Buck Showalter had a little slip up over the weekend giving us some unexpected New York Mets rumors to talk about. Just when we thought the outfield was set, Showalter brings up Michael Conforto’s name with the word “if” and mentions his talks with general manager Billy Eppler about what the club currently has.
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for Showalter to have input on the roster. He wasn’t with the Mets at the time of their November free agent frenzy. Maybe he’s not a big fan of Mark Canha as an everyday outfielder.
Or maybe these Mets rumors have a lot more to do with the team’s bench than the starting lineup.
The latest Mets rumors about the outfield are likely more about the reserves than the starters
Beyond the expected starting trio of Canha, Starling Marte, and Brandon Nimmo, the Mets have a bench with J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith. All can play the outfield with McNeil having the most flexibility.
We have been expecting all winter long for at least one of those three to be traded before the season begins. And if it does happen, the Mets may feel inclined to find some more outfield help from outside the organization.
The Mets could get themselves a little help from the minor leagues. Khalil Lee pretty much graduated from Triple-A last season and would make for a fine addition to the 26-man roster. Nick Plummer is another option to win this role but I think the Mets would give favor to the guy they are familiar with already.
One outrageous possibility the Mets could explore would have the team actually adding another starting outfielder and moving Canha into a DH role. The Mets have an abundance of DH options already on the roster—more so than most National League teams. The fact that Showalter even brought up Conforto’s name says something. Perhaps he’s just not being careful which just leads to more Mets rumors about things we won’t see happen.
We should expect the Mets to remain aggressive when the lockout ends and the transaction freeze is lifted. An outfielder on the level of Albert Almora or Kevin Pillar feels a lot more likely than a bigger splash like a Conforto reunion.
The outfield is in good shape but one veteran won’t hurt. The Mets are building an army, not just a single battalion. Better defending outfielders that fit with what they need could be all those Showalter-Eppler discussions were.