One Hot Player At A Time

Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 4

Jay Bruce being the Mets’ April MVP is the most scripted thing of all time. Many fans (not me) spent the entire offseason ripping him apart and begging Alderson to trade him for a bag of sunflower seeds. And now look at what Jay is doing. He’s cranking homers, and lately he’s providing our only offense. Last night he singlehandedly beat the Phillies with two home runs and five RBIs.

I’ve said this many times, but I’m really hoping Bruce goes full blown 2016 Mark Trumbo in his contract year and cranks like 40-50 home runs. I hope he sets the franchise home run mark. Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect that he’ll sustain this April performance. He’s streaky as hell and his performance is likely to fall off a cliff at any moment. Plus we all know the Mets are only allowed to have one hot hitter at a time. I’m sure the second someone else heats up Bruce will evaporate into thin air and hit .100 for three months.

Aggressive Yo: Speaking of Jay Bruce’s hot hitting, he really should be thanking Cespedes. Hitting in front of or behind Yoenis Cespedes is a gift from the gods. Just look at what Yo has done for Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cespedes was involved in every notable inning where the Mets scored/failed to score last night. In the first inning Asdrubal walked and then Yo hit a grounder to third base. The Phillies got the force out at second even though the second baseman came off the bag. No challenge by the Mets. Then Jay Bruce hit a double down the right field line and Yo tried to score from first. He was gunned down. I can’t blame Yo for trying to make something happen. He knows two hits in a row is an unlikely luxury with this team right now.

Scary Yo: In the 6th inning with two outs the Phillies gave up a single to Asdrubal and then they walked Yo. They wanted nothing to do with him. And right after that Bruce launched a three run shot to give the Mets the 3-2 lead.

Gsellman: Robert Gsellman had his first strong start. He pitched 7 innings, gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, and struck out 7. Terry even brought him out to start the 8th inning. After he gave up a leadoff double, Terry pulled him and brought in Jerry Blevins. Annndddd of course the pen let the inherited runner score which tied the game at 3.

Scary Yo 2.0: In the 8th inning Yo singled on a 3-0 pitch up the middle. Phils were clearly looking to walk him again. They didn’t want to let Yo take back the lead with one swing. Bruce made them pay with his second homer to make it 5-3.

Get Familia Back: This bullpen need Jeurys Familia back. He may always wind up walking a tightrope in the 9th inning, but at least he’ll give the other overworked arms a rest.

The Body Count: Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud both left the game last night with injuries. Duda hyperextended his elbow on a play at first base and d’Arnaud smacked his hand/wrist against the hitter’s bat while making a throw to second base. I don’t expect to see them again this season.

Today: We need to win this series against the Phillies at home. Hopefully Noah Syndergaard comes through without losing his middle finger in the process.

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Bruce Launches Payback Moonshot



Final Score: Mets 4, Phillies 3

Based on how the game started, I never thought it would wind up being a feel good night that ended with a pimped out payback homer. DeGrom didn’t have his best command and looked especially shaky in the first inning. But he went full veteran ace mode and settled down to give the club 6 solid innings.

The mook in the Phillies bullpen who gave up the Asdrubal Cabrera bat flip walkoff homer last September decided to throw at Cabby’s head in the 8th inning of a tie game in April. Then Jay Bruce went full payback hero mode and launched a two-run moonshot to give the Mets a 4-2 lead that they would never surrender. (The bad news is the Mets only managed to scrape together four hits against the lowly Phillies and the team defense looked terrible again but let’s ignore that).

DeGrizzled Veteran: Jacob deGrom pitched 6 innings, gave up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He only struck out 3 hitters. Mediocre defense in the first inning helped the Phillies score their first run. After a leadoff walk and a force out at second base, Jose Reyes failed to catch an Odubel Herrera pop up behind third base. That set up runners on first and second for Maikel Franco who “singled” on a ball lined up the middle that Curtis Granderson should have been able to play in center field but instead deflected to right field. That loaded the bases for Michael Saunders who drove in the first run with a single and then deGrom walked Cameron Rupp to force in a run. It was 2-0 after the first inning but deGrom settled down.

Big Bruce Ball 1.0: Jay Bruce hit a solo homer in the top of the 4th inning to cut the Phillies lead in half. I love how Jay was public enemy number one all offseason simply by virtue of existing, and now he’s the only guy hitting to start the season. It’s so scripted.

Phillie Blessings: In the top of the 7th inning Jay “Middle of the Action” Bruce walked to leadoff the inning. Then Curtis Granderson hit a ball up the middle fielded by the second baseman who made an errant throw to first base. The error allowed Bruce to advance to third and set up first and third for Neil Walker. Neil hit a sac fly to even the score at 2.

The Old Switcheroo: For some reason in the 7th inning with runners on first and second and two outs, Terry had Michael Conforto on deck to pinch hit for Jacob deGrom but then pulled him in favor of Wilmer Flores against a righty. Wilmer flew out to center. Terry really hates playing Conforto.

Ridiculous Play: In the bottom of the 7th inning, Jerry Blevins came in to replace Josh Smoker who retired the first two batters but then gave up a single and walked a guy. Jerry proceeded to throw a pitch that bounced way out of the strike zone to Odubel Herrera. It was so far out of the zone that the baserunners thought it was going to the backstop. Travis d’Arnaud somehow fielded the ball, threw wildly to second base in an attempt to catch the runner off the base, Cabrera dove and fielded the wild throw, and then he threw to first base and was able to nail the runner at first for the final out of the inning. Thanks to the Phillies for running themselves out of an inning.



BatflipGate Payback
: With one out in the 8th inning, Edubray Ramos sailed a ball over the head of Asdrubal Cabrera as payback for Cabrera’s incredible September 2016 bat flip. The Philly Manager was tossed. Talk about a bonehead move by the reliever late in a tie game. I recently saw an interview with Philly manager Pete Mackanin, and he said he was trying to teach this young Philly squad how to play the game right. This is definitely a teaching moment. Also, Cabrera said after the game he had no idea who the reliever was and why he threw at him. I LOVE when players pretend they have no idea who a guy is as a way to insult them.

Big Bruce Ball 2.0: Once the heat died down after BatflipGate, Jay Bruce launched a two out 1-2 pitch from a lefty reliever into the right field second deck for the ultimate payback bomb. That gave the Mets a 4-2 lead, and it was enough for the victory. Addison Reed gave up a solo blast in the 9th inning but ultimately he sealed the deal.

Bench Jose Please: Jose Reyes is basically batting zero in like 40 at-bats. Terry needs to get him out of the leadoff spot and find a way to give Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera some playing time. Jose is not a star like Yoenis Cespedes who gets playing time to work his way out of a slump. Jose is a utility player at this point. If he stinks, he sits. It ain’t hard.

Play Conforto: Grandy blew a play in center in the first inning of this game. Statcast said it was a play made by center fielders 75% of the time. This is just another pointless reminder for Terry to rotate his old outfielders and get Conforto into a game.

Juanny No Bats: Juan Lagares is due back from the DL soon. Maybe even this weekend. The outfield defense has been so bad that Terry is going to wind up playing Juanny no bats. I’m sure that’ll boost the offense.

Today: Matt Harvey takes on Clay Buchholz. Clay is one of the the worst pitchers in baseball. We must crush him. Hopefully the Dark Knight continues to show positive signs on the mound as he recovers from his surgery.

Noah SynderGod Saves The Day

Final Score: Mets 5, Marlins 2

Quick Hits

  • After two straight mediocre performances by Mets starting pitchers, Noah SynderGod saved the day by throwing 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, and striking out 9 Marlins.
  • ESPN sucks. They did a segment last night where that ginger guy interviewed Mr. Met and he asked him how he felt about Thor cuckolding him and sleeping with his mascot wife Mrs. Met. That’s when I switched the game to iPad and mute. Unwatchable broadcast.
  • Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto both hit solo homers and helped the Mets win. In what feels like an endless conversation about who should start (Bruce vs. Conforto), last night felt like it should have been an eye opener for Terry that both guys can play at the SAME TIME. Based on his in-game and postgame comments it doesn’t sound like Terry got the message.

Marlins’ Mistake Helps Mets Score: In the first inning Asdrubal Cabrera reached on a bunt single and Yoenis Cespedes followed that with a single up the middle that allowed Cabrera to advance to third base. Jay Bruce then hit a ball to first base, Justin Bour threw the ball home, and J.T. Realmuto took his eye off the ball and missed the throw. That allowed Cabrera to score. Neil Walker followed that with an RBI single. Lucas Duda singled to load the bases, and then the Marlins gave the Mets their third run by walking Michael Conforto with the bases loaded.

Mets’ Mistake Helps Marlins Score: Derek Dietrich doubled to start the third inning. Then Miguel Rojas hit a ball to left center field and Yoenis Cespedes dropped it for an error. That set up second and third and Dee Gordon capitalized with a two run double to make it 3-2. Rene Rivera saved the inning by gunning down two runners trying to steal on Noah Syndergaard.

The Saga Of Bruce And Conforto: As I said above, last night’s narrative surrounding Jay Bruce (solo homer in the 5th inning) and Michael Conforto (solo shot in the 6th inning) should have been positive. But all I heard from Terry was him blaming Michael Conforto for the third inning Yo error during an in-game dugout interview. Then when asked if Conforto would play tomorrow he said no and wondered aloud where he would play Conforto.

Ummm hey Terry you moron, he can play at the same time as Jay Bruce. You literally just did it. Grandy hasn’t looked great at the plate or in center field. It’s called rotating the players man. You think Yo’s playing 162? You think Jay “DH” Bruce’s knees are going to last in the outfield all season? You think Grandy can handle center field more than a few days a week? The guy’s already misjudging fly balls and looking drained out there. Rotate the outfielders and find playing time for Conforto! Do it. Sandy better tell him to do it. I’ve had enough of Terry’s anti-Conforto BS. There is plenty of playing time to go around. Jeeeesus.

Today: The Phillies have been the NL East team that the Mets have consistently handled in recent years. So maybe a trip to Philly will spark the first winning streak of the season for the Mets. Jacob deGrom vs. Jerad Eickhoff in tonight’s game. Ace number two gets a chance to keep Thor’s momentum going.

Stay Bruce? Fine By Me

According to the New York Post the Mets have informed Jay Bruce they plan to start the season with him as their everyday right fielder. And thus concludes BruceGate 2017 (Maybe? Is it really over?).

The prospect of Bruce being with the Mets on Opening Day doesn’t really bother me. Why? Generally, I refuse to get worked up over a Mets roster “dilemma” if the end result is the Mets have more roster depth. You may not like Jay Bruce’s skill set and you may wish the Mets could freely spend his 13 million dollar salary on other upgrades, but that’s seemingly impossible to achieve at the moment. So the doomsday scenario is the Mets have five outfielders, and in the long run additional depth is a positive not a negative.

Here are my thoughts on some of the fears Mets fans have cited due to Jay Bruce’s presence on the roster.

If Bruce Is here Michael Conforto will be ruined!

I’m skeptical of the claim that 23 year old Michael Conforto’s career will be derailed as a result of limited playing time in 2017. If you feel the Mets are a better team with Conforto starting everyday or that we shouldn’t “waste” a year of his pre-arbitration service time then fine. Those are valid points worth discussing. But after his time in Vegas in 2016 and his experience with a veteran filled roster towards the end of last season, I’m confident Conforto will be ready to battle Curtis Granderson and one-dimensional Bruce for at-bats in 2017. In an ideal world he’d outplay them and force his way into the starting lineup. T.J. Rivera and Rene Rivera certainly accomplished that at their respective positions in 2016.

There are not enough ABs to go around for all these outfielders.

Have the people saying this ever watched the Mets? An injury is likely to occur and a full time job will open up for Conforto before you can say “Spring Training.”

The position players on the Mets roster, as it’s currently constructed, are old and injury prone. Duda, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares dealt with injuries in 2016. Grandy will be 36 years old by Opening Day and Bruce had knee surgery in 2014. If he doesn’t have a starting job outright due to injury, I can see Conforto being double switched into games regularly for defense and starting a few days a week to keep these veteran guys fresh.

In addition to filling in at all three outfield spots, Conforto can work at first base in Spring Training. Conforto increasing his versatility is a positive thing for next season and beyond. If Dominic Smith isn’t ready to take over the job in 2018 then we’ll need someone to fill in for Lucas Duda if the Mets let him walk after the 2017 season.

The Mets Outfield Defense Will Be Terrible With Bruce

Unfortunately there’s not much I can say to refute that claim. The Mets outfield defense will likely be below average in 2017. But the outfield defense is going to be poor regardless of the alignment. This squad won’t specialize in run prevention as long as Granderson, Bruce, and Conforto are drawing the majority of starts in center field and right field.

If you wanted the Mets to acquire a true starting caliber center fielder this winter and shake up the roster to emphasize defense then you’re probably disappointed. But clearly the overwhelming supply of power hitters in the free agent market limited the Mets ability to move their expensive corner outfielders. If Sandy wants to prioritize upgrading the defense it will be easier for him to achieve that next offseason when many of our current position players become free agents.

The Mets don’t have any payroll flexibility to upgrade the bullpen

This may be true, but it’s hardly Jay Bruce’s fault if ownership has capped the team’s payroll at the current amount. If the Mets fail to upgrade the bullpen and that hurts the team down the road, the only people to blame are Sandy Alderson for misallocating financial resources and ownership for not providing additional funds to improve the pen.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of having Bruce on the team and here’s where I’ve landed:

  1. If Jay Bruce hits in line with his career numbers, then the Mets will benefit from the additional offense. The team’s struggle to generate runs is the reason they traded for him in the first place. If we dump him before the season we’ll probably wind up trading another prospect for someone like him by the trade deadline.
  2. If Bruce performs and the team is inexplicably blessed with health then he becomes a expendable trade chip to flip for a piece the team actually needs. And hopefully by then the market isn’t as flooded with comparable players.
  3. If Bruce struggles and Conforto stands out in his limited playing time then Michael starts and Bruce becomes an expensive pinch hitter. Will Terry Collins play Jay Bruce for three straight months even if he’s hitting .200? Maybe but that’s a problem with Terry’s managerial style not a Bruce issue.
  4. The stats show us that Jay Bruce’s contribution (at least from 2014-16) in the power department is essentially negated due to his below average defense. He’s basically a “net negative.” Just like our old friend Daniel Murphy. I’m hoping that Jay Bruce becomes the new Kevin Long reclamation project and somehow takes his power to the next level in a contract year.

In the end, the team defense may wind up stinking with Bruce in the fold and maybe Conforto won’t handle a reserve role well, but at least the 2017 Mets will hit a lot of dingers again. Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Granderson, Cespedes could all supply 20+ homers. If our starting pitching is healthy and returns to its 2015 form and the lineup has the Citi Field Home Run Apple popping on a nightly basis, good things will be in store in 2017 whether Bruce is in the lineup or not.

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

Jay Bruce Headlines Are Just A Distraction

jay-bruce

Almost every Mets’ headline after the Cespedes signing has been about Jay Bruce. Jay Bruce doesn’t fit on the roster! Bruce must be traded! Mets need to dump Bruce salary! Bruce suitors dwindling! Mets overplayed the market on Bruce! Two teams still interested in Bruce! Mets want two prospects for Bruce! Mets hope to land reliever for Bruce!

Whoooooooooooo cares?!? Don’t you see what’s happening here? These BS headlines are simply a distraction from the reality that the Mets haven’t done a damn thing to improve the roster this offseason. The Bruce headlines have fans in a frenzy. I see some people defending Jay Bruce as a player. I see the majority of people saying perennial 30 home run hitter Jay Bruce stinks and unproven Michael Conforto deserves all the playing time. The debate rages on every single day.

If you believe that dumping Jay Bruce should be the team’s top priority then you’ve been totally brainwashed by the Wilpon media.

If you read these headlines about Jay’s untradeable salary and let BruceGate dominate the winter conversation then you are allowing ownership to scapegoat Sandy and Bruce for the lack of activity.

This team let Bartolo Colon walk and didn’t replace him. This team is going to let Kelly Johnson walk for the second straight year and not replace him. This team already needed two set up relievers before the prospect of a Jeurys Familia suspension. What have we done to fix the pen? Nothing other than watch every viable reliever fly off the free agent board. And I’m not just talking about the high-priced relievers. Almost all of the middle tier arms have signed for 1 or 2 year deals. As of now it still looks like the Mets intend to let Jerry Blevins walk without replacing him. The Wilpons threw the fans a bone with the Cespedes signing, and then they told us to get back in our cage and shut the hell up.

I’m so damn tired of hearing the brainwashed fans cry about having Jay Bruce on the roster. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping Bruce if we can’t work out a mutually beneficial trade with some team. There’s plenty of playing time to divide up between Jay Bruce the defensively challenged slugger, Juan Lagares the defensive wiz who can’t hit right-handed pitching, young buck and unproven talent Michael Conforto, old man and new everyday center fielder Curtis Granderson, and Yoenis Cespedes who battled injuries for the entire 2016 season. And keeping Jay Bruce should have nothing to do with improving the bullpen. Nothing.

I called this from day one of the offseason. I wrote a post that said trading Jay Bruce is fine but a salary dump is unacceptable. I knew that if the Mets tried to work out a deal involving Bruce it would be primarily motivated by their desire to rid themselves of his 13 million dollar salary. I knew there was no way they’d take that 13 million and re-invest it in the roster. There was never a chance they’d eat some salary to make a better deal. 0% chance from day one.

My current frustration has nothing to do with Jay Bruce. I understand that we gave up a nice prospect for him, and he’s not a great fit on our roster. I get that he’s a one-dimensional slugger. Yes he can’t play the field. Sure he’s blocking Conforto and Terry Collins will always play him over Conforto even if Jay is batting .150 for three straight months. Does that frustrate me? Nope. All of my frustration is directed at the Wilpons for cutting off contact with the media after the Yo signing and closing up their wallet.

At this point I want the Wilpons to be stuck paying Bruce out of spite. Screw them. And who are we kidding? Spring injuries are an unequivocal lock for the Mets. Bruce will be playing everyday and batting fourth once God is finished smiting our regulars and destroying our depth. At least if we keep Bruce we have a viable option for when the inevitable injuries strike. I certainly can’t say the same for the bullpen.

P.S. With each passing day it’s looking more and more like Jay Bruce The Fish will be joining my family. Just like the real Jay, he’ll never walk and he’ll probably stink.

Cold Stove Update: Mets Ask Santa For Cash

If you’re looking for an update on the Mets’ offseason since they paid Yoenis Cespedes, don’t get too excited. In fact, don’t get excited at all. Nothing has happened. Sandy Alderson basically went to the Winter Meetings last week, ate the hotel continental breakfast for a few days, and then flew right back to New York. Sandy said the Mets can’t make any moves until they find a team willing to take the 13 million dollar Jay Bruce salary off our hands. Clearly the days of worrying about our mid-market payroll are behind us.

Cold Stove Quick Hits:

Christmas Party: The Mets held their annual Christmas Party this week and decided to anoint Noah Syndergaard as the next cursed Santa Claus. Sandy Alderson was seen at the event trying to dump Jay Bruce in a Toys for Tots bin.

Pray and Wish: At the Mets Christmas Party, Thor said all he wants for Christmas is a World Series. It’s a good thing that he’s motivated because Sandy and Co. are clearly showing that their strategy for 2017 is to pray that all of our young pitchers will be healthy. In other words, rather than actually improving the team this offseason, the Mets are asking Jesus and Santa Claus for help.

MLB Anti-Hazing Policy: This week, MLB unveiled a new policy banning “offensive” hazing practices specifically those that involve dressing teammates as women. No word from Donald Trump yet on the decision but expect to see tweets about “soft Manfred” and “the failing MLB” any day now.

David Wright’s Road To Retirement: David Wright is reportedly simulating baseball activities but has not swung a bat yet. He’s been “getting in a crouch” and “moving laterally”. Basically he gingerly slides from one end of the couch to the other and occasionally bends over to pick up a chip if he drops one on the floor. I’d like to think that if David Wright retired tomorrow the Mets would spend his salary on roster upgrades. But who am I kidding. The Wilpons are already banking on spending the Wright insurance money on Yo’s salary.

World Baseball Classic: Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are reportedly on the preliminary roster for Team Italy, Asdrubal Cabrera is planning to play for Venezuela and Jeurys Familia wants to pitch for the Dominican Republic. You’ve got to love the idea of Ol’ Bum Knee Cabrera playing extremely competitive games in March when he limped through a third of the regular season last year. Conforto better hope Jay Bruce doesn’t have an Italian Great Grandfather otherwise he might wind up benched for the World Baseball Classic too.

Juanny Bum Shoulder: Juan Lagares strained his shoulder diving for a ball in the Dominican Winter League. Apparently he’s fine. Juanny better have a big 2017. He hasn’t done a damn thing since his breakout year in 2014 other than hurt his elbow and his thumb and now his shoulder. If he has another injury filled season, that extension we gave him will wind up looking horrible.

Nationals Striking Out Non-Stop: Other than the Mets signing Yo, the best news of the offseason has been that the Nationals have failed in almost every single one of their attempts to land players. They failed to land Cespedes, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. The list goes on and on.

Mr. Tingles: Matt Harvey said his arm is no longer tingling and he’s feeling strong as he recovers from his surgery. If Matt Harvey wins comeback player of the year and Noah Syndergaard continues to be a pitching machine then the 2017 Mets really will be in great shape. Pray.

Charges Dropped: The domestic violence charges against Jeurys Familia were officially dropped because as I’ve said many times on this site, the charges always get dropped or settled out of court. If you want to know what will happen next, just check out my post that I wrote the day this story broke. It’s the same exact cycle every single time. Familia will get a slap on the wrist suspension for allegedly assaulting his wife. Meanwhile Jenrry Mejia is locked up in a cell in the dungeons at MLB headquarters for taking a little testosterone.

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

bruce-grandy-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.

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.

Robert Bruceman Wins It For Mets



Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 1

It comes down to today’s game. The Mets need one more win to lock up the first Wild Card spot and home field advantage. The Mets performance over the past month has been incredible. Sure the schedule has been soft overall, but they beat the Cardinals and Giants down the stretch. They deserve praise for this improbable run. If the Mets make the one game Wild Card playoff and lose, it’ll leave a sour disappointing taste in our mouths for 2016. As I’ve said many times, I barely consider the Wild Card game a playoff game. But the bottom line is the Mets deserve praise for waking the hell up a month ago and getting to this point.

The Mets won last night because of Robert Bruceman (i.e. the combined stellar pitching performance from Robert Gsellman and the three hit, three RBI night from smoking hot Jay Bruce). Robert Bruceman sounds like a swarmy classless business man that would pick up a woman in a hotel bar, accompany her to her room, and then disappear the next morning leaving her with an enormous room service bill.

The Bruce Is Beyond Loose: Jay Bruce hit an RBI single in the 4th inning, a solo homer in the 7th inning, and an RBI single in the 8th inning. Streaky players are completely ridiculous. He went from completely lost at the plate to absolutely en fuego. T.J. Rivera also added a 4th inning RBI single, and Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI in the 8th on one of the most absurd pop force outs to first base that I’ve even seen. God I hope this team clinches today and wins the damn Wild Card game. Bruce is hot. The offense is hot. Please just give these bats a chance in a short playoff series. Also, after all the struggles we had on offense this season I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.

Trust Issues: Robert Gsellman gave up 7 hits and 1 run over 6 innings. He struck out 7. Is it weird that I don’t trust him? He’s been spectacular. ERA under 3. He’s firing off quality start after quality start. And I just don’t trust him. I’m expecting him to turn into a pumpkin despite the fact that he’s always been a promising minor league arm, and he’s showing his talent at the major league level. I suppose the skepticism has more to do with being a Mets fan than anything else. We’re always doubting the validity of every good thing. We just sit around waiting to be burned.

Trust Issues 2.0: Speaking of skepticism, the Fernando Salas, Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia combination struck out 7 Phillies over 3 innings. The back end of the pen has been logging so many innings, but it’s remained dominant. Terry used all the big guns again last night because he’s trying to lock this damn Wild Card spot up. I get it. But I’m skeptical yet again. I’m waiting for their arms to fall off when it matters most. Reliever trust issues also come with the territory when it comes to being a Mets fan. All teams really.

Cancel The Game: Terry Collins said after the game that he’d consider starting Eric Campbell at first base if the Mets make the Wild Card game and face Madison Bumgarner. If that’s the case just cancel the game now. I’d rather start any left-handed hitter on our 40 man roster in that game over Soup. Soup stinks. I’m just going to assume Terry had a moment of temporary insanity after the game when he said that. Please God no Soup. Also, the Mets confirmed after last night’s game that Wilmer Flores tried to swing and failed. He’s out forever. It’s a huge blow. It’s the reason we’re talking about Soup and playoffs in the same sentence. I’ll never forgive Terry for that pinch running oversight that led to Wilmer’s home plate collision if it means we see Soup hitting in a big spot.

Today: Clinch today baby! Let’s go Mets!

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.