Adrian Gonzalez was never going to on the Mets very long. Even if he returned to All-Star form, the 36 year-old would have been gone by the end of the year, seeking a bigger contract elsewhere.
So it came as no surprise last night that Gonzalez was released by the Mets. His bat speed was just too slow and he was becoming more and more overmatched. He was hitting .237 with six homers and 26 RBI and was 3-38 on the last homestand. Last night, he was batting eighth in the batting order, somewhere your starting first baseman should never be hitting.
The Mets owe him nothing, so this move would be easy. But there’s another reason why. Releasing Gonzalez alleviates the first base log-jam in the organization.
Dominic Smith is now up in the majors. He has his chance to show he’s a major league hitter. If that doesn’t work out, there’s Peter Alonso, who is tearing up Double-A Binghamton, hitting .310 with 15 homers and 50 RBI, and will be earning a promotion soon.
By putting Smith in the majors, Alonso has a position to play in Triple-A.
With Alonso on his heels, Smith will be pressed to produce. He was hitting was hitting .260 (57-219) with 16 doubles, two home runs, 25 RBI and a .343 on-base percentage in 56 games at Las Vegas this season.
The move also gives Mickey Callaway more flexibility. He can also play Jay Bruce at first and give Jose Bautista a chance to play and it also opens up at bats for Wilmer Flores when he returns from the disabled list.
The Mets also designated Jose Lobaton for assignment, who was up for insurance purposes when Devin Mesoraco had a sore hamstring last week. Ty Kelly takes his place for now.