Mets Making Moves But 2018 Still Riding On Noenis Cespergard

According to the Mets analytics-driven front office we lead the league in the all important offseason metric “doing more than the average team percentage”.

I guess that means the Mets are the team to beat. Right?!? Sandy implied our offseason has been successful because we’re doing stuff so it must be true!

Sandy must be forgetting that four of the “additions” are just returning players from last year’s stink squad (Jay Bruce, Jose Reyes, Jerry Blevins, and Asdrubal Cabrera).

Sandy essentially replaced the best reliever from the 2016/17 teams (Addison Reed) with Anthony Swarzak and AJ Ramos. Ramos pitched pretty poorly in his brief stint with the Mets last year and Swarzak has had one good season in the majors (2017).

Sandy replaced injury prone Lucas Duda with the aging injury prone Adrian Gonzalez who the Mets snagged at the league minimum while simultaneously managing to block their top major league ready prospect Dominic Smith.

Finally, the Mets have added thumbs down Jersey boy Todd Frazier to play third base. In essence they’ve replaced perennial 2.5 – 3 WAR player second baseman Neil Walker with perennial 2.5 – 3 WAR third baseman Frazier.

I realize my take sounds pretty negative, but I honestly don’t hate the moves the Mets have made so far. I see the upside. Jay Bruce was awesome in 2017 for the Mets. I like Bruce’s power bat in the lineup. It sucks that Bruce forces Michael Conforto to play CF, but Bruce is also insurance for the Mets if Conforto’s shoulder is shot.

Reyes as a starter sucks, but he really adds value in a backup infielder role. Asdrubal will stink defensively up the middle but he can still hit.

I love Blevins. I expect Ramos will perform at a high level in his walk year. And the expert stat heads seem to agree that Swarzak was a great pickup, so I’ll take their word for it.

Adrian Gonzalez is a low risk/high upside player. Maybe he’ll show remnants of his former All-Star bat. If (when) his back gives out we’ll get to see Dom Smith again.

I also think the Frazier move is smart. He brings leadership and a strong glove at third base. He’ll hit some dingers. And for the first time in four years the Mets have acknowledged that David Wright ain’t coming back and made a move to fill the void at third base. It took them long enough. Hopefully this won’t screw up the Wright insurance scam that the Wilpons are running.

Have the Mets made the most efficient use of their resources from a financial standpoint? The talking heads agree that these moves have at least been “bargains”. Forgive me if I refuse to break out the discount champagne to celebrate Alderson’s efficient way of doing business.

It’s hard to evaluate these moves without knowing the actual Mets budget. They had 60 million come off the books, and so far they’ve added close to 55m in salary with all the new and returning players mentioned above. Given all those expenditures it seems odd that the Mets didn’t at least consider adding two of the high impact players like J.D. Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta instead of spending everything on these complementary guys.

Even with all these new additions the Mets still haven’t addressed last year’s historically bad pitching staff, but I’m sure Sandy will do that. Right? Right?!?

Oh well. Looks like we’ll have to settle for this group of useful complementary players and a swingman for the pen/rotation. If that’s the reality, then these offseason moves won’t really matter unless Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes are healthy. Yo and Thor are the difference between a playoff competitor and a dog doo ballclub.

Obviously the core players all matter. A healthy Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, and Michael Conforto combined with Thor/Yo can take this team to an elite level. But considering Conforto is likely to miss a chunk of the season recovering from his shoulder surgery, it’s pretty obvious that Thor and Yo remain the key pieces on this roster. Cespedes propelled the Mets to the playoffs in 2015. Thor’s elite pitching helped them get that Wild Card spot in 2016 while the other pitchers battled injuries.

Most of the projection systems anticipate that Syndergaard and Cespedes will be just as valuable to the Mets in 2018. Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes were both included in recent Top 10 rankings by MLB Network. The Shredder on MLB Network ranked Syndergaard as the 7th most valuable pitcher in 2018 and Cespedes was ranked as the 2nd left fielder.

Yo and Thor have a chance to be one of the most valuable pitcher/position player tandem in Mets history in 2018 if they stay healthy. Thor’s 2016 Baseball Reference WAR of 5.3 ranked 10th in baseball. Yo’s 2016 and 2017 bWARs were limited as a result of his injuries woes. But Yo’s 2015 combined bWAR of 6.3 was elite.

I looked back at the best single season pitching/position player bWAR combinations in Mets history and made a chart highlighting the top pitching/position player combined bWAR seasons in Mets history (with a fake Yo/Thor 2015/16 combo season wedged in).

To be included on this list, both the pitcher and the position player had to post a bWAR of at least 5. I set that bWAR floor of 5 because Baseball Reference defines 5+ WAR as an All-Star level of production. The designated minimum threshold of 5 caused a number of elite Tom Seaver seasons to fall off the list solely because his team didn’t have a position player posting a 5+ WAR in the same year.

All time mets duo WAR chart 3

If by some miracle Yo and Thor stay healthy in 2018 and perform near their 2015/16 levels (respectively), their combined talents can put this club in the playoff hunt. It’s nice that the Mets are adding these complementary players, and they absolutely must add more depth to the rotation and bullpen. But ultimately the 2018 season will ride on Yo’s bat and Thor’s arm. The Mets can’t survive without Noenis Cespergard.


What Will “Big Market” Mets Do With The $10-15 Million? (If It Exists)


I’ve been hesitant to blog about potential Mets offseason acquisitions because it’s almost pointless to speculate when you have no idea what the team’s projected budget is for the 2018 season. Recent reports in Newsday cited sources indicating Sandy Alderson doesn’t even receive an actual budget from the Wilpons. If the Mets front office doesn’t have a real payroll estimate then how can anyone guess what the Mets will do?

In November (right before single game tickets went on sale) the Mets leaked this:

A month later Joel Sherman said this:

They went from being potential “players on some of the big free agents” to having a meager 10-15 million bucks to spend. Pathetic.

A few days ago the media started reporting that the Mets are entertaining trading Juan Lagares and AJ Ramos to clear salary to potentially add free agents. This leads me to believe that the Mets don’t even plan to spend 10-15 million unless they can dump the salaries of Lagares and/or Ramos (both extremely useful roster pieces). If that’s the case I’m liable to put my foot through the dry wall in my apartment before Opening Day.

In order to maintain my sanity and at least try to enjoy this offseason, I’m going to use this post to spitball about potential ways that the Mets can improve the roster. I’ll operate under the assumption that the Mets are truly willing to spend 10-15 million dollars.

In my opinion the Mets have a need for an infielder (needs to play 2B), an outfielder, starting rotation insurance, and even another relief pitcher (in addition to recently signed Anthony Swarzak).

Here are some options:

Spend It All On One Elite Guy:

You really can’t sign an elite player to fill even one of those holes with only 10-15 million to spend. It’s impossible. Yu Darvish, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain should all get more than 15 million per season, and they will receive enormous multi-year deals. Even the elite reliever Wade Davis will make roughly 15m per season.

If Sandy got the Wilpons drunk, and they agreed to sign one elite free agent (preferably Lorenzo Cain) I’d certainly consider signing a player like that and doing nothing else. But one elite players won’t single-handedly give the Mets the 15-20 wins they need to be a playoff contender. Their only hope is that they get the necessary wins from players currently on the roster. The Mets ain’t signing an elite player anyway so let’s not waste energy thinking about it.

Spend It All On One Pretty Good Position Player or Starting Pitcher:

Signing one second tier impact position player free agent (e.g. Jay Bruce or Todd Frazier) is going to cost you 10-15m. A trade for a comparable talent (e.g. Jason Kipnis, Josh Harrison) will also eat up all of the “available money” unless the Mets include Ramos or Lagares in a deal. The same goes for a deal with a starting pitcher like Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn. In my opinion it doesn’t make sense to spend all of the money on one player in this tier. The Mets lack the organizational depth (in majors and minors) to ignore the remaining holes.

Spend It On A Plus Relief Pitcher and Dumpster Dive for Position Depth

In 2017 Mets pitchers sucked, were injured, or both. The Mets lost their top starting pitcher (Noah Syndergaard) and top reliever (Jeurys Familia) to injuries, they lacked a veteran innings eater (the role Bartolo Colon previously occupied), they lacked major league ready depth at AAA, and everything fell apart.

On the bright side, the Mets for the most part had sufficient position player depth. They had six viable major league outfielders (Cespedes, Conforto, Bruce, Nimmo, Lagares, Grandy) in the organization and ten infielders (Duda, Flores, Dom Smith, Walker, Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera, Reyes, T.J. Rivera, Gavin Cecchini, Matt Reynolds). And they utilized every single one of these players at various points in the season due to injuries, trades etc.

If you believe in the Mets current position player depth and feel the starting staff will stay healthy/rebound then you could argue it makes sense to add another impact reliever and add scrubs for position depth. Bringing back Addison Reed (roughly 9m salary) to bolster the pen and bringing back Jose Reyes (maybe 4-6m per) would eat up the 10-15m. If you backloaded a potential Reed deal you might be able to squeeze in a cheap fifth outfielder like Ben Revere.

I’d like to consider Brandon Phillips and Howie Kendrick as options but I think they’ll make more money than Reyes. If Reed receives 9m per season and Kendrick/Phillips receive offers for 7-8m they’ll be out of the Mets price range. In this case the Mets would have to dig deeper in the position player dumpster for guys like Stephen Drew. Woof.

I don’t think the Mets have enough position player depth to spend big on another reliever. Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, and Curtis Granderson are gone. Amed Rosario and Dom Smith are now on the major league roster and the AAA depth is non-existent. T.J. Rivera and Michael Conforto are recovering from serious injuries and they have to be considered question marks for next season.

If Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Jeurys Familia are healthy the pitching staff looks a lot better. If one of the other starters rebounds (Steven Matz? Matt Harvey? Robert Gsellman?), and a couple of arms step up in the bullpen (Jacob Rhame? Jamie Callahan? Paul Sewald? Seth Lugo? Dare I say Hansel Robles?) all of a sudden the pitching staff looks a lot better than the 2017 staff. My point is the Mets have internal pitching options (even if many of them are unproven or injury question marks). I’m not really seeing strong options when it comes to position players.

Spend It On Versatile Position Players and Scrimp On Pitching

I’m leaning towards adding a versatile infielder, a versatile outfielder, and a pitcher with experience as a starter and reliever who’s a potential rebound candidate. I like Todd Frazier for the IF but he’s going to cost like 11-12m per and who are we kidding he’s going back to the Yankees. Lock that up.

I think Eduardo Nunez makes sense for the Mets. His glove is weak but he has experience all over the infield including shortstop. He has some speed and can hit. He could start at second base or third base. Who’s playing SS if Amed Rosario struggles or pulls a hammy? Asdrubal Cabrera? Matt Reynolds? Wilmer Flores?!? Yuck. I’d rather have additional depth at middle infield (with Nunez) and let Wilmer play first base if Dominic Smith needs more time at AAA.

I think center fielder Jarrod Dyson makes sense for the outfield. He offers speeds and glove skills. The Mets have NO OUTFIELD DEPTH WHATSOEVER right now. Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo have dealt with serious injuries basically every year since they arrived in the majors. When Juan Lagares sprains his thumb again during spring training and Brandon Nimmo is once again hobbling around, who the hell plays outfield? Are the Mets going tape up Michael Conforto’s healing shoulder and tell him to cut his rehab time in half? Let’s just pretend Yoenis Cespedes is a healthy lock and ignore that he spent half of last season the DL and has battled leg injuries for two years now. Do we really want to sign someone like Adam Lind or Logan Morrison and wind up having a DH/1B playing 125 games in right field?

The Mets could potentially sign Eduardo Nunez (roughly 2 years 14m) and Jarrod Dyson (1 year 5-6m or 2 years 10-12m) and backload the deals a bit so we can afford to snag a pitcher like Francisco Liriano (roughly 1 year 3-4m). He has experience starting and relieving. He had success a few years back in Pittsburgh under their pitching coach Ray Searage. Maybe Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland can salvage something there and he can eat some innings as a swingman. Ubaldo Jimenez is another possibility. Slim pickings when you’re trying to recruit guys with a couple million bucks.

What Will Actually Happen?

Who the hell knows? I feel like there’s a 75% Sandy does absolutely nothing because Jeff Wilpon will spend the 10-15m on his stupid goddamn e-sports team.

The media keeps talking about Bruce and Walker so I suppose there’s a chance the Mets dump Juan Lagares’ salary (owed 15.5m over next 2 years and a 500k buyout of 2020 9.5m option) and use the money to sign Sandy favorites Jay Bruce and Neil Walker. Forgive me if I don’t break out the champagne to celebrate a reunion with members of the 70 win 2017 Flushing toilet squad. Also if this happens I’m sure Juan stays healthy, elevates his swing, learns to hit homers, and becomes an All-Star.

There’s a chance that Sandy brings back Jose Reyes and signs Adam Lind for roughly a combined 10-12m and then promises to spend more during the season. Maybe they’ll throw Bartolo Colon or some scrub pitcher we’ve never heard of a spring invite. Hip hip hooray.

And then there’s a chance they go with one of the horrendous scenarios I outlined above. What an exciting time to be a Mets fan! I can’t wait to spend the next 45 days watching every single free agent sign with a team other than the Mets.

Mets Bring Back Omar Minaya. Is This Real Life?

Let’s briefly recap the current state of the Mets before diving into the latest shenanigans:

  • The Mets went 70-92 in 2017 and were one of the worst teams.
  • They traded 1/5 of their roster at the trade deadline (Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed) primarily for salary relief (roughly 60 million in total salaries came off the books).
  • The Mets “fired” Terry Collins and then immediately hired him in a front office role.
  • The Mets hired new manager Mickey Callaway and basically put all the pressure on him to turn around the pitching staff.
  • The media reported that the Wilpons will be slashing payroll and the Mets will have roughly 30 million to spend on the roster.
  • The Mets signed some reliever named Anthony Swarzak for a 6 million dollar salary in 2018.
  • Sandy Alderson spent most of the offseason serving as the GM on a volunteer basis without a contract (definitely not strange at all) and yesterday he received a contract extension (after doing basically nothing to improve the team).
  • The media is now reporting the Mets only have 10 million dollars left to spend. (Had 30m, spent 6m, and now have 10m left? That’s some Wilpon math).

And to top it all off, today the Mets announced that they are bringing back former GM Omar Minaya to serve in a player development role. That’s right folks. Fred Wilpon has decided to put a nice poop cherry on top of this shit sundae of an offseason by bringing back his old buddy Omar despite the objections of the current front office.

With this move the Wilpons have brought the franchise full circle. We had Omar Minaya during the Madoff era, Sandy Alderson during the post-Madoff years, and now Fred Wilpon has decided that it’s a smart idea to create a two-headed GM monster comprised of Sandy AND Omar. Genius move! This is definitely something that a well run organization would choose to do. I can’t envision any scenario where this new dynamic fails.

This move once again confirms that it doesn’t matter who sits in the front office as long as the dysfunctional Wilpons make the final calls. The only thing that seemingly hasn’t come full circle is the Wilpons’ bank account. The economy is currently booming yet they still act like we’re in the middle of the financial crisis and they have no money to invest in their beloved Mets. Whatever money they do have they’ve been pouring it into the stupid New York Islanders hockey arena and that damn e-sports team that they recently bought a stake in.

Remember in 2015 when the media talked non-stop about the Mets championship window? Well in 2016 the window started to close and that last minute wild card playoff appearance helped keep it open just a crack. In 2017 the Mets were among the worst teams and the window basically slammed shut. And today Fred Wilpon grabbed Omar Minaya and smashed him head first through Sandy Alderson’s championship window. The window has completely shattered.

The media recently reported that Fred Wilpon was furious when the Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton. He gets “pissed” when the Yankees are successful and the Mets struggle. Ummm welcome to the goddamn club Fred. If only you could do something to make your own team better but alas, you’re just a powerless owner. 

He also supposedly doesn’t think the Yankees economic model is “sustainable”. Fred Wilpon, a man who emptied his bank account and confidently gave his money to Bernie Madoff (the biggest fraudster in the history of the world), doesn’t think the Yankees formula for winning championships (the most successful formula in the history of professional sports) is sustainable?!? Is this real life? Just reading that makes me feel like I’m on an acid trip. My brain is melting just trying to comprehend that Wilpon logic.

The Yankees model for success is to let smart baseball people make the baseball decisions and to spend more money than any other team on talent. It definitely works. They have 27 championships to prove that it works.

What’s the solution to fix the Mets? There is no solution as long as the Wilpons refuse to spend any money on the team. You can’t add 25 wins to a 70 win roster without spending money on new talent and you certainly can’t fix the problems with 10 million dollars. The Mets could turn this roster into a playoff contender tomorrow if they decided to spend money commensurate with the market they play in. The Wilpons are CHOOSING not to do that. So I choose not to show up.

I’m not starting a full blown boycott. I’ll stop buying team merchandise. I already have a Jacob deGrom jersey and a 2015 NLCS t-shirt. I don’t need anything else. I’ll accept free tickets if people want to drag my lazy ass to the games. But I’m not handing the Wilpons my hard earned cash anymore. 

Plus, you don’t really need to actively boycott a garbage team. That takes care of itself naturally. If the Mets don’t spend another dime on the roster before the start of the 2018 season the once populous Panic City will transform into NobodyGivesAShitVille by the end of May.

I’m sure I’ll wind up torturing myself and watching this stupid team again next year. My head is already filling with delusional scenarios that lead to the Mets making another playoff run. In my head Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario are immediately studs and Michael Conforto fully recovers from his injury and Yoenis Cespedes wins MVP and Noah Syndergaard/Jacob deGrom battle for the Cy Young and Matt Harvey has a big contract year and Jeurys Familia revives the bullpen and Wilmer Flores breaks out with an OPS over .800 and hits 30 homers.

I may be a delusional die hard fan, but don’t let my baseless optimism fool you. This Mets ship is sinking. Sandy Alderson, the Wilpons, and now Omar Minaya may not believe it’s happening. But this ship is made of broken pitchers, injury-prone position players and cheap middling talent. I assure you, she can sink. And she will. ‘Tis a mathematical certainty.


Mets Hire Old-Timey Prizefighter Mickey Callaway As Manager

Reports indicate that the Mets have officially hired Mickey Callaway as the 21st manager in franchise history. Mickey Callaway sounds like the name of a light-heavyweight boxer from New Jersey who fought during the 1920s, temporarily retired after breaking his hand before the crash of ’29, and then triumphantly returned to the ring in 1935 taking down a heavy favorite to become a champion who inspired the American public during the Depression era.

In reality Mickey Callaway served as the Cleveland Indians pitching coach from 2013-2017 and was a prized managerial prospect. I’m actually shocked that the Mets came through and made a smart choice. This doesn’t appear to be the Wilpon choice (Manny Acta). It doesn’t represent the easy internal promotion option (Kevin Long).

The Mets actually made a decision that is being lauded by experts across the sport. Color me surprised. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the offseason. First a smart managerial signing that doesn’t have the Wilpon stink all over it. Perhaps we’ll be able to say the same thing about some future free agent signings? Pray.

In my blog last week I talked about my one concern around a potential Callaway hiring:

My only reservation with Callaway is that I assume he’ll represent a change in overall pitching philosophy for the organization. Given that the organizational pitching philosophy was supposedly a strength of our stupid franchise as recently as 6 months ago, I’m not sure if that type of change will sit well with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and the other young pitchers currently in the majors. We’ve already heard Noah Syndergaard complain about the firing of Dan Warthen and basically call the organization out for scapegoating him. I wonder how receptive these guys will be to a totally new voice that directly challenges the way they go about their business. Maybe that’s what they need.

After reading more about the guy, it sounds like he’s well respected and has a great personality. He supposedly has great communication skills and stresses “throwing strikes” which 1) wouldn’t represent a change to the organizational pitching philosophy and 2) isn’t exactly rocket science.

Former players seem to indicate that he’s more of an approachable advisor and not the kind of coach that shoves his ideas down your throat. Here’s some video of the guy speaking about the 2017 Indians.

The bottom line is I’m excited that the Mets are bringing in new blood with fresh ideas, and it makes sense that they’d bring in someone focused on pitching. The Mets are built around pitching. Let’s see if a new voice can help revive Matt Harvey’s career in his final season in Flushing. Maybe he can get something more out of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Maybe his routines and methods will lead to healthier seasons from guys like Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

Or maybe Callaway will crash and burn. After all, he has no major league managerial experience. I do like that he has spent time working under Terry Francona. It can’t hurt that he had Tito as a mentor.

The Mets offseason is off to a good start. The Mets are finally moving their Triple-A team out of Vegas to Syracuse. The Mets fired Ray Ramirez. The Yankees aren’t winning the World Series (at least not this year). We hired a popular young coaching candidate in Mickey Callaway. It’s rare that we see one positive headline connected to this team let alone multiple positive stories in a row. Let’s keep the good news coming.


Manager Update: Kevin Long Vs. The Really Crappy Field

I fully expected the Mets managerial search to be a farce. I assumed it would play out like everything does during the offseason in Flushing. The media will report that the Mets are “expected to speak to” or “interested in” [insert coveted coach] but they won’t land any of those candidates. Instead they’ll hire the first internal candidate to raise his hand and work for nothing. At the moment that’s Kevin Long.

And before I give an update on all the “progress” that has been made in the Mets managerial search, I want to make something clear. I don’t have a problem with Kevin Long as a candidate. He’s a respected hitting coach. He told Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy to hit the ball in the air and ideally out of the stadium, and they both became really good at that. I guess that makes him a genius.

I’m pissed because: 1) It’s bananas that the Mets would consider promoting an internal candidate after the horrendous season they just had. 2) We all assumed before Terry Collins was fired that the Wilpons would probably replace him with a loyal internal candidate. They’d promote a loyal potted plant from the clubhouse before they’d consider an external candidate who might question the way they run things in Flushing.

Anyway, here’s how the Mets managerial search has progressed thus far:

  • The Mets told the mainstream media that they were interested in former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, former Met Robin Ventura, highly coveted Astros bench coach/former Met Alex Cora, and former Mets bench coach Bob Geren.
  • Bob Geren recently said he’s not interviewing until the Dodgers playoff run has concluded, and he originally took the job out west to be near family. It seems unlikely that he’d come back east.
  • Jon Heyman reported Ausmus turned down an interview with the Mets and Ventura has no interest in the job. Double veto.
  • Now sources in Puerto Rico are reporting the most desirable candidate Alex Cora is a “99% chance” lock to be the Red Sox manager. Cora is supposedly meeting the Mets today for a sham interview. Ausmus and Ventura wouldn’t even bother going through the motions for our “highly coveted” job (LOL).

With all those initial candidates dropping out, here is the rumored list of confirmed interviews:

  • Super Joe McEwing apparently doesn’t believe in defensive shifts and possibly evolution and vaccinations (both unconfirmed).
  • Manny Acta has a horrendous 372-518 career managerial record and flopped in stints in Washington and Cleveland. He was also a former coach on Willie Randolph’s Mets staff so he’s basically an internal candidate. Pass.
  • Mickey Callaway is seemingly the only desirable external candidate (other than Cora) coming in for an interview. Mickey is the Indians pitching coach and a respected managerial prospect. My only reservation with Callaway is that I assume he’ll represent a change in overall pitching philosophy for the organization. Given that the organizational pitching philosophy was supposedly a strength of our stupid franchise as recently as 6 months ago, I’m not sure if that type of change will sit well with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and the other young pitchers currently in the majors. We’ve already heard Noah Syndergaard complain about the firing of Dan Warthen and basically call the organization out for scapegoating him. I wonder how receptive these guys will be to a totally new voice that directly challenges the way they go about their business. Maybe that’s what they need.

Just in case you lost track, that leaves Kevin Long as the only candidate to actually interview so far in this “extensive” managerial search. I see the Long promotion as inevitable. That being said, it’s almost pointless to debate the next manager since all managers suck eventually. Joe Girardi won a World Series in 2009 and Yankees fans seemingly don’t like him. Joe Maddon won last year and everyone is complaining about his decision making in the playoffs this year.

These managers are all replaceable. Ten years from now in this age of big data and automatization, one robot baseball manager will be able to do the job of four humans anyway. And even the robot skipper will still screw up challenges and bullpen decisions in big spots and be hated by the fans. As long as the Mets don’t re-hire Ray Ramirez as the next manager I’ll be fine with the decision. Let’s just focus on adding talent to the roster.


The One Where The Yankees Win It All

People have been asking me since late September if I’m excited for the MLB playoffs. I’ve basically been telling everyone the same thing. I ain’t excited for the playoffs because I’ve seen this damn movie before. This is a goddamn re-run. This is the one where the Yankees win it all. I’ve sensed the impending doom for a while now. It’s like when Yoda senses a disturbance in the Force. Last night’s upset victory for the Yanks confirmed that my pessimistic baseball Jedi sense is on point. Dark times are coming for Mets fans.

I have no doubt that God was watching last night’s game on his soft ass sofa with his stupid Derek Jeter jersey on meddling in every way possible. We all know the man upstairs is a die hard Yankees fan. He’s proven that 27 times. Things like that don’t happen by chance. I was hoping he might miss the game because perhaps he’s preoccupied with the impending threat of nuclear war or one of the other horrible things going on in the world right now. Nope. He clearly tuned in.

I honestly should have bet all my money on a Yankees 2017 World Series win when the odds were better. I saw this coming long before the bookies in Vegas had a clue. The warning signs for this run were there all season. We blinked and the Yankees went from “rebuilding” to immediate World Series contenders. MLB decided to usher in the new juiced ball home run era, and the Yankees conveniently called up Babe Ruth reincarnate (Aaron Judge) and one of the best hitting catchers the league has seen in years (Gary Sanchez).

I wrote the following on July 3rd:

If Daniel Murphy winds up hoisting a World Series Championship trophy in a Nationals uniform or Aaron Judge propels the Yankees to a championship in the first year of their stupid rebuild I may lose faith in baseball forever. Those two specific scenarios would wound me so deeply that it’d take years for me to fully recover.

The truth is I should have replaced “if” with “when” because I was having nightmare prophetic visions of Judge hoisting the World Series trophy back then.

The most obvious sign of this inevitable run was when the Yankees played a three game set against the Rays at Citi Field in September and that random Mets fan gave the thumbs down that went viral. The Yankees won that game, adopted that thumbs down as their rally symbol, and basically locked up the World Series all while cuckolding the Mets in Flushing.

I’ve survived the Yankees winning before, and I can do it again. Still, it would be nice if their World Series win happened in a new and exciting way. But we’ve all seen this movie before. I’ve seen the episode where the Yankees take a dump on the mediocre Twins in the first round (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010).

I’ve seen the episode where the Yankees upset the heavily favored Cleveland Indians (1996 ALDS) and go on to win it all. I was sitting around rolling my eyes a week ago as people questioned the decision to start Trevor Bauer in game 1 and Corey Kluber in game 2. They actually debated it like this choice mattered and these games weren’t already predetermined.

The 102 win, 22 game win streak, 2016 AL pennant winning Indians did not show up for this series and the Yankees took advantage. They rocked the future 2017 Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber in both of his ALDS starts. There’s not much else to say about it.


The highlight of the series for a loser Mets fan like me was when the Yankees blew game 2 in extra innings and Joe Girardi failed to challenge that stupid controversial foul tip/hit by pitch. I knew it was pointless for me to even get excited about the loss, but it was still entertaining to see Yankees fans lose their shit over one bad managerial decision and an umpire missing a call. They reacted like they had never experienced adversity and a devastating loss before. Uncharted territory for Yankees fans. Par for the course in Flushing.

If you want to know what to expect next here’s a hint. Everyone will pick the Astros to win because they are a better team. But they won’t win. Then it’ll probably be Yankees vs. Dodgers for the whole enchilada. Talk about a historical re-run.

What’s my gameplan now that the Yanks are in the ALCS? Watch the games, keep a precise tally of all the game altering breaks that go in the Yankees favor so I can complain about them to anyone that will listen, and continue to poke my Derek Jeter voodoo doll. Happy October Mets fans!


Mets Finally Give Fans Ramirez’s Head


My earliest memories of watching the Mets start in the mid-90s. I can honestly say that today’s firing of Ray Ramirez is one of the most significant moments for the Mets franchise in my lifetime and that is a depressing reality as a sports fan folks. When you find yourself celebrating the firing of the head athletic trainer of your favorite baseball team in your cube at work like your team just won game 7 of the World Series, you may need to consider finding a new team or sport to spend all of your time watching.

I mean sweet Jesus Christ I’m not even kidding about the Ramirez firing being a franchise history highlight. Off the top of my head and in no particular order I can think of the following notable highlights in my lifetime:

  • The 1998 trade for Mike Piazza.
  • The Robin Ventura 1999 NLCS Grand Single (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2000 Subway World Series (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2001 Piazza post 9/11 home run.
  • The 2006 Endy Chavez NLCS catch (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • The 2015 World Series game I attended where Noah Syndergaard threw at Alcides Escobar (and the demoralizing series loss to follow).
  • Mr. Met flipping off the fans in 2017 (and the demoralizing season to follow).
  • And now the firing of Ray Ramirez (and the demoralizing offseason to follow).

What else is there? I’m actually a little disappointed in the Ramirez firing because the Ray Ramirez Opening Day boo tradition is one of three annual certainties for this franchise: The Ray Ramirez Opening Day boo, the Mets win on Opening Day, and then the demoralizing season to follow. Three certainties. Without the joy that comes from the Ramirez boo all we really have is an Opening Day victory and six months of pure misery.

And we all know that this is being orchestrated by the Wilpons as a distraction. They will do anything to distract the fans and scapegoat their employees. Now the fans will move on to Mike Barwis. Terry Collins is just another scapegoat.

In the span of one week we saw a tell-all article published in the media revealing that the front office and Jeff Wilpon have wanted to fire Terry for years due to his incompetence and the only person saving him has been Fred Wilpon. Then after the public smear job Terry was fake fired. And today the Mets announced Terry will be a special assistant to the GM. Soooo our incompetent manager was promoted to assistant GM. Makes sense.

The Terry Collins fake firing/reassignment is a classic move for teams with inept ownership. It’s the signature move of James Dolan and the Knicks. It just gives fans a new frontman to blame.

Now I see fans and the media actively debating who the next manager will be like it matters.

The Mets need a manager to excite the fans? Who the hell cares about the manager? Joel Sherman in the Post already reported that the Mets are cutting payroll and will be dumpster diving for talent yet again this offseason:

“The payroll is not going up. The expectation is it is going down. One person familiar with the team’s thinking believes it could drop as much as $20 million to, say, the $135 million range.”

If the Mets don’t raise the payroll they might as well name their Gatorade cooler as the next manager. At least an inanimate Gatorade cooler has a championship pedigree given that it’s involved in almost every championship celebration. Coolers also have nerves of steel. Players smash water coolers with baseball bats in a fit of rage almost every season and the cooler is back the next day ready to rock. Terry Collins, Ray Ramirez and the rest of the staff couldn’t even manage to keep Yoenis Cespedes hydrated this season. That’s the job the water cooler was born to do. Then we can have the Mets manage the bullpen based on Twitter polls, and we should be all set. Can’t be any worse than Terry’s bullpen management.

In all seriousness though, I feel like the Mets will just turn over the manager gig to Kevin Long or something. They’ve already announced that Dan Warthen has been fired and that Kevin Long and Glenn Sherlock will return. Who the hell decides the makeup of the MLB staff before actually hiring the new manager? That’s the most ass backwards approach that I’ve ever heard. No matter who we end up hiring, I’m sure the process will conveniently last the entire offseason and prevent Sandy from adding any meaningful free agents.


Jacob deGrom got a new haircut. The long locks are gone. I hope you like it because it’s going to be the most significant change to the Mets pitching staff this offseason.


The Mets went from “five aces” to “worst in team history” in two years. We were in the World Series in 2015 and now we’re picking 6th in the 2018 draft. That is as Mets as it gets. Meanwhile the Yankees play in the Wild Card Game tonight and have Aaron Judge (aka Babe Ruth 2.0) ready to lead them on a deep playoff run. In case you haven’t seen this movie before, it plays out something like this: The Yankees go on to win 3-5 World Series rings over the next 10 years and the next time the Mets make the playoffs 1 in 5 people will own a self driving car.


Mets Finally Promote Stud Prospect Dominic Smith


I tweeted this at 11am. Six hours later the Mets did exactly what I said they’d do. The Wilpon playbook is so predictable, and this was the obvious move to make to distract from the Jay Bruce trade scandal.

The next page in the Wilpon playbook says that Sandy Alderson needs to make a statement refuting the media reports that indicated the Bruce deal was purely a salary dump and that the Mets passed on a better deal with the Yankees.

Check. The next page in the playbook says the Mets’ front office needs to anonymously smear the Yankees in the media.

Looks like the Mets covered all the bases.

By the way, it goes without saying that I’m extremely pumped to see the debut of the Mets number two prospect. Dominic Smith is supposed to be awesome. The scouts say the guy has OBP skills, pop, and provides Gold Glove caliber defense at first base. He also used to have a Pablo Sandoval body type as evidenced by that old picture above, but supposedly he’s in much better shape nowadays.

One thing I did notice in the picture above is the incredible tattoo that Dom has. Is that Jesus teaching him to swing a baseball bat? Is at an Angels in the Outfield tribute? The Mets sure as hell could use some angels in the outfield, infield, and especially the bullpen. It’s nice to see that Dom has a strong relationship with God. He better pack his damn rosary beads when he leaves Vegas because he’s going to need help from the man upstairs if he has any hope of surviving in a Mets uniform. From Ray Ramirez undoubtedly exacerbating Dom’s first minor injury to Terry Collins inevitably doing something that hurts his confidence, there’s no shortage of ways for the Mets’ organization to stunt his growth. But I hope and pray that Dominic overcomes all those obstacles and turns into an awesome Met. I’m rooting for him.

P.S. Dominic Smith is the last highly rated prospect in the Mets’ farm system. That’s it. The cupboard is bare. We may not have one top 100 prospect on next year’s MiLB list. Remember when the Mets let scouting director and analytics guru Paul DePodesta (aka one of the original Moneyball guys) leave the organization to work for the Cleveland freaking Browns? Maybe they should’ve made a lucrative counter offer to try and hold on to him. Considering the farm system has run dry, it seems he may have been the brains behind the scouting operation.


The Mets Are Still Lying To Us


Last night the Mets traded Jay Bruce to the Cleveland Indians for a relief prospect named Ryder Ryan. Ryan is a converted infielder and was drafted in the 30th round of the 2016 draft. He’s currently getting lit up in Single-A. The guy isn’t even a top 30 rated prospect in Cleveland’s system. It was reported after the deal was announced that the Mets may have passed on receiving two better prospects from the Yankees for Bruce solely because they refused to eat some of Bruce’s salary in a potential deal.

This trade has hammered home the reality that the Mets continue to deceive all the fans. The front office can’t even be trusted to complete a trade deadline sell-off that is in the best interests of the franchise. It’s pretty clear that the primary motivation for the Bruce/Duda/Reed deals wasn’t to acquire the best quality prospects in return. The primary goal was to maximize salary relief and take whichever young players we could get in the process.

The Mets media can try to spin this trade deadline with all the positive headlines in the world:

These headlines won’t hide the reality that the Mets front office can’t be trusted as long as they continue to be handcuffed by the Wilpons.

When Brian Cashman acquires a pitcher like Sonny Gray, you know he’s making a decision that he believes to be in the best interests of the franchise. Same thing goes for Theo Epstein. You know when Theo makes a deal he feels it fits into his grand plan.When Sandy makes a decision it is impossible to determine whether he’s making the choice because it’s part of his plan or if he’s compelled to make said choice because of the Wilpon influence.

The recent lies have exacerbated my skepticism of Sandy and the Mets front office. The Mets have lied to us about:

The Trade Deadline In General

The trade deadline came and went and in the end, the Mets failed to execute a successful full sell-off of their impending free agents. Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera are still here. Alderson attributed the failure to deal Cabrera/Grandy to the lack of a market for position players. He’s right to say that the market for position players was limited. Teams were clearly focused on acquiring relief and starting pitching.

That being said, are we supposed to believe that the Mets had zero opportunities to trade these guys for anything? The White Sox ended up trading outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Royals for two prospects (one of the prospects was 13th ranked in their system). The White Sox agreed to pay half of Melky’s remaining salary to facilitate their deal with the Royals. In mid-July the Mets leaked that they were willing to eat salary at the deadline to secure better prospects, but then they didn’t absorb one penny when they shipped off Bruce and Duda.

I’d like to believe Sandy when he says that he explored every possible trade scenario, but we all know it’s bullplop. The Mets refused to eat salary and instead watched plenty of comparable position players change uniforms for a superior return (e.g. Howie Kendrick, Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier, J.D. Martinez, and Melky Cabrera)

The Returns for Duda and Bruce

The Mets traded Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Jay Bruce for five minor league relief prospects and so far Alderson has gave the fans/media the impression that he was very happy with the return. But was it the best possible return?

It was widely reported that the Yankees had interest in Lucas Duda. In mid-July, Sandy Alderson went as far as to say that he would consider a deal with the Yankees. Then the Mets traded Duda to the Rays for a relief prospect (Drew Smith, 30th ranked in their system). Shortly after the Duda deal it was reported that the Mets refused to trade Duda to the Yankees. As I mentioned above, last night after Bruce was traded we heard similar news that the Yankees wanted Bruce and offered a superior deal but the Mets passed. If those reports have even a shred of credibility then how can we possibly believe that Sandy made the trades with the Rays and Indians for the right reasons?

The AJ Ramos and Reed Deals


I had similar concerns with the return in the Reed trade. Addison Reed was one of the top commodities available at the deadline and the Mets traded him to the Red Sox for relief prospects Jamie Callahan (23rd ranked), Gerson Bautista (28th ranked), and Stephen Nogosek (18th ranked). On the surface the deal makes sense. The Mets lack high upside relief arms in their system and their 2017 bullpen has been bad. But it was also reported that the Mets may have passed on acquiring a better quality prospect from the Red Sox in favor of quantity. Why? Did the Mets target relief prospects for the right reasons? I don’t think so.

I think the Mets acquired AJ Ramos to create the narrative that they’re improving the bullpen for 2018 when in reality Ramos is just a replacement for Addison Reed. The Mets have no intention of making a contract offer to Reed who has been one of the top relievers in baseball over the last two seasons. They’re just going to let Reed walk, and they won’t be signing any viable relievers in free agency because they never do that. The 2018 bullpen will be Familia, Ramos, and a revolving door of relief prospects that we picked up at this year’s trade deadline. Maybe the new young arms will pan out. Maybe they’ll get lit up. But one thing is certain. There’s no way the Mets will invest any money in bullpen improvements this offseason.

Conclusion = No Hope

From David Wright’s health status (he’s not healthy), to the reason for the delay of Amed Rosario’s big league promotion (Super Two cutoff? Refusal to bench highly paid veterans?), to the real motivation for wanting to pick up Asdrubal Cabrera’s contract option (he’ll be cheaper than any other free agents at third base), the list of lies just goes on and on.

Is there any hope? Nope. Not really. Don’t expect the Mets to make the right decisions in the offseason either. Not with the Wilpons running the show. All we can do is enjoy watching the kids play for the rest of 2017 and hope that somehow the young pitchers magically heal and dominate once again in 2018.


Alderson Goes Full Costanza, Buys At The Trade Deadline

I think it’s fair to say that the Mets organization is approaching George Costanza territory. Almost every decision ever made by this franchise has been wrong. Ultimately that has led to a life full of misery for every single fan. So what is Sandy Alderson doing? He’s going full blown Costanza mode and doing the opposite. The Mets suck. They have no chance of making the playoffs this year. Teams like that sell at the trade deadline. But not Maverick. He’s buying baby!

The Mets came out of nowhere yesterday to trade for the Marlins closer AJ Ramos. They gave up two decent prospects. The Mets sent the Marlins their 9th ranked prospect, pitcher Merandy Gonzalez (because who needs young pitching depth) and 22nd ranked prospect OF Ricardo Cespedes (who I assume will turn out to be better than our current Cespedes because #MetsLuck).

All joking aside, I understand why Sandy would make a trade to improve the bullpen. He’s already looking to next season, and AJ Ramos is an incredible addition to the roster and under control for one more year. A reliever on a one year contract is Sandy’s favorite thing in the world. He LOVES it.

The move is also savvy as hell because Sandy basically eliminated the primary competition for Addison Reed on the trade deadline bullpen market. He knew that most of the teams competing for a playoff spot were calling the Marlins for Ramos and the Mets for Reed. So he decided to snag Ramos. Brilliant. Now most teams will be forced to call the Mets for Reed assuming they all can get over the frightening possibility that Terry Collins has destroyed Addison’s arm over the past two seasons.

There’s one thing that’s bothering me about the fan reaction to the trade. I’ve seen so many fans and bloggers tweet some variation of the following:

“Wow we got Ramos! Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, and Drew Smith in the 2018 bullpen should be a big improvement.”

Ummmm first of all it’s insane to factor Drew Smith (the minor league pitcher we just acquired for Lucas Duda) into the 2018 bullpen blueprint. He’s 23 years old and pitching in Double-A. Pump the breaks on the Drew Smith 2018 Opening Day bullpen predictions. Second of all, Familia, Ramos, and Blevins don’t represent an improvement. Addison Reed will be gone. Ramos will replace Reed. That’s not a net improvement. So while I appreciate Sandy being proactive and starting to address the 2018 bullpen, I’m not patting him on the back until he actually improves the pen by adding new talent.

The bottom line is the trade deadline clock continues to wind down and Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Addison Reed are all still here. Wake up Maverick! Drop the Costanza act. Sell! Sell! Sell!