Mets Game Preview (8/16/21) @ San Francisco Giants (76-42)

The New York Mets fly across the country after a disappointing sweep to the Los Angeles Dodgers and face the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have the best record in baseball, while the Mets cannot seem to get out of their own way by creating new heartbreaking ways to lose. Playing on the west coast means a late-night start of 9:45 p.m. ET from Oracle Park.

The struggles on offense were evident in the series against the Dodgers, where they went 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Their inability to hit for power has hampered any offensive rallies they put together. The Mets have a .380 slugging percentage this season which is fourth worse in baseball. They are the only team in the bottom five who is not in last place.

The Giants are a complete 180 of where the Mets are. Expectations were minimal in a division where the Dodgers and San Diego Padres were supposed to reign supreme. The Giants flipped the odds against everyone and have become a powerhouse, leading the NL with 176 home runs despite playing in their spacious home ballpark. Their pitching has also propelled them to success with a 3.22 ERA which is the second-best in baseball.

Pitching Matchup

Rich Hill looks to bounce back after his last outing against the Washington Nationals. After the game was suspended after one inning, Hill took over in the second for Carlos Carrasco. Hill only lasted three and allowed the same amount of runs while striking out four. Over 18 innings with the Mets, he has a 5.00 ERA and struck out 12 batters. In eight career starts at Oracle Park, Hill has a 3.21 ERA.

Kevin Gausman is the Giants starter and is putting together the best season of his career. The 2021 All-Star has a 2.29 ERA which is sixth in MLB to go along with a .182 average against, the second-best in baseball. Gausman is in the middle of a small skid with a 5.16 ERA in his last five starts and has only gone more than five innings once.

Matchups To Lookout For

Rich Hill vs. Brandon Belt: 6-for-15 (.400), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Buster Posey: 10-for-20 (.500), Double, Home Run, Walk, Strikeout

Rich Hill vs. Wilmer Flores: 4-for-12 (.333), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 5 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Brandon Crawford: 6-for-18 (.333), 5 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Kevin Gausman vs. Kevin Pillar: 14-for-39 (.359), Double, 2 Walks, 10 Strikeouts

Kevin Gausman vs. Jeff McNeil: 4-for-6 (.667), Double

Mets Game Preview (7/31/21) vs. Cincinnati Reds (55-49)

mets, pete alonso

After a disappointing Friday night loss, the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds rematch for a Saturday night matinee from Citi Field. The Mets also have a new member as Javier Baez will be in the lineup and play shortstop for his new team. If the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony does not push the game back, the first pitch will be thrown at 7:10 p.m. ET.

The Mets hope to avoid their first under .500 month this season if they can pick up a victory. No player needs a better ending to their July than Michael Conforto. He batted just .173 with 23 strikeouts and heard the boo-birds after taking the hat-trick in Friday’s loss. If the Mets’ offense ever consistently gets going, they will need his bat to get going. Hopefully, the addition of Baez will inject some life into a team that needs a spark with Francisco Lindor on the IL.

The Reds still feel that they can make a playoff run during the final two months of the season. Joey Votto is looking to make history by homering in his eighth consecutive game, which would make him the eighth person in MLB history to accomplish the feat. He will likely have to do it off a left-handed pitcher, which he has only hit two home runs off of all season.

Pitching Matchup

Rich Hill takes the mound in his second start for the Mets. In his first outing with the Mets, he danced around trouble to pitch five innings and hold the Blue Jays to three runs. Due to the Tampa Bay Rays philosophy, he has only thrown 100 pitches once this season. With the beleaguered Mets pitching staff, they will need Hill to pitch like a conventional starter.

Wade Miley takes the mound for the Reds and has put together a strong 2021 campaign. When he faced the Mets earlier this season, he twirled 6.1 innings, with eight strikeouts, and allowed just two runs. Overall, he has a 2.86 ERA over 18 starts and allowed just eight home runs on the season.

Matchups To Lookout For

Wade Miley vs. Kevin Pillar: 9-for-27 (.333), Double, Home Run, Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Wade Miley vs. James McCann: 5-for-13 (.385), Double, 2 Strikeouts

Rich Hill vs. Joey Votto: 1-for-10 (.100), 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

New York Mets: What is Next After Bauer Signed With The Dodgers?

New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

The New York Mets lucked out when Trevor Bauer decided to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They did not overpay for a similar version of Carlos Carrasco and gave them more options before spring training. The Mets roster is already the best in the NL East, but what else could they do to improve it?

Option #1: Rich Hill, Jake Arrieta, or any other starting pitching depth

Bauer would have given the Mets a dream rotation, but the Mets did not need him to win a World Series. The current rotation gives the Mets a top-5 group in baseball, and quality depth would make it better. Rich Hill would be the ideal backup plan if Joey Lucchesi does not bounce back or David Peterson has a sophomore slump. Even at the age of 41, Hill would compete with Lucchesi for the fifth starter spot.

Option #2: Jackie Bradley Jr.

The absence of a designated hitter in the National League leaves the Mets with a tough decision in their outfield. Signing Jackie Bradley Jr. gives the Mets four starting outfielders for three positions. The best move would be to give Bradley 2-3 years to have him on the roster once the DH gets to the NL.

Bradley would serve as the fourth outfielder for the first year but start in center field in 2022. The center field for the next two offseasons is very thin. This deal would be done with an eye for the future, but it will be tough to get Bradley to agree on.

Option #3: Kris Bryant and/or Jackie Bradley Jr.

This option requires the most parts to make it happen. Kris Bryant is heading into the last year of his deal with the Chicago Cubs, who are looking to shed payroll. Coming off a down year and currently on the last year of his deal allows the Mets to buy low on Bryant as they did with Francisco Lindor.

Trading J.D. Davis, Jeurys Familia, and a mid-level prospect like Carlos Cortes or Michel Otanez might be enough to get the deal done.  The riskier but more likely move would trade Davis, Nimmo, and a prospect outside the Mets top 30. It would open up two positions for each player, free up money for the Cubs, and give the Mets a dynamic lineup.

The potential lineup of Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, Kris Bryant, Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, James McCann, Jackie Bradley Jr., and the pitcher is very enticing. It gives them the ideal righty/lefty combination they have been searching for.

The trade is a huge ask but a viable option. Acquiring Sonny Gray and Eugenio Suarez would require prospects the Mets cannot afford to trade. The ideal 2021 situation with Bryant equals .275/35/110, a World Series ring, and Bryant receiving a lucrative contract during free agency.

 

New York Mets: Is Rich Hill Worth The Risk As A Depth Piece?

There once was a time when the New York Mets employed a 41-year old left-handed pitcher named Tom Glavine. With Rich Hill on the Mets’ radar, he could become the oldest pitcher to start for the Mets since 43-year old Bartolo Colon in 2016.

Hill is still an effective pitcher, but it just depends on how much body wants to let him compete. Since 2015, Hill has a 2.92 ERA but has only averaged 16 starts and 84 innings. Hill is a good replacement if the Mets are not sold on Joey Lucchesi as their fifth starter. He will pitch well until Noah Syndergaard returns, and there is no long term commitment with the veteran.

Hill still has one of the best fastball/curveball combinations despite barely breaking 90 on the radar gun. His curveball is very loopy and about 15 mph slower than his fastball. This allows Hill to work up in the zone with his heat and keep hitters off balance despite the lack of velocity.

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Milwaukee Brewers are the other teams with interest in Hill. Like Trevor Bauer, the Mets will not outbid their competition when their current rotation is set for the upcoming season.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Yankees could pick up some cheap pitching with these targets

New York Yankees, Homer Bailer

For the New York Yankees, this has been a season of inaction as they wait out the negotiations to retain DJ LeMahieu in pinstripes. Those negotiations are at a standstill as the sides are far apart. LeMahieu, after having one of the best seasons in baseball in 2020, has indicated that he would like to stay in New York; he likes playing there and likes his teammates. But as much as he feels that way, he also realizes he is worth much more than the $24 million he got from the Yankees before the 2019 season.

Knowing his value to the Yankees, he has upped his demands, and he wants to double his last contract and for a full five years. The Yankees want three years, but that is not good enough for LeMahieu, who is more interested in his security through the age of 37 when he may well retire from the game. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ biggest need remains pitching. New York Yankee fans would like to see the team hire Trevor Bauer, the best starter in free agency. But with the recent news that Bauer wants a $200 million contract, the likelihood of that happening is the same as “The Boss” coming back to life to make it happen.

The reality is that the Yankees have no money to make anything big happen for two reasons. One is that owner Hal Steinbrenner has said he wants to cut payroll, and the other is that the Yankees lost so much money last year, with an unclear year ahead. The will most likely result in the Yankees going the trade route or picking up some cheap pitching help both in the starting rotation and to fill holes in the bullpen. Here are some potential targets that wouldn’t break the Yankees bank.

Homer Bailey:

Homer Bailey’s best days are behind him, yet he is a veteran that could eat up a lot of inning for the Yankees on a short and cheap contract. There are two reasons that Bailey could come to the Yankees on the cheap. He had an injury-plagued season last year with the Minnesota Twins where he pitched only eight innings on the year, but he did pitch to a 3.38 ERA.

Bailey spent twelve years with the Cincinnati Reds and short stints with Kansas City, Oakland, and the Twins. At age 34 and with his injury history last season, he would probably only cost the Yankees something in the $2 million range. There is not much downside to the Yankees taking a chance on the veteran.

Rich Hill:

Rich Hill is another risk the New York Yankees might be interested in for a short contract. The 16 year Veteran starting pitcher will be 41 at the start of the 2021 season but has not had a losing year in the last 7 years. This is more than can be said for the Yankee departing pitchers. Rich Hill threw 38.2 innings across eight starts in 2020, suffering just a single setback of a sore shoulder and evading a recurrence of the myriad blister issues from seasons past.

Hill would probably cost the Yankees in the same $2 million range due to his age and injury history. Yet, there is a minimal downside to a deal. His career 67-44 career record is surely attractive, and his age doesn’t seem to be an issue as his career ERA of 3.79 has been less in the past 5 years. He also knows Yankee Stadium; he pitched 14 games for the Yankees in 2014.

Tyler Chatwood:

Tyler Chatwood would be the most costly to the Yankees of the three pitchers in this article but could be gotten far cheaper than in 2019. Chatwood, like many pitchers, didn’t have a good year last season for the Chicago Cubs. He went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA, which will significantly drag down his $13 million in earnings for 2020.

Chatwood has always had tremendous potential that has never been fully realized. He is known as the spin rate king. If Yankee pitching coach and harness that, he could be the one to turn Chatwood into a star. If the Yankees can get him for $5-6 million on a one year deal, it could have big-time rewards for the Yankees.