Reese Kaplan -- How Best to Play Out the String


With the trading deadline having come and gone with minimal action for the Mets, it’s time to look ahead to August where they may be some waiver wire players being showcased for deals and then to September when all bets are off and the club SHOULD be playing all of its kids to see if they could be a part of the future.


Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista would seem to headline the Waiver Wire Wonders.  What that means is that as much as you’d like to see Kevin Plawecki get a steady diet of ABs to determine if he’s indeed turned an offensive corner, Mesoraco’s contract is expiring and he could potentially help a contender in their playoff push.  Consequently I think you’ll see him getting more of the load than Plawecki until he departs.

Jose Bautista’s presence in the lineup should be fairly steady at the expense of new comer Austin Aoki.  Although Brandon Nimmo is slumping and Michael Conforto’s recent surge still has him performing at a below average (for him) level, that leaves just one outfield position for two over-the-hill players.  Kevin Kaczmarski has been purged from the 40-man roster despite providing offense to the tune of .357.  Nah, the team doesn’t need that offense…after all, they have no trouble scoring runs, right?  Besides, Austin Jackson and his -1.4 WAR score really needs to play…

That being said, Bautista has shown some power if not much else during his Mets tenure.  Ironically people are praising the job he’s doing as a Met – a (cough, cough) heady .219 with 6 HRs and 24 RBIs.  He has drawn 38 walks but otherwise despite his positive press clippings, he’s been a waste of roster space. 

By contrast the same people were ready to ride Adrian Gonzalez out of town, lighting the way with torches when he provided .237/6/26 in the exact same number of ABs.  Here’s a hint, Stooges, NEITHER ONE is part of the future, NEITHER ONE should have been put on the roster in first place and NEITHER ONE did anything to warrant being there.  Take a lesson from Gonzalez and cut Bautista loose or trade him for the proverbial bag of balls. 

Actually, after failing to run out a passed ball on strike three, the Mets have a low-risk way to send a powerful message to the rest of the team and the fans that they won't tolerate people who simply phone it in without effort.  Cut him immediately and declare that is why.  Whatever happened to the narrative about changing the culture, anyway?

Another waiver wire possibility is Jerry Blevins, but his very poor performance until lately might be off-putting to other teams.


There’s a theory being bandied about that the reason they’re keeping Jose Reyes around is the slimmest hope that both he and David Wright can play an inning together before both limping off into the sunset.  Yup, that would sell some jerseys and tickets, but it’s that shortsighted thinking instead of seeing who can be part of the future that condemns the team to the second division year after year.

Assuming they do dispatch both Mesoraco and Bautista in some fashion during August, then in September you would likely want to see a lineup that includes Peter Alonso and Dominic Smith.  To do so would force Smith to the outfield ahead of Norichiki Jackson, or he would be a platoon partner at 1st base. 

In either case it would mean a return to the bench for the team’s most productive hitter, Wilmer Flores.  Although I’ve long been Flores’ biggest supporter, I can see the rationale for doing so.  His glove has been worse lately than ever at arguably the least challenging position.  The raw power of Alonso is enticing (as is his minimum wage salary).  Flores will be pushing the $4 million threshold next season and the small-market Mets may not want to commit that much to a role player (since they’re already saddled with a $9 million one in Juan “DL” Lagares).  Perhaps there is an AL team in need of a DH who would find Flores a good fit.

Second base should belong to Jeff McNeil for the rest of the season now that Todd Frazier is back at 3B.  Frazier may or may not be a part of the 2019 team.  His contract is minimal enough that the cost wouldn’t dissuade another team, but at the same time his production this year might. 

Kevin Plawecki will be in his September “do or die” position of showing whether or not, as Mickey Callaway offered, he can be a number one catcher.  Travis d’Arnaud is likely a non-tender candidate next year as his TJS will make him unavailable for the earlier part of the season.  Perhaps in doing so they might retain him but at a lower salary level since he cannot play and has not played more than he has since coming to the organization.  Tomas Nido has had a nice offensive year in AA but won't get to demonstrate what he can do against big league pitching unless Terry II actually pencils him into the lineup regularly.

On the pitching front you need to see Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler for sure.  Jason Vargas, despite his odiferous performance, needs to pitch in order to ascertain whether or not he should be a part of the roster next year.  (I know, I know – the Wilpons don’t cut people loose and recognize the concept of a sunk cost.  If they did, Jose Reyes would be long gone, too). 

With Steven Matz on the shelf it once again raises the question or who belongs in the extra starting rotation slot.  The Mets are likely to go with Seth Lugo and test drive another failed reliever.  The smarter move would seem to be Corey Oswalt who was doing well, so naturally was banished to the minors.  In either case, you need to see Lugo and/or Oswalt as much as possible to determine whether or not trading away one of the top three starters would create a hole in the Mets’ ozone that can’t be fixed with duct tape.   

The current Mets bullpen is, to be charitable, a work in progress.  Anthony Swarzak seems to be getting the closing opportunities, but that’s a bit shortsighted as he was signed to be a setup guy, not THE guy.  One would think Bobby Wahl and/or Drew Smith should get the call to see how they respond to the challenge.  Wahl needs to harness his control lest he be less “Wild Thing” and more “Smoker”.  Josh had posted similar strikeout numbers but wasn’t able to succeed on K’s alone. 

The rest of the pen has been on the Vegas shuttle most of the year, including Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, Tim Peterson, Jacob Rhame and Gerson Bautista.  I know there’s some implicit pressure to see Rhame, Bautista and others from the 2017 fire sale succeed, but silly me thinks you want to play the people getting it done, not trying to justify your poor judgment. 

At one interval earlier in the year Robert Gsellman was Mr. Automatic, effortlessly retiring whomever he faced.  Then he hit a wall but has had some good outings of late, too.  I'm not sure what role he has for 2019 but he might be someone to test drive as a closer, too.  

Of course, the Mets being the Mets will likely play a September lineup that includes the likes of Jose Reyes and Austin Jackson, with Swarzak continuing to get the call as closer.   


Thomas Brennan said...

Jose Reyes will be starting and batting clean up on opening day.

Jose Bautista has figured out how to be valuable: stay healthy while 42,000 Mets get hurt. Many, but not all, of those 42,000 are pained fans.

What a dreary mess.

Is my math correct? DeGrom is 1-7 in his last 8 decisions? That is the Mets, personified. Excruciating.

Gary Seagren said...

They've decided to tank because why else would you be playing Joey Bats, JR and Austin Aoki? Fact is there is no plan and no "one voice" in the front office to make decisions. The only hope is a real solid GM choice this off season...well I can hope can't I it's all I have.

bob gregory said...

I think the best option is for the Mets to just call it a season.

Just pack it all in and go home. Forfeit the remainder of their games.

There is nothing to be gained out of participating in the final months (yes, unbelievably as it may sound there are MONTHS left of meaningless baseball yet AGAIN!).

It is always pointed out that September baseball performances are really not indicative of a players evaluation.

A new GM will be taking over, so any evaluations that may be somewhat beneficial will be wasted on outgoing decision makers (YAY!!!!).

As pointed out in the article, the whole month of August will see veterans that the organization is simply looking to move to save payroll, monopolizing playing time that could provide experience to younger players. Facing the truth, any return from these trades will prove marginal at best in terms of talent.

By playing out the rest of the season, it just provides additional injury opportunities. Every game that deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, and Matz finish healthy will result in a collective sigh of relief through what remains of the beleaguered Met fanbase.

So, as a fan that really cares I beg please, end the 2018 season and move on before the organization creates anymore irreparable damage.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

Boy, I do give you credit at this junk-ture.

I don't know how you keep churning out these posts.

Thomas Brennan said...

The Mets have 57 games left. I doubt, based on who the will be playing, most of them superior teams, that the Mets will win 20 of them. 100 losses is a real possibility. Get the 4th pick.

TP said...

This has been amongst the worst weeks in the history of the franchise. Their words ring hollow and their actions demonstrate no plan. Syndergaard was beaten by Milone and DeGrom beaten by Sanchez following their worst loss ever. Their SS, a consensus top 5 prospect at the beginning of the season, is being held out of 2 games a week for baseball lessons. Has this ever happened before in baseball history? Or this, with playing 30+ guys, “the plan”?

Reese Kaplan said...

Who will take my bet that John Ricco will be named the GM after an "exhaustive" search outside the organization? Anyone? Bueller???

Thomas Brennan said...

TP, the plan is to give lots of players a chance in the big leagues. What franchise has over 50 players on the 25 man roster at some point before Aug. 1?

The top 4 minors teams are 37 below .500. Awful.

Thankful that the 3 rookie teams are 67-59 so far.

Anonymous said...


Frickin' stinkin' Red Sox are winning again! I cannot stand it!


Sydney Gerstenowitz

"Troubled Yankee Fan"

Anonymous said...

Oh great. Now the Yankees are tied with Texas. Just great! Zach Britton is horrible! Trade him to the Mets! Get deGrom!

Yankee Fan
Big Mike's Doughnut Shop

Anonymous said...

Bob Jack Gregory's Post

It is pretty much true on the veteran players being showcased and shopped, but they have to be because this current group (other than JBats) is pretty much injury prone and I heard that the meds bill here for this one season was almost a half-million dollars for such things as crutches, ace bandages, back massages, Bengay (guess which player), anus suppositories, foot massages, cartilage hefty bags, hair dye, and whatever Jerry was putting on Keith's feet that day!.

This obviously cannot go on indefinitely here. Something has to be done!

Mack's Mets © 2012