Reese Kaplan -- The Summer of 2017 Deja Vu


In mid-July I took a 2-week trip to Scandinavia, cruising around the Baltic in Noah Syndergaard’s ancestral homeland.  Unfortunately I didn’t stumble across any new 100-mph pitchers while there, but apparently a number of changes transpired in my absence.  With Internet access on the ship running about $30 per day, I was offline until very recently.  Help me see if I’m all caught up.

Jeff McNeil finally got his long overdue call up to the majors.  Apparently the Three Stooges decided that a .400 hitter with power might be a better bet to fill in than Ty Kelly.  They’re a little slow on the uptake but overdue is better than never, I suppose. 

When Yoenis Cespedes made his token appearance against the Yankees he then revealed he had had calcification issues in both heels that will require surgery, thus ending not only his 2018 season but perhaps the lion’s share of 2019 as well.  Not only is this news not a revelation, but apparently it was part of the medical review before signing him to his 4-year deal.  Ummm…does anyone else think that Sandy Alderson was asleep at the wheel once again to hand out that kind of contract to someone with known major health risks.  Wait, I’ve seen this movie before…except that time it starred David Wright.

So to address the potential void in the outfield, the Mets parted ways with Matt den Dekker and now are planning to give at-bats to Norichiki Jackson (or is it Austin Aoki?)  Rather than use the balance of the season to evaluate other outfield options, they again go back to the veteran minimum wage scrap heap to pick up the twice released outfielder…there’s the slow learning referenced earlier once again rearing its ugly head.

The bullpen has apparently been a disaster area with pretty much everyone other than Seth Lugo throwing gasoline, napalm or kerosene on the fire when summoned to extinguish whatever conflagration has engulfed them.  Surprisingly, Anthony Swarzak has put in a three consecutive solid outings.  Baby steps…

Let’s talk about the trades that the Three Stooges have consummated thus far.  Jeurys Familia’s move to Oakland for Bobby Wahl, a mediocre hitting third baseman by the name of Will Toffey  and $1 million in international bonus pool money is not awful.  Obviously the refusal to pay down any salary waters down the level of return to be expected in any rental trade.  However, Wahl has the potential to be a closer if his sore arm doesn’t do him in prematurely.  The strikeout numbers are sick – over 14 per 9 IP in AAA, so you have potential closer material there since they are not willing to let youngsters like Drew Smith get a shot at it.  You also have Jenrry Mejia coming back next year to fulfill some kind of role.  The third baseman is a radical departure for the team philosophically as he plays solid defense and is more of a contact hitter than an all or nothing slugger.  However, his production thus far in his career doesn’t suggest much potential to improve.  The key to this deal is the $1 million of pool money.  Not only didn’t they once again spend down but they also received money to get more low-cost talent from overseas.  There’s probably a 27th shortstop waiting to be drafted and signed.  Not spending and getting money is a Jeff Wilpon wet dream.

Then there’s the Cabrera deal.  This one is much harder to justify.  Yes, Franklyn Kilome is high on some prospect lists and you can’t teach velocity.  However, you would think that you can teach control and thus far the Phillies failed the 23-year old in this regard.  He’s averaging 4.5 walks per 9 IP and that’s a tough way to try to earn a living.  Perhaps that’s why, despite formidable speed he’s not registered notable strikeout totals nor great WHIP numbers.  For his minor league career he’s only fanning under 8 per 9 IP and he’s also laboring with a 1.386 WHIP.  His 3.51 ERA for his career is pretty good but his recent AA number of 4.24 is not.  If he’s not striking people out and he’s giving up nearly a hit per IP, then to me he doesn’t look to be a great prospect.  As the club learned after last year’s disastrous fire sale, hard throwing is not a guarantee of success.  The Mets saved $5.9 million in salary between these two deals yet you’d be hard pressed to find people celebrating the returns.  Once again the stubborn refusal to pay down existing salaries is eerily reminiscent of 2017 and the returns parallel that era as well.

Noah Syndergaard's bizarre hand, foot and mouth disease put him again on the DL after returning for just two starts when his 7 week sabbatical for a finger injury kept him out of the rotation.  He did accomplish one thing – pretty much assured himself that he’s going to remain on the Mets and not be traded away as he hasn’t shown other clubs he’s healthy enough to assist them in their post-season push. 

Then there’s the Twilight Zone fate of poor Corey Oswalt who in his last 4 starts gave up 2, 3, 1 and 2 runs, earning the win against the Padres in his last start, so of course the Mets decide they’re better with him pitching in AAA in the hell of Las Vegas than in the rotation in Queens to see if he’s for real or doing it with mirrors.  Only the Three Stooges could think this move makes sense. 

Apparently both Phil Evans and Luis Guillorme once again have made their way to the big club until T.J. Rivera is ready and then one of them hits the road.  Todd Frazier has started rehab games and Rivera after a setback is scheduled to begin them again next week as well.  Jay Bruce (remember him?) is also set to begin rehab soon alongside David Wright. 

They're once again likely repeating the David Wright mistake of having no money and no depth, so instead of trading a player at his peak to restock the farm system, they're intending to keep Jacob deGrom at whatever high cost he's going to command and play out the string with a lineup of has-beens and never-was types.  

The roster right now still includes Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista is in the lineup nearly every day.  Devin Mesoraco's contract is expiring yet he's still here. That’s how you build for the future in a lost season, right?  I have seen this movie before, too…it was last summer’s blockbuster smash. The Three Stooges need to be put on the last train to Clarksville ASAP. 

Did I miss anything (other than Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto showing signs of life and Wilmer Flores once again demonstrating he should have been in the lineup all along)?


Tom Brennan said...

Take out the one bad Oswalt outing and he has 5 solid ones. He deserves better - better should come soon. But he is up against the Mets attempt to get Vargas going, near 100 games into the season, to improve their ahem "investment"

Jennry Mejia may be part of next year's solution - his time off parallels the amount of time off WWII vets missed, and it seems a lot of them returned and picked right up where they left off - hopefully, Mejia will too.


Mack Ade said...


you got it all.

Hang on...

today could get bumpy...

Reese Kaplan said...

Well, trading Mesoraco and seeing Nido again makes sense, so that won't happen.

Trading Bautista to give ABs to Smith or Kaczmarski makes sense, so that won't happen.

Trading deGrom to accelerate a rebuild makes sense, so that won't happen.

Trading Wheeler who costs little and is performing better than anyone not named deGrom makes no sense, so that will happen.

Mack Ade said...

Right now...

my 'educated guess' is nothing happens today

Viper said...

The Mets should extend Wheeler for 3 years and trade deGrom for a huge package.

What's the point of hanging on to deGrom when they can't score for him and lose the games anyway? I love deGrom too much to see him stay in this purgatory. Let him go to a team that will score for him and think enough of him to give him the extension he has earned and wants.

Besides, Syndergaard, Matz, Wheeler, Lugo, Oswalt isn't that bad for 2019 if you're not expected to win anyway.

Reese Kaplan said...

Viper for GM!

You make perfect sense which means it will never happen. There will be some 2nd and 3rd tier FA signings in the off-season to continue the delusion that we're just a player or two away.

Mack's Mets © 2012