Dilson Herrera gave the Mets a glimpse of the future on Sunday…
It was indeed a day of rest for the majority of the Mets starting position players on Sunday.
The junior varsity was in charge for the Mets against the Reds, and they were charged with pushing through the hangover from their celebration over their Eastern Division crown on Sunday and earning a four-game sweep at Great American Ballpark.
Eric Campbell and Dilson Herrera led the way for the make-shift Mets with three hits a piece and a combined five runs scored between them, and Kevin Plawecki – the club’s cleanup hitter on Sunday – hit his third home run of the year.
“A lot of those guys want to be on that postseason roster,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I think some of those guys in there today said, ‘I’m going to show that I belong.'”
But it was Herrera who arguably had his biggest day in his big league career to date with a two-run home run in the second inning and a double to start the seventh inning.
“He’s going to be a good player, we all know that,” Collins said about Herrera. “The games he’s played up here, he’s played very well.”
Herrera had a tremendous year under Wally Backman around a couple of unsuccessful and injury-plagued stints in the big leagues in 2015. At times earlier in the season, Herrera appeared overmatched by big league pitching, which wasn’t terribly unexpected since he’s only 21 and lacked a lot of experience above Triple-A.
But if Sunday’s performance was any indication, Herrera will indeed be the dynamic force the Mets eventually expect him to be in short order.
And that time could come in 2016, especially if the Mets don’t continue their relationship with Daniel Murphy after the 2015 season.
As promising and exciting as Herrera might be going forward, that does present a gamble for the Mets considering how valuable Murphy has been to these postseason-bound Mets. Indeed, Murphy has his flaws – both mentally and physically – but he’s also shown how productive he can be when he’s right at the plate.
Murphy has 31 RBI after the seventh inning, the third most in the National League. Six of his 13 home runs have either tied or given the Mets the lead, and his 13 home runs match a career-high.
He’s a veteran who knows New York, will have postseason experience and has been loyal and dedicated to the team since the day he walked in the door in 2008. But it’s a value play with Murphy and the Mets, and giving him the $40-50 million over four years he might command in free agency could ultimately serve as a mis-allocation of their available dollars this winter as their payroll only rises over the next few years.
That’s where Herrera’s promise comes into play. The question is, do the Mets invest in that promise, or invest in what they already know?
In that past, the latter seemed less likely. Even as recently as mid-year in 2015, there was no indication the Mets were interested in a long-term commitment, which is consistent with their thinking over the last couple of years.
Murphy, on the other hand, has said he wants to stay and has said all of the right things in the process. But to date, there has been no movement towards an agreement.
For now, the Mets seem inclined to enjoy the ride with Murphy while they take a glimpse into what Herrera has to offer over the next week. And they will let baseball’s nature take it’s course on what lies ahead for the Mets at second base.