Struggling Mets minor league free agent signing quietly released after rough first month

Success in the Pacific Coast League didn't come to Syracuse.
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA;  New York Mets outfielder Taylor Kohlwey (57) poses for a
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets outfielder Taylor Kohlwey (57) poses for a / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Jiman Choi isn’t going anywhere. The New York Mets minor league free agent signing has opted into his deal twice now. First was in the preseason. Now, with a May 1 date along with some other veterans, he has once again decided to stay put.

Meanwhile, another Mets free agent signing will be looking for a new home. Along with signing Mike Brosseau, the Mets cleared a Syracuse roster spot when they quietly released outfielder Taylor Kohlwey.

The 29-year-old was a smart pickup for the Mets. Remaining minor league options and some pretty awesome numbers in Triple-A during his time with the San Diego Padres made it a worthwhile addition. Unfortunately, Kohlwey wouldn’t have been much worse.

The Mets put an end to a disappointing 11 games from Taylor Kohlwey

In 37 trips to the plate, Kohlwey batted only .088/.162/.118 with 13 strikeouts. It was atypical of a guy who batted .276/.390/.437 in 516 trips to the plate last year in Triple-A. That wasn’t even his best season at the level either.

A lifelong minor leaguer with the exception of 5 games of MLB action with the Padres in 2023, this might be a case of someone benefiting from the sometimes notorious hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Strikeouts in more than a third of his plate appearances ruled Kohlwey out of the equation early. An obvious contender for the big league roster if the need for an outfielder was to ever arise, two singles and a double after 11 games wasn’t enough for the team to invest any more time into him.

Bad offense has been a bit contagious for the Syracuse Mets outside of Mark Vientos and veteran Ben Gamel. Choi’s decision to opt into his contract is likely more about realizing his opportunities might not be so plentiful elsewhere. Hitting .191/.333/.340 with a pair of homers in 60 plate appearances won’t even have the Boston Red Sox turning to him as a solution at first base. They’re going with Dominic Smith instead.

As an organization, the Mets have been quick to pull the plug on players who just aren’t working out. With a minor leaguer who isn’t taking up a roster spot, it’s a bit more damning.

One has to wonder if the same fate could befall some of the others whose batting averages are on the interstate. Trayce Thompson and Yolmer Sanchez could follow.