Today marks 91 days until the August 2 Major League Baseball trade deadline and we have learned the 2022 New York Mets are not a completely polished product. This team has found ways to win games to stay in first place in the division, but the players who the Mets need to get them to a World Series are not on the roster right now. For a front office that has been proactive, there are more ways general manager Billy Eppler and his team can stay ahead of the competition.
The Mets should correct an offseason wrong and add a reliable left-handed relief pitcher
Arguably the biggest mistake the Mets made this offseason was not keeping left-handed relievers Aaron Loup and Brad Hand. Not only did the Mets lose their value, especially Loup’s, but it left an alarming unbalance in their pitching staff as mostly righthanded.
The Mets did add Chasen Shreve on a minor league contract and eventually made the big league team, and they traded for Joely Rodriguez, but the Mets lack a lefty reliever with a high trust level to record meaningful outs in high-leverage situations, and it has yet to replicate the production Loup left behind.
Three targets the Mets should scout before the August 2 trade deadline are Brock Burke from the Rangers, Amir Garrett from the Royals, and A.J. Puk from the A’s. All three southpaws come from teams that will most likely be selling and trying to get prospects back to rebuild their respective farm systems, and all have good numbers that can help solidify the Mets bullpen.
Analytics suggest the Mets need someone who can hit the ball hard and for home runs
For all the success the Mets have had offensively, with contact hitting and speed, one thing that hasn’t come around collectively as a team is power hitting, especially hard-hit balls and home runs.
Baseball Savant agrees with this notion. The Mets as a team are second-to-last in the majors in hard hit rate and in average exit velocity, and have the second highest weak hit rate.
Eduardo Escobar, who hit 28 home runs last year, has just one home run in 80 at-bats this season. Mark Canha has yet to hit his first Mets home run, despite playing every day (save for his COVID absence). Both newcomers have been excellent at the dish otherwise and have helped the Mets win games. James McCann has just one towering blast.
Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis also underperformed off the bench. Smith is hitting .250 with no homers (Smith did have four hits last night to improve his batting average by 87 points), and Davis has batted .231 with one blast. Unless these two players start turning things around, the Mets might have to beef up their offense with a power bat.
Think of players who were acquired midseason and made a huge difference to World Series winning teams. Jorge Soler was part of the Braves' roster makeover last summer and he hit three critical home runs on his way to World Series MVP honors.
Two potential trade candidates the Mets should consider are Franmil Reyes from the Guardians and Dan Vogelbach from the Pirates. They don’t have to be defensively great, but if a situation arises where they need a home run, these are two that can come off the bench and do it. Reyes hit 30 home runs in 418 at-bats last year, while Vogelbach recently had a 30-dinger campaign with the Mariners in 2019.