When J. T. Realmuto priced himself beyond what the Mets wanted to pay, they focused their attention on a catcher who did not have Realmuto’s acclaim but was getting the job done: James McCann.
Though the Mets signing of reliever Trevor May was a significant move, at least one news source viewed McCann’s acquisition as the team’s first “big” one under their new ownership, one not burdened by the financial problems that handcuffed the Wilpons and limited the team’s player options.
There was competition for McCann. Fortunately, the Mets won. According to Maria Torres, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, the Angels offered McCann only a three-year deal.
A White Sox blog called McCann’s loss a “tough” one, adding that “The White Sox are losing a very important piece to their team with the departure of McCann.”
The blog article’s author, Vincent Parise, concluded his piece with this paragraph:
What are the New York Mets adding in McCann? They are getting a catcher who can do it on both sides of the ball. He can hit very well and be a phenomenal defensive catcher. He also is a fantastic leader for a clubhouse and will bring that dynamic to New York. He gets to work with pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman which should be really fun for them all. The New York Mets got a lot better today and should be very happy with the player they are getting.
Mets players have already started praising the team’s new catcher. One member of the Mets starting rotation, Marcus Stroman, expressed his satisfaction with the McCann acquisition.
One of the best ways to judge a starter is by how many earned runs he gives up in his starts over his career.
Only oneMets pitcher has started more than 300 games in which he gave up three or fewer earned runs: Tom Seaver. In them, he had an amazingly low ERA of 1.68. The only current Met in the Top 10 is Jacob deGrom.
In 245 of his starts, Tom Seaver gave up two or fewer earned runs. But he did not have the highest W-L% among the Top 7. Al Leiter won almost 90% of the games in which no more than 2 runners crossed the plate w/o the aid of an error or passed ball.
Among Mets pitchers with at least 80 starts, only one had a W-L% greater than 90%. That was Bobby Jones, who pitched for the team from 1993-2000. In 85 starts he won almost 10 times as many as he lost (53-5).
When the number of earned runs surrendered in a start reduces to no more than one, deGrom moves up to fifth place and his W-L% jumps to 94.7%. Further, half the pitchers in that Top 10 list are left-handed.
Since deGrom’s career began in 2014, only five MLB starters have pitched more than 80 games in which they surrendered no more than one earned run.
Jon Lester and Jacob deGrom tied for first; however, Lester had both four more wins and four more losses.
Two other Mets are in the Top 40, Marcus Stroman and Michael Wacha. Rick Porcello ranks 52nd, Noah Syndergaard 57th, and Steven Matz 91st. Ex-Met Zack Wheeler ranks 71st.
Though the Mets Spring Training has just begun, the Edwin Diaz drama continues.
In Joel Sherman’s article, “Mets are desperate for Edwin Diaz resurrection,” “faulty mechanics” are blamed for Diaz’s 2019 problems on the mound, highlighted by his 5.59 ERA and his 45.3 Hard Hit % — 10 points more than his previous high.
Sherman writes, “He opened up his front shoulder too soon too often, plus his hand position was off.” Diaz adds, ““I left too many pitches right in the middle.”
In 2019, why weren’t the Mets able to figure that out? That failure is not just a coaching problem, it is a team problem, one Mets GM Van Wagenen has been trying to resolve.
New pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has inherited the Diaz problem. However, poor pitching mechanics do not appear to be what most concerns Hefner.
“He [Diaz] can only control what is going on in his chest and inside of his brain. That is what we have been focusing on,” Hefner said.
Diaz says one thing; Hefner another. Body or mind and heart?
Sherman summed up the situation:
Today, he [Diaz] is the face to what currently is an abysmal trade — Seattle received one of the majors’ best prospects in Jarred Kelenic while the Mets got Diaz and Robinson Cano, who had his worst season at the plate and with health in 2019.
Despite the hope that Hefner expresses, the Diaz problem does not appear to be a quick fix.