The Mets have been consistently acquiring players this week — first baseman/DH Daniel Vogelbach, then catcher Michael Perez — both from the Pirates. They also checked out Juan Soto and at least thought of Shohei Otani, who are both in a slightly different category.
The Mets know their chances of getting Soto are slim, and Otani even worse. So it’s definitely time to aim somewhere between what they got and what they dream of. Fortunately, there is a huge middle ground.
Billy Eppler is one of those new grandmasters who works all the time (maybe not as much as fellow Padres A.J. Preller, who can sleep in the stadium, but just as much as everyone else). So I don’t tell him anything he doesn’t know. But let’s face it. The Mets need more help, though they impressively snapped their three-game losing streak with an 8-5 victory over the Padres at Citi Field.
The team, which at first looked almost perfect, is starting to show some obvious cracks. A roster that has been hitting nearly .300 with runners in scoring positions has recently returned to the franchise’s norm when it got much smaller in big places. The bullpen, already in need of depth (not to mention the southpaw), lost good rookie Colin Holderman in a direct trade for Vogelbach.
It’s pretty clear what the two needs are: another mid-bat on order and bullpen help. When the Mets bosses were asked what was their priority, it was like asking which of his children he preferred. He just couldn’t decide.
It is quite obvious that it is both. The Mets won’t win all of this without a stronger roster and a bullpen, unless, of course, prayers are answered and Jacob de Grom doesn’t end this season the way he started last.
Manager Buck Showalter said the Mets have a plan for deGrom and a schedule that they won’t mention for obvious reasons (yes, of course, it’s because they’ve had to push it back many, many times). And Showalter adds, “If anything happens to cause us to deviate from this plan, we will.”
Or rather, the words were never spoken. They will no longer risk deGrom’s billion dollar hand (by those who remember when), not when there is still hope to start their dream playoff rotation with deGrom and Max Scherzer, one-two if they’re healthy. to rival Koufax and Drysdale and a few others.
While it may seem like Godot’s expectation if deGrom can make it back unscathed, in the trade market they probably won’t be able to do anything to compete with that.
Soto, of course, has a chance of being handed out. Just not likely to the Metz. It’s very hard to imagine that Washington wants to see the best hitter in another dugout in their division for the next two and a half years, and possibly much longer, since owner Steve Cohen is the only person in baseball who could probably lock up Soto. no questions.
Otani is a player Eppler knows well, having lured him to Anaheim (or Los Angeles, if you will) rather than the many other suitors who coveted the two-way phenomenon, and who has become many times more valuable since he established himself as one of the best strikers. and one of the best pitchers in the game – not to mention perhaps the most amazing athlete and greatest play the sport has ever seen. The current opinion, however, is that it’s “highly unlikely” that the Angels would trade Ohtani now – no surprise, since their job was to collect superstars, not win games.
Now back to the real part of the column.
The handle was a problem almost from the beginning. They need a figurehead, and they especially need a left-hander. David Robertson, whom Eppler has known since the Yankees, would make sense to install.
As for the lefty, who was in dire need long before Joely Rodriguez had another tough outing on Sunday, they were in luck. Many mediocre teams have viable left-handers in the paddock and should add at least one from Matt Moore, Andrew Chafin, Tanner Scott, Joe Mantypley, Gregory Soto and old friend Aaron Loop.
The attacker will be stronger. While Vogelbach will help against right-handed pitching (153 OPS plus against Pirates right-handed pitching), they need more popularity in a lineup too dependent on MVP candidate Pete Alonso to tire of carrying a stick (that was his three home runs). and four RBIs that saved Sunday night.) The Mets should consider Josh Bell, Nelson Cruz, Ian Happ, Andrew Benintendi, Trey Mancini and Wilson Contreras for the part.
Francisco Alvarez has a power you just don’t see. Scherzer said it reminded him of the strength of Vladimir Guerrero when he was in the black. But he’s been struggling ever since he moved to Triple-A. So the Mets will have to bring in a more proven product.
Like left-handed pitchers, they are in good shape as there are enough of them to meet demand. Any of the half dozen guys in the previous paragraph will do. But from here Bell, Contreras and Happ would be the best choices. Of course, they are not Soto or Otani. But any of this trio will do.
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