Trading Dilson Herrera Was a Bad Idea
Coming into the season, the Mets were high on Dilson Herrera, and they viewed him as the second baseman of the near future. It is why the Mets let postseason hero Daniel Murphy walk, and they eschewed other long term free agent options to trade for Neil Walker who was a year away from free agency. However, the Mets made it perfectly clear they were willing to forego Herrera as the second baseman of the future if the right player came along. That is why the Mets doggedly pursued Ben Zobrist in the offseason. For the right piece or for the right price, the Mets were going to move on from Herrera to make the team better.
It is just hard to believe that player was Jay Bruce.
There is a lot to like about Bruce. He is a traditional slugger who is leading the league in RBI. He has a very affordable team option. He is insurance against Yoenis Cespedes missing an extended period of time this year, and quite possibly insurance against him leaving in free agency. He also helps with a sluggish Mets offense and with the Mets inability to hit with runners for scoring position. He is also more of the same.
This is a Mets team full of low OBP, high slugging outfielders – Bruce, Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Conforto. With the exception of Cespedes, all of the Mets current outfield options are left-handed batters. What this team doesn’t have is a center fielder. Currently, the best defensive center fielder on the team is Alejandro De Aza. While he is the team’s hottest hitter and best defender, it is hard to imagine he is going to be an everyday player while the team sits one of Granderson or Conforto everyday. In sum, Bruce is a nice offensive upgrade, but he doesn’t solve the teams problems. With that in mind, it seems like Herrera was a steep price to pay for someone that doesn’t solve what ails the team.
It’s also selling low on Herrera in what has been a tough year for him. Herrera has gone from a .327/.382/.511 hitter to a .276/.327/.462 hitter in AAA this year. He has had nagging shoulder issues, and he has fallen into some bad habits at the plate. It has been the first time the 22 year old has struggled at the minor league level. However, given the fact that he is still young for his level, and the fact that his struggles are closely associated with an injury, there is every reason to believe Herrera will rebound and become the All Star second baseman the Mets envisioned he would become. That is a steep price to pay for a duplicative player that does not solve the Mets problems.
We are just seeing it now with Michael Fulmer in Detroit. Fulmer was the big time prospect the Mets traded last year. He is the leading Rookie of the Year contender, and he is certainly in the Cy Young conversation with him going 9-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.089 WHIP. With each and every dominant start, it is a stark reminder how much the Mets need him this year with Matt Harvey‘s season ending surgery and Zack Wheeler being well behind schedule to return to the rotation. Overall, the idea behind trading Fulmer was to trade from depth to acquire a missing piece . . . a missing piece that was an imperfect fit. As we see last year, the Mets supposed depth was an allusion.
Now, the Mets did trade from depth with Herrera. Gavin Cecchini could move from shortstop to second, which now seems to be his destiny with the meteoric rise of Amed Rosario. Wilmer Flores could move over there next year. The Mets could always re-sign Neil Walker or another free agent or make another trade. Depending on David Wright‘s health, Jose Reyes could move from third to second. There are any number of factors at play, but as we see again this year, the Mets can never have enough depth as this team seems more snakebitten than any other team in the majors. With that in mind, the Mets are now less deep at second base, and they are quite possibly without their best second base option for next year.
The Mets traded away another big time prospect for another slugging corner outfielder. Hopefully, Bruce will have a similar effect on the Mets as Cespedes did last year. The Mets are going to need that type of performance to help them get back to the postseason. They are going to need that type of performance to help Mets fans forget about the player they gave away in Herrera.