Flash back to August 21st, 2005. It was a hot late-summer afternoon at Shea Stadium where the Mets were hosting the Washington Nationals.
By the fifth inning, the Mets found themselves trailing 7-0. All appeared to be lost until a rookie came to the plate by the name of Mike Jacobs.
Jacobs, a highly ranked Mets prospect, made his major league debut and promptly hit a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw. The Mets went on to lose that game 7-4, but Jacobs continued his torrid hitting streak and homered in each of the next three games.
After only 100 at-bats in 2005, Jacobs finished with 11 home runs, which is a rather incredible feat. It appeared that the 24 year old would be anchoring the right side of the infield for many years to come.
Here we are nearly five years latter, and the Mets find themselves, again, searching for a first baseman to help them secure a playoff spot in 2010.
Now with the Kansas City Royals, Jacobs is coming off quite possibly his worst season in the big leagues. In 128 games last season, Jacobs hit only .228.
The bright side is he did hit 19 home runs and drove in 61 RBI’s. Nonetheless, numerous media outlets have reported that Jacobs is an almost guaranteed non-tender candidate given his lackluster performance combined with $3 million-plus salary for next season.
Assuming he hits the open market, the Mets would be crazy not to at least entertain the idea of bringing back the slugger. Keep in mind, this is not an unproven player. Jacobs is only one year removed from a season in which he hit 32 home runs to complement the 92 RBI’s.
I see a little bit of Jeff Francoeur in Jacobs, in the sense both are gritty, hard-nosed players.
These are exactly the kind of players the Mets want to fill the locker room with next year. Maybe their style of play will rub off on their teammates as well.
Jacobs has a passion for the game that rivals even the most dedicated players in the sport today. It is worth pointing out that despite what has only been a brief stay in Kansas City, the first baseman made quite the impression on Kansas City beat writer, Joe Posnanski.
Posnanski, citing Jacobs’s superb work ethic, went as far as calling Jacobs his favorite Royals player, even though he struggled greatly throughout the year.
This speaks volumes, especially when you consider that the probable AL Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke, is also a member of the Royals.
Signing the slugger to a one year deal worth $4 million or so would be beneficial for both parties
For Jacobs it would be an opportunity to establish himself as a big time bat, and to help justify a club signing him for big bucks down the road.
For the Mets, Jacobs would be a good bat in the lineup, who could help them increase their home run totals and provide the trio of David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur with some added protection in the lineup.
His presence would also allow prospect, Ike Davis, to adequately develop in the minor leagues, instead of being rushed up to the major league level.
Obviously, Jacobs comes with his flaws. His defense needs improvement. Also, along with his powerful free-swing approach comes the tendency to strike out a bit.
Am I suggesting that Mike Jacobs is the solution to the Mets offensive woes? Of course not.
What I am suggesting is that signing Jacobs for a reasonable amount of money could allow the Mets to allocate more resources to pursue a slugger for the outfield or a number two pitcher. Both of which are areas where the Mets could use vast improvement.