GM Brodie Van Wagenen has stated multiple times this spring, that the best 25 players will travel north with the Mets.
That quote has led to many debates regarding first baseman Pete Alonso. Sending the slugger to the minor leagues for a few weeks to begin the season would allow the Mets to gain an extra year of control. On the other hand, some fans feel like Alonso could help the team right away.
Well, Alonso has been great. The emergence of Dominic Smith has created a very interesting wrinkle to the story as well.
It makes sense for all eyes to be on Pete Alonso this spring. He’s the Mets top prospect and is a legitimate power threat.
And now for a development that no one expected…
You could make the argument that the most impressive Met player this spring has been Luis Guillorme.
His story isn’t as riveting as Alonso’s. Guillorme is fighting for a chance to be the backup shortstop. The 25th man. Regardless, if what Van Wagenen said is true, that spot belongs to Luis.
Similar to Dominic Smith, Guillorme entered camp as a forgotten man.
Met fans who are critical of Dominic Smith love to bring up the fact that he overslept last year on the first day of spring training. With Guillorme? They will reference a game against the Pirates last season where he made a handful of errors. (He made those errors playing third base, not his natural position, but I digress.)
Unfortunately, these incidents have become synonymous with these two players. Smith was lazy and didn’t care. Guillorme was suddenly a bad fielder. They were tasked with creating new reputations for themselves this spring. And they’ve done just that.
Guillorme is hitting .393/.500/.607 with three doubles, one homer, and four walks in 35 plate appearances this spring. He entered camp almost 15 pounds slimmer. Given his reputation as a sterling defender, the case for Guillorme to be the backup shortstop seems like a no brainer.
Enter Adeiny Hechavarría.
Hechavarría was signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Yet, he’s not being treated like other players who receive minor league deals. Like Danny Espinosa, for example. It seems like Hechavarría is being handed a spot on the opening day roster.
It’s a little bizarre, to say the least.
Hechavarria’s contract comes with a $3MM base salary if he makes the roster — a rather large base salary for a minor league signing. He could also earn a $1MM bonus for spending 100 days on the active roster and another $1MM for reaching 150 days on the active roster.
This is potentially a pretty significant investment for a glove first infielder with a career On Base Percentage of .280.
Hechavarría’s name has even been casually mentioned by beat writers as a candidate to start at third base if Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier aren’t ready for opening day. Really?
Guillorme doesn’t strike out and has a terrific walk rate. He has posted an On Base Percentage of nearly .400 at every level in the minor leagues.
I guess what I’m saying is, are we going to pay Adeiny Hechavarría five million dollars to do what Guillorme can do for the league minimum? Money aside, we know what Hechavarría is. A terrific defender who is erratic at best offensively.
Personally, I’m going with the upside of Luis Guillorme. I believe he would be considerably more valuable than Hechavarría would off the bench. And that’s what it is at the end of the day. A bench player.
Adeiny Hechavarría as a pinch hitter late in the game? No thank you. Guillorme can give you a chance at the plate.
It’s on you, Brodie.
Are you truly committed to taking the best players north? If so, Guillorme has earned a spot.