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Welcome Back to the Mets, Dilson Herrera

Tonight, I arrived home from my day job and sat down on the couch. Mere moments after sitting down, my phone buzzed. A notification from the MLB At-Bat app came up. One look and I immediately smiled.

As an Angry Mets Guy, you would think it would be about the “critical stages” of a possible deal sending Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Queens in a blockbuster trade. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Instead it was this: The New York Mets announced today that the club has signed infielder Dilson Herrera to a minor league contract and invited him to major league spring training.

Instantly, I looked at this as a positive. Dilson Herrera as a member of the New York Mets just fit. I remember back in 2013, August to be exact, when the Mets traded John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pirates for Herrera and Vic Black. At the time, I thought the deal was a steal for the Mets, as Herrera was very highly regarded as the “second baseman of the future” and Black was throwing 96 MPH and could be a very important cog in the back of the bullpen. Sadly, Black had serious neck issues in 2014 and was ultimately let go in the end of 2015.

However, Dilson worked his way up quickly through the system and in 2014, he made the MLB team on August 28, 2014, due to an injury to All-Star Daniel Murphy. Only 20 years old, he only had 66 plate appearances with a .220 batting average, but he had 3 home runs, 11 RBIs, a triple, and showed flashes of brilliance at 2nd.

In 2015, Herrera again showed potential in 31 games and 109 plate appearances. Although again with a low batting average of .211, he again hit 3 home runs, a triple, 3 doubles, and 2 stolen bases. His stock was on the rise, especially with Murphy on the way out after his amazing 2015 postseason.

However, things went awry for his Mets tenure. At the 2016 Trade Deadline on July 31, Herrera and pitcher Max Wotell were traded to the Cincinnati Reds for outfield and power hitter Jay Bruce. To me, the trade was a ridiculous move, especially with an injury to Neil Walker weeks later. (I even ranted about it on the Hardway Podcast in an episode called “The Dilson Paradox”.

Dilson has gone through some serious injuries over the past couple years, including recurring shoulder injuries and a bad concussion. However, Herrera made it back at the major league level in 2018, although batting .184, hitting 5 home runs, 11 RBIs, and 5 doubles. He even hit a pinch hit 3-run homer on July 13 and a game-winning RBI single on July 23.

Electing free agency in November, Herrera re-signed today and is fighting for a spot on the MLB roster. And I love it. The youth of Herrera, only being 24, gets him partially through the door. However, if the rumored Cano deal goes through, Herrera wouldn’t be the sole focus at 2nd.

Yet, Herrera could fit into a utility role easily. Playing at both 2nd and 3rd, mixed with some outfield time makes him very versatile to the ball club. Also, it gives the Mets some depth and some options for 2019, especially if Jay Bruce, the man who was traded for Herrera in 2016, goes to Seattle. However, it hinges on one thing: the batting average going up. Let’s hope new batting coach Chili Davis can help illustrate a small ball philosophy for Dilson and allow him more on-base opportunities.

There are plenty of people waiting for ROBBY CANO, DON’T YA KNOW? in Mets blue-and-orange, but I’m happy with this move. There is a wealth of potential there and with Dilson being 24 years old, plenty of opportunities can arise. This will be under the radar, but to this guy, it’s a smart move.

Welcome home, Dilson.

Jon Harder

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