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The Mets play a game today (against themselves), and what to do with one big prospect
The Mets will have to soon decide the path of one of their big infield prospects, whether its with them or with another club.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets will hold an intrasquad game today at 1 PM at Clover Field in Port St. Lucie. Tickets are $10 and general admission with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County
Brandon Nimmo welcomes a comparison with former Yankee Brett Gardner (NY Post)
John Curtiss got into F1 racing as a means to stay busy during his recovery from Tommy John surgery (NY Daily News)
This spring training could serve as the coming out party for Mets’ prospect Ronny Mauricio (Newsday)
Where does Ronny Mauricio fit in Mets long term plans?✍🏻
Shortstop Ronny Mauricio’s name has been firmly planted towards the top of the Mets prospect rankings for several seasons now, and his future with the team has long been a question for another day.
Well, I’m here to tell you, that day is quickly approaching.
One way or another.
In 123 games with Double-A Binghamton last year, the 21-year-old switch-hitter belted 26 homers, doubled 26 times, drove in 89 runs, and stole 20 bases. He followed that up with a spectacular 46 game stretch in the Dominican Winter League where he slashed .287/.335/.468 with 22 extra-base hits and 10 steals.
Mauricio has consistently proven he has perhaps the most dynamic skill set in baseball, the coveted blend of both power and speed. The riddle that the Mets are going to have to solve sooner rather than later, is whether they can find him a place to play on the big league team, or if his value to the team is higher as a potential trade chip.
Mauricio has been a shortstop his entire professional career. He’s played 415 career games at position number six on your scorecard and only 10 at other positions—nine at third base and one at second.
A quick glance at the Mets infield would indicate in a hurry that Mauricio is not going to have a clear path to playing time any time soon. Francisco Lindor is locked into the shortstop position in Queens until 2032. Second baseman Jeff McNeil is signed through 2027 and should be the main fixture at second base. At the hot corner, New York has identified Brett Baty as their third baseman of the future, and hope the young left handed slugger can take over the position for good later this season.
There’s also quite a bit of speculation the Mets will pursue Manny Machado in free agency next winter when he opts out of his contract, which would cap both Baty and Mauricio at third base.
Mauricio’s speed could potentially be an asset in the outfield, but out on the grass Brandon Nimmo is under contract through 2030, and Starling Marte is inked to play right field for the next three seasons.
By process of elimination, almost the only opening the Mets could have down the line is in left field, and it would probably be prudent for the club to start exposing Mauricio to that position sooner rather than later. But for now, as he prepares for his first exposure to the Triple-A level, that will likely be an idea tabled for the time being.
In fact, Mets GM Billy Eppler said earlier this week there are no immediate plans to move Mauricio from shortstop.
The flip side to this discussion, of course, is that New York’s long term core is essentially pretty much set. This team has talented players locked into long term contracts all over the diamond—with one big contract for a fan favorite first baseman still to be addressed. Steve Cohen, Billy Eppler and company have done a fantastic job of filling voids on the Major League roster with Cohen’s money rather than through trades, and in doing so are stockpiling minor league talent that can supplement the big league team for years to come.
But Mauricio represents a pretty unique situation. If the Mets make the decision internally that positionally he does not fit into their long term vision, making a young talent like him available in trade could conceivably bring back an exciting return. As mentioned above, position player wise New York is in good shape, but this team has very little in the way of exciting young minor league pitching at the moment.
So, could Mauricio be swapped for a highly touted pitching prospect from another club? Could he become part of a bigger trade for a controllable young starter to help protect the team’s veteran rotation?
Only time will tell.
But having too many talented, high upside players is not a bad thing. In just about any scenario here the Mets can’t lose, though they will be forced to make a decision one way or another before too long.
And sometimes, prospects are indeed cultivated for other clubs.
Around the League ⚾️
Former Met and current Red Justin Dunn could miss all of spring training with a shoulder issue (The Athletic)
Shortstop Tim Anderson hopes to have extension talks with the White Sox (MLB.com)
Seattle inked veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun to a minor league deal (Mynorthwest.com)