Not only are the Mets losing their best player, but it looks like they’re losing him to the one team they beat in the NL East standings last season.
Jose Reyes appears to be leaving for Florida without the Mets having even made an official offer. Reports indicated that they might be willing to spend about $80 million for five years, but that was never going to get it done, not for the No. 3 free agent on the market. Reyes may struggle to stay healthy, but he’s an above average defender at a premium position and he just won the NL batting crown.
Without Reyes, the Mets are looking at Ruben Tejada at shortstop. He’s a nice fallback after posting a .360 OBP at the tender age of 21 in 328 at-bats for the Mets last season. Still, he’s never going to be a Reyes. Superstars in their prime are so tough to come by, and the Mets are letting one go without a fight. They may have another in David Wright, but Wright has hardly played like one these last two years.
Absent Reyes, the Mets lineup currently looks something like this:
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
RF Lucas Duda
CF Angel Pagan
C Josh Thole
And that’s if they don’t non-tender Pagan to save an extra $5 million.
The rotation may be more of a strength if Johan Santana can string together 190 innings. R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey would make for a solid two, three and four. The bullpen, on the other hand, is in serious need of a couple of power arms, and the budget might not have room for more than the likes of Matt Capps.
It all points to the Mets falling into last place next year. The minor league system is in better shape than it’s been in years, but the turnaround isn’t likely to come quick.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.