The New York Mets could use a surprise late-bloomer or unexpected surprise from a guy whose former team thought he was finished. Where is their Travis d’Arnaud?
You may have heard, there’s this guy on the Tampa Bay Rays who is punishing the New York Yankees. When he recently visited the Bronx, the MLB castoff smacked three home runs in a game at “the stadium.” His name is Travis d’Arnaud and the New York Mets need to get a guy like him on their team.
Before you yank the scalp from your skull, let’s clarify what it is I mean. I know d’Arnaud spent plenty of time wearing orange and blue. He received opportunities to play regularly as well. The Mets don’t need him specifically. They need a guy another team has given up on to come to Flushing and have the same type of success d’Arnaud has had with Tampa Bay.
For the 2019 team, a storyline around baseball is how well recent exes have performed. Jay Bruce is having a home run happy year and is now with the Philadelphia Phillies and beating the Mets. Hansel Robles is having a fantastic season with the Los Angeles Angels as their closer.
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Meanwhile, many new players aren’t having the same seasons. It’s a frustrating part of moving on from players. Sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for them.
The Mets haven’t had much luck in plucking Rule 5 Draft picks, claiming a guy on waivers, or picking up “never-beens” from the free agent pool. These are the types of players who sometimes help an average team turn into a great one. Land enough of these and you can fill out your roster.
R.A. Dickey is the best recent example of a guy who did nothing in his major league career than came to the Mets and shined. He, of course, did much more than d’Arnaud has in his time with Tampa Bay. Dickey won a freakin’ Cy Young Award. The Mets used this honor in a deal which helped bring them what they believed was future star power: Noah Syndergaard and our dear old friend, Travis d’Arnaud.
Players who have yet to bloom but have already become journeymen in baseball are not easy to select. The Los Angeles Dodgers have had recent success in doing this with Max Muncy as one of their latest. Several years ago, ex-Mets infielder Justin Turner fit this description. Now he’s an All-Star who teams gave up on too quickly.
To their credit, the Mets did sign several big leaguers this past offseason. However, they fit into a different category. Danny Espinosa, Rajai Davis, and Carlos Gomez have already seen big league success. It’s those lesser guys under 30 the team must begin to target if only to hope they finally meet the once-lofty expectations.
There’s no science to finding these guys. Often, the team that gave them the DFA was right to do so in the first place.
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Just once it would be nice to see a guy who failed with another team join the Mets and look invigorated on the diamond. Where is our Travis d’Arnaud?