Mets News: Opening Day free agent, last bullpen role, Joey Wendle rave reviews

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

When a player coming off as productive and influential of a season as Tommy Pham remains unsigned, one has to wonder what’s going on. It made sense why he settled on a one-year deal with the New York Mets last season. He wasn’t exactly winning over fans with his 2022 performance. A part-time role in New York patrolling the outfield and sharing DH duties with Daniel Vogelbach seemed like an appropriate outcome as he rebuilt his stock.

Pham seemed to reconstruct some credibility. A successful start with the Mets which evolved into more of a full-time role, he’d make his greatest impact as a member of the NL Pennant winning Arizona Diamondbacks. He batted .429/.429/.643 in the NLDS and followed it up with a .421/.429/.737 showing in the World Series. Although the Diamondbacks ultimately came up short, they made it as far as they did in part because of Pham.

Is it the asking price? Is it Pham’s personality? Known best for his altercation with Joc Pederson over fantasy football rules, Pham was also critical last year of the work ethic of Mets position players. We can only speculate and connect dots. This might be less of a case of “it’s us” and more “it’s you.”

The final Mets bullpen role ended up as an easy one

The final roster decision for the Mets came down to who they’d carry in the bullpen. Michael Tonkin never seemed like a realistic DFA candidate considering he was signed in the offseason as a free agent. Sean Reid-Foley and Yohan Ramirez, on the other hand, were slightly lower priced and more in the realm of the types of pitchers who would get cut before Opening Day.

As it turns out, the battle might’ve been all for nothing. Reid-Foley was placed on the IL thus awarding the two spots to Tonkin and Ramirez.

Fans were quick to point out, as did Tim Healey, the irony of Reid-Foley stating he was healthy only days earlier. Jokes of Billy Eppler raising an eyebrow were abound on Twitter upon seeing this. It certainly seems to raise some alarm bells.

Joey Wendle is receiving some rave reviews

A bad 2023 season with the Miami Marlins doesn’t mean Joey Wendle will have a repeat with the Mets this season in a far less role. He was a regular in the Marlins lineup last year. He won’t be for the Mets this season barring some sort of disaster.

According to Pat Ragazzo, the utility infielder has received some rave reviews.

Wendle had a hot spring, going 8 for 19. The limited sample size, however, shouldn’t have us raising the bar for him. After a year in which he had a .554 OPS, his 2021 All-Star bid with the Tampa Bay Rays seems like a tall tale. Is he the player who used to run around the bases skating on flapjacks?

Perhaps all Wendle needs is a reduced role at this stage of his career. After receiving 300+ plate appearances for the Marlins in each of the last two seasons, it’s clear his days as a starter are over with. In the right situation, we can only hope Wendle is a guy who can benefit. The worst case scenario may also apply. How many hitters fall apart when they aren’t playing regularly?