8/18/18

Reese Kaplan -- 51s Fall to El Paso, 8-2

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The Las Vegas 51s can’t seem to catch a break whenever they visit El Paso.  Drew Gagnon had been having a great year but started off in the first unable to find the plate with a GPS.  After getting the leadoff batter to ground out 6-3 he gave up a single to Chihuahuas 3rd baseman Luis Urias.  Then the roof nearly caved in. 

From that point Gagnon was all over the place, not missing badly, but not getting any benefit of doubt either.  He issued back-to-back walks to hot hitting catcher Francisco Mejia and then to 1st baseman Ty France.  Former Cardinal Allen Craig hit a sac fly to RF and plated the runner to give the Chihuahuas their first run, but after falling behind again, he got Shane Peterson out on a grounder to Pete Alonso at 1st.

The 51s started on the 2nd in nice fashion with a single by Dom Smith, but after Bryce Brentz went down swinging and Patrick Kivlehan watched strike three Luis Guillorme lined a single to right center and Jose Lobaton drew a walk to load the bases.  Unfortunately that brought Gagnon to the plate and he fanned looking, whining to the umpire about not getting those pitches himself.

In the bottom of the 2nd the Chihuahuas mounted an attach with a home run by shortstop Javy Guerra, a single to the pitcher Logan Allen and then a home run to right by diminutive 2nd baseman Carlos Asuaje.  The 4-0 lead looked like it was going to stand up as the 51s were not doing much at all.

However, that changed in the 4th when Bryce Brentz and Patrick Kivlehan hit back-to-back homers to close the gap to 4-2.  The 51s managed to advance a runner to 2nd but he died out there as the inning came to a close.

The Chihuahuas didn’t take the comeback lying down.  They put another run on the board in the bottom of the 4th with a single to right by Urias.  Gagnon stopped the bleeding but the gap rose to 5-2.

Unfortunately he was followed by Logan “Rip” Taylor who was roughed up immediately but light hitting Chihuahua players to up the difference in the score to 7-2.  His strikeout of Luis Urias was nice to see but the damage had already been done.

Having seen enough of Taylor already, the Mets sent up banished lefty swinging Kevin Kaczmarski to pinch hit for him.   With Dom Smith, Bryce Brentz and Zach Borenstein playing the outfield nearly every day, Kacz has become a .338 hitting afterthought.  He didn’t help his cause by looking at strike three.

At this point in the game people were losing interest but regained it a bit when the Chihuahuas mascot and lovely dancers did some spirited choreography to AC DC’s “Thunderstruck”. 

Next lefty Ian Krol entered the game to absorb the beating.  He was betrayed by suddenly hands-of-stone Luis Guillorme at 2B and then Zach Borenstein had a brain fart and didn’t charge the ball which allowed the hitter, Urias, to take 2nd which was generously scored as a double.  Pete Alonso went back to the RF foul area to flag down a pop-up and looked graceful doing it (despite his reputation).  Krol did himself no favors by walking Allen Craig to put two men on.  Fortunately he fanned Shane Peterson on a foul tip to get out of the inning unscathed.

The 51s tried to mount a rally when Zach Borenstein reached on an error when Ty France at 1B let a ball go under his glove.  That was followed by a walk to Pete Alonso, bringing up Dom Smith with 1 out.  He flew out to shallow left and put it in the hands on Bryce Brentz who’d homered earlier.  On a pitch in the dirt Borenstein crossed to third but inexplicably Alonso stayed at 1st.  Unfortunately Brentz gave it a long ride to the deepest part of the ballpark and it was caught on the warning track. 

Krol started off the 7th giving up a double to Dusty Coleman and it just got worse from there.  He looked like he was throwing strikes but not showing much movement on the pitches and the Chihuahuas just teed off on them.  He escaped with just one run scoring but looked very hittable.

Chris Beck came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th in what should be the final inning of the game.  So far I’m tempted to pen a variation of the old Jimmy Breslin book.  It would be called, Can’t Anyone Here Pitch This Game?  Mets fans are well aware of what Chris Beck can (or can’t) do.  Apparently his level of expertise stops at AAA.  He fanned the first batter on 3 pitches.  He went 3-2 before getting Allen Craig on a called third strike.  Alonso then did an unassisted out fielding the ball and taking it to the bag himself.  Again Alonso looked a bit better than advertised as a fielder.

Early in the game there was a bit of a scare when Ty Kelly, Zach Borenstein and Pete Alonso had a three-way collision on a shallow fly ball.  Kelly got the worst of it, but shook it off and stayed in the game.  Mets fans everywhere held their collective breath until they found out that Alonso was not the one who was injured. 

In the 9th inning the 51s sent Borenstein, Alonso and Smith to the plate but came away with nothing to show for it.  Final score, Chihuahuas win by a score of 8-2.   


*********************************************************************************

After the game I hung around trying to get some one-on-one time with the players but it was not a night conducive to conversation.  

I did manage to corner Luis Guillorme for a quick hello.  We spoke about his surprising defensive struggles since he returned and he was writing it off to rust having sat on the bench most of his time in New York.  He did joke about one ball he surprisingly parked in the upper deck during the game but it was unfortunately a foul ball.  He also extended a hello to our own Mack.

I also had a quick exchange with Ty Kelly who was hobbling a bit after the game and we joked about the frequent flyer miles he's racking up on his trips back and forth to New York.  

Once again I encountered Gerson Bautista out in the hallway with some of the other Latin ballplayers but my fledgling Spanish was not sufficient to conduct an interview.  

After realizing I was not going to get any extended time with anyone I left and rode up in the elevator with some of the players and coaches but they were actively engaged in sort of a "can you top this" series of stories, so I didn't want to interrupt.  Hoepfully I'll have better luck tomorrow.
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8/17/18

Tony Plate - Congratulations to Bartolo Colon

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Baseball history was made last Tuesday August 7,2018 in Arlington, Texas when former NY Met and NY Yankee Bartolo Colon defeated Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners and earned his 246th victory to pass former Baltimore Oriole star Dennis Martinez to become the winningest Latin American- born pitcher in baseball history. The Texas Ranger fans have not had much to cheer about this season, however they were energized by watching this piece of history. Colon’s teammates were equally energized as they were also cheering and brought out the water bucket and doused Colon with it. He was trying for the record since June. He finally achieved the record after his sixth try.

The 45-year-old Colon has been like a fine wine meaning he gets better with age. In 2005 he won the Cy Young award while with the Angels. His 244th victory prior recently pushed him past Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most wins by a Dominican pitcher. I remember when Colon first came up with the Cleveland Indians back in 1997. He pitched in a few regular season games, but he did not pitch in the World Series as Cleveland lost to Florida. Colon pitched in his only World Series with the Mets back in 2015. He has made the All-Star team on four occasions. The last time he made it was in 2016 with the Mets. Even though he hasn’t pitched well this year I thought a contending team would have tried to acquire him since he brings plenty of experience.

Colon wants to keep pitching much to the delight of the fans. He has the strength to continue. He has not given anybody any indication that he will retire in a couple of years. His career record thus far is 246-186 which is very good. It is a record that may enable him to be in consideration for the Hall of Fame, however that remains to be seen. Colon has been a tremendous competitor. His next goal is to beat the record of innings pitched currently held by Marichal.


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Reese Kaplan -- El Paso Tops Las Vegas 3-2; Dom Smith Interview

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Welcome to the first of four games marking the historic final appearance of the Las Vegas 51s here in El Paso.  As we all know, the Mets are moving their AAA affiliate to Syracuse in 2019 and they will no longer be part of the Pacific Coast League. 

The game started off poorly with Scott Copeland quickly giving up a pair of hits (including the RBI single to Francisco Mejia who the Padres stole from the Indians instead of merely looking to dump salary).  

It looked like it was going to be a long night more reminiscent of the Mets than the 51s, but he settled down to pitch dominantly for the next five innings.  Then Copeland ran out of gas and was tagged for two more runs of doubles by Luis Urias and again by Francisco Mejia.  In all Mejia had three hits in the game.

On the Las Vegas side of the ledger there was not much happening.  They didn’t mount much of an attack until the 6th inning but it was not of the baseball variety.  Pete Alonso got plunked by a pitch by Padres starter Walker Lockett.  Considering he had walked Zach Borenstein to start off the inning and Alonso had whiffed in his first two Abs, there didn’t seem to be intention behind it.  However, Alonso mouthed off a bit to the pitcher which was picked up by the 51s dugout.  Soon Christian Colon was tossed by the umpire from his seat on the bench, so he stormed onto the field to have his say.  

When the Chihuahuas didn’t take kindly to Colon’s histrionics, they countered with some loud invective of their own.  Eventually both benches emptied and the 51s came in from the bullpen as well, but like most baseball fights, nothing much happened except some players and coaches getting ejected.

The 51s did mount a little offense via the long ball, including a monster 477 foot shot off the bat of journeyman Patrick Kivlehan and a pinch hit dinger from light hitting catcher Jose Lobaton.  That was how it ended, a 3-2 victory for the hometown Chihuahuas.

One thing that stood out in the game was the at-bats by heretofore shunned Dom Smith.  In the second inning he line a laser to the 2nd baseman which resulted in a somewhat errant throw to 1st base.  Rather than tagging the bag, Chihuahuas 1st baseman Ty France opted to run towards Smith to tag him out.  Dom knew he was a dead duck but decided to have some fun with France, backing up towards the plate forcing France forward.  Finally France’s brain clicked on and he realized he could simply touch the bag  and Dom made it a bit of a foot race.

When Smith returned to the plate in the 4th this time he hit the ball even harder but unfortunately right at the 1st baseman.  Two frozen ropes and nothing to show for it. 

In the 6th Dom hit the ball into what should have been a sure 6-4-3 double play but he busted it down the line and was ruled safe at first.  All of the other writers in the press box were grumbling that he was out and I opined that had this same play happened a year ago he would have been but the dramatic weight loss helped him to become more athletic.

With Brandon Nimmo’s injury today the Mets find themselves potentially in need of an outfielder should he wind up on the DL.  With Zach Borenstein, Bryce Brentz, Matt den Dekker and Ty Kelly not being on the 40-man roster, logic would suggest Smith’s time has indeed come.  With that in mind I asked the clubhouse personnel if they could get Dom to spend a few minutes with me to talk about how his season has evolved.


MacksMets

Dom, we just ran a column on Wednesday suggesting that given the roster status of Peter Alonso that it is Smith who should get the call to play the outfield on a fairly steady basis, particularly with the news Jay Bruce is working out at 1st base.  Did you hear about Brandon Nimmo’s injury today?

Smith

No, what happened?

MacksMets

Apparently he was hit by a pitch so hard that the third baseman threw him out as it has gone down the line as if it had come off the bat.  X-rays were negative for a break but they’re taking it seriously and he’s headed for an MRI which will help better ascertain the extent of the damage.  With another outfielder on the shelf, it would seem logical for the Mets to tap you for another trip to Queens.

Smith

Well, I never want to advance due to someone getting hurt but it’s good to hear that someone still believes in me. 

MacksMets

Dom, I watched you tattoo the ball each of the first two times up with nothing to show for it.

Smith

Actually, that had made 6 consecutive line drives I’d hit that went right at someone.  This year more teams are employing the shift and it’s having some impact on my results.  My exit velocity is as good as ever but last season it was just that Astros and Phillies who did that and they were my worst series. 

MacksMets

How have you felt this year?

Smith

To be honest it was frustrating.  I started off injured and missed an opportunity, then I had to work with whole new coaching staffs in both the majors and minors who weren’t there to see when I hit ..330 last season.  Some folks don’t realize I also had between the minors and majors 25 HRs and 100 RBIs. 

MacksMets

So how do you keep yourself motivated?

Smith

I just go out and work hard to prepare myself for whatever they want me to do.  Some things I can’t control. Yes, I had some fun earlier.  Remember, we’re grown men getting paid to play a kid’s game and it should be fun.  Some folks question my effort because I do things smoothly and it looks like I am not making an effort.

MacksMets

Do you ever spend time talking to Gavin Cecchini (when he’s around – he’s currently still injured) about what it’s like to come in with the 1st round draft pick pedigree and then not getting the same consideration you once did?

Smith

Yes, Gavin and I talk about it and we know we need to do what we can to impress everyone in baseball. 

MacksMets

Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today, Dom.  I really appreciate it.

Smith

Hey, thanks to you, too, and I'm so sorry I kept you waiting.


When you meet Dom, you’re immediately struck by what fantastic shape he’s in and his infectious smile makes you want to root for him despite not having the immediate impact people might have hoped to see. 

*******************************************************************************************

I did also say “Hola” to Gerson Bautista who is rocking an Odell Beckham hairdo.  That man needs a sandwich – he’s very tall and skinny.

I 've got some photos to share as well, but they will have to wait until tomorrow as I'm having some technical difficulties tonight with the transfer and it's already after midnight.
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Tom Brennan- SOME THINGS THAT CATCH MY ATTENTION

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Tom Brennan- SOME THINGS THAT CATCH MY ATTENTION


I like players who surge, who outperform, who do something special.

I could probably come up with a long list, but here are some (based on performances through August 13).

Brandon Nimmo now has played basically the equivalent of a full 162 game season in his career, with 582 ABs, and is hitting .255/.371/.420, with 31 doubles and 21 homers.  Time to firmly conclude he is a QUALITY starting major league OF, don't you say? (But that pitch off the hand yesterday? Ouch!)

Through last Monday's game, Jeff McNeil has proven he can make contact, with just 6 Ks in his first 60+ plate appearances. That high contact level bodes well for success.

Peter Alonso has heard all the "40 man roster, so we'll see you in 2019" chatter.  I am sure he'd like in rebuttal to throw out a few #'s of his own....like 30, the number of his HRs in just 115 games.  Like an all-of-baseball-leading 107 RBIs. Like 55 RBIs in 50 games in AAA.  I like those #'s more than ownership likes that "excluding # 40".

If I told you I have a player who is third in his league in HRs with 24 (league leader has 26), first in runs scored (82), 5th in doubles (27), you'd probably be interested, but first ask, "what's wrong?"   That player is Zach Borenstein who, in the "what's wrong?" category, has fanned a way-too-high 158 times in 115 games.

Speaking of league leaders, Drew Gagnon leads the PCL with 147 Ks in 131 innings.  The # 2 guy (Josh James, 34th rounder with Houston' org) has 122 in AAA, but across two minor league levels has 160 in 105 innings (13.7/9).  Pretty darned good for a (non-Met) 34th rounder, but getting back to Gagnon, one might wonder if/when his major league 2nd chance will arrive (he had one bad MLB debut start earlier this season for the Mets).  He's tossed a lot of very good starts.

Kyle Regnault is overlooked but successful as a reliever with Las Vegas.  After pitching to an 8.25 ERA for the LVs in April, he has tossed 42 innings since at around 4.00, and fanned 56 in that stretch.  The last 2 years, he is an eye-catching 10-1, with a 3.78 ERA, mostly in Vegas, with 138 Ks in 119 innings.  Will he ever get the call up to the bigs?. 



Will Toffey is hitting .286/.458/.460 in 20 games since the Mets got him in a trade in July.  That'll play quite nicely.

In the fast riser category, righty Steve Villines is now in AA after tossing 22 innings of 7 hit, 1 run, 25 K relief, that after starting the season effectively in Columbia.  He has 120 Ks in 82 career innings.  Drafted last year in round 10, the same round that Paul Sewald was picked a few years prior.

Matt Winaker was a 5th round outfield selection last year, and he did to-do through this June.  In July, with Columbia, the OF had a .357 OBP and 3 homers. In his first 12 games of August, .350/.421/.733 with 4 home runs.  NASA is now tracking Matt on its radar.  (He hit # 11 Thursday night, as one of his 3 hits).

IF Luis Carpio thought that Jeff McNeil going from slap hitter to home run hitter was fun, so he is trying it himself.

The just-turned-21 Luis has struggled with his hitting this year at times, but stopped a recent slump with a homer on both August 12 and 13, giving him 12 on the season, after hitting just 4 in his first 250 career games. And 8 of this year's 12 homers have come over the past 6 weeks.  KA-BOOM!



OF Dave Miranda was a 25th pick this year, and started out weakly...but in his last 5 games, he went 12 for 19 with Columbia, including a 5 hit game on August 13, to jump to .313 with a .422 OBP.  Nice surge. I have been told that until he becomes a free agent, the Mets hold his Miranda rights.

In 32 games since his promotion to St Lucie, 21 year old defensive catching whiz Ali Sanchez is hitting .283/.305/.407.  Showing much more pop this year, NASA is starting to track him, too.  Just 36 Ks in 82 games.

Jarred Kelenic, who turned 19 in July, wasn't getting hits during his slump, but he said he hit lots of hard shots right at people during that stretch.  Happens...that's baseball sometimes.

Lately, they've been falling again, as he went 9 for 20 in a 4 game stretch thru August 13.  Like I've said, he will be fine.  Hopefully, he will be great.

On a Cyclones team that starved for wins the past 2 seasons, it is nice to see Jaison Vilera (5-1, 1.30 in 10 starts) and Billy Oxford (6-1, 1.74 in 18 relief appearances) making sure that 2018 would be a better Cyclones season...30-25 so far.  Also, Brooklyn was anemic hitting-wise in 2016 and 2017, but is roughly 45 points better in 2018 to sit at .262. I love good hitting almost as much as a good meal.


DSL:


Everyone talks about 17 year old bonus babies Adrian Hernandez (DSL) and the now-slumping Ronnie Mauricio (GCL).    

Sure, sure, but what about 17 year old 2B Felix Valerio?  

This 5'7" dude in the DSL is getting an A++ lately.  How so?

Over his last 73 at bats, 29 hits (.397), 11 walks, and a mere 5 strikeouts.  Wow.

And in the error-prone DSL, he has made just 5 errors all season.  And has 13 for 18 in steals over 57 games.  


I am a Fan of Felix, I don't know about you.


2 more neophytes of note, both SIXTEEN at the time of this writing:

Junior Santos was just promoted from the DSL and debuted in the GCL with 2 scoreless innings, and just turned 17 on Thursday.  He is 6'8" 220, and was clocked at 92 at the time he signed for $250,000.  Amazingly for a dude his size at his age, he has walked just 6 guys in 47 IP, and is 1-1, 2.68, 0.89 WHIP.

Dave Marcano, who turns 17 later this month, was signed for $500K.  Listed at 6'3", 180, he was clocked prior to signing at 93, and in his last 3 DSL outings, 14.2 IP, 10 H, 6 runs, 12 Ks.


Hope you are having a great summer, and that some things are catching your attention, too.  

Share them if you'd like (remember, though, that this is a PG-13 site).
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8/16/18

Mack - From The Desk... an update

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Hey everybody.

Did you miss me?

Some of you have reached out and asked where the hell I've gone (in general) and the 'From The Desk' feature (in particular). 

I wanted to give ya'll an update.

I have neck stenosis like David Wright. Mine is hampered by two factors... one, a severe reverse curvature of the neck, and two, I'm 71 years old.

Because of this, I've been ruled 'inoperable'.

I have been on pain killers and therapy maintenance but have reached the max allowed on both. The pain and numbness is taking over.

Add to this the fact that using a laptop (neck angle down) just increases the pain, I've decided to take the month of August off.

I don't have an IPhone so all I can do is respond to other writer's posts and answer emails.

I'm getting reevaluated by the pain management specialists at MUSC Charleston to see if they can change my 'cocktail' to help.

This is starting to read like an old country song...

I will be back in September with a recap of the prospects in the pipeline and where I think they will open up come April 2019.

Past that, feel free to reach me via comments on other writer's posts or email me at:

macksmets@gmail.com 

Mack

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Tom Brennan - IT'S JACK REINHEIMER TIME

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Tom Brennan - IT'S JACK REINHEIMER TIME

This is another season of a multitude of players spinning thru revolving doors at Citifield.

Jack Reinheimer is the 53rd  player on the Mets this season. By contrast, in all of 1969, just 35 gentlemen donned Mets uniforms.



Jack will be playing in the city that made Rheingold Beer famous. (And yes that is another Jack in the picture, the rotunda man himself, Jackie Robinson).



And also, I believe, playing where Jackie Gleason as Ralphie Boy frequently called his wife Alice a Weisenheimer, so Jack Reinheimer will fit right in.

Of course, I am writing this on Tuesday hoping he is still on the Mets on Friday; these days ya never know.

Jack is a former Seattle 5th rounder hitting .237 this season and .273 in his career.  

He has some giddy-up, too, with 120 steals and just 45 times caught.

He seems like Matt Reynolds with a little more speed and a solid glove.  


Of course, he had someone to look up to: Peter Alonso was awarded the Vegas 51s' July defensive player of the month.  


(I wanted to ask Mack about that award, but I was afraid he would get defensive, so I didn't).

At 6'1", Jack has 3 inches on demoted Luis Guillorme.

Luis was apparently sent packing to allow him to get more consistent playing time - and a consistently smaller paycheck.

My father's name was Jack, so Reinheimer is an instant Brennan favorite, for what it is worth (hint: not much).

He picked a nice time for a call up, since he is less than 3 weeks from expanded rosters, so maybe he'll stick long enough to demonstrate his value.  And he is the only Met to be hitting .500, after his 1 for 2 debut, with a run scored.

Ralphie boy says, "Good luck, ya Reinheimer." 

We wish you luck as well, Jack.
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Mike Freire - Fleeting Thoughts

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Good morning once again, Mets fans!

This will be the fifth installment of my Fleeting Thoughts series and I can probably stop counting the entries and focus more on the content.  Sort of like the Mets' "brain trust" this past year who would have been wise to tune out the external noise (fans, media) and really focus on the best way to spend their payroll, such as adding quality players who actually stay healthy!

Perhaps that was a bit of an unwarranted "cheap shot", but I will never understand the Jay Bruce, Jason Vargas and Anthony Swarzak signings, no matter how the rationale is presented.

But I digress......so let's get on with the rest of this article.

1.  For the official record, I have never tried "Crack" or "Crystal Meth" but my previous job certainly brought me into contact with folks that have.  It would be an understatement to say that their decision making was a bit compromised and their behavior was extremely erratic.  When I take an unbiased look at the Mets, it makes me wonder if following this team is like being on one of the listed drugs. 

The temptation is always there and you tell yourself that the last time is indeed the last time, while making promises to "do better" in the future.  Yet, when the next opportunity comes along, you find yourself hopelessly involved in the lifestyle again!  Think of someone like Frank Gallagher from the show Shameless for a good example of what I am talking about.  My "drug" of choice are the Mets and as disgusted as I am right now, I am already thinking of ways that 2019 will be better!  Maybe I need an intervention? 

2.  Speaking of the 2019 season, there is so much to be determined right now that it is really hard to speculate on what may or may not happen.  I think the coaching staff is safe for the time being, but there could be major turnover in the front office, the scouting staff and of course, with the roster. 

Instead of getting lost in the weeds, it is easier to prioritize the different issues and focus on the most important one first, prior to working your way down the list, so to speak.  In my head, settling the Front Office should be the first off season move that takes place, since it will influence the rest of the decisions that will take place.  

3.  ASSUMING that the Mets truly want a strong General Manager with NEW ideas (yes, I know that is quite a leap), who would you pick if you were in charge?  I won't pretend to know who all of the candidates are, but I would focus on candidates who are a part of a forward thinking, SUCCESSFUL organization such as the Red Sox, the Cardinals, the Yankees or even the Cubs (who are in the same lineage as the Red Sox, I suppose).

Doing the same thing over and over again gives you the same results.  In the Mets case, that isn't a good thing, so it is time to try a different approach.  My early vote is for Ben Cherington who was Theo Epstein's successor in Boston (2011 through 2015) and is now the Vice President of baseball operations for the Toronto Blue Jays.  He may or may not want to leave Toronto, but he should be on the Mets' short list.

4.  This may not be a popular opinion, but I really wish David Wright would hang up his spikes already.  Yes, he is on the comeback trail and it is admirable that he hasn't quit, despite all of the setbacks he has had to endure.  But, do you really think he is capable of playing at the major league level at this point?  Or, could he even come close to what he used to be capable of?  I prefer to remember him in his prime as opposed to a shell of his former self, which is likely what we are about to see.  Early returns are not promising to put it bluntly.

Sadly, I wonder if the Wilpons are allowing this story to develop in order to "sell" the idea of David's last "appearance" as a Met before he rides off into the sunset?  Or, as Mack has previously stated, maybe this is the reason Jose Reyes is still around?  One last glimpse at what was supposed to be the left side of our infield for fifteen plus years.

5.  In an effort to close this out with a more positive vibe, it was nice to see the Mets beat the Yankees this past Monday night.  Jake looked solid and we actually scored some runs for him!  Heck, it makes you wonder how much better our offense would be if we played in a band box of a stadium like our crosstown rivals.  If nothing else, the relatively meaningless win split the season series with the Yankees, which is a "win" in an otherwise down year. 




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8/15/18

Tom Brennan - ROSS ADOLPH NY PENN LEAGUE ALL STAR MVP

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Tom Brennan - ROSS ADOLPH NY PENN LEAGUE ALL STAR MVP

Congrats to Ross Adolph for his well-deserved MVP in the NY Penn League All Star game.

Ross socked a 2 run triple and a solo homer in the contest.

A 6'1", 203 21 year old speedster and lefty bat, Adolph's triple was his NINTH this season in just 43 games including the All Star game.

In the 42 official games this year, he has had 5 doubles, 8 triples, 2 homers and 7 of 9 in steals, and is at a respectable .261/.324/.433.

So far so good for the 12th rounder from Ohio.  Looking forward to more.
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Jack Flynn- September Callups

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The July trade deadline has passed, and the August trade deadline is approaching. It’s possible that the Mets will be able to move Devin Mesoraco or Jose Bautista before August 31, but the return will not be for anyone to get excited about.

At this point, perhaps all that’s left to look forward to in 2018 is the September 1 roster expansion, and who the Mets will add to the big club.

It’s important to first note that the Mets cannot simply call up whoever they want from Las Vegas or Binghamton. Any player the Mets promote must already be on the 40-man roster, or added to the 40-man roster. The Mets will likely recall two or three pitchers – perhaps a starter and two relievers – but there are only five position players on the 40-man roster that aren’t already in Queens.

The calls for Peter Alonso continue to resonate, but he is not on the 40-man roster and so a recall is not as automatic as it may seem. Realistically, unless Mesoraco or Bautista is traded, the Mets only have room to create two new spaces – one by placing Philip Evans on the 60-day disabled list, and the other by releasing Jack Reinheimer.

I’ll preface this by saying that I trust a scout’s eye more than a Baseball Reference page, but from my limited vantage point Reinheimer certainly appears to be expendable. The Mets have plenty of light-hitting utility infielders in the organization who can pick it at second base, third base and shortstop well enough to be a backup in Queens in 2019.

Jose Reyes is still on the roster – and if the Mets have stuck with him this long, you can bet that he’ll be here until the end of the season. Luis Guillorme looks like he’ll be in Queens for the rest of 2018 as well (update: optioned to Las Vegas), now that Asdrubal Cabrera has been traded. Gavin Cecchini is already on the 40-man roster, but he isn’t an obvious upgrade over Guillorme.

It’s hard to see how Reinheimer fits in this organization, given that his skill set is being replicated by Guillorme and Cecchini. I have to wonder if the Mets actually intend to recall him in September to see if he can leapfrog those guys on the utility infielder depth chart (update: promoted this week).

If indeed Reinheimer takes the roster spot currently inhabited by Evans, it would seem that Mesoraco or Bautista would have to be traded or released to clear space for Alonso. Of course, the Mets will likely want to carry three catchers in September, so the Mesoraco spot is more likely to be filled by Jose Lobaton or Johnny Monell to achieve that purpose.

Presumably Jay Bruce will be among the position player recalls; it makes zero sense to recall him before the roster expansion given that he has been out of action since mid-June and would benefit from a lengthy rehab stint. You can expect to see him back in a Mets uniform on September 1.

Dominic Smith will likely be recalled as well. Wilmer Flores has done a fine job at first base, but everyone knows that Flores is not the future at this position. Smith probably isn’t the future either, but the Mets haven’t finished completely destroying his trade value yet and can be counted on to use the month of September to find new ways to make Smith untradeable. Perhaps Smith can play once a week in left field exclusively against the best left-handed starters in the National League to achieve that end.

Bruce and Smith would join Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Austin Jackson in the outfield, which would then make Bautista expendable and open up a roster spot for Alonso. At this point, it may Alonso’s only path forward in 2018.
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Reese Kaplan -- One Radical Idea (and a Few Others)

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As much as it hurts me to think like a Wilpon or a Ricco, I believe I have come up with a good idea that warrants some serious consideration. 

First, let’s get the whole Pete Alonso thing off the table.  He’s not on the 40-man roster.  He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man roster this winter, so keeping him off of it preserves a space to protect another player.  Holding him back for a few weeks in 2019 gets the Mets another year of financial control.  Consequently, don’t expect to see him for a September cup of coffee, let alone an August call-up. 

Next comes the fan favorite, Wilmer Flores.  There are a couple of issues at play here.  First, of course, is his Michael Jackson impression with a glove that he wears for no apparent reason.  We all felt that 1st base was the least defensively challenging position on the diamond yet Wilmer has demonstrated that if you build a better mousetrap he’s simply a more clever mouse, discovering new ways to botch plays. 

Now he’s your best right-handed hitter with Yoenis Cespedes on the shelf, so his bat has been fairly essential to the rare times they win ballgames.  He’s currently producing to the tune of .273/10/39 in fewer than 300 ABs.  That’s a pace of 20 HRs and 78 RBIs over the course of a full season…perhaps a bit light for a first baseman, but by Mets standards that’s downright formidable.  Oh yeah, he’s also struck out just 30 times while walking 26.  That means for a 20 HR hitter he’d strike out only 60 times over the course of a full season.  Any way you slice it, that’s solid offensive production.

Here therein lies the rub.  If he’s not suited to playing the field and already earns $3.4 million heading into another arbitration year, then perhaps the best bet for the team who is clearly out of any dream of contention is to bench him.  Hear me out.

He’s not doing the pitchers any favors with his defense. The more he racks up numbers, the more a potential arbiter will look to reward him for it.  If he’s not considered the long-term option at 1st base, 2nd base, SS or 3rd base, then he’s either trade bait or a bench player.  Isn’t that all correct?   Benching him suppresses his potential salary which makes him more attractive in trade as well.



The answer should be to promote not Pete Alonso but Dominic Smith.  Again, hear me out.  He’s not exactly performing at the same level as Alonso, but he is already on the 40-man roster.  Right now you have a need to see what he can do lest he become the next Gavin Cecchini of lost cause high draft picks.  If he flops, then you write him off as a bad pick.  If he succeeds, then he becomes desirable for other teams in quest of a cost-controllable asset.  Right now playing in AAA in the .260 range he doesn’t represent a future in Queens nor in any of the other 29 major league locations. 

Now the other part of this equation is getting Jay Bruce back as quickly as possible.  The thought here is pretty much the same.  He needs to demonstrate his power production in order to be either penciled into the plans for 2019 or to become a lefty slugger another team could use. 

Moving his contract will not be easy but if he has a productive September, it’s not impossible.  Find another team’s bad contract and do a classic change-of-scenery deal.  A relief pitcher like Mark Melancon is owed the exact same $28 million as Bruce for the next two years. 

Bryan Shaw who thrived under Mickey Callaway is having a nightmarish season in Colorado.  Maybe the Rockies would like to be out from under the $17.5 plus $2 million option over the next two years.  In that one you might have to sweeten the deal a bit to even out the money.  Maybe throwing in a cost-controlled young player would get them to bite.  Hint – Dom Smith, Gavin Cecchini…

Please, can we stop with the Joses?  Bautista and Reyes are both wastes of roster space whose time is long past due.  Please play Jeff McNeil and Todd Frazier day in and day out for different reasons.  In McNeil’s case, let’s see if he is indeed the late blooming answer to 2nd base.  In Frazier’s case, let’s see if he can at least display his power which might entice another team to take on his final year salary. 

Austin Jackson has been a nice story.  So was Nori Aoki.  The said sayonara to the latter at season's end.  They should do the same with this year's version.  He doesn't need to play either.

Finally, and this one is not new, PLEASE let Corey Oswalt stay in the rotation even if Steven Matz returns. Last night's solid start notwithstanding, Jason Vargas is the very definition of a sunk cost.  Perhaps recast as a relief pitcher could help him regain whatever it was he once had (though the numbers suggest it was never very much).  You need to find out what Oswalt can do.  You know what Vargas is.  (Choose your own expletive). 

There is a minor problem with this approach.  Between Smith, McNeil, Bruce, Conforto and Nimmo you're tilting very heavily towards the left side.  Still, at this point in the season I am less concerned about winning than I am about planning for the future.  In addition, how will you know if these lefties can hit left handed pitching unless they get to face it regularly?  





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8/14/18

Mike Freire - MLB Seasonal Update (67%)

4 comments


OK, so the title may look a bit odd, but Major League Baseball recently passed the 67% mark for the season as it continues to move towards the month of September. As with most years, there are interesting story lines and very intriguing “potential” playoff match ups that are starting to come into focus.  Despite the fact that the best part of the baseball calendar has to compete with College and Professional Football, this year is shaping up to be something special in my opinion.

***Unless you are a Mets’ fan, but I would like to think that in a down year we can still appreciate “good baseball” while we start to plan for 2019.  At worst it will serve as a distraction from the daily mess that we normally focus on.  Since I can get a bit “wordy” at times, I will focus on both league’s playoff pictures instead of everyone’s individual record, etc.  
With that said, here we go;

American League (current standings and projected records)

1.     Boston           80-34  (.704)      114-48
2.     Houston         73-42  (.635)      103-59
3.     Cleveland      62-50  (.554)       90-72

W1.  New York      70-42  (.625)       101-61
W2.  Oakland        67-47  (.588)        95-67

***    Seattle           65-49  (.570)       92-70 

All three of the division leaders have at least a 5.5 game lead, so we may not get much drama during the Divisional races, but the Wild Card race has three teams separated by six games for two spots which should be more interesting.

On first blush, you HAVE to be impressed with the Red Sox to date!  Even though saying that makes me want to throw up, a winning percentage of .702 is ridiculous. They are on pace to win 114 games in the regular season and their recent four game sweep of their arch rival Yankees has to make them the current favorites for the title, if we are handicapping the race today.
***If you recall, the juggernaut 1986 Mets only won 108 games during the regular season, for comparison's sake.

You also have two additional AL teams that could win over 100 games in the regular season, with the defending champion Astros still looking quite formidable and the aforementioned Yankees on pace to host the Wild Card match up.  Beyond that, Oakland has seemingly come out of nowhere and they are playing very well.  Heck, even Seattle is on pace to win over 90 games and they would be out of the playoffs if things ended today.  Cleveland is fortunate they are playing in a very poor division, since they would otherwise be out of the running at this point (but all you have to do is get into the tournament).

New York would host Oakland in the Wild Card, with the winner going to Boston for the Divisional Series.  Houston would host Cleveland in the other Divisional Series and the winners would meet in the ALCS.  Houston and Boston could potentially meet in the ALCS in what could be an epic battle.

National League (current standings and projected records)

1.     Chicago          66-47  (.584)       95-67
2.    Philadelphia    64-49  (.566)       92-70
3.    Los Angeles    63-51  (.554)        90-72

W1.  Milwaukee     65-51  (.560)        91-71
W2.  Atlanta           61-49  (.555)       90-72

***There are six additional teams that are playing .500 baseball or better, that are right on Atlanta’s bumper. 

Unlike the American League, all three of the division leaders have very small leads (2.5 games maximum), so we will likely have an interesting divisional chase in the National League.  Additionally, the Wild Card race should be even crazier since all of the following teams are within seven games of the current leaders; Arizona, Colorado, St Louis, Washington, Pittsburgh and San Francisco (or in other words, NINE teams battling for two spots).

Also unlike the American League, there is quite a bit of parity in the National League and that leads to “ordinary” records.  As you can see above, Chicago has the best record in the league so far and they would be the second Wild Card team in the American League.  Or, put another way, the Yankees who are a Wild Card team in the American League (not to mention they are a country mile behind the Red Sox in the AL East), would have the best record in the National League by 4.5 games at this juncture.

Milwaukee would host Atlanta in the Wild Card, with the winner going to Chicago for the Divisional Series.  Philadelphia would host Los Angeles in the other Divisional Series and the winners would meet in the NLCS.  Picking the NLCS is much more difficult, but if we rely on the home teams for now, you could have the Phillies and Cubs going at it for a chance to get the crap kicked out of themselves in the World Series against either Boston or Houston. 

Should be very interesting, to say the least.

On a side note, since you might be curious, here’s how the Mets currently stand;

New York Mets     46-65   (.414)      67-95

***They are currently sporting the seventh worst record in all of baseball, but with a bit more effort they could “climb” as high as third or fourth worst by season’s end.  While that record sucks, at this point they should be focused on the best possible draft pick in 2019 as a part of the “rebuild” (if the Front Office allows me to say that word).

Oh and in closing, IF the Mets had simply played .500 baseball after their original 11-1 start to the year, they would currently have a record of 61-50 which would put them on pace for an 89-73 record by the end of the season.   That record would also put them in contention for both the NL East title and/or a Wild Card berth (i.e. “meaningful” games late in the year).

In short, 2018 will be remembered as a wasted opportunity for the Mets, but hopefully next year will be different (fingers crossed).  Do yourself a favor and enjoy some of the other story lines for the rest of this year.   

2019 will be here soon enough.

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Tom Brennan - DAVE AND JOSE

17 comments


Tom Brennan - DAVE AND JOSE

Ten-to-twelve years ago, Jose Reyes and David Wright were perhaps the most coveted left side of the infield of any team in baseball (except, perhaps, for Jeter and A Rod from a nearby club.  

Arguably the best left side IF tandem the Mets ever had.

2018 is a different story.  Jose again has proven that he needs 5 months of spring training (Feb-June) to get rolling.  

This year, he was hitting a sub-anemic .139 through June 9. 

In case you are calendar-challenged, that is roughly 73 days (40%) into this 180+ day long season.   

Since then, once-fast-twitch Jose is 23 for 99 (.232), an acceptable pace for a whole season from a utility player, but the first 73 days count.  

Jose thru August 12 is hitting .193 with 12 RBIs in 171 ABs. 


Grade? F.

Last season? 

Hitting as low as .199 as late as June 29 ,roughly the season's halfway point.  

After hitting a Mets-season-damaging .095 through April 22. 

He did get hot during essentially meaningless late season games to finish at .246.  

Probably he deserves a C+ season overall for 2017, but since timing is everything, and when the season was early, potential-filled, and in the balance, he (and Curtis Granderson) did not hit  a lick, as the team sunk early:


I give Jose a C- for 2017.

Many of us wondered frequently and aloud this year as to why Jose Reyes is still with the team, given his comatose early season starts in 2018.

Answer? 

Almost definitely management envisioning a David Wright and Jose Reyes nostalgia and honor tour in September.

So let's move on to Wright.  David played his first minor league rehab game on August 12, with an eye on a September return.  The odds of David playing beyond 2018 seem extremely long, having only played 75 of a possible 600+ games since the beginning of 2015.  



David also turns 36 in December, around the same time as Reyes, an age where baseball becomes challenging for really healthy guys, and almost insurmountably tough for a guy like David who has faced his severe health challenges.

It will be indeed nostalgic and touching to see both of these players, once considered by me to be potential Hall of Famers if everything went right in their careers. 


Sadly, it has not gone that way for either player.  

We will (assuming Wright can get ready enough to be activated in September) get our chance to applaud and think of what might have been.


Then hopefully both will retire.

Then let's turn the page to 2019.   

This team has a lot of work to do.


TIM TEBOW: happy 31st birthday. 

Hope the healing process accelerates.

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