Some Mets Fans: “Launch Grandy/Bruce Into The Sun”


The Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes a week ago, and it was glorious. It briefly felt like his signing would be the start of a special offseason where the team would look to bolster the entire roster before going to war in 2017 with the Cubs, Cardinals, Nationals, Dodgers, and Giants.

Fast forward a week later and the mainstream media is reporting that the Mets feel they’ve completed their heavy lifting this offseason. The plan going forward seems to be 1) sign any reliever willing to accept a one year deal (i.e. the Mets annual reliever dumpster dive-athon) and 2) Trade Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for a second “cost controlled” reliever.

That’s the plan?!? The team retained the two best hitters from their 87 win club and now we’re done? Oy vey. And what makes it worse is some fans are seemingly enthusiastic about the plan to trade Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson (less so for Grandy). Fans are ready to launch Bruce/Grandy and their combined 63 home runs from 2016 right into the sun. Fans are passionately debating which middle reliever they want in return. I’ve never seen a fan base so enthusiastic about a salary dump in all my life.

Curtis Granderson has done nothing but live up to his 4 year 60 million dollar contract during his time in Flushing. He’s played 150+ games and launched 20+ homers for three straight seasons. He’s served as an unwavering veteran presence on a roster that for the most part has lacked The Captain David Wright during that stretch. He was a major contributor during the run to the 2015 World Series and down the stretch last season.

That being said, if the Mets want to trade Curtis Granderson for a late inning cost controlled bullpen arm and then sign Dexter Fowler to play center field, I can get comfortable with that. But if the Mets are dumping Grandy to save 15 million and to ultimately platoon Michael Conforto/Juan Lagares in CF then to hell with that plan.

If the Mets want to dish Jay Bruce for a talented reliever, re-sign Jerry Blevins, and add a legitimate utility player for the bench, that works for me. It was reported today that the Mets want Brad Brach from the Orioles for Bruce. He’d be a great addition to the bullpen. But apparently the Orioles want the Mets to cover some of Bruce’s salary to consider that type of return.

If the Mets find a team to take on all of Bruce’s salary, I’d love to see the team reallocate that 13 million dollars on a free agent that fits better on this roster. But is that the plan? What about Luis Valbuena who can play all over the infield? Nope. Today Sandy said Wright is our third baseman (he failed to add “for 30 games at most”). What about Welington Castillo, Matt Wieters or some other upgrade at catcher? Nope. Apparently Travis d’Arnaud is our guy.

Also keep in mind, there’s absolutely nothing stopping the Mets from retaining their outfielders and bolstering their bullpen via free agency other than the organizations reluctance to give multi-year deals to relievers. The free agent reliever market is very deep this offseason. It’s not a great practice to sign relievers long-term. But will the franchise be ruined if Brad Ziegler or Jerry Blevins don’t work out on three year deals? Give me a break.

So should we prepare for the same roster cycle? The cycle where we assemble a roster, injuries cripple that roster, and then we make trades during the season to fill the holes but we don’t retain any of those players after the season. Hell, I could easily see the Mets needing offense come July 2017, and Jay Bruce being an option on the trading block. The old Kelly Johnson roster boomerang trick. Been there done that. Speaking of Kelly, where’s he at? I hear he wants to return but we have no interest. Back to Atlanta for Kelly. I hope he didn’t sell his house.

If the Mets dump Curtis Granderson (arguably their most reliable position player over the last three years) and Bartolo Colon (arguably their most reliable arm over the last three years) in the same offseason and replace them with two bleh relievers on one year deals, I’m going to be livid.

Let me add the standard stupid disclaimer language that Mets bloggers are supposed to add now that we signed Cespedes:

** Please note, I trust our renowned General Manager Sandy Alderson to make the best moves he can possibly make with the resources he is provided. Sandy is a genius. We’ve made the playoffs two years in a row. Thank you Sandy. We signed Cespedes. Thank you Sandy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be curling into a ball on the floor and muttering “In Sandy We Trust” over and over for the rest of the week until the Winter Meetings are over.

The Mets Better Watch Their Backs

Final Score: Mets 5, Marlins 2

The Mets concluded one of the most emotional series in recent memory by winning last night’s rubber game against the Marlins. Seth Lugo gave the Mets another decent outing, Jay Bruce continues to show his previously lost power, and Curtis Granderson reached base five times. After watching some of the video from the Jose Fernandez funeral on Wednesday, I’m honestly amazed the Marlins were able to suit up and take the field for these games. I really wish they could just call it a season a focus on grieving. I’m happy the Mets handled this series the right way, and now they can focus on finishing strong against the Phillies.

Which brings me to my next point. The Mets better watch their damn backs.

The Phillies are horrible and have nothing to lose. They basically said they’re coming for us. The Mets better keep their heads on a damn swivel. Terry better wake the hell up. Watch out for dirty pitches, late slides, and every other form of cheating that the Phillies can use this weekend in the hopes of ruining our chances of clinching this Wild Card playoff berth. Protect Yoenis Cespedes. Double the number of pads on Yo’s elbow and have Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell guarding him at all times since they serve no other purpose.

Loney In, Duda Fine: Lucas Duda was supposed to start at first base last night, but he was scratched with back soreness. It’s unfortunate because Terry had just appointed Loney his special assistant in charge of reminding him to pinch run for slow guys. I’m sure Duda’s back is fine. The Mets promised he was fine when they rushed him back from the DL, so I obviously believe them. They never lie about injuries ever. Anyway, it worked out because James Loney hit a two-run homer in the second inning to tie the game after Lugo had surrendered a two-run shot to Martin Prado in the first inning.

Lugo: Seth Lugo pitched 5.1 innings and other than the two-run homer to Prado he was fairly effective. He walked three Marlins and gave up five hits. He was definitely forced to escape a few jams. People were angry with Terry for his quick hook because Lugo had a low pitch count when he was removed. In theory I agree that Terry should have left him in the game a bit longer. But I also read that fatigue has been an issue with Lugo because he was previously a reliever. In this particular case I trust Terry. I assume he had some insider knowledge. It worked out because the pen shut the Marlins down. Seth Lugo also had some nice ABs and added a two out double in the fourth inning. Jose Reyes drove him in with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-2 Mets.

Bruce is Loose: In the fifth inning, Curtis Granderson singled and then Jay Bruce followed that with a two-run homer to make it 5-2 Mets. Fans can sit there and debate all day whether Michael Conforto was “cheated” out of ABs while Bruce was struggling. The bottom line is what I said weeks ago. Bruce is an established streaky veteran slugger, and he was on an ice cold streak. The Mets were always going to continue playing him in the hopes that his bat would heat up during the final weeks/the playoffs. Well it looks like that’s actually happening.

Hot For Grandy: Curtis Granderson had four hits and a walk in this game. A hot Grandy is one of the most welcome sights of the season. Grandy is getting on base and Bruce is rediscovering his power stroke while hitting behind him. I like the sound of that.

Loving This .350 Thing: T.J. Rivera had another hit last night. I must say, I’m a big fan of his whole guy batting .350 thing. He’s been mashing for around 100 ABs now, and he hasn’t slowed down much. I really hope he continues to rake. At least keep it up in the short term. That would be oh so sweet.

Unlimited Innings: Hansel Robles, Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia shut down the Marlins. Fernando Salad has been fantastic since his arrival. Salas/Reed/Familia are all among the league leaders in innings pitched out of the pen. Pray for their arms. We need them now more than ever.

Bartolo Shagging Fly Balls: Bartolo Colon supposedly has a strained tendon in his foot and before last night’s game he was in the outfield shagging fly balls. Next thing you know the Wilpons will be challenging Tolo and Thor to a pickup basketball game. Ummm let’s keep the non-pitching activities to a minimum okay Tolo?

I Like It: The Mets need to handle their own business this weekend. But the Dodgers play the Giants and they are shooting to have a better record than the Nationals so they can have home field advantage in the NLDS. The Cardinals play the Pirates, and I have to believe the Pirates will be extra bitter this weekend considering the letdown this season has been for them. Nothing is guaranteed but I like these matchups. I like our chances.

The Thor Debate: Terry actually said before the game that he was debating whether he’d prefer Noah Syndergaard on the mound in a road Wild Card playoff game or some other pitcher going at Citi Field. Let me clear this one up for you Terry. You go with Thor. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather have a random Mets fan in the stands making the big decisions. Moron.

Tebow: In Tim Tebow’s first at-bat in the instructional league he hit an opposite field homer off of a left-handed pitcher. In his second AB he grounded out. In his third AB he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right-hand of the Father.

Today: Day off today. Rest. Let’s crush Philly. Let’s clinch. Please finish this the right way Mets.

Two Wins, One Blog

The Minnesota Twins are so horrible that they don’t deserve two full recap blog posts. The Mets swept their doodie squad right out of town. Two wins, one blog. They actually weren’t the easiest wins. We didn’t really dominate in each game. But considering there was a stretch of the season where it felt like we’d never win two games in a row again, I’m still proud that we took care of business against baseball’s worst club.

Saturday’s Game- Final Score: Mets 3, Twins 2. 

Yo Obviously: The Twins took an early lead on a fourth inning solo homer. But Yoenis Cespedes managed to temporarily save the day in the 8th inning with a game tying RBI single.

Grandyman Heroics: In the 11th inning, Hansel Robles let up a solo shot to Byron Buxton to give the Twins a 2-1 lead. Curtis Granderson managed to keep the Mets alive with a game saving opposite field solo shot in the bottom of the 11th. But Jose Reyes struck out with the bases loaded in that same inning which kept the game going. In the 12th inning, Grandy hit the big time walkoff solo shot. His low batting average and terrible numbers with runners in scoring position this season really made everyone forget how big of a contributor he’s been during his time with the Mets. But Grandy is slowly creeping towards the 30 homer mark and helping to boost the Mets playoff chances. He’s also boosting his offseason trade value if the Mets decide to go in that direction.

Need A Zillion Arms: Seth Lugo pitched 5 innings and gave up 1 run. Then 7 relievers combined to pitch 7 innings. Other than the solo shot surrendered by Robles the pen shut down the Twins. These new young starters may not dominate in the same way as Jacob deGrom or Matt Harvey but they keep the Mets in games.

Sunday’s Game- Final Score: Mets 3, Twins 2

Magic Healing: On Sunday the Mets started Lucas Duda at first base despite saying that he would be limited to pinch hitting duty upon his arrival. I love that the Mets activated Duda and expect us to buy the Lucas magically healed narrative. They love playing guys with injuries. It’s their favorite thing in the world. Pray for cracked back Duda.

He Gave Them A Reason: I wrote last week that I had no problem with the Mets starting Jay Bruce instead of Michael Conforto because Michael has essentially done nothing on the field to warrant playing time and Bruce is an established major league slugger. I said if Conforto wanted to play he should compel the Mets with his bat. On Sunday he drew the start along with the rest of the B-squad starters and he had two hits. He had a 2-RBI single in the first inning. You know what? Now if Terry wants to play him at least we can say he had a multi-hit game. At least now we can actually say Conforto is hitting and Bruce is not. Before Sunday, Mikey had 2 hits in September. Hard to make an argument when both guys hadn’t hit a lick all month.

Quick Hook: Gabriel Ynoa delivered a performance similar to that of Lugo on Saturday. He went 4.2 innings and gave up a run. Terry yanked him after he gave up a two out single in the 5th inning. I probably would have let him stay in, but Terry knows he has a bunch of arms in the pen and obviously wanted to lock up that sweep. I’m fine with the quick hook.

Please Be A Surprise Stud: T.J. Rivera had 3 hits on Saturday and 2 hits on Sunday. He hit a solo homer in the third inning that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. His homer was the difference in the game. I wrote earlier this year that it would be amazing if the Mets had a random breakout candidate that turned out to be a major league stud. I hope Rivera is one of these late blooming surprise stories. I’m starting to think the Mets feel he might be a bigger contributor than they originally anticipated. I’m also still trying to rationalize the trade of Dilson Herrera. So yeah that’s where I’ve landed. I’m hoping they thought Herrera was expendable because Rivera will be great. It’s more likely they dumped Herrera because they are stupid and panicked at the deadline.

Yo Dizzy: Yoenis Cespedes left the game in the 7th inning with dizziness and nausea. I’m guessing the fumes emanating from the stinky Twins finally knocked him out.

Terry Killed Wilmer: Wilmer Flores still can’t swing a bat. His wrist is screwed up. Terry and Tim Teufel destroyed him in that home plate collision game. That was a such a goddamn blunder.

Pray For Matz: The Mets are saying Steven Matz might be available to pitch this week. They’re going to kill him aren’t they? Please don’t hurt him Mets.

Terry Totally Needs 40 Guys: I love how much better this team is now that we don’t play short-handed every single night. Terry crushes managing with a 40 man roster. Hopefully they change the rules so Terry and Co. can play like this for 6 months instead of 2.

Today: Noah Syndergaard takes the mound against the Braves today. Let’s go 10-3 and win 90 games! 90? Forget 90 let’s win out. No excuses. These teams all stink.

Kelly Johnson And Mets Continue September Surge

Final Score: Mets 6, Braves 4

This game felt like a certain loss. Julio Teheran basically shut the Mets offense down. But it was 4-2 in the 8th inning, the stinky Braves made a fielding error, and that opened the door for the Mets to have a big inning. The Mets took full advantage of the opportunity the Braves gave them and scored 4 runs. Boom. Just like that the smoking hot Mets kept their winning streak alive. They’ve won 6 in a row and 15 of 19.

Please Stay Strong: Robert Gsellman pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits. It was an underwhelming performance where he gave up a solo homer to Matt Kemp in the second inning and then 3 runs in the 5th inning. He undoubtedly kept the Mets in the game and with the offense as hot as it is the performance wasn’t devastating. But we need these young guys to continue to stay strong. I don’t see Jacob deGrom or Steven Matz coming back until the end of the month. It’s fully up to these new young arms to keep us in games if we’re going to win this Wild Card spot.

Curtis’ Comeback: In the 6th inning after Gsellman had just given up 3 runs, Curtis Granderson gave the team a lift with a two-run shot to make it 4-2 Braves. He’s finally picked things up here in the final month of the season. Honestly the timing couldn’t be better in terms of boosting our chances in 2016 and for his trade value. With a strong finish the Mets may actually be able to trade him for another useful piece assuming they want to do that and make room for Michael Conforto in center field. I certainly don’t want to get rid of Grandy just for the sake of a salary dump. Only if it makes the team better.

Capitalize On Mistakes: Julio Teheran came out of the game after 6 innings. In the 8th inning, the Mets finally had the opportunity to expose the Braves pen. Mauricio Cabrera walked Alejandro De Aza and then Jose Reyes hit a chopper up the middle right at shortstop Dansby Swanson. If it wasn’t Reyes on the base paths it’s a routine double play. But the out at second should have been a given. Swanson booted the ball and everyone was safe. And from there the Mets took advantage/the Braves gave them a bunch of other chances. The Braves proceeded to walk Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases for Yoenis Cespedes. Yo hit a sac fly to make it 4-3 Braves. Then Grandy singled to score another run which made it 4-4. Then Kelly Johnson roped a double to right field to score another run. The Braves intentionally walked Jay Bruce to load the bases again. Then they brought in Jose Ramirez to face Michael Conforto, and he hit him with a pitch to force in a run and make it 6-4. The Mets weren’t able to blow the game open because Travis d’Arnaud and De Aza struck out back to back to end the inning.

Team Automatic: Those 6 runs were all the Mets needed. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia (aka Team Automatic) locked down the 8th and 9th for the win.

Prep For The Playoffs: Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz went from shut down to supposedly throwing and getting ready for a return. The Mets smell the playoffs, and they’re getting their boys ready. I’m sure by the final week of the season they’ll have them ready for a tune-up start if it’s looking likely that we’ll win the Wild Card.

The Knee: Asdrubal Cabrera can barely walk out there. Pray for him.

Today: Bartolo Colon pitches today because Seth Lugo apparently has a blister and needs to give it an extra day. Bart is a freaking machine.

Hello League! We’re Back!

Final Score: Mets 5, Nationals 1

The Mets have won 11 of 15. Clearly the team’s play has been trending upward for a couple of weeks now. But this was the series that sold me on our Wild Card chances. We finally beat Washington, and we did it without our elite well-known starting pitchers. Instead we beat Washington with new young arms and some old bats we’ve been waiting to hear from again.

Grandy Is Back: In the first inning Jose Reyes walked and Asdrubal Cabrera singled. Then with Yoenis Cespedes up the runners advanced on a wild pitch. Yo ended up striking out but Curtis Granderson came through with a sac fly to make it 1-0. In the third inning, Cespedes hit a bloop single to right field with two outs and Grandy followed that by launching a two-run homer to make it 3-1 Mets. Grandy having a big time September could be the lift this team has needed on offense.

Teuf Is Back: In the second inning Jay Bruce singled. With two outs Seth Lugo singled and Jay Bruce was thrown out trying to advance to third base. It seemed like Tim Teufel was the one who told Bruce to try and take third base. If so it confirms what we already know about Teuf. He’s had a rough season as third base coach. If Bruce made the call it was a bad decision. I have no clue what happened because ESPN didn’t talk about it, and they also didn’t show a decent replay. He kind of seemed safe on the play. But ESPN was too busy talking about other unimportant BS to focus on a key play in the game.

Bruce Is Back: Jay Bruce made up for his base running blunder in the 6th inning when he launched an opposite field two-run home run to make it 5-1 Mets. He had two hits in the game and is 8 for his last 19. He has completely started to take off since his rough start as a Met.

The Dumbass Media Is Back: Also the media is really so goddamn calculated. Today a story dropped that Bruce asked the Reds to trade him to any team other than a New York team. The Mets have the first feel good weekend in a long time and the media doesn’t even want to let them have the moment. It’s also absurd that they feel the need to push the negative stories. Have they paid attention to the Mets news cycle at all this season? Don’t they realize something terrible will happen this week that will eliminate the good vibes anyway?

Young Pitching Is Back: Seth Lugo was fantastic last night. He pitched 7 innings and gave up 1 run on 6 hits. He made one mistake to Danny Espinosa when he served up a solo homer in the second inning. Lugo’s curveball is incredible to watch. Mike Petriello from talks about how Lugo’s curve spin rate is one of the highest recorded since they started using the Statcast system to document spin rate a year ago. So yeah it’s nasty.

It’s really exciting to see these young guys step up, and I hope it continues. Obviously Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Rafael Montero have only made a few starts and their performance could take a downward spiral at any moment. But the cushy soft schedule presents a great opportunity for all these young arms to succeed. It’s interesting that this new wave of young arms tends to pitch to contact while relying less on strikeouts yet they still have hard fastballs and sharp secondary stuff. I like a little variety.

Reed/Familia Never Left: Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia shut the Nationals down in the 8th and 9th as we’ve come to expect. They sealed the 5-1 win and the series win.

Soup Is Back: The Mets announced their next wave of 40 man roster call-ups. Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo, T.J. Rivera, Eric Campbell, Josh Edgin and Erik Goeddel will all join the team. As long as Soup is just here to warm the bench it’s fine by me. I’m sure Terry will start using some horrific James Loney/Soup platoon at first base.

Today: The Mets open a series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Screw the scheduling people for giving the Mets the 8pm Sunday game of the week and then a 1pm Labor Day Game in Cincy. I guess I’ll give them a pass since the September schedule is actually really easy overall.

Please God Let Us Win This Series 

Final Score: Mets 3, Nationals 1

According to all the Weather Channel fanatics a storm’s a -comin’. Some Hurricane/Tropical Storm is ripping down the east coast per all my second hand news sources. If that’s the case then maybe tonight’s game will be a washout. Or even worse, maybe it’ll be one of those ESPN televised games in the rain where the Mets make a million sloppy rain induced errors and guys slip and we embarrass ourselves on national television.

But if the storm veers off course and this game is playable, I really hope we win. Please God let us win! We need to beat the Nationals. A home series win against the Nationals won’t do a damn thing to impact the NL East race. The Nats locked that up long ago. A loss tonight won’t kill us in the Wild Card race. All the Wild Card contenders stink. We’ll still be in the playoff race no matter what happens. But I’ll feel great about our chances if we beat the Nats tonight on the big national stage. At least it would represent a little bit of vengeance after Daniel Murphy and Co. have embarrassed us so much in 2016.

Long Hair Equals Success: Robert Gsellman outdueled Tanner Roark. Gsellman pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 run on 6 hits. He struggled in the first inning after giving up back to back singles to Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy and then walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. But he limited the damage to an Anthony Rendon sac fly to make it 1-0 Nats. He wiggled out of a jam in the fourth inning and the sixth inning. He also held runners on base unlike Noah Syndergaard last night. He picked off Bryce Harper in the fifth inning. The long haired fill-in dude stepped up. I like what I’m seeing from him. Seemingly for the Mets, long hair has a Samson like effect. Long hair equals success.

Grandy and RISP: In the third inning with two outs Jose Reyes walked, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled, and Yoenis Cespedes was intentionally walked to load the bases. And of all people Curtis Granderson singled to drive in two runs. The guy has failed all season with runners in scoring position, but he came through last night to make it 2-1 Mets.

Stinko Loney: In the sixth inning with two outs, Travis d’Arnaud singled and then James Loney ripped a double down the right field line to score Travis from first base and make it 3-1 Mets. The Loney saga in 2016 has been an amazing storyline to follow on MetsTwitter and in my opinion really sums up why we struggle to compromise on important issues as a society. Here’s what happened in reality. The Mets took a flier on Loney on like June 1st. It was a no brainer move considering they were playing him over Eric Campbell. Anyway he’s essentially played everyday since. For about a month and a half he hit .285 and played dependable defense. And since early August he’s been a terrible hitter and has showed his flaws in the field as well. It’s become very obvious why he was in the Padres minor league system, and Terry probably should have benched him long ago.

The reason I say it’s been an interesting storyline on MetsTwitter is because initially some fans overreacted to Loney’s performance and said things like “he’s better than Duda” which is objectively wrong. Because of that reaction half the prominent writers were against Loney from day 1 and made it their business to point out how crappy he is and basically have rooted against him for months. And now that he’s playing poorly, we still have the same fans saying he’s better than Duda and the same beat writers rooting against him and hoping he gets released. Seemingly nobody can agree on all the objective facts I pointed out up front and would prefer to continue to argue about the same stupid issues. Ridiculous.

Big Smoke: In the 7th inning Jim Henderson retired a batter but then gave up a single to Jayson Werth. Terry brought in Josh Smoker to face Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper. Murph lined a ball to center field and Michael Conforto made a diving catch. If the ball went past him it would have been a disaster. But Mikey made the big play. Then Smoker struck out Harper on a nasty 1-2 breaking ball to end the inning.

Big Pen Doggz: Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia shut down the Nats in the 8th and 9th inning. 2016 has been a tough season, but the reliable back end of the pen has been an incredible luxury. The Mets basically have 7 inning games when they have a lead. I hope that magically continues next year. If Reed matches his 2016 numbers next year he’ll go somewhere else and close for big money. So we better enjoy him now.

Duda Comeback: The Mets said Duda is swinging a bat and may be back before the end of the season. Yeah right. The next time Duda’s ready to suit up it’ll be as Santa Claus for the annual Christmas party.

Not What MLB Had In Mind: This Wild Card race can’t be what MLB had in mind. The Pirates, Marlins, Cardinals and Mets are just constantly losing and showing new weaknesses. It’s a race to be the last mediocre team standing.

Today: Seth Lugo goes tonight in the big night game on ESPN. Please God let us win this series.

2017 Mets: The “Walk Year” Season

Neil Walker’s 2016 season perfectly highlights the potential risks/rewards associated with contract years for players. In his 2016 “walk year”, Neil Walker was posting the best numbers of his professional career. His .282/.347/.476 slash line represents his highest ever. His 23 long balls tied a career high. Neil was stepping up his performance when it mattered most. But the news that he will have season-ending back surgery to fix a herniated disk is a reminder of how quickly the potential financial rewards for on-field performance can evaporate once injury red flags are thrown into the mix.

The walk year talk is especially relevant for the Mets when you consider their prospective roster for the 2017 season. If the Mets pick up all contract options and tender deals to their arbitration eligible players for 2017, as currently constructed, the Mets will have Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jose Reyes playing for a contract. Duda and Reed are playing for their first big payday. Reed has a chance to score a 3-4 year deal as a closer if he has a big 2017. Duda will need to return to his slugging form to show the masses that his back woes are a temporary ailment. Bruce will be a free agent for the first time.

After his poor 2016, Grandy’s 2017 play may be the difference between him scoring one more lucrative 2 or 3 year deal or him fighting to get one year contracts each season until he retires. Cabrera is a veteran in a similar spot as Grandy. The Mets have a 2018 option on Cabrera, but if he struggles they’ll just buy it out. For Jose Reyes, the truth is his off the field actions almost got him blacklisted from the sport. But if his current 2016 performance carries over into 2017 and he has a big year, he’ll probably receive another big payday from some club (not likely to be the Mets but who knows).

Despite his injury, it’s hard to ignore the uptick in Neil Walkyear’s 2016 performance. There’s no doubt that the Mets will be hoping for similar increases in production in 2017 from all the aforementioned players. The contract year phenomenon is consistently discussed and debated in the context of free agency in sports. There’s been plenty of studies conducted regarding the contract year phenomenon that indicate the impact on player performance is somewhere between overhyped to non-existent. Some research shows that the overall impact to batting stats in the contract year are negligible while the year after the contract is signed batting stats historically diminish.

There’s also plenty of examples of players raising their game with a payday on the horizon. Nelson Cruz did that in 2014 when he signed a one year 8 million dollar deal with the Orioles after his steroid suspension. He went on to hit 40 homers, drive in 108 RBIs and slash .271/.333/.525. Then he scored a 4 year 57m dollar deal with Seattle. In 2011 Matt Kemp, in the final year of a 2 year deal, went on to finish second in the MVP voting. He hit 39 home runs, drove in 126 RBIs and stole 40 bases. He slashed .324/.399/.586. He posted career highs across the board. Then he scored a 8 year 160 million dollar extension.

There have also been plenty of Mets with walk year success. In 2009 and 2010 Carlos Beltran played 81 and 64 games respectively. He was plagued by injuries. Then in 2011 before he hit free agency he played 142 games and slashed .300/.385/.525. He hit 22 homers, drove in 84 runs and was traded by the Mets at the deadline for Zack Wheeler. Then he scored a 2 year 26 million dollar deal with the Cardinals. Beltran is no stranger to the walk year explosion (see 2004: 38 homers, 104 RBIs, Mr. October run and resulting 7 year 119m dollar contract). Hell Beltran is having an incredible walk year right now at 39 years old.

Jose Reyes, Daniel Murphy, and Yoenis Cespedes are some other examples. Jose won the batting title in 2011 right before he signed his mega-deal (6 years 106m) with the Marlins. We all know Daniel Murphy is having an MVP season right now, but last season was his walk year with the Mets. And until this season, his 2015 regular season combined with his postseason home run barrage represented the best stretch of baseball in his career. Yoenis Cespedes for two years in a row now has put up big time walk year numbers (assuming he opts-out of his 3 year deal at the end of the season). In his last 162 games he’s hit 46 home runs, driven in 115 RBIs and slashed .293/.354/.592.

Sure for every walk year success story there’s probably a corresponding bust (see Denard Span 2015 injury-fest, Ian Desmond 2015 performance drop-off, and Carlos Gomez 2016 poor season). But I’ll take the extra player motivation any day of the week. The contract year certainly doesn’t guarantee anything, but as Sparky Anderson once said “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.” Based on the current roster construction it would appear that Sandy Alderson feels the same way.

Josedrubal Granderpinch Wins It For Mets

Final Score: Mets 7, Marlins 4

The streak is on baby. The Mets are 8-4 since the start of that San Francisco series. The Mets have officially leapfrogged the Marlins in the standings and are tied with the Pirates. Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera are smoking hot and combined for 6 hits to fuel last night’s win. Curtis Granderson hit two home runs in a game he didn’t even start. Wilmer Flores  has contributed regularly as Mr. Fill-In. And Seth Lugo more than did his job as he represented team young arms. Keep it up.

Mistake Out The Gate: Seth Lugo gave up a double to Martin Prado in the first inning. Then he made a pitch on the outer half of the plate to Christian Yelich that was crushed for an opposite field two-run shot.

March Right Back: Unlike the May, June, July, and most of August Mets, the new Mets came back right away. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff single and then bum knee Asdrubal Cabrera launched a two-run blast. He immediately tied the game at 2. Then with two outs and Jay Bruce on third, Wilmer Flores hit an RBI single to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. I can’t believe the team scores now. I can’t believe they hit with men in scoring position. They have fight. It’s really nice. Hot bats will do that for a team.

Lugo Pulled, Grandy Pulls: Other than his first inning mistake, Lugo pitched a nice game. He went 6 innings and gave up those 2 runs on 5 hits. Terry yanked him with under a 100 pitches because he’s still being stretched out as a starter. Then in the bottom of the 6th inning, Grandy pinch hit for Lugo and hit a solo homer to make it 4-2 Mets.

Wake Up Teufel: After Grandy’s dinger, the Blonde Bros aka the Blonde Bombers both reached base. Reyes doubled and Cabrera walked. After Yoenis Cespedes grounded out the Marlins intentionally walked Jay Bruce to load the bases for Alejandro De Aza. De Aza smacked an RBI single to right field, and Tim Teufel for some reason was waving home bum knee Cabrera. First of all Cabrera probably would have been gunned down at the plate. But he didn’t even try because his knee is shot. Unfortunately Bruce saw the signal and ran to third and Cabrera was tagged out at third for the second out. The De Aza RBI made it 5-2 Mets, but the blown send call squandered a chance for more runs. What is Tim Teufel doing? How does he forget Cabrera’s knee situation? I mean Jesus Christ it’s all I’m thinking about when he’s up at bat or on the bases. Even Keith Hernandez in the booth can’t stop talking about it. The coaching staff is forgetful? Jesus. What a joke.

Another Blast: In the 7th inning Grandy added a two-run shot. His second homer in a game he didn’t even start. Also all the postgame talk was about how Grandy is on pace to post the lowest RBI total for a guy with 25+ homers of all time. I talked about that weeks ago, but it’s finally gone mainstream. But forget these negative records. What if Grandy wakes up in September? What if he gets hot? Please let him take off.

Robles?: Hansel Robles pitched two scoreless innings. I must say, I thought it was a bad idea to bring him into a close game because he’s been so bad lately. But the Marlins bats are so cold, and he came through with two nice innings.

Henderson Can’t Finish: Jim Henderson couldn’t pitch a scoreless 9th inning. He gave up 2 runs before being yanked for Jeurys Familia with two outs. Familia ended the game on 3 pitches.

The Death Count News: Obviously only death can pay for the Mets newfound life. So before the game they announced Neil Walker has a mystery back condition. Then they all refused to talk about the problem until today. So yeah it sounds really bad. They said he may play the rest of the season or he may not. What? Steven Matz is also being scratched from his start this week. Shoulder impingement or something. We should probably shut him down. They’ll kill him before they shut him down. Also Asdrubal Cabrera’s knee is still really bad. He just said that he’s going to play and suck it up. Give him the shot doc. Numb that knee and let’s go.

Coreless: One final note. I certainly don’t feel bad about it because it’s helping the Mets in a big way. That being said, the Marlins offense without Giancarlo Stanton is just a Yo-less Mets lineup. It has recognizable faces in it and many of the bats have real credentials. But without Stanton none of that matters. He’s the heart. He’s the core. He’s the big threat that brings it all together. Now let’s win the series. It would be embarrassing to split against a Stanton-less Marlins team.

Today: Bartolo Colon pitches tonight. Let’s win as many games as we can while we have Yoenis Cespedes and a hot Josedrubal Granderpinch. Also pray for Neil’s back. We’ll never pay him now that the Wilpons have this back excuse. Goddamn.

Grandy Saves Familia On deGrom Velocity Reunion Night

Final Score: Mets 6, Dodgers 5

Here’s the short recap: Jacob deGrom pitched a great game, the Mets hit some dingers, Jeurys Familia came in to pitch in a 5-1 non-save situation and blew the game. Then Curtis Granderson saved the day by hitting a walk-off solo blast in the bottom of the 9th. It was one hell of a ballgame.

DeGrom Velocity Reunion Night: Let’s start with deGrom’s night. Jacob has been good all season long, but he hasn’t been dominant. In 2016, his velocity has been down and his command has been slightly off. That being said, unlike Matt Harvey, Jacob has had strong results all season. Last night he finally took a huge step towards a return to dominance. He gave up a sac fly in the third inning and wiggled out of trouble in the 4th and 5th inning. But he was hitting 96 MPH consistently on the fastball and averaged 94 MPH. His command was good, and his secondary stuff was working. He went 7 innings, surrendered 3 hits, one run, and struck out 7. His 3 walks were slightly out of character, but still this game was an extremely promising sign for the direction his season is going. What if deGrom completely returns to form? DeGrom, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard? Daaaammmnn.

Juanny Beisbol: The Mets got off to a nice start on offense. Asdrubal Cabrera had a one out single in the first. Then with two outs, Yoenis Cespedes walked. Then Neil Walker doubled in a run and Juan Lagares doubled in two more. 3-0 before you could blink. Juan came through big time all game with 3 RBIs.

Blasty McBlastersons: The rest of the offense was the Mets typical blast show. Solo bomb from David Wright (4-1) and from Juan Lagares (5-1).

Oh No Familia: As I mentioned, Terry brought in Jeurys Familia in a non-save situation. He had all the velocity you could ask for on his fastball last night (97-98 MPH). But he ultimately just got rocked. A couple of soft singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick. Then with one out Yasiel Puig singled and Familia walked in a run to make it 5-2 when he walked Yasmani Grandal. Familia then struck out Trayce Thompson for the second out. But in true scripted fashion, Chase Utley came up with bases juiced and roped a double to score 3 runs and tie the game 5-5. Familia got the third out to keep the game tied. But he got rocked last night. Terry took a lot of heat postgame for bringing in Familia in a non-save situation. Terry said F-U to everyone. Bringing in closers in non-save situations can be a thing. Sometimes guys don’t have the same focus, and it messes with their results. My problem with that theory for Familia is he’s always focused and always elite. I think last night he just got rocked. Bad nights happen. My real beef is the same one I always have with Terry. I’m worried about overuse. If you bring him in for saves, non-saves, rainouts, special occasions, birthday parties and everything else, at some point he’s going to fall apart. Only Mariano Rivera had the superpower to pitch forever. Everyone else has limits.

Grandyman Saves The Day: Familia’s bad night was immediately nullified by a leadoff walk-off solo blast to right field off Grandy’s bat in the 9th inning. After striking out 3 times in this game he saved the day. He’s been at the damn Mendoza line all season with that .200 average, but he still comes up so big. We need the Grandyman. He’s part of the winning formula.

Rook: 19 year old rookie starter for the Dodgers Julio Urias pitched bleh. He was basically yanked right away, but he’ll have a great career. Frankly I was surprised he didn’t shut the Mets down because rookies always shut us down. Maybe the problem was he was a notable rookie. Usually it’s the obscure rookies that show up and pitch complete game shutouts.

Happy Birthday Terry: Yesterday was Terry’s B-Day. Happy 67th birthday to Terry Collins. He’s the oldest man in a Mets uniform and the only one that doesn’t consistently get back spasms. Speaking of Collins, he was in rare form pregame. On the first base question, he officially poo pooed the idea of moving someone to first base. He said “This isn’t junior high school where you put the fat kid over at first.” That’s an early leader for Cantankerous Old Terry quote of the year.

wright soup back

Secret Back Transplant: David Wright hit a solo blast last night. He has homered in his last 3 games. You may think it’s a random resurgence, but my sources tell me last week Eric Campbell finally agreed to take part in a controversial back transplant performed by head trainer Ray Ramirez at the Hospital For Special Surgery. Soup agreed to give up his strong young back to David to lengthen Wright’s career. Bless Soup. He finally came through as the hero we needed.

Find Yourself: Wilmer Flores is staying in the minor leagues until the end of the weekend to find his swing and his glove at first base. The guys on a freaking scavenger hunt. And on the first base front, Terry Collins squashed the Michael Conforto to first base talk (which he originally started). “Right now Michael has a lot on his plate and I don’t need to add more to it.” Thank you Terry. Thank you for using your brain.

Today: 86 Reunion! Noah Syndergaard! Chance to win another series. Let’s Go Mets!!!