Danny Mendick, Rafael Ortega, and DJ Stewart Is Losing Without Purpose
The New York Mets can call it what they want, but they had a fire sale where they overhauled the organization. Finally, they built the type of farm system which can create the sustainable winner Steve Cohen coveted when he first purchased the team.
Saying the quiet part out loud, the next step in the Mets plan is to lose enough games to get a top six pick in the draft. Put in other words, the Mets are tanking. They need to tank because if they have a pick outside the top six they will drop 10 spots in draft position due to their payroll.
For the Mets, they now have to decide how they want to tank. Do they want to tank while failing to put a representative and competitive product on the field? Do they want to best use this time to get get a look at and develop young players? Or, do they just want to be horrendous and go through the motions?
Checking into the Mets series finale against the Kansas City Royals, Buck Showalter had his old Baltimore Orioles buddy DJ Stewart batting second. Rafael Ortega was in center. It was at least the first game since the trade deadline Danny Mendick, who played eight of the last nine, wasn’t in the starting lineup.
Stewart and Mendick are 29 years old. Ortega is 32. Up until this point in their careers, none of these players have been able to stick on Major League rosters. Given their age, it is fair to question whether that will ever happen .
Being fair to Stewart, he has made the most of his second chance. You could argue he could carve out a role in the Mets for the next year or two. That goes double with Daniel Vogelbach likely being gone after this year. However, you cannot say the same of Mendick or Ortega.
For an example of what the Mets should be doing, we can look to Jonathan Araúz. He just turned 25, and he was once thought of as a top prospect with the Boston Red Sox organization. There is real value in getting a long look at him to determine if he has a future with the Mets in a utility role.
There is dignity and a purpose getting a long look at Araúz. The same could be said about taking a look at Ronny Mauricio and letting him work with the Mets coaching staff to let them weigh in on whether his future is at second or any one of the three outfield positions.
Luke Ritter is having a big year in the minors, and he will be Rule 5 eligible again this offseason. Jose Peroza will also be Rule 5 eligible. There are others in the organization. Arguably, one of these two could be taken in the draft.
If you may be in a position where you are forced to add them, why not take a look now? The same could be said of some relievers like Dedniel Núñez, who was already once taken in the Rule 5 Draft.
The overriding point here is the Mets have young prospects having big years. There is nothing wrong with giving them a look at the Major League level. If they are drowning, send them down, and let them be better for the experience. You can get an evaluation from the Major League coaching staff. If you’re not impressed, you have more information at your disposal as you move on from them.
Overall, you are going to lose as many games (perhaps more) than you will be with Mendick, Ortega, and Stewart. However, you will be furthering your organizations goals. Mostly, you are giving your fans something to see who have stuck with you during this disappointing season, and you hope will be there next year as you change course from your past offseason strategies.