Mets recall Drew Smith

Per Anthony DiComo, the Mets have called up right-handed reliever Drew Smith. The Fort Worth, Texas native has yet to appear in the Majors during this 2021 season however pitched to a 6.43 ERA in 2020.

Throughout his career, Smith has posted a 1-2 record with a 4.11 ERA in 35 innings pitched. Smith was of course acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for DH/First Baseman Lucas Duda.

In return, the Mets have decided to send down reliever Trevor Hildenberger in order to make room.

#MetsCrushMonday: Drew Smith

In a trade that sent former homegrown fan favorite slugger Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Mets would receive a 23-year old right handed reliever with a high ceiling in Drew Smith. While his 2020 statistics may not justify the attention that I’m giving, the now 27-year old may be looking at a make or break 2021 season.

The former third round pick by the Detroit Tigers would have a pretty decent 2018 campaign with the Mets in his first crack at the Major League level. He pitched to a 3.54 ERA throughout 28 innings but only struck out 18 while opponents hit .309 off the righty.

However early in 2019 during Spring Training, his career would end up being put on hold as the Fort Worth, Texas native would require Tommy John Surgery causing him to miss the entire season.

Smith owns a plus fastball that can hit 97 MPH on the radar gun, alongside a curveball, change-up, and even a brand new cutter in which he learned by watching Clayton Kershaw has been added to his repertoire.

“He’s got a good repertoire, adding that cutter,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “It can make the fastball play a little more.”

Unfortunately, Smith hasn’t had much opportunity this season and has only appeared in eight games. Throughout those seven innings, Smith posted a 6.43 ERA as well as an improved 1.14 WHIP and averaged a strikeout per inning.

Now while it’s no where near safe to assume that the 2021 bullpen will be looking the same, if it were, Smith would have decent shot at making the roster. At only 27 years old, Smith still has a lot to offer the Mets ‘pen and has more to offer for more than just one season. But Smith seems to understand that this process will be one step at a time, one day at a time.

“I’m just doing everything I can, doing the best I can trying to show them that I’m healthy and ready to go,” Smith said. “Whenever I get my chance — whether it be Opening Day, whether it be a week after — I’ll be ready to go. And I’m excited to be back out there.”

If he does figure it out and start putting it together, he will be a cheap bullpen piece. Smith will enter his first year of Free Agency in 2025 and will be eligible for arbitration in 2022.

Quotes sourced from MLB.com

Also read: Three Mets that could be dealt away & What to do with Matz?

A Cold Hot Stove

By: David Weiss

Many observers of the free agent market have noticed that this winter has been rather dull. There have been no major signings. The biggest contract so far is the Carlos Santana deal in a move that is questionable. The Phillies gave him a 3 year $60 million deal. Aside from that, most big names are still available. If you look at ESPN’s free agent ranking, you will see that 31 year old Santana was ranked as the fifth best free agent. The Angels signed Zack Cozart to a 3 year $38 million deal. The rest of the top free agent are still available. The next best free agent to be taken was Jhoulys Chacin who was signed by the Brewers and is ranked fourteenth. Let’s be honest, most baseball fans have no idea who Chacin is.

True, this list seems flawed. Wade Davis and Greg Holland probably should be much higher. However, the notion is accurate. There haven’t exactly been tons of bidding wars being waged. Teams are playing it very safe. Last year was very similar. If you take away the megadeal Cespedes got from the Mets, it was rather boring too. Encarnacion was the only other player to get a contract that averaged $20 million a year. Fowler, Chapman and Jansen each took 5 years at $80-86 million. Besides that all was quiet on the western front.

Cesp

Yoenis Cespedes signing a 4 year $110 million contract prior to the 2017 season. He is the last player to date to receive this large a contract.

There are two things to ask. The first question is why this is happening and the second is will this benefit the Mets? There are several theories why this is happening. The first is that power is not as valued as it once was. In 2017 a total of 6,105 dingers were hit throughout the MLB which shattered the record of 5,693 hit in 2000. The record was close to being broken in 2016 but the players fell just 83 home runs shy. In short, a long ball is really common. Due to this, guys like Jay Bruce, JD Martinez, Todd Frazier, Logan Morrison and Mike Moustakas don’t have the value they would have had a decade ago. This past season 74 players went yard 25 or more times. In 2014 only 27 players did.

While power might not be as valuable, pitching must be… right? While that may be true, this year’s pitching pool isn’t turning many heads. Arrieta was the 2015 Cy Young award winner, but he went from great to good in 2016 and then from good to OK in 2017. His stats for Wins, ERA, WHIP, FIP, WAR and K’s have all gone in the wrong direction since 2015. Yu Darvish had a rough World Series and did not pitch well in the first two thirds of the season with the Rangers. Alex Cobb is definitely a good pitcher but his health is always a big question mark. Put this all together and we have a lot of hesitant teams on the mound.

Yu

After a disastrous World Series, the value of Yu Darvish has diminished.

The next reason has to do with the qualifying offer. Teams realize how valuable a draft pick can be. In the past few years alone teams have gotten much better at projecting who will be good in the big leagues. As a result, giving up a draft pick just isn’t that attractive. From the 2015 draft, guys like Swanson, Bregman, Benintendi and Happ all made it to the big leagues and have shown they can play. Guys from the 2014 draft like, Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, Ian Nola, Trea Turner, Matt Chapman, Bradley Zimmer and Brandon Finnegan have all put up solid numbers in their short careers. Toss in other guys like Carlos Rodon, Sean Newcomb, Erick Fedde, Luke Weaver and Jeff Hoffman who have all made it to the majors already and you get the point. Giving up a high pick for a quick fix isn’t that desirable.

Conforto draft

Michael Conforto- The result of the Mets not signing Drew and giving up a 2014 first round draft pick.

Lastly, big signings have a way of not panning out. There are too many examples to list but we all know of megadeals in which a player is guaranteed $100 million or more and he mutates into a goat. With nearly twenty years of data, there is no clear evidence that the stars perform after they sign on the dotted line. Mike Hampton, Matt Kemp, Ryan Howard, Barry Zito, Matt Cain are some of the most glaring examples but there is no shortage of more. This topic requires another post but we all know it. The megadeals have a way of not being all they are cracked up to be and the long term consequences can be huge.

Hampton

Mike Hampton struggled after signing a 7 year contract worth $121 million.

So what does this mean for Mets fans? To be honest, this is good. Once January comes around, players start to get nervous. No one wants to turn into Stephen Drew. After a good 2013 season he turned down a qualifying offer and thought he could get a big contract. Instead no team was willing to risk giving up a 2014 first round draft pick (as was stated above) and at the same time, Drew wasn’t willing to drop his price. As a result, he didn’t sign until late May when the draft pick loss expired. Drew’s career never really recovered. This is a ballplayers nightmare. The thought of being left unsigned by opening day and being forgotten is scary. Consequently, someone like Cain, Moustakas, Frazier, Gomez and Austin Jackson are all guys Sandy may consider but he simply won’t put out the big bucks. All it requires is for one to get spooked and Sandy could make a move that won’t break the bank.

(David Weiss is a lifelong Mets fan. He has lived in Israel since 2008 and runs the Facebook page ‘Jewish Mets Fans’.)

Top 5 Mets who will shine in 2018

By Rhonda Schmidt

The 2018 New York Mets will have a lot to prove to fans. With a disaster of a season in 2017, Mickey Callaway has some good intentions after reaching out to the players. Things will change, and hopefully for the better.

To name a few players who just made the season slightly less frustrating to watch, here are some who deserve some credit.

  1. Outfielder Michael Conforto. Conforto came through and even appeared in his first All-Star game. With the offensive power he has displayed and solid numbers put up, Conforto should impress when he comes back from the Disabled List. Conforto injured himself swinging the bat and was shut down immediately.
  2. Shortstop Amed Rosario. Rookies are always delightful to watch, and the young prized rookie Rosario displayed some speed on the basepaths. Rosario has displayed some defensive mishaps, however they seem to be rookie mistakes and if he maintains his health he should look to put up quality at bats and make solid defensive progress.
  3. Infielder Wilmer Flores. Flores is a 26 year old infielder who came through off the bench. If his defense is the only issue here, why not look to start him in the infield? He has been able to shut down people who said he cant hit righties. The offense he shows us is solid, its just a matter of him working on defense and winning over fans who already say move on from him.
  4. First baseman Dominic Smith. Smith is probably one of the people on here that would come as a suprise to some. Given his youth, He looks to make a good name for himself and prove he is major league material. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  5. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Enter a healthy Thor, and say no more. The competitiveness and scorching fastball speaks for itself.

Mets’ Callaway will improve pitching and bullpen in 2018

Mets’ Callaway will improve pitching and bullpen in 2018

By: Rhonda Schmidt

The 2018 Mets will see big changes, for the better, since they recently welcomed skipper Mickey Callaway.

For one, the pitching staff will be solidified and restored. Mickey Callaway is a former Pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians. He knows more than a thing or two about working with pitchers. In 2017 the main issue with former manager Terry Collins was simply that he overworked the bullpen and his pitchers. I am sure and confident that Callaway will be a huge upgrade in that department.

Our aces may indeed have worn out due to a disasterous previous season. Its only a matter of time until they regain the stamina and confidence that a fresh face fresh start will give them to get back on track.

With new coaching staff aboard, it may be a slightly better chance to have a decent season. The issue is not that a lack of talented players or contribution. A good manager and coaching staff is essential for team success. Sometimes, changes need to be made.

Hopefully this change will lead the 2018 Mets in the right direction.

The Next Mets manager will inherit a total mess

The next Mets manager will inherit a total mess

By: Rhonda Schmidt

It is not a pretty situation for the Mets’ next skipper to be upon entering a disaster scene. The 2017 Mets were absolutely terrible. The injuries may suggest a result of an ineffective and poor training staff, and with the Mets players ripping former skipper Terry Collins, a lot can be said. Yes, it was inexcusable to badmouth Collins unprofessionally, however, that is the past. A new change is upon us, a new chapter of Mets baseball must begin.

Who will take over? At this point, names are just being thrown around. With Bob Geren being mentioned, along with the likes of Ron Gardenhire and Robin Ventura, it is certain one thing.

The next manager will not have much comfort room to work with. It may take some time to see the effective managing show. There is a lot to fix. Rome was not built in a day, and it is also a fact that Mets fans will never be completely satisfied. It takes a lot to play or manage in the Big Apple. New York Sports fans can be extremely amazing, yet very critical at the same time. Why? We are in the city that never sleeps.

The Mets 2018 may be a season of just recovering. Wright will have to face a career decision. Mets pitchers Matt Harvey and Steven Matz will have to prove themselves. Wilmer Flores, a popular infielder, has to win over the organization and prove his defensive mishaps are behind him and that he is more than a bench player. The rookies Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario look to prove they have big league things still to come on their respective journeys.

Mets trade Walker to Brewers

The Mets & Brewers struck an agreement where the "Brew Crew" is walking off with second baseman Neil Walker. Ken Rosenthal originally broke the news on Twitter.

It's said that the Mets will eat a portion of the $5M left on his current 1 year contract. It's still unclear what the Mets will be getting in return.

Before today, the Mets have traded for 5 relievers while parting with players like Lucas Duda, Addison Reed & Jay Bruce.

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Mets get torn to shreds by Cubs

Wheeler would start the game off by giving up a lead off homerun to Anthony Rizzo. Yes, the Cubs 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo for some reason is leading off games for Maddon & the Cubs. Wheeler would strike out the next three batters, putting the inning to an end. 

The Mets worked Lester hard in the bottom of the first. After Juan Lagares singled & scored off of a Yoenis Cespedes double, Neil Walker forced a full count before being walked & putting runners on first & second. Lester would then put Duda down on three on pitches, however it would take him 23 throughout the whole inning. 

Wheeler would start the inning off by getting Addison Russell to line out sharply to Neil Walker at second. Kyle Schwarber then would induced a walk before Wheeler was able to get Wilson Contreras to ground into a force out to cut down Schwarber at second base. 

Lester would then surprisingly hit an opposite field single before Albert Almora Jr. would also be walked to load the bases for Anthony Rizzo. Wheeler would push the count full to Rizzo with two out, meaning the runners would be in motion. However, after fouling off a few pitches, Rizzo would take a 3-2 slider below the knees to force in a run. 

On the first pitch of the next at-bat, Wheeler would give up his second grand slam of the season to Cubs second baseman, Ian Happ. This would extend the Cubs lead to 6-1 in just the top of the second. Bryant would then drop a single in centerfield to keep the inning going & then stole second base before Heyward would ground to a diving Reyes for an infield single. 

After the 46th pitch of the inning, Addison Russell, who also lead the inning off, hit a 2-out 2-run double to chase Zack Wheeler out of the game after only going 1 2/3’s innings, the shortest outing of his career. Josh Smoker would come on to strike Schwarber out but not before the Cubs would make it an 8-1 game. 

After a few homers from the Cubs, the Mets finally scored again with a homerun of their own. This one coming off the bat of Neil Walker. Lucas Duda would follow Walker with back to back shots, this being Duda’s 11th homerun of the season before the Mets would fall to the Cubs in a 14-3 game. 

Cespedes goes down as my player of the game by going 2-2 while driving in a run. He would eventually get lifted for Granderson in favor of the Cubs blowout lead. Terry Collins would make the smart move to take him out of the game while he’s still nursing a leg injury.

Neil Ramirez also deserves a nod by going out there & pitching 2 1/3’s & striking out four while also bringing his season ERA to 6.75 in 22.2 innings.

The Mets will send Harvey to the mound tomorrow in efforts to take the series from the Cubs. 

Mets Junkies Game Recap: Wheeler & Mets keep rolling over Phillies 

By Gem Tablak 

The game would start with Conforto, who’s appearance has been long awaited would bloop a single over the Phillies second baseman’s head to pick up his third hit of the season. Velasquez would next strike out Cabrera on a well placed fastball on the outer half. 

Cespedes then would hit an RBI double to start his evening. The double would score Conforto as the ball hugged the out field wall, making it a little difficult for Kendrick to get the ball back into the cutoff man. During the next AB, Cespedes would take off early from second base, mistiming Velasquez’ delivery before he was able to get Bruce to ground into the shift for the third out of the inning.

Cesar Hernandez would start the Phillies night off with a leadoff single off of Zack Wheeler. The Mets would luck out as Howie Kendrick would next ground into a 5-4-3 double play to give Wheeler two quick outs. Odubel Herrera next ran the count full as well as fouled off a several pitches but Wheeler was able to get Herrera to fly out to the center fielder, Conforto. 

Tommy Joseph would hit a two out double in the bottom part of the second inning setting up Cameron Rupp in a good spot with a runners in scoring position. However, Wheeler would catch Rupp looking at a fastball at the knees to end the inning, 

Michael Conforto would extend the Mets lead to 2-0 over the Phillies with a well hit ball over the left center field wall. Conforto continues to make his case to be in the starting line up. 

After TdA was hit by a pitch on the left wrist, Velasquez then issued a walk to the Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler with no out. Conforto would take a walk of his own to load the bases for Asdrubal Cabrera. 

Cabrera then hit a single down the right field line which would score two runners & put the Mets up by four. Cespedes followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in his second RBI of the night & put the Mets up by five. 

After Wheeler gave up back to back base hits to Stassi & Hernandez, Dan Warthen made a visit to the mound to calm Wheeler down & hopefully get him through the next batter. Wheeler would then strike out the veteran Howie Kendrick for the first out of the inning.

Unfortunately, Wheeler would load the bases by picking up his first walk of the evening on Odubel Herrera & that would be the end of his line as Terry Collins makes the trip to the mound to replace Wheeler with Hansel Robles.

On the very first pitch by Robles, Mikail Franco would blast a grand slam over the left center field wall to cut the Mets lead to 5-4. Robles then walked the next batter, Michael Saunders. Robles was finally able to put the inning to a end when he got Daniel Nava to ground out to Lucas Duda as the Mets cling on to a one run lead. 

However, the drama would end there as Addison Reed came on in the bottom of the ninth to close the door on the Phillies for good. It would count as Reed’s third save of the season. 

Wheeler had a decent line before it was tarnished by the grand slam Robles gave up to Franco. Wheeler went 5.2 innings giving up four hits, walking one, & striking out four as well as being responsible for three earned runs. 

I found Wheeler’s outing very promising. He was pitching effectively while being efficient & keeping his pitch count lower than his norm. 

Player of the Game:

Michael Conforto: 2-4, 3 R’s, 1 RBI, 1 HR