Leadership: What is it?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here I know, but this has been on my mind for some time and especially during the Mets recent atrocious skid.

So, What is leadership exactly? Is it showing a bright and happy face during Pre and Post game interviews? Is it keeping positive energy and good vibes during bad times? Lots of fans question whether the Mets have real leadership. While I can certainly understand why, I think fans need a real understanding on what leadership is.

Look no further than one Francisco Lindor, An on the Field leader who whenever he plays and is on the field, you see him calming guys down, reassuring his teammates, keeping positive vibes while at the same time, keeping it real and honest when things are rough. Now, that’s not a knock on Pete Alonso who is an optimist and likes to put a positive spin on things. Let it be known, there is nothing wrong with that at all. What fans are doing is destroying Pete Alonso for being positive and for him feeling like he doesn’t need to point out the obvious. Some players will call it like it is, some players will see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel (Positive outlook) and some players will be in the middle, Positive with some realistic view.

Here’s the issue though….Fans, Media, Talking heads, bloggers, myself included don’t know what goes on in the Clubhouse behind closed doors and we will never know. Are guys losing their minds? Are guys just Happy-go-Lucky? Is Luis Rojas digging it into them? Is he cheering the lack of Offense? We’ll never know and that’s something that benefits the team. What the fans, Media, Talking Heads, Bloggers don’t know is best. But let’s not take that too far, Remember the Rat/Raccoon fiasco? Everyone was miffed that the Mets weren’t “Honest” about what happened and honestly, good that they didn’t. Media, fans, Talking Heads and Bloggers have ways of blowing things out of proportion. But now I digress.

We’ve seen this team literally plummet harder than Tom Petty’s Free Falling and yet instead of being doom and gloom about it, the Mets as a whole are having positive energy. Hate him all you want, but Luis Rojas has kept his guys motivated through this awful stretch. Also, Even though the Mets are now 7 games back of the now First place Atlanta Braves, Rojas helped kept an injury riddled Mets team in First place for 90 consecutive days when the Mets were using their C and D squad players.

Now here’s the point I’m making. When Francisco Lindor went down with his oblique injury, It reflected on how much he was missed on the Field. It’s one thing to be in the Dugout on the Injured list and be a Leader, but there’s a Humongous difference when a star player or a Leader is on the field playing along side you. Examples are going to pitchers mound visits to reassure pitchers that everything’s going to be fine/helping him calm down and feed him a positive outlook on the situation. Since Lindor went down, the Leadership isn’t the same and other players have tried to take over that role in his absence.

Pete Alonso is one of those guys trying to “Hold down the Fort” so-to-speak. Is it working? I wouldn’t immediately shoot it down, but is he has good as Lindor? From what we can see, no he isn’t. Again, that’s not a knock against Alonso, He has his own way of being a Leader. The same goes with Luis Rojas, While it may look like he looks uninspiring, lost or even unintelligent, He knows what he’s doing (as far as what the analytics department allows him to do). In terms of keeping his team motivated, standing up for his guys and showing he believes in them, he’s got it down to a science. To question him on standing up for his players is ludicrous. You see it all the time when barking at umpires, questioning calls, you name it. His players could be 100% wrong in whatever play was made or with a call regarding a ball or strike, but he’ll go out there and fight for his guys. That’s what a real good manager does for his team. You also see that the players love playing for him and do whatever they can for him, including some late game rallies. That’s not saying they’ve been doing it recently, but The Players do love his influence as well as how he handles media and stands up for them.

While some fans, Media, Talking heads and bloggers may find this asinine and want Managers to be like those of the managers “back in the day” like Billy Martin, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter and some even may reference Wally Backman out of all names, Managers in today’s game simply don’t do that anymore, It’s one of the reasons why Joe Girardi was canned as Yankees manager. He called out Gary Sanchez a few times and the organization as well as the Player(s) hated that. While I admit that players should grow more of a backbone and suck it up, That’s how players are nowadays. There’s just no changing that and the game has changed dramatically.

Leadership now is how you defend your players, are there for your team and how you keep them motivated and how you face the Media at times. Whether you agree with it or not, that’s how the game has evolved now. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Leadership for an MLB team is also how you conduct yourself after a good or bad performance and how you respond to others or even how you talk to the Media. Most responses are PR responses/right things to say and you can certainly understand that, However there are something that players say that you really need to read between the lines with and not see it as a general statement or what fans claim as “Delusional” or “in Denial”.

I’ll reiterate, what fans, Media, Talking heads, bloggers don’t know what happens behind closed doors in the clubhouse is for the better. They don’t need to know and it’s best left to the Players, coaches, Manager, Front Office Executives and Owner(s).

Analytical Management: The New Feel For The Game.

Here’s a thought:

When the Mets fired Dave Eiland back in 2019, the pitching started to get better. His methods were “Old school” and players were having trouble adapting to his methods and teachings. When Phil Regan (GOAT/Vulture) took over, the Mets pitching seemed to have gotten better. Regan followed the Analytics while also implementing his own experience, but mostly putting the analytical data first.

Chili Davis and Tom Slater had old school methods and approaches. Now that they’re gone, the Mets are going with…You guessed it, more of an analytical approach. Hense why they brought Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard. Both worked in the Minor leagues. Hugh as the Minor League Coordinator and Howard as the Farm director….In other words, heavy in analytics.

The Struggles of Francisco Lindor didn’t help their case, but neither did the struggles of the offense as a whole, including struggling with RISP with the exception of recently in the Series win in Philadelphia.

As for Luis Rojas, his job is completely safe. He’s an analytics first manager like most in the league, meaning that most/If not all of his decisions are based off of Analytics. This includes writing the lineup (Written for him), In game decisions, which pitchers to bring in at which times, you name it. No manager has full say anymore in today’s game with everyone so heavily sold on analytics, with the exception being the Phillies in Joe Girardi, who demanded he have control of writing the lineup before he signed on to be the manager for Philly.

Although I don’t agree with it at all, MLB has been trending in this direction since if I were to guess, 2016/2017. The art of a manager actually managing a game, those days are long gone now. The manager is now a scapegoat while the analytics department gets the ultimate free pass. Every team now invests heavily in analytics. It’s the way of the game nowadays sadly. You can say to hell with the stats, but that’s ultimately what’s driving the game. It’s no longer a feel for the game anymore, unless you feel the analytics.

Long Term Lindor: The Mets Season Prediction(s)

Well, It certainly has been a long time since I wrote an article. I hope you’re all ready for an in depth analysis of the Mets season. No, I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of everything, but I will give you where the Mets will place in the Division as well as why I feel they will be where they’ll land and if they’ll make the playoffs or not. Before you ask….No, I will not go into individual player stats. It’s too tedious.

First, Let’s tackle the Mets recent signing shall we?

As of late March 31st, The Mets signed the Elite shortstop Francisco Lindor to a 10 year 341 Million Dollar extension which includes some deferred payments, a Limited 15 team no Trade clause from 2022 till 2025 and a Full no trade clause starting in 2026 till 2031. This deal was key for the Mets and especially for the Mets new Billionaire owner Steve Cohen. Lindor was a key acquisition in the off-season for the Mets as well as Carlos Carassco, who is currently on the Injured List due to a Torn hamstring. Lindor being locked up for 10 years (11 technically) shows how the Mets are committed long term to success and not mediocrity. The Mets look to compete for years to come and not just “Tread water” like they have for the past several years. This signing of Lindor set the market for other shortstops who are free agents this upcoming off-season such as Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and others. A Market for a Shortstop the Mets won’t have to worry about for a Long time.

On to the Prediction.

Where will the Mets place? Will they win the Division? Will they be bottom feeders? Will they be treading water? Will they be average at best?

My prediction for the Mets will be:

The Mets will finish in 2nd place of the National League East Division with around 86-92 wins with a Wild Card playoff spot. I find it very hard to believe that the Mets will topple the Braves for the 1st place spot in the division with the Braves being stacked. That’s no insult to the Mets, I just can’t envision a scenario where the Mets take the division against a Healthy Braves team. The only way I see the Mets taking the Division is if the Braves are overcome by a Bevy of injuries and the Mets go on an absolute torrent down the stretch from the word “Go”.

With that being said, The Mets will have their hands full with a very competitive National League East Division in the form of not only the Braves, but the Nationals (COVID Riddled right now) and the Phillies. I don’t think the Marlins will be as good as they were in the 60 game 2020 season, but I think they’ll make it difficult for other teams, a Pesky team is what I think the Marlins will be. A Team that won’t make the playoffs, but will be a thorn in your side.

I can definitely see a 4 way race to the Division with the Braves winning it overall, but I see more of a 3 way Race in the National League East for the second Wild Card spot for the National League between the Mets, Nationals and Phillies. Ultimately, I feel the Phillies will wet the bed during the final stretch and it’ll be the Mets and Nationals going neck and neck with the Mets pulling in front with the Last few games. I can’t see any teams from the National League Central Division or even the National League Western Division. The West will bring the Padres in the First Wild Card spot with the Dodgers in the driver’s seat for the division. As for the Central, I think it goes to the Cardinals, although I wouldn’t be surprised at all Cubs somehow pull away with the Division title.

Back to the Mets.

I know some people saw the Prediction based on whatever website it was saying the Mets would take away the East division with the Braves landing in fourth place. I don’t know who made that prediction nor do I want to know what they either Smoked, drank, snorted or gear cranked to make that prediction. I can tell you that The Mets don’t have a division winning roster at least in the Eastern Division. If they were in the American League West Division, American League Central Division, National League Central Divison or even a Braves-less National League East Division, I can see them Winning the division. This Braves team is just too good in my opinion.

Could the Mets win the Division? Absolutely! In 162 games, there’s always a chance (Unless you’re the Pittsburgh Pirates, Then you have no chance at winning more than 40 games or even 30 games for that matter). In all honesty, The Mets have a chance to win the Division, but I doubt they win it. But then again, in a 162 game season, anything can happen.

For now, I stand with my prediction and if anything drastically changes, You’ll see another long, well thought out article from me!

Enjoy Opening Day on Saturday (Hopefully and unfortunately) my Mets brothers and sisters! LETS GO METS!!!

Trevor Bauer: A Bullet Dodged

Since the beginning of the off-season, I have been 100% against the Mets signing Trevor Bauer, but since he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I feel like the Mets dodged a wicked bullet. Why you may ask? I’ll be glad to tell you.

The simple reason, he’s a head case, but that’s not to say he’s a bad person.

Here’s the in depth reason why the Mets dodged a wicked Bullet.

He’s a head case in the sense that he is very defensive on social media to anyone who isn’t a fan of his and is in love with his character on twitter based off of a 60 game, 11 start season. Keep in mind, during the 2020 season, he faced off against teams that were mostly “lightweights” from the National League Central Division and the American League Central Division. In his 11 starts last year Bauer only had to face the Brewers, Detroit, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cubs and the White Sox. In my opinion, the only two teams who were really good were the two Chicago teams in the Cubs and White Sox. There’s no denying that Bauer had a brilliant season, but it begs the question, would Bauer be able to keep it up for 20 more start equaling up to 31+ Starts?

I personally don’t think he would be able to keep up a great pace when facing stronger teams in the National League like the National League East and West where Bauer would have to face the Mets, Braves, Dodgers, Nationals, Rockies, Arizona, Padres, etc. I don’t think Bauer would be able to keep up the pace against teams that were much better than those in the Central with the exception being The Cubs.

So why was I so against Trevor Bauer coming to the Mets? You may remember recently that the Mets terminated Jared Porter from the GM position and ousted from the Mets because of his inappropriate texting to a reporter. Now, I’m not saying Trevor Bauer has done anything of that magnitude, but he has harassed a woman online who wasn’t a fan of his for over 12 hours. Bauer is very defensive about himself on social media and is usually quick to strike if you criticize him. This woman he harassed was a college student who clearly wasn’t a fan of his and made a tweet because she was an Astros fan. Bauer took that and ran with it so far that the woman had to block him on social media for a few reasons. The first was that Bauer was tweeting at her nonstop. After she blocked him, Bauer continued to tweet about her and even sent his followers to continue to harass her.

While he may have apologized several days later, this kind of behavior is unacceptable. It’s one thing to have a small back and forth and it being completely harmless, but it’s another to go off on her for over 12 hours and also sending your followers to continue the job for you. If the Mets signed Trevor Bauer, owner Steve Cohen would have to keep a very sharp eye on Bauer’s twitter activity.

Another reason why the Mets dodged the Bauer Bullet, is because his demands for payment were absolutely ludicrous. He was demanding 40 million dollars not only based on what he did in a 60 game season, but because his former college teammate Gerrit Cole makes 36 Million dollars with the Yankees. The issue is, I don’t think Bauer will be able to repeat his 2020 success for the simple reason being that 2021 will be a full 162 games season where he’ll face the entire National League as well as play interleague games against the American League West which contains the Astros, Rangers, Angels, Athletics and Mariners. While the AL West is no glorious division, it provides more competition in the Angels, Athletics and Astros than AL central had to offer.

The dodgers signed Trevor Bauer to a 3 year $102 million deal which gives him $40 million his first year and an opt out, $45 million the second year and an opt out. After that year, he’ll make $17 Million which will be surprising if he stays for a third unless injuries or a bad year happens. The Mets offer was similar in 3 years where he would’ve made $40 million the first year, $35 million the second year and $30 million the third year. After a great 11 starts against mostly weak teams, he’s just not worth of that kind of money. If Bauer puts up that kind of performance in a 162 game season, 30+ starts and maintained that, then I can agree with him getting a big deal, but even still, he’s not worth what he got.

Leading up to his signing with the Dodgers, Bauer gave the okay to his marketing team to push Mets and Dodgers apparel to troll both Mets and Dodger fans which included Bauer shirts, signed hats etc. Some time after he signed with the Dodgers, Bauer issued an apology to the Mets fans saying that he blamed reporting on the backlash. He also blamed his social media and marketing team, and claimed he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. I call BS. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he gave the okay for the marketing team to sell the Mets and Dodgers merchandise. His apology was a PR stunt to try and keep his social media character going and after words, he donated $10 grand to some New York non-profit charities. The only good gesture in his apology was the donations in my opinion. Aside from that, he made his reveal to the Dodgers “LeBron esque” with a YouTube reveal because he wanted all the attention. He got it alright.

The Mets are better off and honestly, I think after the trolling on social media, he would not be able to survive against the New York Media, especially if he didn’t put up respectable numbers for a “40 Million Dollar pitcher.” The media would eat him alive and he wouldn’t be able to handle it.

I wish Bauer nothing but the Best in LA. Do I think he’ll replicate his 2020 numbers? Absolutely not. Do I think he has a chance to be great? Absolutely. Do I think he’ll be better than Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, Clayton Kershaw or even Max Scherzer? I doubt it, but he has a chance to be….A very small one, but a chance nonetheless. I doubt he’ll ever be as great or even have the career those 4 pitchers have, but this is his chance to prove me wrong. If he doesn’t put up respectable numbers with the Dodgers and reverts back to his 4 ERA self, it’ll prove that 2020 was only a fluke due to it being a shortened season against a weak division and a weak interleague counterpart.

Cost of Luxury: The Tax & Reasoning.

So, the Mets have about 24 million dollars or so left to spend this year before reaching the Luxury Tax threshold and it’s already known that Cohen doesn’t want to go over it (at least for this year). This is something I’ve said since day one, that the Mets wouldn’t go over the luxury tax and stupid pay for players. With that being said, I doubt the Mets go after George Springer now and I think they go the route of Jackie Bradley Jr or at least Kevin Pillar on short term team friendly deals. As for the Bullpen, I think they go after Brad Hand and again, team friendly deal.

Call it being cheap or thinking like the Wilpons all you want, but the reality is that Cohen has said that he won’t spend like a Drunken Sailor and signing Springer to what he wants, as well as let’s say signing Bauer (who wants more than Gerrit Cole money) or LeMahieu (who wants 5 years 100 Million Dollars) would destroy the Mets chances in signing Lindor, Conforto, Syndergaard and Stroman long term.

Keep in mind that the Mets still have Cano’s contract starting next season if they don’t trade it away or buy it out somehow. This is why the Mets aren’t going after every high priced Free Agent out there. It wouldn’t make sense to sign everyone when now you have 4 key Free Agents whose contracts will expire come seasons end (unless signed prior to the season starting or in-season).

Remember, Cohen didn’t get to where he is by making stupid decisions and spending like an idiot. These signings are strategic. Why do you think the Mets went without signing JT Realmuto and instead signed the cheaper James McCann? One of two reasons:

A. McCann is loved by every pitcher he’s caught.

B. (and the most important). Realmuto didn’t want to sign immediately and he wanted to wait.

If the Mets had waited to sign Realmuto, they would’ve missed out on a cheaper alternative who costs less and is great with pitchers. Sure, McCann is 31 and signed a 4 year deal worth 10 million a year, but in the end, it’s a better option than paying Realmuto the 33 Million a year he wants for 6 years. Btw, he wants a historic deal, just saying.

Sign Lindor long term, then worry about Cano’s contract and how to get rid of it, that pave the way to sign Conforto long term and if Cohen wants to go over the luxury tax in 2022, so be it. That’ll give him all the room he wants to sign Syndergaard and Stroman long term if he decides to go that route.

Remember, the goal is to spend high, but spend smart and if that means the Mets have to get some “Meat and Potatoes” before shopping in the gourmet section, so be it. Sandy said it best at a press conference “We want to win the season, not win the off-season” smart words from a smart man.

Photo from Pixels.com

Mr. Smile and Say “Cookie”

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the surprising news that the Mets made one of, if not the most biggest splash of the 2021 off-season! The Mets acquired 4 time All-Star, 2 time Gold Glover, 2 time Silver Slugger and Platinum Glover shortstop Francisco Lindor and Right handed pitcher Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez and Gulf Coast League pitcher Josh Wolf and Gulf Coast League outfielder Isaiah Greene. An absolute Steal, a fleecing of the Cleveland Indians if you ask me.

This trade is one that surprised not only the entire state of New York, but The National League East and even the Entire League! What does this mean exactly? It means several things and I’ll dive deep into what this means so everyone can understand.

The First thing that this trade means is that the Mets are automatically projected to be a top contender not only for the National League East Division title, but also for National League Pennant and maybe even a World Series title. While trading away the depth in Rosario and Gimenez may hurt slightly, it’s a high reward that is more than worth the Price. If you’re wondering who will be the backup shortstop if Lindor goes down, 2nd Baseman if McNeil goes down or 3rd Baseman if Davis goes down, The answer has been on the Mets bench the entire time in the form of one Luis Guillorme. While he’s not the flashiest of players to be excited about, Guillorme is a stellar defensive player and his glove has proven more than effective when needed. Guillorme may not be the best offensive option for a team, if needed to be a defensive replacement or start for someone who’s injured, then he’s a perfect man for the Job. I’m sure that the Mets will sign some depth players to Minor League Deals in the coming weeks, but as of right now, all you have to worry about in terms of the infield, is the fact that the Mets have an Elite Shortstop, along with two great choices for First base in Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith, a hit machine in Jeff McNeil at Second Base and Power hitter 3rd Baseman in JD Davis.

When it comes to pitching now, acquiring Carlos Carrasco or “Cookie” as he’s known, helps the rotation in a Major way. Carrasco is a solid pitcher and fits exactly what the Mets need in a Middle of the Rotation arm. His ERA in 11 years in the big leagues is 3.77. A 3.77 ERA is quite the feat and for the Mets, Carassco does not cost the Mets much in terms of money, draft picks or years. The Former Indians pitcher has 2 years left on his contract, plus a club option for the 2023 season. The Mets with now acquiring Carlos Carrasco, don’t have to hilariously overpay for a pitcher in Free agency. If they wanted to, they can do one of two things in terms of rotation arms. Option one is rely on southpaw Steven Matz or right hander Seth Lugo to be the #5 starter and Option two is sign a Veteran to a short term, Team friendly deal such as Jake Odorizzi, Corey Kluber or even Taijuan Walker to be the #5 starter and have both Matz and Lugo in the Bullpen.

If the Mets decide to go the route of option one, then the #5 starter spot would be a temporary stay for Matz or Lugo until Noah Syndergaard eventually comes back from Tommy John Surgery, forcing Matz or Lugo back into the Pen eventually pushing David Peterson to be the #5 Starter with Syndergaard, Carrasco or Stroman to the #4 spot. Option two is a little complicated. Signing Odorizzi, Walker or Kluber would mean they’ll be mainstays in the rotation and most likely not go to the bullpen when Syndergaard returns. The likely situation would be sending lefty David Peterson to the Minor leagues when Syndergaard comes back. It’s doubtful to think that the Mets will go after Trevor Bauer, who wants more than Gerrit Cole money (over 36 Million Dollars a year). While Bauer may be good to have to some, Bauer comes with Baggage that I won’t get into again. You may refer back to other articles I’ve written on the matter. The likely scenario are letting Matz/Lugo as the temporary #5 or signings a veteran pitcher.

The Mets only need about two more pieces to add to their roster. One is a Center Fielder and the other is another reliever. Now, you may be asking “What if there is or isn’t a DH?” Well, I’ll get into that right now. There are some things that’ll happen, but I’ll go into the most likeliest of situations if there is and isn’t a DH.

Let’s start off if there is not a DH. If there isn’t a DH in the National League this year (Unlikely), I doubt the Mets will be in the Market for a center fielder, although it wouldn’t surprise me if they are. The likeliest of situations if there isn’t a DH, is the Mets will probably keep Brandon Nimmo in Center Field and have Dominic Smith play Left Field. I must mention though that Sandy Alderson said in a press conference that the Mets don’t see Dominic Smith in left field as an Ideal situation. Option two if there isn’t a DH, is either A: The Mets acquire a Center Fielder through signing or trade, or B: Have Nimmo play Center Field and have either Guillermo Heredia or Mallex Smith in Left Field. Again, it’s unlikely that the DH will not be back in the National League, but I find this to be the likely situation should the DH not come to the National League this year.

Now lets Dive into if the DH does indeed return to the National League (Likely). For Starters, The Mets will likely sign Francisco Lindor long term before Spring training starts. I find it hard to believe that the Mets gave up all that they did to have Lindor around for one year, but I digress. There are some routes the Mets can go and with updates going around about George Springer wanting $175 Million dollars over the course of 6 years (Around 30 Million Dollars per), I don’t think the Mets will spend that much for a Center Fielder, let alone a 31 year old Center Fielder. If George Springer were to get this deal, I tend to think that he will play Center Field for only 2-3 years before becoming a Corner outfielder. However, a scenario for the Mets is that they do sign George Springer for what he wants or less and he becomes the Mainstay in center field. If there is a DH, Springer will most likely be the starting Center Fielder, Brandon Nimmo will stay in Left field, Michael Conforto in Right Field and either Mallex Smith or Guillermo Heredia will be the 4th outfielder on the Bench. Another scenario is that the Mets will find a cheaper alternative in either Free agency or trade.

The other options for the Mets are Free Agents Jackie Bradley Jr, Kevin Pillar, Kike Hernandez and Albert Almora. While these aren’t the sexiest names out there in Free agency next to George Springer, they are certainly a cheaper alternative. Another route to go is the Trade route and acquire Rays Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier isn’t a great offensive bat, but he is a 3 time Gold Glove winner and a Platinum glove winner. If the DH does return to the National League and Springer is either too expensive or signs somewhere else, I think either signing one of Jackie Bradley Jr/Kevin Pillar or going the Trade route for Kevin Kiermaier will be the likeliest of routes. Personally, I think the best option outside of Springer is to trade for Kiermaier. He’ll give the Mets a solid defensive center fielder, he’s also under control for the 2022 season, followed by a 2023 club option for 13 Million Dollars that comes with a 2.5 Million Dollar buyout. I think acquiring Kiermaier if Springer doesn’t sign will be the Smartest move for the Mets, although I wouldn’t have an issue if they signed Jackie Bradley Jr or Kevin Pillar.

Finally, the one reliever for the Bullpen. Whether the DH returns to the National League or not will not affect the Bullpen. The Mets signed former Twins reliever Trevor May at the beginning of December 2020. While the signing was a very good one, It’s not enough to say the Bullpen is solidified. The Mets need one more arm for the Bullpen and there are two relievers out there in Free agency that the Mets could sign that are intriguing. One is right hander Liam Hendriks and the other is left hander Brad Hand. Both relievers would be a solid piece to the bullpen no matter who you sign. The question fans will ask is “Why not both?” I find it unlikely the Mets will sign both relievers. The Mets will most likely sign one of the two.

Personally, I think the Mets will go after Brad Hand for the simple reason being that he’s a lefty. Why is a Lefty so important? Besides possibly Steven Matz heading to the Bullpen, who else is there that’s a lefty? Jerry Blevins maybe, but he’s signed to a Minor league deal and will most likely not be on the Mets opening day roster unless there is an injury. Daniel Zamora is a lefty, but I find it doubtful that the Mets will have him on the opening day roster seeing as he’s more than a liability in the pen. I think the Mets go with Brad Hand due to a few factors. One is that he’s a lefty, Two is that he’s had solid numbers throughout his entire career. Hand is also a 3 time all-star and can be a strong veteran presence for the Mets.

While Hendriks is another good reliever to have, He recently ran into success the past two years. The remainder of his career was up and down to say the least. Some good years, some bad years and some forgettable years. While I’m open to the idea of having Hendriks as part of the Bullpen, the fact remains that the Mets need at least one more lefty in the Bullpen if Matz is going to be part of it. The past few years, the Mets had Justin Wilson as the main lefty, but with Wilson most likely not returning to the Mets, they are in need of a lefty and an effective one and that’s where Hand provides a hand (No pun intended).

I hope I was able to give you an in depth look at several situations and scenarios of what could happen and how the results could possibly pan out.

Photo from NY Mets Twitter

Trevor Bauer: Average Pitcher/Major Headcase

Is Trevor Bauer a player you want to have on your team? If you like having a player who cares more about himself and his Social media than the team you play for and your teammates, then he’s perfect. For a team that is young and full of young players who can mesh together, it’s not the right fit and I’ll explain why.

In very recent memory, Trevor Bauer pitched his way to a Cy Young award in 2020 for the Cincinnati Reds. There is however, controversy with him winning the Cy Young and that is him winning the award in a 60 game season, 11 starts against two of the worst divisions in both the American League and National League, while half of his starts were against teams that were awful this year. These awful teams that he pitched half of his games to were the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates. For 60 Games, it’s impressive, but the question on everyones mind is “Can he repeat in a 162 game season?”

Personally, I doubt he’ll be able to replicate what he did in 2020. While Bauer did have a very impressive 2018 with the Cleveland Indians pitching to a 2.21 ERA in the regular season and a great 11 starts pitching to a 1.73 ERA with the Cincinnati Reds, the rest of his career however has been nothing but average if not slightly above average. From 2012 till 2017, Bauer’s ERA was always above 4. If I am to be very fair, His first full season was in 2014 and from 2014 till 2017, He was average with an era over 4. In 2019, he was looking good until he threw his Temper Tantrum in clunker against the Kansas City Royals. When Indians manager Terry Francona went to pull him from his start, instead of giving the ball to Francona like a respectable player, he launches the baseball to center field, disrespecting the well known and well respected manager. Shortly after the incident, Bauer was traded to the Cincinnati Reds where he posted an ugly looking 6.39 ERA. Rumors went around at the time that he didn’t adapt to Great American Band Box, I mean Ball Park and another rumor was that he had sour grapes about the Trade to Cincinnati.

If the rumor about Bauer having sour grapes over the trade is true, why would anyone want him? Pitching bad deliberately because he was upset? That’s some nerve on a player. Play the game to win, not because your hurt over a trade. Get over it quickly and move on! Despite the 11 starts in a 60 game season, Bauer isn’t the Ace or the #2 starter everyone has him out to be. I’ve heard claims that “Bauer has figured it out!” 11 starts in a season is figuring it out?

I’ve also seen people trying to compare Trevor Bauer’s career to that of Nationals ace Max Scherzer! Seriously? Comparing Bauer to Scherzer? Only because they won Cy Youngs around the same age. Because that makes them similar, right? Bauer is nowhere near the same camp as Scherzer and most likely never will be!

You’re probably wondering why I think Trevor Bauer is a head case. Well, the answer is simple. It has to do with his behavior. Does he go out and party, drink and do stupid things of that nature? No, it’s other things. He’s concerned with himself than he is the team. A prime example was in 2017 during a playoff game against the Yankees, when he was pulled and instead of going to support his teammates in the dugout, He goes into the clubhouse, whips out his phone and goes on a major twitter blocking spree and blocking a lot of other twitter users who were giving Bauer his “Just deserts” so to speak after he talked trash before he faced the Yankees. Why would a player worry about social media when he should be worrying about his team and supporting his teammates? That shouldn’t be acceptable by any means.

Another incident was back in 2018 when Bauer harassed woman who happened to be an Astros fan. The Astros fan wasn’t a fan of Trevor Bauer and he took exception to her by not responding once, but by harassing the woman for over 12 hours. It was to the point where the Astros fan had to block Bauer on twitter for constant harassment. Bauer did apologize a few days later, but that kind of Behavior by a Professional Athlete no matter what sport you play isn’t acceptable by any means!

Since Bauer won the Cy Young, He’s been trolling fans online by purchasing different hats from different teams since he’s a free agent. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but since he’s using it to troll fans and ranking fan bases, Is this something a team wants to put up with? A player pandering to fan bases and eventually ranking which is the best? If I’m an owner and a Free agent is ranking fan bases, why would I want him to be part of my team, especially if he ranks my teams fan base anything less than #1?

Jon Heyman recently wrote on Twitter that Trevor Bauer is looking for a 5-6 year deal that’s worth 200 Million Dollars (36 Million-40 Million Dollars per). If this is all true, For a player that has been mostly Average and only two good seasons that includes one good full season and a great 11 starts in a 60 game season, He’s definitely not worth that kind of money. 7 average seasons out 9 years in the league doesn’t make him a legitimate stud after a good 11 starts in a shortened season.

In a 162 game season and 30+ starts against whatever league he plays in and interleague games, I doubt Bauer can come close to what he did in 2020. Is it possible to come close? Sure, 2018 was a good year for him, but I highly doubt he’ll come close to that. If he does, I’ll admit i was wrong, but if he doesn’t, we can all say that 2020 was a short season 11 game fluke.

If the Mets were to sign Bauer to a deal of that Caliber and then George Springer to what is most likely to be a 4-5 year deal that hovers around the 25 Million Dollars a year range, Say good-bye to signing guys like Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto long term who are also Free Agents after the 2021 season. For Context, The Mets have about 60 Million Dollars left to spend before hitting the Luxury Tax threshold and I doubt Cohen goes over it.

The Mets are better off signing a Player like Taijuan Walker, Jake Odorizzi and other pieces for much less in where the spending on those kinds of players, will give the Mets more space to sign George Springer as well as giving them the right amount of space to sign 3 key Free Agents in Stroman, Syndergaard and Conforto.

DJ LeMahieu: A Mets Pipe Dream.

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the stories that the Mets were in contact with the 32 year old infielder who recently played for the Yankees. While LeMahieu was one of the best infielders in the league in 2019 and 2020 for the Cross town rival Yankees, LeMahieu’s demands in Free agency are astronomical. LeMahieu is demanding a 5 year deal that pays over 100 Million Dollars (20 Million Dollars per).

It was last reported that The Yankees and DJ LeMahieu were 25 Million Dollars apart, Meaning that LeMahieu wanted 5 years 100+ Million and the Yankees were offering perhaps 4 years 75 Million (18.75 Million Per). If the Yankees are hesitating on signing a Free agent, it says a lot. Why this is an issue? Every team that isn’t the Mets, lost money due to the Pandemic shortened season. Not a lot of teams are going to be spending a ton of money on Free agents, but we did just Recently see the San Diego Padres trade for Blake Snell, Yu Darvish & Victor Caratini all in exchange for prospects.

LeMahieu, as mentioned earlier is 32 years old, wants a long term deal of 5 years and 20 Million Dollars per year. That’s a lot for a 32 year old Infielder. While LeMahieu can indeed play almost, if not every infield position, for the Mets, it wouldn’t be a Smart deal unless the following happens:

A. JD Davis or Jeff McNeil are traded

B. Robinson Cano is traded after this upcoming 2021 season.

C. George Springer doesn’t sign with The Mets.

Why would Springer not signing with the Mets make for a possible DJ LeMahieu signing? Not only due to the Mets needing to make a Splash signing for a big name player, but also to fill a void. If Springer doesn’t sign with the Mets, that most likely pushes Brandon Nimmo to Center Field, Jeff McNeil to Left Field and that’s when you would sign DJ LeMahieu to play 2nd Bae. If JD Davis is traded away, The Mets can slot DJ at 3rd Base and have McNeil as the Full-time 2nd Baseman with Nimmo as the Full-time Center Fielder and possibly picking up another Outfielder or using one of Guillermo Heredia or Mallex Smith. This only happens if George Springer isn’t signed by the Mets.

Remember, Robinson Cano is suspended for the entire season due to a second PED violation, one more violation and he’s out of the game permanently. If the Mets were to sign LeMahieu, Cano must be traded before, during or after the season. However, I don’t think LeMahieu is signing with the Mets, It doesn’t make much sense for the Mets, especially with what they have.

While the Mets are indeed in contact with LeMahieu, The Yankees view DJ as a high priority free agent for them to sign this off-season. This could be a tactic by the Yankees to let LeMahieu talk to other teams and if they offer a 5th year to DJ, The Yankees can easily swoop in and offer the 5th year to LeMahieu seeing as both DJ and the Yankees want to be on the same page and agree to a deal.

In my Honest opinion, I honestly don’t see the Mets signing DJ LeMahieu, especially to a 5 year 100+ Million Dollar deal. It would be a disaster signing for the Mets, especially since they would have to move pieces around and by the time the 4th and 5th years come around, DJ will be 36-37 years of age. The Mets have both Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso as their primary 1st Baseman and Designated Hitter. Assuming that the Mets sign LeMahieu to what he wants, by the time he’s 36-37, DJ may not be as versatile to play 3rd Base or even 2nd Base. The Mets would have to play LeMahieu at 1st Base, sacrificing one of Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith to accompany the need for DJ to play 1st Base.

The Yankees have a more open approach to signing LeMahieu. They can slot Gleyber Torres at Shortstop and have LeMahieu as a mainstay at 2nd Base. If the Yankees end up signing LeMahieu (Which I think they will), They can have him play 2nd Base for most of the contract and then shift him to First base if need be seeing as Luke Voit may be a questionable piece in the Future for the Yankees.

Photo Source: NJ.com

Mets 2021 Off-Season Predictions: SIGNINGS ONLY.

With the Mets signing former Twins reliever Trevor May to a 2 year 15 Million Dollar Deal (7.5 Million Per) and former White Sox catcher James McCann to a 4 year 40 Million Dollar Deal (10 Million per), here are some signings I predict the Mets will make before Spring training approaches. Keep in mind, these are based under the assumption that the DH will return for 2021:

George Springer: 3 year 75 Million Dollar deal: Why 3 years you may ask? Springer is up there in age in the form of 31, turning 32 years old come September. Springer fills a gaping need for the Mets in Center field where they haven’t a true Center Fielder since Carlos Beltran. Having Springer will add a lot of pop to not only the lineup, but stability to the Outfield. I can tell you this, It will beat the ever-living daylights out of having infielders play the outfield (Dominic Smith & JD Davis). Don’t Square peg round hole the outfield. Have natural Outfielders play the Outfield and have natural Infielders play the Infield.

Brad Hand or Liam Hendriks: 2 year 16 Million Dollar deal: After witnessing the Mets bullpen Implode in 2019 and in the 60 game 2020, the Mets need a strong force in the Bullpen. Just having Trevor May isn’t going to cut it and the Mets after releasing southpaw Chasen Shreve need something with more liability (even though Shreve was one of, if not the most reliable relievers for the Mets. Personally, I’d take Brad Hand for the sake of him being a lefty and the need for a Lefty in the bullpen that can also go a few innings if needed. I wouldn’t mind Hendriks, but I’m more set on the Lefty and Daniel Zamora isn’t satisfactory to me and I think most will agree with me.

Jake Odorizzi or Taijuan Walker: 3 years 36 Million Dollar deal: With Rays ace Blake Snell just recently traded to the Padres and the price being too high for a trade for him, Other options have to be exercised. I’ve talked about this with some others and we’ve come to this agreement that whether the Mets sign Odorizzi or Walker, that they should get 3 years with 36 Million Dollars (12 Million per). Both options are veteran pitchers, both can serve as middle/end of the rotation arms and they can help the young pitchers (Syndergaard when he comes back), Peterson and maybe even Marcus Stroman to show them how to pitch rather than overthrowing. Either of them would be more beneficial to the Mets, not only for the Rotation, but the Bullpen and the Clubhouse and to the other kids on the team as well.

“Why no Trevor Bauer” or “Why didn’t the Mets sign JT Realmuto?

Trevor Bauer:

Well in the Bauer case, While it was impressive that Bauer won the Cy Young in 2020, He also won that Cy Young while only playing in a 60 game season. He started 11 games with half of those starts against teams that couldn’t hit in the Pirates, Royals and Tigers. Yes, he had the best numbers in the National League and maybe even the American League, but overall, he’s been a proven head case. This is a player mind you, who in 2017 in a playoff game against the Yankees, got pulled and instead of supporting his teammates in the dugout, he went in the dugout, grabbed his phone, went on twitter and went on a humongous blocking spree mid-game. In 2018, He harassed an Astros fan for over 12 hours on twitter because she wasn’t a fan of is. While Bauer did apologize a couple of days later, it’s unacceptable to harass someone on social media because they’re not fans of yours. Also, Don’t forget in 2019 his little temper tantrum he had when he “yeeted” the baseball to center field when Terry Francona went to pull him, later resulting in the trade that sent Bauer to the Reds. Bauer has been a big social media advocate and while that’s usually fine and dandy, he’s pandering to fan bases due to his recent success, by ranking fan bases and trolling fans by wearing hats of other teams. Out of the nine years he’s been in the league, Bauer has had a grand total of two good seasons. One great Full 2018 season and a Great 11 starts in 2020. Other than those two seasons, Trevor Bauer has been an Average and maybe even a slightly above average pitcher at best. The last thing the Mets need is a player who’s more concerned about himself and his social media than the team he plays for. It would be an awful mistake to overpay for a Flash in the Pan and Head case in Bauer. He’s looking for 30+ million dollars in a Multi-Year deal. I don’t think the Mets should sign any pitcher unless they have the career that equals that or tops Jacob deGrom.

JT Realmuto:

As for JT Realmuto, He definitely is the Best catcher, maybe even the Best in the league, But for what he wants, the Mets were right to take James McCann. Why? Put it simply, In a recent press conference, Sandy Alderson mentioned that while the Mets were in contact with Realmuto, he (JT) was not ready to sign with a team yet. Had the Mets waited, they would’ve missed out on other options that would come at a more affordable price. Where McCann signed for 4 years, 40 million dollars (10 Million per), Realmuto wants what he has stated as a “Historic Deal”. Rumors suggest he wants 5-6 years 180-200 Million Dollars and that amounts to about 33 Million to 36 Million Dollars per. For Realmuto, let alone a catcher with bad hips such as Realmuto recently had this past season, it would be too much of a high risk to sign him to a deal of that Caliber. As I mentioned, he may the best out there, but to sign him to a deal that high isn’t worth the risk at all. Keep in mind, Realmuto is turning 30 Before the season starts. To sign a catcher for 5-6 years entering his 30’s isn’t the smartest thing to do. Before you say anything, Yadier Molina is a different breed of animal and can’t be compared. Some say that McCann was overpaid and got too many years. That may be true, but by the time McCann reaches year 3 or 4 of his deal, the young Mets catching prospect Francisco Alvarez may be Major League ready. McCann can be a good mentor to Alvarez and probably be the Backup catcher by that time.

Overall:

You’re getting the help in the rotation with Odorizzi or Walker at least until Syndergaard comes back, I think that Lugo will stay in the Bullpen where he thrives. Steven Matz may be a fill-in as the #5 spot until Noah comes back and then from there, you bump to the Pen so he can not only be another lefty in the pen, but also a possible reliable long relief arm as well. That’s when you have deGrom, Stroman, Syndergaard, Peterson and Odorizzi/Walker in the rotation.

You’re filling out the Outfield, more specifically with Brandon Nimmo in Left Field, George Springer in Center Field while having Michael Conforto in Right Field with either Guillermo Heredia or Mallex Smith on the bench for Outfield. James McCann is a more serviceable option for catcher, older yes, but he is loved by his past teammates he caught when he was with Detroit and the White Sox.

I don’t think the Infield changes much. Personally, I think that the Infield stays as is with Alonso as the DH and Dominic Smith as the Starting First Baseman, Jeff McNeil at 2nd Base, JD Davis at 3rd base and Amed Rosario or Andres Gimenez at Shortstop. I think Amed Rosario is the Starter and Gimenez starts the year off in Syracuse. Just remember that Robinson Cano is suspended for the entire year due to his second PED violation.

Here’s the Starters the Mets would have:

Infield: Dominic Smith 1B, Jeff McNeil 2B, Amed Rosario SS JD Davis 3B

Outfield: Brandon Nimmo LF, George Springer CF, Michael Conforto RF,

Catcher: James McCann

Designated Hitter: Pete Alonso

Rotation (Before Syndergaard returns): Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, Jake Odorizzi/Taijuan Walker and Steven Matz.

Rotation (When Syndergaard returns): Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, Noah Syndergaard, Jake Odorizzi/Taijuan Walker.

Bullpen: Hand/Hendriks, Betances, Castro, Lugo, Familia, Brach, May, Diaz.

Bullpen (After Matz is bumped from the Rotation): Hand/Hendriks, Betances, Matz, Lugo, Familia, Brach, May, Diaz.

Bench: Nido, Mallex Smith/Guillermo Heredia & Luis Guillorme.

Those are my Predictions.

Remember, Steve Cohen said he will spend, but not Drunk Sailor Spend. The Mets will sign who they need to sign in terms of Springer and other pieces, while also leaving room to sign the three key free agents: Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard & Michael Conforto.

Photo from the New York Mets