NL East rival signs longtime Mets foe to a minor league deal

Games against the Nationals are getting more interesting.

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets
Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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The New York Mets added to their outfield depth on Monday, inking Ben Gamel to a minor league deal. An unsurprising move because he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in the past, he’ll be one of the MLB veterans we’ll see in St. Lucie this spring hoping to climb the depth chart as the ball club tries to evaluate who’ll be the first they summon to the majors in case of an injury.

The addition of Gamel doesn’t really create much of a reaction. But what one of the NL East rivals did hours later creates some feelings.

The Mets fans vs. Jesse Winker rivalry has a chance to return for more than once a year

Jesse Winker will join a couple of ex-Mets in camp for the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal. The team had recently signed Robert Gsellman, Stephen Nogosek, and Adonis Medina to minor league pacts as well. While Winker is no former Met, we know him well from his time with the Cincinnati Reds.

A feud between Winker and Mets fans began in May of 2019 and included, of all things, a wave after a Cincinnati win from the then-Reds outfielder which was construed as taunting. A home run off of Edwin Diaz plus an ejection of Winker in the ninth inning in another game of the series continued what was seemingly the unlikeliest rivalry of the year. The two sides did later let bygones be bygones and he spoke publicly about his appreciation of Mets fans. A smart move for a guy who’d one day become a free agent.

Before this deal, Winker was someone who would’ve actually been a good fit for the Mets as a rebound candidate. Much more of a DH than an actual corner outfielder at this point, he could’ve been a halfway decent option for the club to hold in Syracuse and see if there’s anything left in his bat. His horrendous year with the Brewers last year warranted nothing more than a minor league deal. Seeing as the Nationals likely have much more leeway when it comes to playing time, it makes sense why he’d choose them over the Mets—not that we know New York was ever interested in the first place.

A minor league deal for Winker doesn’t guarantee we’ll ever see him at all outside of some possible spring training at-bats against the Mets. 

Can we add him to the list of potential Mets killers to join an NL East rival or will Winker’s time with this new ball club have him stuck in Rochester where the Triple-A team plays?

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