Notes: Mets trust Díaz; Jauss' coffee habits

July 20th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Three consecutive blown saves from don’t have the Mets questioning their strategy at closer.

A day after the third of those ninth-inning glitches, manager Luis Rojas said he has “no thought” of removing Díaz from the closer’s role.

“We believe that he has good stuff,” Rojas said. “He’s shown it. We know he’s going through a stretch right now, but the stuff is there.”

Job insecurity has dogged Díaz for the better part of two years, in large part because of what happened in 2019, when the right-hander blew seven saves, lost seven games and posted a 5.59 ERA during his first season as a Met. Díaz recovered last summer during the pandemic-shortened schedule, then converted 19 of his first 20 save opportunities this year with a 2.86 ERA.

But that did little to solidify his standing; Díaz has since blown three consecutive saves, allowing seven runs over three innings -- struggles stemming from the same lack of command that plagued him in 2019.

Even so, the Mets do not plan to make a chance at closer, with top setup man Seth Lugo also not in top form. Trevor May has recorded consecutive saves in games that Díaz has blown, but the Mets prefer May pitching seventh and eighth innings for now.

“They trust in me 100 percent,” Díaz said, referencing a conversation on Tuesday with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. “He told me that: ‘We trust in you. You’re our guy over there.’ I’m calm. I’ve got to do my job, but I’m really good right now.”

Of particular concern is the fact that Díaz’s average fastball and slider spin rates have fallen about 200 RPMs since Major League Baseball implemented a ban on “sticky stuff” on June 21, and he owns a 7.59 ERA over that stretch. But Díaz has said he is gripping the ball “the same” as he did earlier this year, and that if he makes quality pitches, he will succeed.

One thing that could force Díaz out of the ninth-inning job would be a trade for an established closer such as the Cubs’ Craig Kimbrel prior to the July 30 Trade Deadline, which appears unlikely. While the Mets may indeed acquire a reliever, general manager Zack Scott insisted Tuesday on the “Big Time Baseball Podcast” that he is happy with Díaz and is not searching for someone who would supplant him from the closer’s role.

“Craig’s definitely had a great year,” Scott said. “I think Edwin Díaz is a really good closer for us. I know he’s struggled his last few outings, but I still believe in him. … I don’t necessarily think it has to be a closer for us to add to our bullpen. We’re just looking for good, quality arms that can help us in high-leverage [situations].”

From the trainer’s room

Because the Mets do not plan to have Jacob deGrom play catch before they return home this weekend, they sent deGrom to New York ahead of the team to receive treatment from staff members there. The Mets’ hope is that deGrom, who landed on the injured list last weekend due to right forearm tightness, can begin a throwing program soon.

“He’s improving,” Rojas said. “Some of the tightness has diminished and some of the range of motion is a little better. But as far as throwing, he hasn’t thrown yet.”

Mets officials continue to downplay the severity of deGrom’s injury, without providing a timetable for him.

Undefeated Dave

When the Mets finished off their win over the Reds on Monday, acting manager Dave Jauss officially received credit for the win -- continuing a four-game managerial winning streak that has spanned more than a decade. Jauss twice earned wins as a fill-in manager on Jerry Manuel’s staff in 2010, and he was credited with victories in place of Rojas on Sunday (first-inning ejection) and Monday (suspension).

“It’s nice to be here in that situation,” Jauss said afterward. “It’s the first time this year that I’ve managed the Mets in the dugout, but it’s not my first time as a manager.”

The Mets hired Jauss as Rojas’ bench coach this offseason in large part because of their familiarity with each other; Rojas met Jauss when he worked alongside his father, Felipe Alou, in the Expos organization in the late 1980s and early 1990s. More than 30 years later, the two reunited.

That set up an eventful two-week stretch for Jauss, who burst onto the national scene while serving as Pete Alonso’s batting practice pitcher in the Home Run Derby. Alonso’s win led to days of interviews for Jauss, who found himself back in the news when Rojas received a two-game suspension for “excessive arguing” during the first inning of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

“I’ve learned so many things from him, and he keeps doing it,” Rojas said, revealing that the 64-year-old bench coach drinks 10 to 12 cups of coffee per day. “This guy, he’s a machine.”

Minor promotion

Less than two months after his professional debut, sixth-ranked Mets prospect J.T. Ginn has earned a promotion. The organization bumped Ginn up from Low-A St. Lucie to High-A Brooklyn, where he will debut on Saturday.

Ginn, who underwent Tommy John surgery shortly before the Mets drafted him in the second round last June, posted a 2.56 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks over 38 2/3 innings at St. Lucie.

Draft signings

The Mets have begun the process of agreeing to terms with several Draft picks, including fourth-round first baseman J.T. Schwartz and fifth-round pitcher Scott Christian to under-slot deals of $475,000 and $350,000, respectively. The money saved will go largely toward top pick Kumar Rocker, who has not officially signed but is in agreement on a deal worth roughly $6 million, according to a source. (Rocker’s slot value for the 10th overall pick was $4.74 million.)

On the interwebs

The Mets have teamed up with an old friend, former radio broadcaster Josh Lewin, to launch a new daily podcast beginning this week. The podcast will air every weekday for the remainder of the season on Spotify, Apple and Google podcasts, as well as

“It’s something that I really have grown to enjoy,” Lewin said of podcasting. “To me, it’s kind of the new frontier in terms of the way people consume their sports.”