Monday Morning GM: A growing need for the starting lineup

New York Mets v Washington Nationals
New York Mets v Washington Nationals / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The New York Mets have been built for the designated hitter for several years—or so we thought. With the DH now firmly in place for 162 games this year and no chance of a pitcher touching a bat, things should have been going so much better for the Mets.

Instead, the Mets haven’t gotten much out of their main DH candidates aside from first baseman Pete Alonso. Robinson Cano is already gone. J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith, when they do start as the DH, aren’t producing much either.

The Mets don’t have a big, glaring hole in the starting lineup because of the DH. However, when the trade deadline approaches, they may want to make themselves more open to a trade for someone to more consistently fill this role.

At the very least, the Mets starting lineup has a need for a big bat

If it’s not a DH-specific player the Mets target, they should at least be in the market for a big bat. It doesn’t even have to be a full-time player. Ideally, it could be someone they can start four or five times a week and get big hits from on a regular basis.

The 2021 Atlanta Braves are a great example of going out and overfilling what you need. They brought in Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, and Joc Pederson at last year’s trade deadline. The four outfielders for three positions all played well to different extents. In the postseason, they took turns getting hot.

The Mets won’t need the same kind of overhaul as long as everyone stays healthy. They may, however, once again be in the market for a home run hitter just as they have been in many recent summers. Last year it was Javier Baez. In 2016, Jay Bruce. In 2015, they introduced us to Yoenis Cespedes.

Power was already a known weakness of the Mets as they began the year with Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Eduardo Escobar as the only guys with true 30+ home run potential. The latter two are far from guarantees to reach this plateau. Only Alonso is a true slugger in the sense that any pitch he hits can knock out a light tower.

The Mets have consistently been one of the best teams at hitting for average and reaching base. They’ve been able to piece together runs in smaller ways than home runs. There isn’t a complete power outage with the starting lineup. As the season has grown older, the shortcomings have come out. Three straight singles are never going to beat a single, a double, and a home run to clear them.

It’s May. Nobody should panic. We have no clue as to exactly who or what will be available at this year’s trade deadline. For the Mets, outside of injury, it was obvious from the start and a little too clear with each passing game. If Alonso isn’t moving to the DH spot full-time, they may want to consider bringing in someone else for the position. Nobody is producing regularly enough out of this offense-only position.

And if it’s not a trade the Mets make, look for a prospect like Mark Vientos to become an option. As defensively limited as he is, this could be the exact kind of role he thrives in. A hot bat from him could turn into a lineup saving grace for the Mets.

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