Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and the importance of stability

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson certainly had an active off-season. By most accounts, his free agent signings grade out as a B for filling all the obvious holes, but not reeling in any big fish. However, if you look at it from another angle, based on his likely motivation, you could easily grade him an A.

Looking back at both last year and the 2016 season in general terms, what was this team’s undoing? Injuries. As any good general manager should, Alderson made it his priority this off-season to address the team’s biggest weakness and thus made it a priority to add stability to a team full of uncertainty. The returning roster was already brimming with talent, but also question marks as too many players either have a track record of injuries or else were coming back off an injury. What this team needed most was a few bullet proof players, solid veterans who almost never get hurt and can be relied upon to stay in one piece all season. Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas all fit the bill.

In 10 seasons in the big leagues, Bruce has been a model of durability and consistency. He’s suffered just one minor injury in the past eight seasons and in all but one of those eight seasons he’s had over 500 at bats and at least 25 home runs.

Bruce’s former Cincinnati teamat, Frazier has six full seasons under his belt and in all except the first one he’s played in at least 147 games. During those six seasons Frazier has averaged 28 home runs and 81 RBI. The most impressive stat of all? Frazier has never, not once, been on the disabled list.

While not quite as impervious as Bruce and Frazier – and really, what pitcher is these days – Vargas has been steady, reliable and mostly effective in his career. In a five season stretch from 2010 to 2015, when Vargas was aged 27 to 31, he started a minimum of 30 games and threw at least 187 innings in four of the seasons. Even in the one he came up short due to an ominous flexor strain, he still delivered 150 innings over 24 starts. Vargas’ ERA in those five seasons ranged from 3.71 to 4.25 and that’s in the American League. Following two seasons largely lost to Tommy John surgery and recovery, Vargas returned last season to pick up right where he left off with 32 starts and a 4.16 ERA.

Add these three stalwarts to the mix of talent and potential on the Mets roster and there are suddenly fewer question marks and a bit more certainty. Making the playoffs will still be contingent on the health of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, but missing as badly as we did last year no longer seems possible. Alderson said he wanted “another Barolo Colon type.” Perhaps he was referring to everyday players as well as pitchers in piecing together a more reliable roster.

9 comments for “Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and the importance of stability

  1. April 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Great start by the Metsies. They appear to have depth as well. New Mgr likes mixing it up to keep others involved – like Reyes, Flores, Lagares, the switch up at catcher, even in the BP with Robles, Gsellman, Lugo.

    All Mets need to do is beat the teams they are supposed to beat – Braves, Marlins, to a lesser extent Phils, and keep pace with Nats, and they will be in the hunt from now until the end.
    If they can beat up on the improved Phils as well and say 10-8 or something similar with the Nats, a Division title is possible.
    Of course, all hinges on health, but you can say that about any team. The Nats had tons of injuries as well last year, and all they did was kick butt. No excuses.

  2. Madman
    April 6, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Stay healthy,that’s the ticket. Don’t push the starters. Rest the regulars. Don’t let one game be more important than the season. Look at Strasbourg,look at Harvey,think about it.

  3. April 6, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Before the offseason acquisitions, I noted the six guys the Mets needed to keep healthy — JDG, Noah, Yo, Conforto, Rosario and Familia. But now I’m not so sure if two OF need to be in this list or if Familia is more important that Gsellman or Lugo. And I suppose you can make a case that Frazier is more important than Rosario.

  4. April 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Speaking of stability any news on Wright?

    • MattyMets
      April 6, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Pete – Wright was placed on the 60-day DL before opening day, but he’s been in the dugout most games and on camera chatting with Callaway. His presence can’t hurt. Experience, leadership and familiarity during a time of transition with all the new coaches is a good thing. If he plays at all this season it won’t be until summer. It’s safe to assume he is doing working out and doing whatever training exercises the training staff and doctors will allow. It sure would be great to see him play again, even if just for a short stint.

      • Chris F
        April 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm

        Who plays first base on the Mets first: DWright, Dom Smith, or Jay Bruce?

        • April 7, 2018 at 1:35 am

          Just a thought Chris. If Wright’s issues are with his back wouldn’t stretching for poor throws from Flores be an accident (no pun intended) waiting to happen? Maybe second base? Same move as Alfonzo? I just have a feeling he’ll DH in AL games and can be used as the number one option to pinch hit. If he’s able to ever play again.

  5. Eraff
    April 6, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Obviously, the Pitching health is #1. As for durability…we have returned to a very normal longh term fact that guys over 30 lose “Everyday” faster than they lose sheer ability and skills….I’m hopeful on Bruce and Frazier….less so on Cabs. Hew’s begun to Wince and Limp.

    I’d love to see Rosario Shine–I will settle for Survival. He’s very important because of his upside, and because he adds the ability to play Jose and Cabs less with greater production from each opf them. The middle infield selection is pure Trade Wire after those guys.

  6. alan friedman
    April 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Many good points made but Sandy’s biggest move was hiring Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland. Before I explain, let me say that it was pretty well known that when Jay Bruce was sent to the Indians, he was told that the Mets would like to have him back as a Free Agent and Jay believed Sandy and wanted to come back. In terms of Callaway and Eiland…. Sandy recognized the need to have healthy starting pitchers most of whom needed some assistance with mechanics and with maturity. Matz had a needed surgery and appears to be healthy. Matt Harvey is healthy and has made progress with his problems too. I am hoping that Noah can be convinced to not wanting to throw his fastball through brick walls because we need him and the starters to pitch deeper into their starts. Four and even five innings is gonna wear out even a deep bullpen.
    Sandy had to really believe that Callaway was the man to get things straightened out because Mickey had no managerial experience any where and no ties to this organization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: