The Mets’ year of doubling down

This offseason, the New York Mets made considerable strides to upgrade their infield and overall positional flexibility. The acquisitions of Robinson Cano, J.D. Davis, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Jed Lowrie, defenders at the second base through third base positions, have provided Mickey Callaway the ability to mix and match his lineup card more tactfully. The bullpen was also bolstered by adding flamethrowers Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson who all have experience closing games. At the catcher position, the Mets have brought in another injury prone, offensive force to team up with Travis d’Arnaud. However, Met fans were left to wonder if a true-center fielder would be roaming the wide-span landscape of Citi Field or if the club would roll the dice with the trio of Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. I’m sure that a majority of fans thought that the Mets would have picked up a starting pitcher with a proven track record and who can slot into the rotation in the event of an injury (or more of Jason Vargas’ 2018 first half). Instead the front office elected to double down and strengthen three particular areas of the club in lieu of creating a traditionally balanced roster, which is an interesting strategy and one that may pay dividends.

The Mets have effectively given themselves a cushion around half of their roster. By doubling down in these areas, they are providing a better opportunity to succeed throughout the long season. This is in no way a slight against the starting pitching or outfield production – there are still guys by the name of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo who are All-Star caliber players going to war on a daily basis. But in the event of an injury or down year from one of their starting pitchers or budding, corner outfielders, the club can bank on the insurance moves that they made in the off-season to carry the weight of the team in the interim.

Over the last week, Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier have been injured, to which the extent of the damage is vague. Lowrie is currently day-to-day and could be ready for Opening Day; Frazier is at risk of a multi-week setback which will then require rehab and warm up games before being able to contribute to the major league team. Fortunately, players like Jeff McNeil, JD Davis and Keon Broxton can step up and fill the necessary voids. Now this is only a limited consolation, and certainly an optimistic view, of the injuries only a week into Spring Training. But I for one recognize the strike of good fortune where the loss of two starting players come at positions of strength. For now, we can chalk up these setbacks as standard speedbumps that are part of a long season. How the reinforcements perform in the absence of their predecessors is crucial to keep the Mets in the hunt of the NL East crown. Make no mistake, McNeil, Davis and Broxton are not season-long solutions but rather temporary stopgaps and strategic pieces to the puzzle.

13 comments for “The Mets’ year of doubling down

  1. trish
    February 27, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    So my question is why are they not playing Dominic Smith. They have three players out today, and Dominic Smith hasn’t started a single game. It’s pretty clear his days with the Mets are numbered, but it seems like they aren’t even giving him a chance to show something to maybe make him a trade piece some where down the road.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

    • February 27, 2019 at 6:09 pm

      He’s started two games already

  2. TexasGusCC
    February 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Good point Trish. Callaway was too quick to throw Smith into the Chateau Bow Wow, to use a John Davidson phrase. It seems that Smith will not catch a break with the Mets, unless he goes somewhere else.

    • Name
      February 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      Not catch a break? Are you freaking kidding me? This guy has been given far too many chances than he has deserved.

      He should have gotten 0 days of MLB service time last year after he came into Spring Training fat and late and then put on an absolute shit show in Vegas. But he was gifted 56 games last year because who knows why and predictably he was still shit including throwing to 3rd base when no one was there.

      When exactly was Smith screwed by the Mets? People love to talk up meritocracy, but then are hypocritical when they complain when someone who isn’t deserving doesn’t get chances.

      • Chris F
        February 27, 2019 at 8:11 pm

        +1

    • February 27, 2019 at 9:01 pm

      Guy had a sub 100 wRC+ in the pcl playing his home games in Vegas, my goodness.

  3. February 27, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    It’s not some leap of negativity to observe that Dom isn’t knocking down any doors to play MLB baseball! Whatever he may have projected at 17 or 20 or 22, He’s reached an underwhelming Is-Ness as a player.

    He bowled a 705 OPS as a PCL First Baseman, for Crying out Loud!!!!!!…in 2018!!!!!!!!

    He has Talent, they say, on O and with the Glove—I can see some of it, but it’s buried in Non Performance.

    Don’t cry for Him…if He hits and fields, someone will love him

  4. trish
    February 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    1st he hasn’t started two games, he has appeared in two games. My only point being that he’s a former first round pick. I would think they would want to see in Spring training if he has anything to offer anyone. Right now it looks as though he’ll have to prove himself in Triple A which is fine. It just looks like they’ve decided he’s a bust (which he may be). I agree he shot himself in the foot last spring. And he probably got a little complacent. He’s young still. Maybe he still has some potential. Maybe he’s nothing more than a AAAA player. But come on…he didn’t get much of a chance last year between trying to learn left field and never really playing 1st in the majors. Finally, how many at-bats has he had in the majors? Enough to truly decide he’s truly a bust?

    • Metsense
      February 27, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      I personally saw him in 2014 when he played for Savannah. He was out of shape,over weight and unimpressive. He had four years to getting his game together. Matt Oberste, the other 1B for the Gnats even has a better 2014 than Dom. Matt was released last July after 586 minor league games with a career 709 OPS. BTW last year Dom had a 708 OPS in Las Vegas.

  5. Metsense
    February 27, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    I don’t see it as doubling down. The GM has not partaken in risky moves at all. The previous administration was too to cautious so maybe this one “seems” to be doubling down some more people. The moves were well calculated moves and they are already bearing fruit because of the injuries to Lowrie and Frazier.
    Frazier had an injury impeded bad year in 2018. In 2019 he personally needed the get a good start because he was getting squeezed out of playing time with the Lowrie trade and imminent promotion of Alonso. By the time Frazier gets back, he might be a forgotten man, especially if Lagares or Broxton can step up offensively because they already are plus defenders. I wasn’t counting on a big year from Frazier (or than average year either).
    I would like to see McNeil getting reps it 3B while Lowrie out. Lagares or Broxton with McNeil at 3B, would be preferably better than JD Davis or Espinosa or Cechinini in the starting lineup.
    Hechavarria or Espinosa might be the opportunistic players because on the Lowrie injury because they can play SS and backup Rosario.
    P.S. – Dom who?

  6. TexasGusCC
    February 28, 2019 at 2:01 am

    I agree with Trish here. Neither she or I said that Dominic Smith deserves anything, but rather that the Mets never invested in him. Signing AGone last year was a terrible message to give a kid who did some good things and some bad things in 2017. Even if they think he isn’t much, showcase him and maybe someone else will give you a low minors prospect. It’s been five games, and rediculous that he only have 4 at bats in six early spring games. That’s what Danny Espinosa has. And to think, he’s hitting .500! Can you imagine if he was 0-4? I mean, it’s still February!

    I don’t think he’s a major piece, but as I have written in the past, if he is a .270, 20 HR bench player that can play outfield and first base, someone will give you something for him, if you let him play.

    • Chris F
      February 28, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Lets get this back on track Gus and Trish.

      Dom never invested in himself. Period.

      For a number 1 draft pick with a 3M$ signing bonus to come to big league camp obese is a decision he made. For that same person to get a start in big league camp and sleep though the team meeting is a decision he made. Consequences stemming from that are not to be blamed on the team.

      This is professional baseball, not Little League. His signing bonus alone is more money than I bet most of here make in our whole life times. If Im the GM and see this, my reaction is the same. He has not earned a position. It was right for the Mets to think depth, even if Agon was a poor choice in my eyes. Dom has not earned by action or production or maturity a chance at becoming the team’s starting first baseman. And now with Alonso being nearly the exact opposite, his chances are zero at becoming an every day guy on this team, and rightly so.

  7. Dean
    February 28, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    All I can say it must be good for everyone here to rip Dom so bad like he is the biggest loser on earth. The kid is 23 years old, Was 22 last year when he screwed up, came to work late 1 day and he was in the great Collins dog house. For all you that are blasting him for being fat if you remember or if you look back at columns from last year he was probably in the best shape of his life to that point and now better this year. He has had 1 bad year, last year and it started bad, no doubt his fault, was late for a spring training practice. Seems everyone turned on him, got injured and could never recover
    even in Vegas. I think the kid can hit and field, no he doesnt have Pete’s power but he deserves a chance to play if the Mets wont give it to him someone will. Will he succed, who knows but too young and too much talent to give up on.

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