The Mets have optioned third baseman Brett Baty to Triple-A Syracuse, placed outfielder Starling Marte on the 10-day injured list with a groin strain, recalled infielder Jonathan Araúz and selected the contract of journeyman outfielder Abraham Almonte. Almonte’s promotion was first reported by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Paired with their selection of reliever Jimmy Yacabonis over the weekend, New York’s 40-man roster is at capacity.
Baty heads back to Triple-A for the first time since April. The recent top prospect began the season in Syracuse but got off to a roaring .400/.500/.886 start. That earned him a big league call a couple weeks into the year — his second promotion after a debut late last season. Baty quickly pushed Eduardo Escobar to the bench (and eventually made him expendable in trade) and started the season well, mashing at a .333/.394/.467 clip through the end of April.
The 23-year-old has hit a major slump since that excellent first month. He’s been a below-average hitter in each month since that point. Things have particularly spiraled of late. Since the All-Star Break, Baty is hitting .130/.211/.261 while striking out in 31.2% of his 77 plate appearances. While the Mets have turned their attention towards 2024, the struggles simply became untenable. They’ll hope Baty can find his stride against lower-level pitching.
Whether he does so could have implications for Baty’s long-term earning power. He entered the season with 50 days of major league service. Between his April 17 recall and today, he has accrued roughly 112 days of additional service time. That brings him to 162 days overall. Players get to a full service year at 172 days, meaning Baty’s approximately 10 days shy of that mark. If he returns to the big leagues for a week and a half later in the season, he’ll surpass the one-year threshold and remain on pace to reach free agency after the 2028 campaign. If he spends the remainder of the season in the minors, his free agency trajectory would be pushed back until after the ’29 season — though he’ll be on pace to reach arbitration after 2025 as a Super Two player in that case.
Danny Mendick draws into the starting lineup at third base against the Cubs this evening. 23-year-old Mark Vientos seems the favorite for playing time there overall, with Mendick and Araúz offering utility depth behind him.
Marte’s rough 2023 campaign continues. He just returned from a two-week IL stay because of recurring migraine issues. The hamstring injury is obviously unrelated but represents another frustration in one of the worst seasons of his career. Around the injuries, Marte has hit only .248/.301/.324 with five homers through 341 trips to the plate.
His absence opens an outfield spot for Almonte. The switch-hitting outfielder signed a minor league deal over the offseason and is hitting .228/.331/.564 over 27 games in Syracuse. He’s striking out at a lofty 31.4% clip but has connected on 11 homers and is drawing plenty of walks. Almonte is accustomed to the role of late-season call-up. It’s his 11th straight year reaching the bigs, though he’s never played more than 82 games in any single season. Almonte will soon suit up for the eighth team of his career. He’s a .235/.302/.374 hitter in a little under 1400 MLB plate appearances.