Although Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has come under fire of late, there is one thing for which he deserves credit. That is stashing some extra veterans in AAA Syracuse for when injuries would inevitably strike. And strike they did this past week as our three best outfielders all got injured.
At full strength, the Mets outfield features Yoenis Cespedes (likely out for the season now that he broke his ankle before his heels could heal), Michael Conforto (out with a concussion) and Brandon Nimmo (out with a neck injury). Instead, we now find ourselves juggling a mix of infielders out of position – Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith, and veterans who’ve been lying in wait in Syracuse like Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis to piece together a serviceable outfield. A third veteran reserve – Gregor Blanco – remains in AAA as a last resort. The somewhat younger guys in AAA – Travis Taijeron, Rymer Liriano and *gulp* Tim Tebow are all hitting below the Mendoza line.
Gomez and Davis both held their own in Syracuse and have quickly contributed, Davis with a home run in his first Met at bat Wednesday night. Gomez got off to a slower start, but both are professionals who should be able to hold down the fort in the short term. Neither possesses the game changing speed they once had, but are still better than average on the bases and in the field.
If Davis or Smith can prove they can handle left field, the Mets should have enough outfield depth in the long term to get through the season. Infield is not a concern as our GM may have overstocked in this department, but jut in case, Syracuse also holds veteran infield reserves like Luis Guillorme, Danny Espinosa and Dilson Herrera. Given Tomas Nido‘s offensive struggles and Wilson Ramos‘ injury history, catcher Rene Rivera will certainly get the call at some point. The defense first veteran is holding his own in Syracuse, hitting .266 thus far.
The Mets seem to have turned a corner and hopefully they can keep it going. The crosstown Yankees have had twice as many injuries this season and just keep on winning anyway. The key for the Mets is for the veteran players who are healthy to start stepping up their games. Todd Frazier seems to have gotten the memo the way he’s been playing. Perhaps he could pass it along to Ramos and Cano.