Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
If/when the 2020 Major League Baseball season starts, it almost certainly won't look like anything we've ever seen before on a big league diamond.
As the league continues to come up with scenarios for how the season might look if there is baseball this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, we've gotten details on two of those potential scenarios.
The first one, known as the "Arizona plan," would mean all 30 teams playing in and around Phoenix in order to minimize travel and have everyone centrally located. And with the potential of doubleheaders being played every week and other quirks possible, it's fair to believe the universal DH could be implemented under the Arizona plan.
The second one, known as the "Cactus and Grapefruit League plan," would mean the National League and American League ceasing to exist for the 2020 season, with teams instead playing where their spring training facilities are in either Arizona or Florida, and new divisions having a mix of existing NL and AL teams. The universal DH would almost certainly be implemented under that plan.
And one of the teams that might benefit the most from the universal DH in 2020 is the Mets, with three specific players being near-perfect fits.
Here are three strategies the Mets could employ in the event they get to use the universal DH this season...
The Yoenis Cespedes Strategy
Cespedes was on a great trajectory before spring training was suspended, but he might have still been an unlikely member of the 26-man roster had the season started as scheduled on March 26.
Now, it's fair to believe that Cespedes will be ready to go if/when the 2020 season starts. But it's also fair to believe that after having not played for most of the last two seasons, Cespedes will not be able to handle anything close to a regular workload in left field.
The above makes Cespedes the perfect candidate to DH. And if he's physically able, he's the Met who offers the most upside there and should get the most time there.
On days when Cespedes is the DH, the Mets' regular outfield will usually be J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Michael Conforto from left to right, with Jeff McNeil at third base.
The J.D. Davis Strategy
While Davis has given it his all when in left field, he's miscast there. And while he's said he's more comfortable at third base, that will be McNeil's spot most of the time. So having the ability to use Davis as a DH would be ideal.
On days when Cespedes isn't the DH, it would make sense for it to be Davis, with the Mets going for defense in center field with Jake Marisnick and sliding Brandon Nimmo to left field.
That would mean Cespedes being a dangerous bat off the bench those days.
The Robinson Cano Strategy
Cano is under contract for four more seasons and is currently locked in as the team's starting second baseman.
While the ability to use the DH in 2020 might not alter the plan for Cano in a big way, it would at least give the Mets a lot more flexibility than they currently have.
For example, if Davis -- who had been taking half of his reps at third base as he prepared for the season -- is able to handle third base adequately moving forward, the Mets would have the option of playing Davis at third, McNeil at second base, using Cano as the DH, and going for defense in center with Marisnick.
The above would likely only come into play on a regular basis if Cespedes is unavailable or ineffective. But with Cespedes having been on the shelf for so long, that's not a hard scenario to imagine.
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While the universal DH in 2020 would be an interesting wrinkle, it's not out of the question that it will become permanent sooner rather than later.
And the Mets, who stand to gain a lot in 2020 if they're able to use the DH, would be in a similar position in 2021 and beyond with Cano and Davis still on the roster and under team control for the long haul.
If the 2020 season happens, we might get a glimpse of what that future could look like.