’s already Thor of House Syndergaard, first of his name, bringer of thunder, savior of the Mets’ franchise. They could cast him as a giant beyond The Wall on account of his ridiculous size. He certainly has the Lannister golden hair, but if they bleach the hair even more he could definitely pass as a white-haired Targaryen. He could wind up being the dragon prince that was promised. In the end he’ll probably wind up as “Wildling 2” or “Soldier 4.” If they wind up casting him as a White Walker I’m going to literally lose my mind with excitement.

Speaking of pleasure overloads and Noah Syndergaard, can you imagine how happy this phone notification made the Wilpons on Friday?

$605k?!? Noah Syndergaard is the best value in the Wilpon portfolio. The Mets were haggling with Thor over 9 thousand dollars and refused to give him his requested salary bump. Syndergaard is probably taking this Thrones gig for the extra income. 

The Wilpons may be pinching pennies as usual, but HBO won’t be skimping on the budget especially when it comes to their prized show. I’m sure in the end Syndergaard will make the 9k he wanted from the Mets during the filming of GoT and the jealous Wilpons will wind up attacking Thor via the media for filming the show instead of attending some mandatory team sponsored activity.

Pray For Wright, Sign Kelly Johnson

It didn’t take long for David Wright to have his first setback of the spring. Earlier this week, Sandy Alderson said David has a shoulder impingement. Today, Wright confirmed the injury after getting a second opinion in New York. The injury is related to his neck fusion surgery, and he’s being shut down indefinitely.

For the record, this is the millionth time David Wright has had a “career ending” setback in the last three years. Every single time they announce a new Wright injury it hurts me as much as the last time. It’s honestly torture for me as a fan, and I can’t even imagine how awful it must be for the guy who’s getting neck operations and constantly rehabbing a degenerative spinal condition. It’s too hard to even write about again. Pray for David. I don’t care if he ever plays again. All I care about is that this guy lives a long healthy life outside of baseball.

Does this setback hurt the Mets’ chances of competing in 2017? No not really. I haven’t been willing to pencil David Wright into our projected lineup for three years now. And for the first time this year the Mets aren’t depending on him either. Some combination of Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores will slot right in at third base. That combination should be very productive at the plate and provide acceptable defense (barely).

That being said, the Mets should undoubtedly sign Kelly Johnson to take Wright’s spot on the roster. If David ever plays again it sure as hell won’t be by Opening Day 2017. They’ve said Lucas Duda is feeling better after his back/hip cortisone injections, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Kelly Johnson can play third base, first base, second base, and outfield. It’s always made sense to bring him back, but it makes even more sense now. The Mets need to make it happen.

And the Mets also need to start having Jay Bruce take reps at first base in spring games immediately. They can’t afford to delay because we all know Duda’s back could still be barking come Opening Day.

The Mets also need to experiment with Bruce at first base just to try and create more playing time for Michael Conforto. The team has only played a few Grapefruit League Games but so far Conforto is hitting .538. If Conforto continues to rake this spring then he’s starting in my Opening Day outfield. I don’t care where he starts. I don’t care whether Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce lose out on playing time. If Conforto has solved the problems he dealt with at the plate last year then the Mets need to find him major league ABs. 

There’s no reason for excuses. I don’t care that the veterans have high salaries. Plus the Wilpons will be raking in so much money on Wright’s insurance policy they won’t even have to worry about the money being wasted on Bruce as he sits on the bench. 

Pray for David.