Jonathan Lucroy & Jay Bruce Trades Won’t Fix the Mets
Last year, the Mets were coming off an absolutely brutal loss to the San Diego Padres on the eve of the trade deadline. As the team blew a 7-1 lead, it seemed like all hope was lost.
However, the Mets front office didn’t share the same sense of diapair. They were active on the phones trying to improve a team that was three games behind the Nationals. They were a team who had an extremely weak August schedule. They were a team in the mend with Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Cuddyer, and David Wright expected to return from the disabled list.
It was a good team getting healthy facing a favorable schedule ready for a three game set at home against the first place Nationals. It was behind this backdrop that the Yoenis Cespedes trade happened.
Seeing Cespedes hobbled out there is a stark reminder that this year is not last year. This is a Mets team that isn’t getting healthy. In fact, they’re falling like flies. Here is a list of the players currently on the disabled list:
This list also does not even include Asdrubal Cabrera who left yesterday’s game with what is initially being described as a strained patellar tendon. He seems as if he’s bound for the disabled list. With Cabrera going down, it will create another hole in not just the lineup, but with the defense.
With Cespedes’ injury and Lagares’ surgery, the Mets are left scrambling to find a center fielder. They have tried Curtis Granderson out there, and after one game, the Mets saw enough. Against righties, the Mets have tried Michael Conforto in center, and he has held his own. Just recently, the Mets signed Justin Ruggiano, who was playing in AAA before being released by the Rangers.
With Cabrera injured and seemingly bound for the disabled list, it leaves the Mets scrambling to find adequate defenders at the two most important defensive positions. It will also mean Neil Walker, who has hit .234/.316/.343 since May 1st, will be the only starting infielder remaining from the Opening Day Lineup.
By no means is Walker the only one struggling:
- 2015 – .259/.364/.457 with 33 doubles, two triples, 26 homers, and 70 RBI
- 2016 – .234/.326/.431 with 16 doubles, four triples, 16 homers, and 29 RBI
- 2015 – .270/.335/.506 with 14 doubles, nine homers, and 26 RBI
- 2016 – .225/.303/.419 with 14 doubles, or triple, 10 homers, homers, and 30 RBI
- 2015 – .268/.340/.485 with 14 doubles, one triple, 12 homers, and 42 RBI
- 2016 – .249/.290/.321 with five doubles, two homers, and 10 RBI
All across the diamond, the Mets are dealing with injuries, under performance, or both. According to Baseball Reference, the Mets have the lowest team WAR at shortstop, third base, and right field among National League teams in the playoff hunt.
Further exacerbating the Mets struggles is their August schedule. There are the four emotionally charged Subway Series games along with series against the Tigers, Giants, Cardinals, and Marlins. There is s short West Coast trip. The combined record of their opponents is 416-369, which is good for a .530 winning percentage. With this schedule and the state of the Mets roster, things can fall apart quickly.
In reality, neither Jonathan Lucroy nor Jay Bruce help these problems. They do not solve the defensive gap at short or center. They cannot heal the players on the disabled list. They cannot make the schedule any easier. No, the only thing they can do is to join the Mets and play well.
However, if the Mets don’t get healthy or start playing better, there’s no point in adding Lucroy or Bruce. They don’t solve the Mets real problems, and they likely don’t put the Mets over the top.
With that in mind, there’s no sense on buying at the deadline. You’re just purging prospects to help acquire players who will most likely not be difference makers. There’s also no sense to selling because this is a talented team that needs to find that next gear.
With that in mind, as frustrating as it might be, the Mets best option might be to stand pat.