The Mets announced to reporters, including Tim Healey of Newsday, a series of roster moves. One of them is the previously reported selection of prospect Brett Baty, along with lefty Sam Clay being recalled to the active roster. The club also placed infielder Eduardo Escobar on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique and designated right-hander R.J. Alvarez for assignment.
Escobar, 33, has been playing hurt for most of the past week, leaving Friday’s game with the team referring to his ailment as “side tightness” at that time. Though he’s played in a couple of games since, it seems that the issue hasn’t abated and will now send him to the injured list. The infield depth was further banged up by Luis Guillorme suffering a groin strain and landing on the IL on Monday. With Escobar now following Guillorme onto the shelf, it seems the path has been cleared for Baty to get some regular work with the big league club.
The Mets and Escobar agreed to a two-year, $20MM deal in the offseason, though the infielder has hit just .216/.269/.384 for a wRC+ of 89. Outside of a miserable showing in the shortened 2020 season, that’s hit worst output in terms of wRC+ since 2016. He’s also striking out at a career-worst rate and walking less than he has in recent seasons. What role he has when he returns from the IL could depend on how well Baty fares in his first taste of MLB action.
Alvarez, 31, pitched in the majors in 2014 and 2015 but then didn’t appear in the big leagues again until last night. He was selected to the roster yesterday and then thrust into action when starter Taijuan Walker left after just two innings due to back spasms. Alvarez lasted 2 1/3 innings, surrendering four hits, three walks and three earned runs. He now loses his roster spot after a stint of nearly 24 hours and will head to the waiver wire in the coming days since the trade deadline has come and gone. Should he clear waivers, he would be eligible to reject an outright assignment by virtue of having been previously outrighted in his career. In 34 2/3 Triple-A frames this year, he has a 3.38 ERA, 22.3% strikeout rate, 13.4% walk rate and 44% ground ball rate.
As for Walker, he underwent an MRI and received “pretty good news, all things considered,” in the words of manager Buck Showalter, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. There was apparently no structural damage found by the MRI, though Walker may miss his next start to rest up a little. Since Carlos Carrasco was placed on the IL yesterday with an oblique strain, the club’s rotation with be doubly shorthanded until Walker is ready to take the mound again. The Mets have Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt lined up to pitch tonight through Friday, though it will get tricky after that. They are scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Phillies on Saturday and don’t have an off-day until next Wednesday, August 24.
Down the road, one hurler who could potentially rejoin the staff is lefty Joey Lucchesi. He’s been out of action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year but will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday, Showalter tells DiComo. After such a long layoff, Lucchesi will need some time to ramp back up and won’t be able to help the Mets with their current arms shortage. However, rehab assignments for pitchers are a maximum of 30 days, meaning he should be an option for helping the team by mid-September.