Suffice it to say, Steve Cohen feels little consolation for dodging a $185 million bullet with Jacob deGrom requiring Tommy John surgery.
The grim news of DeGrom from Texas broke Tuesday, but three days later Cohen’s $345 million Mets had been swept by the Braves in Atlanta and started the weekend three games under .500 in the fourth place of the National League East.
Naturally, the talk radio yahoos are screaming for Cohen to start shaking things up at Citi Field, but while mistakes and miscalculations were made, the fault for this downfall in Queens lies somewhere other than the office. of the director. Because it’s not Buck Showalter’s fault that Daniel Vogelbach was an utter failure as lead DH, and it’s not his fault that Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, his supposed twin aces of over 40 million dollars, gave up 10 runs in a combined 8 2/3 innings against the Braves, and it’s certainly not his fault that Pete Alonso was hit in the wrist with an errant pitch from Charlie Morton in Atlanta and will now be lost for nearly one month.
If you’re looking to blame the Mets’ current situation, you have to start with their player development department, which has done a terrible job developing starting pitchers. Before deGrom, the last Mets frontline starting pitcher to win 15 games in a season was Mike Pelfrey in 2010. It was because of this failure that Cohen had to swallow hard and give Scherzer a $130 million contract. dollars over three years in 2021, then another two years, $86.7 million at the 40-year-old Verlander after deGrom jumped to Rangers. And sadly, the starting pitching draft continues as there’s no one in the system close to providing rotational help this year (although 6-5 right-hander Mike Vasil has made great strides at Double-A Binghamton).
Even before deGrom defected, Mets general manager Billy Eppler saw this pitching problem coming. But he inexplicably made no effort to re-sign last year’s win-and-run leader Chris Bassitt (who was awarded a three-year, $62 million contract with the Blue Jays) and instead invested $75 million in Japanese import Kodai Senga, who only seems to be able to launch every six days, and another $26 million in Jose Quintana who, through no fault of anyone, has been sidelined the entire year due to a rib injury.
In truth, Eppler has been on a losing streak since last year’s trade deadline when he handed out a useful middle reliever to Colin Holderman at the Pirates for Vogelbach, and JD Davis at the Giants for Darin Ruf (.152, 0 home runs and 7 RBIs in 28 games). For some reason, Eppler analysis geeks love Vogelbach, even though he can’t run, can’t play a post and has a .216 lifetime batting average. So it was left to Showalter to continue playing the guy, as judged by the daily analytical spreadsheets, while absorbing the brunt of the media’s relentless criticism. On top of that, the media is asking Showalter to give rookie Mark Vientos more playing time, another guy who has no position and as of Friday was hitting .162 with 12 strikeouts and a walk in 39 appearances to marble.
In the absence of a bona fide DH, Showalter toyed with the idea of using the roster spot there to give his regulars a ‘half day’ off – as he did Thursday night against the Braves when Francisco Alvarez, inserted in the No. 2 hole, hit two homers and drove in three runs. But Alonso’s injury complicates matters and the lack of a backup shortstop prevents him from beating Francisco Lindor.
But let’s face it: once Edwin Diaz tore his knee in the World Baseball Classic, the Mets were going to be badly compromised this season. The inconsistency of the tee shot has strained the bullpen where Showalter has operated without a second left-hander since he’s been the manager.
Maybe Cohen didn’t realize it in the spring, but it was a deeply flawed Mets team that relied on two frail aging aces to get them into October. The bench is woefully thin and the bullpen, save for David Robertson and Brooks Raley, is mostly mediocre, lacking high-octane arms. They’ve needed another power bat since before the trade deadline last year and instead have 270 pounds deadweight in Vogelbach.
If I’m Cohen, I wouldn’t necessarily start laying people off at this point, although I would definitely ask Eppler, “How did $345 million get me a sub-0.500 fourth-place team and how do you and your analytics experts propose to rectify this?
IT’S A MADD WORLD, MADD
Meanwhile, as the Mets continue to crash and burn with Vogelbach like DH, you had Gary Sanchez suddenly catches fire in San Diego. After going 1-for-6 in just three games for the Mets, Sanchez was placed on waivers and claimed by the Padres and hit four homers in his first eight games for them. On Friday, he was hitting .310 for San Diego with nine RBIs in nine games, after being inserted into the cleanup zone by the manager. Bob Melvin. “He’s there for a reason,” Melvin said. “I really feel like he felt at home here maybe, you know, as opposed to other places where he was fighting for his job every day, every beat.”… Very calmly, marlins Luis Arraez climbed above .400 last week. According to Bureau Elias, the last player to reach over .400 with 60 games played was chipper jones in 2008. The Hall of Fame Braves didn’t drop below .400 until June 19 and they ended up hitting .364 for their first and only batting title. Unlike Chipper, however, Arraez, who led the American League with an average of .316 for the Twins last year, is a slap hitter who makes constant contact and hardly ever hits and might just have the ability to stay above .400 throughout the summer. . … Elbow injuries are an epidemic in baseball. DeGrom was the last pitcher to need Tommy John surgery. And then there are the Nationals Stephane Strasbourg whose Tommy John surgery in 2010 was followed by a succession of debilitating injuries, the latest being nerve damage in his neck which doctors say could prevent him from pitching again. But what’s most amazing here is that, according to a report by the Washington Post baseball writer Jesse Doughertythe Nationals did not carry any disability insurance on the seven-year, $245 million contract extension they gave Strasburg in 2019.