New York Mets designate Brad Brach for assignment

The New York Mets are still trying to improve their roster for the 2021 season. The Jonathan Villar signing this week is proof of that, and although he doesn’t figure to have an everyday role right away, he is a veteran contributor that has some offensive potential and an uncanny ability to steal bases.

His presence as infield depth and as a potential option as a pinch-runner late in games (including extrainnings, where teams will once again start with a runner on second base) is very valuable for the Mets.

In order to make room for Villar on the 40-am roster, the New York Mets designated right-handed reliever Brad Brach for assignment.

When a player’s contract is designated for assignment — often abbreviated “DFA” – “that player is immediately removed from his club’s 40-man roster. Within seven days of the transaction (had been 10 days under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement), the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers,” according to the explanation by the league.

The Mets will need to pay him anyway

According to NBC Edge, Brach, who had exercised his 2021 player option earlier in the offseason, will get that money without playing for the Mets.

Brach has been very successful in the past and even has some closer experience in his Orioles days, but he didn’t have a particularly good 2020 abbreviated season.

Last year, Brach struggled to the tune of a 5.84 ERA and 1.78 WHIP over 12 1/3 innings.

He should be able to find a new home eventually thanks largely to his past success.

In 496 games and a total of 522.2 innings, Brach has a very good 3.39 ERA and a 3.76 FIP, with a 25.1 K% and a 11.1 BB%. He has accumulated 4.7 fWAR so far in his career, and it would appear that he has thrown his last pitch with a Mets uniform.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Brad Brach

Brad Brach had a wild 2020 season for the New York Mets. He missed the first two weeks of the season due to COVID-19 and could not find the strike zone towards the end of the season. Three rough outings took him from a solid season to one to forget.

Brach found renewed success with the Mets when he joined them at the end of 2019, and it carried over to 2020. Through his first 11 outings, he only allowed two runs and struck out 13 batters. Despite holding batters to an average under .200, the six walks in those outings would catch up to his final three outings of the season.

The final three outings of Brach’s season were a disaster. Brach only recorded one out, and while not allowing a hit, he walked eight batters and allowed six runs. He has dealt with control issues throughout his career, but this was the worse it has gotten for him.

What The Future Holds?

Brach opted to used his cutter as his number one pitch. He threw it 31.6% of the time, a career-high, but it did not have the same success from 2019. Batters hit .333 against it, and the whiff rate dropped from 30.2% to 21.9%. When batters put the ball in play, Brach was very successful. They only hit .186 against Brach, and he induced soft contact 31% of the time, a career-best.

Brach’s major issue was limiting the free passes. His BB/9 was 10.2, and his inability to keep his cutter in the strike zone cost him the most. Brach could not hone where he wanted the cutter to start, which resulted in them finishing too far off the outside corner. It took away the swing and miss threat it carried from the previous season.

Brach opted into his option year for the 2021 season, and it is not a bad move for the Mets to keep him. He finished the season with a 5.84 ERA, but if he can regain his command, a return to a three ERA is certainly a possibility. The biggest question is how much his cutter is relied upon during 2021.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Cutter: 30 (50), 60 of 79 were thrown to righties; he should throw it more to lefties. His ability to consistently throw it on the same corner makes it effective against them.

Changeup: 65 (65), Still his best overall pitch and something he throws to both sides of the plate.

Sinker: 80 (60), After being a liability in 2019, it was a pitch he threw just under 20% of the time. No one recorded a hit on it.

4-Seam Fastball: 75 (65), Thrown the lowest amount (17.6%) of his career and had its lowest velocity at just over 90. Since Brach is losing velocity, we will likely see this trend continue in 2021.

Slider: 30 (30), Once an effective weapon for Brach, he threw it the least out of any of his five pitches.

Command: 20 (40), A full spring training should allow Brach to avoid a “control slump” from slowing down his momentum.

Overall: 35 (45), His all-star years are still behind him, but he can be a useful piece in a deep bullpen.

New York Mets: Betances, Brach Opt In and Stroman Gets Qualifying Offer

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets have had a busy couple of days as they try to revitalize their roster after a disappointing 2020. As expected, Dellin Betances and Brad Brach, both underachieving relievers, exercised their offers for the 2021 season. The Mets also gave the $18.9 million qualifying offer to Marcus Stroman.

Betances is coming off another injury-plagued season where he gave up 10 runs in 11.2 innings pitched. He also never found his velocity as his 93.6 mph average fastball was the lowest of his career. Combine those numbers with the 12 walks he allowed, and it equaled a pitcher who could not be used.

The upside about giving Betances an option year was the ability to bring him back if he struggled. There is no market for Betances to make $6 million if guys like Brad Hand were being released for making $10 million. Betances will get a fully healthy offseason and spring training to return to his All-Star form. This could be an investment that works out for both parties.

Brach is Back

Brach was another pitcher who had to deal with time on the injured list. He started the season on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19, and like Betances, he struggled to limit the walks. Brach had a 5.84 ERA and walked 14 in 12.1 innings pitched.

In 2019, Brach was a low-risk addition to their bullpen, and it paid off for the Mets. As another veteran who did not adjust well to the shortened season, the Mets should be confident in his ability to return to a useful reliever. Brach is certainly a good option to deepen the bullpen after bringing in a couple of quality arms.

Stro-Show Back in Queens?

Stroman’s return to the Mets likely will not happen off the qualifying offer. After Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman is the best option on the starting pitcher free-agent market. $18.9 million is slightly lower than the per year value Stroman is aiming for, but if he was getting six years with that amount, I think he would accept that deal. The big question mark is how much of a risk teams want to take on him after spending a season injured and then opting not to play due to “safety concerns.”

If Stroman accepts the qualifying offer, he is banking on his 2021 to parlay it into a lucrative deal. It is doubtful that he accepts with teams like the Los Angeles Angels are desperately looking for good starting pitching. Do not count the Mets out of the Stroman sweepstakes if he declines the QO. The Mets need the starting pitching as well, and Stroman is perfectly suited to pitch in New York. Slotting him in the rotation with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard gives the Mets a formidable top-3.

New York Mets: Only Fitting For A Blowout To End The Wilpon’s Reign

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

Mediocrity is the first word that comes to mind in the broken marriage between the New York Mets and the Wilpon ownership. Their decisions, hirings, and lousy PR led to the Mets becoming the laughing stock of baseball and the butt of every joke. The Mets 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals closed an ugly 18 years of Wilpon majority ownership.

Seth Lugo likely made his final start as a Met in which he allowed six runs and did not make it out of the second inning. The lack of quality starting rotation depth put the Mets in a situation where they had to force Lugo to be a starter. Should the Mets fix their pitching rotation, Lugo would play very well in his natural bullpen role.

Early Rout

This game was pretty well decided when the Nats had 11 runs after the third inning concluded. Brad Brach and Steven Matz concluded their poor seasons with poor outings, allowing the Nationals to put the game away. Dellin Betances also continued the trend when he made his second outing off the IL. Jeurys Familia was the only reliever to complete two innings without allowing a run and finished his season with a 3.71 ERA.

The two bright spots came from the bats of Pete Alonso and Guillermo Heredia. Alonso had three hits, including two home runs, to finish up the season on a good note. Heredia had two hits and drove in two runs as he hopes to earn an invite to camp in 2021.

The Mets finished their season at 26-34, tied for last place in the NL East. They fell under the .500 mark seven games into the season and never climbed out of that hole in their disappointing season. Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson inherit a broken organization, filled with potential. With their window to win still wide open, expect the front office to revamp this roster for the 2021 season.

New York Mets: Matz Fails in Return to Rotation in 15-2 Loss

The New York Mets were out of options in their starting rotation, so Steven Matz lucked into the start against the Atlanta Braves. Matz’s outing went exactly the way we all expected it to. The Braves treated it like batting practice and gave the same treatment to Franklyn Kilome to put up a 15-2 victory.

The only savior for the Mets would have been a rainout because of the lack of confidence in Matz. It was the same pitcher they had before his IL stint, and he put the Mets in a hole early. Over 2.2 innings pitched, Matz allowed six runs on eight hits, including two more home runs. It was part of the Braves scoring in the first four innings of the game.

Kilome returned to the Mets roster before the game since the Mets needed relief help. He provided relief but did not offer any help in the game. Kilome allowed six runs and another two home run to the Braves offense.

Hughes to the Rescue

Jared Hughes came in for a rare long relief appearance throwing 3.2 innings and allowing three more runs and two more homers. While it was not the best performance, it saved the Mets from overusing their bullpen.

Brad Brach and Todd Frazier (you read that right) were the only pitchers with scoreless appearances. While Brach’s was only a one-out cameo, Frazier hurled a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. He even got Adam Duvall to strikeout looking on a knuckleball.

On the other side, Max Fried continued his Cy Young campaign. Over five innings, he only had three strikeouts but held the Mets to one run, keeping his ERA under two. Jeff McNeil provided the only offense off Fried with an RBI double in the fifth.

Amed Rosario provided three of the five Mets hits on the night. His sixth-inning single gave the Mets their second and final run of the game.

On Saturday, David Peterson tries to become the first Mets starter to make it to the third inning in three games. He faces Ian Anderson at 7:07 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Bullpen Takes deGrom’s Win in Weird 5-4 Victory

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed length out of Jacob deGrom after getting abbreviated starts during their doubleheader loss on Tuesday. deGrom gave them that and much more in his first start in almost a week. He tied a career-high with 14 strikeouts, but a bullpen implosion in the eighth inning prevented him from his third win of the season.

Luckily Wilson Ramos, who was hitting .100 w/RISP, came through to give the Mets the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Brad Brach went nine days without pitching but stayed tough to lock down the Mets victory over the Miami Marlins, 5-4.

The bullpen implosion started in the eighth inning when Justin Wilson allowed three singles to load the bases. He gave way to Edwin Diaz, who gave up a 107-mph single that J.D. Davis could not secure, followed by back to back walks to tie the game.

Diaz left the game with an apparent injury before the game-tying walk, leaving Brach a 2-1 count. Brach finished the at-bat with a walk before getting the game to the ninth inning. He needed help from Jeff McNeil‘s foot to prevent Jonathan Villar from stealing second base to get through the inning.

Clutch Hitting

The Mets were as dreadful on offense as any team could be on Tuesday. They put together a much-improved showing with a 2-for-9 output w/RISP and left seven on base. There was a much more concerted effort to hit the ball to the opposite field, and it was precisely what Wilson Ramos did to give the Mets the lead run.

Robinson Cano helped lead the way with three hits, moving his batting average to .382. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo also added home runs, both their fifth of the year, as well.

Dominant deGrom

deGrom pitched as well as any pitcher can without recording a no-hitter. The two Marlins hits he allowed were light, and his fastball sat in the 99-100 mph range. It was undoubtedly his best outing of the season and showed what a couple of extra days of rest does for him.

Should the Mets choose not to join other professional sports teams in protest on Thursday, they finish their series with the Marlins. They currently have not named a starter yet, but face rookie Sixto Sanchez at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Brad Brach tells his experience with COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered millions of lives in so many ways. Besides the deaths, the lost job positions, the world economy effects, the quarantine, and the change in plans, lots of families have been separated. One of them, albeit briefly, was New York Mets‘ reliever Brad Brach.

When he tested positive for coronavirus, he found himself isolated and recovering in Long Island. His wife was 34 weeks pregnant when she found out that she was positive, as well, and she was in Nashville, Tennessee.

Several weeks passed and the Mets’ righty could only dream about being healthy in time to meet her wife and get to know their twin boys. Thankfully, he tested negative and was able to do just that.

“Thankfully, it was nothing too serious,” Brach said after returning to MLB.com Citi Field on Saturday. “Just really happy and glad to be back. Just glad my wife’s feeling good and the boys are safe, and everybody’s doing all right.”

When Brach underwent intake testing at Citi Field earlier in July, he was feeling some symptoms but figured it was just a cold. Then, he left the park and grabbed some lunch. Upon biting his sandwich, he couldn’t taste it. That’s when he knew he was going to test positive.

The Mets’ reliever had to alter his training routine

He was forced to quarantine in his hotel room in Garden City, keeping his arm in “shape” by throwing a baseball into a tube sock and with a weighted ball bag delivered to him by the New York Mets’ staff. After the days went by, he was able to drive to empty parks to throw a baseball with increased velocity into a fence.

He threw a bullpen session on Saturday at Citi Field with no isses. He is a little behind but should be able to return to the Mets’ active roster in a few days.

Brach will throw another bullpen today, and the idea is to graduate to live batting practice soon.

“More than anything, I was just frustrated because these last four or five months have been like a roller coaster of emotions,” Brach said. “You think the season’s going to be over, then you hear it’s going to start next week, and then you think it’s going to be over again. So when we finally got the word that Spring 2.0 was starting back up, you’re just excited to get back and be around the guys.”

New York Mets: Brad Brach and Jared Hughes Head to Injured List

Brad Brach and Jared Hughes were the last to members of the New York Mets player pool who have not arrived at summer camp yet. With just a few days before the season begins, the Mets put them on the Injured List but did not specify the injury.

The assumption is that both players tested positive for COVID-19. Since teams do not list a reason for COVID related IL stints, the only confirmation will come from the players themselves. Both players did not have any lingering injuries, and if they suffered an injury, like Jacob deGrom, they would have reported that first.

Replacement Options

The Mets looked to have about two extra relievers when camp broke, but now they will have to replace Hughes and Brach as well. Out of the starting pitchers, Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt likely make the team for starting pitching depth. For the relievers, the Mets can opt for veterans Hunter Strickland or Chasen Shreve. If they wanted to stay within the organization Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora are candidates along with top option Drew Smith. 

The options are not limited to the listed names since the Mets added more pitchers to their player pool. deGrom’s health and the length that Brach/Hughes remain on the sidelines.

New York Mets: deGrom Deals With Back Issues, Cano Finally Shows

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets had quite a few headlines from Tuesday. Jacob deGrom left his start with a back issue after one inning and it overshadowed the return of Robinson Cano to summer camp after an eight-day absence.

The first nightmare of summer camp occurred when deGrom surprisingly left the game early. His performance did not indicate any issues, but a grimace for deGrom as he walked off the mound showed something was wrong. It was his second to last start before Opening Day, but the injury changes things around.

All the Mets released a confirmation on deGrom’s injury. He also dealt with similar issues during 2018 Spring Training, but it did not keep him from being ready for Opening Day. Judging from deGrom’s ability to finish the inning, his early exit seemed like a precaution to keep their back-to-back Cy Young winner from causing more damage to his back.

Cano Back in Flushing

While the reasons for Robinson Cano’s absence from summer camp is still a mystery, he returned to camp on Tuesday. Since the Mets’ organizational policy is to keep quiet on player’s absences, the only place to get an answer is from Cano himself. Cano did not speak to the media on his first day back.

Cano’s starting lineup status is still in question for the beginning of the season. Manager Luis Rojas said it all depends on how he progresses in the next week but looks to be in great shape. With an aging veteran like Cano, they know how to get themselves in-game shape better than anyone else. He had a slow start in 2019 and hopes to erase that from Mets fans memories.

Cano’s appearance at camp leaves Brad Brach and Jared Hughes as the final two players who need to report to camp. Rojas had no answer on when to expect them to join the team. Both do not carry the weight of Edwin Diaz or Seth Lugo in the Mets bullpen but are both good enough pitchers where their absence will hurt the team. Their absence opens up opportunities for Drew Smith and Paul Sewald to make the roster.