MILWAUKEE — The Mets have become something of a home for former All-Stars in the twilight of their careers these days. They picked up veteran All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes in 2016, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez this winter and added former All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista to the mix this week.
But a team source said that it would be “unlikely” they would try to add first baseman Hanley Ramirez to their roster.
Ramirez was designated for assignment Friday by the Red Sox. They are unlikely to find a trade partner, so Ramirez will probably become a free agent in seven days. He would seemingly fit into the Mets’ recent MO: taking financial advantage of paying veterans major league minimums while their former clubs pay off the big contracts.
The Mets have Wilmer Flores as a utility infielder already when their roster is healthy. Flores is a younger, more versatile option than Ramirez with comparable numbers against left-handed hitters.
DEVIN OVER KEVIN
Kevin Plawecki caught seven innings in a rehab game Thursday night. The catcher was 2-for-6 with a homer and two RBI in two rehab games entering Friday. When he returns from the disabled list at some point soon, however, his job as the everyday catcher will have changed.
Devin Mesoraco has taken over the duties of the starting catcher and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
“We’ll have to see,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of the playing-time split when Plawecki returns. “The thing we’re going to have to keep in mind with Plawecki is he won’t be that built up when he comes back.
“He’ll be built up enough to probably catch every two or three days at most to start. I think it wouldn’t be too different than what is going on now until he’s got his legs underneath him a bit more.”
The Mets picked up Mesoraco while Plawecki was on the DL with a hairline fracture of a bone in his left hand. In his first 11 games with the Mets, Mesoraco had scored eight times, driven in six runs, hit three homers and had a .514 slugging percentage. With Mesoraco behind the plate, the Mets staff had a 1.98 ERA entering Friday.
“He’s definitely prepared, probably leads to a very well-called game. One thing I noticed is he is very emphatic when he is giving his target, he’s guiding the pitcher,” Callaway said. “.Whether it’s emphasizing get the ball down or up. He’s giving you that visual cue right before you throw the ball that is really big for a pitcher. … He really emphasizes where he wants the ball, so the pitcher is not guessing. If you just call a fastball in, set up in, with the target the same height all the time, you don’t know your catcher wants it up and in or you want it back foot. He does a really good job of things like that.”
The Brewers finally got Brandon Nimmo out in the first inning of Friday night’s game after he reached base in eight straight plate appearances. The outfielder went into Friday night’s game leading all major leaguers with a .450 on-base percentage.
It’s a quality that Callaway said he wants to keep atop his lineup.
“I think it’s hard to overlook that quality that he has taken pitches working deep counts, either walking or putting the ball in play pretty hard. I think he’s a guy that probably needs to be in the leadoff spot when he is in the lineup,” Callaway said.
He’d like to see that even when Yoenis Cespedes comes back off the disabled list. When asked how he would shuffle his lineup to accommodate Nimmo in the lineup regularly, Callaway shrugged.
“Just keep him in the lineup,” Callaway said.
The Mets could use him to spell Cespedes, on the DL with a right quad issue, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce. They could also use Bruce, whose bat is struggling, at first base.
ON YO’S FEET
Cespedes began his running “progression,” on Friday. The slugger ran a little and played catch on the field before Friday’s game. He has been hitting consistently. Todd Frazier (left hamstring strain) took grounders again on Friday. They are expected to travel to Atlanta with the team and no timetable for a rehab game has yet been set, Callaway said.