Q and A - A-Gone?


Mack asks –

           April is over. Thoughts on A-Gon?

Tom Brennan says –

Adrian Gonzalez won't currently make us forget Paul Goldschmidt, but he had a very satisfactory first month in RBIs, and he is a steady, respected vet. 

He gets my green light to stay and play - if he falls off, and Smith gets hot, and both happen soon, maybe Smith returns...but The Alonso Express is barreling down the tracks, so if Gonzo holds on until June or July, the choice might just be Pete Alonso instead of Smith.   Intriguing.

Of course, Bruce is always a 1B option if we still have an outfield logjam if/when A Gon falters...but heck, maybe he won't falter after all in 2018.

We probably all expected Bartolo to suddenly get old just as his Mets career started...instead he gave us 3 fine years.  Maybe A Gon is just getting started.

Reese Kaplan says –

           He's earned another month. 

The batting average is not there.  The power is mostly lacking.  However, the RBIs are real and the defense, though maybe not what it once was, is certainly better than anything the Mets have seen since the days of Keith Hernandez. 

Flores in his limited playing time has not taken enough advantage to warrant being handed the job outright YET.  Dom Smith is not an option yet either. 

Jay Bruce is to me an emergency first baseman, not one who has had enough experience there to learn on the fly at the major league level. 

Play through May and see if he picks it up.  If not, then revisit the question on Memorial Day weekend.

Jack Flynn says

The Mets are doing the right thing by slowly working Jay Bruce into the first base mix. Adrian Gonzalez's slow start may be just that - a failure to get out of the gate quickly - or it may be confirmation that back injuries have prematurely robbed him of his skills.

The Mets probably have another 30 days to make a final decision, by which time Bruce will hopefully be ready to move to first base if need be.

Right now the Mets have four starting outfielders for three positions ... sit down, Juan Lagares, you know that you are only a platoon partner to Michael Conforto and a defensive replacement!

Brandon Nimmo needs more playing time, and Mickey Callaway is not about to take it away from Conforto or Yoenis Cespedes.

Bruce may be the beneficiary of a three-year contract, but he is still the most vulnerable starting outfielder the Mets have. His willingness to play first not only makes him a good teammate, but it also shows that he's savvy enough to understand his role on this team in the future.

*stops, remembers the original question was about Gonzalez, ponders*

Adrian Gonzalez is probably done. I'm willing to wait until June 1 to decide if he should be released, but I'm doubtful that he's going to have the impact that the Mets hoped for. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Mike Friere says –

I will admit that when the Mets first took a flyer on Adrian Gonzalez, I viewed the move as a "lottery ticket", of sorts.   Meaning that the risk/cost
was extremely low and the potential payout was substantially higher.  Worst case scenario, if AG was "washed up", then it would be really easy
to move on to another alternative.  

I was also mildly concerned that he would serve as a temporary roadblock for our first base prospects, namely Dominic Smith and/or Peter Alonzo.

With all of that said, he has been a mixed bag so far this season (even if you factor in his offensive explosion yesterday in San Diego).

Consider his statistics:

66 AB    .227/.312/.394  (.706 OPS)

3 HR/17 RBI/0 SB and 7 Runs

-0.1 WAR and -0.3 dWAR

Using WAR, he has actually played slightly below a replacement player's value, to include his defensive contributions.  

I don't mind giving him a bit more "rope", but you have to wonder how much more time he has?  Jay Bruce is supposedly taking grounders at First Base, which is not a good sign for AG since both are lefties.

I would be surprised if he was still a Met by the All Star Break.

Mack says –

First, I think his April production warrants May.

Second, who are you going to play here in his place? Neither Bruce or Flores can come close to his defensive ability and Bruce should stay in right where he belongs. As for Flores, the Mets just don’t look upon this guy as being a full time player, no less a first baseman.

This would leave Smith or Alonso.

This isn’t a knock on Smith. He’s doing fine in Vegas. But Alonso is out of control in Binghamton.

Michael Conforto was a college player that was originally called to Queens at the age of 22.

Alonso is a college player who is currently… 23 years old.

My prediction is Alonso will be promoted directly from Upstate around the All-Star break.


Thomas Brennan said...

If Alonso continues red hot, maybe he shows up by Memorial Day? He can skip Vegas if he already hits like he plays in Vegas. But we need to see his ongoing progress first.

alizarine said...

Hope you're right about Alonso. For whatever reason, I just don't believe Dom is ever going to be a legit offensive threat at the ML level.

Reese, I think you're forgetting John Olerud.

Anonymous said...

I'd be shocked by this article if I didn't have such low expectations to begin with.

Gonzo hitting .196 since April 13. He didn't hit last season. He didn't his this spring. You guys figure he's earned another month?

The Braves are paying him $22 million to play for the Mets. Let that sink in.

Meanwhile, you guys talk about the need to get more ABs for Nimmo and Flores.

Can you not connect the dots?

Oh, right, you think Bruce is the guy to sit. You know, the guy they just handed a three-year contract. You think he's going to sit while they play Gonzo? In what world are you living?

At best, they can play him a lot less -- much more rest -- and maybe he hangs around as a pinch-hitter backup 1B. At worst, he's cut loose.

Guess what? No other team in baseball will want him.

Playing time is a team's ultimate value. It's how you invest in players, in the future. With Gonzo, they are flushing it down the toilet.

Reese Kaplan said...

@alizarine -- twenty lashes to me for that. I can't count the times when the debate of the all-time Mets team comes up and people immmediately jump to Keith as their first baseman and I always advocated Olerud. How I missed that is shame on me.

Thomas Brennan said...

Anonymous, Flores should certainly be getting more of the 1B at bats (forget lefty/righty) even while Gonzo is here.

A team risks chemistry if they are 17-12 and were to cut Gonzo, Reyes, Harvey, and demote Vargas all in one fell swoop. But I would certainly be happy to see one of those 4 moves today...let's start with Batting Practice Matt.

Reese Kaplan said...

@anonymous -- 17 RBIs is 17 RBIs. Todd Frazier was signed despite flirting with the Mendoza line. I don't want Gonzalez as a long term solution but Alonso needs more ABs, Smith isn't pushing the question, Flores isn't either and as much as people want to give more ABs to Nimmo and Lagares, they are not run producers.

To your point about A-Gon being unwanted by other teams for a pro-rated major league minimum, I think you're mistaken. First division teams would look at him as a backup and second division teams would look at him as a gamble to start. The problem with the Mets is they are a first division team that operates like a second division team.

Using that same logic as I opined many times, if the Mets cut Terry Collins loose, no one would be lining up for his services. It appears I was right. Yet they held onto him WAY past his expiration date.

Thomas Brennan said...

Smith could be one game away from a hot streak, and more power. he could turn into a marvelous trade chip in a few months.

But Alonso might have 40+ homer power, and he can hit.

If one of them can't become a 3rd baseman, Pete looks like my 1B of the next decade.

He had a real slow start last year with the broken hand, but look at these career #'s, even with his slow start last year:

147 games, 548 at bats, 46 doubles, 2 triples, 31 HR, 106 RBI, .312/.388/.573.

"Just" 111 Ks (in this day and age, that's low)

And working very hard to improve all aspects (e.g., defense, hitting righties).

I did an article a while back on what sort of team a player might start on...Smith seems like a starting 1B for a 70 win team. They'd be willing to settle, much like we did with Duda.

Alonso to me looks like a player who would qualify as a guy you'd want as your starting 1B on a 95 win team.

Mack's Mets © 2012