When the New York Mets added Keon Broxton this winter, they were hoping to land a guy ready to turn his career around. Instead, they got a player with the same offensive problems he had before.
Keon Broxton plays a very specific role for the 2019 New York Mets. He’s the defensive replacement capable of playing above average defense at any of the three outfield positions. Along with the slick glove work, he’s a pinch-running option you can count on to steal a base.
Through the early part of 2019, we’ve seen Broxton meet those expectations. In some capacity, he gets into most games.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t gone beyond those minor needs. His glove and legs have done well, but his bat has been horrendous.
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When the Mets demoted Dominic Smith on Friday, they probably would have preferred to make a move with Broxton. Because the 29-year-old outfielder is out of minor league options, he stays and Smith goes. I do acknowledge there were more reasons for the decision such as keeping control of infielder Adeiny Hechavarria—the man replacing Smith on the roster. Based on performance, Smith deserved to stay far more than Broxton. It’s unfortunate that the 25-man roster limit has purchased him a bus ticket to Syracuse.
The Mets didn’t come into the season with a solid plan for center field. We’ve seen Broxton and Juan Lagares share duties and Brandon Nimmo play there as well. Since Nimmo struggles defensively in center field and isn’t having a very good year on offense either, there have been opportunities for Broxton to capitalize and earn more playing time. He hasn’t done it and he is now the biggest burden on the roster.
The clock is ticking for Broxton. Bigger than the Hechavarria move is the impending return of Jed Lowrie. The veteran infielder is expected to return soon and when he does, Broxton may become the casualty via DFA.
If Broxton is not DFA’ed, the only other options they have are to demote J.D. Davis or Nimmo. Davis has hit well and his ability to play the corner outfield could save him. Nimmo, while not performing well at the plate, has outplayed Broxton by miles. His deficiencies are the same from last year. And while he isn’t hitting for average, Nimmo has continued to find ways to get on base.
The Broxton acquisition was an unexpected one by the Mets this past offseason. So far, it hasn’t paid off. He’s striking out in nearly half of his at-bats and doesn’t give them enough in the areas he excels to justify a continued spot on the roster.
Depth is a beautiful thing in Major League Baseball. As the Mets may soon further learn, it also means admitting your mistakes and cutting away the extra fat.
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Brodie Van Wagenen has often referenced wanting the best 25 men possible on this roster. Well, right now, Broxton isn’t playing like he belongs.