May’s hottest hitters: Matt Joyce, Jose Bautista lead the way

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Here’s a look at MLB’s OPS leaders for the month of May:

1. Matt Joyce (Rays) – 1.281
2. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) – 1.273
3. Ramon Hernandez (Reds) – 1.204
4. Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) – 1.089
5. Jhonny Peralta (Tigers) – 1.083
6. Victor Martinez (Tigers) – 1.073
7. Carlos Pena (Cubs) – 1.069
8. Mike Stanton (Marlins) – 1.056
9. Carlos Beltran (Mets) – 1.051
10. Logan Morrison (Marlins) – 1.049
11. David Ortiz (Red Sox) – 1.045
12. Ryan Doumit (Pirates) – 1.043
13. Justin Turner (Mets) – 1.042
14. Jay Bruce (Reds) – 1.029
15. Jon Jay (Cardinals) – 1.019
16. Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) – 1.013
17. Todd Helton (Rockies) – .989
18. Trevor Plouffe (Twins) – .983
19. Brad Hawpe (Padres) – .973
20. Lance Berkman (Cardinals) – .970

– Gonzalez and Stanton are tops this month with eight homers apiece, while Bautista and Curtis Granderson have hit seven. Gonzalez is crushing the competition with 26 RBI. No one else has driven in more than 17 runs this month.

– Bautista, despite being second overall here, actually has a lower May OPS than his overall mark of 1.300.

Report: Mets interview Dave Littlefield to fill GM vacancy

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.

Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).

In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.

The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) doesn’t want that. He wants someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”

You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.