Danny Mendick has a chance to become one of those New York Mets players fans absolutely adore. A Rochester native, he already has the semi-local tie to the Big Apple even if his stomping grounds feel more like Canada than Queens.
Medick came over to the Mets on a one-year major league contract this offseason for a million bucks. His role is perfectly clear. He’s a utility man here to do Jeff McNeil things.
McNeil carved out a niche for himself being a flexible everyday player capable of playing second base and the corner outfield spots at a high level. Mendick is more of an infielder, but innings in the outfield shouldn’t be out of the question. He’ll be someone the Mets carry regularly even if it’s an outfielder who lands on the IL.
The Mets will have plenty of opportunities to use Danny Mendick this season
Carrying Mendick on the same roster as Luis Guillorme may feel a bit redundant at first. Guillorme is the superior fielder of the two. He’s also a slightly better hitter when it comes to making contact. Mendick, in his limited big league opportunities, hasn’t shown incredible power but he has popped his share of home runs at the minor league level. If last year’s .289/.343/.443 performance was any indication of what he can do, the Mets picked themselves up a guy growing into his bat.
Mendick can still share a spot on the team plane (or at least a floor in the same hotel room, do teams charter planes anymore?) as Guillorme. Thanks to McNeil’s ability to play the corner spots, the team has a natural fit to play regularly in the corner spots whenever needed. The Mets do have Tommy Pham available. However, with Darin Ruf on the roster for now (groans) and Daniel Vogelbach only capable of playing first base but being more of a part-time DH (a slightly softer groan), it’s important for this team to have more than one guy capable of grabbing a glove at more than one spot.
The amount of time Mendick plays will be based on the health of the team’s middle infielders. He’s an obvious replacement option for McNeil at second base. If the team loses Francisco Lindor for any period of time, we should expect to see Mendick join the ball club and share time with Guillorme. And obviously if they lose Guillorme, Mendick takes over the main utility infielder role.
The Mets were fortunate to get 161 games out of Lindor last year. They weren’t so fortunate the year prior. Having someone else, and not just Eduardo Escobar for an emergency, available can save the team from plenty of grief.
Designated hitters may have arrived in the National League, but that doesn’t mean the chess game turns into tic-tac-toe. Guillorme got into 102 games for the Mets last year. Mendick should see far less appearances but provide the team with the level of versatility we have been used to seeing McNeil provide.