Adrián González was at point one of the most feared batters in MLB. With a lifetime batting average of .288, 2,010 hits, 311 Home runs and 1,176 RBIs, the veteran first baseman signing with the Mets should be a great thing…except it’s not. González has been playing in the MLB since 2004 and since then he’s had some REALLY good years. He’s a 5x All Star, a 2x Silver Slugger, a 4x Gold Glover, and at point was the RBI leader in the entire MLB. Playing for the Rangers, Padres, Red Sox and eventually the Dodgers, González has had a long career and again, he was one of the most feared batters at one point. But looking at his last 2 seasons, how effective he can be has been brought into question. His 2017 season was an absolute bust. Playing only 71 Games, he lost his spot to Cody Bellinger who was called up when González was spending a lot of time on the disabled list with some back issues. In September, González was shut down for the rest of the season and he didn’t appear on the Dodger’s playoff roster. He was eventually traded to the Braves during December, but the Dodgers immediately designated him for assignment…and then the Mets signed him.
While his lackluster 2017 season could be blamed on injuries, there’s no denying that his numbers have dropped since his last all-star year in 2015. That’s not to say that he’s completely washed up. In 2016 he had an okay year. It wasn’t anything to drool over, but he played 156 games and finished the season with a .285 Batting Average, 18 Home runs and 90 RBIs. But the problem with González goes back to the injuries. Especially when it’s something as serious as a back injury. The Mets have had enough issues with players getting injured in the past few seasons that signing someone with a history of back injuries makes little to no sense. Of course the Mets need a first baseman since Sandy wasn’t impressed with Dominic Smith in 2017 and González was cheap. The Mets will only be paying 550k of his contract for the 2018 season. But, there were plenty of other choices on the Free Agent market for the Mets to pursue during the off season. There are still 7 unsigned first baseman on the Free Agent market and at least 3 or 4 of them would’ve been potential fits for the Mets. I had been looking at Mark Reynolds a little bit on my own before this post and I thought he would’ve been a good fit on the team.
Mark Reynolds played 148 games for the Rockies in 2017. Finishing with a .267 Batting Average, 30 Home runs and 97 RBIs. He’d cost a little more than González, but sometimes spending more money is better than taking the cheapest option. Reynolds has been in the MLB since 2007 and has a decent resume. .237 Lifetime Batting Average, 1,209 hits, 281 Home runs, 811 RBIs. Again, it’s nothing to drool over, but I imagine you’d get more longevity and productivity out of Reynolds than you will out of González.
Then, there’s the argument of why not transitioning someone like Flores or Rivera to first base? I look at it like this; the Mets have Bruce now. Bruce is going to be playing in the outfield and First base. And the days he’s needed to play First base, you have Cespedes, Lagares, Nimmo, and Conforto (when he returns). Rivera and Flores both had some stints at First base in 2016 and 2017 and if given the proper time to learn the position and get better at it, the Mets could turn them into a first base man and then they could’ve signed someone like, hmmm…I don’t know, maybe JOSE REYES to play their position (Sorry, I can’t go an article without questioning why in the hell Jose hasn’t been signed yet.) I also think Dominic Smith is going to blow everyone away at Spring Training. He’s gotten himself in shape, and he’s determined to improve. I think Sandy is going to see the talent Dom has to offer and they’re going to be stuck with González and have nothing to do with him except sit on the bench.
It’s too late for all these ‘what if’ scenarios, the Mets have inked the contract with González and it appears he’s going to be on the starting day roster. Unless of course my prediction is correct and Dominic Smith proves himself at Spring Training and the Mets have to bite the bullet and designate González for assignment or just keep him as a bench player (but he’d be taking up a roster spot that someone else should have.) Time will tell what the Mets and González do. But I stand by my opinion that signing González was a huge mistake.