Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In the middle of the Mets' surge that has them back in contention came extremely bad news about Robinson Cano.
Right as he was getting hot at the plate (9-for-15 with four doubles and a homer in four games), Cano went down with a hasmtring injury. It was later confirmed that the hamstring injury was a tear, which means that Cano's season could possibly be over.
Since Cano's injury, the Mets have used Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme, and Adeiny Hechavarria at second base. Aside from those three are options in the minors (Dilson Herrera, Ruben Tejada) and the recently DFA'd Joe Panik.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway suggested before Wednesday's game that McNeil will likely only get time at second base as a "breather" when he needs a break from playing the outfield.
If McNeil isn't going to be used as the regular at second base for the remainder of the season, the Mets' options there likely come down to Guillorme, Hechavarria, Herrera, Tejada, and Panik.
The Mets can mix and match, but who is their best bet? And who should get the bulk of the playing time? Let's break it down...
The major downside of Guillorme: He probably won't hit much -- and his power output could be close to non-existent.
Guillorme has hit .196/.257/.227 in 54 big league games in 2018 and 2019, but has at least shown the ability to get on base during seven minor league seasons -- hitting .289 with a .368 OBP.
The major upside of Guillorme: He is known as a spectacular defender at both shortstop and second base, though he was less than stellar in limited time in the majors in 2018.
Guillorme's incredible hands and quick release were on display on Tuesday night, but he also misfired on a throw from second base. The hope is that with regular playing time, Guillorme will be the spectacular defender in the majors that he's always been in the minors.
After a hot start, Hechavarria has cooled off in a big way, and was hitting just .210/.259/.370 in 59 games entering Wednesday.
He has been slightly above average (worth 1 DRS) in 175 innings at second base this season, but if the Mets are going to prioritize defense at second base, it would make more sense to go with Herrera than Hechavarria.
A blast from the past, Herrera -- once a top Mets prospect who has been derailed by injuries and traded multiple times -- is hitting .247/.328/.531 with 22 homers in 93 games this season for Triple-A Syracuse.
Herrera has a .468 slugging percentage during his minor league career, so while his current power output would likely drop in the majors, he has the potential to provide some real pop.
Still just 25 years old, Herrera would give the Mets a chance to catch some lightning in a bottle offensively while providing defense that would likely be about average.
Another blast from the past, Tejada is tearing it up in Syracuse this season, hitting .343/.422/.496. But he has just six homers to show for that high slugging percentage.
The 29-year-old Tejada has never had much success in the majors, hitting .251/.325/.318 in parts of eight seasons.
Tejada might offer more offensively than Guillorme, but wouldn't provide anywhere near what he could provide defensively. And unlike his current Triple-A teammate Herrera, the sample size on Tejada in the majors on the offensive side of things is big enough to chalk up what he's doing right now as likely being a fluke.
Once a rising star, Panik has fallen off dramatically since the 2017 season, and was recently DFA'd by the Giants.
If Panik clears waivers, he'll be available for any team to sign, and the New York-area native could make some sense for the Mets.
However, the advanced numbers tell a pretty ugly story for Panik, whose .235/.310/.317 triple slash is largely due to the fact that his exit velocity and hard hit percentage rank among the worst in baseball this season.
What should the Mets do?
With the starting rotation going deep into games with regularity and the bullpen performing much better, the first thing the Mets should do is call up another infielder and return to having a five-man bench. Dropping lefty Donnie Hart to clear room would make sense.
As far as who they should call up? Herrera seems like the best bet.
Before calling up Herrera, the Mets can decide whether to give him some serious burn at second base or use him as a right-handed bat off the bench with power. But the ideal scenario would be Herrera taking the job and running with it.
If the Mets remain largely healthy on the offensive side of things and Herrera doesn't hit enough, going with Guillorme at second base most days for defense while having Herrera come off the bench and play against lefties could be the play.