Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, not surprisingly, has been unable to trade Jed Lowrie. Dominic Smith or Brandon Nimmo may need to be sacrificed…
The Mets do not have a fit for Jed Lowrie, even if he is fully recovered from last year’s season-ending injury.
At 36 and due to draw $10 million from the Mets payroll, Lowrie is a liability as a lure to attract a potential trade partner. Not that Van Wagenen hasn’t made an effort.
The Mets, and we always need to add the caveat “barring unforeseen injuries,” do not need Lowrie because Jeff McNeil has earned and will get the regular job at third base, Lowrie’s primary position.
Jed Lowrie belongs in the American League as a Designated Hitter. This is why the fifteen teams in the National League are automatically eliminated as potential suitors.
Lowrie’s acquisition by Van Wagenen was ill-advised if Van Wagenen did indeed seek advice. More than likely, though, the signing of Lowrie was another example of a first-year GM eager to put his stamp on baseball.
Mets: Adding A Sweetener
All of this suggests that Lowrie can only be dealt if the Mets add a “sweetener” in a trade.
Here we are today, of course, still looking at the status quo. A reason for inaction can be that Smith is a younger clone of Lowrie, and best suited as a DH.
Thus, raising the question of how many teams need a DH, much less two?
Mets: Pull The Plug Anyway?
In another scenario, though, if the Mets slide Brandon Nimmo in as a replacement for Smith, interest would then be piqued, and Van Wagenen’s phone would chime.
Nimmo is not only a fan favorite, but the Mets also covet him. He is Nick Swisher on steroids, always ready with a smile, and evident joy in being able to play a boy’s game at this level.
Still, another scenario suggests the Mets, with Lowrie gone after this year when his two-year contract expires, suck it up, keeping Lowrie around as an expensive insurance policy.
Lowrie has ample experience at shortstop and second base. Given the in and out of the lineup we saw last year with Robinson Cano, moving Lowrie in at second eliminates the need to move McNeil off third base.
Floating Smith in a deal with Lowrie is predicated on the Mets’ inability to ensure that Luis Rojas will find an adequate number of at-bats for him.
Mets: Sorting It All Out
With all these possible scenarios, decisions must still be made. Or, maybe not.
The Mets have an overflow of talent among position players. Evaluation is difficult as this play excels here, and that player can help us there.
So, perhaps, the best strategy of the Mets in the name of Brodie Van Wagenen (hold your fire) is to stand down, at least for the first two or three months of the season.
The logic is – who knows? The Mets could be the 2020 version of the 2019 New York Yankees, hit with a rash of injuries and scouring their roster to make things work.
Mets: Take A Deep Breathe
All hands-on deck is not a permanent strategy. By the July trade deadline, the Mets will have a different view of the team they have today.
The NL East Standings, as well as individual performances of their players, will display at a minimum a developing trend – good, unfortunate, up, or down.
The real onus falls on the Mets rookie manager, Luis Rojas. It is his challenge to create a “team play” rather than “my play” culture from day one in three weeks when Spring Training begins.
Is Lowrie healthy, and can he contribute? Well, who can say until Rojas finds a way to get him fifty or so at-bats? Ditto Cespedes.
The good news is the Mets, and Rojas will be cycling through the American League West as well as the Yankees during their interleague play in 2020.
This can provide Rojas with an excellent opportunity to move players in and out of the DH spot regularly throughout the season to get these players additional at-bats.
The ball remains in Brodie Van Wagenen’s court. But in this instance, it might be wise to holster his gun.