This past week the Mets made a surprising move and signed former All-Star First Baseman Adrian Gonzalez. This signing was the third Major League deal the Mets handed out this offseason and by far the most surprising.
When A-gon was traded to and released by the Braves in December there were rumblings of interest from the Mets but they died down quickly.
Bringing in Gonzalez puts to bed any issues the Mets could have had at First Base as he is now the number one fallback option the Mets have at First if Dom Smith does not impress at Spring Training. This move came as a surprise because of how fast it developed and because as I said last week it seemed as if the Mets brass would shift their attention toward players that can fill their 2nd/3rd base hole.
The Mets adding A-gon has its pros and cons. The pros are easy to see; he has been an All-Star and Gold Glover his entire career while playing in at least 156 games for 11 straight seasons, which ended this past year with a back injury which sidelined him for the majority of the season. The most important benefit of signing A-gon is easily because he will only cost the Mets 545k this year.
Although A-gon is cheap, a proven commodity, and possibly a nice mentor for Dom Smith, he comes with plenty of baggage. At one point he was one of the best First Basemen in the league but that time has passed. He is going to be 36 this year, and his Gold Glove defense is all but gone. On top of that is the fact that he is going to be returning from a major back issue so the jury will be out on this move for awhile.
Since the Mets have patched up their First Base and Outfield issues all that is left for them to patch up before the season starts is their holes at 2nd/3rd base and the bullpen.
The Mets currently have four reliable arms in their bullpen, but with their expected high use of their relievers this year another one could help. They also have two Aces in their rotation with 5 unproven injury-laden starters to fill the other three holes so a third reliable starter would obviously improve the team.
With that being said the owners are not willing to pay for either of those things because their biggest issue is the hole they have in the infield and in the lineup. Last week I pointed out that the five best fits available for the Mets to fill either Second or Third base are Eduardo Nunez, Josh Harrison, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, and Howie Kendrick.
This past week Kendrick was signed by the Washington Nationals. The deal is two years and worth 7 million dollars. Although he was definitely a good fit for the Mets he was never even on their radar so him coming off the board is not the biggest loss.
Last week I laid out why each player was a good fit for the Mets so I am not going to do that again, but I will say that their two best options are Nunez and Harrison. Also with Kendrick off the board, I will add another name to the list of players to fill their hole in the infield, that player is Travis Shaw.
Shaw is a 27 year old Third Baseman who is currently on the Milwaukee Brewers and may be on the Trade Block soon. It is believed that the Brewers are interested in Moustakas and if they acquire him they could try to move Shaw.
Shaw is a great fit for the Mets, he is a young up and coming Third Baseman that just had a breakout season at the plate. He hit .273 with an OBP of .349, 31 Home Runs, and 101 RBI’s. He brings power and a solid bat but that’s not all he has. Shaw is an above average defensive Third Baseman who brings athleticism and versatility to the table.
Along with his stellar numbers at the plate, Shaw can also play some First Base and was able to steal 10 bases this past season as well. Adding to the list of positives Shaw brings to the table is the cost of his contract. He is under team control this upcoming season, which means he’ll make the league minimum and the three years after that are his arbitration years.
Travis Shaw’s only flaw is that he can only be acquired by a trade so the Mets would have to part with some young valuable assets which they don’t have much of. However, if the Brewers sign Moustakas, Shaw may not be worth much as the Brewers will just want to move him to clear roster space.
One thing is for sure Shaw isn’t a perfect fit for the Mets, and he may not be as good of a fit as Harrison and Nunez are but he is definitely a close third. He would bring another power bat to the lineup and expand the middle of the order.
With pitchers and catchers reporting in 26 days the Mets will be moving quickly if at all to hopefully acquire one of these players.