Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Magic Fortune Cookie Predicts the 2018 Mets Season

Your friendly neighborhood Metsies are coming off their first 90-plus loss campaign since the dark days of 2009, when Omar Minaya was employed by the team, David Wright had his first trip to the disabled list and Terry Collins wasn't in the dugout at Citi Field.  The 2018 squad looks to be quite different, except for the fact that Omar Minaya is back with the team, David Wright is setting up a residency on the D.L. and Terry Collins is no longer in the dugout at Citi Field.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

On a related note, this off-season saw Jay Bruce re-sign with the team after spending a few months in Keith Hernandez's favorite city, Cleveland.  The club also decided to bring back Jason Vargas to the fold, 11 years after he posted a 12.19 ERA in two starts for the Mets.  The team is crossing its fingers that his lifetime ERA in orange and blue will go down this season.  But we won't know the fortunes and misfortunes of either former and current Met until the season starts.  Or will we?

In the past, we employed a Magic 8-Ball to help us predict the upcoming campaign for the Mets.  But in protest of the Mets parting ways with its favorite target, Ray Ramirez, the Magic 8-Ball has decided to retire from its prognosticating post.  Fortunately, it didn't take long to find its replacement, mainly because only one applicant showed up for an interview.  Let's give a warm hand to our new teller of Mets fortunes...

Of course you do.  We went through an interview process.  I told you I'd ask you questions about the Mets' upcoming season and you'd give me something that resembles an answer.  If you wanted to add a little attitude to your responses to show off your personality, that was very much recommended, even if it meant insulting the team or me.

Thank you for being so supportive of the Mets and not the guy who pays your salary.  It's much appreciated.  Now let's move on to the first question.  After a year in which the team's pitchers posted a collective 5.01 ERA, do you think the Mets did enough to improve their pitching in 2018?

Already looking forward to going to my local liquor store for some.  Now what do you think of the upgrades at the corner infield positions, namely Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier?  Are they going to remind us of Carlos Delgado and David Wright, circa 2006?  Or perhaps Robin Ventura and John Olerud from 1999?  Maybe they remind you of another corner infield duo.

You're talking about Willie Montañez (.234, 5 HR, 47 RBI in 109 games) and Richie Hebner (.268, 10 HR, 79 RBI and a John Rocker-like hatred of New York).  How is it that your memory goes back to the 1970s?  Just how long were you in that restaurant before you came out to be interviewed for this position?

Oy, vey.  Calgon, take me away!  Anyway, what do you think of the team potentially playing Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes in the outfield?  Is that something that intrigues you?

Not exactly a vote of confidence for the two long-time infielders.  Is there any other position on the team you're not confident about heading into the season?

I see you're referring to the man who oversees the team's strength and conditioning program.  That's an interesting choice.  Speaking of strength and conditioning, now that Ray Ramirez is no longer able to be on the receiving end of boos during Opening Day introductions, who do you think will be subject to the wrath of Mets fans at Citi Field during the pre-game ceremonies?

Of course.  I should have known better than to ask that question.  After all, the Mets are playing the Cardinals on Opening Day.

Valid point.  Speaking of relievers, Mickey Callaway suggested that he might use a closer-by-committee approach.  Do you think this has a chance of working out for the team and the players involved?

Wow, you sound pretty confident about that.  Why do you think this move by the manager will fail?

Ah, so this is personal for you.  And why, pray tell, would any reliever on the 2004 Mets be a favorite of yours?

Wait, a former misused Mets reliever paid homage to a family of fortune cookies with his last name.  Okay, I have to know.  Which pitcher are you referring to?

I never claimed to be.  But I do know that Fortunato wasn't misused at all.  He was just "the other guy" who came to the Mets with Victor Zambrano in the much-maligned trade for former No. 1 overall draft pick Scott Kazmir.

Fair enough.  Now let's move on to my last question before I ask you to predict the team's final record in 2018.  Will Yoenis Céspedes ever stay on the field long enough to challenge the Mets' single season home run record?  He's averaged nearly 40 homers per 162 games played as a Met and the team record is 41 home runs, set by Todd Hundley in 1996 and matched by Carlos Beltrán ten years later.

So are you saying there's a chance we could potentially see home run history at Citi Field in 2018 as long as Céspedes shields himself from injuries?

Wait, what?  Okay, that's enough of that.  Just tell me what you think the Mets' final record will be and where they'll finish in the N.L. East.

Ya gotta love fortune cookies that stand up for those who stand up for them.  Even if said fortune cookies insult you by making off-color mom jokes.

And on that note, we'd like to thank the Magic Fortune Cookie, who did its best not to be just like the Magic 8-Ball used to be.  I didn't say the fortune cookie succeeded; I just said it did its best.  And if its predictions are on point, Mets fans can look forward to a season of high octane offense, Swarzak and Vargas coming through for the team and a healthy dose of boos for Yadier Molina.  Unless if Aaron Heilman makes a guest appearance at Citi Field.

Until next time, I hope you enjoy Opening Day and the upcoming season and please lay off the MSG; something I wish the Magic Fortune Cookie had done before I brought it in for the interview.


Hey, kids!  Prior to this year's hiring of the Magic Fortune Cookie, it was the Magic 8-Ball that was making predictions for Studious Metsimus, doing its job every season since 2010, the year Jason Bay first soiled us with his presence.  To see what the Magic 8-Ball said prior to each of the previous eight seasons, please click on the links below:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Milestones Within Reach For Members of the 2018 Mets

Goals.  We all have them.  It's no different for baseball players.  In this era of advanced metrics, pitchers still enjoy reaching 20 wins.  Similarly, hitters set goals of batting .300, launching 30 homers or driving in 100 runs.  And a bench player's goal might involve finding a voodoo doll that bears a strong resemblance to the guy blocking his path to an everyday job.

Players who reach these single season goals on a regular basis will eventually hit some career milestones along the way.  The 2018 Mets have several players who could reach and surpass some important personal milestones during the upcoming season.

So which hitters in orange and blue are within striking distance of an individual mark?  Is there a Mets pitcher shooting for a nice round number on the back of his baseball card?  And why does Wilmer Flores have effigies of several Mets infielders hanging in his locker behind his Friends DVD box set?  At least two of those questions will be answered below.  Enjoy!

Attainable Individual Milestones (Position Players)

Asdrubal Cabrera is close to several milestones, leaving Jay Bruce to wonder how this is possible.  (Billy Hurst/AP)

Yoenis Céspedes:

  • Needs five RBI to reach 500 for his career.
  • Needs 35 HR to reach 100 as a Met.
  • Needs to stay on the field to make opposing pitchers shake in their cleats.
  • Needs to let me borrow five bucks.  I know he has it.

Asdrubal Cabrera:

  • Needs 14 SB to reach 100 for his career.
  • Needs eight runs and 70 RBI to reach 700 in both categories.
  • Needs 12 strikeouts for 1,000 lifetime whiffs.  (Not every milestone is positive.)
  • Needs to stop asking for a trade if the season doesn't go to his liking.

Jay Bruce:

  • Needs 23 HR to reach 300 for his career.
  • Needs 28 doubles to reach 300 as well.
  • Needs to remember to pack his first baseman's glove since you know he'll be there eventually.

Jose Reyes:

  • Needs nine hits to become the second player with 1,500 hits as a Met.
  • Needs 25 doubles to reach 400 for his career.
  • Needs to continue to mentor Amed Rosario and give him confidence in his abilities.
  • Needs to not lead the team in games played like he did in 2017.  (Stupid injury-plagued team.)

David Wright:

  • Needs 11 HR to become the Mets' all-time leaders in homers.
  • Needs 30 RBI to reach 1,000 for his career.
  • Needs one at-bat to have one more than anyone expects him to have this season.

Brandon Nimmo:

  • Needs to smile more.  He takes his job way too seriously.

The look of a way-too-serious baseball player.  Or a fan of "The Terminator".  (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Attainable Individual Milestones (Pitchers)

Jacob deGrom:

  • Needs 108 strikeouts to move into ninth place on the Mets' all-time leaderboard.
  • Needs 269 strikeouts to reach 1,000 for his career.
  • Needs 22 wins to finally knock Steve Trachsel out of the team's top ten in career victories.

Noah Syndergaard:

  • Needs 82 strikeouts to reach 500 for his career.
  • Needs four homers to pass Dwight Gooden as the team's all-time leader in home runs by pitchers.
  • Needs to reach 100 on the speed gun all the way into September.
  • Needs to fight Mr. Met and start an online petition to ban the wave.  (He's Thor; he can multitask.)

Matt Harvey:

  • Needs eight strikeouts to reach 600 for his career.
  • Needs 30 starts to have the first 30-start season of his career.
  • Needs to have two more wins than losses to pass the legendary Oliver Perez in lifetime winning percentage as a Met.

Zack Wheeler:

  • Needs 148 strikeouts to reach 500 for his career.
  • Needs 18 starts to reach that mark for the first time in four seasons.
  • Needs to figure things out quickly in the minors if he wants to reach those goals this year.

Jeurys Familia:

  • Needs two saves to pass Jesse Orosco into third place on the Mets' all-time leaderboard.
  • Needs 33 appearances to enter the Mets' all-time top ten in games pitched.
  • Needs to accept that someone else should take the ball in the ninth inning if the Mets play meaningful games in September.

Jerry Blevins:

  • Needs to eat more.  (Just kidding, Jerry.  We love you just the way you are.  You be you!)

"Maybe I shouldn't have asked Wilmer for a Jason Vargas effigy." (Zack Wheeler photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ken Griffey Jr. Once Rejected a Trade to the Mets For a Rejected Met

Imagine if a scene like this had happened at Shea Stadium with Griffey wearing a Mets uniform.  (Elaine Thompson/AP)

With today's news that Seattle legend Edgar Martinez failed to garner the votes necessary for Hall of Fame election, that leaves Ken Griffey Jr. as the only player with a Mariners cap on his plaque in Cooperstown.  But nearly two decades ago, a deal was in place that could have seen Griffey change the "S" on his cap to an interlocking "NY".  That is, if Griffey hadn't rejected the trade.

According to the Seattle Times, Mariners general manager Pat Gillick and his Mets counterpart Steve Phillips had discussed a trade in December 1999 that would have brought Griffey to New York to join fellow 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Mike Piazza in the middle of a formidable Mets lineup that had come within two wins of a National League pennant just two months earlier.  But Griffey was adamant about only playing in Seattle or Cincinnati, where he grew up and went to high school.  As a 10-and-5 player (ten years in the majors, the last five with his current team), it was Griffey's right to reject any trade he didn't approve of, which he did after the Mariners asked for his approval of a potential move to New York.

Who would the Mets have sent to Seattle for the future Hall of Famer?  Well, Roger Cedeño would have taken his .313 batting average and then-club record 66 stolen bases to the Pacific Northwest in the nixed deal.  So would Octavio Dotel, who ended up pitching for a major league record 13 teams in his 15 major league seasons.  A third player would also have been jettisoned to Seattle to go with the speedy Cedeño and the peripatetic Dotel.  That player would have been Armando Benitez.

Yes, that Armando Benitez.

Benitez had become the Mets' closer in 1999 after John Franco was lost for two months with an injury.  Although Benitez had a dominant regular season (22 saves, 1.85 ERA, 128 Ks in 78 IP), he was just ordinary in the postseason, blowing a save in the division series (a game the Mets eventually won in extra innings) and failing to hold a one-run lead in the tenth inning of Game Six of the NLCS (the Mets lost that heartbreaker to the Braves).

Booooo!!!   (Gregory Bull/AP)
Had Griffey just said yes to the Mets, Benitez would have been in Seattle in 2000.  That means he wouldn't have allowed a game-tying three-run homer to the Giants' J.T. Snow in the ninth inning of Game Two of the 2000 NLDS.  And he certainly wouldn't have blown a ninth inning lead to the Yankees in Game One of that year's World Series, which completely changed the course of that Fall Classic.  And let's not forget how Benitez allowed eight runs in two late-season appearances against the Braves in 2001, coughing up a three-run lead and four-run advantage in those ill-fated outings, all but ending the Mets' unlikely post-9/11 push to a potential division title.

Benitez remained a Met until 2003, which was more than enough for him to incur the wrath of long-time Mets fans as well as recent converts.  Dotel and Cedeño, who were two-thirds of the rejected trade for Griffey in 1999, were eventually traded that winter to the Houston Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton, with Hampton eventually being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 National League Championship Series.  Fortunately for Hampton, Benitez didn't blow any of his leads in his two NLCS starts, although Benitez did allow two runs in the ninth inning of Hampton's first NLCS start, turning a comfortable 6-0 lead into a 6-2 final.

Could the Mets have won the 2000 World Series if Griffey had okayed the trade?  Would John Franco have gone back to being the Mets' closer and would he have held the leads that Benitez blew in so many crucial situations?  We'll never know.  But the thing we can say with certainty is that every person who booed Benitez would have cheered for Griffey.  And Mets history would have looked a whole lot different.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

If Studious Metsimus Had a 2018 Hall of Fame Vote...

On Wednesday, January 24, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will call several worthy inductees and tell them to book a flight to Cooperstown in the summer.  Those new members will join former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell on the stage, as those former players were inducted via the Modern Baseball Era ballot last month.

Last year's class saw the inductions of Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez, as well as executives John Schuerholz and Bud Selig.  Going by this year's early indications, the Hall of Fame stage in 2018 may be just as crowded.

A total of 14 players have returned to the ballot this year, after earning at least 5% of the vote in previous elections, but not quite receiving the 75% needed for enshrinement.  Among them are three former Mets (Jeff Kent, Billy Wagner, Gary Sheffield).  In addition to those players, there are 19 first-timers on the ballot, including two former Mets pitchers (Jason Isringhausen, Johan Santana).  And of course, there's a former Met killer on the ballot named Larry; no nicknames or surnames needed for him.

According to Hall of Fame ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux, a total of 424 ballots will by cast by those BBWAA members who are fortunate enough to have a vote.  For all you kids out there, that means 318 votes will be needed for players to receive that snazzy Hall of Fame jersey.  That also means a player will need the support of 22 voters to avoid falling off the ballot.

Had Studious Metsimus gotten a vote, the number of ballots cast would have jumped to 425.  But since the "W" in BBWAA stands for "writers" and not "wannabes" (as a blogger, I suppose I fall under the latter category), I won't be able to help some poor athlete worth tens of millions of dollars achieve legendary status.  Then again, perhaps it's best that I don't get a vote, especially since I'd enshrine Jeff Kent just to get his CHiPs era mustache into the Hall.

And now, before you get a chance to search on eBay for a vintage Ponch and Jon poster, it's time to reveal the ten former players who would have been on Ballot No. 425 had such a vote existed, focusing on the three players I loved to watch play the most, followed by the remaining seven in condensed form.

Baseball Mecca.  (Photo courtesy of the Cooperstown/Otsego County website)

Edgar Martinez

Face it, the only reason he's not in the Hall already is because he played a significant portion of his career as a designated hitter.  How else can you explain a lifetime .312 hitter with a .933 OPS and OPS+ just short of 150 not having a plaque in Cooperstown yet?

The voters of this generation who use the DH argument to foil the case of Martinez are like the previous generation's voters who couldn't bear to see relief pitchers making the Hall.  "If they can't pitch more than a few innings, I can't vote for them," those misinformed voters would say.  But relievers such as Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter (all Hall of Famers) paved the way for the one-inning closer to get recognition from the Hall.  Dennis Eckersley has a plaque in Cooperstown.  John Smoltz's three-and-a-half year period as a dominant closer also helped fuel his candidacy.  Trevor Hoffman (more on him later) is knocking on the Hall's door.  And who's going to keep Mariano Rivera out of Cooperstown once he's eligible in 2019?

The same people who are now accepting one-inning closers as potential Hall of Famers now need to focus their attention on players who left their gloves at home.  Frank Thomas, who started more than 100 games at first base in just three of his 19 seasons and played in over 1,300 games exclusively as a designated hitter, was a first ballot Hall of Famer.  Why is his lifetime .301/.419/.555 slash line considered worthy of enshrinement and Edgar's .312/.418/.515 isn't?  Is it because Thomas produced the sexy hits (521 HR) and Martinez didn't (309 HR)?  It's true Thomas had 11 seasons with 100+ RBI while Edgar had just six.  But did you know the great Mickey Mantle only had four such seasons?  No one used that argument against Mantle and no one should.  But had he played in the DH era, Mantle's knee injuries would have relegated him to "leave your glove behind" status and then people would be questioning what should have been obvious about him; that he is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer.

Martinez won two batting titles.  He was also a league leader in runs scored, RBI, OPS, OPS+ and finished first multiple times in doubles and on-base percentage.  For seven seasons (1995-2001), which coincided with all of the Mariners' postseason trips in franchise history, Martinez's averages per 162 games were mindboggling.  He produced a .329/.446/.574 slash line.  That's a 1.020 OPS in 1,020 games.  And if that's not good enough, how about his 162-game average of 47 doubles, 32 homers, 123 RBI and 111 runs scored during the seven-year stretch?

There's a reason why the annual outstanding designated hitter award is named after Edgar Martinez.  That's because he was the best at what he did.  And those who are the best deserve to be with the best in Cooperstown.

Even Jeff Kent's mustache can't compare to Edgar Martinez's classic lip fuzz. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Larry Walker

Similar to Edgar Martinez, Walker hasn't gotten as much support as he should because of one nagging element.  Martinez has failed to get votes because of the DH factor, while Walker has the Coors Field factor looming over him.

Prior to becoming a Colorado Rockie, Larry Walker was already a good hitter and complete player.  In his final three years in Montreal, Walker had a .294 batting average, .371 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage, averaging 33 doubles, 21 HR, 88 RBI and 21 SB.  He was also an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger Award and two Gold Gloves while in Montreal.  Although those numbers are not quite Hall of Fame worthy, they were still very good.  Then he signed with Colorado and became one of the best players in the major leagues.

In his first season with the Rockies (1995), Walker hit .306 with 36 HR and 101 RBI.  His .607 slugging percentage was second in the league and he helped lead the third-year Rockies to their first-ever playoff appearance.  Year two in Colorado was fraught with injuries, as Walker only played in 83 games but still managed 18 HR, 58 RBI and 18 SB in half a season's worth of games.  Fully healthy in 1997, Walker's career took off into the stratosphere.  Walker's 1997 numbers (.366 batting average, 46 doubles, 49 HR, 130 RBI, 143 runs scored, 33 SB, .452 OBP, .720 SLG, 1.172 OPS) almost looked like they came straight from a video game.  But Walker wasn't done after his phenomenal '97 campaign.  Over the next five seasons, Walker won three batting titles (1998, 1999, 2001), finished second another year (2002) and had a combined .350 batting average over those five seasons.  Basically, he was Tony Gwynn with power and Gwynn was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

In ten years as a Rockie, Walker posted a .334 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, .618 slugging percentage and 1.044 OPS.  Only 24 players in major league history finished with a higher career batting average than what Walker put up in that ten-year span.  Of those 24, the only three who finished with a higher on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS were Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, all first ballot Hall of Famers and all legends of the sport.

Larry Walker played 17 years in the major leagues.  However, because of injuries, he only had four seasons in which he played at least 140 games.  From 1994-2005, Walker missed an average of 44 games per season, failing to play more than 103 games in five of those 12 campaigns.  Despite his multiple trips to the disabled list, Walker finished his career with 2,160 hits, including 471 doubles and 383 HR.  He also stole 230 bases, scored 1,355 runs and drove in 1,311 more.  His combined averages (.313 BA, .400 OBP, .565 SLG) are among the highest career marks of anyone not already in the Hall of Fame, as is his 72.6 bWAR.  And he wasn't just a product of Coors Field.

Walker played in 674 games for the Expos prior to his time in Colorado and 144 games for the Cardinals after leaving the Rockies, which is approximately five full 162-game seasons.  In those 818 games in non-Rockies uniforms, Walker posted an .851 OPS and 129 OPS+, averaging 63 extra-base hits and 21 steals per 162 games.  And those numbers weren't fueled by the thin air in Denver.

All told, Walker was a five-time All-Star, won seven Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards.  He also finished in the top 20 in the MVP vote seven times, winning the 1997 MVP Award.  Not all of his awards and accolades came as a member of the Colorado Rockies, proving that Walker was an exceptional player before and after his time in Colorado.  Simply stated, Larry Walker has earned the right to become the first player with a Rockies hat on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Larry Walker sticks out his tongue to all those who won't vote for him.  (David Seelig/AllSport)

Vladimir Guerrero

He didn't reach 3,000 hits.  He didn't hit 500 homers.  He didn't collect 1,000 extra-base hits.  He didn't score 1,500 runs, nor did he drive in that amount.  And despite having a feared throwing arm, he somehow never won a Gold Glove.  (Too bad there's no Gold Arm Award.)  None of that matters.  Because Vladimir Guerrero is definitely a Hall of Famer.

Guerrero played only 14 full seasons in the major leagues.  (He played a total of 99 games between the 1996 and 1997 campaigns.)  But he was a feared player both at the plate and in the field.  Guerrero never batted lower than .290 in any of his full seasons and was a .300 hitter in 11 of the 12 years he qualified for the batting title, becoming one of just 30 players to have that many .300 campaigns.  Although he never won a batting title, Guerrero had four years with 200+ hits, leading the league in 2002.  Guerrero also had eight seasons with 30+ homers and an incredible ten years with 100+ RBI, making him one of only 18 players to have double digit seasons with triple digit RBIs.  In addition, Vlad was a nine-time All-Star and eight-time Silver Slugger recipient.

Opposing pitchers feared facing Guerrero, as evidenced by the five seasons in which he was the league leader in intentional walks.  Only Barry Bonds (12 times) and Wade Boggs (six times) led the league in intentional passes more often.  Guerrero was walked intentionally 250 times - the fifth highest total in major league history.

It wasn't just moundsmen who hated to face him; opposing base runners were afraid to run on Guerrero as well.  Guerrero had 126 outfield assists, leading the league in 2002 and 2004.  He could have thrown out many more runners, but they got the memo later in his career and stopped trying to run on his cannon.

And in case you thought it's just me singing his praises, in 2004 Guerrero won the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award.  Nice, right?  Well, that season was one of a dozen years in which the right fielder received MVP votes.  That's just about every year he played in the big leagues, meaning Guerrero was recognized as one of the best players in the game for nearly the entirety of his career.

2,590 hits.  477 doubles.  449 homers.  181 stolen bases.  1,328 runs scored.  1,496 runs batted in.  A .318 lifetime batting average.  A .553 career slugging percentage.  Never striking out 100 times in a season.  Two 30 homer/30 steal seasons.  Lots of accolades.  Lots of respect.

Without question, Vladimir Guerrero is a Hall of Famer (and he should have gotten in on the first ballot last year).

Vladimir Guerrero terrorized the Mets at Shea Stadium and other teams at their parks.  (Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated)

In addition to Edgar Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero and Larry Walker, my other seven Hall of Fame selections would be:

  • Chipper Jones:  He didn't just destroy Mets' pitching; he hit every team's pitchers.  Jones is one of 21 players with 1,600+ RBI and 1,600+ runs scored.  Fifteen of the other 20 are already in the Hall.  The other five are not yet eligible or had steroid suspicions.  Jones is not part of that latter group and should become part of that first group.
  • Jim Thome:  Anyone who hits 612 HR and drives in 1,699 runs without any talk of steroid use has earned his pass to Cooperstown on the first ballot.  Nine seasons of 100+ walks and a .402 lifetime OBP also help his case, as do his nine 100-RBI seasons and eight campaigns with 100 or more runs scored.
  • Trevor Hoffman:  A reliever with 30 saves in a season is considered dependable.  If that dependable reliever collects 30 saves every season for two full decades, he would still fall short of Hoffman's career total of 601.  In over 1,000 innings pitched during an era that catered to hitters, Hoffman produced a 2.87 ERA and 1.058 WHIP.  That's not Hall of Very Good.  That's Hall of Fame.
  • Curt Schilling:  Like Hoffman, he posted an impressive WHIP during an era known for its offense.  From 1992 to 2004, Schilling was the owner of a 1.091 WHIP, while averaging 202 strikeouts and just 44 walks per season.  In fact, of all pitchers with at least 3,000 strikeouts, no one posted a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Schilling's 4.38 K/BB (3,116 K, 711 BB).  And then there's this posteason thing; the one with him going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 0.968 WHIP in 19 starts.  He's one of the all-time greats.
  • Mike Mussina:  Schilling is considered one of the best pitchers of his era.  Modern metrics says Mussina was a better player, as his 83.0 bWAR puts him ahead of Schilling's 79.9 bWAR.  Mussina finished in the top-six in Cy Young Award balloting nine times and won seven Gold Glove Awards.  And of all pitchers who made at least 500 starts, only Hall of Famers Christy Matthewson, Pete Alexander, Randy Johnson and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Roger Clemens posted a higher winning percentage than Mussina's .638 mark.
  • Billy Wagner:  It's a shame Wagner hasn't gotten more recognition, as he was far more dominant than Hoffman ever was.  Hoffman got the job done as effectively as any other closer who ever lived.  But Wagner would eat a hitter up and spit him out.  Injuries curtailed Wagner's career, but any pitcher who averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings, four whiffs per walk and finished his career with a WHIP under 1.00 (Wagner's WHIP was 0.998) deserves Hall of Fame consideration.  And I didn't even mention his 422 saves and 2.31 ERA.  Okay, maybe I just did.
  • Jeff Kent:  Kent was more than just a mustache.  He was one of the best hitting second basemen of all-time.  For a guy whose career didn't take off until his age-29 season, Kent finished just 16 extra-base hits shy of 1,000.  The pressures of playoff baseball didn't faze him, as Kent posted an identical .500 career slugging percentage in the regular season and postseason.  And let's not forget his eight seasons with 100+ RBI, the 1,518 runs he drove in for his career and the title of all-time leading home run hitter at the second base position.

Those are my ten Hall of Fame selections.  Some will get in.  Some won't.  And some will want to know Jeff Kent's grooming techniques.  (Or Edgar Martinez's, circa 1990.)  As always, some candidates didn't make my cut.  (Yes, I know Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren't among my ten guys.  They'll be there ... someday.)  But every player on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2018 had an outstanding career and all of them had qualities that at the very least put them in the Hall of Fame conversation.

Who will get in?  And who will have to be like Johnny Damon and buy a ticket for themselves?  That will be revealed on January 24.  Until then, we'll just follow the advice of Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby and just stare out the window, waiting for spring to arrive.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Studious Metsimus Presents The Happy/Crappy Recap For 2017

It's the end of another calendar year, Mets fans.  And with just six weeks or so remaining until pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie, it's time to look back and reflect.  No, we're not reflecting on all the injuries that seemed to be Ray Ramirez's fault in the eyes of the fan base.  (Okay, maybe we'll reflect on one or twelve of them.)  We're here to share what was happy and what was crappy about the 2017 season.  And if you followed this season as closely as the Studious Metsimus staff did, you'll probably expect the "happy" part to be as long as a Jeff Wilpon interview and the "crappy" part to be of a similar length as a modernized version of "War and Peace".

You know what?  You may be right about that.

But despite everything that a 70-92 record might suggest, not everything was crappy for Mets fans in 2017.  We got to see the Nationals make another first round exit, which means all of Daniel Murphy's postseason celebrations continue to be with him wearing a Mets uniform.  We also saw the Yankees complete an eighth consecutive season without winning a pennant.  (Hey, we hadn't seen that occur in over two decades.)  And of course, future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran went out as a champion, winning a World Series ring with the Mets' 1962 expansion mates a full 13 seasons after his epic postseason run with the Astros led to him becoming the greatest free agent signing in Mets history.

As Mets fans, we can take comfort that things other than the Mets can give us pleasure.  Sometimes it's all we have.  And with that, I think it's time to delve into this year's Happy/Crappy recap.  I promise it won't depress you as you read it.  After all, we wouldn't want you to end up wearing a leg boot because of a depression diagnosis.

So what was happy about the 2017 season?


Seriously, what can we look back on and remember as a good thing that happened this past season?

(More crickets, getting louder...)

Anything at all?  Bueller?  Bueller?

(Crickets quieting down, mainly because they're all shaking their heads...)

Okay, so it wasn't easy to find something to be happy about when looking back at the 2017 campaign.  I mean, the team needed a win on the next-to-last day of the season to avoid their first year with fewer than 70 wins since Art Howe's crew "battled" their way to a 66-95 record in 2003.

Everyone except Ray Ramirez got hurt at some point of the season.  I mean, Jay Bruce was traded to Cleveland with almost two months left in the season and still had the third-most plate appearances on the Mets.  Michael Conforto got hurt swinging the bat.  So did Wilmer Flores, who found a way to foul a ball off his face.  Both players appeared to be heading toward career years, as Conforto was on pace to hit 35-plus homers and Flores had already established career highs in home runs (18), batting average (.271), slugging percentage (.488) and OPS (.795) before the invisible magnet in his nose attracted a fastball off his bat.  Even Noah Syndergaard, who was expected to contend for the Cy Young Award, missed the majority of the season recovering from a lat injury.

Hey, but at least he got to woo Mrs. Met on Twitter as part of his all-out war on Mr. Met.

The injuries, as well as the selling off of the team's veteran players (and by veteran, I mean the guys who made the most money and were in the final season of their contracts), allowed the Mets to call up their top two minor league prospects, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.

Aha!  We've reached the bright side!

Rosario and Smith had flashes of brilliance, but neither took the baseball world by storm, as both posted OBPs south of .300 and OPSs under .700.  Still, Rosario just turned 22 last month and Smith won't be 23 until the anniversary of the Midnight Massacre.  And yet, some people are calling for Smith's days as a Met to be terminated before he's gotten a chance to prove himself.  Why?

The two neophytes combined to produce a .223/.266/.395 slash line, which isn't that for off from Noah Syndergaard's career slash line (.200/.273/.345).  That may not sound impressive, but consider the following.

Rosario gives the Mets speed they desperately need.  The swift Dominican finished second on the team behind Jose Reyes in triples and stolen bases.  If Reyes doesn't return in 2018, Rosario will be the only dependable source for steals and extra-base hits that don't come to a screeching halt at second base.  Plus, he'd be the best candidate to go first-to-third on a single.  Without Reyes and not including Rosario's totals in two months with the team, the Mets would have finished the 2017 campaign with 17 triples and 27 steals.  That's fewer than Lance Johnson had by himself in 1996 (21 triples, 50 SB).  Rosario should become the go-to guy to get the go-go signal from his coaches.

Meanwhile, Smith may have batted .198 with 49 strikeouts in 183 plate appearances, but he was an excellent hitter with runners in scoring position.  On a team that occasionally struggled offensively, Smith batted .283 with an .871 OPS when a teammate was 90 or 180 feet from crossing the plate.  That explains why he drove in 26 runs in those limited plate appearances.  In fact, he was more likely to drive in a run last season than the 110 Million Dollar Man, Yoenis Céspedes, as Smith averaged an RBI every 7.0 plate appearances, while Céspedes drove in a run every 7.6 PA (42 RBI; 321 PA).

All I am saying is give Smith a chance.

That was the good that came out of the 2017 season.  Now it's time for the bad and the ugly.  Can we have some orange and blue toilet paper, please?

Okay, we've gone over the injuries ad nauseum.  We've yet to discuss the pitching staff posting the highest team ERA since 1962, but doing that would just get us ad nauseous.  So let me tell you a story about something that happened with the one team expected to do worse than the Mets in 2018.  I'm talking about the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins have a new co-owner/CEO/gift basket giver.  To protect the not-so-innocent, let's call him Dirk Jitters.  Mr. Jitters was part of a group that purchased the team, then decided to enrage the dozens of Marlins fans in South Florida by trading the one player who made them come out to Marlins Park on a nightly basis; Giancarlo Stanton.  But faster than you can say "most overrated shortstop in the history of baseball", Mr. Jitters also found a way to trade slugger Marcell Ozuna and speedster Dee Gordon and is now supposedly looking to unload the contracts of Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in this liquidation sale.

One can only imagine what he would have done with Jose Fernandez had he lived.

But Mr. Jitters did also something that was very unexpected.  He attended a town hall in which Marlins season ticket holders were invited to ask questions about the direction the team was taking.  Mr. Jitters calmly answered questions from the gathering of disgruntled fans, including Marlins Man, who left his seat behind home plate at a nationally televised road game to attend the meeting.

In doing so, Mr. Jitters was able to address the paying customers in person and made him more than just a guy in a suit with a closet full of gift baskets.  Which means he's already done more as a Marlins executive than the Wilpons have done with Mets fans.

Dirk Jitters has more balls than both Wilpons combined.

When was the last time you say Papa Smirk and Little Jeffy address the media or the team's fans?  They don't need to.  That's why they hired Sandy Alderson.  The Wilpons are the most hands-off owners in baseball except when someone wants to get their hands on their piggy banks.  To most fans, they're just urban legends as most of the team's supporters have never seen them in person.

The Studious Metsimus staff once attended a similar gathering of season ticket holders in 2013, which allowed fans to ask questions to members of the front office.  Alderson was there.  So were his merry men (John Ricco, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi).  Who wasn't there, you might ask?

Fred, Jeff and Saul.

The Mets' owners once had no problems giving out money to the top free agents and to re-sign their own players.  They gave newly-retired world champion Carlos Beltran a seven-year, $119 million contract.  They traded for a guy currently on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, Johan Santana, then proceeded to sign him to a six-year, $137.5 million extension.  Then a con man "made off" with their money and apparently their public appearances as well.

As long as New York keeps signing low-risk, high-reward players for pennies on the dollar and get low performance and high injury rates from these players, the fans will continue to revolt.  They'll continue to come to the ballpark (blame the food) and watch the games on SNY (blame Gary, Keith and Ron), but they'll always be figuratively throwing darts at photos of the Wilpons.  Maybe not so figuratively in some cases.

With little chance of the club acting like a large-market team and with the owners continuing to avoid breaking open their piggy banks for a proven commodity in his prime (Céspedes notwithstanding), the fans might have to endure a lot more of the crappy before the happy returns to Citi Field.

And that's it for 2017.  For most Mets fans, the year couldn't come to an end any quicker.  For the cast of crew of Studious Metsimus, we're not ready to give up on the year just yet.  At least not until we thank those who inspire, educate and amuse us.

Respected and long-running blogs such as A Gal For All Seasons, Faith and Fear in Flushing, Mets Merized Online, MetsMinors.Net, Amazin' Avenue, Metstradamus, Remembering Shea, The Daily Stache, Mets360, Rising Apple, Mets Plus, Good Fundies, MetSilverman, Converted Mets Fan and Mets Daddy, just to name a few (or 15, to be exact) always have interesting stories to share, day or night.  Check them out some time.  I'd say "tell 'em Ed sent you" but I'm not sure all of them know who I am.

From all of us here at the corporate office of Studious Metsimus, which is quite literally a desk with a computer, an iPhone and a cat who swipes at us whenever we need to use "his" bathroom, we'd like to thank you for your continued support of this site and wish you a safe and happy New Year.  And by "we", I mean Ed Leyro (the dude at the computer), Joey Beartran (the roving reporter/culinary expert with the iPhone) and Taryn "The Coop" Cooper (the chick getting swiped by the cat).

And remember, Mets fans.  It's not how you play the game.  It's how much money you saved by not signing the top free agents on the market and hoping to get similar production from lesser players coming off a subpar season, then hoping to get a game-winning single from them once a month.  (This paragraph was approved by Fred and Jeff Wilpon.)

Hey, Dirk Jitters?  If you could get rid of this monstrosity in Marlins Park, you'd be doing your fans a great service.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Joey's Letter To Sandy Claus (2017)

I hope Sandy Claus brings me lots of presents.  If he needs bows for them, I've got just the place where he can find them.

Dear Sandy Claus,

Greetings from your No. 1 fan, Joey Beartran.  I hope you're not tired of my letters yet.  After all, this is the seventh time I've sent you one and your track record for giving me what I want for the holidays is as dependable as the experts who were certain that Matt Harvey was going to have a bounce-back campaign in 2017.  (Spoiler alert: He didn't.)

This year, I'm going to make my requests quite simple for you.  So simple that even a Nationals fan could understand them.  I'm going to go position by position and include lots of photos for visual aids.  If you still can't see what I'm asking for, just ask your assistant, Ricco the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  He'll light the way for you so you can acquire exactly what I'm wishing for.

Are you ready for my letter, Sandy Claus?  Because we have very little time before Christmas arrives and Spring Training starts earlier this year because of the March 29th season opener.  So put down that "How To Tell Awkward Jokes At Inopportune Moments" book you're so fond of and pay close attention to my missive.  The fate of the 2018 Mets depends on your undivided attention.

If at first you don't succeed, Sandy, try to read my letters more carefully!

At first base, we thought Dominic Smith was going to be the long-term answer.  To be honest with you, I still think he's the long-term solution.  Just because he batted .198 in 183 plate appearances during his late-season call-up doesn't mean he's going to turn into Mario Mendoza with a little pop and a craving for wet burritos.  How about looking at the fact that he drove in 26 runs in those limited times at the plate?  Smith batted .283 with runners in scoring position, which was higher than the team's combined .259 average in those situations.  On a team that occasionally had difficulty scoring runs, Smith averaged an RBI every 7.0 plate appearances.  Compare that to his financially stable teammate, Yoenis Céspedes, who drove in a run every 7.6 plate appearances despite possessing a .292 overall batting average on the season.  (Céspedes batted just .254 with RISP.)  Not even you can expect Smith to bat under .200 for a full season.  Imagine how many runs he'll drive in if he just gets his average up to Lucas Duda territory (.246).  Keep Dominic Smith at first base and you'll have given me my first present of the year.

Second base post-Daniel Murphy has turned into third base pre-Howard Johnson.  And that's not a good thing.

My sources tell me you want to trade for a second baseman.  I can see why, as last season, eight players attempted to play the position, with none of them playing more than 65 games there.  I was also told Ian Kinsler was your top target to become the team's everyday second sacker in 2018.  Well, he's with the Angels now after refusing to take the Mets off his no-trade clause.  Jason Kipnis has been discussed, but he's due to earn $31 million over the next two years (which includes a $2.5 buyout if he's not brought back for $16.5 million in 2020) and he's coming off an injury-riddled year in which he batted .232 in 90 games.

Sounds like your type of guy, Sandy.

Of course, if you don't get Cleveland to eat a chunk of his contract, we'd just be getting Neil Walker's salary back.  And it would serve as a reminder that Daniel Murphy was only paid $36 million for three years by Washington, or a lower average annual value than Kipnis is making for far less production at the plate.

Another option is Josh Harrison, a two-time All-Star as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But I'm not impressed with his lack of pop - he's averaged ten homers per 162 games over his career - and doesn't walk very much, as evidenced by his career-high 28 walks last season.  He's also due to earn $10.5 million in 2018.  I'd like a little more production for that kind of money.

Here's the thing.  This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think a Wilmer Flores/Jose Reyes platoon isn't the worst thing that could happen to this team.  Flores would start against left-handed pitchers and Reyes would bat against righties.  We all know Flores isn't as productive as an everyday player, but has always been able to rake against southpaws.  Similarly, Reyes improved dramatically during the second half of the 2017 campaign, batting .288 with an .828 OPS after the All-Star break, as opposed to his .215 average and .655 OPS prior to the Midsummer Classic.  Both Flores and Reyes love playing for the Mets.  And they can both have their strong points come out in a second base platoon.  Flores will already be a Met in 2018.  Reyes would more than likely come back for far less money than the amount that would have to be doled out to Kipnis or Harrison.  I don't think a Flores/Reyes platoon would be the worst thing that could happen.

Abbott and Costello said "I don't know" is on third.  Sandy Claus claims Asdrubal Cabrera is there.  Who's right?

I'm glad you finally got those visions of David Wright dancing in your head out of your system.  If the $138 million man ever comes back, it should be as a backup player, albeit a very expensive one.  I'm also pleased you brought back Asdrubal Cabrera to play the position, although he had some difficulty there in 2017, making six errors in 40 starts as opposed to his error-free 32-game stint as the team's second baseman.  I think a full slate of Spring Training games at third will help him learn the position and he'll be fine.  But at the recently completed Winter Meetings, you did say, and I quote: "We've kind of zeroed (Cabrera) in at third base and we don't want to move him around, so while he gives us some flexibility, I'm not sure we want to exercise it."

Let me get one thing out of the way.  You're obsessed with the word "flexibility" the way Mike Piazza was always "frustrated" and Art Howe's guys "battled".  Stop that.  Now that I got that off my furry chest, I still think you need to acquire a good defensive third baseman in case Cabrera can't handle that end of the bargain.  I mean, if it's not Cabrera, then it's Flores at third, and we know how that's worked out in the past.  If Juan Lagares is going to be a part-time player in center field because of his defensive prowess, then why can't we have a guy who's a good glove at the hot corner for those times when we need steady defense?  At least you need someone there for when Cabrera demands a trade at some point during the regular season.

In case you hadn't noticed, I've intentionally skipped shortstop and catcher.  Hopefully, the lack of visual aids don't throw you off and you end up demoting Amed Rosario and signing a guy like, oh, let's say Jose Lobaton to be a potential backup catcher.  (Wait, you did the latter already?  Maybe I should have included that visual aid.)  That being said, I trust in you to leave Rosario as the starting shortstop and Travis d'Arnaud as the No. 1 catcher, especially since d'Arnaud set career highs in home runs (16) and RBI (57) despite not setting high marks in plate appearances.  He'll be 29 in February and may finally have taken the turn into being a solid contributor in the lineup.  Shortstop and catcher are not positions I need filled in my Christmas stocking this year.  Come to think of it, neither is the outfield, as Céspedes and Michael Conforto (when he's fully healed from his "that's so Mets" shoulder injury) will be out there, as will a combination of Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo and whatever scrap heap outfielder you can coerce to come to the team with the promise of a Mex Burger.  But pitching is another story...

What was once a strength has crumbled like a poorly-made biscuit.  Speaking of which, I may be a little hungry.

You know what I really want for Christmas more than anything?  I want the pitchers to not give up four runs and be taken out before the end of the fifth inning.  That kills their ERA and their bullpen brethren.  I mean, the team's collective ERA was 5.01.  Not since 1962 had the club's pitchers done something like that.  And it's never a good thing to be compared to that squad.

I also want more than one starter surpassing 120 innings, as Jacob deGrom was the only Met to reach that figure in 2017.  Back in 1983, Jesse Orosco and Doug Sisk had 110 and 104.1 IP, respectively.  It should be noted that both of them pitched exclusively in relief.  Now the Mets can't get starting pitchers with those numbers.  Hopefully, with the departure of Ray Ramirez, Robert Gsellman won't be second on the team in games started and Rafael Montero won't be asked to pitch 119 innings.  Just keep the pitchers healthy and in shape and I'll be a happy bear.

Mets pitchers allowed 220 HRs in 2017.  If the apple went up for opponents' blasts, it would've malfunctioned due to overuse.

So there you have it, Sandy.  You're the architect of this team.  If everything crumbles apart like it did in 2017, you're the one who has to take responsibility.  And once again, I don't want to hear about payroll or player flexibility.  The only flexibility I want to hear is the flexibility to hire someone who can make Mex Burgers great again.  They used to be my go-to burger at Citi Field, but the one I ordered last season reminded me of the burgers in the "Where's The Beef?" campaign used by Wendy's in the mid-'80s.  And trust me, that's not a good thing.

I've got a beef with the lack of beef on Mex Burgers.

Did you get all that, Sandy?  If you didn't, allow me to recap my letter for you.  Keep Dominic Smith on the field and away from wet burritos.  Settle on a second baseman that won't make us constantly remind you that you didn't bring back Daniel Murphy.  Don't go back to the days when Mets fans counted the number of third basemen in team history.  Have current starting pitchers on the mound for more innings than 1980s relievers.  And speaking of the '80s, find some beef to put on those tasty burgers at Keith's Grill.  Or just reduce the size of the buns, call them Mex Sliders and give us three per serving.

Thanks so much for reading my letter, Sandy Claus.  I know it's hard to grant everyone's wishes, but I think it's about time you answered mine.  I've been writing for seven years and all I've gotten from you is one pennant, one early wild card exit and five losing seasons.  I'm too faithful to the team to get that kind of treatment, don't you think?

I hope you, Ricco the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all of your jolly elves have a Happy Holiday season.  Until then, I'll just sit here by the fire on top of these unopened presents, hoping that because Ray Ramirez is gone, I won't give myself a paper cut while I unwrap them on Christmas Day.

Love and Mex Burgers forever,
Joey Beartran

I hope my Mets knit cap doesn't catch fire.  If so, I'll have to add something else to my letter to Sandy Claus.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Joey and Iggy Beartran Thanksgiving (2017)

After attending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, it's time to share what we're thankful for!

Hi, Mets fans!  We're Joey and Iggy Beartran and today is the most wonderful day of the year.  It's Thanksgiving, a day in which we gain all the weight we say we're going to lose in six weeks once we make our New Year's resolutions.  But we know that promise to lose weight is just a lie, just like the Mets saying they have payroll flexibility when we know they're returning empty bottles and cans to the supermarket just to collect the five cent deposit.

Speaking of five cents, Iggy and I are going to contribute ours to this blog post, as we share what we're thankful for as the baseball off-season continues and the countdown to Opening Day begins in earnest.  (For all you kids out there, March 29 is only 126 days away.)

So sit back, stop watching football games that don't involve the team you root for, ignore the awkward photos your aunt Tillie is trying to show you at the adults' table - don't you wish you were still young enough to sit at the kids' table - and enjoy reading what we're thankful for.  Since we all rooted for the Mets in 2017, I can guarantee this read won't take too much time away from your Thanksgiving plans.

Dig in to our blog post!

Joey:  I'm thankful we got to visit two new ballparks this year, as we attended games at SunTrust Park in Atlanta (a Mets win) and Marlins Park in Miami (let's not talk about the final result of that one).

Iggy:  I'm thankful we didn't have Matt Harvey starting both games we went to on the road.  I almost got whiplash from twisting my head so much to watch all the hits he gave up in Miami.  I would have had to fly home in a neck brace had he started in Atlanta as well.

Spoiler Alert: This was the final score of the game we went to in Miami.

Joey:  I'm thankful for Terry Collins.  Although he won't be back to manage the Mets in 2018, he did the best he could with the Quadruple-A players he was forced to put in the lineup because of injuries to the established major leaguers on the roster and the financial restraints that wouldn't allow the front office to give All-Stars like Daniel Murphy more than $36 million over three seasons.

Iggy:  Joey, you're just thankful for Terry Collins because you liked having a guy on the Mets who was your height.  I'm more thankful that Mickey Callaway is now the Mets' manager.  He knows how to deal with pitchers and has a plan in place.  Plus, he turned Corey Kluber from a mediocre pitcher to a two-time Cy Young Award winner.  If he could do that, he could turn Matt Harvey back into a guy who won't hurt my neck to watch him pitch, g*d*mmit!

Matt Harvey in cartoon form.

Joey:  I'm thankful Michael Conforto and Yoenis Céspedes should be back at full strength come Opening Day.  When healthy, they can each hit 30 homers and drive in close to 100 runs.

Iggy:  And I'm thankful we have Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo, and the scrap heap outfielders Sandy Alderson will eventually sign by promising them a couple of bucks and a coupon to Shake Shack.  Because you don't know how Conforto and Céspedes will play after the former got hurt swinging the bat and the latter got hurt running to the bank to deposit his gargantuan check before they closed for the day.  (Yoenis should really get direct deposit.  Just sayin'.)

This high-five is an injury waiting to happen.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

Joey:  Finally, I'm thankful the team is doing whatever it can to return to prominence after its two-year postseason run ended with a disappointing 70-92 campaign in 2017.  Whether it be signing a free agent, trading for a veteran All-Star caliber player, or just improving the way players train during the off-season, the Mets are not going to roll over and die in 2018.

Iggy:  I'm just thankful Ray Ramirez's career with the Mets rolled over and died.

Ray Ramirez is not impressed.  (Amazin' Avenue via SNY)

Well, that's all folks!  Despite the Mets' poor performance in 2017, we still found things to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.  Although I feel like Iggy was more thankful to have a platform in which to voice her displeasure at the team than anything else.

From our family to yours, we'd like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  We hope you enjoy your holiday feasts and be sure to save some leftovers for us.  We already have a disgruntled bear in Iggy today.  There's no need to make her hangry as well.


As always, ya gotta believe.  Even if the team is coming off a miserable year.