Buck Faces Costly Decision For New York Mets
In his first year as manager of the New York Mets, the experienced and deliberate, Buck Showalter will certainly being doing everything in his power to assemble a World Series worthy team. Given the roster and the financial support courtesy of Mets billionaire owner Steve Cohen, the new skipper really couldn't ask for much more. However, Buck has a decision coming up that may be tough for even a billionaire to swallow.
Major League Baseball has adopted the universal designated hitter rule for 2022 and beyond. This new position gives the Mets some options. JD Davis is the Amazin's right-handed hitting third-baseman/outfielder that can play neither one of them particularly well. However, Davis can hit and when he was given regular at-bats in 2019, he belted 22 home runs. Davis is 28 years-old, makes $2.76 million and is under team control for 3 more seasons. Davis gives the Mets a strong DH option from the right side of the plate on a regular basis.
Then there is 26 year-old left-handed hitting Dom Smith. Smith is a traditional first-baseman but with Pete Alonso in front of you, it's going to be tough to get on the field there. So, Smith moved to left-field and did an adequate job there, especially for a new position. Dom Smith can hit with some decent power. Last season, the lefty Californian hit 11 homers in nearly 500 at-bats.
I don't think those numbers get it done in the DH role but he has shown the knack to come off the bench and get big hits. The Mets think Smith can be a 25 home run guy. I am not sure. He is off to a blistering start this spring. He is definitely a solid left-side of the plate DH for the Mets. At $3.95 million and under team control for the next 3 seasons, Smith is still a young asset.
And now we get to Buck Showalter's costly decision, Robinson Cano. The one-time great second baseman for the Yankees and Mariners, is now facing becoming a has-been ballplayer, coming off a season-long suspension for steroid use, on a team focused on a winning a championship. All of the coaches and many of the players are new for Cano compared to when he last put on the blue and orange. Now Showalter has to decide what to do with his $20 million per year albatross without a position. Oh yeah Buck, he's signed for next year too! Thanks Brodie!
Cano has always been a great hitter. There was hope he would come into spring training camp in amazing shape and focused on rebuilding his reputation. However, things have not gone so well. The 39 year-old Dominican has only 2 hits in 13 Grapefruit League at-bats. His swing appears sluggish and without power. Those are not good signs for an aging ballplayer. Now Buck has to decide what he is going to do with Cano and Steve Cohen will be watching with $40 million good reasons. For teams focus on winning a championship, sometimes it's better to just cut-bait and release the player that doesn't fit. It will be interesting.