The coronavirus crisis postponed the start of the MLB season, which was scheduled for March 26. The league and the players’ union are currently negotiating several things to return to play, and all of them concern the New York Mets.
One of them is particularly promising for the Mets’ lineup. According to Jon Heyman, cited by SNY, MLB is currently offering the union the option to implement a universal designated hitter spot for the 2020 season.
As you know, the American League plays with a DH and the National League doesn’t. The pitcher gets to hit in the old circuit, but if the changes go through, some New York Mets’ players stand to receive more at-bats in the upcoming season.
Heyman reports that the league’s proposal for the universal DH is expected to be easily approved, so if there is a season in 2020, it would seem like both leagues would have a designated hitter.
Great news for the Mets
For the New York Mets, that is fantastic news. While the current starting rotation’s depth suffered a huge blow with Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery, the lineup is, instead, crowded with usable options.
The Mets have a good offensive catcher in Wilson Ramos and a defensive wiz in Tomas Nido. They have Dominic Smith capable of playing first base, but blocked by Pete Alonso. There are lots of outfielders to spread around three spots, notably Brandon Nimmo, Jake Marisnick, Michael Conforto, Smith, Yoenis Cespedes and JD Davis. If the DH opens up, life could be easier for manager Luis Rojas.
There is also quite a logjam in the infield. If Jed Lowrie ever gets healthy, he is a very useful piece who can play second and third base, the same positions that Jeff McNeil can cover. Let’s remember that Lowrie was a 5.0 fWAR player the year before the New York Mets signed him. Robinson Cano’s contract and potent bat (if healthy) are also necessary in the lineup and a weekly start or two in the DH spot would help his legs.
Cespedes, Cano, and Smith are the most likely beneficiaries of the potential universal DH rule. The first two have suffered numerous lower-body injuries in recent months and Smith can find some extra at-bats given his path to playing time in first base is blocked.