As a fan of power, it amuses me to see the 180 that fans have done when it comes to the Mets and the long ball. When they jumped out to a great start beating up on the Nationals and Phillies, people were crowing about how the Mets were getting it done mostly without the long ball. Even Gary Cohen was raving about how the team had so many sacrifice flies.

To many, the fact that the Mets were succeeding without a bunch of homers was a feature, not a bug. While my ideal is the Earl Weaver model of pitching, defense and the 3-run homer – winning trumps all. If the Mets won every game, 1-0, and the only run came on a walk, steal, sac bunt and sac fly – that would be great. So, the team’s record was more important than how it was being achieved.

But the reality is that 21st Century baseball requires power. That’s something that’s being driven home in two directions here recently, the Mets’ lack of power and 24-20 record in their last 44 games and the Braves’ slugging ways, which has led to a 31-13 record in the same span. Plus, here’s how recent World Series winners finished in the majors in homers:

2021: Braves – 3rd
2020: Dodgers – 1st
2019: Nationals – 13th
2018: Red Sox – 9th
2017: Astros – 2nd

Four of the last five teams finished in the top 10 in homers and the team that didn’t hit 231.

Right now, the Mets are 19th in the majors with 93 home runs, on pace for 157 HR. And the simple fact is that’s not going to cut it. They need to get more homers from the DH slot and probably one additional position, too. The Mets addressed the DH slot with the acquisition of Daniel Vogelbach, who had 12 HR in 278 PA for the Pirates.

This season, Mets DHs have 9 HR in 392 PA. But that needs a giant asterisk, as six of those homers came from Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor “resting” in the DH slot. So, the Vogelbach addition should definitely help. But is it enough?

Mark Canha and Starling Marte returning to their 2019 HR rates would certainly help, although no one should wager on that happening. Canha hit a HR every 19.1 PA that season while Marte delivered one every 25.5 PA. This season those numbers are 44.6 and 38.8, respectively.

While fans dream of getting Juan Soto, perhaps the better acquisition would be Willson Contreras. While Soto is more of a homer threat than Contreras, it should cost significantly less to get the Cubs’ backstop. And the upgrade from Tomas Nido to Contreras is likely greater than the upgrade from Canha to Soto.

Last year the Mets sent a top prospect to the Cubs for the Javier Baez rental. And given how the Mets finished under .500 last year, it didn’t leave the best taste in everyone’s mouth. But last year’s poor team performance had very little to do with Baez, who put up a 139 OPS+ for the Mets. Contreras has a 136 OPS+ this year and if the Mets got that kind of production, which includes 14 HR in 349 PA, from Contreras going forward, that would be a very nice thing.

And Contreras could solve two needs in one. He could be the DH when the opposing team starts a LHP, getting Vogelbach and his .423 OPS out of the lineup when a lefty is on the mound.

Baez – and Trevor Williams – cost a top prospect on the IL at the time in Pete Crow-Armstrong. Perhaps the similar situation this year would be Matt Allan, a player with a ton of upside but one who has had a few injury problems slowing him down. Or perhaps it takes more than that. Just hold off on Francisco Alvarez and hold off on at least one of the third basemen, too.

A win-now team shouldn’t look to completely mortgage its future. But it can’t be afraid of trading something of value from its farm system, either. One of the purposes of having a farm system is to trade guys to fill holes at the major league level. And it’s hard to argue that the Mets don’t have a hole at catcher.

The fact that Contreras is an impending free agent shouldn’t be looked at like a huge negative, either. Alvarez, the Mets’ top prospect. is a catcher, one with an MLB ETA of 2023.

Bottom line is that Contreras fits the club’s needs and they’re in a better position to trade minor leaguers now than they were a season ago, both from a major league and minor league point of view. The idea is to win the World Series – they don’t have to win the trade, too. The Cubs can win the trade with the Mets at a cost much lower to New York than the Nationals winning a trade involving Soto.

10 comments on “Mets’ HR struggles influenced last trade and should do the same with next big move, too

  • ChrisF

    As one of the “others” that like to see baseball get played as a total sport, I’ll take your bait. No one that Im aware of is dismissing the notion of the importance of power bats. Clearly, Alonso alone is insufficient. The thought was that Marte and Canha would produce more than they are. Like for many that switch clubs, time may be needed before the productivity comes.

    Its easy to lean on the need for HR, but Id like to know where the totality of the offense has gone, including singles and doubles and RISP productivity. The bits of the game I watch last night and from what I read about Darvish’s start reinforce a bad habit the Mets hitters get into: watching a first pitch strike, and going down 0-1, then face pitchers counts through an AB where the chase rate climbs. Many of those ABs never see another pitch in the zone. That happened again and again last night throughout the game. And its a lousy habit to get into.

    So while we clamber for more runs, lets remember that singles and doubles occur more frequently than HR.

    A good team needs offensive productivity at all aspects, including HR. This team seems to have fallen off the hitting cliff. Sure we all expected Guillorme and Nido to barely break the Mendoza line, which is what we are getting from them. McCann, Escobar, Canha, and Marte all capable of substantially more hard hits, including HR simply are not delivering. Add to the fact that JD and Dom basically suck, we are left with Nimmo, McNeil, Lindor, and Alonso doing all the heavy lifting. One power bat is not enough.

    So Im in favor of trading for Contrares, and Soto. Contrares solves catcher (with a FA contract) and Soto would be a 600 HR bat for 15 years to come.

    • TexasGusCC

      I see we overlapped Chris… right on!

      I’ve written quite a bit about the 3% outcome and let’s add that Citifield isn’t built for the windmills but rather more players like Sterling Marte and Cahna. Escobar, Smith/Davis, catchers and Nimmo are killing this team. Too, get Jankowski off this roster and add a real hitter! Stop playing McNeil in the outfield, you are weakening two positions! Platoon Guillorme and Escobar!

  • TexasGusCC

    Ok, full disclosure, I have no problem with small ball and prefer it to the windmills of the past. Now, let’s take your arguments one at a time:

    The winning early: Early on, the Mets were leading baseball in OBP and RISP production. Now, they are sixth. What changed? Let’s take it from the top, where a very good lead off hitter that walked a lot is jumping early in pitches because he’s in his walk year and wants to hit more home runs, thus is not doing what he does best. Let’s move down to the #2 guy who has been hurt twice and the team suffered in his absence. And now the obvious: numbers 7-9 in the batting order, and wherever Showalter puts Escobar when he feels he’s busting out. Escobar has been miserable all season, not just at the plate either. Where are those 28 and 35 homeruns? Where is Smith power? McCann has missed time twice and Nido and Mazeika aren’t getting done.

    It’s not that us small ball lovers don’t want homeruns, it’s that a blend of both is helpful. The Braves for all their power, last year had .280-.300 hitters in most of their lineup. How many do the Mets have?

    Who expected Nimmo to stop walking, or Escobar to worry so much about the great NY restaurants, or Cahna to Can’ta, or Smith and Davis to shit the bed? That’s the real problem. The unselfishness and “passing the baton” or “moving the chain” have disappeared for players that don’t belong to be plying as much as they are.

    • ChrisF

      yeah, what Gus said!!!


  • Metsense

    The Vogelbach addressed the DH problem against RHP because he has a .896 OPS vs RHP with 12 HRs. The LHP problem could be addressed with Drury who has a 1.030 and 8 HRS vs. LHP. He would also get time at third ,with Guillorme, against
    RHP because he has a .784 OPS vs RHP and 10 HRs. Escobar would still play against LHP because he has .792 OPS vs LHP.
    Contreras would solved the offense catching problem, period. Drury would cost less than Contreras. Contreras and Robertson would make a nice package.
    Alvarez, Batty, Ramirez and Allan should not be traded for rental because they have a clear path to the Mets. The others in the minors are fair game.

    • JimmyP

      I agree with all of this, Metsense.

      My primary target is Contreras/Robertson and I’d be willing to give up Mauricio or Vientos, plus JD or whomever.

      I like Drury a lot, especially that he can play a little 3B, 2B, corner outfield.

      Mancini represents, to me, a modest upgrade over Just Disappointing (JD) Davis.

      Like you, I don’t want to move Ramirez, Allen, Alvarez, or Baty.

      I’d be very satisfied satisfied with Contreras/Robertson/Mancini.


  • Mike W

    Without looking at the stats, which may prove me wrong, when Alonso is hot and us hitting the ball out of the park, the Mets win. Alonso has been stuck for quite a while. He was stuck on 22 which seemed like forever before the break.

    What other player on the Mets is capable of hitting 30 home runs? The answer is not many to none.

    If they are going to make a deep playoff run, they will need more players to hit home runs.

    You can’t play like they just did for 2 1/2 games, when you will have to get past teams like Atlanta, LA, San Diego, Milwaukee in the playoffs or the Yankees or Astros in the world series.

  • Mike W

    If I could choose the hitter to pick up it would be Contreras. Nido and Co. Have been pathetic. They already have Vigelbach who is inexpensive.

    Forget about Soto. I don’t think he is worth the price.

  • NYM6986

    We need a big bat at the deadline like in 2015. Otherwise we will still make the playoffs but not win it all. We fall back on “but in a short series we have Jake (god willing), Max and a number of other starters to throw who have had decent to really good seasons. But remember we still need to score runs. I like Contreras but I still like McCann, except for his forgetting how to hit. When is he due back? We can’t go much longer with Nido or Mazeika, neither of whom would know a HR if you handed it to them. Had either JD or Davis hit this year, we’d probably have six more wins and a big lead our division. Again few HRs. Think of Vogelbach as this Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe and not as the only piece we will get. Hoping for a Big Bang announcement arriving soon.

  • T.J.

    Chris and Gus provide strong counterpoints. The lack of offense is a combination of all of the above. The biggest culprits are the DH guys and Escobar, who were counted on for pop be it doubles or HR. Secondarily is the catching and emergence of Guillorme, which they could live with if the primary group lived up to reasonable expectations. Third is the #3 hitter with among the lowest OPS across baseball for #3 hitters, despite the shiny traditional stats of HR and RBI. Add to this Pete having no power protection.

    Lastly, I was at the game that Snell pitched, he blew away Marte all night with fast balls, as well as many other Met hitters with fastballs. The team has fastballitis, just like last year’s team. This really can’t be fixed at the deadline. I’d do Drury, hopefully the least costly, but the bats here now will need to step up quickly or they won’t hold off the Braves, even with deGrom and Scherzer in the rotation.

    A old man once said that chicks dig the long ball, but so do managers. They tend to cover up a lot of issues.

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