Reunited: Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce Will Add Some Punch to Mets Lineup
An MMO Fan Shot by John Azzato
Contrary to what us Mets fans thought, the Mets have made some very impactful moves. To bolster the starting lineup, right fielder Jay Bruce is back in Flushing on a three-year, $39 million deal. Along with that move, Todd Frazier has also been added to presumably start at third base on a two-year, $17 million deal. Although these two signings seem like the two most impactful moves, the additions of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and reliever Anthony Swarzak, as well as the re-signing of utility man Jose Reyes were also significant additions for the team. Lets break down how these signings will effect the Mets heading into the the 2018 season.
Jay Bruce – The power-hitting lefty Jay Bruce is back in Flushing after getting traded to the Cleveland Indians last season. Bruce batted .254 with 101 RBI and 36 HR in 2017 split between the two clubs. He brings elite power from the left-side, and will also possibly serve as a backup plan at first if need be. However, with the signing of Adrian Gonzalez and a young, talented first base prospect in Dominic Smith, it seems his services at first base will not be needed. Nevertheless, Bruce’s bat and leadership is a welcomed addition, especially for a contract that seems like a bargain at 3 years, $39 million.
Todd Frazier – The former Yankee slugger voiced his opinion to stay in New York, and got his wish after signing a two-year, $17 million dollar deal with the New York Mets. Frazier also brings a power-bat, but from the right side of the plate. He hit 27 home runs with 76 RBI while posting a career-best 83 walks and a career-best .344 on-base percentage in 147 combined games between the White Sox and Yankees in 2017. Frazier is also a great presence in the clubhouse and is lauded for how he plays the game. The Mets got themselves a great fit in Frazier, and for a bargain price.
Adrian Gonzalez – Although Adrian is not the player he once was, I think he can definitely bring some good things to the Mets. I believe he’ll produce at a solid rate, and at the same time hold down the position until Dominic Smith is ready. The seasoned veteran also hopes to be a mentor for the team’s young first base prospect and has voiced his excitement in working with him during spring training. The Mets will get his services for the MLB minimum, $540,000.
Anthony Swarzak – The 32-year old right hander boasted a 6-4 record with a 2.33 ERA and 1.04 WHIP to go along with a 2.7 WAR last season. The Mets bullpen, which includes central pieces in AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia, were one piece away from bolstering a dangerous end-of-game trio. Anthony Swarzak may be the man to make it happen. Although Swarzak uses mainly fastballs and sliders, his command is exceptional and his slider has solid movement. First-year manager Mickey Callaway has not committed to naming a closer, and has said he will start the year using a closer-by-committee. Even though he seems better fit as a 7th inning man, look for Swarzak to have his name in the mix for some saves throughout the season.
Jose Reyes – The longtime Met shortstop returns as a cheap depth option for the Mets. He can play shortstop, second base, and third base – and the depth he’ll provide is much-needed for a Mets team who have dealt with too many injuries over the last two seasons. With the hiring of a new training staff, the Mets hope to limit those injuries this season, but having Reyes around is a solid insurance policy. After an agonizingly slow start last season, Reyes finished the second half with a bang.
Overall, Sandy Alderson and the Mets were very wise and ahead of the curve by allowing the market to come to them this offseason, and the end result was adding some very productive players for far less than anyone had predicted.
I believe the Mets have the ability to compete this year, but I don’t think they should stop here. The Mets have been connected to starting pitchers Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, and for a team who ranked in the bottom five in starting pitcher ERA due to injuries, signing one of those guys would be a very smart and prudent move.
Although many have criticized the Mets for their lack of aggression in the offseason, nobody can deny they have certainly improved the team in some very surprising and significant ways. Now let’s see if this team can mesh, if the rotation can stay healthy, and if we could finally give our loyal fan base the special season it undoubtedly deserves.
Final Grade: B+
* * * * * * * *
This Fan Shot was written and contributed by MMO community member and die-hard Mets fan John Azzato. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Send your article to GetMetsmerized@aol.com or use this Contact Form. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.