New York Mets: Top five first baseman in franchise history
Typically, first base is occupied by one of a team’s best offensive players. In New York Mets history, this hasn’t always been the case.
When compared to the five greatest catchers in franchise history, the list of top five first basemen looks incredibly week.
Nevertheless, the Mets have employed some good players here. Aside from busts like Mo Vaughn and Ike Davis, the Mets have had their share of talent receiving putouts at first base. Although it could look much better, the franchise can proudly say they have a good mix of talent on their Mount Rushmore plus one.
5) Dave Kingman
Before batters were swinging for a home run on every pitch, there was Dave Kingman. The original “all or nothing” slugger, Kingman spent parts of six seasons with the Mets through two different stints.
In his first trip through New York, Kingman primarily played the outfield with occasional appearances at first base. He was an All-Star in 1976 and a guy who combined to smack 73 home runs in his first two seasons with the ball club.
The Mets did trade him in the middle of his third season in Flushing after a rough start in 1977.
When Kingman returned in 1981, he was still powering the ball long distances and at a frequent rate. He hit 22 home runs in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign while leading the league with 105 strikeouts. The following season, Kingman won his second home run title. He smashed 37 home runs that season for the Mets while fanning a career-worst 156 times.
Overall, Kingman gave the Mets 2,573 plate appearances and 154 home runs. In his 664 games, he struck out 572 times.
It’s amazing how in today’s baseball world, this hardly seems like a significant total of strike threes. Back then, Kingman was viewed as a limited player.
Of course, his .219 batting average left a lot to be desired. By no means an amazing player, he had his way of winning games.
For sure a memorable Met, Kingman earned a well-deserved spot on this list.
New York Mets to begin interviews for new general manager in September
In Sandy Alderson‘s recent absence, the New York Mets have Omar Minaya, John Ricco, and J.P. Ricciardi in charge of team operations with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching. Even though Ricco initially seemed like the most logical choice to become the team’s next general manager, there will still be an outside search conducted before making any kind of decision.
And according to Andy Martino of SNY, Ricco — who joined the Mets in 2006 as assistant GM — isn’t viewed as a favorite. Martino also mentioned that Tim Naehring, vice president of baseball operations for the New York Yankees, is unlikely to leave his current post to move across town.
With regard to Ricco, it’s easy to see why this both makes sense and doesn’t make sense. On one end, he’s been with the organization through quite a bit. Ownership and other influential people within the team may think that a fresh mind from the outside is necessary to help catapult them back into contention.
On the other hand, though, this is a head-scratcher because Ricco has seemingly been getting groomed as the heir apparent to Alderson for a number of years. That can be seen by him being the point man with regard to dealing with the press about the team’s deadline plans recently.
At the end of the day, this is an important process that needs necessary amounts of due diligence. Just as the next couple weeks are crucial to the immediate future of the organization, finding their newest leader in the front office is the next step of that process.
Removing Minaya from his post in favor of Alderson prior to the 2010 season was a franchise-altering move. Sure, there has been more losing than winning since then, but the rebuilding effort they embarked on led to consecutive playoff appearances and a National League pennant.
It’ll be interesting to see who the team decides to bring in for an interview, and if Ricco can significantly change his reported odds at landing the job over the following weeks and/or months.
New York Mets tested their luck one too many times with Jay Bruce
Ask anyone and they will agree Jay Bruce has not performed well in 2018. Following a really good year with the New York Mets in 2017, the team decided to bring him back on a three-year deal this past winter. Thus far, the results have been horrifying.
Bruce has battled injuries throughout the year. This is still no excuse for how badly he has played or how big of a mistake it was to sign him in the first place.
When the Mets first signed Bruce, opinion on the move seemed split. There was no denying he could give them a boost in the power department this season. There was also a question about whether or not they overspent on a guy with almost no interest from other teams in free agency.
The Mets weren’t always so unlucky with Bruce. Though he struggled when first acquired in 2016, he began to turn things around late. Bruce helped them win one of the Wild Card spots following his lengthy slump early on whilst with New York.
The initial trade which landed Bruce had turned into a steal for the Mets. In exchange for Bruce’s services, the Mets gave up highly-touted second base prospect Dilson Herrera and minor league pitcher Max Wotell.
Wotell failed to do much of anything in the Reds’ minor league system. He was recently released after several campaigns of posting ERAs well over a respectable total. As of his release from the Reds in 2018, Wotell has a professional ERA of 6.81.
Meanwhile, Herrera has failed to live up to even the smallest of expectations. He wasn’t promoted to the MLB roster until last week. His minor league numbers are far from fantastic, but not enough to give up on him already.
All things considered, the Mets benefited from the original Bruce trade. The fact that they were able to deal him away again a year later for Ryder Ryan (who has pitched well) adds yet another W to their history in transactions with Bruce. Looking at his 2018 numbers, they were lucky to deal him away for anything at all.
Sadly, they didn’t quit while they were ahead.
By bringing Bruce back in 2018, the front office gambled on this limited veteran. A commitment of $39 million over three seasons isn’t an extraordinary amount in sports. However, it’s an overpayment for a guy with his abilities.
Bruce is a limited player. He’s an outfielder who belongs at first base or the DH spot. On another team, he might have a role. On the 2018 Mets, he’s yet another unproductive bat on a team hungry for any offense at all.
The fact that Bruce played so poorly for the Mets when they first traded for him should have been a sign of some woes to come. Instead, they hoped the hot start in 2017 could transfer over to 2018.