Through pitching, a “next man up” approach and the power of belief, the New York Mets are in a tight race atop the NL East. They’re also running an infirmary. Third baseman David Wright, after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, is out indefinitely and second baseman Daniel Murphy is out with a pulled quad. Travis d’Arnaud, the catching prospect who seems to be finding his stride at the plate, spent the past month out of commission with multiple hand injuries. Even Dilson Herrera, an athletic and strong-fielding option being groomed for the middle infield, has been out with an injured hand. The left side of the Mets infield seems in constant flux.
Ruben Tejada has stepped up admirably, but he is coming back to earth. Wilmer Flores is among the league leaders in power numbers at shortstop, but he isn’t getting on base enough. Eric Campbell, also filling in admirably, is not a viable everyday option at third base. Michael Conforto and other Mets prospects are seen as “not quite ready for prime time.”
Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist and other names have been floated as subjects of a possible trade, but rumors have fizzled because presumed prices are too high. Jean Segura is being mentioned, but he isn’t enough of a fielding upgrade over the defensively underrated Flores to be worth giving up much. Aramis Ramirez has prodigious power, but seems to have begun fading, making him another option not worth what would be asked for. But an interesting possibility has arisen, somewhat under the radar.
Earlier this week, the Houston Astros promoted star prospect Carlos Correa. To make room for him, they designated third baseman Matt Dominguez for assignment, in a move that few would have predicted just a couple of years ago. Matt Dominguez’ glove might be his most widely accepted strength, which would be valuable for a pitching-dominant Mets team whose pitchers induce a lot of ground balls. And Dominguez is also a righty bat with considerable raw power: in 2013, he hit 21 home runs, and he’s got 42 home runs in 357 major league games. He’s capable of hitting it out of any park.
Unlike more proven quantities like Zobrist, Tulo or Juan Uribe, Matt Dominguez wouldn’t require giving up the proverbial farm to acquire. And he’s still two months shy of his 26th birthday, meaning his peak years should still all be in front of him. A change of scenery might rejuvenate him, and if so, he might discover the high upside that made him a first-round pick in 2007. And if they don’t assign him to a minor league team, the Astros have less than two weeks to trade or release him.
Matt Dominguez has a good glove at third and lots of raw talent, and he’s still just 25. The Mets are looking for options at third base, and Dominguez would be a solid low-risk gamble. They would be well advised to give him a look.