Nobody wants to miss a day of work and get the Wally Pipp treatment. This may be what happens with the New York Mets roster. In the absence of outfielder Albert Almora, several players have been given their chance to play regularly. The latest seeing a lot of action is journeyman Billy McKinney.
McKinney came to the Mets in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers last month to help stop the bleeding of the outfield. When it became apparent that Cameron Maybin’s gas tank was empty, the front office went out and acquired a 26-year-old left-handed swinger.
Thus far, McKinney has logged 10 games for the Mets. The .242/.324/.576 slash line with a pair of home runs may not seem like much. In a season like this, it has been valuable to the team’s success.
Is there room on the Mets roster for Billy McKinney to stay?
McKinney doesn’t have any minor league options left which could put the Mets in a predicament. However, given how poorly Almora performed before his injury and the fact that he has a minor league option left, it’s reasonable to let McKinney stay and see if Almora can do anything in Triple-A.
Far from the defensive wizard Almora is, McKinney is no slouch himself. Primarily starting in right field for the Mets during his time with the club, he could inevitably take on the role I once thought Jose Martinez could have but from the left side of the plate.
When everyone on the Mets is healthy—something we haven’t seen, like, ever!—a bench we could expect from them includes Kevin Pillar, Tomas Nido, Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar, and an outfielder. This outfielder could be McKinney.
Also helping his case, McKinney is a younger player with several years of control left. I’m not sure what the future holds for him in Flushing. However, as a fourth or preferably fifth outfielder this year and possibly beyond, he’s not such a bad option.
McKinney has been involved in some of baseball’s biggest trades over the last several seasons. His longest big league stint came as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, an organization he saw action with each year from 2018-2020.
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I don’t expect him to steal anyone’s job, outperform expectations, or even become a guy we remember much about in 50 years if we’re lucky enough to be alive. What McKinney might be able to do is develop into a threat off the bench from the left side. Given the choice between him and Almora, I’m tempted to ride with McKinney as long as I can.