While Grandpa Bart sits less than a month away from his 42nd birthday, the Mets continue to pay the senior pitcher portions of his 11 million dollar salary. Simultaneously, multiple top pitching prospects continue to hurl for Las Vegas, wasting years of their career pitching in the minors. It seems like a simple fix, right? Trade your ancient pitcher with the huge contract to make room for the young studs on their way up, right? Wrong, says the Mets. It’s easy to see the logic from their side too. Bartolo Colon is the leader of this pitching staff. The Opening Day starter is off to a 4-1 start, and let’s not mention his whopping TWO RBIs! (The rumblings of batting Bartolo cleanup during his starts have been oddly nonexistent). But there is more to Colon’s presence than just his pitching. As the oldest player not only on the team but in the entire league, Bartolo provides veteran leadership to a young pitching staff that may require it. He keeps the mood light, and is unfazed by anything that may happen during his time on the mound. This leadership may very well be the reason the Mets staff has done so well in the early going. At the same time, the Mets have some guys deserving of a rotation spot, yet have no real opportunity of earning one in the pros. Rafael Montero has pitched well out of the bullpen and in his lone start, but a shoulder issue has sent him to the shelf. Steven Matz is one deserving candidate, and a prime example of a forgotten man in the Mets organization. Or how about Noah Syndegaard? Remember him? Oh, you don’t. Okay, well his nickname is Thor. Still nothing? A five star prospect deemed the next Harvey? That isn’t helping either? How about that time when Bobby Parnell and David Wright threw his entire lunch away at Spring Training for disrespecting the team? Yeah, that guy. Talk about a forgotten man. The once hot commodity is far past ripe, and should be put to use before the fruits of his labor rot. Those fruits of his labor should be enjoyed in the Big Apple, where— what’s that? One too many fruit jokes? Okay gotcha. Sorry about that. Anyways, Syndegaard’s call up is long overdue. While it would be nice to see him or Steven Matz pitching off the Citi Field mound, there still isn’t an opportunity for them to do so. Trading Colon may seem like the right decision due to his age and salary, but the guy still has a lot left in the tank, and his leadership is definitely undervalued. The better decision would be ridding the Amazin’s of someone like Dillon Gee, a rotation filler on a team that doesn’t exactly need one. Matz and Syndegaard need to be patient; their times will come before they know it. The Mets are smart for deciding to keep Colon around, as his veteran presence may be just what the doctor ordered for a Mets team with playoff aspirations.
The Washington Nationals came to town on Thursday night and punched the Mets right in the mouth, serving notice to our heroes that the Eastern Division is far from won. It was also the Mets’ sixth loss in their last eight games, which has taken much of the shine off their recent 11-game winning streak.
To the Mets credit, they have taken action, calling up Dilson Herrera from Las Vegas and filtering through the media that Daniel Murphy is moving over to third, at least until David Wright returns. On one hand it is correct to state that injuries have finally caught up to the Mets and they are adjusting accordingly. But on the other hand, it is also correct to state that the makeover mentioned here earlier has begun.
One assumes Herrera is up here to play and that if he hits well enough he will stay in the lineup after Wright returns. This relegates Murphy to the 10th man role, a kind of 2015 version of Mark DeRosa, which I think is Murph’s ultimate ceiling. I feel bad for Daniel as this development is likely to cost him millions of dollars on the free agent market next winter, providing there is a team that would have been willing to give him a long-term deal. As it stands now, he is more likely to get a much lower set of offers.
Wilmer Flores’ error last night killed the Mets. Otherwise Jacob deGrom (who has pitched poorly for the second consecutive outing) would have been out of the inning unscathed. Instead, Washington put a three-spot in the board and were off and flying. The boo-birds quickly descended on Flores, which is a particularly bad sign. Flores probably has a week left to turn it around. I wonder if GM Sandy Alderson has had any conversations with his counterparts in Texas or Milwaukee about shortstop help in the event the white flag goes up early in either city.
Herrera is probably only the first farmhand from Vegas on his way here. Steven Matz absolutely dominated AAA Reno again on Thursday and looks to be ready. Jon Niese’s stinker on Sunday in Yankee Stadium was very disturbing and Matz could be here soon to replace Niese or Dillon Gee. A bit more of a longshot, but Michael Conforto has certainly looked great in Single-A. Normally, it’s a long way to the majors from there, but Conforto is a college hitter and there are plenty of examples of this type moving quickly through somebody’s system. Maybe Conforto gets a few weeks in Double-A first.
The past week has had me thinking that the Mets are frauds. They haven’t buried the Nationals and they haven’t even won the city back from the Yanks. They have in fact, looked very much like the Same Old Mets recently as the momentum of last month is quickly dissipating. It is heartening to see them making some effort to stem the tide.
What do you think? Time to bail on Flores? Will Alderson get another shortstop? Should they move Gee or Niese out of the rotation and replace him with Matz? Already thinking about football? Sound off below.
Marlins 7 Mets 3
It was a close game … until it wasn’t.
Author’s note: most of this post was written before Monday’s game. Kudos to Murph and Gee on their heroics. But it was only one game…
1984 will probably always be my favorite non-playoff Mets season. After seven years of failure, the team was very much fun to watch again and many now-legends in Met lore made their full-season debuts. Lost somewhat in obscurity however, is the re-tooling the Mets did in-season in 1984, cutting ties quickly with veteran players such as Dick Tidrow and Mike Torrez, as well as long-time Met Craig Swan well before the All-Star game. The team also relegated veterans Ron Hodges and Jerry Martin to the end of the bench, more content to give newer, fresher, faces a turn. I see a lot of 1984 on this year’s edition, including the fact that these Mets roster a few players whose time in New York has passed.
Exhibit #1 is Daniel Murphy. From 2009 until now, Murph was the quintessential good player on a bad team, kinda this era’s version of John Stearns. Both are the hard-nosed gung-ho types that kept horrific teams from losing 110 games. Stearns was “The Dude” of those early 1980’s teams; he broke Dave Parker’s cheekbone, tackled the Atlanta Braves’ outrageously un-PC mascot and set an NL record for stolen bases by a catcher. But he never hit enough (career 259/341/375 slash line) or fielded well enough to become a true star. His All-Star nominations, like Murphy’s last year, were mainly due to the fact that the Mets had to have some representation at the Midsummer Classic. Injuries ended John’s career and he is mainly forgotten as a Met, which is a real shame.
Murphy, while lacking Stearns’ combustibility, is a better hitter, but doesn’t hit enough to overcome the other holes in his game. This was OK for a team treading water (or sinking), but for a team poised to take the next step, Murphy is eminently replaceable. And the Mets have just the replacement on hand: second baseman Dilson Herrera is tearing up the PCL, a year after he tore up the Eastern League. Herrera has out-slashed Murphy the past two seasons and is a better fielder and a faster runner. I also think Murphy is nursing an injured hammy, which the team is trying to keep quiet. If they are unwilling to cut Murphy loose entirely, or trade him for some Low-A types, perhaps the Mets could DL Murph for 15 days and give Herrera a chance to Wally Pipp him.
Second on the list is Dillon Gee. The Mets looked smart at the beginning of the year for keeping Gee after Zack Wheeler went down. Despite the reprieve, Dillon has looked much like the guy he has always been: a cheap fill in on a bad team, but not a rotation arm on a team that expects to contend. Could you see Gee starting a playoff game? Me neither. Like Herrera, the Mets have such a much better option in lefty Steven Matz. You thought I was going to say Noah Syndergaard, no? Matz seems far more polished than “Thor” and looks ready to contribute now. I am starting to have my doubts about Syndergaard, on both sides of his right shoulder.
This next one pains me because we grew up in the same town, but Anthony Recker has become another relic and is most likely the first one on this list to go; which should be about the same time that Travis d’Arnaud returns from the DL. Unless the Mets feel that Kevin Plawecki is better served by getting more playing time in Vegas, I think the former Rough Rider is headed for the waiver wire. I have to give kudos to little ol’ Catasauqua for a moment: two major leaguers (Pat Kelly is the other one) in the last 30 years. Much more expansive programs in this region are still waiting for their first one.
Ruben Tejada and Bobby Parnell are two other Mets who should be renting, not buying, but they are more likely to stick through the season than the other three. The bad news for them, but good news for the Mets (and all of us) is that finally there are upgrades, instead of stopgaps available.
So what do you think? Time for Herrera and Matz? Keep or dump Murphy? Remember Dick Tidrow as a Met? Sound off below.
Don’t expect to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia in uniform for the Marlins this week — and it’s not because he’s still on paternity leave.
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This hat is called Nike New York Mets Royal Blue Heritage 86 Cooperstown Vintage Relaxed Mesh Back Adjustable Hat I kind of like the logo, don't you? Not sure I'm ready to go back to the mesh back and adjustable snap-back style that I wore exclusively from age 6 to 18. Retro is cool, I guess, but, isn't it lame ...
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