2) NY Mets mistake: Not adding an everyday Designated Hitter
With the designated hitter now a permanent part of National League baseball, the Mets need a more permanent solution for it.
Last season began with Dom Smith and J.D. Davis getting the first crack at seizing the DH spot as a lefty-righty platoon. Both failed to make an impact – both had injuries, Smith was demoted to the minor leagues, and Davis was dealt to San Francisco at the trade deadline. Combined, the pair hit .243 with just four home runs in 193 at-bats as the starting DH.
The Mets sought to address the failed platoon mid-season with – another platoon. Daniel Vogelbach came over from Pittsburgh as a left-handed power bat, while Darin Ruf was the return in the Davis trade with strong numbers against southpaws. And while Vogelbach posted an .830 OPS overall with the Mets despite fading down the stretch, Ruf was a disaster, with just three hits in 12 games as a starting DH.
This time, the Mets must avoid a patchwork solution and invest in a full-time option. Vogelbach will return next season after his $1.5 million option was picked up, but at such a relatively low cost, could serve just as well as a pinch-hitting specialist. On the free agent market, J.D. Martinez seems to be the best power DH available, although a 70-point decrease in his slugging percentage last year might be a red flag as he enters his age-35 season.
Regardless of where they go for help, anything less than adding a proven DH to the lineup next year would be a failure for the Mets.