Re-Imagining the Mets Lineup With Cano – Where Else Do The Mets Improve?

For the purpose of the argument “Where Else Do The Mets Improve the Lineup?”, we are going to ignore the later effects / costs of Cano’s contract and ignore the starting rotation entirely. Right now the Mets set up something like this:

  • Catcher: d’Arnaud/Plawecki
  • First: Smith/Bruce/Alonso
  • Second: McNeil
  • Short: Rosario
  • Third: Frazier
  • Outfield: Nimmo
  • Outfield: Conforto
  • Outfield: Bruce / Lagares / Cespedes

We’re glossing over some details in the above.  It’s a complete mystery when Cespedes comes back. Who knows when Alonso will be called up. Will the Mets bring back d’Arnaud?

If the Mets trade for Cano and do not get Haniger, their lineup will now shift to something like this:

  • Catcher: d’Arnaud/Plawecki
  • First: Frazier / Alonso (assuming Smith and Bruce go over in the trade)
  • Second: Cano
  • Short: Rosario
  • Third: McNeil/ Frazier
  • Outfield: Nimmo
  • Outfield: Conforto
  • Outfield: Lagares / Cespedes

If the Mets do get Haniger also:

  • Catcher: d’Arnaud / Plawecki
  • First: Frazier / Alonso
  • Second: Cano
  • Third: McNeil / Frazier
  • Outfield: Nimmo / Cespedes / Lagares
  • Outfield: Confoto / Cespedes / Lagares
  • Outfield: Haniger / Cespedes / Lagares

First, somehow receiving Haniger in the trade will completely change the depth the Mets have in the outfield. Nimmo/Conforto/Bruce isn’t the most defensively minded outfield and giving up Bruce really opens a reliance on Lagares and Cespedes’ health. So if the question is where else can the Mets improve if they get Cano, if they don’t get Haniger at the same time, they need an outfielder.

The next most obvious hole that can be filled is catcher. Plawecki was a slightly above average catcher last year but that’s only slightly above average. We also don’t know how he responds to a whole season and the depth right now isn’t great behind him. (Nido hasn’t stepped up yet and Sanchez is too far away). I would love for d’Arnaud to be great this season but his injury record is almost as bad or worse than Lagares.

Finally there’s the question of first base. The most obvious answer is to let Alonso play from the start. If the new GM is creative enough to pull off a Cano trade that brings in Haniger or Diaz, then maybe the front office will actually play prospects. Who knows.

When I started writing this article, I was against the Cano trade. I’m entirely sure if this convinces me but if McNeil can play third base then maybe the Mets can get creative with the outfield. The outfield would be cheaper to fix than 3rd (without Donaldson seems like a Machado or bust situation) which leaves more money to fix bullpen and bolster the rotation.

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