Imagine the 2023 New York Mets starting lineup with Pete Alonso stepping up to the plate knowing the guy behind him can mash. This might not be the case after all. However you want to structure the Mets lineup, there is a big fall off from the top few hitters as far as confidence goes.
The team still lacks a ton of power. Alonso should be able to crush 35 home runs easily. Francisco Lindor might be good for 30. A more consistent effort out of Eduardo Escobar could even lead to a 25 home run campaign.
Other than those three, this is a team light on power. The problem stems back to the decision to continue forward with Daniel Vogelbach as the DH. It’s one decision holding the team back.
The Mets chose to keep Daniel Vogelbach and it’s making things difficult
Jose Abreu would have been nice. J.D. Martinez was worth a look. Even Andrew McCutchen would have been a worthy and potential player to use regularly at the DH spot. However, with Vogelbach signed up for the majority of at-bats out of this spot, he chose the Pittsburgh Pirates instead.
It wasn’t a bad decision to pick up the $1.5 million option on Vogelbach. The problem is not trading him soon after. The Mets probably weren’t getting too many great offers for him. After all, Darin Ruf is still with the team. He should have been the first one to move.
Yes, Vogelbach can hit well against right-handed pitchers. The problem is the Mets will face plenty of lefty starters. In every team’s bullpen is a southpaw waiting to enter to either make the most of facing Vogelbach or force Buck Showalter to make a change.
A platoon at the DH spot only works in two instances. One is when you are rotating multiple players who can actually play the field regularly. This isn’t Vogelbach. He’s a first baseman best served as a DH. He is redundant on a roster with Alonso, one of the best sluggers in the game. With Vogelbach unable to play a defensive position regularly and only expected to start when the team faces righties, the Mets are backed up into a tight situation.
Even if the Mets do end up rotating different right handed hitters as Vogelbach’s platoon partner, it feels like a weak decision to move forward with this plan at the one position you need offense from. This wasn’t such a bad plan at last year’s trade deadline. The Mets had to do something. The problem is we’re so deep into the offseason that it seems we will get the same plan while hoping for a different end result.
A better decision may have actually been to forego having any one DH or at least dividing the at-bats. This is actually how most teams handled the DH spot last season. Unless they employed a traditional DH like J.D. Martinez, had an injured player who couldn’t appear in the field like Bryce Harper, or their name was Shohei Ohtani, MLB teams chose to use the DH as an opportunity to rest players defensively.
It won’t kill the Mets or lead to their demise. It has, thus far, seemed to prevent them from attracting any offensive upgrades.