Will Marte’s Opening Day be in Jeopardy?

This is not the question we want to entertain just 18 days prior to the 2022 season, yet here we are. Newly acquired center fielder, Starling Marte is dealing with an oblique injury and Mets manager Buck Showalter has told reporters that Marte has yet to swing a bat since being in camp.

While Buck says that he expects Marte to start the year in the Opening Day lineup, oblique injuries have proven to be tricky and can linger for a period of time.

Defensively, they won’t lose too much if anything at all, as the Mets are prepared to slide Brandon Nimmo over to center from the corner. The Wyoming native was already slotted in at the top of the lineup with an incredible .393 career on base percentage.

However focusing on the offensive side, the Mets lose the spark plug speed that Marte possesses. The kind of talent and speed that allows you to reach base at a .383 percentage and swipes 47 bags.

Let’s make no mistake, the organization has been missing this caliber of a spark plug since Jose Reyes was in his prime and departed for the Miami Marlins. So signing Marte was as significant as it gets, especially for a club that’s heavily pushing for World Series victory within the next few years.

If the injury turns out to be bigger than initially thought, this could force the hand on a Conforto-Mets reunion.

While Conforto rejected a $100M+ deal last year, he could possibly be tempted to accept a shorter term offer in order to build his value on the open market.

This would be very unlikely, in my opinion. It would make a lot more sense for the Mets to find a plug and play type player, or two… or three.

Free Agent Target: Starling Marte

Many fans have had their eyes on Marte since the Pittsburgh Pirates had the star centerfielder on the trading block. Eventually, the Pirates would end up sending the right-handed slugger to Arizona. Now a couple of seasons later, Marte is a Free Agent and could find himself in Flushing, Queens before the start of the 2022 season.

There isn’t a ton of top tier talent on the free agent market and it’s no secret that the Mets will be looking to improve defensively in center. With Conforto likely on his way out, this gives the team the opportunity to move Nimmo over to the corner while trying to find a competent enough bat to captain the outfield.

“But Gem, he’s 33 years old, he can’t play center.”

Listen, I get what you’re saying but no. Looking at Marte’s Baseball Savant page, you’ll see that he still ranks around the top of the league when it comes to OAA (Outs Above Average). The same goes for his sprint speed, maximum exit velocity, as well as his xBA.

If all of this is making you want to vomit, I understand, so let’s look at the basics.

In 2021, Marte hit .310 while getting on base at a .383 clip and slugging a respectable .458 with the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics. Not to mention his 27 doubles, 12 home runs, and an amazing 47 stolen bases to go along side those numbers.

Throughout the span of his 10-year career, the Dominican born outfielder slashes .289/.346/.451/.797 with 126 home runs and 296 swipes. While the Mets aren’t necessarily a slow footed team, they’re not exactly burners on the paths, either. His addition would bring a huge threat to the top of lineup.

Also read: Could a Smith for Bellinger Trade Work?

MLBTR has Marte getting approximately $80M for 4 years and Tim Dierkes has him signing with the Mets.

However, Jim Bowden of The Athletic thinks that the outfielder is a “great fit” for the Yankees so I believe Marte’s agent will be busy fielding offers this winter. Anything can happen, but if he does see his way on to the Mets, this lineup would have changed drastically.

Friday’s Pitching Preview & Lineup (7/23)

The 50-43 New York Mets will play the first game of a three-game set against the 48-44 Toronto Blue Jays. After taking the series (2-1) against the Reds at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, the Mets look to take two of three here at home as well.

Friday’s contest will feature a couple pitchers that have been decent, so far. The Mets plan to send right-hander Tyler Megill to the hill, making his sixth appearance of the season. The Long Beach, California native is 0-0 with a 2.63 ERA and has 28 K’s in 24.0 innings pitched.

Megill’s last outing came against the Pirates back at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh, and was a gem. He went on to throw 6.0 scoreless innings as he gave up six hits and and struck out two. A great bounce back from the righty, as his last start (Also against the Pirates) was shortened to just 3.2 innings.

The Toronto Blue Jays will have 30-year old lefty and familiar face Steven Matz on the mound, a former second round pick with the Mets. In his last start, Matz picked up his 8th win by pitching five scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers while striking out two.

Matz, so far is having a average season, pitching to a 4.43 ERA but owning an impressive 8-4 record. The Stony Brook, New York native has also struck out 84 batters in 81.1 innings pitched, so far this season.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST and will be televised locally on SNY.

MetsJunkies Recap: Mets shut Reds outs

The Mets needed one thing in particular from Marcus Stroman, and it was to eat innings on Wednesday afternoon at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The right-hander did exactly that, and gave the bullpen a well-deserved rest after pitching eight innings.

The Long Island, New York native gave up just one in his outing while yielding just one walk as well. Stroman did also strike out seven and has now lowered his ERA to 2.59 after picking up his seventh victory.

Jonathan Villar popped his 10th home run of the year, a solo shot that came in the second inning. Villar finished the afternoon going 1-4 and currently owns a .230 batting average.

In the top of the third, Dom Smith lofted an opposite field grand slam to put the Mets up 5-0. The home run came off of starter Jeff Hoffman, who’s no stranger to giving up the long ball whether it be with his time with the Rockies or the Reds.

Besides hitting his 11th home run of the year, Smith also singled giving him a multi-hit game, bringing his slash line up to .257/.327.410/.737 after 300 at-bats.

Luis Guillorme pushed the game up to 7-0 when he hit a home run in the fifth inning off of reliever Tony Santillan. The home run counts as Guillorme’s 1st home run of the season, and just the 2nd of his career.

Jeurys Familia relieved Stroman in the ninth with a perfect inning that included striking out the side. Familia now has a 3.56 ERA after making his 31th appearance of the campaign.

The Mets are now at 50 wins on the year and will host the 48-44 Toronto Blue Jays on Friday evening. The Mets will have Tyler Megill on the hill as he takes on Long Island, New York product and former Met Steven Matz.

Wednesday’s Pitching Preview & Lineup 7/21

The 49-43 New York Mets will play the last of a three-game set against the 49-46 Cincinnati Reds. After splitting the first two games, the Mets look to take the rubber match against this scrappy Cincinnati club.

This afternoon’s contest will feature Long Island native Marcus Stroman on the hill. Stroman owns a 6-8 record and has pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 103.1 innings. In his last seven however, he’s struggled a bit as he’s been pitching to a 3.62 ERA with a 1-2 record during that stretch.

Stroman picked up the loss in his last out but did pitch well. The right-hander tossed five innings while giving up two runs on on eight hits against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The Cincinnati Reds will have 23-year old, Latham, New York local Jeff Hoffman on the mound, a former first round pick (9th Overall) of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2014 draft. In his last start, Anderson pitched 1.1 innings while giving up two runs on five walks and two hits in a loss against the Washington Nationals.

Hoffman, so far is having an mediocre season, pitching to a 4.61 ERA while owning a 3-4 record. The right-hander has also struck out 39 batters in 41.0 innings pitched, so far this season. In his career, Hoffman owns a 13-20 record to go alongside a 6.13 ERA in 78 games.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 PM EST and will be televised locally on SNY, as well as nationally on MLB Network.

MetsJunkies Recap: Mets Comeback in Ninth

Taijuan Walker would only throw 35 pitches as he would give up six runs, three coming on a huge blunder by the pitcher. While it did look like the ball might have hit the batter’s shin while coming out of the box, Walker shouldn’t have given up on the play.

Drew Smith pitched 2.2 innings in relief, giving up just one hit while striking out a pair. Miguel Castro had a bounce back appearance as the right hander pitched a scoreless inning, now bring his ERA to 3.65 on the year.

Travis Blankenhorn aka Blanken-bomb came off of the pine and went “bench-mob” on pitcher Brubaker with a three-run home run. The home run, his first of his career, would cut the lead to 4-6. Although it’s just six at-bats, Blankenhorn is hitting .333 in his last seven games and is proving to be a solid bench piece.

Left-hander Aaron Loup threw two scoreless innings while lowering his ERA to 1.48 after making his 33rd appearance. Jeurys Familia picked up the win as the righty lowered his ERA to 3.68 after pitching a pair of scoreless innings of his own.

While some fans have been piling on Michael Conforto and his sub .200 batting average, he’s still been getting on base at a .347 clip. However, today it was the long ball as Conforto hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning off of Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez.

Trevor May picked up his second save of the year as he pitched a scoreless bottom half of the ninth. May did walk a batter but also struck one out as he lowered his ERA to 3.38 after making his 37th appearance.

The Mets will travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game set. Jerad Eickhoff will be on the mound as the Reds plan to send right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez to the hill for the 7:10 PM start.

MetsJunkies Recap: Bucs upset Mets late

Tylor Megill keeps on impressing as he took the mound on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Listen, the Pirates aren’t going to compete for their division this season however, they’ve definitely proven to be quite the scrappy little club.

Megill on the other hand, tossed six shut-out innings while allowing six hits and no walks in the contest. The rookie right-hander has now lowered his ERA 2.63 after making 5th appearance of the season.

The Pirates did make Megill work quite hard right out of the gate as it took 22 pitches to finally end the first inning, stranding Adam Frazier on second. While Megill definitely pitched well enough to earn the win, that wasn’t the case as the rookie didn’t get a decision.

Luis Guillorme is proving that not only is he the best option with the glove when it comes to temporarily replacing Lindor at shortstop, but he’s doing it with the stick, too.

The slick fielding infielder would go 1-3 with a run scored as well as a double in the fourth inning.

The Mets used J.D. Davis as their clean-up batter and it was a great move. Davis ended up hitting two two-run bombs in his 3-4 effort, alongside four RBI’s which at one point (Fourth Inning) were the Mets’ only runs on the board.

Travis Blankenhorn came into the game in the top of the seventh to pinch-hit for Megill and absolutely laced a double off of the right-center field wall. The extra-base hit would plate across Luis Guillorme, giving the Mets the 5-0 lead.

Coming into the game, Blankenhorn was just 1-11 with a .348 OPS while with the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo continues to get on base at an elite level. The Mets centerfielder drew three walks against Pirates pitching and crossed the plate once on his 1-2 game.

It all started to go down hill for the Mets in the 8th inning when Seth Lugo surrendered five runs on three hits and two walks in just 0.2 innings. Lugo now has an inflated ERA of 5.09 after Saturday’s disaster of an outing.

Edwin Diaz failed just as bad as the closer gave up four runs in the ninth, blowing the save as well as picking up the loss. Diaz would give up a grand slam to Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings for the walk off as the Mets suffer from a 9-7 loss.

Taijuan Walker will take the hill for the Mets on Sunday afternoon as the Mets look to at least take one game from these Pirates.

MetsJunkies Recap: Another split Doubleheader

The Mets have played a ton of doubleheaders so far this season and it seems as if they’re splitting a bunch of them. After winning in a blowout yesterday, the Mets were able to split the twin bill with the Pirates on Friday.

While it’s never a bad thing to split, going up against a team like the now 33-56 Pirates probably warrants a sweep.

Marcus Stroman took the mound in the opener and pitched well, just not well enough for the Mets. The Long Island, New York native threw five innings while allowing three runs on five hits. Stroman did give up a home run to Pirates’ John Nogowski but also struck out five in his two times through the lineup.

Pillar put the first runs of the day on the board when he lined a single into left field, platting across Brandon Nimmo.

Jonathan Villar hit another home run on Friday, his 9th, however it wasn’t enough for the Mets to top the Pirates as they would lose 6-3 in the matinee.

The Mets were able to take the latter game as Tylor Megill would be on the hill during the Friday evening outing. Megill would only throw 3.2 innings while allowing an earned run on four hits. The righty also surrendered three walks while striking out seven batters in the 4-2 victory.

Jeff McNeil got it cracking for the Mets offense as the second baseman hit a double in the right-center gap to plate across both Francisco Lindor and Dom Smith. McNeil is now batting .255 after going 2-3 with a throwback McNeil multi-hit game.

In the third, Pete Alonso laced a line drive off of the left field foul pole to widen the lead a bit. Alonso now has 17 home runs on the campaign as well as 49 RBI’s.

Familia picked up his fourth win of the season as he would come in to relieve Megill during Friday’s outing.

Billy McKinney would hit a ground ball single up the middle in the sixth to bring across James McCann to score, giving the Mets the 4-2 lead and win.

Seth Lugo came in to pitch a very pivotal two inning in relief while slightly raising his ERA to 2.65 on the year.

Edwin Diaz picked up his 19th save as the Puerto Rican born right-hander pitched a perfect 1-2-3 ninth by striking out the side.

The Mets will take on the Pirates on Sunday in efforts to take three of four with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM.

MetsJunkies Recap: Mets split twin bill with Brewers

The Mets once again played another doubleheader, this one coming against the Milwaukee Brewers back at Citi Field.

Jacob deGrom took the hill in the first bout against the Brewers and immediately fell in the hole as he would give up a lead off home run to Luis Urias. The infielder would finish the game going 2-3 and now has a .238 batting average to go alongside a .746 OPS.

The Mets struck back almost immediately as Brandon Nimmo would cross the plate on a Francisco Lindor single. Lindor, although has been cold throughout most of the season, has been batting .300 with a .500 OBP in his last seven contests.

Jose Peraza appeared in the seventh inning as pinch hitter for Jacob deGrom and would take on of the elite relievers in the game yard. The game tying home run would come off of Milwaukee’s closer Josh Hader.

After Dom Smith and James McCann would set the table in the bottom half of the eighth, Jeff McNeil would single up the middle to bring in Dom Smith for the game winning walk-off run. This would count as McNeil’s very first career walk-off, which is almost surprising considering how well he’s hit throughout his career.

Edwin Diaz would collect the win in the Mets 4-3 victory, while deGrom now has an ERA of 1.08 after his 7 inning, 10 K outing against the Brewers.

The second game featured the newly acquired Robert Stock and right-hander didn’t fare all that bad. In four innings on the hill, Stock would strikeout five as he gave up just two earned runs on the evening.

Although the Mets would lose the contest, Stock could have and likely did earn himself another look down the line. The hard throwing right-hander now has an unimpressive ERA of 7.88 after making his first appearance for the Mets.

Nothing to write about on the offensive front as the boys in Orange and Blue were shut out by Brian Anderson and the Brewers bullpen in the 5-0 loss.

The Mets will host the Pirates tomorrow to kick off the series with Taijuan Walker on the hill against JT Brubaker.

MetsJunkies MiLB Recap: Mauricio and Vientos Homer, Conforto Starts Rehab

Syracuse Mets (11-27)

The Syracuse Mets Bullpen had another lead blown late as they lost 10-7 after a 10 inning affair against the Railriders.

Positive news was that Michael Conforto returned to the playing field. The Mets right fielder went 1 for 3 in his first rehab game.

Jeff McNeil went 2 for 4 (one pop up double) in his rehab game.

Albert Almora doubled in his rehab game. Travis Blankenhorn homered for the second straight game, hitting a 2 run homerun and Orlando Calixte homered and drove in three.

Thomas Szapucki got the start and went 4 innings of 4 run ball. Control was an issue for the lefty as he walked 5 batters. Roney and Trey Cobb worked scoreless outings before Yennsy Diaz blew the save and got the loss allowing 4 runs (3 earned).

Binghamton Rumble Ponies (11-26)

The Rumble Ponies lost to the Sea Dogs 5-4, after allowing one in the ninth and tenth inning.

Mark Vientos homered for the sixth time this year, going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Luis Carpio stayed hot with a 3 for 4 day.

Adam Oller allowed 3 runs in 2.2 innings of work. He got relieved by Dan Goggin who pitched 4.1 scoreless innings. Yeizo Campos got the BS/Loss combo allowing runs in the ninth and tenth.

Brooklyn Cyclones (11-24)

The Cyclones lost 5-2 to the Blue Rocks. Ronny Mauricio accounted for the only runs as he homered in the sixth. It’s Mauricio his 7th of the season.

Brett Baty had another multi hit game, going 2 for 4. Baty is still hitting. 327 with a .964 OPS

Jaison Vilera was great for the first 5 innings, but got in trouble in the sixth. He and Orze combined to allow 5 runs in that sixth inning.

St. Lucie Mets (20-18)

The St. Lucie Mets lost a rain shortened, eight inning game to the Hammerheads 8-4. Nic Gaddis and Ranfy Adon homered in the loss.

Luis Moreno had trouble with his control, allowing 5 walks in 4.1 innings. He limited the damage over that span allowing 3 runs (2 earned). Dellin Betances got the loss with an ugly outing, allowing 5 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, recording just one out.

Photo by: Andrew Gold