After Matt Chapman, who has his own shortcomings, the free agent market for third basemen isn't vast. This puts the New York Mets in a position to roll with what they already have and maybe bring in some more experienced veterans to help carry the load as a safety net.
Brett Baty had a bad rookie year. Ronny Mauricio hasn't played enough in the big leagues for us to believe he's the third base solution either. A platoon is the easiest way to handle things. Is this what the Mets should do?
A former New York Yankees third baseman could help. It's not Josh Donaldson. What is this, 2018? The Mets shouldn't go anywhere near him. Gio Urshela, on the other hand, might be more realistic and productive. Let's see what he can bring.
Gio Urshela can give the Mets more infield depth and help at third base
Urshela spent last year with the Los Angeles Angels but also plenty of time on the IL, too. He played in only 62 games where he slashed .299/.329/.374 with a pair of home runs. A pelvis fracture knocked him out for the year right before the Mets sent them Eduardo Escobar in a late June trade.
Why choose Urshela over some of the other options out there? Even now into his 30s, he remains an above-average defensive player. He doesn't have the power Escobar does. Urshela is a much lighter hitter who’ll hit a dozen or so home runs while putting the bat on the ball and hitting close to .300.
The injury that cost him most of 2023 might turn into a situation where Urshela doesn't get anything but offers to complete a team's bench. It's not the type of pillow contract a player may sign before getting a bigger deal after a sucky season. Urshela has entered journeyman territory. Now 32, the right-handed hitting infielder can help give the Mets an upgrade on the bench and even a solid option to start at third base if things don’t go well with either of the kids.
Baty and Mauricio have a lot to prove. Each should already be under consideration for at least one other position on a regular basis; Baty in left field and Mauricio at second base. Urshela could easily become the infield version of Tommy Pham from this past season. He plays all over the infield and does well at a position where the team could use one of their biggest defensive upgrades, third base.
Mixing Urshela in at every infield position, with third base being his main spot, will also allow the Mets to get favorable matchups. A lifetime .290/.328/.445 hitter versus left-handed pitchers, he seems automatic to start at third base over Baty whenever the team plays against a southpaw.
If the Mets are both committed to the kids and don’t see Luis Guillorme as very useful anymore, this is a move to consider as long as Urshela isn’t expecting starter money or playing time. Shared duties around the infield and an opportunity for more innings, much like Pham earned, is a realistic expectation.
Urshela's health is paramount in even considering this. Due diligence with the physical will make him a candidate or not.