New York Mets Player Evaluations: Catcher Rene Rivera

Veteran catcher Rene Rivera joined the New York Mets for his fourth stint in Flushing. He was third on the catcher depth chart, but an unfortunate injury ended his season after two games. Rivera needed surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, causing the Mets to dive deep in their catching depth.

Rivera picked up his only hit of the season in a blowout loss to the Braves. Three days later, Rivera got his only start of the season with Jacob deGrom on the mound. Rivera struck out in all three of his at-bats, and deGrom showed some frustration with him. deGrom threw a couple of wild pitches and asked Rivera what happened. deGrom’s frustration was with himself after making a couple of mistakes.

Another Campaign in NY?

As Rivera head into his age-37 season, he likely has to latch on to minor league deals to play in 2021. Defensively, he is still a terrific defensive catcher with a strong arm. It is unlikely he returns to the Mets due to the franchise trying to revamp their catching core after parting with two other veteran catchers.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 40 (25).

Power: 20 (30).

Run: 20 (20), The Mets might have the slowest catching core in baseball.

Arm: 65 (65).

Fielding: 55 (55).

Overall: 30 (25). Hope Rivera gets a chance to play in the big leagues again.

New York Mets Injury Report (8/6/20)

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets injuries piled up over the second week of the season and it decimated three-quarters of their infield. Here is a look at all of the injuries the Mets are dealing with.

Amed Rosario has left quad tightness that he suffered during Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The injury kept him out of both games against the Washington Nationals but it was not serious enough to put him on the Injured List. He should return to the lineup during the weekend.

Robinson Cano landed on the 10-day IL after a Grade 2 left adductor strain. He suffered the injury attempting to score from second on an infield single and sliding into home plate. It was clear Cano would suffer some type of injury when he had to run at 100%. Cano is confident he will be ready to play once his stint on the IL finishes.

Jeff McNeil has an intercostal strain that kept him out for the last three games. He also sees the injury as minor and should expect to find time in the lineup over the weekend. J.D. Davis solid defense at third base gives real question to McNeil possibly playing left field when he is healthy.

Depth Injuries

Rene Rivera hyperextended his elbow after only two games in 2020. His timetable for a return is unclear but the Mets likely will not carry a third catcher when the roster shrinks on Thursday.

Jake Marisnick has a left hamstring strain which has plagued him since summer camp began. He is scheduled to come off the IL over the weekend but the Mets trading for Billy Hamilton shows the injury is severe. Hamilton was brought in to replace the defense of Marisnick on the roster.

Eduardo Nunez has a left knee contusion he suffered attempting to beat out a ground ball. There is no timetable for his return and upon it he will be unlikely to make the 28-man roster with the play of Andres Gimenez and Luis Guillorme.

Marcus Stroman threw a four-inning simulated game last Friday and is scheduled to throw another on Thursday in Brooklyn. HIs left calf tear has kept him out through the first two weeks of the season but the Mets rotation needs him back. The biggest challenge for Stroman is to field his position. It clear he can pitch but he cannot move off the mound at 100%.

Robert Gsellman should return within the next few days from right triceps tightness. He still has to throw live batting practice but will join the Mets as soon as healthy. Gsellman will be a good addition to the Mets’ middle relief core.

Brad Brach tested positive for COVID-19, which landed him on the IL. He should return a few days after Gsellman and started throwing bullpen sessions during the week. Much like Gsellman, Brach sures up the middle relief core.

Long Term Injuries

Noah Syndergaard started throwing in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. He had a catch with 2020 draft pick, J.T. Ginn, about a week ago but will not see the field until the 2021 season.

Jed Lowrie’s season came to an end when he landed on the 45-day IL with PCL laxity in his left knee. It affirmatively ended his Mets career, recording zero hits and going down as one of the worst contracts in Mets history.

New York Mets: The Home Series Preview Against the Boston Red Sox

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets got themselves back on track in Fenway Park with back to back victories to open up their four-game, home and home series with the Boston Red Sox. They revived their offense and received two good starting pitching outings from the back of their rotation. The Mets try to take the series as it shifts back to Citi Field.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Wednesday, July 29 @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Thursday, July 30 @ 7:07 p.m. ET: Martin Perez (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Steven Matz (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

The Mets are 3-2 thanks to two solid starts from Michael Wacha and David Peterson. After Rick Porcello struggled against the Atlanta Braves, significant questions were surrounding the starting rotation. Though those questions still linger, they have quieted thanks to Wacha and Peterson combining to allow three runs over 10.2 innings pitched.

Take the Sweep

The Mets have an excellent opportunity to sweep a struggling Red Sox team, who has lost four straight. The best two starters in the Mets staff will throw the final two games and were both impressive in their two starts against the Braves. deGrom has a career 3.46 ERA against the Red Sox, his highest against any American League team (min. 10 IP). Matz is making his first career start against the Sox.

The Mets are changing their lineup around for game one of the series as Andres Gimenez makes his first start at shortstop, and Rene Rivera does the catching for deGrom. Dominic Smith also makes his first start of the season in left field as manager Luis Rojas opts for offense over defense in the outfield.

Also, keep a lookout for the defense of Jeff McNeil at third base. He already has three errors through five games, the most he has made at any position in his career. Throwing has been the issue for McNeil, and despite Pete Alonso messing up a couple of scoops, his errors come when he does not put enough on his throws.

Matchups to Lookout For

Nathan Eovaldi vs. Yoenis Cespedes: 4-for-12 (.333), Double, 2 RBIs

Martin Perez vs. Yoenis Cespedes: 5-for-15 (.333), Double, Triple, RBI, 2 Walks,

Dellin Betances vs. Xander Bogaerts: 3-for-21 (.143), Double, 2 RBI, 8 Strikeouts

New York Mets: Why Wilson Ramos Should Be a DH Candidate

As the negotiations toward continuing the MLB season continues, one of the key topics is the universal designated hitter. The New York Mets have an abundance of options, but an overlooked choice is Wilson Ramos.

Ramos has one of the most reliable bats at catcher, but his defense prevents him from ranking as a top-10 catcher. His caught stealing has been below league average over the last three seasons and is in the same area with about everything else defensively. The caught sealing numbers were due in part to the inability to hold runners on, but moving Ramos to DH strengthens the defense.

Who Becomes the Catcher

This plan only works if the rosters expand to 30 for the entire season. Rene Rivera handles the bulk of the catching duty, and Tomas Nido becomes the third catcher on the roster. Rivera is better with the running game than Nido, but Nido is stronger in his framing. Rivera has a career 36 percent caught stealing for his career while Nido lags at 13 percent.

The biggest difference for the Mets is adding the extra catcher to the lineup stops them from using Yoenis Cespedes or Dominic Smith as the DH. With the depth of the Mets lineup, using Rivera/Nido should not hurt their offensive production. If they needed a pinch hitter, they could use Cespedes/Smith with the ability to put the third catcher in the game.

In extreme circumstances, the Mets lose the DH to make Ramos the catcher and play classic NL baseball. In an 82-game season with a DH, Ramos should play in all 82. Last season, he hit .307 with runners in scoring position and .367 in high leverage situations.

Keeping Ramos fresh was a key emphasis for the Mets down the stretch run of 2019. His hot hitting in the second half made it hard to take him out of the lineup. Putting him as the DH every 2-3 games allows them to keep him fresh and continue to give Cespedes/Smith the opportunity to DH when Ramos is behind the dish. It serves as an alternative plan if the Mets would rather have more offense than defense with the universal DH.

New York Mets: Four Players Who Should Make the 30-Man Roster

One of the rumors of the MLB’s season proposal is the expanded rosters that come with it. The potential 30-man rosters will allow the New York Mets to carry some extra depth throughout the season. Here are four players who can add the extra punch the team needs.

Drew Smith

Drew Smith had a projected timetable of April-May to return to game action from Tommy John Surgery. The extended time off should put him a position to pitch in spring training games. During his rookie season in 2018 he pitched in 27 games and had a 3.54 ERA. Smith is a very underrated part of the Mets bullpen and is still only 26 years old.

The biggest question comes in how he bounces back from the surgery. Smith has above-average stuff and the lack of urgency to pitch on back to back days with expanded rosters will help his case to make the roster. Even if he is not ready for the first month, he can play a part during the final two.

Rene Rivera

The luxury of having a third catcher is a tough decision, especially when the DH is going to be universal. Rene Rivera is the best defensive catcher in the organization and knows the pitching staff the best. He ranks over Tomas Nido, in my opinion, and hold real value with his defense.

The bat lags behind Wilson Ramos but the Mets could opt to make Ramos a DH for a majority of the season while the combination of Rivera/Nido handled a bulk of the catching. It limits the extra at-bats for Dominic Smith and Yoenis Cespedes but it helps the weakness of controlling the running game.

Daniel Zamora

With Justin Wilson as the only left-hander in the bullpen, Daniel Zamora is a clear cut candidate to land a job. He has less than 20 career innings but has shown the ability to get Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman out. Zamora’s role changes due to the three batter minimum rule but he did a terrific job getting out hitters from both sides of the plate during spring training.

Andres Gimenez

Is Andres Gimenez ready for an everyday role? Not quite yet but the 21-year old is on the fringe of stardom. The only way he should make the big league roster is if the entire minor league season is canceled. Instead of keeping him around to wait for 2021, he will receive the major league experience.

His role would feature more pinch-running and defensive opportunities. The roster is clogged as is, but it will be enticing to put the rookie in to start a few games. Unlike most of the roster, he is an unknown commodity who has the potential we saw from Amed Rosario in the second half of 2019.

New York Mets: Offense Finds New Life in 7-4 Against Astros

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

Tuesday’s game between the New York Mets and Houston Astros was not typical of the Mets Spring Training. The pitching did not dominate, pitching in and out of trouble throughout the day. Their offense showed up, but it came from mostly players who are trying to make the team.

Rick Porcello scattered nine hits over 4.2 innings and only allowed two runs. He only struck out one, which shows he was not dominant by any means. Porcello had a baserunner on in every innings he pitched but managed to keep the Astros from mustering anything significant off him.

Offensive Revival

Rene Rivera had a big day going 2-for-4 with an RBI as he tries to steal the backup catcher job from Tomas Nido. Robinson Cano added a two-RBI single on the day and has hits in back to back games. The bench crew was led by Matt Winaker’s solo home run to give the Mets the lead in the eighth inning. Jake Hager also added an RBI single in the Mets three-run eighth.

Pedro Payano picked up the six-out save, despite allowing four base runners. The newly acquired reliever has a 3.52 ERA so far. Chasen Shreve struggled again, allowing a solo homer to Drew Ferguson to give up the Mets lead.

On Wednesday, Jacob deGrom makes his second start of the Spring as he takes on the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets will face a familiar foe in Carlos Martinez. The game will be at Port St. Lucie at 1:10 p.m. and is on SNY.

Predicting the New York Mets Bench Players

For the first time in quite a few years, the New York Mets have the depth they can count on throughout their bench. It features some high profile contracts and critical acquisitions to bolster the team’s defensive depth late in games.

Rene Rivera

The backup catcher battle is going to be heated one throughout Spring Training quietly. Tomas Nido is out of minor league options and has not shown any hitting prowess during his career. There are plenty of choices similar to Nido in the minors, and Rene Rivera is a veteran the Mets have trusted with their pitching staff before. Rivera is still a great defensive catcher, and Noah Syndergaard will be happy to throw it to him throughout Spring Training.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith has survived the offseason trade rumors, but the ones in Spring Training may be a different story. Despite the Mets signing Matt Adams, Smith should make it out of camp with the team. He proved to be a valuable pinch hitter after Pete Alonso ran away with the first base job. The only way the Mets trade him is if he breaks out during Spring Training and the Mets deal him when his stock is high.

Luis Guillorme

This spot would belong to Jed Lowrie but his reality as a Met is dim. Either he will not be ready for Opening Day or the Mets will find a way to move him before the Spring ends. Luis Guillorme was a very useful player off the bench during the second half of 2019. He can play three out of the four infield spots well and can is useful in a bench role.

Jake Marisnick

The Mets traded for Jake Marisnick as a small upgrade to Juan Lagares. He will be a massive part of the Mets during the late innings due to his gold glove caliber defense in center field. Marisnick is not much of a hitter, but with all the outfield options the Mets have, hitting is not the reason why he is a Met. It would be no surprise to see him play in 120 games but only tally around 300 plate appearances as he did in 2019.

Yoenis Cespedes

The left-field competition between Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis is a heavyweight prizefight that is going overlooked. By all accounts, Cespedes is healthy and ready to participate fully during Spring Training. Just three years ago, their roles differed. Cespedes was the stud hitter coming off a strong 2016, and Davis was trying to show he belonged on a major league roster. He has a huge chip on his shoulder and has set his expectations higher than ever.

The injuries and off-field stories make us forget how special an athlete Cespedes is. Despite turning 34, he still garners Ruth like power and a cannon for an arm. When healthy, the Mets win games, and if he is healthy, the production will follow, and he will see himself in the lineup often as the season progresses.

 

New York Mets Re-Sign Rene Rivera

The New York Mets catching depth behind Wilson Ramos was extremely thin heading into Spring Training, but the Mets have brought back veteran catcher Rene Rivera. He comes back to the Mets on a minor league deal for the second consecutive year, and he also receives an invite to Spring Training.

Rivera will make $1 million if he lands on the major league roster along with another $300,000 in possible incentives. The 36-year old veteran is your prototypical backup catcher, pop in his bat, and very strong defensively. He only played in nine big-league games during the 2019 season, hitting .235. Rivera’s minor league was fantastic, he hit 25 home runs and threw out 52 percent of base stealers.

Separate Plan in Place

Projected trade piece Tomas Nido is the current Mets backup catcher. His name has come up in trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Rivera would slot in place should the Mets acquire Marte. Discussions on Marte increased over the last week, and after the Atlanta Braves signed Marcel Ozuna, the Mets might look to equal the move.

Should Nido stay, both would compete for the backup catcher job. The Mets handed Nido the position last season, but he was not convincing as the man for the situation going forward. In 50 games, Nido only hit .191 and struggled to throw out any baserunners. The Mets will need some production from their backup, so Wilson Ramos can avoid playing in 140+ games in 2020.

New York Mets: Rene Rivera Year in Review

Rene Rivera was the starting catcher during the last time the New York Mets were in the postseason, and in 2019 he found his way back to Flushing. While in Triple-A, the juiced baseball’s played an enormous in his inflated power numbers.

The Mets brought in Rivera on a minor league deal right near the end of the season and started the year with the Syracuse Mets. He put up prospect caliber numbers with a .254 average, 25 home runs, and 73 RBIs. This was coming from a guy who only had 41 home runs in his entire big league career.

Gold Glove Defense

Rivera’s calling has always been his top tier defense. He shined by throwing out 52 percent of baserunners in 58 attempts in Syracuse. Rivera only made one error in just under 700 innings played, which made it surprising that the Mets continued to keep him in the minors with Tomas Nido struggling.

Rivera is also the preferred catcher for Noah Syndergaard, along with many other members of the Mets pitching staff. Syndergaard’s struggles with Wilson Ramos was a big story through the end of the season, and Rivera was his catcher during the Wild Card game in 2016. At the end of that season, he moved into the primary catcher role.

Limited Opportunities

Rivera received his chance to return to the Mets in late August and only played in nine games through the last part of the season. He hit .235 (4-for-17) and had a home run with three RBIs. Uncharacteristically, he did not throw out a single baserunner out of the seven who attempted to run on him. Most of it had to do with the fact the Mets pitchers do not hold runners on very well. This has made throwing out runners nearly impossible for all of the Mets catchers.

It will be interesting to see if the Mets choose to bring back Rivera as their backup catcher for next season. Robinson Chirinos is a reliable option, but the Mets would be able to save money to spend on their bullpen should they bring back Rivera. He already knows the staff well, and they love working with him.

Grades:

Hitting for Average: C, About what you would expect from him.

Hitting for Power: D, Hard to judge with such a small sample size, but there has always been some pop in his bat.

Defense: C-, His defense is tainted due to the Mets’ inability to hold runners on, but still called a solid game.

Speed/Baserunning: N/A, even if he was not on base more, you will not catch him stealing bases

Intangibles: A, Veteran who knows the clubhouse well and jumped in immediately to work with all the pitchers

Overall: C-, I would like him to come back for next season. He is an excellent catcher.

New York Mets: Rene Rivera to Catch Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

After a week full of speculation and drama, the New York Mets are finally ending the forced relationship between Noah Syndergaard and Wilson Ramos. Rene Rivera will be behind the dish for his next start Wednesday against the Rockies.

Too Little Too Late?

The Mets slipped to five games out of the Wild Card race with 12 games to play and are all but eliminated. If the Mets wanted to give Rivera the start behind the dish, they should have done it during the series against the Dodgers. The Mets were still in the race and could have used a dominant start from Syndergaard to match Clayton Kershaw’s.

There is no doubt Syndergaard has always pitched better to Rivera and the Mets hope to end his season on a good note. He has been inconsistent throughout the year and switching to a catcher Syndergaard is comfortable with could get him on track.

Where Does This Leave Ramos?

Ramos and Syndergaard will likely be on the roster in 2020, but who knows where Rene Rivera will be. The Mets were lucky to bring him back in the offseason, but plenty of teams could use Rivera as their backup. Ramos and Syndergaard will either have to use the entire offseason and Spring Training to get on the same page or just scrap the idea all together.

Tomas Nido also has a good connection with Syndergaard and will likely be his personal catcher should Rivera head else where. No matter who is catching, if Syndergaard is not reaching his full potential he will quickly lose the ability to pick his battery mate. There is immense pressure for him to succeed over his last couple of starts, because more than likely there will be a new Mets manager next year. The new manager likely will not be as flexible as Callaway.

At this point, Syndergaard is hosting the baseball version of “The Bachelor” with the three catchers in the palm of his hands.