With Robinson Cano out indefinitely due to a torn hamstring, the New York Mets have some roster scrambling to do because all of a sudden, these games matter.
The Mets remain the hottest team in baseball through the first week of August as they’ve won 12 of their last 13 to move two games over .500.
That’s the first time they’ve reached that mark since April.
Losing Cano, however, provides a sizable blow. Even though he had struggled for most of his debut season with the Mets, he had been hot as of late.
Over his last 30 games, he was slashing .307/.339/.518 with six home runs and 15 RBI.
Manager Mickey Callaway’s temporary fix for Cano’s absence has been less than convincing.
If the Mets had more reliable outfield depth, the quick fix would have been to slot Jeff McNeil back to his natural position. Instead, he’s had to play right field alongside fellow out-of-positioners with Michael Conforto in center and JD Davis in left.
Luis Guillorme and Adeiny Hechavarria have been called upon to bolster the middle infield, which hasn’t provided the Mets with much all season. Hechavarria is batting .210 in 59 games while Guillorme has collected just five hits in his first 30 at-bats (.167).
The Mets do have a triad of options within the organization that could offer more of a boost to the lineup because slotting Guillorme and Hechavarria in at the bottom of the lineup — which Callaway did on Tuesday night — won’t provide any threat.
Currently plying their trade at triple-A Syracuse, Dilson Herrera, Ruben Tejada, and Arismendy Alcantara seem like prime candidates for a promotion to the majors.
Herrera, a 25-year-old second baseman has struggled during brief stints in the majors with the Mets and Cincinnati Reds, but he’s .247/.328/.531 with 22 home runs in the minors.
Tejada is a fan favorite amongst Mets supporters. While he only batted .255 with the club over six seasons, he’ll forever be remembered for getting his leg broken by Chase Utley during the 2015 NLDS. He’s ripping it up in Syracuse, batting .343 with six home runs and 36 RBI in 67 games.
Alcantara, 27, is also a second baseman who is batting .295 in triple-A.
Both Herrera and Alcantara have had limited success at the MLB levels. The former has a .203 career batting average while the latter has an anemic mark of .189.
If management is not feeling confident about any of those bats, they could pursue former San Francisco Giants second baseman, Joe Panik.
The 28-year-old was designated for assignment on Tuesday shortly after the Giants traded for Scooter Gennett. The Yonkers, NY native and St. John’s alumnus was batting .235 with three home runs in 103 games this season.
Despite the struggles, the Mets will “talk about” bringing Panik on if he’s made available, per Newsday’s Anthony Rieber.
Panik can be claimed off waivers by any other MLB team within seven days of his DFA but that team would have to pay the remainder of his $3.85 million deal. If he is not claimed, he has the choice to be sent to San Francisco’s triple-A squad or become a free agent.
The Mets’ interest is understandable despite Panik’s down year.
He’s a career .271 hitter and was the Giants’ starting second baseman during their run to the 2014 World Series title. He has a .267 career postseason batting average in 21 games.