Cookie shines as the Mets salvage the rubber game in Chicago, and who's roster spot is in jeopardy?
Tomás Nido is back, Gary Sánchez is out, and how can we get Ronny Mauricio to Queens?
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets salvaged the rubber game in Chicago by defeating the Cubs by a score of 10-1 (Box)
Pete Alonso blasted his MLB leading 19th home run in the victory
RHP Carlos Carrasco fired easily his best start of the season, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings
Jeff McNeil had three hits and was on base four times
Brandon Nimmo had a pair of hits including a two run triple in the eighth inning
Brett Baty drove in the first two Mets runs with a first inning sac fly and a third inning single
Roster Moves 🗞️
Mets activated catcher Tomas Nido from the injured list
Gary Sanchez was designated for assignment
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (26-25) @ Rockies (22-29)
Where: Coors Field - Denver, CO
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (3-2, 4.01 ERA) vs RHP Connor Seabold (1-1, 5.97 ERA)
When: 8:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
Which Mets veteran’s roster spot is in the most jeopardy?✍🏼
During the SNY broadcast on Thursday night, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez carried on a multiple inning conversation about the Mets path to ultimately promoting heralded prospect Ronny Mauricio.
Most of the conversation centered around which veteran would have to be jettisoned to make such a move possible. With that in mind, I thought a deeper dive into the situation is necessary.
For starters, it’s important to first remember that Mauricio is a natural shortstop and has played that position for his entire professional career. Given the presence of Francisco Lindor in Queens, Mauricio is never going to get a chance to be New York’s long-term shortstop. Because of this, over the last month the Mets have moved him to second base in Triple-A, where he has experienced some growing pains defensively and has committed six errors in 24 games.
But Mauricio’s offensive potential drastically outweighs his defensive learning curve.
In 48 games with Syracuse, this season he’s slashing .348/.384/.586 with 31 extra-base hits, 33 RBI, and nine stolen bases. The “Baby Mets” as they’re being referred to, Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and Mauricio, have all played together at multiple minor league levels and have a much-reported rapport and friendship with one another. The quartet no doubt envisions themselves as the future of this team.
Three of the four are already in Queens, so how can the Mets get Mauricio there?
Well, we’ve already established that he’d have to play second base which would push Jeff McNeil to left field full time. Such a defensive shift for the reigning batting champion would seriously cut into the playing time of both Mark Canha and Tommy Pham, who have essentially split left field duties to date. Most times the Mets have faced a lefty early this season one of them has served as the DH, though with Vientos now here that equation has changed dramatically.
So in a (likely not so) hypothetical future where Mauricio is starting at second base, McNeil is in left field, and Vientos is the DH, where does that leave Canha and Pham?
So far in 2023 the two have essentially produced at a near identical level.
Canha has slashed .233/.303/.363 with 13 extra-base hits and 12 RBI.
Pham has slashed .210/.298/.358 with six extra-base hits and 10 RBI in 65 fewer at-bats.
The Mets would not need two of the same player so trying to trade one of them would make the most sense. Still, they may not be the ones to go.
But another veteran needs to be included in this discussion, and his name is Daniel Vogelbach.
The Mets acquired the big left-handed hitter last summer hoping he would provide some thump from their DH spot. Unfortunately, that has just not materialized.
In 2023 Vogelbach is slashing .232/.372/.333 with only two home runs and four doubles in 99 at-bats. He’s obviously not contributed any real power, and his selectivity at the plate has drawn immense scrutiny from fans. In fact, Vogelbach is one of only three players in the big leagues to strike out over 20 times with the majority of which being looking.
That said, his OBP of .372 is very strong and he’s second on the team behind only Pete Alonso in drawing walks.
The issue, though, is that Vogelbach is to put it nicely, not fleet of foot, and offers no versatility whatsoever - he doesn’t play anywhere in the field and is inept against left-handed pitching.
In fact, since joining the Mets midway through the 2022 season he hasn’t played the field once and has strictly been used as a designated hitter or pinch-hitter.
Vogelbach’s job on this team is to mash right-handed pitching, contribute extra-base power, and drive in runs. The fact that none of those things have happened and that he cannot play defense dramatically diminishes the positive things he brings. Especially compared to Canha and Pham who both play strong outfield and could start against left-handed pitching with McNeil going back to second if Mauricio were to sit against a southpaw.
But again, the Mets don’t need two of the same player, do they?
Right now, the clearest path to a Mauricio promotion would likely come at the expense of Pham’s roster spot. This is something that might not happen today, tomorrow, or even next week, but it’s fair to assume these are conversations currently happening in the Mets front office.
Around the League 🚩
After letting the Marlins score four runs to tie the game in the top of the 9th, the Rockies got a walk-off hit from Ezequiel Tovar to avoid a bad loss
Down by one with two outs in the 9th, Rougned Odor connected on a three run home run to secure a win for the Padres in D.C.
Tampa Bay got seven terrific innings from Zach Eflin and beat the Blue Jays 6-3
The Braves scored three in the 8th to win a back-and-forth contest with the Phillies 8-5
Baltimore beat the Yankees 3-1 to push their record to a terrific 33-17
Yes, I agree, Voge should be released.
Why do we call it “the rubber game” of the series when the series was already 0-2. The rubber game usually denotes the game that decides the series one way or the other and this series was already lost.