Discover more from Just Mets
Billy Wagner falls just short of Hall of Fame election, and two storylines heading into spring training
How should the Mets handle Brett Baty, Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos in camp and in the early part of the season?
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
Billy Wagner fell just short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame - he received 68.1 percent of the necessary 75 percent for election
Carlos Beltrán - in his first year of eligibility - received 46.5 percent of the vote, and Jeff Kent received 46.5 percent in his final year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot
The Mets officially announced their one-year contract with OF Tommy Pham, and designated LHP Taylor Saucedo for assignment (official release)
Keith Raad, who currently serves as a broadcaster for the Brooklyn Cyclones, is expected to join Howie Rose on the Mets radio broadcast on WCBS 880 (New York Post)
19 days until Mets pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie! ⚾️🌴
Two early Spring Training storylines for the Mets… ✍🏻
It’s still early - we are a shade over two months away from Opening Day, a shade under three weeks before pitchers and catchers have to report to Port St. Lucie. Hell, we haven’t even had a significant snowstorm (yet) in the New York metropolitan area this winter.
But the bulk of the heavy lifting is done for this Mets roster as it is for most rosters around the game as teams begin to think ahead towards those warm breezes, sunny skies, and palm trees.
Sure, the Mets can and should bring another left-handed reliever to camp, and with Andrew Chafin still available, well, there’s the guy, if you will.
But aside from that, this is pretty much what the Mets will be heading into camp and likely Opening Day.
There’s been a lot of discussion around what the Mets are going to do at third base between Eduardo Escobar and Brett Baty. One might expect the Mets will insist this is an open competition between the two and with Escobar headed to the World Baseball Classic, Baty is going to get a ton of playing time in March. Whether its really a competition or Escobar’s job to lose remains to be seen.
But I don’t think that should be limited to third base. They’re going to need to test Baty’s versatility in the outfield as well.
Well for starters, they really need to get reps for Mark Vientos at third base as well. I know he isn’t as highly touted as Baty is, and people say Vientos might very well be a liability at third base as well. But to be fair, many of those people said the same thing about Pete Alonso at first base, and that’s worked out just fine.
They also need to showcase his value at third base and Baty’s value as a versatile player while getting both a lot of at-bats during camp. That’s not to say one or both will be traded anytime soon, but the Mets need to play both hands from a long game perspective.
That brings me to Francisco Álvarez.
It sure seems as though Álvarez is going back to Triple-A to start the year after getting a very brief cup of coffee with the Mets at the end of the year in 2022, perhaps prematurely. He did in fact show off that power in the last series of the season against the Nationals, but with Omar Narváez brought into the fold and the Mets bringing Tommy Pham in, the logic of the roster suggests the Mets want Álvarez to go to Syracuse and catch full-time to start the year.
The issue the Mets have is the same as the one they had last year in that it’s hard to see them getting a lot of offense out of either Narváez or Nido. Of course, their defensive value is what they’re all about, and teams these days are valuing receiving and game calling behind the plate over offense from those roster spots.
Make no mistake - Alvarez’s time is coming. After all, he’s the best prospect in the game. And the Mets should let him catch as many games in March as possible. But while our natural impatience calls to have Álvarez make the Opening Day roster and catch Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the first two games of the season, is that really in his best interest at age-20 and being so green? Is he capable of calling games at this very early stage of his career for two of the best pitchers in the last 15 years?
In other words, is that best for the team? Maybe not, when you think about it that way.
For arguments sake, lets say the Mets carry him strictly as their right-handed designated hitter option. That would mean he’s not developing his defense and hitting only a fraction of the time, both of which would be a gross misuse of his skillset. And if he doesn’t hit in the handful of at-bats he gets in that role, what does that do for him?
How is that good for the best prospect in the game?
Anyway, these are just two of the countless storylines heading into camp on February 13. And the good news is, none of these are really bad problems for the Mets.
Think about it - we are talking about how the Mets can possibly fit in two of the best prospects in the game on a 100-win-on-paper roster, in January.
Hot Stove 🔥
Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 76.3 percent of the vote (official release)
White Sox RHP Mike Clevinger is under investigation for allegations of domestic violence (Athletic)
The Red Sox acquired Adalberto Mondesi from the Royals for LHP Josh Taylor (official release)
Marlins ownership has denied rumors the club was for sale (Miami Herald)
The Royals are confident they’ll be able to re-sign RHP Zach Greinke (MLB.com)