Max Watch, Nimmo's pain in the neck, and echos of Wilmer Flores?
The Mets will decide later today if Max Scherzer is a "go" for Opening Day. Plus, could a non-move be one of the best decisions of the offseason?
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
RHP Max Scherzer (hamstring tightness) will throw a bullpen session later today, where the Mets will decide if he is healthy enough to start on Opening Day
OF Brandon Nimmo is dealing with a sore neck and will be out for the remainder of Spring Training, but is hopeful to be ready for the regular season on Thursday
1B/LF Dom Smith is now hitting .440 this spring after hitting a three-run home run during the Mets’ 3-3 tie on Monday
RHP Carlos Carrasco had a positive outing in his final spring start, going 4.1 innings while allowing two earned runs, no home runs, one walk and striking out five
LHP Chasen Shreve has made the club’s Opening Day roster
Former Mets manager Carlos Beltrán made his first public comments on his firing, saying “It was tough, because at the end of the day, I felt I earned that job. I wanted to experience that, being a manager.” (Neil Best)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets at Nationals
Where: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches — West Palm Beach, FL
Starters: Taijuan Walker vs. Eric Fedde
When: 12:05 PM EST
Where to Watch: MLB.tv
Dom Smith could be the best trade the Mets haven’t made since Wilmer Flores 📝
Over this past weekend, it seemed that all the smoke from trade rumors would culminate into a palpable flame, resulting in the Mets trading away their former first round draft pick in Dominic Smith.
For a moment, Smith, coming off of a down 2021 season, looked all-but-certain to be playing elsewhere this season. Several reports suggested that the Mets and Padres were moving closer to a deal that would have sent him to San Diego in exchange for Chris Paddack, Eric Hosmer and Emilio Pagán. SNY was already leaking out information that Smith was unhappy with his part-time role with the team and wanted out of New York.
All the signs were there.
But when the smoke cleared later in the day, there was no trade to be had. As Sandy Alderson once said, the trade had not and would not transpire.
And maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Forget the merits or downside to acquiring the trio from San Diego — we’ve already broken that down plenty over the last several days. This is about the Mets potentially getting a second chance with a player of their own.
“It’s out of my control,” Smith said of the near-trade on Monday. “I can’t trade myself, and I can’t put myself in the lineup. All I can do is show what I can and that’s what I do on the field, and that’s what I plan to do. Play hard and play well.”
No one needs to be reminded of a similar situation that happened back in 2015. In a game against who else but the very same San Diego Padres, it had been widely reported that the Mets acquired CF Carlos Gómez in exchange for SS Wilmer Flores and RHP Zack Wheeler, leading to one of the most infamous moments of the millennium for the Mets — the Wilmer Flores crying game.
After medicals on Gómez caused New York to back out of the deal, Flores stayed put, and was not moved when the team finally did pull the trigger on the trade for Yoenis Céspedes later in the week. Fans in this town won’t ever forget what happened next. Flores, still a Met, embraced the moment and proved to be a catalyst for the club, delivering a walk-off home run against the (at the time) first-place Nationals two days later and hitting .296/.329/.479/.808 over the team’s final 44 games.
Maybe the Mets are about to find themselves in a similar situation, albeit a bit less dramatic. Just days ago they had this trade fall through, and medicals on the Padres side may have been a factor in that as well, sources tell Just Mets.
And with that, Smith has a second chance in New York — a city that is built on such things. Following the news that his subpar performance in 2021 was likely due to lingering injury issues throughout the year, Smith has come back with a vengeance and resembled the player who looked so promising with a .993 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. In 25 at-bats this spring, Smith is hitting a whopping .440/.533/.880 with two home runs, six RBI and a 1.413 OPS.
While it’s a small sample size in games that don’t count toward the history books, it’s still good to see Smith reminding this team of the player that he very well could be. After a suffering from a power outage last year, his newfound health appears to have brought the thump back to his bat. If that can carry over into the regular season and his ability to attack breaking pitches (Smith slugged .900 vs curveballs and .482 vs sliders in 2020) returns, the Mets may very well be thanking their lucky stars that guy is still on their side.
Around the League 🚩
The Tigers acquired OF Austin Meadows from the Rays in exchange for 3B Isaac Paredes and a Competitive Balance Round B selection (Rosenthal)
Mariners OF Julio Rodríguez (No. 3 ranked prospect in baseball, per MLB.com) will officially make the Opening Day roster
Twins RHP Jhoan Duran (Minnesota’s No. 6 ranked prospect, per MLB.com) has made the Opening Day roster (Pioneer Press)
Former Mets LHP Rich Hill is set to make the Red Sox rotation out of camp
RHP Richard Rodríguez, UTL Danny Santana and INF José Rondón, all free agents, have all been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the PED Boldenone
The Blue Jays released former Yankees 1B Greg Bird (Sportsnet)