Yankees shut Mets out 5-0 thanks to Big Mike, big homers

How do you rebound from a tough loss? With a shutout win the next afternoon. The Yankees beat the Mets 5-0 in a not so quick yet well-played game Saturday afternoon. It was their fourth shutout and 81st win of the season. Hooray for clinching a .500 record.


More Early Runs
Once again, the Yankees scored in the first inning. They lead baseball with 117 first inning runs this season — the Rockies are next with 107 — and they scored three within the first three batters Saturday afternoon. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led the inning off with back-to-back bloop singles — they were eerily similar; same arc, same spot, the whole nine — then Carlos Beltran followed with a no-doubt three-run homer into the second deck in right. Quick 3-0 lead.

Both Gardner and Beltran recorded their hits in 0-2 counts and I was hopeful that was an indication Noah Syndergaard was off his game a bit. Instead, he settled right down and retired the next 12 batters he faced. The Yankees didn’t have another base-runner until Dustin Ackley smacked a leadoff triple in the fifth. The run didn’t score though. Didi Gregorius and Michael Pineda struck out, and Ellsbury grounded out. The run felt doomed to be stranded as soon as Didi struck out. Can’t count on the pitcher and the current version of Ellsbury to get the run in there.


The Return of Big Mike
Pineda’s first four starts off the DL were pretty crummy. He allowed 14 runs in 21.2 innings in those starts, and the Mets have been tearing the cover off the ball of late, so Saturday afternoon was going to be a big test for Big Mike. The Yankees are going to need him to be better these last two weeks, and Pineda aced Saturday’s test, throwing 5.1 shutout innings. He struck out four, walked one, and allowed four singles. That’s all.

Joe Girardi went to his bullpen surprisingly early (more on that in a sec) even though Pineda appeared to have plenty left in the tank. Either way, this was Pineda’s best outing since his forearm injury by far. I remember two hard-hit balls: Chase Headley made a fabulous diving grab to his right on Wilmer Flores’ ground ball in the second, then Ellsbury ran down a line drive in the right-center field gap later in the game. I don’t remember who hit it, I just remember Ellsbury chasing it down. Pineda was pretty awesome. More of this Big Mike going forward, please.

Insurance Runs
Like I said, Syndergaard handled the Yankees very well after giving up Beltran’s home run, at least until the sixth inning rolled around. Beltran laced a one-out single to center and Brian McCann followed with a mammoth two-run home run in the bullpens. It was a very aesthetically pleasing home run. Syndergaard threw a fastball right into McCann’s bat path and the follow through left zero doubt the ball was gone. McCann put a great swing on that pitch. It looked good and it gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead in the sixth.


Panic Time
I think we reached peak Girardi panic mode in the bottom of the sixth. Pineda was cruising along, then he allowed two soft singles — Kelly Johnson hit a grounder to beat the shift and Curtis Granderson blooped a ball to left — leading off the inning, and Girardi had the bullpen working. Pineda rebounded to strike out Yoenis Cespedes on three pitches … and that was it. Afternoon over at 86 pitches.

Know what the weird thing was? I totally expected it. I did not, however, expect Stephen Drew to be double switched out of the game literally one out after replacing Ackley. Seriously, Drew came in for defense with a five-run lead after Ackley struck out to end the top of the sixth, which made total sense, then he was out of the game on the double switch. So weird. Anyway, Justin Wilson replaced Pineda, walked the lefty Daniel Murphy to load the bases after maybe getting squeezed, then struck out David Wright and Juan Uribe with his patented “fastball after fastball after fastball” approach.

All things considered, it worked. The Yankees need every win possible and Girardi opted for a fresh Wilson over a fatigued-ish Pineda with men on base, and Wilson escaped the jam. Was it was a curious move to pull Pineda with his pitch count so manageable and the bullpen struggling so much lately, possibly because they’re out of gas late in the season after getting 12 outs a game day after day earlier this season? Yes, of course. But clearly Girardi trusts like three guys in the bullpen and these games are too important. Whatever.

Anyway, Wilson went back out for the seventh and struck out the first two batters of the inning. He struck out four in a row — you could argue five in a row considering he was squeezed against Murphy — then gave way to Caleb Cotham, who struck out Kevin Plawecki. Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth — Yankees relievers struck out seven in a row at one point — and of course Andrew Miller had to come in for the ninth after Chris Martin made a minor mess. He allowed two infield singles, which was enough for Girardi to go to Miller. He got Travis d’Arnaud to ground out to end the game.


The first four spots in the lineup did all the damage. Ellsbury, Gardner, Beltran, and McCann went a combined 5-for-15 (.333) with two homers and both scored and drove in all five runs. The bottom five spots in the order went 2-for-19 (.105) with ten strikeouts. Ackley tripled and Greg Bird ground-rule doubled. Ackley, Drew, Brendan Ryan, and Rob Refsnyder all played second base in the last four innings.

Pineda and the various relievers combined to strike out 12 Mets on the afternoon. It was the team’s 54th game with double digit strikeouts this year. Only that sicko staff in Cleveland has more. They have 55. The Yankees lead the AL with 28 games with at least ten strikeouts and no more than two walks. They did that this game, because duh. Why else would I mention it?

And finally, for some reason the Citi Field crowd broke into a “Let’s Go Blue Jays!” chant after McCann’s homer. What the hell was that about? The Mets are in first place! Don’t worry about the Yankees, root for your own team. That’s way more fun.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to eleven. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Mets wrap up the 2015 Subway Series with the ESPN Sunday Night Game. Blah. CC Sabathia and Matt Harvey will be the pitching matchup in the sixth game of the nine-game road trip.

9/18 to 9/20 Subway Series Preview: New York Mets

Don Draper

Time for another round of the Subway Series. This weekend is way more important to the Yankees than it is the Mets, who have a comfortable lead in the NL East. Of course, their fans seem to be worried about a potential collapse given what happened in 2007, but I’d say their lead is safe. The Yankees won two of three when these two clubs met in Yankee Stadium in late-April.

What Have The Mets Done Lately?

Lose, believe it or not. They just dropped two straight to the Marlins at home, though before that they won eight straight. The Mets are 83-63 with a +68 run differential right now. They have a comfortable eight-game lead over the Nationals. FanGraphs puts their odds to win the NL East at damn near 100%.

Offense & Defense

The Mets are averaging a 4.25 runs per game with a team 99 wRC+ this season, though that doesn’t really tell the story. They were dreadful in the first half (3.48 R/G and 85 wRC+) but have been much, much better since the All-Star break (5.46 R/G and 118 wRC+). Manager Terry Collins has a completely healthy team on the position player side right now. Two September call-ups are on the 60-day DL (Darrell Ceciliani and Wilfredo Tovar) and that’s all.

(Mitchell Layton/Getty)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty)

Much has been made of the impact of trade deadline pickup OF Yoenis Cespedes (139 wRC+), who has indeed been fantastic for the Mets (173 wRC+), but he’s not the only reason they’ve started scoring runs. C Travis d’Arnaud (152 wRC+) returned from the DL and is quietly one of the best hitting catchers in the game. 3B David Wright (130 wRC+) came off the DL as well. SS Wilmer Flores (98 wRC+) has been hitting since he was nearly traded for Carlos Gomez, and OF Michael Conforto (156 wRC+) has been mashing since he was called up as well.

Of course, ex-Yankee OF Curtis Granderson (131 wRC+) has been their best player since Opening Day, and 1B Lucas Duda (122 wRC+) has been good, but not what he was a year ago. 1B/OF Michael Cuddyer (101 wRC+) has been reduced to a platoon player and 2B Daniel Murphy (99 wRC+) has gotten things straightened out after a slow start. IF Ruben Tejada (98 wRC+), OF Juan Lagares (82 wRC+), 3B Juan Uribe (102 wRC+), and UTIL Kelly Johnson (112 wRC+) are the supporting cast. Among the September call-ups on the roster are C Kevin Plawecki, C Johnny Monell, C Anthony Recker, UTIL Eric Campbell, IF Dilson Herrera, and pinch-runner OF Eric Young Jr.

The Mets are a pretty strong defensive club, though Cuddyer, Flores, and Murphy are definitely below-average. Cespedes is a good defender with a strong arm — he’s been playing center field — and both Granderson and Conforto are solid in the corners. You can run on Grandy’s arm though. Wright, Tejada, and Uribe are above-average defenders as well. d’Arnaud is about average at controlling the running game and currently rates as one of the top pitch-framers in baseball.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. NYM) vs. LHP Steven Matz (No vs. NYY)
Matz, a local kid from Stony Brook, has a 1.88 ERA (4.73 FIP) in four starts and 24 big league innings around a lat injury this season. His strikeout (22.9%) and grounder (48.4%) rates are a tick above-average, though walks (9.4%) have been a bit of an issue, as have home runs (1.50 HR/9). Lefties (.299 wOBA) have had more success against him than righties (.273 wOBA) so far, but that’s sample size noise. He’s faced 25 left-handed batters since being brought up. Matz, 24, pitches off a mid-90s sinker with a hammer upper-70s curveball and a quality low-80s changeup. He is very good. The only issue here is health. Matz has had all sorts of injury problems in his career. He had not yet been called up when the Yankees and Mets played earlier this season.

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (No vs. NYY)
The Mets acquired Syndergaard in the R.A. Dickey trade a few years ago and the 23-year-old has a 3.20 ERA (3.28 FIP) in 21 starts and 129.1 innings this season, his MLB debut. His strikeout (26.2%) and walk (5.7%) numbers are excellent while his grounder (45.8%) and homer (1.04 HR/9) numbers are about league average. Left-handed hitters (.286 wOBA) have hit Syndergaard a bit harder than righties (.277 wOBA), and it’s worth noting he’s been way better at home (2.15 ERA and 2.98 FIP) than on the road (4.47 ERA and 3.64 FIP) as a big leaguer. Syndergaard has a huge fastball — only Nathan Eovaldi (96.6 mph) has a higher average fastball velocity than Syndergaard (96.4) among the 130 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season — and he uses it to set up his power low-80s curveball and upper-80s changeup. Everything this guy throws is hard. Like Matz, Syndergaard was still in the minors when the Yankees and Mets played in Yankee Stadium.

(Todd Kirkland/Getty)
Syndergaard. (Todd Kirkland/Getty)

Sunday (8pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (vs. NYY)
The Mets have the 26-year-old Harvey on a very strict schedule right now, and rumor has it he will be limited to five innings Sunday night. We’ll see. He’s thrown 171.2 innings across 26 starts in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, pitching to a 2.88 ERA (3.30 FIP) with dynamite peripherals: 23.9 K%, 5.3 BB%, 46.1 GB%, and 0.94 HR/9. Harvey has been hit much harder by lefties (.303 wOBA) than righties (.241 wOBA) this year. He works with a mid-to-upper-90s heater and has a devastating upper-80s slider. He’ll also throw quality mid-80s changeups and low-80s curveballs. Harvey is one of the very few pitchers who legitimately takes four out pitches to the mound on his best days. He and Felix Hernandez are pretty much the only guys who can say that. Harvey’s shown he’s an adrenaline junkie, so expect him to be amped up for the ESPN Sunday Night game. He held the Yankees to two runs in 8.2 innings back in late-April.

Bullpen Status
Like the Yankees, the Mets had an off-day yesterday, so their bullpen is as fresh as it’s going to get in mid-September. Closer RHP Jeurys Familia (1.63 ERA/2.70 FIP) has been brilliant this season, and these days he’s being set up by ex-Yankee RHP Tyler Clippard (2.77/4.41) and RHP Addison Reed (3.44/2.82). RHP Hansel Robles (3.33/3.41) and RHP Erik Goeddel (2.70/2.71) have also had nice years. Goeddel missed a bunch of time with an elbow issue, however.

The one thing the Mets lack is a reliable left-on-left matchup reliever. Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Sean Gilmartin (2.87/2.55) has had a nice year, but he has a big reverse split (.301 vs. .244 wOBA in favor of lefties) and is more of a long man than a matchup guy. LHP Eric O’Flaherty (7.67/4.44) hasn’t been good at all. RHP Bobby Parnell (5.82/4.21) is having a rough go of it following Tommy John surgery and RHP Carlos Torres (4.45/3.60) is the do-everything rubber arm guy. RHP Tim Stauffer, LHP Dario Alvarez, and RHP Logan Verrett are the September call-ups. Verrett’s the sixth starter more than anything. They’ve been using him to give the other starters extra rest, not out of the bullpen.

Our Bullpen Workload page can keep you updated on Joe Girardi‘s bullpen, which has been rather shaky of late. Hopefully the off-day did those guys some good. Head over to Amazin’ Avenue and Metsblog for everything you need to know about the Mets.

(GIF via Mets Police)

Game 18: Make It Five

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Last night’s series opening win over the Mets was easily the most satisfying win of the young season. Right? I can’t be the only one who feels that way. Know what would make it even better? Winning this afternoon’s game too. The Yankees have won four straight and seven of their last eight games. OMG they are soooo hot right now.

Like Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda the last two days, CC Sabathia is making his first start of the year on regular season. All of his Spring Training and regular season starts to date have come with an extra day of rest, which was totally by design as the team looks to take it easy on the veteran southpaw and his surgically repaired knee. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Chris Young
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s a lovely afternoon for baseball in New York. A little on the cool side but the sky is clear and blue. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 4:05pm ET and you can watch live on WPIX and SNY locally as well as FOX Sports 1 nationally. Enjoy the game.

Teixeira homers twice, Yankees beat Mets 6-1 in Subway Series opener

Source: FanGraphs

The streak lives on. No, not the Mets’ eleven-game winning streak. That sucker’s over. The Yankees extended their winning streak to four games with a 6-1 humbling of a Mets team that seemed to be getting a little too big for their britches less than three weeks into the season. The Bombers have won seven of their last eight games overall. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Large Michael: I think that was the best Michael Pineda has looked as a Yankee. He had it all working. Cutters, sharp sliders, a filthy changeup he apparently woke up with one morning in Spring Training … it was all going. Pineda carved the Mets up for 7.2 innings, allowing just one garbage time run (infield single, wild pitch, advance on a fly ball, sac fly) on five hits. He struck out seven, walked no one, and recorded 17 of 23 outs on the infield. Seventy-eight of his 100 pitches were strikes. Seventy-eight! Only five of 28 hitters saw a first pitch ball. Brilliance.
  • deBombed: It started right in the very first inning. Brett Gardner ripped a single to center and Mark Teixeira skied a high home run into the second deck in right field for quick 2-0 lead. It was just inside the foul pole. Two innings later, Jacoby Ellsbury blasted a cheap Yankee Stadium solo homer and Teixeira followed with another two-run homer a few batters later. It was basically identical to first homer. The Yankees were up 5-0 just 13 batters into the game. Jacob deGrom didn’t know what hit him. (They were homers. Too many of ’em.)
  • Leftovers: The sixth run scored on two singles, a walk, and a Stephen Drew sac fly. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh but didn’t score. Blah … Chasen Shreve recorded the final four outs without making it interesting … the top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 9-for-20 (.450), the bottom four went 2-for-14 (.143) … for only the second time this year, a Yankee threw 100+ pitches in a start and Pineda threw 100 on the nose. (Nathan Eovaldi threw 101 in Baltimore.)

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and Announcer Standings. The Yankees and Mets will continue the Subway Series on Saturday afternoon. That’ll be CC Sabathia against Matt Harvey. Fun fact: Sabathia was starting his seventh year as a big leaguer when he was Harvey’s age.

Game 17: Big Mike and the Mets


The Subway Series opens at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Three games in the Bronx now, then three games in Flushing in September. That’s better than the four-game home-and-home series we’ve had the last two years. Believe it or not, this is the very first time both teams are heading into the Subway Series at least tied for first place in their division. The Mets have the best record in baseball (13-3) while the Yankees are tied for first in the AL East with the Blue Jays and Red Sox (9-7).

Michael Pineda is on the bump tonight and is making his first start of the year on regular rest. It’s the same deal as Masahiro Tanaka yesterday — Big Mike made all his Spring Training and regular season starts with an extra day of rest by design. Tanaka pitched very well yesterday, so hopefully Pineda does the same. He’s coming off a stressful 92-pitch outing against the Rays. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s been pretty cold and windy in New York today and the weather will be the same tonight, only colder. Yuck. It’s been more than a week now since the Yankees last played a game outdoors in nice weather. First pitch is scheduled 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES and WPIX locally as well as MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

4/24 to 4/26 Subway Series Preview: New York Mets

Subway Series

The 2015 Subway Series begins tonight. Unlike the last few years, when the Mets and Yankees played a four-game home-and-home series, they’re playing three games at Yankee Stadium this weekend and another three games at Citi Field in September. I like that. It gives you a winner for each series. Both teams are playing well right now, so this should be the most exciting Subway Series we’ve seen in years.

What Have The Mets Done Lately?

Unless you’ve been completely unplugged from the baseball world, you know the Mets are riding an eleven-game winning streak coming into the series. All eleven wins came against the Braves, Phillies, and Marlins, but hey, you can only play who the schedule says you have to play. The Mets outscored their opponents 57-31 in the eleven games, though seven of the eleven were decided by two runs or less (five by one run). The Amazin’s have baseball’s best record at 13-3.

Offense & Defense

Manager Terry Collins has an offense that has been a tick better than average in terms of runs per game (4.56) but basically average in terms of wRC+ (99). Timing is everything. They’re getting hits at opportune times. The Mets are currently without both 3B David Wright (hamstring) and C Travis d’Arnaud (fingers), two of their three best position players, and they’re not due to return for a few weeks now. Big losses.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
Duda. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

With Wright and d’Arnaud out, the Mets’ best player is 1B Lucas Duda (179 wRC+), who may be getting over his career-long inability to hit lefties thanks to some help from current Mets hitting coach and ex-Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. It’s too early to say definitively though. OF Michael Cuddyer (125 wRC+) is off to a nice start and ex-Yank OF Curtis Granderson (93 wRC+) hasn’t hit (.200 AVG and .020 ISO), but he leads baseball with a ridiculous 21.9 BB%. Betcha the Grandyman hits at least one homer in the Bronx this weekend.

SS Wilmer Flores (128 wRC+) is getting hot at the plate and 2B Daniel Murphy (46 wRC+) has generally looked lost. UTIL Eric Campbell (109 wRC+) and C Kevin Plawecki (102 wRC+) are filling in at the hot corner and behind the plate, respectively. OF Juan Lagares (61 wRC+) had a huge Spring Training but a small regular season so far. OF John Mayberry Jr. (183 wRC+) platoons against righties and joins C Anthony Recker, IF Daniel Muno, IF Ruben Tejada, and OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the bench.

With Wright and d’Arnaud injured, Lagares is the only clearly better than average defender on the field for the Mets. He’s a stud in center. The scouting reports say Plawecki is strong behind the plate but he’s only played two games, so we haven’t seen him much. Flores and Murphy are a brutal double play combination, maybe the worst defensively in baseball, and Duda is no great shakes at first. To his credit, he’s worked hard to go from abysmal to playable. Cuddyer is below-average in left and Granderson is average at best in right, but he can’t throw. Just don’t hit it to Lagares, basically.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. NYM) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (Career vs. NYY)
The 26-year-old deGrom is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, and he actually made his MLB debut against the Yankees at Citi Field last season. (Chase Whitley also made his MLB debut in that game.) deGrom has a 0.93 ERA (2.45 FIP) with good strikeout (21.8%) and ground ball (44.4%) rates to go with excellent walk (3.9%) and homer (0.47 HR/9) rates this year. He’s been much stingier against righties (.256 wOBA) than lefties (.298 wOBA) so far in his young career. When he’s on, deGrom has maybe the best fastball command in baseball, sitting in the mid-90s with both his two and four-seamers, and locating both pitches flawlessly. His array of secondary pitches include an upper-80s slider, a mid-80s changeup, and a low-80s curveball. The curve is his fifth pitch but he still uses it regularly, about 10% of the time or so. deGrom is a late bloomer who played shortstop in college, yet he has developed into one of the best starters in the game right now.

"The Dark Knight" is a terrible baseball nickname. (Al Bello/Getty)
“The Dark Knight” is a terrible baseball nickname. (Al Bello/Getty)

Saturday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. NYM) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (Career vs. NYY)
Harvey has allowed seven runs in 18 innings in his first three starts back from Tommy John surgery (3.50 ERA), but his underlying performance has been insane. He’s struck out 24 (32.0%) and walked just one (1.3%), leading to a 2.34 FIP. Harvey’s ground ball rate is about average (40.0%) and he’s served up two homers, both in his last start to the Phillies. He has a reverse split both this year and throughout his MLB career — lefties have a .228 wOBA against Harvey in his career while righties have a .274 wOBA. Weird. Elbow reconstruction has not sapped any of Harvey’s stuff. The 26-year-old still sits mid-to-upper-90s with his heater and has a devastating upper-80s slider. He’ll also throw quality mid-80s changeups and low-80s curveballs. Harvey is one of the very few pitchers who legitimately takes four out pitches to the mound on his best days. He and Felix Hernandez are pretty much the only guys who can say that. Harvey’s shown he’s an adrenaline junkie, so expect him to be amped up Saturday.

Sunday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. NYM) vs. LHP Jon Niese (Career vs. NYY)
Compared to deGrom and Harvey, the 28-year-old Niese is a bore. He has a 1.50 ERA (4.79 FIP) in 18 innings so far this year with strikeout (12.9%) and walk (9.4%) rates that are a little too close together in the early going. Niese is getting a ton of grounders (58.1%) and he’s traditionally been a bit better against lefties than righties throughout his career. Some arm injuries — both elbow and shoulder — have sapped Niese’s velocity in recent years, so he now sits in the upper-80s with his two and four-seamer and mid-80s with his cutter. Low-80s changeups and upper-70s curveballs are his go-to secondary pitches. Niese has been a really good pitcher for several years now. Just because he’s not deGrom or Harvey doesn’t mean he isn’t a tough draw for the Yankees.

Jeurys. (Elsa/Getty)
Jeurys. (Elsa/Getty)

Bullpen Status
Injuries have really decimated the Mets bullpen. They’re without closer RHP Bobby Parnell (Tommy John surgery), backup closer RHP Jenrry Mejia (elbow), setup man RHP Vic Black (shoulder), lefty specialist LHP Jerry Blevins (forearm), and secondary lefty specialist LHP Josh Edgin (Tommy John surgery). That’s a lot of quality relievers out of action for extended periods of time.

So, with all those guys hurt, Collins is using RHP Jeurys Familia (2.86 FIP) as closer and RHP Buddy Carlyle (1.57 FIP) as the setup man. Carlyle spent some time with the Yankees in 2011. He and Familia have each pitched in the last two games, by the way. LHP Alex Torres (3.07 FIP) is now the team’s go-to lefty and RHP Carlos Torres (2.91 FIP) does a little of everything. Setup work, middle relief, long relief, you name it. Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Sean Gilmartin (6.07 FIP), RHP Erik Goeddel (5.32 FIP), and RHP Hansel Robles round out the bullpen. Robles was just called up and has yet to make his MLB debut.

Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers. Then head over to Amazin’ Avenue and Metsblog for everything you need to know about New York’s fourth most historically relevant baseball franchise.

Supply and demand match up, but Yankees and Mets are imperfect trade partners

Niese. (Presswire)
Niese. (Presswire)

Spring Training has not been so kind to the Mets so far. Earlier this week they lost young right-hander Zack Wheeler to a torn elbow ligament, meaning he will soon have Tommy John surgery. That comes just a few days after the team learned top lefty reliever Josh Edgin also needs his elbow rebuilt. That’s two members of the projected Opening Day pitching staff going down with Tommy John surgery in the span of four or five days. Ouch.

The Mets have an enviable amount of rotation depth — they are probably best equipped to deal with a major pitching injury of any team in MLB right now — and have plenty of options to replace Wheeler. Edgin is a different matter. Their best option to replace him is probably Rule 5 Draft pick Sean Gilmartin, and I imagine a Rule 5 guy is not someone they want to thrust into the primary lefty relief role. GM Sandy Alderson has already said they will explore the market for a lefty reliever.

That’s where the Yankees come in. The Yankees have lefty relievers in spades and are in need of rotation depth, something they needed even before Chris Capuano strained his quad last week. The Mets, as I said, have a ton of rotation options. Enough to fill in for Wheeler, trade someone, and still have enough arms for depth. I mean, seriously. Look at their rotation depth chart without Wheeler:

  1. Matt Harvey — totally awesome
  2. Jacob deGrom — just named NL Rookie of the Year
  3. Jon Niese — boringly effective
  4. Bartolo Colon — Bartday!
  5. Dillon Gee — generic fifth starter who won’t kill his team
  6. Rafael Montero — 3.60 ERA (3.66 FIP) in Triple-A in 2014, named 68th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior last year
  7. Noah Syndergaard — ranked as 11th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America this spring
  8. Steve Matz — ranked as 33rd best prospect in baseball by Baseball America this spring

That’s a lot of pitching! Montero and Syndergaard are basically MLB ready while Matz has yet to reach Triple-A and is more of a second half option this coming season. Either way, the Mets are loaded with high-end rotation help, so much so that they spent all winter trying to unload Gee’s $5.3M salary. Given their depth, I don’t think Wheeler’s injury would stop them from trading Gee either.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have a whole lot of left-handed relievers. They made a point of acquiring southpaw relievers this winter similar to how the Mets focused on adding to high-end pitching prospects while trading away veterans in recent years. The Yankees sending a lefty reliever to Flushing for a spare starter makes sense in a vacuum, but in reality it might not be easy to find a match on value. Take a look at Yankees’ lefty bullpen depth chart:

  1. Andrew Miller — not getting traded
  2. Justin Wilson — tradeable
  3. Chasen Shreve — tradeable
  4. Jacob Lindgren — unlikely to be traded, but either way he can only be dealt as a player to be named later until June since he was just drafted last year, meaning he wouldn’t be able to help the Mets come Opening Day
  5. James Pazos — throws hard, zero MLB experience
  6. Tyler Webb — doesn’t throw hard, zero MLB experience

So that’s six lefty relievers but only two are tradeable right now. Maybe the Mets really like Pazos and/or Webb, but if they’re going to go with someone who has no MLB experience, they’d probably stick in house with Gilmartin or Jack Leathersich, who had great minor league numbers (3.16 ERA and 2.46 FIP between Double-A and Triple-A) last year like Pazos and Webb. Wilson and Shreve are the only movable pieces right now.

On the other hand, the Mets sure as hell won’t trade Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, or Matz. They might be willing to move Montero in the right deal — there was talk of a Montero for Nick Franklin swap last spring but that didn’t happen even though the Mets desperately need a shortstop — but I’m not sure a lefty reliever is that right deal. Even a dirt cheap lefty reliever under control for multiple years. That leaves Colon, who the Mets would probably give away right now, Gee, and Niese as the tradeable starters.

Shreve. (Presswire)
Shreve. (Presswire)

The Yankees wouldn’t trade Wilson or Shreve for Colon or Gee, who barely move the needle at this point. On the other hand, the Mets wouldn’t trade Niese for Wilson or Shreve. Heck they wouldn’t trade Niese for Wilson and Shreve. Niese is good! And he has a favorable contract too. He’s not someone they’re looking to dump for the sake of shedding salary like Colon or Gee. A straight up spare lefty reliever for spare starter trade isn’t happening between these two clubs, which means the pot would have to be sweetened somehow. (Brendan Ryan doesn’t count.)

The Yankees and Mets haven’t made a trade involving actually big league players (sorry, Gonzalez Germen) since the Mike Stanton-Felix Heredia swap way back in December 2004. I don’t think Alderson or Brian Cashman would hesitate to trade with one another, however. Maybe one (or both) of the ownership groups would be hesitant, but Alderson and Cashman are smart guys looking to improve their teams however they can. If that means trading with a geographical rival, so be it. Finding common ground on a trade like this seems like it would be difficult.

On paper, the Yankees and Mets match up well for a trade. The Yankees need a starter and have a ton of lefty relievers while the Mets need a lefty reliever and have some extra starters. But, when you take a deeper look at who actually is and isn’t available, there isn’t a great match. Maybe the Mets love Webb and the Yankees are willing to take on Colon’s hefty salary, that’s always possible. It just seems unlikely. Perhaps the situation will change in the weeks before Opening Day, but, as of this moment, it’s tough to see how these two clubs can find common ground without substantially expanding the trade.