Just because Major League Baseball is closed for business doesn’t mean teams like the New York Mets aren’t able to look at some minor league moves to help themselves in the coming season. Recently, they signed outfielder Daniel Palka to a minor league deal. Palka is perhaps most famous for an 0 for 32 slump back in 2019 after what was a very powerful yet free-swinging year with the Chicago White Sox one season prior.
Throughout his professional career, Palka has been the prototypical Triple-A slugger and major league question mark. When he finally did get a chance to play in the majors during the 2018 season, he gave the White Sox a .240/.294/.484 performance complete with 27 home runs and 67 RBI. The downside to this rookie season was the 153 strikeouts.
Unfortunately, the 0 for 32 slump the following season put Palka in an early hole he couldn’t climb out of. He batted only .107/.194/.179 for the White Sox that year and spent most of his time in Triple-A, once again mashing.
Let’s expect Daniel Palka to keep the Syracuse Mets fans happy and nothing more
Any thoughts of Palka possibly being able to reignite his short-lived big league success are slim. Now a lifetime .260/.350/.480 hitter with 72 home runs and 204 RBI in 367 Triple-A games, it’s fairly clear what he is and isn’t.
Palka joins the long list of players with pop the Mets have brought into the organization in past offseasons. Remember Jarrett Parker? What about Deivy Grullon? Guys whose latest baseball cards only come from the team set sold at the gift shop, these are ballplayers whose chance at stardom has sadly already passed them by.
That’s not to say that they or even Palka can’t have a role in the big leagues somewhere. It’s something they will need to earn. Getting a fresh shot at some big league innings requires everything to fall their way. It requires a couple of torn hamstrings on other people’s legs and a flaming bat in your own two hands.
Sadly, that’s often not how things go. Too much needs to break your way.
Last season, in Triple-A for the Washington Nationals, Palka batted .256/.364/.472 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI. This performance came after the 2020 season that he spent in the KBO batting .209/.272/.367 with 8 home runs and 23 RBI.
We should expect Palka, a mostly right fielder and first baseman, to fall in the back of the line on the outfield depth chart for the Mets this year. Behind everyone on the major league roster and many of his fellow teammates in Triple-A, Palka’s job is to help fill out a roster and maybe be that one in a million to turn his career around.