Mets Choose Veterans Over Baty, Vientos, And Winning
Before Darin Ruf played a game for the New York Mets, the trade was a bad deal. The J.D. Davis part made total sense. He was bad and needed to go. However, parting with Carson Seymour and Nick Zwack made the trade an insane overpay.
People tend to forget stuff like that when a player is great, and the team wins. However, Ruf had a 13 OPS+ with the Mets, is dealing with an arthritic wrist, and the Mets had a historic collapse before succumbing to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Round.
The Eduardo Escobar signing didn’t make sense when it happened. After all, he was never really a third baseman. There were a number of intangibles he brings where you understood the signing as the season progressed.
However, Escobar would eventually lose his third base job. He eventually fell into a platoon with Luis Guillorme. If not for an injury, he would have forever lost it to Brett Baty. To be fair, Escobar did have a great September and was a leader for the Mets.
However, that was all 2022. The Mets now need to figure out how best to build their team for 2023. Instead of doing that, they took all the lazy cop outs and stuck with the veterans.
Watching this spring, it was very clear Brett Baty was ready to take over the everyday third base job for the Mets. It was also clear Mark Vientos was better than Ruf as the right-handed platoon option, and it also seemed like he could take over for Daniel Vogelbach for the entirety of the job.
For Vientos, you understand the demotion. Vogelbach should put the miserable spring behind him and have a good year. It should also be noted being a short side platoon DH option is just about the worst way to develop a player.
Looking at Baty, choosing Ruf and Escobar over him made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
As has oft been noted, Escobar is a bad third baseman. He was a -6 OAA at the position last year. With the elimination of the shift, he may soon become downright unplayable at the position.
Still, Escobar had use for the team. While he hasn’t been a good left-handed hitter, he did thrive against left-handed pitching last year. He could have taken over Ruf’s role as the platoon DH. That is a far more preferable option.
First, Escobar is just a better hitter. More importantly, Escobar has far more versatility. He can play all the infield positions except first, and he was exposed to left field this spring. Having Escobar as the platoon DH option and on the bench makes the team stronger and more versatile.
Escobar being on the bench naturally coincides with Baty in the starting lineup. That would make the lineup deeper and the defense far better. As a result, the Mets would have been far better. Instead of pursuing that option, Eppler opted for excuses.
He said Nolan Arenado played more games in the minors. Of course, Arenado didn’t have to deal with a pandemic. Also, that wasn’t an issue when the Mets called up Baty last season.
In the end, this is the side product of a lot of things. Buck Showalter prefers veterans. The Mets are trying to justify two bad deals. Certainly, we cannot discount a bit of service time manipulation.
Whatever the case, the Mets 2023 Opening Day lineup isn’t nearly as good as it can or should be. As a result, Eppler failed the team in his main objective – getting the manager the best roster he possibly can.