“First I was feeling a bit confused, I didn’t understand what was happening,” Herrera told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “But I understand this is a business. You never know where you’ll go. The only important thing was staying mentally strong so I could keep going.”
It had been just less than three calendar years prior when the Colombian native was traded to the New York Mets (with a player to be named later in Vic Black), but it appears as if Herrera made some solid connections within the Mets organization.
As per DiComo, the now-24-year-old was welcomed back into the Mets clubhouse this spring with warm smiles and embraces.
“Everything is the same — same people, same teammates […],” Herrera said. “I feel really excited, man. I feel glad to be here again, being here in this uniform. That makes me feel happy.”
Clearly thrilled to be back with the organization that gave him his first taste of the major leagues and where he enjoyed his most success — albeit, not a tremendous amount of success (.215/.308/.383 over 169 plate appearances with New York; 2014 and 2015) — 2019 could be a big season for the utility player.
After the trade to the Reds, Herrera toiled in the minors, notching a .266/.372/.422 slash line over 80 plate appearances for Triple-A Louisville in 2016. While dealing with shoulder issues that eventually led to surgery in late 2017, Herrera kept himself afloat with a .264/.312/.397 line over 68 games (264 plate appearances).
In 2018, healthy and one year later in his development, Herrera hit .297/.365/.454 with nine homers, 35 runs batted in, and 13 doubles over 300 plate appearances shared between Triple-A Louisville (208 PA) and Advanced-A Daytona (92 PA).
Despite a lowly .184/.268/.414 slash line with the Reds in the latter part of the season, Herrera seems primed to take a big step. It appears as if he’s comfortable in his surroundings and is willing to adapt, which are two outstanding signs.
“I’m ready to do whatever,” Herrera said, alluding to his versatility and willingness to play both corner infield and outfield positions. “That gives you a chance to be in the lineup everywhere. If you can play third [base], you’re going to be at third [base] one day. If you can play the outfield, you’re going to be in the outfield one day. They’re going to use you a lot.”
With a crowded dance card in the Mets infield already with Amed Rosario, Jed Lowrie, Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis, and now Adeiny Hechavarria now all vying for a few coveted spots on Citi Field’s infield dirt, Herrera may be destined for Triple-A Syracuse. But, as we all know too well, another capable cog to plug into the lineup in case of emergency can never hurt a team’s chances.