Yankees Free Agency Rumors: Cashman responds to idea of signing Mets outfielder

mets, yankees, michael conforto

The New York Yankees finished their pursuit of slugger Aaron Judge without concluding on a big contract extension. General manager Brian Cashman offered Judge a $230 million contract over seven seasons, but the team was unsuccessful in convincing him to take the deal rather than bet on himself.

Instead, Judge will play the 2022 season on his arbitration number of $17 million, which could end up biting him in the butt if he doesn’t exceed expectations. Over five games, Judge is hitting .250 and has failed to hit one over the outfield fence, but the time will come. He’s only striking out on 22.7% of his at-bats, showcasing more patience with his approach.

Cashman indicated that the team put in a lot of effort to find a fair deal, but Judge wants to be paid Mike Trout money, which is a bit overzealous considering he is about to turn 30 years old.

“We ended that process with a legit effort and now we live to see another day,” Cashman said. “…Hopefully we can find common ground, if not now, later.”

Despite the two sides not coming to a conclusion on a deal, Cashman isn’t ready to pursue any other free agents on the market, notably Michael Conforto.

Conforto has been connected to the Yankees on numerous occasions this off-season, hitting .232 last year over 125 games. Conforto’s last stellar campaign came back in 2019 when he launched 33 homers and hit .257, paired with solid defensive metrics.

Cashman was asked about the prospect of pursuing Conforto, which he brushed off, indicating his “outfield is set.”

“We expect big things from [Aaron] Hicks and [Joey] Gallo,” Cashman said. “Hopefully we don’t have to pursue any outside options.”

Thus far, both Hicks and Gallo have struggled to some degree to open the year. Hicks launched an important two-run blast against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, showcasing his value. Gallo has struggled to get on base but has made some solid contact this year, whereas he was whiffing regularly in 2021.

Nonetheless, it seems as if the Yankees are situated in the outfield but could use a bit more starting pitching support.

Mets could target two sluggers after the lockout: one of them is an old friend

kris bryant, yankees

After adding Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar, plus the pending return of Robinson Cano, one would think the New York Mets’ lineup could be set: after all, they also have Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, JD Davis, James McCann, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and star shortstop Francisco Lindor, among others.

The Mets’ biggest need is on the pitching staff. Yes, they added Max Scherzer on a three-year, $130 million deal, but they also lost Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Joey Lucchesi, the latter due to a long-term injury and the first two via free agency.

Yet, SI.com’s Pat Ragazzo reported that the Mets have their eye on two sluggers and that they remain potential fits to their 2022 plans. One of them is Kris Bryant, a player they have coveted for a long time, capable of playing both infield and outfield corners while boasting an above-average bat.

The Mets have their eyes on two competent bats

Bryant hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 home runs between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants last season, and is a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series champion.

On the other hand, the Mets have also been linked to Michael Conforto, who started his career with the Mets in 2015 and reached free agency after last season. The right fielder wasn’t good in 2021 (.729 OPS) but has a career .824 OPS and has surpassed .900 two times, in 2017 and 2020.

Conforto is the kind of left-handed bat that most contenders should be coveting in free agency, but he didn’t sign before the lockout. Per Ragazzo, the Mets remain in play for his services.

“At least one industry source believes that the Mets realistically have 1-of-2 choices if they decide to add a significant hitter: bring in third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant or re-sign right fielder Michael Conforto since both players are solid defenders and neither is tied to a QO,” Ragazzo wrote.

Will the Mets break the bank for another slugger?

Should the Mets retain struggling outfielder Michael Conforto for next year?

mets, yankees, michael conforto

The New York Mets had an extremely disappointing offense in 2021, and it was perhaps the biggest reason why the team vastly underperformed preseason expectations. They had a solid group of pitchers, they just couldn’t produce runs with any sort of consistency.

One of the Mets’ slumping stars in 2021 was, without a doubt, Michael Conforto. The slugger slashed .232/.344/.384 with a 106, slightly above average production thanks, mainly, to all the walks he took. While swinging the bat, he didn’t inflict too much damage, with 14 home runs in 125 games and 479 plate appearances.

It was an uncharacteristic down year for Conforto, a career .255/.356/.468 hitter with a 124 wRC+. He couldn’t replicate his 2019-2020 form, when he slashed .274/.376/.499 in 205 games combined.

It’s true that he had to endure a bad hamstring injury that took about a month of his season, but the Mets couldn’t enjoy production either before or after getting hurt.

Having considered all these factors, should the Mets bring back Conforto for 2022? How about long-term? It’s a tricky question, but the answer is yes.

The Mets would be wise to extend a qualifying offer

Conforto is still 28, so he should have a handful of good seasons left in his bat. He wasn’t good in 2021, but he has a long track record of success before that. Perhaps the injury was extremely problematic.

Maybe his mind had something to do with his slump, too. “When you’re thinking too much, you’re becoming too mental at the plate. You’re not supposed to think at the plate,” now former Mets Rojas said on Aug. 2. “You think outside the box. Outside the batter’s box, you’re thinking, you have your plan, you go in, and all your chips are in. That’s in. You step in there, you look for your pitch, and you just swing. I think he’s thinking too much at the plate, and that’s causing him to be in between. We want to brush that off.”

The Mets have the ability to offer him a qualifying offer, which is worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players. Last year, the QO was $18.9 million.

The Mets should offer it, because if he takes it, they have a good, starting-caliber outfielder for a year and they give themselves a longer window to negotiate another deal, while closely monitoring his performance in 2022 before investing. If he declines the offer, they get a high draft pick in compensation.

The QO or a contract up to three years sounds like a good idea for the Mets. Any longer commitments are worth handling with care.3.032

 

Mets Make It Four Consecutive Wins With 3-1 Victory Over Marlins

mets, tijuana walker

The New York Mets have quickly turned those thumbs upside down with a doubleheader sweep of the Miami Marlins. For the first time in a while, they played with a lead and never relinquished it for a 3-1 win and their fourth consecutive victory.

Trevor Williams earned the spot start in the seven-inning game and gave the Mets more than they could have asked. Williams pitched 4.1 innings allowing just one unearned run with four strikeouts. Things got dicey for the Mets in the fifth when Jesus Aguilar‘s RBI double made it a 3-1 game with runners on second and third.

Working Around Danger

Aaron Loup relieved Williams and gave up a walk to load the bases with one out. Like Loup has done all season, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat to get out of the jam unscathed. In the sixth, Seth Lugo danced around danger, striking out two to get out of a first and second, no-out situation. Edwin Diaz continued his dominance with a light, 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the deal.

The Mets offense saved all their scoring for the third inning against MLB The Show legend Edward Cabrera. Michael Conforto followed up his walk-off hit with a two-run homer which flew into the Coca-Cola Corner. Jeff McNeil drove in the third run with a double, scoring Javier Baez all the way from first base just like he did to win game one.

Throughout all of the drama and the fans B.S. from the last 48 hours, the Mets have a four-game winning streak. If the Atlanta Braves lose, they will be 5.5 games out of first place as the calendar flips to September. It may not be an easy deficit to overcome, but it looks way more doable than where they were last week. Wednesday’s game has already been postponed, and both teams will play a single-admission doubleheader on Thursday.

Mets Pull Off Extra Inning Heroics In 6-2 Win Over Giants

The final game between the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants shaped up like the first two, but the offense got tired of the lack of production. The Mets came back to tie the game in the ninth, survived the tenth and 11th innings, then put the game away once the 12th inning came around.

In the ninth inning, the Mets were in a situation that was all too familiar to them. After the Giants closer, Jake McGee hit Pete Alonso with a pitch and allowed a Michael Conforto single to set up a first and third situation. Alonso ended up leaving the game after getting hit in the elbow but is day-to-day. J.D. Davis ended up tying the game with a sacrifice fly to keep the Mets’ hopes alive. Edwin Diaz followed by delivering scoreless ninth and tenth innings.

In the eleventh inning, Conforto delivered again with an RBI double which gave the Mets a 2-1 lead and turned the bottom of the inning to Jeurys Familia. He instantly allowed a game-tying single to Tommy La Stella but managed to escape and get the game to the 12th. Throughout all this commotion, the Giants were out of position players and down to their last reliever. Starter Anthony DeSclafani left after 1.1 innings pitched with an ankle injury which put manager Gabe Kapler in an early pinch.

Survival of the Fittest

Tyler Chatwood was the last reliever left and was in his second inning of work. He struck out Jonathan Villar to start the inning after Villar missed a double by a foot. Patrick Mazeika‘s infield single set up Kevin Pillar‘s three-run home run, which gave the Mets the huge hit they have been searching for. Chance Sisco made his debut and finished off the inning with an RBI double to finish off the inning.

Jake Reed got the opportunity to close the game and was flawless. He struck out two and retired the side in order to secure the win and get the Mets back to the 500 mark. The win showed the importance of Marcus Stroman‘s start the previous night. It gave the bullpen the rest it needed, and every pitcher except Aaron Loup had at least one day of rest.  Tylor Megill also did his job by holding the Giants to just one run over six strong innings.

Tommy Lasorda once said, “No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are, you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.” This fits perfectly for the 60-60 Mets who have an opportunity to resurrect their season still, but it will not come easy. The Los Angeles Dodgers are up next for a four-game series with Taijuan Walker throwing game one, starting at 10:10 p.m. ET from Dodger Stadium.

Mets Game Preview (8/14/21) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (70-46)

edwin diaz, mets

After an instant classic on Friday, the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers play the middle game of their three-game series at Citi Field. Both teams will need their starting pitchers to pitch deep into the game after the 10 inning game last night. The first pitch from Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

After being in an ugly offensive slump, the Mets lineup is starting to come around. While they are not putting up groundbreaking numbers, they are finally scoring enough to give themselves an opportunity to win. Michael Conforto is leading the way in August as he is slashing .324/.425/.529 and has the same amount of strikeouts and walks (6). Conforto is vital to the Mets success, in wins he slashes .281/.415/.430 but in losses he hits .146.

The Dodgers are a well oiled machine and they still contain a menacing lineup even without the presence of Mookie Betts. With Walker Buehler on the mound, the Dodgers tend to score plenty of runs for their ace. There have only been four starts where they scored two runs or less for Buehler.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker starts for the Mets and continues to search for the magic he had during the first half of the season. While Walker did have his first quality start since the All-Star break, the home run ball continued to plague him. Walker has allowed 10 home runs in his last four starts after allowing just six all season. This start could be another rough one if the home run issues continue to linger.

Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers and is as good as it gets right now. Buehler leads baseball with a 2.13 ERA and is 12-2 which is the best winning percentage this season. He has been untouchable since July started with a 1.62 ERA and has now allowed a single home run in that span. In his last start he held the Los Angeles Angels to one run over six innings with eight strikeouts. Buehler will struggle with control from time to time and has not had a walkless start since May 5.

Matchup To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Corey Seager: 4-for-13 (.308), Home Run, 3 Strikeouts

Mets Game Preview: (6/23/21) vs. Atlanta Braves (35-37)

The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves play the final game of their four-game series as the Mets search for a split. Braves pitching has done a terrific job of shutting down the Mets’ offense, throwing 17 consecutive scoreless innings. The final matchup of the series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

In last night’s game, the injury bug struck Marcus Stroman, which forced him to leave with a left hip issue. Luckily, Stroman’s MRI came back clean, and he should avoid the injured list. As of 5:15 p.m., they have not released their lineup, but they expect Michael Conforto to rejoin them tonight. Conforto has been on the sidelines since May 16 and is a massive boost to the struggling Mets offense.

The Braves offense has not been anything special series, but they have played just like the Mets all year. They found ways to score just enough to win, and it earned them two victories. Will Smith and A.J. Minter both pitched in back-to-back days and are unlikely to take the mound today. Chris Martin or Tyler Matzek are likely to take over the late innings if the Braves have a lead tonight.

Pitching Matchups

Tylor Megill is making his MLB debut a lot sooner than the Mets had hoped. Multiple injuries to their starting rotation have forced the Mets to test the depth of their minor league system. Megill is the 21st ranked prospect in the Mets farm system and has only pitched 14.1 innings at Triple-A. Overall between Double-A and Triple-A, he has a 3.35 ERA with a very impressive 13.2 K/9.

Kyle Wright gets the call from the minors to make his second start of the season and first since April 16. Wright is taking the spot of Max Fried, who is on the 10-day IL with a blister on his left index finger. In his only start of the season, Wright pitched 4.1 innings, allowing two runs and striking out five against the Chicago Cubs.

Matchups To Lookout For

Kyle Wright vs. Jeff McNeil: 4-for-7 (.571), 2 Doubles

Kyle Wright vs. Dominic Smith: 3-for-6 (.500), Home Run, Walk

FOCO Releases New York Mets Cookie Club Bobblehead Series

FOCO is releasing a new limited edition New York Mets Cookie Club Bobblehead Series to commemorate the closest group of teammates in baseball. The first series of bobbleheads feature Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and the newest Met, Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco.

There are 221 of the unique bobbleheads on sale. Each one features a player in their trademark pose and on top of a cookie. Each bobblehead is just $50, and it is your best way to see them as all of them are battling injuries at the moment. This is just the first series of the fantastic collection; Mets fans make sure to keep an eye out for the next batch of wonderful bobbleheads.

Marcus Stroman struggles, Mets lose again as injuries pile up

The New York Mets lost again Sunday, falling to the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1. The loss marks their third straight as they were swept in the series. The memory of their seven-game winning streak is now seemingly out the window.

The pitching was bad and the bats were non-existent throughout the series, getting outscored 22-8 overall. The issues on the mound, at least to this degree, came as somewhat of a surprise. As a team, the Mets were top-five in ERA and allowed the fewest home runs. Marcus Stroman gave up three today alone.

To make matters worse, the team was just 1-11 with runners in scoring position and had just 16 hits in the series, bringing their season average to .231.

While the woes shouldn’t be glossed over, they aren’t the major takeaway from today’s series finale. Instead, injuries have stolen the spotlight.

Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil both left today’s game in the first inning due to hamstring tightness. Conforto’s is the right, McNeil’s is the left. Ironically enough, they both injured themselves running to first base.

McNeil, who left with the injury after beating out an infield single to lead off the game, had the only hit for the Mets until the sixth inning. In the sixth inning, the only bright spot of the day happened.

Patrick Mazeika, who came in as Jeff McNeil’s replacement, recorded his first MLB hit with his first home run. Although that was Mazeika’s first hit, it comes after he collected two walk-offs earlier this month.

If Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto are forced to miss any time, they will join an already substantial list of important pieces the New York Mets are missing. They would join Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Albert Almora Jr., Luis Guillorme and Jacob DeGrom, although he should be back sooner rather than later.

While the injuries are today’s headlines, they aren’t the reason for the recent struggles, per se. The Mets will look to get back on track Monday night in Atlanta.

Mets Game Preview: (4/30/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (12-13)

Simeon Woods-Richardson

After taking a day off, the New York Mets take a trip to Philadelphia to face the Phillies in a three-game weekend series. Both teams enter one game under the .500 mark, but both sit in a three-way tie for first place in the NL East. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET as both teams try to close out April on a high note.

If there were ever a place for the Mets to revive their offense, the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park is the perfect place. The Mets have only scored more than four runs in just three games this season and are dead last in MLB in runs scored. They hit a new low in the two-game series against the Boston Red Sox with just nine hits and one run. Their only bright spot has been their pitching staff with a 3.05 ERA, the fourth-lowest in baseball. If the bats ever wake up, they will immediately become a very dangerous team.

The Phillies have cooled off after their hot start to the season and come off a split in a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Their bullpen has regressed to the 2020 form with their ERA at 4.62 and has allowed 14 home runs. They also lead MLB in the most walk-off losses. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto are the offensive leaders, but there has been little help elsewhere. Rhys Hoskins is 13-for-65 (.200) over the last 16 games, but six of those hits have been homers. Jean Segura is also in the IL with a Quad injury.

Pitching Matchup

Marcus Stroman looks to rebound from his first tough outing of the young season. He only lasted four innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits which were all singles. In 12 innings against the Phillies this season, Stroman has allowed just one run and held them to a .171 batting average.

Chase Anderson is also hoping to bounce back from a rough start against the Colorado Rockies. In just 3.2 innings, he allowed six runs on the same amount of hits and inflated his ERA to 6.48. Anderson has very similar lines in his two prior starts against the Mets this year, allowing four runs in nine innings. His first start against the Mets was his longest so far, but he only pitched five innings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Marcus Stroman vs. Matt Joyce: 5-for-15 (.333), Double, Home Run, 5 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Marcus Stroman vs. J.T. Realmuto: 5-for-10 (.500), Walk, Strikeout

Chase Anderson vs. Dominic Smith: 2-for-5 (.400), 2 Home Runs, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Chase Anderson vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-17 (.176), 3 Home Runs, 2 Walks, 4 Strikeouts