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New York Mets will finally put their “exceptional” depth to the test

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 12: New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway #36 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a game against the Miami Marlins was postponed due to rain at Citi Field on May 12, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 12: New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway #36 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a game against the Miami Marlins was postponed due to rain at Citi Field on May 12, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets bragged about their depth during the preseason. It’s mid-May and they have barely taken advantage of it. Michael Conforto’s injury, however, will force them to put it to the test.

A common term we heard this spring with a positive twang to it when spoken by the New York Mets front office was “depth.” The d-word was getting tossed around plenty when Brodie Van Wagenen and others talked about the strength of the team.

Understandably so, the Mets haven’t had those horrendous lineups we have seen in the past. Beyond a small number of games, there is rarely a lineup on the field where we suffer through more than a pair of names that belong in the minor leagues. We can argue who those players are, but instead, let’s look at how the Mets have used their depth—or haven’t in many cases.

J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, and Jeff McNeil have been key to the Mets this year. McNeil has been exceptional at the plate and leads the team in hitting by a few miles. His ability to play wherever the Mets ask him to has saved them plenty. Whether in left field, third base, or second base, getting his bat in the lineup makes this team far better. Alone, he gives them depth.

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To a lesser extent, Davis and Smith have done the same. Davis stepped in for Todd Frazier during his injury and continued struggles with Smith providing the team with a solid left-handed bat off the bench. Each could have a greater role with this ball club if they only knew how to use them better. Davis did make his left field debut on Wednesday versus the Washington Nationals and I believe we will see it more often moving forward. Already confirmed by Mickey Callaway, he’ll start there on Friday night as well.

This is what depth truly is. It’s not about having more bodies. The greatest benefit is having bodies that can do more than one thing. Unfortunately, not everyone with this ability has been around.

The major occurrence from this spring which eliminates one depth option was the ongoing ailment to Jed Lowrie. His legs, apparently made of the most fragile material on earth, have continued to bother him. Lowrie is now battling back from a setback due to an injury suffered during his rehab assignment. It feels like he may never come back.

Along with Lowrie, we haven’t seen much from those who began the year in the minor leagues. Carlos Gomez has an opt-out on June 1st, however, the injury suffered by Michael Conforto on Thursday following a collision has led to his promotion to the show. Meanwhile, other depth pieces added yet to see the major leagues, such as Gregor Blanco and Rajai Davis, will continue sitting around waiting for their opportunity.

Due to a limited amount of maneuvering they can do with the big league roster, we can determine these moves were done this winter in case of injury—not underperformance. There’s a good argument to make that Keon Broxton and Todd Frazier deserve to be designated for assignment. This unlikely end to their time with the Mets has a solution, though. The Mets could put their exceptional depth they bragged about to use. We can expect Gomez to fight Broxton for the fifth outfield spot in the coming days.

The season is long and anyone who sticks around for the year may get their chance with the Mets at some point. Outside of the pitching staff, the roster has stayed relatively healthy.

The Mets have options, but they haven’t been willing to use any of them which require a drastic transaction to make it happen. Releasing Travis d’Arnaud was a tease of a new way of doing business for this regime. Ever since, we haven’t seen much of anything new.

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This excellent depth is a 401K plan the big league club isn’t diving into unless there’s an emergency. Hopefully, the kids stay healthy and this safety net doesn’t need to save their season. However, it doesn’t hurt to dip their hands in a little bit and make the present a little better.

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