If you believe the reports there wasn’t anything that could have been done to prevent Jacob deGrom to fulfill his childhood dream to play for the Texas Rangers, which I always thought to be one of those teams who every so often bang a fist on the desk and insist they win a free agency lottery.
As wonderful a player as deGrom was–and he was awesome from the start–he was also inscrutable and frustrating. Even his injuries were mysterious, and it hurts that he turned his back on us like it did when Darryl Strawberry departed, albeit with a more obvious chip on his shoulder. Let’s say deGrom is departing with a chip on his elbow.
I can only imagine how Steve Cohen will take this bit of news but I’m preparing for one or two big strikes on the free agent market. I’m not a big fan of 40-year-olds, but Justin Verlander is out there; a decade younger but with a spottier track record in Carlos Rodon, then there’s the promising Japanese League import Kodai Senga with whom the Mets have reportedly met in person. I could see the club sign two of the three and bring back Chris Bassitt too.
Meantime the Mets continue to collect obscure castoffs that might make for bullpen depth or sixth starters: Most recently ex-Ray Jimmy Yacabonis; and Denyi Reyes, formerly of Baltimore.
Dom Smith, who on his best days looked to be a challenger for Pete Alonso and on his worst an AAA outfielder/first baseman who couldn’t fulfill the glaring need for a left-handed hitting DH, was nontendered by the Mets last night, ending a career with the club that started as a first-round draft pick in 2013. Smith was tossed aside along with Sean Reid-Foley, the bulldoggish reliever who came over from Toronto in the Steven Matz trade.
Dom Smith departs as the Mets’ all-time leader in home runs among guys who wore No. 2 (with 21, surpassing Marv Throneberry‘s 16!) but it should be remembered that Smith spent the early part of his career wearing 22 where his 25 jacks rank a distant third to Kevin McReynolds (122) and Donn Clendenon (45).
You could make a case that Smith was the Mets’ all-time No. 2 but Mackey Sasser is the best compiler (most plate appearances, most RBI and the highest batting average). Free-agent Justin Turner would be third. Of the brief visitors let us not forget Juan Uribe, though my all-time No. 2 remains Bobby Valentine.
Reid-Foley was released while undergoing rehab from Tommy John surgery. Smith had his own injury woes over the years including a famous sleep disorder and an ankle sprain. The acquisition of Daniel Vogelbach and his more cost-effective salary sealed Dom’s fate.
These moves came as the Mets shore up the fringes of the 40-man roster which as of now has just 33 guys, so there’s a lot more to come, presumably more impactful than the quintet of DFAed relievers they’d also recently acquired. They are William Woods, a righty fringe prospect from the Braves; two former Marlins arms, righties Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham; Stephen Ridings, a towering righty from Long Island who pitched last for the Yankees; and Tayler Saucedo, a lefty snatched from the Blue Jays. None of these guys have assigned numbers yet. Hernandez and Brigham cost the Mets a low-level prospect in hard-throwing Franklin Sanchez.
They Mets made no moves to protect their eligible prospects from the forthcoming Rule 5 draft–outfielder Jake Magnum seemed the likeliest–but it would seem the Mets could add this way if they so chose while keeping an eye on resigning or replacing dudes like Seth Lugo, Jacob deGrom, Brandon Nimmo, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker and Adam Ottavino.
The 2022 Mets were built to win but are they built to last?
Although closer Edwin Diaz signed a new 5-year deal already, there could be three starting pitchers on their way out: Jacob deGrom who apparently has interest in Texas; Chris Bassitt, who rejected the qualifying offer, and Taijuan Walker who didn’t get a qualifying offer.
Then there’s Brandon Nimmo, who could depart for Colorado on the verge of becoming the undisputed all-time No. 9 in team history.
He’s pretty much that now, I’d ague, even if Todd Hundley has a season’s worth more games played, more home runs (123-63) and way more RBI (388-212). But Nimmo has the superior OBP (a 9-best .385) and his slugging percentage is just a tick below Hundley’s at .441 to Todd’s .447. Nimmo is in fact 4th overall in career OBP among all Mets, so he’s not the kind of guy a contending team wants to lose.
The Mets have a lot of decisions to make including replacing president Sandy Alderson. I’m pretty much out of ideas myself, so what do you think?
So I’m pleased to see the players and owners come to an agreement, doubly so because had it gone on any longer, our little vacation in Arizona timed to the Mets’ series there in April was also under threat.
As you may have heard last night the Mets made a trade for Oakland’s Chris Bassitt, a late blooming All-Star righthander. I can’t recall having ever watched him but the back of his baseball card looks pretty good recently, and he’s a big guy. He wore No. 40 in Oakland that’s been available since Geoff Hartlieb (who?) was selected off waivers by Boston late last year.
To get Bassitt, the Mets coughed up propsect Adam Oller, himself a late bloomer who pitched his way onto the 40-man roster in the minors last season, and JT Ginn, one of the high-drafted pitchers of the Brodie Era, who’d shpown a promising start to his pro career after the requisite elbow surgery they all have to go through.
At any rate, Bassitt looks like a No. 3 in a rotation — deGrom, Scherzer, Bassitt, Walker, Carrasco — that looks great on paper but is a little old and not necessarily the healthiest in the league. I’d be shocked if I’m not here later this week writing about the Big Jeff McNeil Trade, in which we’ll get a pretty good relief pitcher and the red-assed squirrel winds up hitting third for a club that’s not going to contend.