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Mets Have Insufficient Depth

With the signing on Jed Lowrie, the Mets have been talking about just how deep this roster is. To a certain extent, they are right. Having infield options which include Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, Jeff McNeil, and Amed Rosario in conjunction with Lowrie is incredible depth. However, that does not mean the Mets are a deep team.

First and foremost is the outfield. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are the only two healthy everyday outfielders on the roster. Juan Lagares has the glove to justify playing everyday, but he has hasn’t played more than 94 games since 2015, and in that season the Mets were desperate for an upgrade as they were making a postseason push.

Keon Broxton has hit .213/.296/.419 with an 85 OPS+ over the past two seasons indicating he has no business playing everyday. As bad as that is, Broxton is the last MLB outfielder on the 40 man roster.

After Broxton, the Mets are gambling on McNeil successfully transitioning to the outfield. It’s not an unreasonable gamble, and it is one we can expect to pay off. However, McNeil being an outfielder means the infield depth has taken a hit, which is a real issue should Alonso not be able to play first at the MLB level, or there are multiple injuries.

After McNeil is Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco, both of them are over 35 years old, and neither of them have had a good season since 2015. Having just two starting outfielders with a couple of has beens and never will bes is not outfield depth.

And no, Yoenis Cespedes cannot be relied upon. He underwent double heel surgery, and no one can reasonably pinpoint when he is returning to the lineup, nor can anyone have any indication of what he will be when he is able to return.

With respect to the catching situation, the Mets are undoubtedly better with the signing of Wilson Ramos. However, that does not mean there is sufficient depth. Both Ramos and Travis d’Arnaud are injury prone putting more emphasis on Tomas Nido, who has hit .181/.210/.255 in limited Major League duty on top of hitting .272/.300/.431 between Double-A and Triple-A last year.

There is a real chance at least two of those catchers are injured as the same time leaving the Mets to depend on Patrick Mazeika and/or Ali Sanchez. Basiscally, this isn’t much different than during the 2015 season where the team grasped at straws cycling through Kevin Plawecki, Anthony Recker, and Johnny Monell while they pieced together the catching situation in d’Arnaud’s absence.

Then there is the rotation. All five of the Mets starters have significant injury histories. Jacob deGrom is the only starter to have consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts. Jason Vargas is the only other starter with 20 plus starts in each of the last two seasons. Behind this thin rotation, with Vargas having a 64 ERA+ and a 5.02 FIP last year, is very questionable starting pitching depth.

Looking at the roster, Walker Lockett, Corey Oswalt, Chris Flexen, Drew Gagnon, and P.J. Conlon. all posted an ERA over 5.00 in the majors last year. Hector Santiago was moved to the bullpen partially because he has had a 4.06 ERA since 2016. Kyle Dowdy, the Mets Rule 5 pick, had a 5.15 ERA between Double and Triple-A last year, and with the team being forced to keep him on the roster or return him to the Rays, he is going to be a bullpen option.

Now, to be fair, the Mets do have bullpen depth. The back-end with Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia is as good as it gets. You can also say the Mets swing men, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, are the best combination in the Majors. From a left-handed relief option, Daniel Zamora has exception spin rates, and former White Sox Luis Avilan and Santiago have pitched well out of the bullpen.

Beyond that group, the Mets have promising young right-handed power arms in Tyler Bashlor, Eric Hanhold, Ryder Ryan, and Drew Smith. Combine that with Paul Sewald and Jacob Rhame, the Mets have sufficient numbers and depth in the bullpen, albeit not the big seventh inning reliever you would want.

In the end, yes, the Mets have admirable infield depth, and there are enough arms here to at least figure out a good bullpen. However, past that, this is a paper thin roster at outfield, catcher, and starting pitcher. If the Mets face a number of injuries, and based on their history, they will, the 2019 Mets are going to be in real trouble.

13 thoughts on “Mets Have Insufficient Depth”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    Curious…what team under the salary cap do you think has better depth than the Mets?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      There’s no salary cap in baseball

      1. OldBackstop says:

        You do appear as another fan said, of becoming a Meys basher rather than a fan.

        I would note you failed to include Dom Smith, who you have been praising, as depth either at IF or OF.

        I hardly think having our longtime starting catcher, who is still young, as second string speaks to weak depth. We have four strong starters, who combined for a lot of starts last year, with 2017 all star Vargas, 2015 all star Santiago, and a few others in the run for fifth,never mind Lugo for spit starts. Yet you identify that as a weakness?

      2. OldBackstop says:

        Yez, you posted that even tho one minute later I changed it to luxury tax.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I reply when I see them because I try to give every comment a reply.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    Who is deeper and under the luxury tax?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Off the top of my head, the Yankees, Dodgers, Brewers, and Cardinals are deeper. We will also have to see what the Phillies, Rockies, and other teams do.

  3. OldBackstop says:

    You do appear as another fan said, of becoming a Meys basher rather than a fan.

    I would note you failed to include Dom Smith, who you have been praising, as depth either at IF or OF.

    I hardly think having our longtime starting catcher, who is still young, as second string speaks to weak depth. We have four strong starters, who combined for a lot of starts last year, with 2017 all star Vargas, 2015 all star Santiago, and a few others in the run for fifth,never mind Lugo for spit starts. Yet you identify that as a weakness?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m being fair and honest, and I’m not going to allow my fandom to change my opinion.

      As for not including Dom on IF depth, it would’ve been superfluous when I commented how they have admirable IF depth. As for OF, he’s no more an OF than Davis, which is to say, they’re not outfielders.

      As for catching depth, if you have two injury prone guys and a guy who can’t hit, you don’t have sufficient depth.

      Just having four strong starters isn’t enough. Also, I’d note while citing Vargas as an All-Star, I’d note since that All-Star Game, he’s been terrible.

      With respect to Santiago, 2015 was four years ago. In the time since, he’s performed so poorly, he was moved to the bullpen and could only obtain a minor league deal this offseason.

      If Lugo begins the season in the bullpen, he’s a reliever. That’s it. He’s not bouncing back and forth.

      Overall, I’d note while accusing me of being a basher and not a fan, you forgot to include how I complimented the bullpen depth.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Way to go complimenting the bullpen depth, my bad. And since then they signed Wilson.

        As far as Santiago…who knows. You are right, 2015 was a long time ago.But it was for Bryce Harper too, and you seem to think he is worth his 10 WAR 2015 value rather than his 2 point something average since.

        And your certainty is impressive, but Lugo started five games last year after starting in the pen. He has been a starter all his career. If some of the candidates for fifth starter don’t cut it ans drop to the pen, the team will be thinking Lugo.

        Not “maybe.” He is signed. He might be considered for atarting, like last year, if needed.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          1. Harper is 26 years old, has amassed the 10th highest WAR since his MLB debut, and he’s a year removed from a 4.7 WAR. Santiago will be 32, and he has never had a full season with a FIP below 4.29.

          2. The Mets have talked about not treating Lugo the same way next year, which means, in part, if Lugo is a reliever, he’s not going to start.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            He’s a year removed from a 1.3 WAR and three years removed from a 1.7 WAR. Which one is showing up as he declines?

          2. metsdaddy says:

            In that three year period, he has a 133 OPS+, and he’s getting faster. He just led the league in walks. So no, I don’t see evidence he’s truly in decline.

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