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Mets Morning News: Michael Wacha turns to video and analytics for answers

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Your Sunday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

New York Mets Workout Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Meet the Mets

Michael Wacha’s dad has always been “way more interested” in analytics than Wacha himself. But this past offseason, after a poor performance in 2019, he turned to videos of his starts that he looked at with his dad—assessing release point, spin rate, arm slot and other mechanics—to try to improve.

“Service time was the focal point,” said Tony Clark, the head of the MLBPA, regarding the deal between MLB and the players. David Lennon outlines what the service time portion of the deal means for both the Mets and the Yankees, as Marcus Stroman, Yoenis Cespedes, DJ LeMahieu, and Masahiro Tanaka would all become free agents whether games are played in 2020 or not. And there are also the issues of Cespedes’ performance bonuses and Domingo German’s suspension to contend with.

In addition to robbing New York of the final year of Stroman, Cespedes, LeMaheiu, and Tanaka before they become free agents, coronavirus has stolen a year of aces Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole in their primes, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman also lists a number of other intriguing stories MLB had to offer in 2020 that now may be lost entirely, including Mookie Betts as a Dodger, what 2020 will look like for the Astros, and the White Sox’s experimental approach.

Around the National League East

MASN will rebroadcast every Nationals win from the 2019 postseason during the first two weeks of April.

Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recounts the amazing story of the August night in 1982 when Dominican pitcher Pascual Perez could not find the ballpark for his scheduled start for the Braves, arriving only just as the National Anthem was being played. Phil Niekro was forced to warm up and pitch in his place on short rest.

Pat Devlin of NBC Sports Philadelphia takes a look back at the more unheralded Phillies Opening Day starters of the past 30 years.

The Marlins optioned outfielder Monte Harrison and pitcher Nick Neidert to Triple-A Wichita. They were the only players remaining on Miami’s 40-man roster with no MLB service time.

Around Major League Baseball

Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN provide the full breakdown of the deal between the league and the players for the 2020 season and answer key questions about the consequences moving forward.

David Schoenfield of ESPN wrote about each individual team’s greatest pitching performance in its history. For the Mets, the answer was unexpected—not a game pitched by Seaver, Gooden, or deGrom. No, it wasn’t Johan Santa’s no-hitter either.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Our staff continued our Amazin’ Avenue Recommends series with our video game picks.

This Date in Mets History

On this date in 2000, the Mets took part in the first MLB Opening Day outside of North America. Mike Hampton made his Mets debut, as the Mets lost to the Cubs 5-3 in Japan.