The New York Mets have begun the Great Shakeup of 2016 signing Jose Reyes and promoting Brandon Nimmo, and it’s exactly what the team needs.On Nov. 1 of last year, the never-say-die 2015 New York Mets and their magical season came to a close at the hands of the methodical Kansas City Royals on baseball’s brightest stage.
While New York held a lead past the sixth inning in all but one of those World Series games, it was clear that the Royals had the Mets number.
Fast forward about seventh months and the Mets are riding high after sweeping the defending champs — making that four victories in their last six meetings — in addition to receiving fortunate news on the injury-front for the first time in a long time.
The Mets two wins last week against KC, simply put, were their two most impressive of the season and they exemplified a key characteristic of every championship caliber team.
Tuesday, Bartolo Colon went down after throwing his fourth pitch and the bullpen responded with 8.2 IP of one-run baseball to protect a 2-0 lead.
Wednesday, the Mets fought back from the grave behind a timely first big league homer for Matt Reynolds.
This team is persistent. They persevere.
“These are the kinds of games we grow from.”
And yet, regardless of Noah Syndergaard’s ‘happy elbow,’ Yoenis Cespedes‘ mildly hurt wrist, and Bart’s steel thumb (regardless of two resilient wins featuring a dominant bullpen and an Asdrubal “the Unlikely Hero” Cabrera power surge), one thing remains clear:
There’s infinite room for improvement.
Take the team’s most recent two-game stretch against the lowly Braves for example. A brutal late-inning defeat on Thursday and an almost-stunning feat of complacency on Friday, which featured a six run inning for Atlanta after jumping out to an 8-0 lead.
There was little doubt among the Mets’ fan base that changes were on the horizon. Even Jeff Wilpon, the little heard-from owner, said as much at a recent charity event.
Resiliency is only half the battle, so what roster moves could GM Sandy Alderson make to solidify New York as a legitimate championship contender?
Reyes signed to minor league contract. It’s official, Mets announce.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 25, 2016
Well, the first chip fell into place Saturday in the form of the once-beloved now-maligned Jose Reyes.
Whether you approve of the signing or not, and whether you think Reyes’ arrival was the work of Jeff Wilpon’s desire, the fact of the matter is that Jose is a low-cost investment that New York needed to take.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the Mets will be paying Reyes just $250,000 this year, a prorated portion of the league’s minimum. He’ll begin in the minors, possibly in order to give him some training at third base, or even the outfield.
Then again, those who welcome Reyes back with open arms seem to forget he left the Mets — not vice versa — jumping at the first offer extended by Miami in 2011.
Still, New York is the safest place for Reyes to go.
When he puts on the blue and orange, and steps onto the field for the first time in a long time, you’ll remember the relentless “Joseee, Jose-Jose-Jose” chants.
That, I can guarantee.
If he went to any other team in the league, Reyes is a declining wife-beater, not worth the headache.
Timely demotion, helpful promotion
Confirmed, via source: the #Mets are promoting top outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo today. Michael Conforto will be optioned.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 25, 2016
Another move in the Great Shake-Up of 2016 went down Saturday when the Mets brass sent a temporary ‘so long, farewell’ to slumping 24-year-old left fielder Michael Conforto.
The time was long overdue, and it makes you wonder what why management waited until now.
Maybe the Harvey route would have been the right route for Conforto by allowing him to work out his kinks. Then again, he had a month to do so, to no avail.
Nevertheless, two months into this massive skid the neophyte has been sent to Vegas. It’s obvious that he was pressing with terrible swings and outfield mishaps galor.
Since May 1st, 183 players have had 150+ PA. Conforto ranked 183 in BA (.148), 183 in OBP (.217), 180 in SLG (.303), and 183 in OPS (.519).
— Mike (@mike5_5_5) June 25, 2016
So, calling up prospect Brandon Nimmo was simply the right move.
Giving him a trial run as the everyday left fielder certainly can’t hurt.
Brandon Nimmo posted a .405 OBP in 95 games at hitter-happy Las Vegas this year and last. Will be interesting to see how that translates.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 25, 2016
Additionally, there was no reason to let this Conforto platoon last, unless the Mets expected one of their best young hitters to not hit lefties — ever — in his career. In that case he’ll happily find a home in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas.
At the end of the day, the Mets are in a good place. Certainly a much better position than most fans over at Panic City make them out to be.
The Washington Nationals are so downright scary that they’ve lost six straight ball games to capitalize over the Braves recent sweep against New York.
Their bad bullpen and inconsistent offense (where have I heard that before?) are becoming a big issue.
Simply put, the Nats don’t seem like a club that will run away with the N.L. East crown. They had a chance to boost their division lead to eight-nine-ten games over the Mets, and instead, New York sits 3.0 GB on this day.
By the same token, the Mets have issues too. The offense is just not good and their star-studded rotation hasn’t performed to the best of their ability.
Nevertheless, a potentially-rejuvenated Reyes, combined with the boost of top-OF prospect Brandon Nimmo has New York ready to make some noise once again.