You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Mets.
Why don’t the Mets ever bother to field an adequate defensive team? — @Metsdaddy2013
Defense hasn’t been a team strength for more than a decade. David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran in their respective primes represented a good nucleus defensively, but the equation began changing with injuries and Sandy Alderson’s arrival as general manager before the 2011 season.
Alderson, often working within tight financial restraints, valued offense over defense. Sometimes it worked. The Mets reached the 2015 World Series with an underwhelming defensive infield that included Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores and a physically compromised Wright. But once the Mets reached that World Series, their defensive deficiencies were exposed by the Royals.
Home runs sell more tickets than Gold Gloves. The top organizations combine both aspects, but the Mets too often have been forced to choose between the two.
Is there a reason J.D. Davis isn’t getting more reps at third base? Wasn’t that [his] natural position and isn’t he one of their better defensive options? — @DMarc107
Davis has worked out two or three times at third base during spring training 2.0, but it’s clear the position will belong almost exclusively to Jeff McNeil, unless there is a significant injury that changes the infield. Davis’ best position is probably first base, but the Mets are full at that spot, and DH likely won’t be much of an option with Yoenis Cespedes returning. If Davis is going to play mostly left field, that is where he should be receiving most of his work in camp.
Odds Ryan Cordell makes the team? Any other roster surprises that you would bet on? — @NYTankingSZN
Cordell has entered the conversation for a bench role during a solid camp, but the Mets also have Melky Cabrera as a spare outfielder and may not want to expand further given that Dominic Smith and Jake Marisnick will also be looking for at-bats. Andres Gimenez would be my “surprise” possibility for the 30-man roster, as somebody who can help the Mets off the bench in the infield and due to the minor league season’s cancellation. Normally, Gimenez would have been playing shortstop every day at Triple-A Syracuse.
Do you really think Robinson Cano will bat third consistently this season? — @Billsfreedom3
It’s probably his spot to lose. Cano expects to hit somewhere in the middle of the order, and it would be surprising if the collaboration of team officials calling the shots alienates a highly paid player who is under contract through 2023. That said, if the Mets get a few weeks into the season and Cano is performing at a disappointing level (such as his anemic first half last season), GM Brodie Van Wagenen won’t have much choice but to convince his former client to accept a drop in the order. For now, Cano is getting the benefit of the doubt that he’s still capable of producing at a high level.
Has Edwin Diaz improved? — @tedreednc
We won’t really know until he gets thrust into big spots in the regular season. Diaz’s stuff remains electric, so there is every reason to believe he can thrive, but there is always the possibility mental hurdles kept him from success last season. The most disconcerting number was the 15 homers Diaz allowed in 58 innings, a big number even if the ball was juiced. This much is virtually certain: The Mets need Diaz, Jeurys Familia or Dellin Betances to emerge as a back-end presence. Preferably, two of the three would be dependable, giving the Mets options other than Seth Lugo (and perhaps Justin Wilson) in tight games in the late innings.
Mets’ biggest need at the trade deadline? — @ammonation22
It’s odd to project about needs before the season even starts, but we’re less than six weeks away from the Aug. 31 trade deadline. The Mets became surprise buyers last year when they added Marcus Stroman, anticipating Zack Wheeler’s departure through free agency. Could Van Wagenen now be anticipating Stroman’s departure and look for another starting pitcher under club control through next season who might help the team in 2020 and ’21? An even bigger question might center on the logistics of orchestrating trades. Uprooting players during a pandemic could be complicated, and also you wonder if teams will be willing to take on payroll given the economic hit the industry has endured. The Mets may just have to search within their 60-player pool for answers.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article