Juan Uribe

Platoon?

As I wrote in my last post, the Mets have a lot of versatility. After thinking about it, I noticed something:

2B: Kelly Johnson (L) & Wilmer Flores (R)

3B: Daniel Murphy (L) & Juan Uribe (R)

CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) & Juan Lagares (R)

This is the making of the perfect platoon situation.  Last night the lefties played against the right handed Zach Lee. The aforementioned lefties were in the lineup. Once the game was out of control, the better defensive players were the Juans who came out onto the field (can’t wait to use that pun again). 

I believe Collins will look to ride the hot hand more than he’ll look to platoon players. However, when the Mets have faced lefties this year, he has loaded the lineup with right handed batters. I think the platoon system is the prudent way to go that unless/until the Mets get reinforcements (trades, players returning from injury). 

Remember, the only two times the Mets won the Workd Series, they effectively used a platoon system. 

Collins with the Right Mix

In his heart of hearts, Terry Collins is an old school manager. You reward players with playing time. If you don’t do your job, take a seat on the bench. This team, while imperfect, is perfect for Collins. 

Now, players will have to earn playing time. Before, Collins was throwing just praying that whatever buttons he hit would produce a run. This is not to disparage Collins. While I sometimes question his in game moves (like using Familia in the ninth tonight instead of Logan Verrette or Alex Torres) nothing that has happened with the offense thus far is his fault. 

However, the pressure is all on him now.  This team has interchangeable parts with limitations. He really only has three good defensive players: Juan LagaresJuan Uribe, and Lucas Duda. There are only four players with an OPS over .700: Duda, Granderson, Johnson, and Uribe (even if there are problems with OPS calculation). For most of the season, the problem was how to get blood from a stone. Now, it is don’t screw it up. Saturday night was a great start to say the least. The Mets only scored the most amount of runs they scored in Citi Field. 

I’d argue the most important development was Duda’s two HR game. For most people, present company included, Duda’s problems were lack of lineup protection and the weight of carrying this team.  If Saturday night is any measure, the pressure is off, and he’s back to being the middle of the order threat the Mets need. 

A very close second was Comforto’s night. Remember the old adage: sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make?  Well, if the Mets got Parra, Conforto is still in AA. Conforto looks ready  this is confirmed by his 4-4 game with 4 runs scored and an RBI. On a night like tonight, I’ll give the Mets the benefit of the doubt that Conforto needed those minor league ABs. 

The third important development was Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy getting the start and taking advantage of the opportunity. Both players homered and gave Collins no reason to take them out of the lineup. It was also a smart move for Collins to get Uribe in the game. It was also good to see Uribe get a hit. 

The rest was gravy. Matt Harvey was Matt Harvey. Apparently now, he’s a real threat at the plate with three consecutive multiple RBI games. Nieuwenhuis seems to be hitting again. The Mets finally beat up on weak pitching. There seemed to be a different energy to this club and to the ballpark. There was a lot to like. 

However, we need to reserve judgment until tomorrow when Zack Greinke takes the mound. If the Mets get some runs off of him tomorrow, they really do have something. The Mets have a chance tomorrow not only because they’re throwing deGrom, but also because they have eight legitimate bats (sorry nine tomorrow) in the lineup. Lets Go Mets!

Did Sandy Make the Wright Move?

Unfortunately, I think the Juan Uribe trade is a sign that David Wright is done for the year. If I’m right, this trade becomes even better than we original thought (like the Oliver Perez trade). 

Spinal stenosis is a fickle thing. Each case is different, and, as such, treatments vary. By the Mets own admission, Wright’s injury is taking longer to heal than they thought. This article was on May 23rd. I’m not being critical of the Mets here with Wright. The Mets have subjected themselves to criticism with their handlings of injuries, but not here. 
For what it’s worth, Wright has guaranteed he will return. Sandy Alderson just announced Wright resumed baseball activities. Sandy then traded for a third baseman. Remember, we initially were informed he would return after the All Star Break. I just find it odd as we hear Wright is on his way back, the Mets add a third baseman. 

I will say even if the Mets truly believe Wright is coming back, the Mets need an insurance policy (I don’t mean the one the Mets have right now) because repetition could exacerbate the spinal stenosis. Also, if he comes back, you want to give him more rest than you normally would during the stretch run. 

Overall, I really hope I’m wrong. Since 2005, he has been the Mets. He was part of the rise of the 2006 team. He showed why the original dimensions of Citi Field were a joke. With the redesign of Citi Field and the team, both he and the Mets were once again supposed to take off. 

For the first time, we can realistically ask, “Is the end of David Wright’s career near?”  It doesn’t seem right.”  He still has five years left on his contract. He’s only 32 years old. He was on pace for a Hall of Fame career. He may now be the Mets’ Don Mattingly. That would be a shame. 

I want my son to see David Wright and remember it. I want us to go to Citi Field when his number is retired. I want us to go to Cooperstown to see him inducted in the Hall of Fame. Mostly, I now just want to see him play again. 

Sandy Finally Able to Sift through the Trade Market

The Mets are finally getting the roster help they need. We all know about Michael Conforto being called up. Now, Sandy Alderdon has finally made a trade adding Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. 

For Mets fans rightfully bemoaning the loss of Justin Turner, the Mets have effectively replaced his career average of .288/.351/.422. My only qualm is this deal was probably available for a while, but they finally pulled the trigger after fans were apoplectic after the Kershaw game. I only hope this is not too little too late. 

Juan Uribe is likely to become the third baseman, which he has predominantly played since 2011. He’s hitting .272/.331/.409, which may not seem like much but it’s infinitely better than what they have. He’s known as a good clubhouse guy. I also like the tidbit from Josh Lewin that he plays in the World Series every five years, which would be this year. I know things like that aren’t determinative, but it’s the kind of thing that can give a team confidence (similar to the addition of Darryl Hamilton in 1999). 

Kelly Johnson is an unspectacular yet major league caliber player. He is a classic utility man, who has spent time predominantly in the OF but has also played 1B, 2B, and 3B. If he’s coming off the bench, which I assume he will, it’s a solid addition. 

The three questions resulting from this trade are: 1) what is the new infield alignment; 2) who goes off the roster; and 3) what did the Mets give up?

Personally, I would put Wilmer Flores and his .249/.282/.381 (135 AB without a HR) on the bench. However, the Mets seem to be forever infatuated with him, so I don’t think that will happen. I think the only thing that is for certain is Uribe is the everyday 3B. I think the Mets may try Flores at SS, where he was terrible, with Murphy back at 2B. 

The other option is to sit Murphy, which I’m not sure is prudent because even in a down year he’s better than Flores. They could muck the whole thing up and sit Duda and put Murphy at 1B. That’s the biggest mistake because you need Duda to snap out of it if you’re going anywhere. 

As to the second question, the only player who’s obvious to be sent down is Danny Muno. The other choice will probably be Eric Campbell, who is the only other bench player with options. Additionally, Campbell’s job is assumed by Johnson, a more capable player. UPDATE: Mets designated John Mayberry, Jr. for assignment (in my opinion that’s the right move). 

Lastly, I know nothing of these prospects, which is a good thing because it means they didn’t give up one of their better prospects. If you are interested in learning about them, here is a blurb on John Gant and another on Rob Whalen

The Mets still need a LOOGY and a SS. However, this trade added two major leaguers to a bench all under the Mendoza line. I think Uribe is a placeholder and not a solution. This trade makes more sense if Wright is indeed coming back this year. It was a solid but not great move.