Mets Monday Morning GM: Brett Baty teaching the team a lesson on timidity
By Tim Boyle
Timidity is a word, believe it or not. It means exactly what you think it does. Incredibly fun to say as well, it’s a quality about the New York Mets that has held them back a bit in recent years.
Rather than start the season with even one of their top offensive prospects on the roster, the Mets chose to stack the Syracuse team with Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio. The first three were seemingly ready for MLB at-bats. So far in 2023, we’ve only seen those first two.
Baty is the one who has grabbed the opportunity to play regularly the hardest. He is among the best rookies in the National League and well on his way to competing for Rookie of the Year honors. It’s a lesson in timidity for the front office to carry with them as they make more decisions this year and beyond.
The NY Mets prove they’re bold and brave in other ways than promoting young players
Honestly, who’s still a bit surprised that the team DFA’d Robinson Cano just over a year ago? When the rosters shrunk back to 26 in May of 2022, it felt like they were going to lengthen his leash and send Dominic Smith to the minors. As it turns out, they could’ve taken those actions in either order.
The Mets will have more bold and brave decisions to make this season. This includes the potential DFA’ing of veterans. Someone like Eduardo Escobar is on the bubble. Even Tomas Nido, who just signed an extension through next season, is increasingly becoming irrelevant in the starting lineup. We don’t need him to hit much over .200. We just need him to be better than the low .100s.
The Billy Eppler-led Mets have been overly cautious. It doesn’t seem like this is Steve Cohen’s directive. An aggressive businessman, the team did go out and overpay for Javier Baez at the 2021 trade deadline when they gave up Pete Crow-Armstrong. They’ve handed out record-breaking contracts to Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in consecutive offseasons. When Carlos Correa became available, they got in touch hours later despite knowing the concerns the San Francisco Giants had about his health.
Behavior by the Mets when it comes to outside additions has been acceptable even if the choices haven’t always worked out. It’s internally where the team seems to fold up shop and slap a skull and crossbones label on the mere idea of having a young player on the roster. It took them forever to call up any of the kids last season. Only when they needed help in 2023 were they willing to give them another opportunity.
Baty’s early success in 2023 should be enough to convince Eppler, Cohen, and everyone else in the front office that a fix might be right there in front of you. Sometimes the IKEA instructions say you can build your new dresser with only the flimsy wrench they provided. Often, you need to hammer in a few screws along the way. Baty has been the hammer.