Mets Play Ugly Defense for the Second Straight Game in 9-5 Loss to Nats

The New York Mets pitching join their defensive struggles in a 9-5 loss against the Washington Nationals. Judging by the tweets and few videos from the game, the Mets should be thankful this game was not televised.

Jordan Yamamoto got the start for the Mets, and his first-inning cost him a good outing. After retiring the first two batters, an error and walk gave the Nats a free opportunity to score. Ryan Zimmerman and Kyle Schwarber tagged him for RBI singles to give them an early 2-0 lead. Yamamoto would pitch two scoreless innings to finish his outing.

Dellin Betances followed him and fell victim to the two-out rally as well. A double from Starlin Castro led to a throwing error from third baseman J.D. Davis and allowed him to score. Betances fastball was in the 91 mph range but peaked at 94 mph.

Matt Allan continued the trend of two-out runs by allowing three (one earned) during his one inning of work. An RBI single led to the first run, then an error from Jake Hager at second base allowed the Nats to drive in another two. Robert Gsellman was the only pitcher who kept the Nationals off the board with his scoreless inning.

Francisco Lindor finally broke the seal with his first two hits as a member of the Mets. It comes on the same day the Mets announced negotiations will begin for a long-term deal. Mark Vientos was the other Met with multiple hits as he recorded two doubles. Jake Hager recorded the biggest hit with a three-run homer, his second home run of the spring. Hager only has two hits in spring training, and both are via the long ball.

The Mets head back to Port St. Lucie to face the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. Taijuan Walker makes his Mets debut against Carlos Martinez (0-1, 32.40 ERA), and it will be televised on SNY.

 

New York Mets Sign 11 Minor League Free Agents

Oakland Athletics, Bruce Maxwell

With the election day hangover sweeping through the news cycle, the New York Mets were active on the free-agent market. The big fish of Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto are still on the market but the Mets scooped brought in 11 players on minor league deals. Five were in the organization this year but Jose Peraza and Mallex Smith highlight the group of outsiders.

The five Mets returning to the team are Johneshwy Fargas, Jake Hager, Harol Gonzalez, Bruce Maxwell, and Luis Carpio. Fargas is a centerfielder with supreme speed, stealing 235 bases over seven minor league seasons. His minor league batting average of .255 with a .342 has kept him back.

Hager is a 27-year old utility infielder who is still waiting on his first major league action. He has recorded slugging percentages over .400 in his last two minor league seasons.

Gonzalez is a right-handed starter who suffered from the canceled minor league season in 2020. He pitched to a 3.01 ERA in a career-high 137.2 innings between AA and AAA. Gonzalez should scratch the surface of the big leagues in 2021.

Maxwell is trying to revive his career after spending 2020 in the Mets alternate site. He is known as the first MLB player to take a knee for the National Anthem and hit 24 home runs in the Mexican League during 2019.

Carpio is entering his eighth year in the Mets organization but is just 23-years old. His hitting has kept him in the lower levels of the minors with a career .246 average and 20 home runs.

New Kids on the Block

Mallex Smith was a hot commodity after the 2018 season. His slash line of .296/.367/.406 with 40 stolen bases proved him to be a quality leadoff hitter. It was one of the reasons why they traded to get him back in 2018 after dealing him in the previous offseason. Smith’s bat tailed off significantly to .220/.290/.323 over the last two seasons. While he still stole 48 bases, he also tailed off defensively. As a minor league pick up, it is a good low-risk move.

Jose Peraza has a similar career arc to Smith; a promising contact hitter who has not replicated those numbers in the last two seasons. From 2016-2018 Peraza slashed .284/.320/.382 compared to .236/.283/.345. Peraza also saw his strikeout rate increase and his defense at second base decline over those poor two seasons.

Arodys Vizcaino‘s career has been plagued by the injury bug. He has undergone Tommy John and torn labrum surgery but still maintains a 3.01 career ERA. Vizcaino still throws in the upper 90s and if the Mets can keep him somewhat healthy, he could be a steal in the bullpen.

Little Known Signings

Oscar De La Cruz is a right-handed pitcher heading into his age-26 season. The intrigue from the Mets comes from his 2019 season where he had a 3.64 ERA over 96.1 innings with 105 strikeouts. It was his best season in the minors, with a majority of it being spent in AA.

David Rodriguez is a 24-year old catcher known primarily for his good defense behind the plate. In 2017, Rodriguez threw out 60% of base stealers (33 of 55) at high A. In his second season at AA in 2019, he threw out 31% of base stealers (20 of 64). Rodriguez only hit .225 in 2019 but gives the Mets some competition in the lower ranks of their catching depth chart.

Mitchell Tolman is the final signing and spent his entire minor league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tolman plays a handful of positions and had a chance to move up the ranks in their organization if the minor league season was not canceled. At 26 years old, Tolman’s .364 minor league OBP and ability to play multiple positions is part of what garnered the Mets interest.