By Jerry Del Priore
Before the New York Mets picked up players such as infielder Todd Frazier, outfielder Jay Bruce, and left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas, plus to a lesser extent, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, I didn’t think that they had much of a chance of making the postseason.
But the aforementioned moves have reinforced the Mets’ offense, and the oft-injured starting pitching staff got a boost with Vargas, who they inked to a two-year deal worth $16 million. The 35-year-old posted a 18-11 mark with 4.16 ERA in 180 frames in 32 starts with the Royals in 2017. So, that provides New York with a measure of starting pitching depth.
Right now, from last season, New York can just rely on righty Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, even though he was injured last year. Hey, he has the stuff and makeup to be one of the best arms in baseball. Everybody else, however, is up in the air.
However, that has yet to be determined, but I do feel New York can secure, at least, a Wild Card berth.
Frazier gives the Blue and Orange a solid bat, as he hit 27 home runs and drove in 76 runs, although he did post a .213 average between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
In addition, he has been known to be a great clubhouse guy and will provide the Mets with much-needed leadership—on and off the diamond.
Bruce, who New York dealt at the trading deadline last year, had a very good ’17 season, belting 36 dingers and 101 RBI with a .254 average and .504 SLG percentage in 555 at-bats in 146 games between the Mets and the Cleveland Indians.
Like Frazier, the soon-to-be-31-year-old also brings leadership ability to the club, which is always a great intangible.
Since the Mets are not completely sold on youngster Dominic Smith—who Callaway benched for one game for showing up late to a meeting and has been hampered by a strained right quad— just yet, they went out and acquired Gonzalez for the major league minimum of $545,000.
In this case, whatever the first baseman can give New York is gravy. If he can return to somewhere near his form from 2016, when he hit .285 with 18 homers and 90 RBI with the Los Angeles Dodgers, that would be a huge plus for the Mets.
In not, New York will employ a mix of first baseman—Wilmer Flores, Smith, Frazier and Gonzalez (if he remains with the team long enough)—if there’s a lack of offense production.
Lastly, one major component the Mets need help with is in its bullpen. Hopefully, closer Jeurys Familia can put all his woes behind him and return to prominence. And get contributions from others such as Zack Wheeler, who looks like as if he’s inline for a ‘pen spot in the crowed New York starting rotation.
Only time will tell.