NL East

Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

Mets part ways with Carlos Beltran

This has truly turned into one of the most historic scandals in MLB history.

The Mets parted ways with manager Carlos Beltran on Thursday afternoon, less than three months after hiring him. He's the third manager in the last week to be either fired or step down following the Astros' cheating scandal, joining AJ Hinch and Alex Cora. That's two World Series-winning managers and another in Beltran whose hire resulted in near universal praise.

Will our great grandchildren be talking about this 100 years from now the way we still reference the Black Sox scandal of 1919?

Beltran was named in commissioner Rob Manfred's report which detailed the Astros' sign-stealing. Beyond Cora, Beltran's name was mentioned the most. As recently as two months ago, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen dismissed questions about Beltran's involvement and told reporters he saw it as an Astros issue.

Not anymore.

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Van Wagenen wrote in a statement.

"This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

It seemed inevitable over the last 48 hours that Beltran would be let go. The focus shifted from Hinch and former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow to Cora and then to Beltran. The stink kept spreading and the Mets obviously feel they're better off cutting ties now to avoid any awkwardness or questions about their own franchise.

"Over my 20 years in the game, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way, and in this situation, I failed," Beltran's statement read. "As a veteran player on the team, I should've recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken."

This shakes up the NL East a bit. No, managers don't have the same impact on baseball teams that head coaches in the NFL or NBA have, but the Mets are now in scramble mode. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. 

And beyond that, the Mets might be the third-most attractive managerial vacancy right now behind the Astros and Red Sox.

Buck Showalter? He's a New York-savvy guy and was a finalist for the job here that went to Joe Girardi.

As disappointing as the post-Didi Gregorius/Zack Wheeler period of the offseason has been for many Phillies fans, two events this week did benefit them: the Mets' disarray and Josh Donaldson's departure from the Braves to sign with the Twins.

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Hugely disappointing Mets could have one of MLB's most interesting trade deadlines

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USA Today Images

Hugely disappointing Mets could have one of MLB's most interesting trade deadlines

It never seems to get better for Mets fans.

Expectations were extremely high for the Mets coming into the season. The reigning Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, was returning, along with Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, who pitched as well in the second half last season as Aaron Nola.

Edwin Diaz, the best closer in baseball last season, was acquired, along with Robinson Cano, who was clearly declining and has a bad contract but still hit .292 with an .840 OPS the previous three seasons.

And yet here are the Mets, less than a week from the trade deadline and in position to potentially move one or more of Syndergaard, Wheeler and Diaz.

The belief, for a while, was that Wheeler was the most realistic trade candidate. He's a free agent after the season and teams that are 12½ games out around the trade deadline typically sell those pieces. But according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mets may go in a different direction. They may choose instead to trade Syndergaard and look to extend Wheeler.

That approach would make a lot of sense. Syndergaard offers the Mets a chance to rebuild the farm system with top-end talent in a way that trading Wheeler cannot. The Padres have long coveted Syndergaard, and the Twins have also reportedly shown strong interest.

Truth be told, Syndergaard is a lot better in theory than he's been in reality. He has a 4.33 ERA in 20 starts this season. He's struck out just under a batter per inning despite possessing four-seam and two-seam fastballs that routinely touch 98-99 mph. He's hittable surprisingly often. His control is so strong that batters know they'll get a pitch in the zone. He can't hold runners on. He doesn't go especially deep into games, often finding himself at 100-105 pitches through six innings.

There is a perception that Syndergaard is an ace. He's not an ace. He's very good, but he might provide the Mets more value in a trade than he could going out there every fifth day the next couple seasons.

As for Diaz ... how ironic it would be if the Mets did trade him before Wednesday's deadline. It probably won't happen. First-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenen traded arguably the Mets' top two prospects, outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Justin Dunn, in addition to taking on $100 million-plus of Cano's contract, to acquire Diaz. It was an extremely bold move. Van Wagenen hadn't even gotten an up-close look at what Kelenic and Dunn could do.

It has worked out disastrously, with Diaz having the worst season of his career and the Mets being uncompetitive early in the summer. The optics of trading Diaz for less than it cost to acquire him would be awful, especially for a first-year GM and especially in New York. Selling low is illogical.

The Mets, though, figure to be one of the most active sellers at the deadline. Beyond these three pitchers, Todd Frazier is also likely to be moved. 

Two guys who will be going nowhere are rookies Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso. McNeil leads the majors with a .340 batting average and Alonso already has 34 home runs in 102 games. It's pretty incredible how bad the Mets are despite the eye-popping contributions of that duo.



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Braves 9, Phillies 2: Jake Arrieta takes the loss in miserable series opener for Phillies

Braves 9, Phillies 2: Jake Arrieta takes the loss in miserable series opener for Phillies

BOX SCORE 

After doing some damage on the road against a pair of last-place clubs, the Phillies returned to Citizens Bank Park — and reality — Friday night and suffered a 9-2 loss to the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.

The Phils had gone 4-1 against Pittsburgh and Detroit on the road to pull to within 5 ½ games of the Braves in the NL East. Friday night’s loss dropped the Phils 6 ½ games back in the division. The Phils had entered the day a game back in the wild-card race.

Jake Arrieta did not pitch well and the offense was sluggish. The Phils have averaged just 2.75 runs in their last four games. They are now 54-49. The Braves are 61-43.

The season series between the Phils and Braves is tied at 5-5.

Arrieta’s night

It was not good. He gave up a run in the first inning and four in the fifth. In all, he allowed five hits, including a double and a homer, in five innings. He walked three.

Arrieta has been pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow. He was able to give his team 10 2/3 innings of two-run ball in his previous two starts, but his success ran out in this one.

Interesting bullpen call

Trailing 5-1 after five innings, manager Gabe Kapler went to lefty Cole Irvin in the sixth. Going with a lefty made sense because the Braves had three lefty bats coming up in a span of four hitters. By going with Irvin, Kapler passed on using lefty Ranger Suarez, who has been quite effective lately, allowing just one run in 13 1/3 innings over his last 10 appearances. Irvin could not keep the game close. He gave up two hits and walked three batters on his way to giving up four runs, two of which were unearned, as the Braves built their lead to 9-1. Irvin twice hit batters with the bases loaded and that resulted in loud boos from the crowd.

After the game, Kapler said Suarez need another day of rest and was not available. Suarez threw 17 pitches on Wednesday.

Long ball lunacy

Phillies pitchers have had a huge problem keeping the ball in the yard this season. Even general manager Matt Klentak listed it as one of the biggest overall problems on the team this season. The Phils entered Friday night with 169 homers allowed, most in the NL and third-most in the majors behind Seattle and Baltimore.

On their recent five-game trip to Pittsburgh and Detroit — two spacious ballparks — the Phillies did not give up a home run. Not coincidentally, they won four out of five games on the trip.

The Phils’ streak of not giving up a homer ended in the top of the fifth when Brian McCann led off with a homer against Arrieta.

Big turning point

The Phillies trailed, 5-0, entering the bottom of the fifth. They got a run on a two-out hit by Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins followed with a walk to load the bases. Up came J.T. Realmuto with a chance to get the Phils back into the game with one swing. No go. He grounded out weakly to second base.

Up next

Zach Eflin (7-10, 4.25) pitches Saturday night against Max Fried (10-4, 4.08).

Eflin complained of fatigue-like symptoms — “heavy body” — after his last start in Pittsburgh. In recent days, Kapler has been adamant that Eflin is fine, that he is ready to go and that there is no issue.

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