Mancuso: New Additions May Not Be Enough

(Michael Conforto is one of the Mets New Additions Photo: Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

It may take more than first round draft pick Michael Conforto and some new additions to boost this anemic New York Mets offense. Friday night at Citi Field the Mets first round pick was in the lineup and Saturday a couple of veterans that could help will either be on the bench or in that lineup.

It may not be what Mets fans have been craving for, and there could be more to come before the trading deadline next Friday, but the additions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe may be a start to something more that is in the works courtesy of GM Sandy Alderson.

And there are no indications that the GM will pull the trigger with a major transaction in the next week. But, as has been the situation many times, the deadline of July 31st always seems to be the busiest day and room for a major surprise.

The Mets, though have been in this position many times. And some of those moves have proved to be beneficial. The difference this time is a team in contention, three games from the division leading Washington Nationals and within two of the second wild card behind the Giants and Cubs.

So with an offense last in batting and slugging percentage, in all of baseball, Friday night the Mets confronted the same futility. They scored one run off Ian Thomas, who got the start for Los Angeles only because Zach Greinke was pushed back to Sunday due to a few days of paternity leave.

And the end result was their second straight loss to the Dodgers, 7-2. More importantly when the pitching fails the sluggish offense is more evident, and since the all-star break the Mets are 2-6.

Jonathon Niese should not have been on the mound but got the start. Because his wife was back in Ohio giving birth to their second child, his mind was obviously elsewhere by giving up six runs in three innings. His last eight games were quality starts 2-3 with a 2.38 ERA, and it could be questioned as to why manager Terry Collins told him about the impending birth, because Niese would later surrender long home runs balls to Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig.

“We discussed the whole thing about his options,” Collins said about Niese, “And he wanted to pitch, so he did.”

Alderson may be biting his lip because Turner, who he non-tendered after the 2013 season, is having that career year, 13 home runs and 43 runs batted in, which by the way is more that any player on the current Mets roster.

So the trigger was pulled and Conforto made the jump from Double-A. He managed to get his first career RBI on a ground ball out, and he does have that quick bat. But how long will the 22-year old prospect, who was hitting .312 with five home runs and 26 RBI, stay around the confines of the big league club ?

“I thought he looked good,” Collins said. “He’s got a good stroke. That’s the same stroke we saw in spring training. He’s got a nice approach, some patience at the plate. I was very pleased with what I saw.”

“It was like a dream for me, “ Conforto said. “I had a lot of fun out there. I got that first RBI. I felt comfortable out there so that’s the most important thing. It just makes me want to come back tomorrow.”

And in all probability, unless this early call-up backfires, Conforto will be back there. Even with the new additions, who will get their share of starts to boost the offense, Michael Cuddyer is on the disabled list and there is no telling when he will return.

In the meantime, Alderson was a busy GM on Friday and optioned the anemic hitting John Mayberry Jr. for assignment, and he has to continue hitting the phones before the deadline.

This wasn’t the major blockbuster Mets’ fans wanted, two borrowed players with minor contracts who will be free agents at the end of the season, and an anemic offense with good pitching will not get you to the postseason.

But Conforto is that home grown player that offers hope. He was the player with all the questions and to when would be his arrival to the big stage. More importantly, how much of an impact will Conforto have in a lineup that is desperate to get going with a pennant race at hand?

The new additions may be a start, maybe not enough to get there. And Conforto offers some more hope, but he should not be considered the savior to boost this anemic offense that is worse than the original 1962 New York Mets team that won 40-games.

Time will tell, but at least it is a start, If not, get ready for another dismal and remaining few months of Mets baseball.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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