Imagine the 2023 New York Mets starting lineup with Pete Alonso stepping onto the plate knowing the guy behind him can mash. That might not be the case after all. However you choose to structure the Mets roster, there’s a big drop in confidence from the top few players.
The team still lacks a lot of power. Alonso should be able to hit 35 homers with ease. Francisco Lindor could be good for 30. A more consistent performance from Eduardo Escobar could even lead to a 25-homer campaign.
Aside from those three, this is a team light on might. The problem stems from the decision to continue with Daniel Vogelbach as DH. It’s a decision holding the team back.
Jose Abreu would have been nice. JD Martinez was worth a look. Even Andrew McCutchen would have been a worthy and potential player to use regularly at the DH spot. However, since Vogelbach had signed for the majority of the at-bats from that spot, he chose the Pittsburgh Pirates instead.
Taking the $1.5 million option on Vogelbach wasn’t a bad decision. The problem isn’t trading it soon after. The Mets probably didn’t get too many great offers for him. After all, Darin Ruf is still on the team. He should have been the first to move.
Yes, Vogelbach is good at hitting against right-handers. The problem is that the Mets will face a lot of left starters. In each team’s bullpen, a southpaw waits to step in to either make the most of the encounter with Vogelbach or force Buck Showalter to make a change.
A platoon at the DH spot only works in two cases. One is when you rotate multiple players who can actually play on the field regularly. That’s not Vogelbach. He’s a first baseman best served as a DH. He’s redundant on a roster with Alonso, one of the best hitters in the game. With Vogelbach unable to play a defensive position on a regular basis and likely only to start when the team encounters right-handers, the Mets are being placed in a tight spot.
Even if the Mets end up rotating various righties as Vogelbach’s draft partners, pushing that plan in the one position you need to kick off from feels like a weak decision. That wasn’t such a bad plan at last year’s close. The Mets had to do something. The problem is that we’re so deep into the off-season that it seems like we’re getting the same plan while hoping for a different end result.
A better decision might have been to forego a single DH, or at least share the at-bats. This is how most teams handled the DH spot last season. Unless they employed a traditional DH like JD Martinez, had an injured player who couldn’t show up on the field like Bryce Harper, or her name was Shohei Ohtani, MLB teams chose to use the DH as an opportunity to to rest the players defensively.
It won’t kill the Mets or lead to their downfall. So far it has seemed to be preventing them from attracting offensive upgrades.