Who Will Be The New York Mets DH On Opening Day?
As New York Mets manager Buck Showalter wanders the team's spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, who will be that Opening Day designated hitter for his team, must be rolling through his mind. Yes, the obvious righty or lefty pitcher that you're facing plays into into it. However, sometimes, managers are stuck between veterans with albatross-like contracts and young talent, that if given a chance, may blossom into an All Star. The veteran usually gets the benefit of the doubt and the starting nod. I think that may a familiar situation for the Mets new skipper.
Ok. Looking at the Mets roster, there are a few obvious candidates for this new full-time position for National League teams. The change in this rule couldn't have come at a better time for the Mets and will likely be a righty/lefty platoon. Let's go over the Mets options.
From the left side of the plate we'll start with veteran Robinson Cano, who will be returning from his season-long steroid ban in 2021. Cano is under contract for two more years. The Mets still owe him $40 million. Even Uncle Steve Cohen isn't choking that contract down without a fight. Thank you Brodie VanWagenen. Cano turns 40 in October. He is a lifetime .303 hitter with 334 home runs. He is in terrific shape and Robinson Cano, when healthy, can flat-out hit. Nelson Cruz is still mashing at 42. There is a chance Cano will too. Showalter will certainly give him every opportunity to find out.
The next left-handed hitter candidate for the DH position is Dominic Smith. I am not sure that Dom makes it to Opening Day with the Mets. He is a prime trade chip for Billy Eppler. However, I'd be careful dishing Smith too soon. He has a sweet swing and can hit with power. Plus, he is a solid first-baseman and a less-than-average left-fielder. If Cano or Alonso get hurt, Dom is a big league fill-in. I believe if the Mets gave Dom Smith the everyday at-bats in the DH position, he would be an All Star. The Mets have bounced Smith all over the place. He needs a position and just leave him there.
The next Mets player is actually my answer to the question, who will be the Opening Day DH, right-handed hitter J.D. Davis. The hard-nosed 28 year-old has struggled defensively in his career but Davis can hit and hit with power. He belted 22 home runs in 2019. The last two seasons have been hard for JD Davis battling injuries. Davis is perfectly suited to be a DH. He should get his opportunity.
I think Buck Showalter will start off with J.D. Davis against the Nationals on April 7th. If that game were in New York, I am not sure if J.D. Davis will be available to the Mets, as it was reported that he was one of the unvaccinated players last year. That status may have changed. Washington will likely have left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin on the mound with reports that ace Stephen Strasburg may not be ready to start the season. If Strasburg does pitch, then I am sure that, barring injury, Robinson Cano will be the Mets Opening Day DH. Either way, Buck Showalter has some nice options.