Blog

2018 Season

Mets sign OF Jose Bautista

The wounded Mets’ outfield corps will be receiving some much needed reinforcement, as the Mets signed outfielder Jose Bautista to a major league deal today, and he will be active for tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins.

The 37-year old outfielder has struggled to find success in the waning years of his career, hitting for slash lines of .234/.366/.452 and .203/.308/.366 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Blue Jays chose not to extend his contract at the end of the 2017 season, and Bautista found himself as a free agent to begin the first couple of weeks of the season until the Braves signed him to a minor-league contract in the middle of April.

Bautista began his tenure with the Braves with their Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Stripers, before he was called up to the Braves on May 4th to play at third base. Bautista struggled offensively and defensively in the short amount of time he spent with the Braves, hitting with a .143 BA and 63 wRC+, and fielding with -2 DRS at third base, which ultimately led to his release this past Sunday.

The structure of the contract is slated to be a 1-year, major league contract, though he will likely play on a minimum contract. With Juan Lagares’s season effectively over, and with no timetable for Yoenis Cespedes’s return, Bautista will provide outfield depth and a right-handed bat for an all-lefty starting outfield. This deal is a low-risk, low reward move given the scenario where Bautista performs poorly, the Mets will face virtually no negative consequences if they cut Bautista due to his cheap contract, and they could potentially reap his meager value if he performs above expectations.

 

EDIT: Bautista will be starting in right field tonight, as he will bat fifth in the order.

 

Photo Credit: Associated Press

 

2018 Season

Juan Lagares expected to miss remainder of the season from torn toe ligament

The Mets endure yet another injury, with Juan Lagares becoming another addition to the laundry list of players to serve time on the disabled list this year. The Mets announced Friday that Juan Lagares will undergo surgery to repair a complete tear of his plantar plate in his big toe and will go on the 10-day disabled list, but it is very likely that his season is over.

Lagares suffered the injury from running into the center field wall to catch a Giovanny Urshela flyball in the ninth inning of an eventual 12-1 defeat from the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon.

The outfield depth was already growing thin to begin with, as Yoenis Cespedes landed on the 10-day disabled list earlier this week to recover from a lingering hip flexor strain, which has caused trouble for the 32-year old for a couple of weeks now.

Like Cespedes, Lagares has dealt with a plethora of injuries in recent years. In June of 2016, Lagares landed on the disabled list for a sprained left thumb which kept him on the shelf for two weeks. He sprained his thumb again in July, this time undergoing surgery to repair his thumb, and missed the entire month of August and most of September.

His injury woes continued into the cursed 2017 season, beginning the season on the disabled list after suffering an oblique strain in spring training. Then in July, Lagares broke his oft-injured left thumb attempting to make a catch in June, putting him on the disabled list for two months.

With no timetable to the returns of Cespedes and Lagares, the Mets’ outfield depth is decimated, only consisting of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Jay Bruce. Some potential candidates for a call-up include Matt den Dekker, who played in 81 games for the Mets in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and other players such as Pat Biondi, Patrick Kivlehan, and Zach Borenstein.

 

Photo Credit: Paul J. Bereswill

2018 Season

Yoenis Cespedes placed on 10-day disabled list

The Mets announced Wednesday morning that Yoenis Cespedes has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain.

GM Sandy Anderson stated the Mets have been monitoring Cespedes’s condition since Sunday, and was considering placing him on the disabled list based on how Cespedes felt.

Cespedes has attempted to play through the injury he suffered on May 6th in a game against the Rockies, and since then Cespedes has played through the injury at less than 100 percent. Cespedes underwent an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed a mild strain in his right hip flexor. So far in 2018, Cespedes has a .255 batting average, .790 OPS, and has hit 8 home runs in 152 at-bats.

Cespedes is no stranger to leg injuries, as the 32-year old missed half of last season from separate injuries to his left and right hamstrings. In 2016, Cespedes spent time on the 15-day disabled list for a lingering quadriceps injury.

The Mets recalled Phillip Evans from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Cespedes’s spot on the 25-man roster. In 130 at-bats for the Las Vegas 51s, Evans has a .254 batting average, along with hitting 9 home runs and driving in 19 RBIs. Evans is able to play several positions, as he can play any position in the infield and can spend time in left field.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2018 Season

Mets trade Matt Harvey to Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco

The Mets have traded Matt Harvey to the Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco Tuesday, just days after Harvey was designated from assignment after refusing a minor league demotion.

Harvey’s struggles have continued through 2018, throwing a paltry 7.00 ERA and 5.39 FIP. Not even a tenure in the bullpen could revitalize Harvey’s pitching, as he gave up five earned runs in two innings in his final game in a Mets uniform this past Thursday.

In return for Harvey, the Mets fill a desperate need at catcher by acquiring Devin Mesoraco. The 29-year old catcher has shown in the past that he can produce offensively, as he hit with a .273 BA and drilled 25 home runs in his 2014 All-Star season. However, Mesoraco’s offensive upside has been hindered by a dreadful injury history. Since 2015, Mesoraco has played in only 95 games. Mesoraco should become an instant starter over Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton, and could remain in that position even when Kevin Plawecki returns.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2018 Season

What to know about rookie pitcher P.J. Conlon

On Sunday, the Mets announced that Jacob deGrom will serve a brief stint on the disabled list for a hyper-extended right elbow he suffered against the Braves last Wednesday. In the process, the Mets called up pitcher P.J. Conlon, who will make his major league debut tonight against the Reds.

Conlon, a Belfast native, will become the first Irish-born player to play in a major league contest in 72 years. Conlon emigrated to California at a young age, and lived there for his entire childhood. Conlon played Division-I baseball in college, throwing a 2.83 ERA and a 7.45 K/rate in 37 starts for the San Diego Tareros.

Conlon was drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, and started his minor league career at a blistering pace. In 2015, Conlon allowed zero earned runs, and pitched with a phenomenal 0.93 FIP in 17 innings out of the bullpen for the Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones. He continued to dominate the competition in the 2016 season by pitching with a 1.65 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and striking out 112 hitters in appearances for the Single-A Columbia Fireflies and the Single-A Advanced St. Lucie Mets. He was named the 2016 Mets’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year for his efforts on the mound.

The lefty wasn’t as dominant as he was pitching in the lower levels when he reached the Double-As, but he still performed well. He had a 3.38 ERA and a 3.90 FIP in 22 starts. Conlon was called up to Triple-A Las Vegas to begin the 2018 season, and from a face value, he has seemed to stumble out of the gates. His monstrous 6.75 ERA is very deceiving when you consider how Conlon has a above average 3.83 FIP, and the fact that he has pitched in the hitter-friendly ballpark of Cashman Field, where its center field wall sits 433 feet away from home plate.

Conlon’s ceiling is pretty limited thanks to his very slow fastball (clocks in around 86-89 mph) and, at-best, average movement on his entire pitching repertoire; however Conlon makes up for his shortcomings by exhibiting excellent command on his pitches, and by utilizing a very unorthodox and jerky delivery to throw off hitters.

 

Photo Credit: Pat Connolly/Las Vegas Review Journal

Stats provided by FanGraphs and The Baseball Cube

2018 Season

“Dark Knight” era ends, Matt Harvey designated from assignment

A half-decade long saga marred by injuries, off-field controversy, and plenty of criticism came to an unpleasant conclusion Friday. The Mets announced that Matt Harvey has been designated from assignment, after Harvey declined a demotion to the minor leagues.

In eight games, Harvey pitched a 7.00 ERA and allowed 33 hits and 9 walks in 27 innings pitched this season.

The 29-year old righty has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in his six-year stint with the Mets. After a strong 2015 season coming back from Tommy John surgery, it seemed like Harvey would live up to his “Dark Knight” moniker and become the perennial Cy Young candidate ace many Mets fans believed he could be. These expectations were swiftly crushed when Harvey was hampered by a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome in the 2016 season, and the corrective surgery that followed did little to mitigate the condition’s effects on Harvey’s pitching.

Many fans became less and less optimistic of Harvey’s future by every passing start, with Harvey struggling on the hill by having a 6.70 ERA and a 6.37 FIP Incoming manager Mickey Callaway was tasked to revitalize Harvey’s now-declining career. After Harvey stumbled out of the gates in 2018, he was relegated to the bullpen. Even after this demotion to a reliever, Harvey continued to struggle. Depressingly, Mets fans’ last memory of Harvey will be a complete annihilation by the Braves where he gave up five runs out of the bullpen on Thursday afternoon.

 

Photo Credit: Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

 

 

 

2018 Season

Jason Vargas activated from disabled list, set to make season debut tonight

With lots of debate surrounding the state of a tumultuous back-end of the rotation, relief is on the way in the form of Jason Vargas. The 35-year old southpaw is set to make his season debut tonight against the Padres, after missing the beginning of the season from surgery to repair a broken right hand that he suffered from getting struck by a line-drive in Spring Training.

The Mets have chosen to recall Jacob Rhame to Triple-A Las Vegas in order to place Jason Vargas on the 25-man roster. Rhame has struggled out of the bullpen to begin this season, pitching a 7.36 ERA and a 9.99 FIP in four relief appearances.

Vargas was signed to a 2-year/$16 million deal by the Mets just before the beginning of Spring Training in February, just a season removed from being named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Vargas finished the 2017 season with an 18-11 record, and a 4.16 ERA.

Vargas’s recovery process has been gradual, as he made his first rehab start since the injury on Monday night. Vargas pitched four innings, allowing three hits and three runs while pitching for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, Las Vegas 51s.

With Matt Harvey’s recent demotion to the bullpen, plus the concerns surrounding Steven Matz’s pitching ability, Vargas’s return to action could not occur at a better time. He is set to make his first start of the season tonight, when he will face LHP Joey Lucchesi (2-1, 2.70 ERA).

 

Photo Credit: Anthony J. Causi