These New York Mets’ players would receive more at-bats if there is a universal DH

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

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.

New York Mets: J.D. Davis is OK after his return to the lineup

J.D. Davis, maybe the most improved member of the New York Mets‘ roster in 2019, spent over a week out of the lineup because of a jammed shoulder. He suffered the injury after diving for a ground ball in spring training play, and after a few days of rest and treatment, he was able to return to the lineup on Sunday.

To be fair, Davis was hitting bombs in batting practice a few days prior to his return to the lineup, so it would be accurate to say that the Mets’ slugger had a swift recovery. In Sunday’s game, he accumulated a couple of plate appearances.

While he conceded that it was “weird” to be back out there making plays in left field and having live game action after a few days of being out, he told Alyson Footer of MLB.com that he felt good afterward.

“It was OK — nothing achy, no stiffness,” Davis said. “I’ve been playing free the past couple of days, so no limitations.”
The exact date of his injury, deemed as a jammed left shoulder, was on February 25th against the Tigers. Before seeing his name on Sunday’s lineup, he had a day of tests on Saturday: he practiced his diving on the bases, ran on steal attempts and made regular moves to both sides, both as a third sacker and as a left fielder. Those are the positions that the Mets’ are hoping he can cover this season.

The Mets’ plans for the slugger

Davis will now rest on Monday, and he is slated to play against his former team, the Houston Astros, on Tuesday.

“It’s great to be back out there,” Davis said. “It was kind of weird being off the field for two weeks. Just getting back to the routine, getting to the weight room. Routine-wise, that was the big thing — it was kind of weird today. Other than that, it’s great to be back on the field.”

Now that the injury is in the rearview mirror, Davis is expected to be ready for the start of the season and be a part of the New York Mets’ opening day roster.

“We’ll see how he keeps responding as he keeps playing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We want to keep ramping it up progressively as we move forward. He’ll be getting three at-bats in games as we move forward. He’ll play in back-to-back games just like everyone else started doing already.”

New York Mets: J.D. Davis takes batting practice and keeps progressing

New York Mets‘ slugger J.D. Davis, who left a game last week because of a jammed shoulder, is inching closer to a return to action. The third baseman/outfielder injured the area while trying to make a defensive play last Tuesday.

Davis took batting practice today and said his expectation is to be ready when opening day rolls.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m ready enough to be ready for Opening Day and everything,” Davis said to SNY. “I have no setbacks or anything right now. So feeling good, feeling strong. All the strength is there, all the range of motion is there. It’s just easing it back in and I think the next thing is just live ABs, hit off the machine and maybe work on diving back to the bag and sliding. But, other than that, we’re looking good right now.”

It does sound like the Mets’ star is close to a return, but first, he needs to clear those hurdles, especially having confidence in diving defensively and sliding into bases. The fact that he is already taking batting practice is a very good indication of his progress.

The Mets ordered an MRI

The injury occurred last week, precisely on Tuesday. After it happened, the Mets ordered an MRI for his shoulder that discovered no new damage. An old injury around the area was spotted, however. At the time, the Mets decided he needed to rest for a week. He has been performing baseball-related activities for a couple of days, though.

“After looking at it and the inflammation going down, no stiffness or anything like that, we could put one, two together that it was an older injury and it wasn’t affecting me at all,” he explained.

The New York Mets are expecting big things from Davis this year. He batted over .300 and slugged 22 homers, so the team needs him if they are going after a playoff spot.

Davis will alternate between left field and third base, sharing the former with Yoenis Cespedes and Dominic Smith and the latter with Jeff McNeil.

New York Mets’ J.D. Davis is ahead of schedule regarding his shoulder injury

New York Mets, J.D. Davis

While playing a Grapefruit League game a week ago, New York Mets‘ third baseman/outfielder J.D. Davis tried to make a fielding play and jammed his shoulder. Fear took over the team’s camp, but an MRI showed no new structural damage other than an old injury.

However, he hasn’t played since last Tuesday, when the injury happened. Doctors said he would be reassessed in a week, and while his opening day availability was in doubt, the injury wasn’t serious.

The Mets, however, got some good news to share. Davis is ahead of schedule in his recovery from his jammed left shoulder. He has been doing baseball-related activities for a couple of days now.

Among those activities are, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, hitting in the cage, which is one of the final hurdles he needed to clear before thinking about returning. Now, Davis should be a few days away from suiting up and playing games again. He remains without an exact timetable, though.

The primary thing is that he avoids any setbacks, because that would cause his return date to extend a couple of weeks at least.

One of the Mets’ revelations

Having Davis back soon would be huge news for the New York Mets. Yoenis Cespedes isn’t ready to play yet, and therefore, Davis is expected to be the team’s primary left fielder the minute he returns to the field.

Davis was one of the revelations of the Mets’ 2019 season. He hit .307 with 65 runs scored, 22 home runs, 57 RBI and a .896 OPS.

His .307 /.369/.527 slash line, .373 wOBA and 136 wRC+ made him one of the Mets’ most productive hitters last season.

While he doesn’t excel at any defensive position, he has worked hard to be a competent left fielder and will be called upon to man the hot corner on occasion, as well in the days that Robinson Cano needs a break (Jeff McNeil would slide to second.)

The New York Mets and J.D. Davis get good news after injury scare

The New York Mets received some good news on the injury front on Wednesday afternoon. Third baseman/outfielder J.D. Davis, who jammed his left shoulder while diving for a ball in the hot corner on Tuesday, had an MRI today and it was negative.

To be more specific, the MRI showed “no new structural damage,” according to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

The GM said that the test “didn’t show a ton of inflammation” either. Davis landed hard on his shoulder while trying to catch a ground ball in a Grapefruit League game.

The Mets dodged a bullet and avoided a serious injury to one of their most important offensive performers. With Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes already nursing or recovering from injuries, the team can’t afford to lose a 136 wRC+ bat for any extended period of time.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Davis is expected to rest the shoulder into next week and then be re-evaluated. He has a shot at being ready to suit up for the Mets on opening day.

Van Wagenen did say that the test showed a previous labrum injury, but that the slugger has been able to play through without issue.

The Mets’ slugger feels “fine, just a little achy and sore”

Davis indicated that he felt “a little achy and sore, no sharp pains, and I’ve got full range in my shoulder right now, and it’s just a little weak, but I am feeling good,” Davis said. “Shoulders can be tricky, so first day it’s going to be just rehabbing and then just go from there and progress back to baseball activities.”

The former Houston Astro say that he didn’t know about the previous labrum tear.

“I never had symptoms of it, which is a relief, because when [the doctor] said it had a little tear and said it looked like an old injury, so I was instantly relieved about it,” he said.

New York Mets to Give Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis First Base Reps

Despite having the rookie of the year in Pete Alonso and two backup first basemen, the New York Mets are looking to expand their depth there. Brodie Van Wagenen said Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis might see time at first base throughout Spring Training. It certainly is a questionable move, considering the situations for both players.

The Mets already have Alonso, Dominic Smith, and the recently signed Matt Adams at their disposal. Alonso spent 156 out of his 161 games at first base, and the five games he did not play there were either a DH or pinch-hitting stint. First base should be the least of concern for the Mets as pitchers and catchers officially report this week.

Focus on the Outfield

Cespedes is coming off of nearly two years on the sidelines, and Davis is trying to prove he can be a capable defender in the outfield. It would be a waste of time to take away outfield reps to have a couple of players have the ability to play multiple positions. Of the 15 position players on the current 40-man roster, nine can play multiple positions. It would be different if the two were not fighting for playing time, but both have something to prove during the Spring.

Giving both first base reps could also mean the Mets could still be shopping one of the two. The Mets already have an abundance of veteran players throughout their roster. Van Wagenen might look to make a move close to the end of Spring Training if both are playing well, and having them split time is not ideal. Cespedes seems the more likely option trade due to his age, contract, and Davis recent success compared to Cespedes’s inability to play a full season.

Should the New York Mets Trade for Starling Marte?

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The New York Mets have intensified their desire to acquire Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. This rekindling of trade talks likely comes in response to the Atlanta Braves signing Marcell Ozuna. The looming question hanging over the Mets is he worth the trade?

https://twitter.com/yaschwa30/status/1220834299064262658

The simple answer is no. The Mets should not avoid the trade because they do not need him, but because they should not dish out more than he is worth. Marte is heading into his age-31 season, and the defensive metrics do not favor him in center field. The trade would force the Mets to give up either J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and guarantee them moving Tomas Nido and a mid-level prospect.

Keep the Hand You Are Dealt

In 2019, Marte’s best slugging year only put him third among the Mets group of outfielders. He sits behind Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis and is only nine points better than Michael Conforto. Nimmo’s best year in 2018 was better than any slugging year Marte put together before his .503 in 2019.

The four main outfield options are all younger, cheaper, and better at the plate than Marte. Yes, Marte is the better base stealer, but he ranks dead last when comparing him to the 2019 Mets outfielders. Marte’s best walk rate season (6.1%) is still worse than Nimmo’s worst walk rate season (7.5%).

We omit the bat of Jake Marisnick because he will not be a consideration to start every day going into spring training.

Speed Does Not Equal Defense

Marte is faster than the two starting center field options of Conforto and Nimmo, but he is not better defensively. There was a time where that statement was completely false, but Marte’s defense fell off big time last season. Marte’s UZR dropped from 3.2 to -7.6 from 2018 to 2019. The drop is way too drastic for the Mets to take a risk to hope he is slightly better than Conforto and Nimmo.

Marte saw more time in center than both Mets center fielders. When both UZR’s are expanded to equal the same amount of time, Nimmo still projects to play better, and Conforto projects as a serviceable right fielder. The Mets will not be getting the gold glove caliber Marte, who is likely in a declining part of his career.

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If the Mets want to include Davis instead of Nimmo, then the Mets will put themselves in a high position to succeed. Despite likely being on a decline, his poor UZR will settle in the middle between 2018 and 2019. The key is keeping Nimmo and any high-level prospects out of the trade.

The Pirates are much like the Mets when it comes to horrible organizational management since the century turned. Both have their fair share of questionable moves, and this trade will come down to makes the trade out of confidence, not desperateness. Brodie Van Wagenen trades have come with more failure than success during his short tenure with the Mets. This final one could be what determines his fate under the ownership of Steve Cohen.

 

Who is the Everyday Third Baseman for the Mets in 2020?

After the signing of Dellin Betances, the New York Mets have gone quiet with making significant moves on the free-agent market. The signing of Josh Donaldson or trade for Nolan Arenado seems very unlikely to solidify third base. Much like the outfield, third base looks like it will be a revolving door throughout the early part of the season until Carlos Beltran settles on a lineup.

The Mets have three options for third base in J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Jed Lowrie. Davis commanded playing time in left field when the Mets outfield lacked offense. He played 31 games at third, which is his natural position, but was below average there. Davis is nowhere near a defensive wizard in left field either, but his bat carried enough value to play every day.

McNeil played the same amount of games at third base and projected a lot better defensively. Ninety-eight percent of the balls hit to McNeil resulted in outs. Out of the multiple positions he plays, his best defensive position is at third base. It would be the best bet for the Mets to allow him to get a majority of the starts there.

The Case of Jed Lowrie

Lowrie separates himself in this conversation because it seems like the Mets do not want him on their roster. He barely played in 2019, and it is hard to expect anything out of him at age-36. Lowrie has always been an average third baseman and cannot to play the outfield like McNeil and Davis. Lowrie’s ability to switch hit is something the Mets roster lacks.

Quality depth is always necessary because injuries and poor performance can creep up on any player at any time. What makes the Mets roster interesting is how many different platoon swaps they can have.

If Robinson Cano is out of the lineup, all three could end up playing at the same time. If the Mets decide to play Jake Marisnick or Yoenis Cespedes along with Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto in the outfield, then only one of the three third basemen can be in the lineup.

These problems are good ones for Carlos Beltran to have. He has to cycle between two .300 hitters and a 2018 All-Star, and that is just at third base. Beltran’s outfield situation becomes even messier, especially is Yoenis Cespedes is healthy for Opening Day and has a good Spring Training.

Granted, in 2020, managers may not have the freedom to create lineups like they used to. Creating a lineup which allows players to feel fresh but allows them to get in an everyday rhythm is going to be one of the toughest challenges for the Mets in 2020.

Should the New York Mets trade JD Davis?

New York Mets, J.D. Davis

JD Davis had a breakout 2019 season offensively, but his poor defense might make him the perfect trade chip for the New York Mets.

JD Davis was the one big success story for the Mets 2018 offseason. He was the lone great acquisition that GM Brodie Van Wagenen made. Yet, his position on the team isn’t secure.

For all his offensive capabilities Davis is an awful defender. He was worth -16 DRS across both third base and left field in 2019. For a Mets team that was 31st in baseball in DRS, and had the second-worst DRS of any team over .500 since the stat has been recorded, he doesn’t fit long term.

There just doesn’t seem to be a spot for Davis to play for the Mets in 2020. He’s too good to be a bench bat, but his defense is too much of a liability for him to play every day. That makes him an ideal trade chip.

Unlike the Mets, many teams around MLB can hide a poor defender. In the AL he would fit perfectly as a DH. Not to mention that his value is at an all-time high coming off his 2019 season.

First, JD Davis is likely not a starter on the 2020 Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen has been adamant about playing Jeff McNeil at third base and has made it clear the Mets plan to upgrade at center field this year.

If that’s the case Davis would be a bench bat for the majority of the season sitting behind McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto. So, instead of letting a valuable resource like Davis sit on the bench wouldn’t it make more sense to trade him in an effort to get the best possible replacement for Zack Wheeler or the best upgrade in center field.

For example, centering a trade for Starling Marte around JD Davis would immediately improve the Mets defense and still give them a top-end bat at the position.

Maybe the Mets prefer to target a starting pitcher and trade JD Davis for a pitcher like Matthew Boyd to replace Zack Wheeler.

These are moves that can only happen because JD Davis’ value is at an all-time high. It opens up so many more avenues to make the team better as a whole.

Would it suck to lose a young cost-controlled player like Davis, absolutely. However, when a team is cash strapped as the Mets are sometimes you have to sacrifice to gain.