Excuse yours truly if this sounds familiar. The Mets are taking a play out of the book of Yankees GM Brian Cashman and reaching out for reinforcements with a sudden rash of injuries. We all are aware how the Yankees “B” team has stepped up and it shows with first place and with one of the two best records in baseball since April 18th.
GM Brodie Van Wagenen is following the play book used in the Bronx. The reinforcements have arrived with a sudden rash of injuries that include Robinson Cano, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeill and to Michael Conforto.
Conforto is expected to return in the next few days, possibly this weekend from a concussion but has to pass procedures that are in place by MLB.
But the Mets “B” team has come up big. And the GM, just like his counterpart in the Bronx, has not stopped to assure his Mets have enough depth. Carlos Gomez, Rajai Davis, and Adelny Hechavarria arrived from Syracuse and got those impact hits in the late innings in wins over the Nationals. Same could be said about Juan Lagares who is getting more playing time in the outfield.
Hechavarria, hit a three-run and opposite field go ahead home run in the fourth inning Friday night, his first as a Met. It was one of five Mets home runs that tied a season-high.
Dominic Smith, leading baseball with pinch his off the bench, got called looking at strikes with the tying run in the 8th inning Friday night in the Mets 9-8 loss to the Detroit Tigers. But, overall, no complaints about a top Mets draft pick who has done what he has to do.
So here is the process. Injuries are a part of the game. And as previously stated, the Mets have showed this week they have depth and can look upon others to fill the void as the injured recover. But like taking a good piece of pie out of the fridge, the Mets are also getting quality at bats from their reinforcements.
Add the other veteran, Adeiny Hechavarria. Perhaps a final shot at something, but the 30-year old infielder also had some huge hits this week and adds speed to the lineup.
Friday night, Hector Santiago made his mound debut and pitched a perfect ninth inning that kept his team in reach. The 30-year old lefty, with a good sinker, is another of those “B” team reinforcements who was signed to a minor league deal during the offseason.
Perhaps not as much an impact as the “B” team players in the Bronx, but just as good if this leads to some wins that the Mets need if they are to stay in contention with the Braves and first place Phillies in the NL East.
Friday night it was outfielder Aaron Altherr, 28-years old, in that group, a veteran with youth. He became another of the unexpected that came though. Signed Thursday off waivers from the San Francisco Giants, his third career pinch-hit home run in the sixth inning was a solo shot that provided the Mets a go-ahead lead.
“A crazy game,” he said. “A lot of home runs, a lot of momentum swings.” How long is the stay for Altherr? That remains to be seen for the career. 221 hitter who has a good glove. Because when the injured return, and Conforto is almost ready, there may be no room for Altherr in a crowded outfield.
That home run to left-center certainly made an impression. And a good swing like that can buy him more time instead of the Mets sending him to Syracuse to get more playing time.
And there is possibly more to come. Like the donuts the GM continues to provide for media at the start of every series in the press area, Brodie Van Wagenen keeps the players coming. Ervin Santana, lefthander and two-time all-star, a veteran of 15 seasons with five different teams, was signed to a minor league contract.
Matt Kemp, another veteran, released by the Reds after a stint on the injured list with a broken left rib, was signed to a minor league deal to reinforce the roster. Perhaps a few years earlier, Mets fans would be giving their approval as both were in the prime of their careers. But this “B” team continues and at some point who knows? They could also make an impact in the months ahead.
Manager Mickey Callaway said about Matt Kemp, “Another piece that some point maybe to help us.” It’s working in the Bronx, so you never know how it will span out for the Mets.
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