The Mets are coming off their first series win and they have a number of meaningful injuries that are going to send them scrambling for backups in this shortened season. When Yoenis Cespedes walked away the Mets were given an opportunity to play some of their younger players more. This has led to more playing time for Dominic Smith and Andres Gimenez and, perhaps not coincidentally, more wins.

In a fairly young season, with a deep roster of offense and quality young players, the New York Mets still somehow found a way to put Brian Dozier into the lineup five (5) times. Dozier had once had himself two excellent seasons in 2016 and 2017. Those numbers came screaming down in 2018 as he was traded from Minnesota to Los Angeles before, in 2019, he played a role in the Nationals World Series.

The 33 year old second baseman was brought in by the Mets as insurance against Robinson Cano’s age and Gimenez’s development. In fact, the Mets currently have six (6) players on their forty man roster who are capable of playing second base. While Brian Dozier would be a great asset for a team in a full season, his role on the 2020 Mets is more like a symbol of the longstanding Met tradition of not trusting in their own prospects.

Remember in 2019 when the Mets traded for Cano and Edwin Diaz? This was a decision back when the team didn’t have faith that Jeff McNeil would be able to repeat his 2018. The Mets lost their top prospect Jarred Kelenic and were saddled with a heavy contract and a closer who cracked under the New York pressure because they would not trust in their own prospects.

Now, with Michael Wacha getting injured and Marcus Stroman still not back on the squad, the Mets are left with another decision. How do they fill the hole left by their pitcher’s injury? Do they plug in a former prospect who hasn’t quite cut it in the majors, like Corey Oswalt? Maybe a journeyman AAA player like Walker Lockett, who boasts an MLB ERA over 8.00 for his brief career? Will they give the slot to a player that was traded for a “player to be named” and give the fans Ariel Jurado? Or maybe, they could give the ball to a prospect who might actually have the stuff to be a star for them?

I’ve been singing the praises of Thomas Szapucki pretty hard for a fairly long time. With the Mets hanging on to a viable season by their fingertips, I am practically pleading with the front office to give a chance to the prospects who could help them in 2021 and beyond because the other option is relying on players who are past their prime or were never really successful in the majors. Maybe if we stopped giving playing time to players like Dozier and Jurado the Mets might surprise themselves by having some success.

Perhaps the excellent play, thus far, of Gimenez is a false sign of success, but as his numbers match his scouting and there is reason to believe that the Mets have a surplus of viable options for their shortstop position. Now they have a second opportunity to see one of their top prospects in action and a unique season to ease him into the role.

The knock against Szapucki has always been his health and his lack of innings would make it a longshot to ramp any pitcher up into a starting role but the Miami Marlins may have given the Mets a roadmap to success. Bringing up their lefty pitcher for a few games of pitching by the bullpen would allow the Mets to stretch him out and, with the expanded bullpens, not hurt the team too badly.

If the only thing that the 2020 season gives the Mets is a glimpse into Gimenez, David Peterson and Szapucki’s future, it’s still making the most of what might have been a lost season. That way, when Stroman and Noah Syndergaard leave the team, the Mets know just how many free agent starters they need. In my mind, it’s both the best way for the Mets to try to win now and the best way for them to plan for the future.

12 comments on “Mets Minors: Please, no more Brian Dozier types

  • Aging Bull

    I agree with your POV 100%! This season is kind of a throw-away, so why not use this to find out what’s coming up from the minors? I can not understand the signing of Hamilton or Dozier. What a low-risk opportunity to try a Rosario/Gimenez DP combo and maybe Guillome at 3B? How about giving Rosario some time in CF? Definitely give the rising pitcher a shot, like Szapucki. Maybe more Kilome.As they bring in these aging vets for reasons unknown, at least they aren’t giving up valuable prospects.

    • David Groveman

      With the Mets lacking quality centerfield prospects at most levels I can’t find too much fault with Hamilton signing. Also, he becomes a great option as a pinch runner who can stay on the field late in games.

  • Rich

    Let’s try to stay calm. The Coupons are selling, BVW is GMing for his job and thank God Rojas knows what hes doing. Szapucki has pitched 1 game at AA. Granted he was protected, so that assumes he could do it but that’s not something we could know as fans. Just wondering if the writer has ever seen Szapucki pitch? I doubt it.

    • David Groveman

      I’ve seen Thomas Szapucki pitch, twice, in 2016 when he was with the Brooklyn Cyclones and he was significantly better than any other pitcher I’ve scouted at that level.

      Do you believe that Oswalt, Lockett or Jurado provide a better chance of winning? Do you believe any have lasting value beyond 2020?

      I know I haven’t seen Szapucki in a number of season (thanks to geographic location) however I believe he’s the best name on the team to see time if Wacha needs to be put on the shelf.

      Thanks for reading

      • David Klein

        Rather see Kilome start

        • David Groveman

          We could give that a shot too but I think he’s not ultimately a starter.

        • Metsense

          Kilome has a good stat line in the minors as a starter. He threw four serviceable innings this year. The 25 year old rookie would be my first choice.
          Dozier should not be taking at bats or starts from Gimenez. They see how Gimenez handles LHP.
          Peterson has earned a rotation spot.
          My knee jerk reaction was the Met tradition of not trusting own prospects was correct. The Cano trade is a good example but when I look around the field and see talent from their minors in Alonso, Smith, Gimenez, Rosario, McNeil, Nimmo, Conforto, Nido, Guillermo, deGrom, Matz, Lugo, Gsellman, Peterson and Familia, then the Cano trade was an exception and I hope it was a lesson learned.

          • Metsense

            I stand corrected, I didn’t include the Stroman trade.BVW has strip the minors and the Mets are going to pay immediately.

  • David Klein

    Trading six prospects for three glove only guys in the last year is way worse, thanks Brodie.

  • Brian Joura

    I like the headline!

    I thought Dozier should have been a candidate to go once rosters cut to 28 but I understood the logic behind keeping him. On a team with a plethora of LHB – they need a righty around for bench purposes. Maybe once Cano comes back, Rosario can be that guy.

    They added Luis Carpio to the roster and he’s now at the alternate site at Brooklyn. I think he’s just as likely as Dozier to have success (read: not likely) and I’d rather he get a shot.

    Look at the hitters on the IL for the Mets
    Marisnick – Age 29
    Nunez – 33
    Lowrie – 36
    Rivera – 37
    Cano – 37

    Old guys get hurt.

  • Eraff

    I think the teams are aware of the short season and short prep and injury problems, and they don’t want to sacrifice “control time” on a gigantic scoop of their prospects.

    This season is essentially a Pennant stretch from Go… I think there’s some baseball logic involved here with the collective experience of debutants in high gain situations. Dozier is a Patch.

  • Rob Rogan

    So many prospects traded for what has amounted to little in return. This team is going to need to keep drafting like they did in 2019 if they hope to restock the cupboard, or else we’re going to continue to see the Alderson special of cheapy retreads to fill holes year in and year out. And I was and still am an Alderson fan in the context of the obvious restrictions he was working under.

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