New York Mets: Jed Lowrie to Fully Participate in Camp

After a long year and a half, Jed Lowrie can finally participate in all baseball activities. The 36-year old only appeared in nine games for the New York Mets in 2019 and could not spend any time in the field. Most of the time, we have seen Lowrie with the Mets, he wears leg braces reminiscent of Forrest Gump’s.

Lowrie went through a series of different workouts on Sunday, and Mets manager Luis Rojas gave him the thumbs up to move on without the leg brace. This is the first time in 2020 that he goes through baseball activities without the 3/4 brace. Rojas says the Mets will be very cautious going forward due to the extensive injuries Lowrie suffered.

Anything is Better Than Nothing

Lowrie signed a two-year/$20 million deal before 2019. Combining a “kinetic chain” of leg injuries along with his contract and the Mets had someone who was untradable during the offseason. Lowrie gives the Mets value as their only switch hitter and someone who plays all four positions in the infield.

Even if Lowrie is fully healthy for opening day, Andres Gimenez or Eduardo Nunez likely join him on the roster as insurance plans. Gimenez sticks if they need him long term, and Nunez stays if they needed him for 1-2 weeks. The last time Lowrie was fully healthy, he made his first All-Star team, and they would be happy to get even 75% of that contribution in 2020.

 

New York Mets injury report: Cespedes sprinting, Lowrie still on brace

For a regular baseball player, running sprints is just another part of their training routine. For a guy that hasn’t played since July 2018, though, and is looking to make his mark in the last year of his contract, it is a significant development. Yoenis Cespedes, after months of being unable to run at full speed, did just that in the New York Mets‘ Citi Field on Friday night.

He also played catch with his throwing partner Johneshwy Fargas, per MLB.com. The sprinting is a giant step in the right direction for the Mets’ outfielder, who has missed the last year (and change) with multiple heel and ankle surgeries. He seems an awful lot closer now.

“We’ll see in the upcoming days in camp when we start ramping it up more and we get involved into the bases and all that where he is as far as that,” manager Luis Rojas said earlier in the day. “But I know he was in progression and I heard really good things about it, and I can’t wait to see Céspedes myself.”

With the addition of the designated hitter in the National League, the New York Mets stand to be among the biggest beneficiaries because they can plug Cespedes in that slot and bring him along slowly. They also have other candidates such as J.D. Davis, Dom Smith and Robinson Cano.

Lowrie still a question mark for the Mets

While the Mets got good news on Cespedes, infielder Jed Lowrie seems stuck in his recovery. He reported to spring training with a knee brace back in February, and he still has it this time around.

As a result, he may not be able to participate in full baseball activities at Mets camp. The likelihood is that he won’t appear in games until he sheds his brace. Brodie Van Wagenen recently narrowed down Lowrie’s physical issues to his left knee, and said he must find a way to feel comfortable playing while wearing a lighter brace.

For now, Lowrie played catch and took some ground balls, but not much else.

“Once again, we’re going to see how his progression is,” Rojas said. “That’s something that I need to reassess with the performance staff as well to see where he is. The knee brace was his limitation as far as getting comfortable … throughout practice and seeing if he can wear it in games. That was the question as we were going through camp, and we need to reassess with the performance staff here in camp as far as his baseball activity.”

New York Mets: Prospects Who Can Make an Impact

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Over the last few hours, the New York Mets added multiple veterans to their 60-man player pool for Spring Training 2.0. Throughout the field of players, the Mets have a small number of prospects who have a chance to make the major league roster. As the roster spots dwindle, it seems unlikely the Mets will use players within their organization to fill those spots.

Andres Gimenez is the first prospect that pops out of the Mets player pool. With the current set up of the Mets infield, he is a backup player. What he does bring is speed and an above-average glove, which is valuable for a weak defensive team. Gimenez also played exceptionally well in the Arizona Fall League, and he should make the 30-man roster. He will like to get cut when it drops to 28, but he seems to be a more reliable option than Eduardo Nunez or Jed Lowrie.

Extra Rotation Options

David Peterson is an intriguing option for the Mets because of their lack of starting pitching depth. As a left-handed pitcher, he could make the bullpen as a second left-handed reliever but projects better as a starter. If the Mets need rotation help for an extended period, it would be a better decision to turn to Peterson over Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt. Lockett and Oswalt have career ERAs of 8.84 and 6.43, respectively. With the expectations that low, there no reason not to give Peterson the opportunity.

Kevin Smith and Franklyn Kilome are two other pitching prospects who could make an impact. While Kilome projects more as a reliever, Smith’s potential as another lefty is exciting. His 2.75 ERA through his minor league career is impressive and also serves as a better option than Oswalt and Lockett. Though only pitching less than 50 innings in double-A, he is a fringe candidate for the 30-man roster.

New York Mets: Looking at the Designated Hitter Candidates

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

The designated hitter is here to stay during the 2020 shortened season, and the New York Mets are full of options. From injury-prone stars to bench players who do not have a role, the candidates are endless for the Mets.

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes is the front runner to be the designated hitter. Reports say he will be fully healthy for Opening Day, and putting him at DH would preserve his legs for the entire season. Over 81 career games as a DH, he is hitting .287/.328/.524 with 18 home runs and 60 runs batted in. Cespedes has the highest potential to carry the team when healthy, and Mets fans would love to see him contribute every day. Despite the injuries, he still possesses a lethal arm in the outfield and is a former Gold Glove winner.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith also dealt with injuries during 2019. He lost playing time at first base due to Pete Alonso earning the job for himself. Smith only has one previous game as a DH and but is a potent left-handed hitter. He is coming off his best year in the big leagues, and he is a better option than Cespedes. Considering that Smith will be with the team in 2021, they should be getting him ready for the DH role going forward.

J.D. Davis

It seems J.D. Davis days at third base are limited and is mainly a left fielder. The most likely situation for Davis to end up at DH is if the Mets opt to put Cespedes in left to keep a strong lineup. They could also put Jake Marisnick in center field and put Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto in the corner positions. The main reason Davis could be a DH is due to his defense in the outfield.

Robinson Cano

A healthy Robinson Cano is someone the Mets would like to play all 60 games of the season. At 37-years old, it is unlikely for him to play all of them at second base. To keep him fresh/healthy moving Jeff McNeil to second and Davis to third base would allow the Mets to DH Cano and keep his bat in the lineup. He is still a solid defensive second baseman, so do not expect him to be the everyday DH.

Wilson Ramos

Much like Cano, Wilson Ramos is someone who needs to play in all 60 games. He will not be able to do that at catcher, but the Mets hope to keep their best hitter with runners in scoring position in the lineup. Instead of giving Ramos an entire day off from catching, moving him to DH and putting Tomas Nido/Rene Rivera behind the plate would balance the drop in production from the catching position. Despite the hitting loss, the catching defense would upgrade during Ramos’ turn at DH.

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie has no fit on the roster and is only an option because he has nowhere to play in the field. The last time Lowrie played every day, he was an All-Star, but he has gone a year and a half since the last time he made a starting lineup. The most significant trait for Lowrie as a DH is his switch-hitting ability.

The Mets DH options are abundant, and it would be no surprise if they had the most players swap in at DH throughout the season. Everything is analytics driving in modern baseball, and combining that with keeping players fresh is going to be a major challenge for Luis Rojas in year one.

New York Mets: Is Jed Lowrie a complete bust?

New York Mets, Jed Lowrie

Before the 2019 season, the New York Mets signed then free agent Jed Lowrie to a two-year pact to start in the infield. He has the ability to play second and third, so he was a useful piece even though the team had traded for Robinson Cano and Todd Frazier was still around. He was actually coming off a 5.0 fWAR season with the Oakland A’s, so at least he had skills, right?

Now, however, the Mets’ decision to ink Lowrie to a deal has brought them virtually nothing and is quickly approaching, as the New York Post analyzed, bust status. And not because he doesn’t know how to play baseball and be an effective major leaguer, which he has proved he is. It is because persisting health issues have gotten in the way.

Lowrie has been a Brodie Van Wagenen client in the past. According to a talent evaluator interviewed by The Post, those are the guys he trusts: his clients.

“[Van Wagenen] knows the guys he represented and those are the guys he believed in,” a major league executive said. “His knowledge of players is based mostly on the players he represented, so you are partial to the players you know, and obviously he went to the players he knew.”

When all was said and done, Pete Alonso made it as a first baseman and established himself as a top performer, and Jeff McNeil also played lots of reps in the infield. It was Lowrie the one that couldn’t even make the field, going 0-for-7 in the year and missing almost the entire season with an assortment of ailments, including a knee issue that, to this day, refuses to fully go away.

The Mets’ infielder hasn’t been able to take the field

From the start of this year’s spring training and until action was halted, the New York Mets infielder couldn’t take the field because of his knee injury. He practiced with a large brace.

It is unclear what the Mets should expect from Lowrie this season. There isn’t a clear path to regular playing time and he isn’t 100 percent healthy.

Maybe the New York Mets would do things differently if they knew Alonso and McNeil would be this good. Perhaps they would have hired reinforcements to the bullpen. That ship has sailed now, however.

Last year, he suffered a pulled left hamstring, discomfort on his right side, and a damaged left knee capsule.

“That’s $20 million that was basically thrown out the window,” the talent evaluator said. “Stuff happens, I get it, but the reality is did they need Lowrie? No.”

New York Mets: Jed Lowrie is not ready for spring games just yet

New York Mets, Jed Lowrie

The New York Mets‘ injury room, although not filled with long-term cases, has a couple of high-profile names. It was reported in the last few hours that second baseman Robinson Cano wouldn’t be ready to play in spring training games until late February or early March. Yoenis Cespedes is also limited at the moment while recovering from heel and ankle surgeries.

Another one that isn’t quite ready to see the field yet is Jed Lowrie. The infielder set up the alarms when he showed up to camp with a large knee brace a few days ago. According to Anthony DiComo, he is still getting used to play with it.

Manager Luis Rojas said he wasn’t ready to see game action yet, although he didn’t indicate a long-term absence.

“It’s a matter for him and the performance staff to feel comfortable translating that into games,” Rojas said.

“Right now he’s working with the brace, and he feels like himself,” he skipper said of Lowrie, who missed nearly all of last season due to a variety of injuries, including one to his left knee (the one with the brace). “It’s something that we’re looking at closely. … He’s got to keep on doing the things that are going to progress him into the games.”

The Mets want him to improve

The second and third baseman, who signed with the New York Mets before the 2019 season after having a 5.0 fWAR year with the Oakland Athletics in 2018, only played nine games. The 35-year-old is trying to change his luck when it comes to injuries.

In those nine games, Lowrie accumulated eight plate appearances and no hits. He did walk one time, but that was it. The 2019 season was a lost one because of injuries.

In 1,118 games and 4,500 career plate appearances, Lowrie accumulates a .261/.335/.413 line with .326 wOBa and a 106 wRC+. He has 104 home runs and 509 RBI.

New York Mets: Lowrie is practicing with no restrictions; Cespedes is still limited

Simeon Woods-Richardson

Two New York Mets‘ players that aren’t in the cards to be regulars as of now, but are near locks to make the roster if healthy, are making progress injury-wise. Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie are, according to manager Luis Rojas, making progress.

Lowrie came to the Mets prior to the 2019 season. However, he only managed eight plate appearances with a variety of injuries, including a left knee issue that is about to turn a year old.

Cespedes, meanwhile, hasn’t played since July 2018 with multiple heel injuries. The 2019 season was also a lost one, after he had a run-in with a wild boar that resulted in a broken ankle.

Per Rojas, Lowrie was a full participant in the Mets’ sessions and workouts. He had no physical restrictions and took ground balls, took live batting practice and more. “Jed is a full go in practice,” the skipper said. He is still wearing a brace.

Lowrie reported to Mets’ camp with a large brace

When he reported to the New York Mets’ camp on Sunday, Lowrie appeared with a large knee brace. He said it helped him manage the “symptoms” he was feeling, although he failed to specify which those were.

The Cuban outfielder, meanwhile, had an eventful first workout day on Monday. He declined to talk to the press covering the Mets in Port St. Lucie. He also said that he didn’t plan on doing so at any moment in the year.

Cespedes is working hard to get back on the field and earn a spot in the opening day roster because he would earn $5 more million if that happens, per the details of his reworked contract.

He participated in the majority of activities, but as of now, remains a limited participant in workouts until further notice. It’s unclear what chances he has of making the 26-man roster.

New York Mets: Jed Lowrie Practices in Leg Brace

New York Mets, Jed Lowry

One of the world’s greatest medical mysteries is figuring out how Jed Lowrie’s leg is still messed up. The New York Mets utility infielder arrived at camp and took ground balls in a leg brace that covered his entire left leg.

After coming back to pinch-hit in a handful of games to end 2019, Lowrie still has left knee issues. It plagued him enough to avoid fielding during September. The injury still bothers him to a point where playing in Spring Training games is a major question.

No Answers, No Solutions

The organization has been very quiet about the severity of Lowrie’s injury. He is healthy enough to begin taking fly balls, but not healthy enough to participate in games. The entirety of Lowrie’s Mets career has been marked by an injury bug he cannot seem to get rid of. As he pushes age-36 it is hard to think his body is going to recover any quicker than it did during 2019.

Even if the Mets can get Lowrie fully healthy, it does not seem like it will happen anytime soon. Once healthy he will have plenty of catching up to do just to get to a point where he is useful enough to crack the 26-man roster. Like Yoenis Cespedes, he has to start from level one all over again. Unlike Cespedes, Lowrie is dragging along on his rehab process. At this point, it is hard to imagine the Mets get anything out of Lowrie during the first half of the season.

New York Mets: Jed Lowrie shows up to camp with a large knee brace

When Jed Lowrie showed up to New York Mets‘ camp this weekend, he did it with a large brace in his left knee. It is surprising, given that the soreness in the area goes back to roughly a year. The brace, according to MLB.com, ran nearly two feet from his left ankle up to his mid-thigh.

The infielder was able to do some baseball-related activities, however. On Sunday, he fielded ground balls and made a few throws to second base. After that, he left to prepare for the Mets’ first day of full-squad workouts Monday.

What will happen with Lowrie? What will the Mets do with him? The team was reportedly shopping him around over the winter but there were no takers. He is in the final year of a two-year, $20 million contract he signed before last season.

Lowrie did speak about his injury to reporters, but he did so without going to specifics. The entire offseason is now on the books and he wasn’t able to get healthy, nor specify which kind of knee injury he currently has.

The Mets should be getting worried

Reporters asked him if he is 100 percent, to what he replied: “I’m just excited to be here, get back out on the field with the guys and just take it day by day. We’re just going to manage the symptoms right now,” he said. He’s clearly not 100 percent.

The press asked him which were the symptoms he spoke about. The infielder didn’t want to “get into specifics” but conceded that it was his left knee.

Lowrie can rake when healthy. He can play good defense, too. In his last healthy season, which was 2018, he slashed .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs, 99 RBI and 5.0 fWAR. That’s why the New York Mets signed him as a free agent.

However, 2019 was a lost season for him. He finished the year 0-for-7 with a walk for the Mets, losing several months of play due to a variety of ailments, including his left knee.

Predicting the New York Mets Bench Players

For the first time in quite a few years, the New York Mets have the depth they can count on throughout their bench. It features some high profile contracts and critical acquisitions to bolster the team’s defensive depth late in games.

Rene Rivera

The backup catcher battle is going to be heated one throughout Spring Training quietly. Tomas Nido is out of minor league options and has not shown any hitting prowess during his career. There are plenty of choices similar to Nido in the minors, and Rene Rivera is a veteran the Mets have trusted with their pitching staff before. Rivera is still a great defensive catcher, and Noah Syndergaard will be happy to throw it to him throughout Spring Training.

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith has survived the offseason trade rumors, but the ones in Spring Training may be a different story. Despite the Mets signing Matt Adams, Smith should make it out of camp with the team. He proved to be a valuable pinch hitter after Pete Alonso ran away with the first base job. The only way the Mets trade him is if he breaks out during Spring Training and the Mets deal him when his stock is high.

Luis Guillorme

This spot would belong to Jed Lowrie but his reality as a Met is dim. Either he will not be ready for Opening Day or the Mets will find a way to move him before the Spring ends. Luis Guillorme was a very useful player off the bench during the second half of 2019. He can play three out of the four infield spots well and can is useful in a bench role.

Jake Marisnick

The Mets traded for Jake Marisnick as a small upgrade to Juan Lagares. He will be a massive part of the Mets during the late innings due to his gold glove caliber defense in center field. Marisnick is not much of a hitter, but with all the outfield options the Mets have, hitting is not the reason why he is a Met. It would be no surprise to see him play in 120 games but only tally around 300 plate appearances as he did in 2019.

Yoenis Cespedes

The left-field competition between Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Davis is a heavyweight prizefight that is going overlooked. By all accounts, Cespedes is healthy and ready to participate fully during Spring Training. Just three years ago, their roles differed. Cespedes was the stud hitter coming off a strong 2016, and Davis was trying to show he belonged on a major league roster. He has a huge chip on his shoulder and has set his expectations higher than ever.

The injuries and off-field stories make us forget how special an athlete Cespedes is. Despite turning 34, he still garners Ruth like power and a cannon for an arm. When healthy, the Mets win games, and if he is healthy, the production will follow, and he will see himself in the lineup often as the season progresses.