Two Mets Opening Day starters from 2023 reunite on minor league deals with the same team

They're back to the minors, at least for now.
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Two of the remaining members of last year’s New York Mets Opening Day roster sitting in free agency found new deals on Friday. Coincidentally, they’re both headed to the same organization on minor league deals.

The club’s Opening Day DH and third baseman will look to earn a spot on the Toronto Blue Jays roster. Daniel Vogelbach and Eduardo Escobar each agreed to minor league pacts with an invite to spring training with the Blue Jays.

Two 2023 Mets Opening Day starters signing minor league deals is indicative of where it all went wrong: the start

The Mets went into 2023 with the highest payroll in MLB history. Bound to happen eventually, the pressure to win a championship weighed heavily on Steve Cohen’s ball club.

Vogelbach and Escobar would see themselves travel down two completely different paths last year. Escobar was traded in late June to the Los Angeles Angels for a pair of prospects. One of them has already been dealt away by the Mets, Coleman Crow, as the lone piece sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor.

Exhaustively, Vogelbach remained with the Mets for the entire season. Although he was able to raise his season totals close enough to career averages, it wasn’t nearly acceptable enough for a team with such high aspirations. He was sluggish on the bases, never played defense, and was unplayable against left-handed pitchers. His ice-cold May and June overshadowed other productive months last season. The limitations of what he can do made him an ill-fit from the start.

Both ex-Mets appropriately will have to win a major league job. Escobar’s decline was much sharper, concluding with a .226/.269/.344 slash line shared between the two clubs. He hit only 6 home runs in 309 trips to the plate. Even in 2022 when he underperformed for the Mets, he managed to knock 20 homers for them.

Escobar will look to join the third base mix in Toronto now left vacant by the departure of free agent Matt Chapman. Vogelbach will hope to have some chance with the Blue Jays to replicate what Brandon Belt did so well for them last year as the left-handed DH.