Mets Beef Up Their Roster With Daniel Vogelbach and Michael Perez by Dan Szymborski July 25, 2022 Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports In what has been a relatively quiet July so far on the trade front, the Mets made two minor trades over the weekend, both with the Pirates. First, they picked up designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach in return for reliever Colin Holderman. In a separate transaction, Pittsburgh also sent catcher Michael Perez to Queens in return for the team’s favorite kind of player: cash. As a power-and-walks hitter without much defensive value, Vogelbach was not a favorite of prospect-watchers, but the internet at least partially fell in love with him due to his Rubens-esque proportions. While his major league career hasn’t exactly resulted in any Large Adult MVP memes, he’s established himself in the big leagues as a power-hitting DH, albeit one with a fairly limited role. You don’t want him in a game against a left-handed pitcher, and ideally, you don’t want him standing in the field with a glove, either. If you need a part-time DH who can also come off the bench and ruin a right-handed reliever’s evening, though, then Vogelbach is your man. His .228/.338/.430 triple-slash in Pittsburgh is hardly eye-popping, but in 2022, that’s enough to get you a perfectly serviceable wRC+ of 118. As a Met, Vogelbach’s line should look even better than that, as he’s joined a team that has less of a reason to let him face lefties. With an extremely thin roster, the Pirates started him 14 times against left-handed starters, about 40% of the time. They had no lefty-masher on hand to serve as a complement to Vogelbach, and when he wasn’t starting, they regularly turned to Yoshi Tsutsugo, another left-handed hitter, or used the position to rest other players. The Mets, on the other hand, are quite content to use J.D. Davis against lefties — he’s started all 35 games against them — and appear to have finally decided that his best position is DH. If Dominic Smith had been hitting at all, a trade like this would not have been necessary, but with a .560 OPS this year after last year’s .667, the team is basically at wits’ end when it comes to getting consistent production out of him. I’d actually be surprised if Smith is on the roster after the deadline, and at this point, a divorce may be best for both parties. In return, the Mets give up Holderman — actually a surprisingly steep price for a part-time DH. Usually, contending teams give up lower-level prospects for role players rather than someone contemporaneously contributing to the team. For example: Coming off a stint in Seattle during which Vogelbach was basically the same player he is today, the Blue Jays picked him up from the Mariners for cash in 2020, and the Brewers got him on waivers a week later. The fastball-slider Holderman shot through the minors quickly after being moved to the bullpen a few years ago and had been effective in that role for New York, hitting the upper-mid 90s with his fastball and with a 2.27 FIP in 15 appearances. For our Mets prospect list, my colleague Eric Longenhagen described him as a player who “projects as the third banana in a contending team’s bullpen.” Given that Holderman was third in WAR among full-time relievers in a contending Mets bullpen, one could say the foretold prophecy has already come to pass. Manager Buck Showalter hadn’t been using Holderman in high-leverage situations, so one could argue that it doesn’t matter too much, but my gut tells me that there’s going to be a time when the Mets will wish they had him on the roster. The Pirates celebrated Jacob Stallings winning his first Gold Glove award by trading him a few weeks later to the Marlins because of, well, let’s just say, the “usual Pirates reasons.” Perez was claimed on waivers after the 2021 season and stepped in as the team’s discount version of Stallings — better, even, as Stallings hasn’t hit at all in Miami; Perez actually has the higher wRC+, 47–40. For the Mets, Perez is basically a quick emergency depth option, as James McCann is still out with an oblique injury, and Tomás Nido is still Tomás Nido. Neither Vogelbach nor Perez drastically alters the state of the NL East race; the Mets will need to make weightier moves to shake up those projections. But these acquisitions are a sign that they’re trying to buff the edges of the roster as they prepare for the homestretch.