2016 Mets Report Card

The Mets went through a tumultuous summer in 2016. Five players from the April 3 starting lineup were eventually injured and were lost for the season or most of the season. In total, 46 different players contributed to the Mets season mostly because of trips to the disabled list by so many. However, through all of the adversity, the Mets still were one of the ten teams to make the post season. It was a short stay of just one game, the wildcard game they lost to the San Francisco Giants and Madison Bumgarner at Citi Field on October 5. Even so, considering how things went, the Mets have nothing to be ashamed about. Sandy Alderson and his staff did a marvelous job of acquiring players to fill in and in some cases permanently take over roles. Manager Terry Collins should be named manager of the year for being able to keep his team focused through so much turmoil. The Mets managed to finish the season as the number 1 wildcard in second place with a record of 87-75. It was the 11th best record in franchise history tying the 2016 club with the 1989 Mets who did not reach the post season. This is a lengthy post that reviews all forty-six players and how they did during the regular season including their highlight moment and future status.

Here is the cast of the 2016 Mets. The first 10 represent the starting lineup that took the field in Kansas City on opening day. The remaining players appear in order of their appearance during the 2016 season. After their name are their position and their current age in parenthesis.

1– Curtis Granderson RF (35) / One of the few Mets to play wire to wire this season. Curtis played in 150 games in 2016. For most of the season, Curtis was pretty bad, not the player he was in 2016. But in late August and September, Grandy finally got it together and began driving in runs at a feverish clip. He was an important part of the Mets last 40 games when the team went a league best 27-13. He had his highest home run total as a Met in 2016 hitting 30, four better than in ’15 and 10 better than in ’14. However, a disturbing fact is that Grandy only had 59 RBI. That is very low run production for having 30 homers. It suggests two things. One, there was no one on base when he hit homeruns and he drove in few runs in other situations. But the good news is most of his run production happened in the last five weeks of the season when it really counted.  Granderson hit two home runs in a game 3 times in 2016 highlighted by a game against Atlanta on April 22 when he drove in 5 runs in a Mets 6-3 win. He also hit two walk off homeruns, one on May 27 against the Dodgers and again on September 9 against the Twins. Granderson was a major reason the Mets succeeded in making the post season for a second straight year.  Curtis is under contract through 2017 and will be paid 15 million next season.

2- David Wright 3B (33) / Lost for the season from May 28, Wright required herniated disk surgery in his neck. In his last game he hit his seventh home run but did not play since and his future remains a question mark. Wright hit 2 home runs in one game in Philadelphia on April 18 and drove in 3 runs in a game in Washington on May 23. Perhaps his biggest moment of his short season was on May 21 when in the bottom of the ninth he hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded against the Brewers. He is hopeful to be ready for spring training 2017. The Mets will have to consider a backup be it in house or from outside the organization. Wright has played in 37 and 38 games over the past two seasons respectively. He’s missed almost 250 games in that time span. How realistic would it be to assume Wright can be the Mets’ everyday third baseman?  It might make sense for David to play some first base, perhaps in a platoon situation with Lucas Duda to compliment some starts at third. David is under contract through the 2020 season. He will be paid 20 million in 2017.

3 -Yoenis Cespedes LF  (31) / Played most of the season, 122 games, and a major catalyst of the Mets offense. On August 4, Cespedes finally went on the DL with a quad injury that nagged him from time to time throughout the season. After his DL stint ended on August 19, Cespedes never returned to centerfield, playing only in left. This was an attempt to cut down on the running required by a center fielder that could aggravate his quad. Cespedes hit 31 home runs with 86 RBI. Those stats led the team. His most productive game was on April 29 when he had 6 RBI against San Francisco. On August 29, Cespedes hit a monster home run giving the Mets at 2-1 walk off win against the Marlins and then on September 11, he drove in 5 against Atlanta. Cespede’s arm was again phenomenal with 9 outfield assists.  He slumped in September but was clearly a major reason for the Mets overcoming adversity and making the wildcard in 2016. Cespedes is under contract through 2019 but has an opt-out clause that he can and likely will exercise after the World Series. It is not clear regarding the Mets strategy. The Mets will attempt to keep him but likely will only offer a contract they feel comfortable with.

4 –Lucas Duda 1B (30) / Lost for most of the season, Duda went on the DL in May with a stress fracture in his lower back. He returned on September 17th. Duda had some mild success in September but lacked the stamina to play in back to back days and as a result was left off the wildcard roster in favor of James Loney. Duda played in only 47 games in 2016 during the regular season.  Highlights for Duda included a game on May 4 against the Braves when he drove in 3 with 2 homeruns. He drove in 3 again on September 27 at Miami.  Duda is arbitration eligible for 2017 and can be a free agent after the 2018 season.

5 –Neil Walker 2B (31)  /Lost for the season since 8/26 with a herniated disk in his lower back that required surgery. Walker gave the Mets a strong bat and a steady glove at second, virtually replacing Daniel Murphy. Although not the bat of Murphy, Walker offered the Mets a more complete game at the second base position.  Walker went on the disabled list on August 26 and did not return for the season. It was thought his loss would have a huge impact on the Mets chances of making the post season but his replacements, most notably T.J. Rivera, did more than what could have been expected as the Mets rallied to the first wildcard. Walker hit nine home runs in the month of April that included a game in Philly when he hit two. Walker’s most productive day was on July 31 against Colorado, the sole win against the Rockies this season, when he drove in 4 runs including a 3 run homer. He is a free agent and it is unclear if the Mets will attempt to resign him since they have a number of options available for second base. They could offer him a qualifying offer that Major League Baseball has set to 17.2 million for 2017.

6 –Michael Conforto DH* LF (23) / Hot start turned into dreadful sophomore season, demoted twice to AAA but on his September call up, Michael showed more patience at the plate, staying in the strike zone, and hitting the ball the opposite way with some big hits. However, heading into the post season, Conforto was not playing regularly. He played in 109 games in 2016 with 12 homers and 32 RBI. He drove in 3 runs in a game 4 times in 2016. Better days are ahead for Mr. Conforto heading into 2017.  I would be shocked if the Mets were to give up on Conforto at this stage of his career especially when he is under team control until 2022. Michael earned 517k in 2016 while playing mostly left field and some right field. *DH because Mets opened in Kansas City.

7 -Asdrubal Cabrera SS (31) / Played exceptionally well for the Mets in 2016. He often suffered from an injured knee that eventually placed him on the disabled list on August 2. He came back on August 19 and had a torrid finish and was a major catalyst for the Mets 27-13 run to winning the wildcard.  His most memorable moment had to be the 3 run walk-off homerun in the 11th inning against the Phillies on September 22 that broke a three game losing streak. In the absence of David Wright, Cabrera became one of the main leaders in the Mets clubhouse. Cabrera hit 23 homeruns with 62 RBI in 2016. While many critics said he lost some range at short, Cabrera demonstrated that he was one of the premiere defensive shortstops in the league. At 30 years old, he still has a lot to offer especially if his knee heals for next season. Cabrera will not need surgery in the offseason, rest and exercise is enough to fix the problem. He will be a bridge to future top prospect Amed Rosario who will likely spend next season in Las Vegas. Asdrubal is under contract through 2017 with a team option for 2018. He will be paid 8.25 million in 2017.

8 –Travis d’Arnaud C (27) / A tremendous disappointment in 2016. d’Arnaud was such a disappointment that I wonder if he will be a member of the Mets come next season. Likely he will remain because his stock is very low right now. Once again, and it has become all too common, Travis spent extensive time on the disabled list. He was placed on the DL on April 26 with a bruised rotator in his right shoulder and missed 50 games, only playing in 75 total.  D’Arnaud lost his power with only 4 home runs and 15 RBI. He can’t throw anyone out stealing and pitchers performed much better with Rene Rivera behind the plate. In fact, by the end of the season, d’Arnaud lost the role of starting catcher to Rivera. Not sure what his problem is but clearly d’Arnaud’s future with the Mets is uncertain. Highlights? Well, d’Arnaud did have a game on June 24 in Atlanta where he drove in 3 of the Mets runs in an 8-6 win. Travis is under team control until 2020 and eligible for arbitration. He made 542k in 2016.

9 –Juan Lagares CF (27) / With the plethora of outfielders and Cespedes resigning with the Mets, Juan’s playing time was limited even before he tore a ligament in his thumb that ultimately required surgery. Placed on the DL twice, June 16th to rest his thumb and again on July 29th for surgery, Lagares finally returned on September 16th basically for defensive purposes and pinch running.  Lagares played in 79 games and hit .239 with 2 homeruns and 9 RBI. It would be great to see what Lagares could do over a full season. His defense remains stellar when he did get opportunities to play. Lagares had a nice game back on May 27 going 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 runs batted in in a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. Depending on what the Mets do with their crowded outfield over the off-season, it’s unclear as to Lagares’s future with the Mets. Certainly if the Mets do not retain Cespedes, there would be more urgency to see what Lagares can offer over an entire season. Lagares is signed through 2020 and will make 4.5 million next season.

10 –Matt Harvey SP (27) / A mediocre season for the Dark Night really turned dark on July 6 when Harvey was placed on the disabled list with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The ailment involves the constriction of blood vessels around the shoulder that was causing Matt to experience numbness and tingling in his fingers. The operation required the removal of a rib. Not all pitchers recover from this surgery so it will be interesting to see how Harvey does next spring when he is expected to be ready. This is why you can never have enough pitching. Harvey was lost for the season since before the All Star break. His record was an unsightly 4-10 with an ERA/WHIP of 4.86/1.08. However, in 8 of Harvey’s starts, he managed to pitch at least 6 innings, no more than 7. His best outing came on May 30 when he shut out the White Sox in 7 innings allowing only 2 hits with 6 Ks. Harvey earned 4.3 million in 2016 and is arbitration eligible for next season. He will not be a free agent until 2019.

Below are the rest of the Mets players who contributed to the fortunes of the 2016 season.

11 –Bartolo Colon SP (43) / Made every start, at age 43 the most dependable pitcher in the rotation. His ability to succeed throwing basically one pitch at different speeds and locations was masterful. Colon is a fan favorite and was a pillar of dependability, truly one of the few bright spots of a rotation decimated by injury. His record was 15-8 with a 3.43/1.21 ERA/WHIP. Without a doubt the highlight of the season involving Colon was the homerun he hit in San Diego on May 7, an instant classic. Pitching-wise had to be the 8 inning shutout effort against Atlanta on May 2, where he struck out 7 and walked none. He earned 7.25 million in 2016 and is a free agent. He wants to come back and the Mets want him back. Expect him to sign to a similar one year deal for 2017.

12 –Alejendro De Aza CF (32) / Remained healthy, was dreadful at the start but became useful mid-season as an effective fill in and pinch hitter. He also played a very solid centerfield when called upon. DeAza hit 6 homeruns, 9 doubles, and had 25 RBI. His best game by far occurred on Aug 25 in St. Louis when he drove in 5 runs including a 3 run homer in a 10-6 win. He is a free agent and earned 5.75 million in 2016. It’s doubtful he will be back with the Mets in 2017 when you consider the number of outfielders available within the system.

13 –Eric Campbell IF-PR (29) / Spent the majority of the season in Las Vegas. Came up late, played some first base and had some key hits down the stretch. Campbell played in 40 games with one homer and 9 RBI.  He drove in 3 runs in a loss at Washington on May 24. He is under team control through next season.

14 –Noah Syndergaard SP (24) / Because of bone spurs in the elbow, Noah missed a few starts but was still reliable and ultimately became the ace of the staff.  Syndergaard will be remembered in 2016 for his dominant start in the wildcard game the Mets ultimately lost. He struck out ten Giants, a lineup that does not strike out often, during the elimination game. Syndergaard struggled early during the season while holding runners on base but improved greatly as the season progressed. With the injuries to deGrom, Harvey, and Matz, Syndergaard deservedly became the ace of the staff. It has been recently reported that Noah will not require surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow.  He can enjoy a normal off-season and will be ready for spring training. Noah won 14 and lost 9. His ERA/WHIP was 2.60/1.49. He struck out 218 in 183.2 innings pitched. Syndergaard is also a good hitter. He hit three home runs, two in one game in Los Angeles back in May to account for the only runs the Mets scored in a 4-2 win. Thor made 535k in 2016 and is arbitration eligible in 2018. The Mets have him under control until 2022.

15 –Addison Reed RP (27) / For most of the season, Reed was a lights out eighth inning bridge to Jeurys Familia. In 77.2 innings pitched, he gave up 60 hits and 13 walks, 4 home runs, and struck out 91. Reed’s ERA was 1.97 and he had a WHIP under 1 appearing in 80 games. Reed struck out the side in the 8th innings 4 times. And on two occasions he struck out 4 in more than one inning’s worth of work. In one case he struck out the only 4 batters he faced. That was on July 2 against the Cubs at Citi Field. The Mets have Reed though next season when he can become a free agent but he is eligible for arbitration for 2017. Reed made 5.3 million in 2016.

16 –Jeurys Familia RP (27) / Set the club record for saves with 51. Familia was as dominant a closer as anyone in the game. Unfortunately he will be remembered for losing the wildcard game to the Giants but that is unfair considering how he performed through the regular season. Familia pitched very well during the 2015 NLDS and NLCS but struggled in the World Series against the Royals. However, poor defense aided in putting Familia in bad situations. The question of Familia going forward as the Mets closer by some in the media in light of his post season struggles is ludicrous. Familia has become one of the premier closers in baseball. For the season Familia appeared in 78 games with a record of 3-4. He gave up one home run (not including the wildcard game), walked 31 and struck out 84 batters. His ERA was 2.34 and he had a WHIP of 1.21. He struck out the side twice in the 9th inning in a couple of saves. Some of Familia’s most memorable saves were ones where he struggled, like on June 8 in Pittsburgh when he walked 3 in the 10th inning but induced a double play and another ground out to save the game. Twice he walked 2 and gave up a hit and did not blow the save. Familia earned 4.1 million in 2016 and is eligible for arbitration. He can become a free agent in 2019.

17 –Jim Henderson RP (33) / Spent quite a bit of time on the DL with a sore shoulder or more accurately right biceps tendonitis. He was out of action until August 20. In limited action, Henderson pitched very effectively with a record of 2-2. His ERA of 4.37 was fairly high and his WHIP was 1.40. He did not allow a run in 32 of his 44 appearances and struck out the side twice in separate outings. Henderson was paid 600k in 2016 and it is unclear as to his status moving forward.

18 –Jerry Blevins RP (34) / Unike the 2015 season, Blevins stayed healthy through 2016 and was used primarily as a lefty specialist. In 73 game appearances, he pitched 42 innings and had a record of 4-2 with an ERA/WHIP 1.79/1.21. He walked 15 and struck out 52 and only gave up 4 homeruns. In 7 of his outings, Blevins struck out 2 or more in 1 inning or less of work. Blevins can become a free agent after the World Series.

19 –Jacob deGrom P (28) /deGrom did not have the velocity he had in 2015. He pitched well but struggled from time to time and required time out of the rotation. deGrom was shut down late in the year when it was determined he would need surgery to move his ulnar nerve. This is not Tommy John surgery. The ulnar nerve is healthy it just needed to be moved slightly to prevent it from irritation. He should be healthy and ready to go by spring training. All in all, deGrom pitched 148 innings with a 7-8 record. He had an ERA/WHIP of 3.04/1.20 and still had a great strikeout to walk ration of 143/36. The best outing of the season was a wonderful complete game one hit shutout he threw against the Phillies on Jul 17. It was the only complete game by a Met pitcher this season. He struck out 7 and walked one in a Mets 5-0 win. deGrom is under team control until after the 2020 season when he can become a free agent. He will be eligible for arbitration after next season.

20 – Wilmer Flores 3B,SS,2B, 1B (25) / Wilmer remained healthy for most of the season but a bad wrist in late September caused by a poor slide made him miss the final couple weeks of the season. The injury required surgery to shave bone in the wrist but Flores will be ready for spring training. He became a big threat for the Mets against left handed pitching this past season. Flores played all the infield positions at least once in 2016 and played in 103 games with 307 at bats. He hit 16 home runs with 49 RBI and had an OPS of .788. His best game was on July 3 when Wilmer went 6 for 6, drove in 4 and hit two homeruns. He later hit a walk-off home run on August 13 against the Padres. Flores is arbitration eligible this off season and is under Mets control until after the 2019 season.

21 -Hansel Robles RP (26) / Great one day, bad the next, stayed healthy all year.  This guy could be unhittable at times and at other times he had you pulling your hair out. In fairness, Robles did get used a lot and at times appeared tired. Robles struck out 85 in 77.2 innings, had a record of 6-4, with an ERA/WHIP of 3.48/1.215. Robles did a nice job on June 21 when he came in to relieve Bartolo Colon after 1/3 of an inning due to injury. He pitched 3.2 innings giving up just a single run and striking out 6. Robles will not be eligible for arbitration until after 2017 and can become a free agent in 2021.

22 –Antonia Bastardo RP (31) / Complete disappointment and was eventually traded back to Pittsburgh for Jon Niese. Bastardo did make 41 appearances for the Mets, including striking out the side twice.

23 –Kevin Plawecki C (25) / Big chance came when d’Arnaud went down early in the season. Unfortunately Plawecki could not take advantage and ultimately spent most of the season at AAA Las Vegas. In 46 games with the Mets, he had 6 doubles, 1 homerun, and drove in 11. He batted .197 with OPS of .563. Plawecki’s lone homer came in Los Angeles on May 9, a solo shot that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead on their way to a 4-2 victory. He also drove in 2 runs on the three separate occasions. Plawecki will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2018 season and can be a free agent after 2021.

24 –Logan Verrett RP (26) / Made a couple of good spot start but was mostly dreadful filling in for Harvey then out of the pen. He spent most of the season at triple A but while in New York he compiled a 3-8 record in 91.2 innings pitched. He struck out 66 and walked 43 and surrendered a whopping 16 homers. Verrett’s ERA/WHIP was 5.20/1.560, not good. Logon’s highlights of the season came early. In April in 2 starts he threw six shutout innings twice, winning one of those games against the Phillies on April 19. Verrett will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2018 season and can be a free agent after 2021.

25 –Steven Matz SP (25) / Struggled with a bone spur in his pitching elbow and missed many starts throughout the season. He was placed on the DL retroactive to August 15 and never returned for the remainder of the season. Matz went 9-8 for the season with a 3.40/1.209 ERA/WHIP. He struck out 129 batters and ironically gave up 129 hits. Matz also walked 31 batters in 132.1 innings. His best outing came on May 25 when he pitched 8 innings of shutout ball against the Nationals. Matz can file for arbitration after next season and can become a free agent after the 2020 season. At 25, Matz is still considered to be a huge part of the Mets rotation moving forward, but like d’Arnaud health is always an issue.

26 –Rafael Montero SP (26) / He was eventually demoted to AA Binghamton in 2016. Made a couple of decent starts in September but the talent he showed earlier on is simply not there anymore. His record was 0-1, with only 19 innings pitched. He struck out 20 and walked 16. His ERA was up there at 8.06 and a WHIP of 2.053—ouch! His best moment came on August 29, in a spot start when he managed to shutout the Marlins for 5 innings even though he walked 6 batters. His effort that evening helped the Mets secure an important 2-1 victory. Montero is arbitration eligible after next season and can be a free agent for the 2021 season.

27 –Rene Rivera C (33) / Where would the Mets have been without Rene Rivera. After d’Arnaud went down and Plawecki failed to perform, Rivera came up and eventually assumed most of the catching responsibility. The pitching staff performed much better with Rivera behind the dish than with any other Mets catcher. He hit .222 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI. Rivera’s key moment of 2016 was on July 3 when he drove in 3 runs that included hitting a homerun against the Cubs, capping a four game sweep at Citi Field. Rivera can file for arbitration this off season and can become a free agent after 2017.

28 –Sean Gilmartin RP (26) / A rule 5 draftee who performed exceedingly well last year, took a step backward this past season. However, the lefty is young and could become an important part of the Mets staff down the road. Gilmartin only pitched 17.2 innings as opposed to 2015 when he threw 57.1 innings. In those 17.2 innings, Gilmartin gave up 4 homers and 14 total runs. He struck out 11 and walked 7. His ERA/WHIP was an unimpressive 7.13/1.585. Gilmartin’s best outing was back on May 12 when he pitched 3 innings of relief and gave up only 1 hit while fanning 3 in a loss to the Dodgers in LA. As a second year player, Gilmartin is under Mets control for several years.

29 –Matt Reynolds IN (25) / Matt made his Major League debut in 2016. He played in 47 games and hit .225. Reynolds is a hardnosed player ala Wally Backman and plays the game the right way. He could become a valuable bench player in the future. He hit 3 home runs, 8 doubles, and batted in 13. On the big stage in the Subway Series back on August 1, Matt went 2 for 4 with a home run and drove in 3 runs in a Mets loss.  He is still considered rookie status going into 2017.

30 –Ty Kelly IF (28) / Useful bench player, who played in only 39 games in 2016. He had 1 homer and 7 runs batted in during 2016. He played all 10 innings on June 8 in Pittsburgh and drove in 2 runs in a Mets 6-5 win. Perhaps his best moment was against Madison Bumgarner in the wildcard game, being just one of four Mets to get a hit, a ground single to left.  Future status with the Mets is unknown.

31 –James Loney IB (32) / Sandy Alderson picked up Loney from the San Diego Padres AAA club. In his contract, Loney had an out if a Major League team came calling. The Mets did and Loney became a very important piece, taking over first base for the disabled Lucas Duda. Loney played very good defensively and provided some well needed offense as he rekindled his career while helping the Mets reach the post season.  Loney hit 9 homers with 34 RBI. Twice Loney had 3 RBI in a game with a homerun, one a 3 run shot against the Braves back on June 24. Loney will not likely be back with the Mets next year with other options available. Loney will be a free agent following the World Series.

32 –Kelly Johnson 3B,2B (34) / Hopefully the Mets will sign Johnson this off season for the sole purpose of not having to trade any more prospects to get him back again. Plus what does Johnson have to do to convince Alderson that he is a winner and contributes a great deal off the bench, in the clubhouse, and a fill in at second and third? As a fill in guy and pinch hitter, Johnson hit 9 homers with 24 RBI and many of them were big ones. Johnson’s most impactful moment was on August 31. In the eighth inning with the bases loaded and two out and the game tied at 2, Johnson doubled in all three runners with a line drive down the right field line. Johnson is a free agent.

33 –Eric Goeddel RP (27) / Eric pitched in 35.2 innings and spent much of the season in Las Vegas. With the Mets, Eric went 2-2 with a 4.54/1.318 ERA/WHIP. He struck out 36 and walked 14 in 35.2 innings. Goeddel’s best outing occurred on June 21 at Citi Field in a game that Bartolo Colon left after 1/3 of an inning due to injury. He pitched two solid innings allowing just one hit as the Mets went on to win 2-1. The earliest Goeddel can apply for arbitration is after next season and he cannot be a free agent until after the 2020 season.

34 –Brandon Nimmo OF (23) / This kid can hit. He doesn’t have a lot of power at this stage in his career but he hits line drives to the gaps and works the count. There is a place for Nimmo on the Mets but it is unclear what kind of role he may have in the future. Nimmo played in 32 games at the major league level in ’16 and batted .274. Nimmo’s best game happened on July 1 when he hit a 3 run homer in a 10-2 route over the Cubs. He is under Mets control for a number of years before he will be eligible for arbitration.

35 –Seth Lugo RP, SP (26) / Lugo’s story was one of the surprises of the 2016 season. Brought up late in the season for the purpose of relieving, he became a starter due to the rash of injuries in the starting rotation. With not great stats at Las Vegas, not too much was expected. However, Lugo delivered and showed an uncanny ability to pitch in all situations, especially with runners on base. Needless to say, without Lugo, the Mets chances to reach the post season would have been severely hampered. Lugo went 5-2 with a 2.74/1.094 ERA/WHIP. He struck out 45, walked 21 in 64 innings pitched. In Lugo’s 8 starts, he pitched at least 5 innings three times and pitched 7 innings twice. On August 25 in St. Louis for a tough series, Lugo pitched five innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits in a 10-6 decision for his first major league win. Lugo is a rookie and not eligible for arbitration for several years.

36 –Jose Reyes 3B (33) / Who would have ever predicted that at the outset of 2016 that Jose Reyes would be back with the Mets and as an everyday player? That’s what eventually happened when David Wright went down and it was clear that Colorado was looking to dump the suspended shortstop. Back with New York, Reyes became a catalyst at the top of the lineup. He gave the Mets a dynamic they were missing, even during last season when they went to the World Series. His enthusiasm was a welcome addition to the clubhouse and dugout and it rubbed off on his fellow teammates. I was quite surprised at how well Reyes played. A mid-season addition (July 5), Reyes only played in 60 games. He batted .267 with 13 doubles, 4 triples, 8 homeruns and 24 RBI. Reyes stole 9 bases, a far cry from his younger years but still has good speed for his age. Reyes also played very well at third base considering he never had played there in the Majors prior. On September 25 at home, Reyes drove in 4 runs in a 17-0 drubbing of the Phillies. Two were driven in on a double and the other two driven in on bases loaded walks. Reyes is listed as a free agent but will be back in 2017 as the Mets will pick up his option and pay him the MLB minimum.

37 –Justin Ruggiano CF (34) / Came in a trade for cash considerations from the Texas Rangers. He played in 8 games before being injured and lost for the season. Ruggiano did hit two home runs, one was a grand slam in San Francisco in a losing effort. Ruggiano is not on the 40 man roster.

38 –Jay Bruce RF (29) / Acquired in a trade for prospect Dilson Herrera at the trade deadline. Jay suffered what many others had dealt with when coming to New York. He struggled mightily through much of August and September but came alive the last couple of weeks of the season. Bruce was instrumental in helping the Mets clinch the top wildcard spot the last weekend of the season in Philadelphia. He played in 50 games for the Mets and hit 8 homeruns with 19 RBI with 5 doubles. With the Mets, Jay batted .219 with a .685 OPS.  On September 30, Bruce drove in three runs that included a solo home run to help the Mets defeat the Phillies and clinch no worse than a second wildcard tie with St. Louis. The Mets have a 13 million dollar team option on Bruce or could buy out his contract for 1 million dollars. It’s not entirely clear yet as to the Mets intentions. I would assume since they gave up highly touted prospect Herrera, the Mets would pick up the option. At the very least, the Mets could trade Bruce for another need.

39 –Jon Niese SP (29) / Jon was reacquired from Pittsburgh for Bastardo at the trade deadline. Unfortunately an injury requiring knee surgery ended his season. He was lost from August 24 through the rest of the season. Niese was 0-1 with the Mets pitching in just 11 innings. His best outing was ironically against the Mets. On June 7 as a member of the Pirates, Niese pitched 7 shutout innings against the Mets giving up 4 hits in a 6-2 Pirate win. The Mets have a 10 million dollar option on Niese for 2017. Look for the Mets to buy out his contract for a much more reasonable 500 thousand.

40 –Josh Edgin RP (29) / Came off rehab for Tommy John surgery back on May 10 but spent most of the season getting back into shape at Las Vegas. Edgin was brought up in August for a stint then came back in September when the roster was expanded. Edgin got into 16 games out of the pen and pitched in 10.1 innings. He walked 6 and stuck out 10. Edgin’s best outing came on August 11 against Arizona when he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings surrendering just one hit. It came on a day when Syndergaard and Niese gave up 9 runs between them in a 9-0 loss. It was the same day that Collins went ballistic during his post-game conference, the season’s low point. Edgin is eligible for arbitration and can become a free agent in 2019.

41 -T. J. Rivera 2B (27) / Rivera made a number of trips between New York and Vegas beginning on August 10 before settling in as a productive hitting second baseman for the stretch drive. Rivera has always been a good hitter at every level. What held him back was the fact he was an undrafted player and expectations were low. However, Rivera hit at every level before making his major league debut in 2016 at age 27. He contributed quite a bit offensively and filled in admirably for an injured Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores. The Mets will need to assess if Rivera’s ability can sustain over the course of a full season in the Major Leagues as he has put himself in position to be one of the second base candidates come spring. Rivera batted .333 with an OPS of .821. He hit 3 homeruns, 4 doubles, and 1 triple and drove in 16 runs in 33 games. Rivera’s best game was on September 13 at Washington. He went 3 for 4 driving in 3 runs, including the game winning home run in the top of the 10th inning, his first in the majors. Rivera remains under Mets control for next season.

42 –Gabriel Ynoa RP (23) / Late call up, Ynoa made 3 starts and pitched out of the pen. Ynoa was given an opportunity to start with deGrom, Harvey, and Matz gone for the season but did not perform particularly well. His record was 1.0 with an ERA of 6.38 in the 10 games he pitched.  He gave up 13 runs on 26 hits, walked 7 and struck out 17 in 18.1 innings. Ynoa’s best start was on September 18. He started against the Twins and went 4.2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 8 in a Mets 3-2 win. Signed as an amateur free agent, Ynoa remains under Mets control for next season.

43 –Josh Smoker RP (27) / Josh was the 31st pick overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2007 amateur player draft. While with the Nats organization, Smoker suffered from shoulder issues that eventually required surgery. His velocity declined and became a minor league free agent in 2013. After a stint in independent baseball, he was signed (2015) by the Mets. He made his major league debut with the Mets this season. Smoker was very effective and showed a lot of guts on the mound. He went 3-0 with an ERA of 4.70 with a WHIP of 1.304. He struck out 25 batters in 15.1 innings of relief but gave up 4 homeruns. Josh’s best outing came on September 17 when he struck out the side against the Twins. There were 7 other occasions when Smoker struck out 2 in a 1 inning outing. He is under Mets control for 2017.

44 –Robert Gsellman SP (23)/ Gsellman became an important part of the Mets rotation after they lost deGrom and Matz for the season. The 23 year old right handed pitcher, like Lugo, was not putting up great numbers in Vegas. However, once he got to Flushing, things gelled. In 7 starts (44.2 innings pitched), Gsellman went 4-2. He struck out 42 batters while walking 15 and gave up just one homerun. His ERA/WHIP was an impressive 2.42/1.276. Gsellman’s best start occurred on September 25, a 17-0 crushing of the Phillies. He threw 7 shutout innings allowing 3 hits while striking out 8 and walking 2. Gsellman is under Mets control for the 2017 season.

45 –Fernando Salas RP (31) / Traded from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a waiver deal at the August 31 deadline. Salas became a very important piece of the bullpen down the stretch and stepped up to become the go-to reliever for the seventh inning.  Salas struggled with the Angels but with the Mets he pitched to a 2.08/0.635 ERA/WHIP in 17.1 innings pitched.  He did give up 3 homeruns and 4 earned runs overall. In 9 appearances in just the 7th inning, Salas gave up 1 run just one time. Salas can file for free agency after the World Series concludes.

46 –Gavin Cecchini IN (22) / Gavin was called up in September and is considered to be a shortstop but likely a candidate for second baseman of the future. Cecchini has hit at all levels of the organization and will perhaps be in the running to be the starting second baseman of 2017, especially now that Dilson Herrera is in the Cincinnati organization. Gavin had 2 RBI in 6 at-bats with the Mets. Both RBI came in a game on September 24 when he doubled twice to drive in a run each time. Gavin is not yet considered a rookie having only played in 6 games with the Mets this past season.

Bonus 47- Zach Wheeler SP (26) / It’s kind of unfair to list Zach because the other players in this list actually made an appearance during the 2016 season. Wheeler was supposed to have come back mid-season but suffered several setbacks during his Tommy John surgery rehabilitation. It was thought perhaps he would come back in late August or in September but it never materialized.  Now that he can rest his elbow further in the off season it is hoped that Wheeler will be set to go come spring training in 2017.

References – Mets.com, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB.com, ultimatemets.com, metsblog.com, and my memory.

A Gallant Effort

The first team to make a mistake would be the team to lose the game. Unfortunately the first mistake was a pitch high in the strike zone from Jeurys Familia that Conner Gillaspie hit over the right field fence to give the Giants a 3-0 lead in the top of the ninth inning. Madison Bumgarner was still in the game. You knew the game was over and it was. So was the Mets’ season.

The Blame Game:

Well if we want to go down this road, we certainly can although I am not a fan of doing so. Obviously the main culprit is Familia who had a dreadful outing. He looked to be overthrowing which he does on occasion. Then of course he made the big mistake pitch and immediately was given the moniker of someone who can’t get it done in the post season. Terry Collins made a great point in his postgame interview. He said “We don’t get here without him”. Him meaning Familia, here meaning the post season because Jeurys did save 51 games.

We could blame the offense and in particular Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets managed just four hits and never got a runner to third base. Cespedes, who might have played his last game with the Mets, went 0 for 4 as Bumgarner pitched him brilliantly. The problem with the offense was simple. They had to face Bumgarner—enough said.

We could blame Collins for not letting Noah Syndergaard go further. I think he should have let Noah, who was as brilliant if not as efficient as Bumgarner, at least start the eighth inning. But when Addison Reed and Familia have been so dependable are we really going to fault the manager? I think not.

Really it became apparent early on that the only way the Mets could win this game would be for them to wait out Bumgarner, in other words in extra innings. Once the Giants scored three in the 9th, the Mets were beat. There was no way they could come back in the bottom of the ninth and score three runs off of Bumgarner. In fact, there was no team in baseball that would have come back from that deficit and beat that monster on the hill for San Francisco.


Let’s clear up some things about Familia. First off it was not a save situation. I’m not saying that should make a difference but it often does. Secondly, his numbers in the post season aren’t great but they are a long way from being abysmal. In the post season that includes last year, he’s given up 5 runs on 5 hits and blew three saves.  Realize that 3 of those runs were from last night. Let’s go back to last post season to see how Familia performed.

Familia got a four out save in game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers giving up no runs. He pitched the last inning of a blowout win at Citi Field in game 3 and gave up nothing. He pitched another inning in a game 4 loss and gave up no runs then he saved the biggest game of his career in game 5 sending the Mets to the NLCS. It was his second save of the post season.  Then Familia had another 4 out save in game 1 of the NLCS against the Cubs, and two more saves in game 2 and 3. Then finally he closed out game 4 in a non-save situation helping to complete the four game sweep to clinch the NL pennant.  Up to the World Series, Familia saved 5 games in the post season and allowed no runs on 3 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks in 9.2 innings.

Things did change for Familia in the World Series. He blew the save in game 1, a game the Mets led 4-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth and ended up losing in extra innings. It was a tough loss that the Mets really never recovered from. Familia pitched a scoreless inning of a Mets 9-3 blowout in game 3 before blowing the save in game 4, allowing 2 unearned and 1 earned runs to score. In game 5, Familia gave up the tying run in the ninth inning but the run was charged to Matt Harvey. We don’t know what might have happened had Collins stuck to his guns and brought in Familia to start the ninth opposed to letting Harvey try to complete the game. Never the less it was Familia’s third blown save of the World Series and that’s a reputation maker, especially when it happens in the clincher.

So all in all, Familia’s record in the post season is 15.2 innings pitched with 5 saves and 3 blown saves. His ERA is 2.30 with 5 runs allowed, 4 runs earned, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts.  Could Familia’s record be better, of course it could but it’s not horrible. And while we can complain about him contributing to a World Series loss and now a wildcard game loss, to Terry’s point—the Mets are not in the post season without him.

Here’s some more food for thought regarding the Mets closer.  Remember a closer by the name of Mariano Rivera? I may be wrong but I think he will be a unanimous first ballot entrant into the Hall of Fame and deservedly so. Ask Yankee fans about Mariano’s ninth inning in game seven of the 2001 World Series in Arizona and the ninth inning of game four of the 2004 ALCS in Boston. Watch them throw up in their mouths a little bit. The point is closers blow games, even the great ones. There were a lot of reasons the Mets lost the wildcard game last night, not just Familia’s obvious poor performance.

The End:

It has been a full ten years since the Mets got to celebrate on home turf. The last time the Mets poured champagne at home was when they clinched the NL East division title on September 18, 2006 at Shea Stadium against the Marlins.  Since then, the Cardinals celebrated at Shea (2006 NLCS), the Royals celebrated at Citi Field (2015 World Series), and now the Giants (last night’s wildcard winner). The home team Mets has been relegated to watching a party they were not invited to on their home field. However, the Mets did celebrate over the last two seasons at Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Often what goes around comes around.

With a lot of rest and healing now that the off season has begun, I have a feeling the Mets will get to the post season again and perhaps as soon as next year. The home field party for the home team will happen and it will happen relatively soon.

Today it stings but we will look back on the 2016 season and remember a team decimated by injuries to key players. We’ll remember players that did not perform up to their expectations. We will wonder how in the world Terry Collins did not get fired when the Mets fell to two games under .500 in August (a recent report suggest he almost was). But mostly we’ll remember a gallant try by players from the farm system and from other organizations that pulled it together and won 27 of their last 40 games to clinch the top wildcard spot.

A shout out to T.J. Rivera, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, James Loney, Rene Rivera, Fernando Salas, Jay Bruce (yes, Jay Bruce who had some big at-bats in Philadelphia), Josh Smoker, Brandon Nimmo, Matt Reynolds,  Ty Kelly, Justin Ruggiano, and the welcome return of Jose Reyes. No one would have ever guessed that these players would be a part of this team let alone contribute to its success. And let’s not forget the regulars who managed to not go down that included Curtis Granderson, the aged wonder Bartolo Colon, Yoenis Cespedes, the undisputed ace of the staff Noah Syndergaard, and in my opinion, the Mets MVP Asdrubal Cabrera.

All you can hope at the beginning of the season is that your team makes it to the tournament in October. And that’s what the post season has become. The top third of teams in baseball get in, that’s 10 teams. They fight it out for a month based on seeded record and the last one standing gets the trophy. It really is a crapshoot that any team can win. And if I were the Cubs that blew the field away during the regular season, I would be very leery of having to face the Giants.

The cold winter in the northeast beckons. The Citi Field turf will be covered by snow soon enough as the front office toils and calculates the best bets moving forward. Winter will turn to spring and once again we will hear the cry of “Play Ball” from Port St. Lucie, Florida. It’s only a short five months away.

One Game Season

It is the ninth time in Mets history that they will go to the post season, the third time as a wildcard. It is the first time the Mets will be a wildcard in the era of the two wildcards and a one game elimination. Therefore, this season’s post season appearance could be the shortest in Mets’ history if they fail to defeat the San Francisco Giants tomorrow night at Citi Field.

To this point, the shortest post season the Mets ever had was in 1988 when they lost the NL League Division Series (LDS) to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. That was in the era prior to the wildcard and the League Division Series (LDS). In all other cases besides 1988, the Mets had always advanced past the first round. In 1969, 1973, and 1986, the Mets advanced to the World Series after winning the LCS. Then in 1999 and 2000 the Mets won the LDS and advanced to the LCS. In 2000, they went all the way to the World Series. In 2006, the Mets won the LDS and advanced to the LCS ultimately losing to the Cardinals in game seven. Last year the Mets made it to the World Series.

So in eight post season appearances, the Mets have enjoyed longevity, a minimum of seven games in 1988. Tomorrow night the Mets face the possibility of playing in one post season game then going home. And for me, considering this unlikely of seasons where so many were injured and lost for the duration, I won’t be terribly upset if the Mets do not advance. Of course I will be disappointed but I already consider this season a successful one for the Mets. For it demonstrated how strong the organization is that they could bring up so many prospects and continue to compete. The club has heart and a lot of it. When you consider the pitchers that should be back healthy next season, the Mets look to be have a bright future.

As much as Terry Collins can drive me crazy with his in-game moves and use of the bullpen, he has to get credit for keeping this ship on course. The Mets could have easily fallen apart back in August but they kept it together. Once they got the top of the order back in the lineup, the Mets took off on an improbable 27-13 run to end the season. They were five and half games back of the second wild card and made up six and a half games to host the NL Wildcard game—truly remarkable. If Terry Collins is not manager of the year then they should dispose of the award.

Facing Madison Bumgarner is not going to be a picnic tomorrow evening. And the Giants will have Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto on the roster to compensate for a bullpen that is not so good. Looking at those pitchers, it’s hard to think the Mets can prevail. But for some reason, my gut is telling me the Mets are going to win this game. Certainly I may be wrong and I’m not predicting the Mets will win. It’s just a feeling I have that they will. Every time this season when you think the Mets are done, they surprise and bounce back so why not in this game? But again, whether they do or not, for me, this has been an enjoyable season. The Mets will have nothing to be ashamed of if they come up short and do not progress past Wednesday. Considering what this team went through in 2016, it’s amazing they are in the post season. But I guess that is why they are called the Amazins.

I have railed a number of times about the Mets not making the post season in back to back seasons save once. So in fairness I have to acknowledge that they’ve done it again if even only for the second time. The real possibility exists that the Mets may actually be able to go to the post season for three consecutive seasons. But that’s a long way off. For now, it’s a one game season. If the Mets win it’s off to Chicago for a rematch with last year’s opponent in the NLCS. The Mets swept the Cubs in four straight, clinching their fifth National League pennant. If the Mets lose tomorrow, then it will be time to access what the club does moving forward into 2017.

Regardless of the outcome of the NL Wildcard game, it will be exciting and Citi Field will be one rocking ballpark for a few hours at least.


Magic Is One

Update – The Mets took care of business this afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Bartolo Colon pitched five innings and got the win as the Mets defeated the Phillies by a score of 5-3. The win clinches the top wild card spot regardless of what the Cardinals or Giants do this afternoon or tomorrow. It is the second time in franchise history that the Mets will go to the post season in back to back seasons. No tie breakers will be necessary. The National League wildcard game will be at Citi Field Wednesday night at 8PM. Terry Collins becomes the Mets’ third manager to take the Mets to the playoffs twice. Davey Johnson (1986, 1988) and Bobby Valentine (1999, 2000) were the other two skippers to do it.

Considering how this team was devastated with setbacks all season long, regardless of what happens in the one and done game on Wednesday- this Mets team has to be consider one of the best in franchise history. They are certainly the team with the most heart.

Original Post – By hook or crook, the Mets will play ball after Sunday. Now it could be a play-in game on Monday or even a play-in game on Monday and Tuesday. Or it might be the National League Wildcard game on Wednesday. But the fact is they did it. In spite of all the injuries, many that were season ending, and others that required extended stays on the disabled list, these New York Mets made a remarkable rebound since the end of August and are one win away, or one St. Louis loss away, to becoming the top wildcard.

I hope the Mets are not counting on the Giants and/or the Cardinals to give them any help. The Mets have the ultimate power in these final two games. Win just one and they control their destiny. With one win, they would host the wildcard game at Citi Field on Wednesday. They’ve come too far to have this come down to play-in game scenarios. The team seems focused and is ready to get this done. Okay so here are today’s scenarios.

Because all three teams, left with life in the NL wildcard race, won last evening, they are all separated by three games. The Mets on top, a game ahead of the Giants, two games ahead of the Cardinals. If the Mets win this afternoon, they would clinch the number one wildcard. If the Mets were to lose this afternoon, and both the Giants and Cardinals win, the worst scenario, then nothing would be clinched. In this case, the Giants and Mets would be tied for the wildcard with the Cardinals still a game behind. If the Cardinals and Mets lose and the Giants win, then the Cardinals would be eliminated with the two other teams tied. Both the Mets and Giants would be the wildcard winners but seeding will not be clear until after tomorrow’s games. If only the Cardinals win today, they would be tied with the Giants for the second wild card with the Mets still in the top position. This scenario would set up the possibility of a three way tie after Sunday’s games.

There is a lot of complication here. The Mets can eliminate all of this by winning this afternoon’s game. Bartolo Colon has the task of getting it done. I’m sure he’s excited about getting the opportunity to finish things up today. There is no more experienced pitcher on the Mets staff than Bartolo. He always remains calm regardless of the pressure. The Mets can feel it and I’m sure they are chomping at the bit to get on the field this afternoon. Let’s Go Mets!

The Final Most Important Weekend of the Season

Being a Mets fan all of my life, I have one question. How can the Mets actually blow this thing?

The good news is there is only one scenario for the Mets to completely lose out on baseball after Sunday. If the Mets lose the last three games in Philadelphia and both the Giants and Cardinals win their remaining four games, the Giants would win wildcard 1 with an 87-75 record. The Cardinals would be wildcard 2 with an 86-76 record. The Mets with a record of 85-77 would then go back to Citi Field and clean out their lockers. Again, that’s the only scenario where the Mets would be done for the season after Sunday.

Suppose the Mets manage to win one game this weekend?

If that were to happen, the Mets would finish the season with an 86-76 record. Not enough to win wild card 1 if the Giants and Cardinals win out. But it would tie them with St. Louis for wildcard 2 while the Giants would be wildcard 1. In this scenario, the Mets would play the Cardinals either in St. Louis or New York on Monday to determine wild card 2. The location would depend on the second tie breaker. The first tie breaker, head to head, both clubs are even with three victories each. The second tie breaker is their intra-divisional record. Currently the Cardinals are 38-34 within the NL Central while the Mets are 38-35 in the NL East.  Both teams finish the season within their respective divisions.  The winner would then head to AT&T Park for the NL wildcard game on Wednesday.

Hopefully the Mets will win the series in Philly, at least two games to one. This is the best scenario in the event that both San Francisco and St. Louis win their last four. If the Mets were to win two games, it would eliminate the Cardinals even if they won four in a row. The Giants would tie the Mets with both teams having an 87-75 record. However, the Mets would be declared the wildcard 1 winner because of the head to head tie breaker. The Mets won four of seven games against San Francisco during the regular season. The wildcard game would then be played next Wednesday, October 4, 8:00PM at Citi Field.

Of course all of these scenarios presume the Cardinals and Giants are not going to lose between now and Sunday. Both clubs are in action tonight while the Mets are idle. The Giants conclude their series with Colorado at home before the Dodgers go to San Francisco for the final series. The Dodgers still have incentive to win. At the moment, the Dodgers are the third seed and will play Washington in the first round. The Nats lead LA by two for home field advantage so you know the Dodgers will be trying their best. Plus there’s the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. There is nothing the Dodgers would like more than to knock the Giants out of the playoffs.

The Cardinals finish their four game set with Cincinnati this evening before the Pirates travel to Busch Stadium. The Bucs have been eliminated so they have nothing to play for. But because the Cardinals do and Pittsburgh is a division rival, I would hope the Pirates try hard to be a spoiler.

As for the Mets, well they go to Philadelphia to play a team that has been awful over the last week. The Mets had that dramatic come from behind win on Asdrubal Cabrera’s walk off three run homer a week ago. Then beat them 10-5 the next night before the Phillies almost blew a 10-0 lead on Saturday. The Mets destroyed the Phils on Sunday 17-0. Now the Phillies have lost the first two to Atlanta in a three game set that concludes tonight.

Clearly the Mets are in control of their destiny and have to be odds on favorite to win a wildcard if not the top wildcard. But given the history of this club to blow things (1998, 2007, and 2008 come to mind), what Met fan can relax until the numbers truly indicate a post season berth?

The difference this season though is the roster. This group has really turned it up a notch since September began. In fact, September has been the Mets’ best month of the season with 16 wins with one more to play before the calendar roles over to October. Jay Bruce has started to hit now. Cabrera continues to rake and Jose Reyes has been more than anyone could have imagined. Where would this team have been without Reyes? Even Michael Conforto seems to have sanded the rust off and has contributed when given an opportunity. Also, what a gift for the Mets to get back Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares before the end of the regular season. Then there’s the pitching. Can you imagine what we would have said if we were told back on April 3 that the rotation heading into the final crucial series of the season would be Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman? Who? Yet these pitchers have performed brilliantly.

I’m fighting my instincts and am going to work hard to be positive. Regardless of the outcome, with all the injuries and lost players of this season, for the Mets to be at the precipice of the post season is truly remarkable. Let’s enjoy this.

Heading Toward Friday

Tonight’s game is an important one for the Mets.

Here’s why…

The current NL wildcard standings:

Mets 84-74
Giants 83-74
Cards 82-75

The Mets are off tomorrow. If the Mets lose tonight they will be 84-75. That gives the Cardinals and Giants two opportunities to gain on the Mets because the Mets have an off day tomorrow. Both the Giants and Cardinals have games on Thursday. If they both win tonight and tomorrow, the Mets head into Friday night’s game in Philadelphia tied with St. Louis for the second wild card.

Giants   85-74
Cards     84-75
Mets     84-75

If the Mets win this evening, they would remain the number one wildcard even if both San Fran and St. Louis wins over the next two days.

Mets     85-74
Giants   85-74
Cards     84-75

Because of their better head to head record, the Mets would be the first wildcard even if tied with San Francisco. So anyway it shakes out, heading into Philly on Friday night, the Mets worst case scenario would be in a tie with St. Louis for the second wildcard. I honestly believe this thing is going to go right down to Sunday afternoon and even into Monday and perhaps Tuesday.

Exciting times ahead, we hope.

An Emotional Evening

Perhaps it was the pressure of having to perform in such an emotional game last evening that cost Bartolo Colon early on. And to be honest, given the circumstance, the evening felt right that the Marlins, led by Dee Gordon, won the game.

Yes it was only a game but if it gave the slightest comfort to those mourning the loss of ace right hander Jose Fernandez, then it was right and just for the game to go the way that it did. I was not bothered by the loss and I’m sure most Mets fans were not either. In fact, it was moving to see the Mets players embrace their rivals and do what they could to comfort the Marlin players. The Marlins after the game surrounded the pitcher’s mound in what was one of the more moving tributes I have ever seen. The pennant race and everything associated with the game of baseball paled in comparison to what was happening in the center of the diamond. Everyone was touched and it gave all in attendance and watching on TV a moment of perspective.

So if I can be so bold as to get back to baseball, where do the Mets stand in the race for the wildcard?

The Mets have an 83-74 record after last night’s loss. Realistically a win total of 86 should capture one of the two wildcards. With five games left, the Mets will need to go 3-2 to achieve an 86-76 record. If the Mets are unable to do that, there is a very good chance they will sit out the post season and deservedly so.

The St. Louis Cardinals also lost last evening, a 15-2 drubbing by the Reds. For St. Louis to tie or beat an 86 win total, they will need to go 6-0 or 5-1 respectively with their six remaining games. Running the table would give the Cardinals an 87-75 record and likely the wildcard one title. A 5-1 record would land them at 86 wins and would also give them wildcard one since their intra-division record is better than the Mets.  It is not inconceivable for St. Louis to do this considering their competition. The Reds are bad and the Pirates are virtually out of the race now, and the Cardinals are well… simply the Cardinals. They always seem to figure out how to win.

The Giants who were idle last night will need to go 5-1 or 4-2 over their last six games to get to 87 or 86 wins respectively. They are playing the Rockies at home then the Dodgers who are still striving for the best overall record for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Clearly the Mets are in the driver’s seat but that’s what scares me. Sorry but it brings up bad emotions from the end of 2007 when I kept hearing that all the Mets need to do… and guess what, they weren’t able to do anything and they ended up suffering the worst collapse in baseball history. Now no one is going to accuse the Mets of a major collapse this season, not with all they went through on the injury front and with Sandy Alderson having to rebuild the roster almost on a daily basis. But to get this close to the post season and not make it with a handful of games left would be difficult to swallow.

Tonight, the Mets will need to get back on track or they will face a tremendously pressure packed weekend in Philadelphia. The last thing the Mets will want is to have to depend on the Giants or Cardinals losing games.

Obviously we need to keep in my mind how our hopes of the Mets making the post season is dwarfed by the horrendous event over the weekend in the water near Miami. But we all move forward and so does baseball, exactly the way Jose would have wanted it.