A bravo to Jacob deGrom for thinking big. “We want to win the World Series, that’s everybody’s goal,” he said to reporters in Port St. Lucie where the Mets are set to officially begin the Mickey Calloway era next week.
It’s a quote that won’t stand alongside Winston Churchill in the history books but if the Mets go on to duplicate their success from 2015 and take it one step further, it will be memorable. It’s kind of a “rallying cry” for a team that needs to regain the swagger they had three years ago when they won the National League pennant.
As deGrom pointed out during his chat with reporters, “Look at everybody who was hurt last year. If we put those guys back on the field, that makes a big difference.” I realize that the Mets are an older team but if their pitchers and key everyday players can stay on the field, the potential for a post season run is there.
As in 2015, the Mets should be contending for a division title before “contending for a wild card spot” as some have suggested. In this day and age, teams can make a quick turn around from one season to another. The Nationals are still a dangerous team but an injury or two could derail their chances, leaving the division wide open.
Some numbers need to make that “quick turn around.” The Mets were 6-13 vs. Washington last season. That, along with a 7-12 mark against Miami, dragged their record down against their divisional foes to 37-39. Improvement against Washington is a must but the Mets will need to feast on Miami (now that their big guns have been traded away) and the rest of the clubs that comprise a relatively weak division. Some other numbers that need to be reversed. 21-24 in one-run games and 3-8 in extra inning games.
It was originally reported the Mets would be represented when two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum auditions for a major league job with a personal showcase next week. NY Post baseball columnist reported the Mets will not be there. The 33-year old Lincecum has not pitched in the majors since 2016 when he was with the Angels. The workout will take place next Thursday in California.
Not that there’s anything imminent, I still find it hard to believe that the Yankees will open spring camp next week without a veteran infielder on the roster. Reportedly, Eduardo Nunez and Neil Walker are still on their radar. Walker was willing to move to third when he was with the Mets. His versatility (he can play every infield position except shortstop) and being a switch-hitter may make him a bit more attractive. Miguel Andujar will get a shot to win the third base job but the Yankees need to insure themselves. Gleyber Torres is not being promised the second base job but he’s coming to camp as the “heavy favorite” to be the opening day second baseman barring injury or an unexpected slip up. That’s two key infield spots and a lot to put on the plates of two kids who have never played in a major league game.
The Red Sox have been playing a game of “chicken” with free agent J.D. Martinez but they’re also exploring alternatives and reportedly have been in touch with Logan Morrison.
The Cardinals have 29-year old Jose Martinez listed at first base on their depth chart but did he have a breakout season last year when he batted .309 with 14 HRS and 46 RBI’s in 106 games. They may take a flier on Morrison or even Lucas Duda on a one year deal. St Louis could use another left handed bat, preferably a power one, in their lineup.
Reportedly, Milwaukee has made Yu Darvish a “nine figure” offer and are showing interest in Lance Lynn as well. The Cubs are also in the market for Darvish but I’m hearing they would view Lynn as a viable alternative.
Look for a whole lot of free agent signings once the camps begin to officially open next week. Players will start to get a little nervous, especially when they start to feel the “little digs” at home. You may even see something before Monday. Don’t expect these free agent camps, that are being set up for unsigned players, to last very long.