With Juan Lagares suffering a potentially season-ending injury and the Mets really having no idea when Yoenis Cespedes is going to be able to return from his annual disabled list trip, the Mets found themselves without a Major League caliber right-hand hitting outfielder. With that as the backdrop, the New York Mets went out and signed Jose Bautista, and put him in the starting lineup last night.
To make room for Bautista, Phillip Evans was optioned to Triple-A. Is this what the Mets should have done to address their outfield situation? Well, that’s the question we posed to our writers in the latest MMO Roundtable:
To me, it’s about what the ripple effect. Bautista over Jose Reyes makes sense to me, so if it eventually pushes Jose off the team it makes more sense. If he takes at-bats away from Brandon Nimmo and/or Michael Conforto then it’s probably a bad thing. The Mets badly needed a guy that can hit lefties and Bautista has done that in his career (even two long balls this year).
Love it. He’s an interesting character, but more importantly, has the potential to produce more than Reyes out of third base — But then again, who doesn’t. He hit 23 home runs last season and hasn’t hit any less than 20 since he hit 54 in 2010. Yeah, he’s 37, but he stays healthy and still has power. If he can put together a hot streak, this low-risk signing is absolutely worth a shot.
Honestly, it doesn’t make us younger, but it doesn’t really hurt either. The only thing I hope is that he doesn’t get as many chances as Reyes. If he struggles for a prolonged amount of time, he should be cut. But at the very least, for the time being, he is a strong veteran and leader. Hopefully, he brings another good personality to the locker room.
The Jose Bautista signing offers the Mets a much-needed right-handed hitting outfielder, due to the absence of both Todd Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes who are still sidelined from injuries. While the 37-year-old Bautista might very well be nearing the end of his career – as his offensive output has been on the decline over the last two seasons – this is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Mets. There is a dearth of right-handed hitting options at the upper levels of the Mets’ minor league system, which prompted this signing. Bryce Brentz, who the Mets claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring, would likely have found his way in Queens had he not broken his toe after fouling off a pitch in an early May game in Las Vegas.
The downside of the Bautista signing is that he might take away at-bats from Brandon Nimmo and or Michael Conforto. While both of their splits against left-handed pitchers are pedestrian, I’d rather see the Mets continue to let both get their reps in against southpaws, and continue to progress and feel more comfortable at the plate. The signing also adds another aging slugger to a team that currently features Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Reyes. There were a segment of fans that were hoping the signing of Bautista would signal the end for the struggling Reyes, though it appears Reyes has more lives than a cat, and is safe … for now.
I mean, whatever. As long as it doesn’t interfere with Conforto playing, or hinder too much on Nimmo, I don’t mind. He was impressive once upon a time, and it’s possible to catch lightning in a bottle once more.
I’m not a huge fan of signing Bautista because I really don’t see the point. Bautista showed last year and this year that he just doesn’t have it, so I really can’t see his production being better than what Nimmo, Conforto, and Bruce will provide (depending on who’s sitting for him), even against lefties. Plus, Bautista is older, slower, and worse at defense. At least it’s a low-risk move so it can’t hurt the Mets too much, but I can’t see it helping much, either. There’s no reason to take away at-bats from Nimmo, Conforto or Bruce for another washed up veteran. In the end, I doubt that the Bautista era will last very long for the Mets.
We needed a boxer (because he fought Rougned Odor).
The Bautista signing reminds me of when Gary Sheffield became a Met in 2009. No one expected much from Sheffield and no one expected him to play as much as he did. But he surprised the naysayers and almost led the team in home runs. That being said, I don’t expect Bautista to start much. But he could be a top bat off the bench and his ability to play third base as well as the corner outfield positions will allow the Mets to ease Céspedes and Todd Frazier back into the lineup when they’re healthy enough to play. I have absolutely no problem with the signing of Bautista.
Compared to the risk, the potential upside is more than enough to justify a look at Bautista. If he finds his timing over the next couple of weeks and can provide the Mets with another bat off of the bench while playing competent defense, all for the veteran’s minimum, it’s really too good of a situation to pass up.
I really don’t have an issue with it. Bautista might honestly be a decent bench bat off the bench still. If this also somehow forces out Jose Reyes, then it is even better. He can still hit the occasional homer and can draw walks. I also loved Bautista in his Blue Jays days and while he’s still not the same player, he can still have a decent impact for the Mets. He’s better than some already on the roster.
It’s a low-cost move by the Mets but I hate how the front office is signing these older players and not calling up the younger players.
Many are going to make this about Reyes, and it’s understandable with how poorly Reyes has played. Ultimately, this is really about Phillip Evans. Really, Evans hasn’t shown enough to be a big league utility player let alone putting him a hamstring pull away from being an everyday outfielder. The Mets simply had to upgrade over him, and they did that by signing Bautista. The real trick going forward is not being overly mesmerized by a good stretch until the point you have a repeat of James Loney‘s 2016 season.
With Bautista, the Mets are a better team today than they were yesterday. That is so long as Nimmo and Conforto play every day. For now, that is all that should matter. We’ll see what happens when everyone else is healthy.
Do you agree with our writers, or do you have a different opinion you believe our staff overlooked? We look forward to continuing this discussion in the message boards below.