The New York Mets had a few weird headlines this week. Every team has weeks like that during the offseason, and this one definitely fits the bill for the Mets. Let’s jump in.
It is weird that the Mets didn’t protect any prospects from the Rule 5 draft, especially Jake Mangum
With their 40-man roster at 32, the Mets decided not to protect Jake Mangum from the Rule 5 draft. Many Mets fans, myself included, felt that was strange because he is coming off of a great year and there is a path for him to play in the Big Leagues next year.
Mangum has mostly played center field, so he is a good insurance option if Brandon Nimmo leaves in free agency. He’s a more well-rounded player than the boom-or-bust Khalil Lee, and he’s a better athlete than Nick Plummer. I would expect a team to take a chance on Mangum (it’s going to be the freaking Rays, isn’t it?), but if for some reason he’s still a Met come Opening Day, expect him to be on the bench as the fourth outfielder.
With eight roster spots open, why wouldn’t you lock him in? It just makes sense, given how thin the Mets’ outfield depth is. Billy Eppler better have several moves lined up to justify this, eight to be exact.
It is weirder that the Mets didn’t give Taijuan Walker a qualifying offer
Taijuan Walker more than lived up to his contract in his two seasons with the Mets. If the Mets had offered him the QO and he chose to take it, great. One less rotation spot to fill. If he had been offered the QO and declined it, great. They get a draft pick back. The Mets didn’t have anything to lose by offering it to him, they only would have gained from it.
Now Walker can sign elsewhere and the Mets get nothing in return. Obviously there are better pitchers out there, but Walker is a solid arm at the backend of the rotation, and a relatively young one compared to some other free agent starters available. I’d like him back.
It is weirdest that some teams view Seth Lugo as a starting pitcher
This one had me scratching my head. Apparently some teams haven’t looked at his splits as a starter vs. as a reliever, so I’ll put them right here for them: as a reliever, his career ERA is 2.91. As a starter, it balloons to 4.35 with a lower strikeout rate and a higher home run rate. It’s not a recipe for success.
Teams think he can be successful in that role because he throws a full five-pitch repertoire. What they don’t realize is that everything flattens out when he has to conserve his energy to pitch more innings. Lugo’s most effective role is as a one or two inning reliever. I would like him back in that role, but apparently the Mets have other interests.