What's Hansel Robles pointing to in the sky? Apparently, it's a Delta flight to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
The struggling right hander was optioned to Triple-A on Friday morning. Robles allowed 17 hits and 12 earned runs in 11.2 Spring Training innings (9.26 ERA) this year. Opposing batters hit .362 off him.
It's a move that will be celebrated by a lot of Mets fans, and it's certainly understandable. In 2017, Robles pitched to a 4.92 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He had a particularly brutal May, where he surrendered 12 runs and 14 hits in only seven innings of work (15.43 ERA, 2.71 WHIP), that led to a demotion.
But believe it or not, Robles was actually effective upon his recall. Batters slashed just .205/.301/.339 off him in the second half, and it looked like maybe he had unlocked something during his stint in Vegas.
Earlier this winter, I made that case that his insane usage in April, combined with him high leverage appearances in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, had played a role in his struggles, and his second half made a case for him as an intriguing bounce back candidate. But the way Robles looked in camp, the Mets just couldn't afford to carry him north.
Robles still has a live arm and has shown flashes on becoming a reliever that Mickey Callaway can ultimately come to trust. He's just not there right now. And for the Mets, who have the luxury of options as they get set to start the 2018 season, leaning on Robles is something they just don't have to do right now.
So let's hope Hansel gets it sorted out, because I do still think there's some value there. This season, though, is going to be all about the guys who are getting it done now, and Robles just wasn't cutting the mustard.