The only blame the Mets deserve for Mark Vientos failing to make the Opening Day roster

The Mets deserve only a little bit of the blame for Mark Vientos' failure to show he belongs in the majors.

New York Mets Workout
New York Mets Workout / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Mark Vientos failed to make the New York Mets Opening Day roster even in the absence of J.D. Martinez. It might not be a permanent placement in the minors. Vientos has, since 2022, shown he can handle himself at the Triple-A level. The only step now is for him to receive significant playing time in the majors and either sink or swim.

Dissatisfied with his spring performance but also seeing a bargain with Martinez in free agency, the Mets pounced. The decision makes Vientos far less irrelevant to the club in 2024 and a part of the blame falls on the organization. No one specific person can have the finger pointed at them because of all of the turnover in the front office. And even if we wanted to point the finger at someone specifically, it’s hard to not point the biggest one directly at the player.

However, in Vientos’ case, he hasn’t gotten much of a fair chance at the majors. He should’ve received at-bats last year on a daily basis when Pete Alonso was on the IL. More so, the Mets should’ve given him a greater chance to play the outfield.

The Mets should have committed more to a position change for Mark Vientos and done so earlier in his career

This story on Rising Apple published way back in October of 2018 takes a look at the defensive shortcomings of Vientos. He had actually spent more time as a shortstop in his first year as a professional in 2017 before moving to third base full-time in 2018. The results weren’t any better. In fact, his defensive metrics rated worse.

Again and again the Mets kept Vientos at third base. A .902 fielding percentage in 2018 followed by a .905 fielding percentage in 2019 didn’t have them moving him off of the hot corner all that much until he reached a fielding percentage low of .868 in 2021 with Binghamton. It was in the 2021 season when he first began to play left field and some first base. The scouting reports were never positive although 13 games in left field is hardly enough to make a decision.

Vientos didn’t play left field at all in 2022 and he’d, again, spend most of his defensive innings at third base where he got better but not at a major league quality level. Allowing him to play first base regularly in the minors is a bit arbitrary considering the team already had Pete Alonso for a few more seasons (still do and still should). So why not go back to seeing what he could do in left field?

It’s a moot point now with the change in the front office. David Stearns made the decision this offseason to move Brandon Nimmo to left field in favor of the more defensively-gifted Harrison Bader. This doesn’t have to be permanent but it sure feels as locked in for the length of Nimmo’s contract as can be.

This leaves Vientos dangling in the wind with fewer options. He can continue to play third base in the minors and improve. Having done so every year as a professional since 2017 without a whole lot of success, what’s going to suddenly change now?

There may never have been a clear cut answer for Vientos to find major league playing time with the Mets outside of an explosive bat. We can only blame the organization a little bit for his failures. Even if he had become serviceable as a left fielder, is the offense there yet?

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