The New York Mets released 36-year-old first baseman Adrian Gonzalez after last night’s 2-0 win over the New York Yankees. His tenure in New York was short and his impact was small.
Why sign Gonzalez?
Gonzalez’s story with the Mets started after the Atlanta Braves acquired the five-time All-Star, only to release him in mid-January when the Mets snagged him for the league minimum. This signing was a but confusing. Gonzalez’s best days seemed to be behind him, and the Mets had faith in a young Dominic Smith’s abilities at first base. Nevertheless, the two-time Gold Glove-winner was a Met regardless of if fans liked it.
Ultimately, Gonzalez was brought in as a placeholder for and to coach for the inexperienced Smith, who had some success in 2017 but not enough to solidify himself a spot on the Opening Day roster.
All eyes were on Smith during Spring Training. Mickey Callaway was open about the competition between Smith and Gonzalez for the lion’s share of the work at first base, but Smith quickly took himself out of the running when he was late to the first game of Spring Training. Callaway was forced to scratch Smith to set the tone of accountability, and Smith then injured his quad in his first game of the spring. This would sideline him for enough time he would not be ready for Opening Day.
This left the door wide open for Gonzalez, who would end up being the Mets starting first baseman.
Starting the Season
Gonzalez started out his season wonderfully for his new ball club. Guys in the clubhouse really seemed to enjoy and appreciate his veteran presence, and his baseball skills seemed to click on all cylinders, which was much better than anyone expected. Quickly after his successes early on, his momentum faded, and he lost playing time to Wilmer Flores.
When Flores got injured, Gonzalez found himself in the lineup more often but did nothing to prove he belonged in the starting role. His spot in the lineup seemed like a wasted at-bat, so the Mets decided it was time to end the A-Gon era and take a chance on Smith.
Considering that Gonzalez was only with the Mets for two months, his release was handled as best it could have been, even with Joel Sherman of The New York Post reporting it happening in the middle of the night without so much as a meeting between Gonzalez and management. He did not do much offensively and left the Mets with a line of .241/.304/.380, and hit six home runs. He was a nice addition to leadership in the clubhouse, but his presence in the lineup will not be missed, if it is even noticed at all.
The Mets have been hardcore struggling offensively as of late, but Gonzalez was not the Met that was having the hardest time. Jay Bruce has been awful in 2018, but the Mets owe Bruce a lot more money than they do Gonzalez, so it was time to shake things up and say goodbye.
Ultimately, a shakeup is well overdue, and hopefully the addition of a youthful Smith wakes up the Mets and the offense. All the best to A-Gon from Mets fans!
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