Carlos Gomez – Because the Mets Are Counting on Justin Ruggiano
Reports are that Justin Ruggiano has begun his rehab assignment in Las Vegas. It’s strange to think that is the case because Ruggiano was released from the Texas Rangers while he was in AAA before the Mets picked him up. Apparently, it is because the Mets believed he was a better option in center field than just about anyone, including Michael Conforto.
It was an odd decision considering Ruggiano is not a particularly good defensive center fielder. Over the course of his career, he has a -6.4 UZR and a -9 DRS. If the Mets were looking to add him for offense for when the team faces left-handed pitching, their decision making is equally misguided as Ruggiano is a career .271/.334/.516 hitter against them. Overall, the addition of Ruggiano could be classified as a bit of a panic move as Yoenis Cespedes is unable to play center field for the rest of the year, and Terry Collins has outright refused to play Conforto and Brandon Nimmo against left-handed pitchers. Long story short, the Mets are without a true center fielder, especially when there is a lefty on the mound. In some ways, the Mets signing Ruggiano was the team making the best out of a bad situation.
However, now there is a better center field option available as the Houston Astros have released Carlos Gomez.
Now, the Astros released Gomez as he has been terrible for them. Since he joined them last year, Gomez has hit .221/.277/.342 as an Astro. With each and every game, Gomez faltered, and he justified the Mets decision to void the trade to acquire him for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores due to concerns about his hip. However, now, the Mets can acquire Gomez, and they should be interested.
From 2013 – 2015, Gomez averaged an 11.7 UZR and a 13 DRS in center field. Now, his defense has slipped from his 2013 Gold Glove caliber season, but judging on the advanced defensive metrics, Gomez has been an average at worst defensive center fielder no matter what Collin McHugh thinks:
Look, Gomez is available because he has been a bad baseball player for the past year. However, he is not that far removed from being a very productive major leaguer, and he is still only 30 years old.
If the Mets really want a right-handed bat as a platoon option, if the Mets want a player who still may have upside, and a player that can actually play center field, the Mets should go out and get Carlos Gomez. But they won’t, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise as this is a team that truly believes Ty Kelly is currently a better option in the outfield than Conforto right now. This is a team that passed over Juan Uribe to keep Kelly on the roster.
Passing on Gomez in favor of Ruggiano will become just the latest in a series of curious roster decisions the Mets have made this season.