In addition to the Mets needing to finish hot in hopes of snatching the final Wild Card spot, it would help GM Brodie Van Wagenen's off-season strategy if the following four players finished strong as well:
The difference between Diaz being a bust or being the closer he was for Seattle in 2018 will determine whether Van Wagenen feels the need to spend big this winter on another reliever. Sadly, I am not sure there is much Diaz can do to erase what has been a disastrous season for him.
I realize no one person is even responsible for losing a baseball game. It takes a village. But had Diaz not blown half of the games that he did this past summer the Mets would be in a far better spot for the Wild Card.
Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Phil Regan continue to say Diaz is showing signs of improvement.
Diaz, whose ERA is at 5.83 on the season, has an 8.44 ERA during his last seven appearances. He has an 8.25 ERA during his last 15 appearances. And he has an 8.51 ERA during his last 30 appearances.
That said, the kid has talent and results from 2018 to back it up. I'm not sure if he can do enough to convince Van Wagenen or another GM in baseball to again put him in high-leverage situations during 2020.
However, if he doesn't show any signs of improvement on the mound during real games, he will crush any remaining trade value and put Van Wagenen in a tricky spot when allocating money for next year's team.
Is he an everyday outfielder, utility guy or trade bait?
The question was first asked in in late June, at which time Michael Conforto returned to center field and Jeff McNeil, who had up until that point mostly played left field, moved to right field.
In response to Dom Smith's outage at the plate, Davis took over in left field starting 16 of the next 20 games, while hitting an incredible .407 with a 1.139 OPS, 10 RBI and just 13 strikeouts.
He spent the next two months starting in left field, starting at third base, getting bumped to the bench when Todd Frazier returned from the disabled list, then back to the starting lineup and now back to the bench.
All the while he never stopped hitting, despite an above-average batting average on balls in play. Luck or no luck, the ball keeps dropping, which has helped him hit at least .295 every month this season except for May, which is when his playing time was being jerked around the most.
Nevertheless, the question remains not just for the Mets but for teams that might have interest in him when trying to add an outfielder or third baseman.
I buy in to the talent, especially since it's not like Davis is a 29-year-old journeyman, low-ranked prospect that will likely be a temporary attraction. He is 25 years old, playing a premium position, he was a top prospect just 18 months ago and he's done is hit this season despite sporadic playing time.
My hunch is Van Wagenen likes Davis and is proud for having acquired him, so I don't think a trade is on the horizon. It's possible, but Davis has the potential to be a major find and feather in the cap for Van Wagenen. That said, a monster run with power during the next week or so -- more camaraderie with Pete Alonso between the on-deck circle and home plate -- could leave a bold enough lasting impression to get Van Wagenen leaning toward making Davis an everyday player at third.
Who? Oh, right, the ghost Van Wagenen signed to a two-year deal this past winter instead of pursuing DJ LeMahieu. Lowrie found life when activated from the disabled list Sept. 7.
He has so far been used only in pinch-hitting situations, mostly because the infield is already crowded.
Anyway, he's under contract and will be on the roster next season regardless of what he does the remainder of this season. Frankly, the best thing he can do for himself is not get hurt again. However, like a pitcher returning from injury to throw a start or two at the end of the season, Lowrie getting at bats, coming to the ballpark, hanging with teammates, taking infield, and maybe getting in to a game or two should help keep him on pace for a full winter's off-season program so he's mentally and physically ready come spring 2020.
I have no idea what happens then, but the difference between a questionable Lowrie or a healthy and ready-to-produce Lowrie will mean the world to Davis and other challenges facing Van Wagenen when looking at next year's bench and infield.
It's been a tale of two seasons for Rosario in 2019.
Rosario ended 2018 hitting .284 the final two months of the season, during which he hit half of his season total home runs and drove in roughly half of his total RBI. He continued this level production to start 2019, but then suffered a string of terrible luck on balls in play, which seemed to throw his fielding out of whack, which fueled speculation of a move to the outfield or -- worse -- a return to the minor leagues.
He never stopped hitting the ball hard or for power, though. Finally in July, the ball started dropping -- his average skyrocketed, his fielding improved and all was right in his world.
He has slipped a bit as of late, but to me, he looks a tad tired. It's been a tumultuous season, to say the least.
Rosario has taken steps forward in his career this season, which was hopefully a learning experience he can build on in 2020. He is hitting the ball with more authority than last season, he has become a slightly better two-strike hitter and, though it doesn't feel like when watching him, his stats say he is showing more discipline at the plate.
He'll be the starting shortstop next season. But, it would help his and Brodie Van Wagenen's confidence in him to have Rosario finish strong. It would mean ending the idea of him being anything other than a shortstop and it will make his first-half struggles feel like a small bump in the road.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!