The Mets are in deep trouble if Mike Pelfrey can't turn it around

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The Mets’ surprising first half had an awful lot to do with Mike Pelfrey. He came out of the gate strong, putting up a 9-1 record with a 2.39 ERA through mid-June, and looked like a more than adequate number two behind Johan Santana.

Since then: chaos. In four starts since his last win on June 25th, Pelfrey hasn’t made it through five innings, giving up between four and seven runs in each outing. Last night was particularly brutal, with him giving up six runs in one and a third. He threw 51 pitches in the first inning. He was nibbling, throwing his offspeed stuff and basically avoiding the fastball sinker combination that gave him such success in the early going.

Last week people were saying that he was suffering from a “dead arm.” Last night both Pelfrey and Manuel said it wasn’t physical, but mental, and implied that turning things around was simply a matter of sticking with a game plan.  I wouldn’t be shocked if some anonymous someone or other suggested today that Pelfrey is really injured.  The night and day of his season so far would certainly support such speculation.

Whatever the case, the Mets desperately need Pelfrey to get his groove back or else their early-season hopes of making noise in the East are going to whimper and die.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.