With the hard trade deadline come and gone, and a weak farm system at the upper levels, the Mets have limited options for improving their roster. But, there are a few small moves they can make that could pay dividends.
The Mets have their fair share of injuries right now, especially on the offensive side. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes is definitely done for the year following his ridiculous ranch mishap while rehabbing his heels. Ditto Robinson Cano after tearing his hamstring. Jed Lowrie‘s mysterious ailments that change with every report (what’s next – fibromyalgia?) seem destined to keep him out for the season. And Brandon Nimmo‘s neck injury now has his season return in doubt. At least Jeff McNeil (hamstring) and Dominic Smith (foot) should be back for the stretch run. In the meantime, the Mets are forced to fill out their roster with some guys who are quickly showing they don’t belong in the Major Leagues.
In 54 at bats, outfielder Aaron Alther is hitting under .100 with a horrifying .105 OBP. The guy had a pretty good season two years ago, but it’s sandwiched by three awful ones. He’s a career .219 hitter and seems overmatched. Meanwhile, in Syracuse there’s a trio of veteran outfielders all anxiously awaiting the call to replace him. Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco and Travis Taijeron are all getting on base at a .330 or better clip. Taijeron has 24 home runs and Davis has 19 steals, although he’s also nursing a hammy and, at 38, it may cost him an opportunity. Replacing Alther is a no-brainer.
A similar situation presents itself in the infield where Luis Guillorme and his big glove and one clutch home run sports a .171 batting average. Ruben Tejada got the call first when McNeil went down, and rightfully so. The once and current Met had been hitting like a beast in AAA with a .330/.408/.476 slash line. Dilson Herrera (22 home runs, 10 steals), Danny Espinosa (16 home runs, 13 steals) and Arismendy Alcantara (.886 OPS) have all proven worthy of a look-see.
At the same time the Mets try one or more of these guys in a bench role, they should also keep an eye on the waiver wire. Teams out of contention look for funny ways to save money, like the Blue Jays cutting shortstop Freddy Galvis. One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. The basement dwellers in the American League are so far out of the playoff picture they may be looking to 2021 already. They have no reason to pay anyone who’s not part of future plans.
The rotation is set, but the bullpen could sure use a boost. Problem is, six of the spots are set in stone with one or two shuttling between guys who’ve been mostly ineffective. In case you need a refresher on this who’s who of futility, there’s Jacob Rhame, Tyler Bashlor, Ryan O’Rourke, Drew Gagnon, Chris Flexen, Donnie Hart, Stephen Nogosek, Tim Peterson, Brooks Pounders, Chris Mazza, Daniel Zamora, Eric Hanhold, and Paul Sewald. Who could forget Sewald?! None of these guys can be counted on for anything beyond mop-up duty. Problem is, the same can be said for half of the guys in front of them.
When the rosters expand in September, one thing the Mets could do is promote Rene Rivera. Having a third catcher will at least give them the luxury to pinch run for the lead-footed Wilson Ramos more often.
The team will get a boost when Dominic Smith returns and hopefully McNeil returns quickly, but unless Nimmo or Lowrie shocks us, there’s no cavalry coming.