Welcome to One Last Move, where our writers pitch a move to the Mets that would close out their off-season and make the team better in 2020.
Something that all fans of the Mets should have realized by now is the team is not exactly best in class when it comes to making the necessary improvements to compete. With that in mind, my One Last Move is similar to to last year’s. Actually...it’s literally the same exact move I proposed at this time last season.
Fresh off of what is probably the weirdest season of his career and back on the free agent market for the second straight year, Derek Dietrich would be a nice way to wrap up the offseason and send the Mets on their way to the 2020 season.
Before getting into his bizarre offensive season, it’s worth noting that Dietrich is a guy that can be plonked into almost any position on the diamond and be not only acceptable, but occasionally good if put in the right spot. During the 2019 season with the Cincinnati Reds, Dietrich played every infield position except for shortstop at least once and he even had a little time in left field, as a treat. At every position he manned, Dietrich put up no worse than negative two defensive runs saved on the lower end and one defensive on the upper side of things. With the way the Mets’ roster is currently constructed, the gang serving as the infield backups is comprised of Luis Guillorme, the best attempts of J.D. Davis, and whatever bits of Jed Lowrie that aren’t currently broken beyond repair. If you find yourself digging any further beyond that, you end up schlepping out the Max Moroffs of the league and while I assume he is a very nice man, he probably isn’t what a team chasing the playoffs wants getting substantial playing time.
Just as his defensive abilities would be of value to a Mets team chasing the playoffs, Derek Dietrich’s offensive talents, no matter how night and day they may have been in 2019, would do just the same. When taking a look at his 2019 batting line, it’s only natural to have a visceral reaction to the .187 figure that screams at you like a horrible goose on a lovely morning in the village. The 113 games Dietrich suited up for could be split into two almost perfectly even slices. Through his first 56 games up until June 2, Dietrich was hitting .269/.373/.700 with 17 home runs on the ledger. Over the next 57 games he played, things were what can only be described as incredibly ugly. I recommend all children cover their eyes for this section of the article. From June 6 until the season’s end, Derek Dietrich hit .099/.283/.207 with only two home runs over 153 trips to the plate. If you’re looking for a positive in this section, you’ll have to accept getting hit with 17 pitches, a total that exceeded Dietrich’s hit and walk totals in that span.
When you put his Mark McGwire half of the season together with his Bartolo Colon half, you end up with one complete Derek Dietrich hitting .187/.328/.462 with 19 home runs and 25 hit by pitches. All in all, even with the tale of two halves, Dietrich’s .790 OPS for Cincinnati was just good enough to secure a 100 OPS+ for the year, also known as dead average. It’s also worth noting that with a .176 BABIP on the season for Dietrich, it’s almost impossible for him to replicate the highs and especially the lows of this past year.
Of course, you can take just about any player on the free agent market and make them look like they’re a fit for the Mets. One of the main reasons that I’m advocating for Dietrich for the second time in as many years is the fact that he’s a weird and fun guy to watch and when you have to sit through the good times and the bad with a team for six months and 162 games, sometimes you need a few characters to keep you going.
As you can see above, when the Reds celebrated their history with a throwback uniform, Dietrich decided it was a good time to break out the eye black mustache and act like nothing was abnormal about it. In his personal life, he’s currently dating United States Olympic tennis champion Monica Puig who took the time last season to act as the honorary first pitcher and serve the ball towards her waiting boyfriend’s glove. Dietrich was also a member of the walk off-shirts off club barely a month after Pete Alonso was drafted by the Mets and over three years before Michael Conforto bared it all in the Citi Field outfield. The one thing about Dietrich that really solidified his status as a Certified Goofball was the discovery that he is a talented juggler and was known to entertain the fans at his minor league games with balls, pins, swords, and even flaming torches being jiggled and juggled up, over, and under his arms and legs.
To sum things up, if the Dietrich-sized hole in the Mets roster and his genuine ability to hit the ball aren’t enough to make him the Mets’ last move, I can only hope that his temporary facial hair and Ringling Brothers juggling are enough to make him a desirable option.