Saturday, January 30, 2021

Mets Roundup: Loup Signed, Cohen Silent on Twitter, Murphy Says Goodbye

Citi Field in the summer of 2019. Photo by Jason Schott.

There was a lot of news from the New York Mets on Saturday, as they signed a solid relief pitcher, their owner pulled back from Twitter, and one of the most consequential Mets in history announced his retirement.

METS SIGN LHP AARON LOUP The Mets signed left-handed relief pitcher Aaron Loup to a one-year contract. He spent last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, who won the American League pennant. Loup went 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA (7 earned runs in 25.0 innings), with four walks and 22 strikeouts in 24 games. He allowed two earned runs in 5.1 innings in the postseason, striking out six and allowing two walks.

Overall, in his career, Loup is 15-22 with six saves, a 3.38 ERA (132 earned runs/351.0 innings) with 104 walks and 326 strikeouts in 406 games. The southpaw has held left-handed hitters to a .232 batting average in his career, which includes a .212 (7-33) mark in last year's shortened season.

Loup, a native of Raceland, Louisiana, was originally selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round o the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Tulane University in New Orleans. He pitched for Toronto form 2012-18 before the Philadelphia Phillies acquired him at the trade deadline. He appeared in four games for the San Diego Padres in 2019.

STEVE COHEN LEAVES TWITTER When Steve Cohen purchased the Mets in November, he took to Twitter to talk to fans, engaging them in a way prior ownership never had.

This week showed the flip side of such openness, as he took a lot of flak on Twitter - from Mets fans and especially Barstool Sports founder and day trader Dave Portnoy - for his hedge fund Point72 Asset Management's involvement in the GameStop frenzy on Wall Street. Portnoy's contention was that Cohen was involved in trading app Robinhood shutting down trades on GameStop, and from Mets fans that his trading losses on this caused the team to miss out on center fielder George Springer, who signed with Toronto.

Cohen stopped all activity on Twitter Friday night, and on Saturday the Mets released this statement: "I've really enjoyed the back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter which was unfortunately overtaken this week by misinformation unrelated to the Mets that led to our family getting personal threats. So I'm going to take a break for now. We have other ways to listen to your suggestions and remain committed to doing that. I love our team, this community, and our fans, who are the best in baseball. Bottom line is that this week's events in no way affect our resources and drive to put a championship team on the field. #LGM!"

2015 POSTSEASON HERO RETIRES - When the name Daniel Murphy comes up, one instantly thinks of his run in the 2015 playoffs, helping the Mets win the National League pennant. He hit seven home runs in six straight games in the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (which the Mets won in five games) and the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, which the Mets swept. 

Murphy was the MVP of the NLCS, and like the Mets offense, he didn't make much of an impact in the World Series, which the Kansas City Royals won in five games.

In the offseason that followed, when Murphy was a free agent, the Mets tendered him a qualifying offer, which he rejected and went on to sign with the rival Washington Nationals on a three year/$35 million deal.

Just imagine how much different it would have been for the Mets had they signed Murphy instead of Yoenis Cespedes after that season. It was a case of valuing how Cespedes ignited the Mets late in that regular season after arriving at the trade deadline in July 2015 from Detroit, more than Murphy carrying their offense at a record pace in the postseason. 

The Mets signed Cespedes to a one-year contract heading into the 2016 season before handing him a four-year, $110 million contract the following offseason It was a roller coaster ride to say the least, complete with endless injuries and him not exactly being a team player. Murphy was the hero in those playoffs, and since he came through their system (something General Manager Sandy Alderson took pride in), they should have ponied up just a little more. 

In seven seasons with the Mets (2008-15, but did not play in 2010), he played in 903 games, hitting .288, with 967 hits, 62 home runs, 402 RBI, a .331 on-base percentage, and a .424 slugging percentage. His plate discipline is shown by his 218 walks and 440 strikeouts - he newver exceeded 100 strikeouts in season, with his high-water mark  being 95 in 2013. He pared that down to 38 strikeouts in 130 games.

Murphy stayed with Washington until 2018, when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs late that season, in the hopes he would stem the tide of a Cubs team that was reeling. The Cubs lost a one-game playoff for the Central Division crown to Milwaukee Brewers the day after the season ended, and then losing to the Colorado Rockies the next night in the one-game Wild-Card playoff, both of which were at Wrigley Field.  He spent the last two years of his career with Colorado.


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