Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The designated hitter possibly coming to the National League by 2021 or 2022 would be great news for the Mets, who currently have a handful of players who could be better off in that role than they are playing the field.
Looking back through the Mets' history, which players would have made the most sense to fill the DH role had the NL adopted it along with the AL in 1973? This is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.
Rusty Staub, Dave Kingman
Staub, who played primarily first base and corner outfield, was not known for his defense. But he was one of the Mets' most reliable hitters from 1972-1975 during what was his first stint with the team.
Kingman, known for his majestic home runs (he hit 442 during his career), began his first stint with the Mets in 1975. Like Staub, he was not known for his defense. But his bat justified his being in the lineup, where he had a .500 slugging percentage between 1975 and 1976.
George Foster, Kingman, Staub
Both Staub (1981-85) and Kingman (1981-83) had second stints with the Mets toward the end of their careers, and would have been valuable DH options.
As far as Foster, the former member of the Big Red Machine joined the Mets in 1982 and spent the majority of the final four-plus seasons of his career in Queens. He played his final game for the Mets on Aug. 6, 1986. He was then released and joined the White Sox. Foster retired after the 1986 season.
Foster's first season with the Mets was a down one, but he had strong campaigns the next three seasons that might have been even better if he didn't have to play the field as well.
Eddie Murray, Todd Hundley
Murray was a 36-year-old future Hall-of-Famer when he joined the Mets in 1992 as part of The Worst Team Money Could Buy. He was solid during his two years in orange and blue, slashing .274/.330/.446 with 43 homers in 310 games. At first base, though, he was a below average defender.
As far as Hundley goes, he could've slid to DH when the Mets acquired Piazza in 1998. Instead, with his spot behind the plate gone, Hundley suffered through a disastrous experiment in the outfield before being traded.
Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza
Ten years after The Worst Team Money Could Buy, the 2002 Mets served as somewhat of an encore, with Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, and Jeromy Burnitz among those on board.
Vaughn's body was shot but he could still hit majestic home runs, and he would've been a perfect fit as the DH.
When it comes to Piazza, whose Mets career ended after the 2005 season, how sweet would it have been if he instead became the DH in 2006 and helped anchor a lineup that included David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, and Cliff Floyd? And what if he remained DH in 2007 and 2008? Oh, what could've been...
It's impossible to know how Wright's Mets career might have changed if the team had the option of using him as DH when his body started to betray him. Perhaps the spinal stenosis would've meant his not playing even if he didn't have to play the field. But it's okay to dream about a better ending.
This is the easiest choice of all. According to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, Cespedes is ready to go offensively. If only they had a way to play Cespedes regularly without him having to play the outfield.
In 2021 and beyond, when the Mets might actually be able to utilize the DH, there are a bunch possibilities including Robinson Cano and J.D Davis? For a look at the potential scenarios that could await the Mets should the NL soon add the DH, click here.