Mets acquire RHP Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals for IF Dilson Herrera and cash
As much as I like Dilson Herrera, the Nationals were in need of middle infield help before they ultimately signed 2B Brian Dozier. Considering that Tanner Rainey (the pitcher acquired from Cincinnati in the real trade) was a relatively low-level prospect, this would be a fair price for Washington.
No one could have predicted the early success of Jason Vargas. After a rocky start to the season, Vargas has settled in nicely. After his April 13 start, Vargas hasn’t allowed more than 4 ER, posting a 2.20 ERA during that span. Vargas recently threw a complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants.
That being said, Vargas is 36 years old and his 85 mph average fastball velocity leaves reason to doubt that he will be successful heading into the latter part of his career.
Trading for Roark would have provided the Mets with a quality arm to fortify the back end of the rotation. Roark, 32, is owed $10 million in 2019 and will enter free agency at the end of the season. Signing the right-hander would have little financial risk since he is a free agent. Roark at the very least could have been a placeholder for future flamethrowers Justin Dunn (who we don’t trade) and Anthony Kay. Roark is a 19 Wins Above Replacement player for his career.
Mets sign FA UTIL Marwin Gonzalez to a 2-year $21 million contract
Brodie Van Wagenen has made it clear that he values versatility. With other options including Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison available, Van Wagenen opted to trade for J.D. Davis instead. Davis has surged the Mets offense with power; Davis has homered 8 times in 66 games, many of them coming in clutch situations. He has an astounding OPS of 1.023with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.
Despite a recent stretch where he was hitting .350, Davis has been inconsistent at the plate all season, struggling to hit for average and his -3 DRS (defensive runs saved) should concern Mickey Callaway and the coaching staff. Davis has an above average arm but below average glove at both third and the outfield and a much more reliable (and expensive) option would have been super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was one of the more sought-after free agents because of his defensive versatility to go with his offensive prowess. Gonzalez ultimately signed with the Twins for 2 years and $21 million. The switch-hitting Gonzalez could have served as a backup infielder at second base, third base, shortstop, and could have filled in anywhere in the outfield; he would have played a very similar role to Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis on the current roster.
During his last 30 games, Gonzalez is slashing .305/.374/.534 with the Twins while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at 6 positions. Gonzalez is making $12 million in 2019.
Our work is not complete yet. Finally, it’s time to revamp the bullpen.