The Marlins Won For Jose Fernandez 

Final Score: Marlins 7, Mets 3

The Marlins were always going to win last night’s game. I know life doesn’t always have a happy fairytale ending. The world isn’t a fair place. It’s never fair when someone so young, charismatic, and talented is taken from the earth at 24 years old. But the Marlins were always going to win. I knew it. I knew it because when life refuses to give you the storybook feel good ending you crave, baseball often does. It was a night where all baseball fans needed the Marlins to come through in a big way. And they did it. They did it for Jose Fernandez. To honor him. The baseball gods made sure of it. They inspired the Marlins. They gave them the strength and energy to win this game after one of the most emotional pregame tributes I have ever witnessed. Dee Gordon set the tone right away with his clutch and moving lead-off homer. He came up to the plate from the right side to honor Jose and then channeled Jose’s strength when he hit his home run to right field off of Bartolo Colon. The Marlins then piled on 6 more runs over the first 2.1 innings. That was all they needed to win. Last night’s Marlins victory was for the people of Miami, the people of Cuba, and the Marlins organization. Hell, it was for all of baseball.

Game Notes: Bartolo Colon was rocked. He gave up 7 runs on 8 hits over 2.1 innings. He better shake last night’s performance off because the Mets need the elite Bartolo if they have any hope of finishing this week strong and making the playoffs. Marlins starter Adam Conley has really owned the Mets this season. I have to be honest, without Wilmer Flores our lineup against lefties stinks. Nobody wants to face Madison Bumgarner under any circumstances, but if the Mets plan to play a Wild Card game against MadBum with Eric Campbell in the lineup then someone needs to hide Soup’s car keys on October 5th so he can’t get to the game. Lucas Duda came in the game as a pinch hitter in the 5th inning, and in the 8th inning he hit an RBI single. Let’s just start Lucas the rest of the way okay? Terry?!? Can you hear me?!? Lucas should play if he’s healthy. Asdrubal Cabrera also had two more hits. He drove in two runs with a double in the 5th inning. There are no more words left to describe how hot Cabby is.

Tonight: The Mets need to move on and refocus on winning baseball games. The Cardinals lost yesterday to the Reds. I’m always quick to criticize the Mets, but the Cardinals and Giants really don’t deserve a playoff berth. They have been awful. The Mets need to come out strong and prepared tonight. Based on everything I’ve read about his character and personality, Jose Fernandez would want these teams on the field competing as we approach the end of the season. The Mets need to continue honoring his memory by taking the field tonight and competing at the highest level. RIP Jose.

Can The Mets Please Sign Another Cuban?

So it’s official, the next potential Cuban stud Yulieski Gourriel has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and is now free to sign with any team. The guy is 32 and he’s touted as arguably the top dog in the international market. Not just the top talent in Cuba but in the world. Also for the record, I checked with MLB and the Mets do qualify as “any team” so they technically are eligible to sign him despite never getting involved in the market for Cuban players or for international talents in general. I’m not talking about the international market for amateur players. The Mets do a ton of scouting and signing of amateur international players that are subject to the international bonus pool restrictions and signing process. I’m talking about international talents that are over 23 and are exempt from the definition of an amateur player. Typically to be exempt from amateur status you need to be 23+ and you need to have played in a league recognized by MLB as a pro league for a prescribed period of time. Because of his age and experience in the Cuban pro league, Gourriel is not subject to international spending limitations. The Mets can just sign him on the open market like any old free agent. And they should sign him.

The guy hits right handed and has played 15 seasons between Cuba and Japan. He has a career hitting line of .335/.417/.580 with 250 home runs in 5491 plate appearances. He’s supposedly a plus defender at his natural position of third base. Do the Mets need a third basemen? Can somebody help me with this one? Last I heard David Wright has been frozen in carbonite to help him maintain his posture and Wilmer Flores is booting grounders at third base left and right.

Signing international guys is never cheap. The Dodgers signed Hector Olivera to a 6 year 62.5m deal at 30 years old. Yasmany Tomas signed a 6 year deal with Arizona worth 68.5m at 24 years old.  Rusney Castillo signed a 7 year 72.5m deal with the Red Sox at 27 years old. Alex Guerrero signed a 4 year 28m deal with the Dodgers at 26 years old. Yes I realize it’s a risky move. Guerrero just got released by the Dodgers and was a total bust (although they never really gave him a chance to play full time). Rusney Castillo is in the Red Sox minor league system and has struggled at the ML level. That being said, he has so many talented players in front of him in the Sox organization, that it’s hard to call him a bust until he gets a real opportunity to play regularly. Tomas has been decent for the D-backs with a .270/.309/.411 line so far at the ML level. Olivera got arrested for a domestic violence incident after being traded to the Braves. So it’s fair to say he’s been a disaster.

But how can we ignore the success of Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Abreu and even Yasiel Puig in the majors. They have essentially been winning lottery tickets for their respective teams. Puig’s production has declined since his breakout 2013/14 seasons and Chapman has turned out to be a jerk off the field but their talent is undeniable.

My point in all this is the Mets should have the resources to take a risk on a promising Cuban player that fills a position of need. Sure he may need some seasoning at Triple-A. Maybe he won’t even have a big impact in 2016. But we need a replacement for Wright in the long term. And do we really expect Wright to just retire at the end of the season? It’s more likely that he lingers and tries to play another season or even beyond that. What proven major league free agent third basemen is going to join the Mets to be Wright’s understudy? Do we really want to give up a bunch of prospects for some stopgap solution like Danny Valencia or Aaron Hill? Do we want to give up Zack Wheeler for Jonathan Lucroy or overpay for someone having a career year like  Yangervis Solarte? Listen, we may need to do one of those things anyway to compete this season, but there’s nothing prohibiting the Mets from signing a Cuban talent and pursuing trade opportunities for short term solutions in the infield. Plus who better to help Gourriel get acquainted to life in the majors than Yoenis Cespedes, someone who’s made the adjustment from Cuban ball/life to the MLB.

I’m sick of watching other teams sign these Cuban studs. If the Mets don’t sign him, he’s just going to wind up on the Dodgers, Yankees, or some other team that isn’t afraid to open the wallet and take a risk. If the Wilpons have actually loosened the purse strings, then let’s see it. Sign another Cuban please.