A Bruce Salary Dump Would Be Unacceptable

Jon Heyman recently reported that a rival executive thinks the Mets might consider trading Jay Bruce once they pick up his 13 million dollar contract option after the season. This news really isn’t all that shocking. Mets fans have been speculating for months that this might be a possibility depending on the outcome of the Yoenis Cespedes contract situation.

I want to make one thing clear though. A trade of Jay Bruce for a pitcher or position player that improves the major league roster is completely acceptable. A trade of Jay Bruce for a prospect that improves the overall depth in our farm system is also acceptable provided that the Mets make corresponding moves to enhance the quality of the major league roster in significant ways. But the Mets cannot trade Jay Bruce if they are purely being motivated by financial reasons and plan to just hand the job to Michael Conforto. I refuse to accept the narrative that many fans are citing which is “the Mets can use the Jay Bruce money to pay for Yoenis Cespedes”. The focus of the offseason should be on improving the overall roster relative to last season in an effort to win a championship. I realize every team has payroll limits, but I don’t want those limits to be the running theme that dominates the Mets offseason headlines. And so far, it has already been headline news in the form of the Yoenis Cespedes opt-out discussion and the Neil Walker qualifying offer debate.

The NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers have incredibly talented farm systems and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. But it’s no coincidence that they were the highest spending teams in the NL at the end of the season. The Cubs “won” the 2015/16 offseason when they signed Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and John Lackey and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. When the Cubs retained Dexter Fowler their organization didn’t worry about finding enough playing time for Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. And the Mets shouldn’t worry either if they wind up retaining Bruce and Conforto.

The Dodgers brought in a plethora of starting pitchers (Scott Kazmir (3 years 48 million), Kenta Maeda (8 years 25 million), Brett Anderson (accepted 15.8 millon qualifying offer)) before the season started to replace Zack Greinke, and they certainly made use of their starting pitching depth over the course of the year. They re-signed second basemen Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley and turned the former into a utility player. Despite having the most regular season injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their unrivaled depth.

Spending big money on payroll doesn’t always equate to success in baseball. But in 2016, the NL teams that flexed their financial muscle in the offseason and assembled deep rosters made it to the NLCS. That can’t be ignored.

Please don’t read this post and confuse me for a member of the Jay Bruce fan club. I don’t think Jay Bruce has to be on the 2017 team for the Mets to have success. And I certainly don’t want the Mets to spend money for the sake of spending money or to “make a splash”. But the days of the Mets making a purely financially motivated roster decision should be over. They appeared to be over last offseason when the Mets raised payroll and retained Cespedes. But the Mets must continue on that track if they want to win it all. Otherwise they will be at a real disadvantage when trying to overtake the Dodgers and Cubs going forward. Because those teams certainly aren’t going to stop spending like big market clubs any time soon.

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

Advertisements

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.

Mets Drop Game/Series To Kershaw; No Surprise There


Final Score: Dodgers 4, Mets 2

Bartolo Colon was sexy last night. He pitched 6 innings gave up 7 hits and 2 runs. He made a fielding error with two outs in the second inning which wasn’t sexy. But he got out of the inning unscathed. Unfortunately for the Mets, Clayton Kershaw was sexier. He went 7.2 innings, gave up 2 runs and struck out 10.

Slide Rule Shrug: In the third inning, Tolo gave up back to back singles to Chase Utley and Corey Seager. With first and third and one out, Justin Turner hit a ball to Wilmer Flores at third base and Wilmer made a diving play to field the grounder. He made the throw to second base to get the forceout and Neil Walker could not make the relay throw to first base for a double play. The first run against Bartolo scored on that play. Terry decided to challenge Corey Seager’s slide at second base under the new slide rule. Corey Seager slid right at the bag, but he slid through it and made no attempt to stay on it. And he undoubtedly altered the course of his slide slightly to make contact with Walker. In last night’s game, the umpires felt Seager’s slide did not violate the Utley Rule and the run counted. I could find you multiple examples from earlier in the season when that exact same slide was ruled illegal. I have a lot of thoughts on MLBs problem with officiating and will probably deal with them in a separate post. But the bottom line is the slide was ruled legal and it was 1-0 Dodgers.

End of Sexy: In the fifth inning, Bartolo gave up two out singles to Corey Seager, Justin Turner and then Adrian Gonzalez. Those three straight hits led to the Dodgers second run to make it 2-0. Sexy pitched the sixth inning successfully to finish his night. Overall it was a strong start.

Get To Kershaw: The Mets did kind of eventually get to Kershaw. For the most part Clayton mowed the Mets down. Prior to the sixth inning the guy gave up two hits so it’s not like this weak Soup and Wright-less Mets lineup was threatening to score much at all. But in the 6th inning, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo blast as a right handed hitter. And then in the 8th inning, Kevin Plawecki led off with a single. Kershaw retired Soup (of course) and pinch hitter Michael Conforto. But with two outs, Curtis Granderson crushed a triple off the wall in right field. Yasiel Puig almost caught it, but it just barely missed his glove. That Grandy triple tied the game at 2.

Familia Blew It Again: Jeurys Familia came in a tie home game in the 9th inning and gave up a leadoff single to Enrique Hernandez. He retired Chase Utley on a foul out. Then he walked Corey Seager and Justin Turner to load the bases with one out. Adrian Gonzalez then lined a single up the middle and that made it 4-2. He blew the 9th inning on Friday and was bailed out by Curtis, and then he blew it again last night. They say closers have short memories. The truth is I used to have the shortest memory when it came to every closer. A blown save meant he was the worst player ever and not to be trusted. Armando Benitez did that to me. He made me a closer skeptic for my entire life. Braden Looper was another Mets closer that fed my late inning skepticism. But when it comes to Familia, I’m already over it. Sure he blew a huge game at home in a series where we should have been able to win 2 out of 3. But he’s among the most elite closers in the game, and I fully trust that he’ll shake this game off. He’s having a bad stretch right now. I don’t see it as a trend.

What Did I Tell You: Kershaw beating us during Sunday Night Baseball is the least surprising thing in the world. Unfortunately our downfall in this series goes back to Saturday night. You don’t put yourself in a position where you need to win a game facing the Dodgers ace and arguably the best pitcher on the planet. You win when your ace is on the mound on Saturday. Instead, our ace Thor threw a fastball at stupid Chase Utley and got tossed before we even had a chance to win. Serves us right.

Today: White Sox come into town. Despite their early season success, they are really struggling big time lately. They’ve tumbled to third place in the AL Central. Let’s hope we right the ship against them.

Thor Ejected; This Is Baseball Now


Final Score: Dodgers 9, Mets 1

Recap To Start: Let’s start with the stupid game recap. Noah Syndergaard got tossed from the game in the 3rd inning for throwing behind Chase Utley. Our bullpen got crushed by the Dodgers. Logan Verrett (2), Antonio Bastardo (3), Hansel Robles (3) and Jim Henderson (1) combined to give up 9 runs. So much for our league leading bullpen ERA. Chase Utley hit a solo blast in the 6th inning off of Logan Verrett and a grand slam in the 7th inning off of Hansel Robles. Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, and Corey Seager added solo blasts late in the game.

The Mets didn’t score runs and the Dodgers scored a ton. The Mets had 3 hits. Juan Lagares hit a garbage time 8th inning solo blast. Eric Campbell went 0 for 4 and struck out 3 times. Our Soup/Ty Kelly/Rene Rivera offense couldn’t get anything going against Kenta Maeda or the Dodgers pen. Our big bats couldn’t get anything going either. Yoenis Cespedes went 0 for 3 and struck out twice.

This Is Baseball Now: So let’s move on to the only thing that mattered. In the third inning, Noah Syndergaard decided to throw a pitch behind Chase Utley as a message for his takeout slide from the 2015 NLDS and the ump immediately tossed him from the game without a warning. You know what? Thor and Terry and all the Mets who planned to throw that message pitch are idiots. This is baseball now. They banned takeout slides. They banned home plate collisions. They don’t want purpose pitches. People are going to call it “pussification of the game” and whatever else they want to say. But the bottom line is I was only surprised Thor got instantly tossed because I am in denial about the direction the game is moving.

The Bullshit: All that being said, the bullshit part of the Thor ejection stems from the same old problem we’ve had in baseball forever. All the rules are “unwritten”. Last night Thor gets tossed for a purpose pitch. A couple weeks ago the Rangers throw at Jose Bautista and the umps do nothing. Then Bautista tries to “respond” to the purpose pitch with a dirty slide at second base and Rougned Odor punches him in the face. The point is the umps don’t know whether to follow the old unwritten rules of “handle things on the field with baseball plays” or the new unwritten rules where dirty plays are banned. So the umps are always going to be wrong. They are wrong if they do nothing because there’s an unwritten mandate to stop all these dirty plays. They are wrong to toss Thor instantly because all these players grew up with purpose pitches being part of the game. It’s actually really fitting that Thor threw a pitch behind Utley. He didn’t nail him on the back because he probably figured he would get instantly tossed. So he went with a BS in between purpose pitch and crossed his fingers that he’d get away with it. That’s where we are in the game right now. We are stuck in the middle with no damn explicit guidance from the top. So screw MLB for not actually stating the rules. Screw Joe Torre for being bad at his job. Screw Chase Utley for being old and clutch and making the Mets look like morons on ’86 reunion night by hitting two home runs.

You know what else is bullshit? The umps didn’t say anything before this series about not throwing at Chase Utley. That’s why the instant ejection was ultimately BS. They should have said something explicit before the series. But they didn’t because of the same old unwritten rule/unspoken understanding crap. I hate it.

But the bottom line is Thor made a decision that led to his ejection which basically destroyed our chances of winning this home series with our ace on the mound. It’s a stupid shortsighted call on his part. And Terry is a mook for letting it happen. Now, like every team we are probably going to get buzz sawed by Clayton Kershaw and drop a home series that we could have won. Ridiculous.

I Swear To God: If Noah Syndergaard is suspended for that goddamn purpose pitch then I hope he personally hunts Joe Torre down and field goals him in his old wrinkly balls.

Laser Cheats: Apparently the Dodgers use laser GPS technology to preemptively determine in-game positioning for their outfielders. Supposedly it’s legal, and they even have permission to make marks on the grass at Dodgers Stadium so the fielders know where to stand. They apparently asked the Mets if they could make marks at Citi Field and understandably the Mets said hell no. But the Mets seemingly suspected the Dodgers were using lasers or something during the games to relay the positioning orders despite their strenuous objections. I’m sure Sandy Alderson will use his contacts in the MLB offices to make sure the appropriate discipline is passed down. Whatever.

Wright’s Neck Exploding: David Wright has been bashing homers lately but apparently he threw his neck out doing it. The Mets sound really negative about Wright’s latest physical setback. I hope he doesn’t need to go on the DL. Honestly playing with Wright in the National League is basically unmanageable. Without the DH, it puts us in an impossible roster predicament every other week with David. I’m sure we’ll just play short handed for a week and then DL him. Soup’s on.

Today: Mets have the game of the week tonight against Kershaw. Greaaaaat. Bartolo Colon better be sexy.

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!!!

Series Preview: LA Bums Come To Town

I know the Brooklyn Dodgers were the Bums, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to use that hilarious Daily News front page hobo caricature in a post. Plus, as a Mets fan I’m legally required by the Wilpons to pay homage to the Dodgers in some way in every single thing that I do all day long. Fred can’t get enough of his Brooklyn Dodger shrines, memorabilia, and everything else. So that image is for old Fred Wilpon. Once he pays off the final $58.3 million dollars that he owes to the Madoff trustee, maybe he can save up enough to buy the Dodgers and get the hell out of New York. Speaking of Da Bums, the Dodgers are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They lost 3 out of 4 to the Angels in Anaheim. They lost 2 out of 3 to the Padres in San Diego. Then they swept the stanky Reds at home. They have quietly drifted 4.5 games back from the first place even year Giants. They face the Mets at Citi and then they head to Wrigley to play the Cubs. Yeesh. I don’t envy that stretch of games. I hope we can keep up our winning momentum at home.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Jacob deGrom vs. Julio Urias

The Dodgers are finally calling up their 19 year old lefty phenom pitching prospect Julio Urias. He’s been dominating the Pacific Coast League to the tune of a 1.10 ERA. That’s the same league where Ty Kelly was hitting like .390. In other words he’s dominating in a hitter’s paradise. Last July, Jacob deGrom shut out the Dodgers in New York over 7.2 innings with 8 Ks. In LA a couple weeks ago. deGrom pitched 7 innings and gave up 2 runs. He battled through jams all game.

Game 2: Noah Syndergaard vs. Kenta Maeda

This is a reboot matchup from the series in LA. Last time out Thor pitched 8 innings, struck out 6, and gave up 2 solo blasts (Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal) which accounted for the only runs. Thor also hit two dingers (solo and three run shots) off of Kenta Maeda. Maeda took the loss after giving up those 4 runs over 5 innings. Unfortunately for the Mets, Syndergaard was the only source of offense in that game. Since that start though Maeda has struggled. He took a loss against the Angels giving up 4 runs in 4 innings, and then he gave up another 4 runs over 5 innings against San Diego. Maeda is 3-3 with a 3.29 ERA.

Game 3: Bartolo Colon vs. Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw is destroying everyone. He’s 7-1 with a 1.48 ERA. He pitched a complete game shutout against the Mets in LA with 13 strikeouts. We should probably try and win the first two games of this series. Bartolo took the loss in LA going 5 innings and giving up 5 runs. It was an ugly start. But in July 2015 at Citi Field, Bartolo dominated the Dodgers over 8 innings surrendering only one run. Hopefully he fares better at Citi on Sunday.

Things To Look For:

Hot Dodgers: Despite his crummy .234 average on the season, Howie Kendrick is hitting .318 in his last 7 games. Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley are both hitting .308 in their last 7 games. Trayce Thompson, who hit the walk-off blast against us in LA, has 7 home runs and is hitting .282 on the season.

El Mariachi Loco: Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .227 over his last 7 games, and he missed some games last week with a bad back. He’s got the backiosis like every single player on the Mets. Supposedly he will be fine for this series, but I’m just disappointed we won’t get to hear his stellar LA walk-up song El Mariachi Loco. Maybe the Citi Field DJ can play it just one time. It’s straight fire.

Grandforto: We face the lefties Urias and Kershaw. Terry really loves benching Michael Conforto instead of Curtis Granderson when we face lefties. Grandy is 2 for 14 against Kershaw lifetime and Juan Lagares is 0 for 10. Nobody is going to hit Kershaw, but Conforto needs to be in the lineup. With all these injuries, we can’t afford to sit our competent major league bats.

Big Pimpin’: On Tuesday Yasiel Puig crushed what he thought was a dinger, but it stayed in the yard. He admired the shot and ended up with a single. Dave Roberts yanked him from the game. I’m totally fine with the bat flip culture and pimpin’ home runs. But these are the cases where you need to draw the line. You can’t be costing your team extra bases like that. Puig admitted he screwed up. He really seems to screw up a lot.

Big Timed: In a recent Dodgers/Marlins series, outfielder Joc Pederson (who leads the team with 8 dingers) had a chance to meet his idol Barry Bonds. He went up to Barry, asked if he could take a picture with him, and apparently Barry big timed the hell out of him. Barry straight up turned away and didn’t respond to the request. That’s literally the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. I cannot believe people who live on the same planet as I do, big time people. Not responding to someone in that situation is literally refusing to acknowledge that the person speaking is another human being that breaths air. I’m pretty sure if a deranged hobo came up to me and kindly asked to take a picture because he thought I was Babe Ruth, I would do it. I always kind of thought Barry just got a bad rep in the media because he ticked off a few people, and they consequently decided to paint the picture that he was a dick. Well this story unequivocally confirms that Barry Bonds is a piece of garbage.

Wilmer Reunion: Wilmer Flores is supposedly coming off the DL this weekend and joining the Mets. I have to believe he will immediately take over as the full time first basemen. Good? I guess? He’s better than Eric Campbell that’s for sure. I’m not looking forward to the adventures of Wilmer over at first base. Quite frankly it’s more realistic to expect Matt Harvey to magically figure out his problems than it is to expect Wilmer to be a competent first basemen. At least Harvey has had actual tangible success on the mound before. Wilmer’s been booting grounders since he was a teenager. But who knows, maybe he will surprise everyone.

’86 Reunion: This Saturday is the 1986 Mets reunion game. Supposedly they are going to do a video tribute or something and a bunch of ’86 alum will be showing up. So long story short, if you are looking to bump some rails after the Mets game on Saturday night, look for Keith and Lenny Dykstra in the Citi Field McFadden’s bathroom.

Mets Get Kershawed; Split in LA


Final Score: Dodgers 5, Mets 0

Kershawed: Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout with 13 Ks. Umm yea he was pretty pretty prettttay good.

BadTolo: Bartolo Colon got rocked right out the gate. He gave up a three run home run to Yasmani Grandal in the first inning and a solo shot to Chase Utley in the second inning. Let’s just move on from this one. I probably should have sat Bartolo Colon in my fantasy league, but other than that a split in LA is cool.

Playing Short: So with Wilmer Flores on the DL, the Mets actually don’t have a backup middle infielder on the roster. I don’t mean that we have a crappy one. I mean we aren’t carrying one. That could be a problem no? Somehow Soup keeps on sucking and now he’s essentially been promoted to backup of everything. Considering Ruben Tejada is batting .174 in St. Louis, maybe he’ll be released and boomerang back to us like Captain Kirk did last year.

Latest Soupermetrics: Speaking of Eric Campbell, Lucas Duda has a career .222 BA against lefties in 563 ABs. Prior to last night’s game, Soup had a .219 BA against lefties in 137 ABs. Other than backing us up at every single infield position, why is he here?

Herrera and Reynolds Attorneys At Law: In all seriousness, I’m kind of assuming that we are going to dip into Triple-A to replace Wilmer Flores and maybe even Campbell. Is the time for Matt Reynolds and Dilson Herrera coming? I know we want to keep getting them everyday playing time but we actually need them on the major league bench. In case you disagree, here’s a live look at our current backup middle infielder:


Juicin’ Aces: Yesterday I read an article about the top 5 co-aces in the league. The Mets were ranked on the list with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The White Sox were also included with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. But in the article, I learned that Jose Quintana was signed by the Mets as an International Free Agent in 2006 and then violated the MiLB drug policy. Conclude what you want from that, but I find it interesting that Quintana is an elite starter today and spent the early part of his playing days testing the minor league PED protocol like a velociraptor testing the fences.

Today: The Mets head straight to Colorado for a three game set with the Rockies to conclude this west coast road trip. Get ready for Yoenis Cespedes and the rest of Team Ding Dong to send some balls into orbit/potentially have Matt Harvey‘s confidence shattered if the Rockies destroy him.

Mets Win; Lightning Lord Strikes Twice


Final Score: Mets 4, Dodgers 3

The Lightning Lord: The story in this game was that Noah Syndergaard did absolutely everything. Thor pitched 8 innings, gave up 2 runs (solo dingers to Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal) and struck out 6 Dodgers. He also hit a solo bomb in the third inning and a three run homer in the fifth inning to the opposite field. There’s not much else to say other than he’s a freak specimen. We’ve seen his power before. He’s always been competent at the dish. But I guess he’s feeding off Bartolo’s sexual home run energy. Maeda’s Priceless Face: Kenta Maeda pitched okay in this game. It was his worst start of the season by far considering he had gone 6+ innings in his first 6 starts. But Maeda absolutely deserved to get lit up by Thor when he gave up the second home run to him in the fifth inning. Before Thor stepped up to bat, he hit Soup with a pitch and then walked Rene Rivera. Those are two unforgivable sins.

Soup Is The Worst Player: In the top of the second inning, Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single, and Lucas Duda walked. Neil Walker was retired for the first out. Then Cespedes stole third base and with one out Eric Campbell couldn’t get a goddamn sacrifice fly. In fact he hit a weak ground ball to short and Cespedes ran home on contact. He got thrown out at the plate. Then Rene Rivera struck out in pathetic fashion.

In the 6th inning, Lucas Duda led off with a single and Neil Walker doubled. Then with runners on second and third and no outs, Eric Campbell fouled out to the first basemen. After a Rene Rivera walk to load the bases, Thor and Grandy struck out swinging.

In the 7th inning, Michael Conforto singled with one out and then Cespedes doubled. With runners on second and third Lucas Duda couldn’t get a damn sac fly. Then the Dodgers walked Neil Walker to load the bases for Soup (duh!) and as you would expect he struck out looking.

Before I get into stanky Soup, let’s acknowledge that a bunch of Mets failed to execute with runners in scoring position last night. Neil Walker, Rene Rivera, Curtis Granderson, and Lucas Duda all blew chances to drive in runs in this game. Those results aren’t surprising considering the team has consistently failed to execute with runners in scoring position all season. The Mets are dead last in average with RISP (.211). At least that was the number at some point during the game. We can hit home runs all day, but I guarantee the inability to drive in runners when they are in scoring position will be our undoing. We need to halt that pattern of failure immediately.

But my real takeaway from last night’s non-Thor offensive troubles is the same one I’ve had for years now. The bottom line is we play with a 24 man roster. It’s an absolute joke that Soup is on this team and has been part of our “plan” since Opening Day. We let Juan Uribe walk. We let Kelly Johnson walk. And you know what? We are going to have to trade another prospect this year to replace Soup’s spot on the roster. You cannot win with a black hole on the roster. Period. He sucks.

Save Familia: Jeurys Familia gave up a run in the 9th, but still managed to get the save. If anything, it’s more evidence that we need to score runs when we have the chance because our bullpen will not be perfect all damn season. Also, we’re are going to need reinforcements for the back-end of the pen. I’m just going to keep saying it until Sandy addresses it at the deadline.

Our Pets Heads Are Loose: Yesterday off the field was an absolute disaster. Steven Matz is missing his start on Saturday with elbow soreness and will be examined in New York when he’s back. David Wright missed last night’s game with shoulder soreness. Terry announced postgame that on May 2nd, Noah Syndergaard had his elbow examined. And to top it all off, Wilmer Flores has been placed on disabled list with a hamstring injury. Apparently he injured it on Monday and tried to play through it. Smart move! The Mets are calling up Sean Gilmartin to replace him on the roster. That’s about as bad an injury news cycle as we’ve had all season. Let’s hope it’s not the announcement that precedes a bunch of 2016 season obituaries.

Today: The Mets have taken two of the three games we’ve played in LA, which is what they had to do at a minimum. And the team won with Thor on the mound which is even more important. Honestly, the pressure is now on the Dodgers to split this home series with their ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound tonight vs. Bartolo Colon. It would be extremely impressive to win 3 out of 4 games against the first place Dodgers at home. It’ll be especially comforting to win these games considering we may be on the verge of an injury implosion. Light your candles and pray.

Mets Lose On Walk-Off Homer; Cespedes Survives


Final Score: Dodgers 3, Mets 2

The Mets lost last night on a Trayce Thompson pinch hit ninth inning walk-off home run with two outs. Honestly, the outcome of the game itself became less meaningful to me once Yoenis Cespedes rolled his ankle in the 6th inning while returning to first base to beat a pickoff attempt. He rolled the ankle, he fell, he grabbed his leg and all I could think was “well the season’s over”. In the end he stayed in the game and afterwards he said he was completely fine. But the moment of injury uncertainty served as a reminder of how things can go south for the Mets in an instant. No matter what anyone says, don’t be fooled. The entire offense is built on Cespedes being in the middle of the lineup. We already watched four months of this team without Cespedes. The 2015 pre-Cespedes offense was unwatchable and anemic. Sure this season’s team is better. We have Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera. We have a better team in 2016. But we live and die on offense with Yo. So today, just be grateful that the baseball gods smiled upon us and we live to play another day with La Potencia.

DeGrom Grits and Jam: Jacob deGrom gave the Mets a gritty 7 inning performance and surrendered 2 runs. His fastball velocity was back up around 94 MPH. He surrendered both runs during a rough first inning. Chase Utley led off the game with an opposite field double and Corey Seager doubled to drive him in. Seager advanced to third base on a Justin Turner groundout. And then Adrian Gonzalez got a sac fly to make it 2-0. DeGrom battled out of jams in the second, third and fourth innings.

Alex Wood and Buttley Utley gave the runs right back to the Mets in the second inning. Yoenis Cespedes and Wilmer Flores both singled to start the inning. Then Michael Conforto reached on a terrible throwing error by dirtbag Utley. Cespedes scored on the error as well. Kevin Plawecki followed with a single that scored Flores and just like that the score was tied at two.

We Blew It: The Mets were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position in this game. They didn’t hit any dingers tonight. This is what people mean when they say live by the long ball, die by the long ball. We are 4-8 in games when we don’t put the ball in the seats. That doesn’t mean home runs are bad. Obviously a home run is superior to any other hit. But we can’t ignore the reality that when we fail to hit home runs we often fail to score runs entirely.

Cespedes Cannon: Speaking of Cespedes’ survival, he made a great catch of a Yasiel Puig ball to the wall in the fourth inning, and he gunned down Adrian Gonzalez in the 5th trying to stretch a single off the centerfield wall into a double. He’s the most talented man on the field day in and day out.

Corner Boy: I understand that Terry gave Curtis Granderson the night off and preferred to play Juan Lagares in right field instead of playing Cespedes or Conforto at an unfamiliar outfield position. But I still really hate when Juan starts in a corner spot and Yo plays centerfield. I stand by the assertion that our gold glove outfielders should play where they earned their gold gloves. That being said, Cespedes made a bunch of great plays in center last night so it’s hard to argue that the alignment hurt us yesterday.

Poopy Lineup: Just a friendly reminder that I hate when Eric Campbell plays because he stinks. He went 0 for 3 with 2 Ks.

Gee Starts Now: On the ex-Mets front, the Royals are officially plugging Dillon Gee into their rotation and moving Chris Young to the bullpen. Dayton Moore is such a hoarder of mediocre back end starting pitchers. I bet his garage is full of piles of 5th starters from the last 20 years that he “might need someday”.

Juicing Accountability?: Raul Mondesi Jr. got a 50 game suspension for a banned substance and was able to negotiate it down from 80 to 50 because he proved it was from cold medicine. He said, “There are no excuses for my carelessness in not being fully informed of what I put in my body.” I just want to note that the statement from Mondesi is all I really want from these players. I’m not going to debate whether the positive test was from cold medicine or not. That’s for the league to decide. But at least the guy admitted he screwed up and took responsibility. I’m so sick of the players shrugging and offering the “only god knows” response to why they tested positive for a banned substance. Thank you Raul.

Harper Is A Naughty Boy: On Monday, Bryce Harper got tossed from the Nationals game against the Tigers and then after the Nats hit a walk-off home run he returned to the field to celebrate and cursed at the umpire. I’m totally fine with the Bryce Harper umpire FU. He got emotional. It happens all the time. There’s nothing special about Bryce’s move. He’ll probably be fined, suspended or both for returning to the field. My only takeaway from Bryce Harper #CurseGate is it reminds me how composed this Mets squad is. You never see these guys lose their cool with umpires. Also Dusty Baker said he loves Harper but added, “Will I have to spank him sometimes? Maybe.” Between Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce and Dusty spanking him, all we need is Daniel Murphy to show up wearing assless chaps and the Nats can be the official BDSM club of MLB.

Today: Wilmer Flores’ face embodies how I feel every morning after watching these West Coast games. They’re killing me. Tonight Noah Syndergaard faces off against Kenta Maeda. This should be a pitching matchup worth staying up for.

 

Mets Take Opener From Dodgers; Matz Beats Old Matz (Kazmir)


Final Score: Mets 4, Dodgers 2

The Mets had some base running blunders in this game and some mistakes in the field. But as far as pitching and hitting goes, this game represented the near ideal Mets blueprint. Stellar starting pitching, a couple of dingers, and shutdown late inning relief. Who am I kidding, that’s every team’s ideal blueprint.

Matz Beats Old Matz: Steven Matz has been absolutely stellar since that first crappy start against the Marlins. He went six innings tonight and made one mistake when he left a fastball up with two outs to Trayce Thompson who hit a two run homer. It was a BS Dodger Stadium home run down the line though. He outdueled former Mets lefty stud prospect Scott Kazmir, the original Steven Matz. Or is Matz future Kazmir? Either way, Matz got big strikeouts when he needed them. He got two Ks with a man on base in the third inning to end a threat. He struck out Kazmir with men on in the fourth inning. And he got two more big strikeouts in the sixth inning.

Our Ding-A-Lings: Curtis Granderson led off the game with a first pitch home run and Kevin Plawecki added a solo home run in the second inning to make it 2-0.

Bonehead Base Running: In the third inning, Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff single and got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He was testing the arm of Kike Hernandez in the outfield since it isn’t his natural position, but it was an overly aggressive move. That being said, on the replay it actually didn’t look like Grandy was ever tagged at second base, but nobody seemed to care at all. That blunder preceded what could have been a nice rally. Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch, David Wright walked, and Yoenis Cespedes singled in Cabrera to make it 3-0. Then Scott Kazmir walked Lucas Duda to load the bases with one out for Juan Lagares. Juan Lagares hit a fly ball to Kike Hernandez, but when he caught it for the second out, he was able to double up Cespedes who was sleeping at second base. He didn’t slide back to the bag. It was a pathetic sloppy inning from the Mets.

Howie Muff-Del: In the top of the 6th inning, Wilmer Flores walked with two outs and then Howie Kendrick muffed a routine ground ball at second base off the bat of Kevin Plawecki. Steven Matz promptly made him pay with an RBI double down the left field line. Whoops! Thanks Howie.

The Jerry Manuel Managing Excellence Award: In the top of the 7th, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled, advanced to third base on a ground out and with two outs the Dodgers intentionally walked Lucas Duda. Terry Collins left Juan Lagares in to hit instead of pinch hitting Michael Conforto. It’s a no brainer pinch hitting decision in a close game against another first place team. Juan struck out in pathetic fashion.

Bullpen Bailout: Our bullpen has been elite. We have the top pen ERA in the NL. They bailed us out on Sunday in San Diego. And tonight Hansel Robles was lights out in the 7th and Antonio Bastardo looked fine in the 8th until Juan Lagares dropped a fairly routine fly ball in center field. Jim Henderson came in with two men on base and struck out Yasiel Puig and got a foul pop out from Trayce Thompson. He bailed us out. Jeurys Familia obviously dominated in the 9th inning. The pen keeps bailing us out particularly when our fielders make mistakes. That won’t last forever. We need to clean that crap up.

Pitchers Hitting Now: Bartolo Colon hit his ding dong over the weekend, Matt Harvey crushed a double as well and tonight Matz hit a double. Remember when our pitchers were our best hitters for like half of 2015? That was terrible.

He’s Down With PRP: Travis d’Arnaud is doing okay. He just got a nice platelet-rich-plasma injection in his shoulder and he’s shut down indefinitely. No timetable for his return whatsoever. See you next season!

Mets vs. Utley Round 1: Hansel Robles faced Chase Utley in the 7th inning and got him to groundout. No hit by pitch. If we really want to get back at Utley we should just sprinkle some laxatives in his Gatorade or something. Do it real classy like.

Also here’s a picture of Utley pledging his soul to Satan for one hit in this series.


Booth Snooze: I love Gary Cohen and Ron Darling, but when Keith is missing in action, SNY should get a Keith doll for the booth that says 10 different Keithisms on repeat throughout the game. Gary spent 5 minutes talking about how he was upset by the fact that the Dodgers scoreboard had both the time and date on it, and the conversation was so boring I wanted to waterboard myself in my bathroom.


Wilmer’s Hickey: A lot of people pointed out during the game that Wilmer Flores was rocking a hickey on his neck. That’s not a hickey. It’s just a mark from one of Ray Ramirez’s signature leeching treatments. As he says, “You need to drain the toxins out”.

Strasburg Extension: Before the game tonight the Nationals announced they’ve signed Stephen Strasburg to a 7 year 175 million dollar extension. I’m happy they screwed the Yankees a bit by taking away another option in free agency although it probably makes it more likely Matt Harvey heads across town eventually. But at a minimum, this Strasburg extension reminds us that it will be nearly impossible to keep our staff together forever. We really need to capitalize now.

Tomorrow: Jacob deGrom goes tomorrow night baby. What if this series is the first time all season where our studs string together four straight elite starts? Let’s do it!