There’s no crying in baseball or trading after July 31. However, the New York Mets managed to add two more local players to the roster this week with the addition of Brad Brach and Joe Panik.
The New York Mets continued to add to their roster this week despite not having the availability of trades to make it happen. Freehold, New Jersey product Brad Brach joined the Mets shortly after the Chicago Cubs decided to DFA him after a rough season in the Windy City. Joe Panik of Yonkers, New York joined him shortly after following his own DFA as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
This makes three local players the Mets have added in the last two weeks. Beginning with the trade for Long Island’s Marcus Stroman at the end of July, the Amazins have loaded up on players who have “come home.”
I like the Brach move for several reasons. A 2.99 ERA in 288 games pitched while as a member of the Baltimore Orioles isn’t an easy accomplishment. While his rough tenure with the Cubs included a 6.13 ERA and far too many walks, there is hope he can revisit his past form—even if it’s only back to the latter part of 2018.
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Last year, Brach was traded to the Atlanta Braves where he finished up with a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 innings of work. The 33-year-old righty is approaching the end of his career but has shown recently how well he can perform.
Perhaps yet another change of scenery could help spark him. At worst, he’s someone on the decline whose performance this year could be explained by the new baseballs.
Panik is at a different spot in his career. At 28, he’s a young guy who should theoretically have years left to play. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented him from playing regularly during his years with the Giants. A lighter-hitting second baseman with some good gap power, he’s someone the Mets could plug into the starting lineup while the team denies Robinson Cano is out for the year.
Panik’s best years came in 2014, 2015, and 2017 with a bad one sandwiched in between back in 2016. He hit .312 back in his All-Star campaign of 2015, but only had 432 plate appearances to accomplish this feat. Prior to his DFA, Panik was hitting only .235/.310/.317 for the Giants.
What Panik may offer Mets more than anyone else is a solid balance of hitting or contact and defense. He has a career average of 61 strikeouts per 162 games and has maintained a positive WAR at second base each year of his career except for 2017.
Neither of the two newest players to join the Mets should have as great of an impact on this team as Stroman. However, each adds depth which the team needs now more than ever.
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After allowing Asdrubal Cabrera to land with the Washington Nationals, the Mets made good by picking up two others who were worth taking a chance on.