Karpin’s Korner: Numbers Do Lie, Overruling the Rules

by Howie Karpin/The NY Extra/

As the ol’ saying goes, numbers don’t lie, but in the case of Francisco Lindor’s impact on the Mets, the numbers do lie.

Lindor is batting .227, way below his career average of .280. (a big improvement over his .198 average on June 30th) His power numbers are down and some fans are down on him, because they expect more from a player who has a $341 million dollar contract.

Ask yourself this question. Are the Mets a better team with Francisco Lindor at shortstop rather than Amed Rosario or Andres Gimenez? Those were the other options before they swung the trade with Cleveland. 20-year old shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio was not going to be ready and may end up moving to third base before it’s all said and done. (Mauricio is not on the 40-man roster and is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Mets may have a decision to make)

The bottom line is that neither Rosario or Gimenez is a better player than Lindor, who offers a lot more in leadership skills. That was evident from the start.

Philosophically and contractually speaking, the Mets are Lindor’s team.

You want numbers that don’t lie. Lindor has missed one game this season. If you look at his career record, from 2016-2018, the 4x All Star missed a total of 11 games. Last year, Lindor played in all 60 games of the truncated season.

Lindor’s slow start could be partly attributed to the “New York adjustment.” Yes, that is very real and for some players, they never truly comprehend it.

After he hit his first Mets’ grand slam last Friday night, Lindor said he “Listened after his grand slam to hear if anyone wanted to boo him.” Lindor had previously said, “It sucks to be booed.”

You’re making a megabucks contract, playing for a New York baseball team and, in the fans’ eyes, you’re not living up to the contract with your production, they will boo you, simple as that. With all due respect to any other major league city, that’s how it works around here.

Lindor is getting more comfortable and his presence on the field has put the Mets in contention to make this a special season.

We may have seen the last of the 7-inning doubleheaders.

During a state of the game address at the All Star game in Denver, Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “I don’t think that seven-inning doubleheaders are going to be part of our future going forward.” Manfred said the 7-inning twin bills was an idea that came about due to Covid. “When we adopted seven-inning doubleheaders for this year, we didn’t know the country was going to look like it does now,” he said.

Manfred also seems to be leaning towards banning the shift. “It’s not change, it’s kind of restoration,” the Commissioner said. “That’s why people are in favor of it. Front offices, in general, believe it will have a positive effect on the play of the game.”

Most of the reports intimated that the Commissioner was also going to do away with the extra inning rule altogether, but Manfred was not directly quoted about that except when he joined Chris Russo on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. “I think the extra inning rule is a tighter call. It’s not a sure thing but I think it could survive,”Manfred said.

I’ve been an advocate of using the rule, beginning with the 13th inning, if a game got that far. Look for that rule to be used in an amended form in 2022.

There’s no question the Mets will be buyers at the deadline. The Yankees decision will be made within the next 15 days or so.

Pitching is the priority. For starters, Minnesota’s Jose Berrios, Colorado’s Jon Gray, Texas’ Kyle Gibson and free agent Cole Hamels are on the Mets’ radar.

The Mets can’t afford to trust Miguel Castro to regain his ability to throw strikes so they need to fortify their bullpen depth.

Would they bite on a deal with the Cubs for Craig Kimbrel, who is a free agent at season’s end? (Kimbrel’s contract has a $16 million dollar team option for 2022 with a $1 million dollar buyout) Rangers’ closer Ian Kennedy is available as he is also a free agent after the season. Both would come with a cheaper price because of their status. Mets GM Zack Scott recently said, “My job is to make sure I don’t overreact to the short term and make a mistake that way.”

For this current Mets’ regime, it’s their first shot at dealing with the trade deadline as buyers. As Joel Weinstock says to Sal Boca in “The French Connection,” “It’s your first ‘major league game.’” For Scott and the current Mets regime, that’s an apt description for the trade deadline.

It’s not that clear cut for the Yankees.

They act like they’ll be buyers but will that be the case after the next 13 games? Eight of the next 10 against Boston, two at home with Philadelphia and three at Tampa Bay is a daunting schedule for a team that has gone 5-16 against those three clubs. The Yankees are 0-6 vs. Boston, 0-2 against the Phillies and 5-8 vs. Tampa Bay.

The Yankees need to win a minimum of ten of those 13 games to get back into the playoff hunt. The inconsistent play that has exemplified their season will likely put them in the seller mode.

If they are sellers, the Yankees will not trade Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres or Aaron Judge at the deadline. (Off season could be a different story)

Despite his recent troubles, Aroldis Chapman could be an attractive piece to peddle. Lucas Luetge has increased his stock and maybe Justin Wilson could be on the move once again.

The Yankees have to avoid doing something foolish to try and salvage a season that may not be salvageable.

Why does MLB insist on trying to take the charm out of the game?

For years, baseball fans were always excited by the fact that the players wore their own team uniforms in the All Star game. I’m not even going to describe what the players wore last night. Many creative minds already took care of that. I just hope they come to their senses and go back to the team’s own uniforms for next year’s game at Dodger Stadium.

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