1. Familia gets 15 games
The Mets closer met with commissioner Rob Manfred this week, finally learning his fate following an arrest last October on domestic violence charges. According to Ken Rosenthal, Familia is in line to get 15 games: half the number Aroldis Chapman received last season on similar charges.
It’s great news for the Mets that Familia won’t be on the sidelines long. New York has an easy first two weeks, playing the NL East’s terrible twosome: Philadelphia and Atlanta. Familia should be back for their first big series against Washington. Of course, the Mets’ bullpen is a question mark on its best day: without Familia the Phillies and Braves could steal more games than they should.
Addison Reed is likely to take over the role as closer in the interim, and while he was excellent in the set-up role in 2016, his transition to closer could be rocky. Not only did Reed blow four save opportunities in five games last year, but according to Fangraphs, he was not good in high-leverage situations. Reed allowed 11 earned runs and a .367 OBP in just 17.2 high-leverage innings. If you’re live betting during the first few weeks of the season, target the Mets for some late-game collapses.
2. Tom Rowe doesn’t know what he’s doing
It’s odd to think the Florida Panthers — the NHL’s forgotten team — actually looked to be building towards something great this season. A young team whose average age is greatly skewed by the presence of 100-year-old Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers won the Atlantic Division last year and made a ton of additions in the offseason. Then, after a “slow start” (11-10-1), management fired Gerard Gallant and put one of their own in charge, general manager Tom Rowe.
While Gallant was more of an “old school” coach, Rowe embraced the analytical approach the Panthers were taking as a franchise. While advanced statistic absolutely have a place in hockey, a coach has to also have the trust of his players. So how does it feel when, with the team on the brink of elimination, the coach deflects all the blame at his players? Rowe’s latest move of whining to the media that no players are safe, even ones who signed long-term deals this offseason, doesn’t come across as great leadership. Especially when you remember that, as general manager, Rowe was directly responsible for giving lengthy extensions to players who weren’t even approaching free agency. He’s also the guy who keeps trotting out an injured Aaron Ekblad, risking the career of the franchise pivot. How can anyone in Sunrise trust Rowe, when he can’t be trusted to make the most obvious of decisions?
Don’t fall for Florida as a sexy play next season if Rowe is still in charge. And don’t blame analytics either: this is a classic case of human error.
Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.