Rumors about the DH coming to the NL are swirling again. That means it’s time to see how such a move would affect the New York Mets.
Jim Bowden of The Athletic reported on Monday that the DH could come to the National League as early as 2021. Obviously, the issue presents two conflicting point-of-views. For me, it’s simple: The NL doesn’t need a DH. The offense in the league is perfectly fine without it.
The NL average team slash line, which includes pitchers was .251/.323/.431. Compare that to the American League and its .253/.323/.439 slash line. The two leagues are incredibly similar.
The only real difference in the leagues is that the AL hit 200 more home runs than the NL. That’s what this all comes down to in the end. MLB wants more home runs because they believe that will get fans to come back.
Sadly, Rob Manfred hasn’t noticed the decline in viewers coincides with the rise in rule changes and home runs. Still, with the DH being talked about yet again, it’s worth taking a look at how it would affect the New York Mets.
There are few teams in the NL better prepared for the switch. The Mets have a number of poor defenders and aging veterans who could slot in that spot.
The following isi a look at the three most likely options to take over as DH and what they would mean for the team.
People have been talking about Pete Alonso as a DH since his days in the minor leagues. His defense was so bad in the minor leagues that many experts thought he wouldn’t be able to play any position at the MLB level.
He answered a ton of those defensive questions in 2019 as he rated out as a top 10 defensive first baseman by DRS. Statcast is much less kind to Alonso rating him as the worst defensive first baseman in baseball.
If the DH comes to the NL, Alonso makes a ton of sense to take the spot, not only due to the idea he’s a poor defender, but also thanks to the presence of Dom Smith.
Smith is an elite defensive first baseman, has been since his days in the minors. He finally broke out offensively in 2019 and it would make a ton of sense to put both players at their best position.
This would improve the New York Mets dramatically both offensively and defensively. That said, there are more appealing options open to the team.
Robinson Cano will need to move to the DH eventually. He’s no longer the defender he used to be, rating out as the 25th best second baseman by OAA. At 37-years-old, Cano isn’t going to get any better defensively.
Moving Cano to DH would allow him to play longer and keep him fresh. It would allow him to age more gracefully the same way it helped Nelson Cruz.
Cano proved during the second half last season that he still has the bat. He hit .284/.339/.541 in the second half last season, and can still be an impact bat if he can stay fresh and healthy.
If Cano moves to DH and becomes an impact bat for the remained of his four-year contract with the Mets, it would ease the sting of losing Jarred Kelenic. It would make that trade as a whole look better.
Moving Cano to DH would also open up another spot on the field. That spot would likely go to Andres Gimenez. The top 100 prospects should be ready to come up sometime in 2020. By 2021 he should be ready for a full-time role. Just in time for Cano to move to DH.
The Mets would be getting a truly elite defensive middle infielder in their lineup. It would also allow Gimenez to show off his bat. The kiid’s a top 100 prospect for a reason and 2021 could be when Mets fans get their first taste of Gimenez in a full-time capacity.
The only issue with this is that Cano loves playing in the field. He’s chasing down offensive records at second base and doesn’t want to give up the spot until he’s achived those goals. If he refuses to play DH, it could throw all of this off.
Nothing makes as much sense as J.D. Davis playing DH. His defense in left field and third base were both atrocious. His bat was just too good to get out of the lineup. If Davis proves that 2019 wasn’t a fluke, the Mets will need to do everything they can to carve out a role for him in the future.
Playing DH is perfect. It removes the biggest weakness in his game while allowing him to use his biggest strength. It also opens up an outfield spot for someone else.
Perhaps that someone else is Mookie Betts. Since the news of Steve Cohen buying the team broke, the Mets have been connected to Betts. He’s an elite player and he’s going to hit the open market at the end of the season.
It may be a pipe dream for now, but it’s a possibility. Even if the Mets don’t go after a player like Betts, moving Davis to DH makes sense. They could fill that last spot with another free agent or trade acquisition. The point is that it would allow for more flexibility than any other option.
Nothing would make more sense than Davis at DH. It would also make the New York Mets offense one of the best in baseball without hurting their defense. That would be a dream come true.