Discover more from Just Mets
Mets play Cardinals to a tie, make decisive roster cuts which define most of their roster
Tylor Megill struggled early against St. Louis on Saturday night, which could jeopardize his ability to make the team out of camp
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets and Cardinals played to a 4-4 tie at Clover Park on Saturday night (Box)
Tylor Megill started for the Mets and struggled early with his command - he ended up allowing three runs against five walks in five innings of work
Francisco Lindor hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning
TJ McFarland - who could still be in play for a spot on the left side of the bullpen - delivered two scoreless innings, and Jeff Brigham finished the night with a scoreless ninth inning
Tommy Hunter - who had an opt out on Saturday - will be on the Mets opening day roster (New York Post)
Carlos Carrasco is dealing with, “elbow maintenance,” per Buck Showalter, but remains on track to start the fifth game of the regular season
Roster Moves 📰
Optioned INFs Brett Baty and Mark Vientos to Triple-A Syracuse
Reassigned INF Jonathan Araúz, INF José Peraza OF DJ Stewart, LHP Zach Muckenhirn, RHP Denyi Reyes and C Michael Pérez to minor league camp
Today’s Game 🦩
Game 3️⃣0️⃣ of 3️⃣0️⃣
Match-up: Marlins vs. Mets
Where: Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: LHP Braxton Garrett vs. TBD
When: 4:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
What happened with Brett Baty and Mark Vientos? Exactly what was expected… ✍🏻
Last night, the Mets announced - among other smaller roster moves - they optioned both Mark Vientos and Brett Baty to Triple-A Syracuse.
What does that mean?
Well, aside from the obvious transaction, it means Eduardo Escobar will be the club’s regular third baseman. It also means Darin Ruf is making the team despite an injury-plagued and rough performance during camp, and ample opportunities to show his struggles following a mid-season trade to bring him to the Mets were a thing of the past.
There are a lot of people in an uproar over this news, and given the performance of both Baty and Vientos this spring, plus an understandable desire among outside observers to put fresh prospect blood on the roster, its an understandable gripe.
Having said that, here’s the skinny on the situation.
Last month, Mets GM Billy Eppler essentially said that none of the four big prospects in their system - referring to Baty, Vientos Ronny Mauricio and Francisco Álvarez - will make the team out of camp unless one of two (or perhaps both, that part wasn’t necessarily clear) things basically transpired during camp:
All three would have to show dramatic improvement defensively
An injury to a primary player took place which would force the issue for at least one of their prospects
Both Eppler and Mets manager Buck Showalter have specifically emphasized point number one with their prospects. They have been clear and transparent in the organization’s desire to not graduate players to the big leagues that do not possess the required competence in the run prevention category.
I think it’s safe to say neither Vientos or Álvarez were going to take a dramatic leap defensively in a month’s worth of spring training games, that which hardly ever replicate big league or even Triple-A game conditions and duress.
That’s not to say both didn’t show flashes, but with Álvarez in particular, he didn’t catch a whole lot this spring as the team was trying to slowly ramp him up following off-season ankle surgery.
As for Vientos, I think he made it clear there is still work to be done defensively. In fact, I don’t think the Mets know where he might ultimately land on the diamond. He played a little bit at third and a little bit at first, and struggled at times at both positions.
That’s just a fair assessment and observation, whether that’s satisfying or not. Both of their bats would play at the big league level right now. There’s little doubt about that.
But again, Eppler has made it abundantly clear they want their prospects to be equally as competent on both sides of the ball and not serve as fractional players at the big league level. And I don’t think it’s fair to say that’s there for either player just yet.
As for Baty, this argument has become a little thinner for the Mets to make. He has made great strides and shown incredible maturity as both an adult and a player over the last year-plus. He had an outstanding camp for the Mets, and certainly demonstrated improvement defensively over his clear struggles from his cup of coffee with the Mets last summer.
But the Mets have Eduardo Escobar who is healthy and, simply put, was never going to lose his job at third base unless an injury prevented him from being ready. He’s the experienced veteran, an important piece of the clubhouse, and there’s nothing in his performance that should or would warrant a demotion into a part-time role at this time.
That’s just the truth, like it or not.
Now, none of this discounts the club’s need to find stability among their designated hitters. None of this suggest the Mets don’t still have a need in that part of the lineup. From my seat, the Mets are very limited among their designated hitters and its likely going to be a revolving door to an extent until the Mets can figure all of this out.
Having said that, ask yourself this question.
Is the answer really to bring a top five prospect to the big leagues in Vientos and make that player a fractional player by only using him as a designated hitter while sacrificing their development at a position? Is the answer really to demote Escobar - an established and proven commodity - into a platoon with Baty or to the bench altogether, the latter of which must play everyday on both sides of the ball? Is the answer to move Baty from his natural position right now and into left field, and platoon him with Mark Canha?
The truth is, none of these are the right answers.
The right answer would have been for the Mets to sign a well-rounded, veteran designated hitter to solve the equation during the winter, thereby allowing their four big prospects to complete their development in the right ways all while improving the roster spot with a spend on a shorter-term stop gap.
That would’ve prevented what was always going to be a fruitless debate among fans and media and set a clear path forward for the big league roster as well as their prospects.
Around the League 🚩
The Yankees will likely place a third starting pitcher on the injured list to open the season - Luis Severino has a low-grade lat strain (MLB.com)
Jordan Walker - a top prospect in the Cardinals organization - will make the club on opening day (MLB.com)
Rhys Hoskins - who tore his ACL in a non-contact injury during a Grapefruit League game last week - will seek a second opinion on his knee but is still likely to miss the entire season (ESPN)
Joey Votto - who needed season-ending shoulder surgery in 2022 - could land on the injured list to start the season (Cincinnati Inquirer)
Luke Voit opted out of his contract with the Brewers, although its possible he remains with Milwaukee on other terms (MLB.com)