Filling In the Perimeter
Pham is heading to Queens, so what's next?
Wednesday afternoon, it was announced by multiple Mets media members that the team and outfielder Tommy Pham agreed to a one-year deal for a reported $6 million.
The news fell flat to some, with names like Andrew McCutchen, Jurickson Profar, and Adam Duvall thrown around in recent weeks, a guy who open-hand slapped Joc Pederson over fantasy football was not the proverbial cup of tea some would have wanted to sip from.
Whatever one’s opinion is on Pham, he is the Mets’ fourth outfielder.
The opening day roster continues to take shape, and Eppler and company continue to fill in the perimeter, tying up any loose ends along the way. Some might ask “What else is left to do?” Well, how much time do you have?
The Darin Ruf Situation
The Pham deal doesn’t necessarily write Ruf’s ticket out of Queens, but it definitely doesn’t bode well for one of the newer Mets on the roster.
The right-handed hitting Ruf hit an abysmal .152 since coming over in the J.D. Davis deadline deal in August. There was nothing to write home about offensively. In his limited defensive appearances, he was serviceable at first base and in the right field.
In a trade deadline to forget for Eppler in 2022, Ruf was the epitome of it. Although it is a wait-and-see approach for Ruf’s potential departure, unless he is viewed as the only backup to Pete Alonso at first base, there is no real spot for Ruf on the roster in 2023. It feels as if the ship has been packed, and is getting ready to sail away.
Rounding Out The ‘Pen:
With the additions of David Robertson and Brooks Raley and the re-signings of closer Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottovino, and guys like Drew Smith returning, the bullpen is seemingly taking shape. But, the Amazins are still in the mix.
According to multiple reports, including SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets are still in on left-handed relievers Andrew Chafin and Zack Britton.
Chafin was a target for the Mets at the trade deadline, but according to sources the Detroit Tigers asking price was excessively high for the reliever in the last year of his contract.
The former Tiger is arguably the “safer” of the two options, per se. The southpaw did appear in 64 games as a late-inning reliever for the lowly Tigers, pitching to a 2.83 ERA (3.06 FIP) and striking out 67 to just 19 walks. He was actually better against right-handed hitters (.214) compared to lefties (.233).
Although 2022 was not as stellar of a season as the previous campaign, Chafin has been excellent.
In terms of Britton, it is more of a case of what has been done compared to what he could do.
The former Yankee has thrown in a minuscule 38 innings since the start of the 2020 season. A Buck Showalter soldier from his rookie year in 2011 until the 2018 trade deadline, the lefty has struggled immensely with injuries, including a Tommy John surgery two years ago and shoulder fatigue that ended his 2022 season after just two innings combined of regular-season and postseason play.
IF (and that’s a big if, obviously) he can stay healthy, Britton could be one of the better left-handers in baseball, but health has been his biggest opponent the last handful of seasons.
The “old” Mets would make a Britton deal feel as if he was coming off his back-to-back all-star seasons in the mid-2010s. It would undoubtedly be a cheaper deal for Britton compared to Chafin, but the mustached man Chafin is the MUCH safer deal.
Image credit: Roberto Carlo
It was announced that the Mets and Tomás Nido agreed to a two-year $3.7 million contract, making him a free agent after the 2024 campaign. Partnered with Nido is Omar Narváez, who was signed to a one-year deal worth $8 million with a player option for 2024.
Oh yeah, and they have the number nine prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, Francisco Álvarez.
We know what Nido can do defensively. One of the better pitch framers in the league, he is the unsung hero of the Mets pitching staff as of recent memory, making the most of every pitch behind home plate.
Narváes is coming off a bit of a down year offensively, hitting just .206 with four homers and 23 RBIs. Strikeouts have never been much of an issue, only going down whiffing and looking 54 times in 262 at-bats.
The biggest attribute to his game is similar to Nído’s, pitch framing. Both backstops were in the high 80th percentile in the pitch frame and blocking department.
So that brings up the question, what about Alvarez?
Could he be the designated hitter? Absolutely. Although his first stint in the bigs was relatively quiet offensively, the right-handed swinging backstop’s offensive ability is his strong suit. However, with both Navrváez and Nido locked up for the next few years, Alvarez could need a strong spring and potentially an injury to crack the Opening Day roster. Time will tell, of course.
Believe it or not, it seems that all the big deals are behind Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler, for now at least.
As we inch towards the time for pitchers and catchers report, the Metsies will look to fill out the perimeter of the roster, and get the gears going for Opening Day in Milwaukee.
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