MIAMI – Buck Showalter, as always, was in good spirits ahead of Saturday’s game.
Part of this may be a return to their home state of Florida, or the generally relaxed nature that most players and coaches take out on the road, but the main reason is certainly how well their team is playing.
On Friday night, Brandon Nimmo’s eighth-inning home run put the Marlins in the final. In his first year managing Nimmo, Showalter gives his take on why the longtime Mate has been thriving.
“I think you see a man really understanding himself,” Showalter said. “He’s one of the last people to leave the park. Watching the highlights, eating with the clubs. He’s engaged.”
A player with such an insatiable appetite for baseball would seem like a manager’s dream. But it also has a negative aspect. Showalter was asked directly if he ever worried that Nimmo would burn himself, or if he ever had to ask his center fielder to literally do anything other than go home and hit the cage or analyze the video.
“I did it,” said Showalter, with a slight nod to his kindred spirit.
“That’s how I am. There are a few things I have to do to feel like we have the edge the next day. I know he feels the same way.”
According to FanGraphs, the Nimmo is just a few decimal points off its production from last year. In 2021, a finger injury kept him out for a long time, and he still kept a respectable 3.3 wins above replacement. In 2022, with two full months of the regular season still ahead of him, Nimmo is already worth 3.1 battles.
Showalter also noted some off-the-field things about the emerging center fielder, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Most keen observers have noticed defensive improvements or lower strike rates, but the Mets captain also said that Nimmo is speaking more at the team’s pregame hitters meetings, doing so “with a lot of confidence”.
That confidence certainly comes from that sensational season, as well as his status as the team’s longest-serving player, but perhaps also from knowing on his mind that he’s about to get a lot richer.
PARADA signed for $5 million
Speaking of getting rich, Mets first-round pick Kevin Parada has entered a new tax bracket.
Taken with the catcher out from Georgia Tech 11th pick of the 2022 draft struck a deal with the Mets that came with a signing bonus of $5,019,735, per report, A year after failing to agree a deal with first-round pick Kumar Rocker, it helps the Mets avoid a second straight headache.
Jet Williams – the high schooler taken with compensation the Mets received for not taking off the rocker – was officially signed with the club last week and made its unofficial Citi Field debut To answer questions from reporters and try on a Mets uniform. Parada will do the same once the team returns from the road trip.
bianvenido a miami
To quote the great Reggie Jackson, Starling Marte has been The Straw That Shakes the Mets Drink this season.
He’s been the ultimate do-it-all guy, hitting for power and average, stealing bases and playing defense that no one has to worry about. He is also very comfortable in South Florida. After torturing the Marlins for three more hits on Friday, Marte had a lifetime batting average of .305 at Miami’s Londepot Park, with eight homers in exactly 300 plate appearances.
Saturday brought their 72nd match at the stadium, which was their home for parts of 2020 and 2021. In addition to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, which he reported as a pirate for eight years, the surprisingly wacky warehouse in Miami is where Marte has played the most.
“There’s no set way to pitch him,” Showalter said. “Good hitters sometimes make the scouting report a little off.
Edwin Diaz came one strike away from completing an immaculate innings on Friday.
The remarkable feat, which occurs when a pitcher hits the sidelines on nine pitches, is what Diaz escaped from a foul ball. Joy Wendell spoiled the pitch 0-2 in the final at-bat of the game, before being dismissed on the very next pitch from Diaz’s hand. Instead of a spotless innings, Diaz had to settle for a ho-hum, 10-pitch save. His manager found humor in that.
“He’s a failure,” Showalter said sarcastically. “He’s on the trading block.”