It is a no-brainer in the sense the Mets have nothing to lose if they rolled the dice on former nemesis Jimmy Rollins, who was designated for assignment Friday by the Chicago White Sox.
If it didn’t work out, the Mets could always release him, so why not take a chance? What would it hurt? Some team will make a run at Rollins. Why not the Mets? And, he won’t cost much.
Of course, Rollins isn’t the same player who once tormented the Mets – along with his double-play partner Chase Utley – but has a winning mentality and could bring something to the table down the stretch.
This season, Rollins, 37, was hitting .221 with two home runs and eight RBI in 41 games with the White Sox. But, he was signed as a role player, evidenced by his $2 million contract.
Once sizzling at 13 games over .500, the White Sox have lost 12 of their last 15 games and entered Friday’s play at 30-30. The Mets aren’t hot either, but they are still very much a playoff contender.
Rollins is better than anybody the Mets have to spell Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop. Although no longer a blazer, he does bring an element of speed, something the Mets lack. Two years ago – his last with the Phillies – he stole 28 bases.
A line drive hitter, he has been a doubles and triples machine during his career. Of course, he’s not in his prime. It would be ridiculous to think he is. However, it isn’t a stretch to think there could be a flashback moment this summer when he could help the Mets steal a game.
And, isn’t that the point of mid-season additions?
There are no guarantees in the baseball draft, but selecting power arms is generally a good idea, which was the Mets’ thinking when they used their first two picks to take junior pitchers Justin Dunn of Boston College with the 19th overall selection, and left-hander Anthony Kay of Connecticut 12 picks later.
You might wonder why a team struggling offensively and pitching rich would go after more pitching. Quite simply, we’re talking about Dunn and Kay not being ready for up to three more years, and a lot can happen in that span.
From the Mets’ current staff, there are injuries and trades, not to mention free agency. Of course, the way things have been going for him, you could exclude from that mix Bartolo Colon, who gave up one run in seven innings Thursday in Milwaukee.
Also, as the Mets proved with Yoenis Cespedes last year, hitting is generally more easily obtainable.
The 6-2, 184-pound Dunn started the college season in the bullpen, but his 90-mph., plus fastball and power curveball were moved into the rotation in April and went 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA in eight starts.
However, what the Mets should really love is he struck out 49 and walked just 13 in 47 innings.
“I try to pitch in the range of 90-92,” Dunn told The Boston Globe. “That’s where mentally I’d like to think I’m pitching. If it comes out harder than that, it comes out harder than that. Lately, it has been, which is a blessing. I feel pretty confident in all four pitches. That’s what makes it so hard for hitters. A hitter in a 1-and-2 count can’t eliminate one.”
Dunn throws a two- and four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Dunn, who is from Long Island, will be pitching this weekend to send the Eagles into the College World Series.
Kay throws in the low 90s and throws a fastball, changeup and curve.
UConn coach Jim Penders says Kay has a Long Island swagger, and you know what he means by that when you watch Matz.
“`It has kind of grown since I left Long Island,” Kay told The Hartford Courant. “It means you don’t care what anybody thinks about you – you just go out and do your job and get it done the best you can.”
Kay was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.
The Mets drafted Kay in 2013 and made him a six-figure offer, but he opted for college. They got a second chance Thursday.
We know the Mets aren’t playing well, but are they in trouble? They have coughed and sputtered for the past six weeks, and if not for their outstanding starting pitching, they could have conceivably fallen back to .500 if not below.
So what’s your concern level with the Mets?
In addition to a month-long hitting funk, there have been injuries and bullpen lapses. For all their home runs, this team hasn’t hit with runners in scoring position, has a low on-base percentage and strikes out way too much.
I liked reacquiring Kelly Johnson, but considering the depth of their offensive funk he won’t be enough.
For the most part the pitching has been good, but their three top starters came away empty in Pittsburgh.
It remains to be seen what GM Sandy Alderson can accomplish before July 31. The next month should tell the Mets what they might get from Lucas Duda and David Wright in the second half and the level of urgency for Alderson to deal.
It’s premature to say the Mets can’t get back to the World Series, but it isn’t too early to draw the conclusion from now until All-Star break can be very telling as they have three more games with Pittsburgh; two against Kanas City; three with the Marlins; four against the Cubs and seven with the Nationals.
In trouble? Not yet, but there is cause for concern.
What does it say about the Mets that they are willing to play shorthanded for the rest of this week in order to give Juan Lagares‘ partial tear in his left thumb a chance to heal?
For one thing, it says they aren’t comfortable with their outfield depth on the bench. For another, it says they don’t have anybody in their minor league system they are comfortable promoting now.
The Mets’ thinking is they want to see the inflammation go down and if he’s capable of gripping a bat. If he’s not by the time the Mets go to Milwaukee, a DL decision will be made then. Assistant GM John Ricco said Lagares will likely have offseason surgery.
“Because it’s on his glove hand and bottom hand on a bat, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to play with it,” Ricco told reporters in Pittsburgh. “We won’t know until some of the swelling gets out of there and he has a chance to see how it feels. … You’ve seen guys play with this and have surgery after the season. I would guess that would be the normal course.”
Lagares was injured diving for a ball in the outfield Saturday in Miami. He didn’t play Sunday – TV cameras on him in the dugout showed he couldn’t get his glove on – and the Mets were fortunate they didn’t play Monday night.
As for Cespedes, he didn’t start the last two games in Miami because of a bruised right hip.
Alejandro De Aza represents the Mets’ outfield depth on the major league level, and there’s nobody the Mets are comfortable with in the minors to bring up now.
This isn’t a good time for the Mets to be playing shorthanded because the Pirates represent probably their closest competition for a wild card berth.