Tweaking the Mets roster for the stretch run

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.

10 comments for “Tweaking the Mets roster for the stretch run

  1. August 16, 2019 at 7:40 am

    You cannot turn the TV off when the Mets have any lead.This squadron of scrubs : 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, are the scariest bunch I have ever seen the Mets throw out there..! Dang, I wanted to hit vs Gagnon last night !
    Off to KC. Mets SP should be no match for the Royals. Sweep ’em LFGM !

  2. holmer
    August 16, 2019 at 7:44 am

    I wouldn’t write off Nimmo and Lowrie yet as they, according to reports, may be starting re-hab assignments soon. Even if they do get back though, getting their timing back at the plate would be a stretch.

  3. Pete from NJ
    August 16, 2019 at 8:00 am

    So as I understand it, the roster expands by three on September 1.

    There’s no relief pitcher in sight at AAA so it leave three additional position players resulting in bench expansion.

    The first move hopefully will be today. Since Drew Gagnon due to ineffectiveness and usage is expired and the DH need coming up Travis Taijeron right handed bat is in. Add Rueben Tejada (Jeff McNeil’s roster spot)and a smiling Brandon Nimmo.

    That’s three. No room for a third catcher?

  4. Pete from NJ
    August 16, 2019 at 8:07 am

    You know what…Aaron Altherr is out since I’m happy with Juan’s defense and maybe even his bat so yes on the third catcher.

  5. Gandy
    August 16, 2019 at 8:49 am

    First off, the reports are saying that Nimmo should be starting rehab games right away.
    Jeff Lowrie is hitting in simulated games.
    McNiel will be back Next weekend.
    So after the next two series, KC and Cleveland we should be fine.
    Now I do agree with using Syracuse to help right away.
    This is what I would do.
    Release Altherr and replace with Raji Davis
    Send down Gagnon and bring up Dilson Hererra
    Send down Nido and bring up Rivera

    Use Raji Davis or Dilson Herrera in the 9 spot for the 2 upcoming DH series.

  6. MattyMets
    August 16, 2019 at 11:37 am

    I wrote this post prior to last night’s game or surely I would have made a crack about Drew Gagnon. Alonso might want to consider using him for next year’s All-Star HR derby.

    I don’t know what’s with all these AAAA righty relievers we’ve stockpiled, but I can’t believe not one of them has emerged as a reliable option. Oh wait, Drew Smith, but he’s missed the entire year.

    I saw those vague updates about Nimmo and Lowrie but I wouldn’t get too excited. Nimmo’s injury sounds potentially serious and he was playing lousy early in the season. It seems that someone (probably in Atlanta) is in possession of a Jed Lowrie voodoo doll. Every time one part heals, another breaks. He’d better be careful shaving.

    I’m excited to see Dom Smith come back. He’s been a pleasant surprise and a real spark plug. I think it says a lot about his positive energy that the team has kept him in the dugout. Apparently his teammates lobbied for him to continue traveling with them even though he can’t play.

    Gandy, I think Rajai Davis would have been here already but he’s got a hamstring issue and hasn’t been playing.

    Must sweep KC this weekend. Cleveland has been red hot.

  7. MattyMets
    August 16, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Billy Hamilton was just released. Could be a platoon partner for Lagares.

    • Chris F
      August 16, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      For baseball? ummm, no.

      Id hire him to see if he can beat the Freeze in ATL. Ony way Id let him between the lines. And not on the grass at all.

    • August 16, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      Billy Hamilton vs RHP

      2014 – .641 OPS – sucks
      2015 – .532 OPS – sub Plaweckian
      2016 – .696 OPS – almost tolerable
      2017 – .673 OPS – not good
      2018 – .635 OPS – sucks
      2019 – .537 OPS – sub Plaweckian

      Hamilton is still a really good defensive outfielder and he can steal a base. There’s a possible role as PR/Def Replacement where he never comes to bat if the game is within three runs. But the idea that he should be in a platoon role – the larger half! – with anyone is crazy.

      • MattyMets
        August 18, 2019 at 10:56 am

        Brian – a) I stand corrected once I saw his contract. For his speed and defense he makes a good 5th OF/pinch runner but not at that expense. B) “sub-Plaweckian” is genius

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