3) NY Mets could realize their Darin Ruf mistake quickly
It’s probably not going to work out for the Mets to keep Darin Ruf on the roster. He’d need to make a surprising turnaround early on this year to justify keeping his roster spot. Nine out of ten Mets fans would agree it was time to dump him anywhere, even into the DFA pile, this offseason. Instead, he’ll at least get another look this spring.
The Mets quickly disposed of Robinson Cano when rosters shrunk back down to 28 last season. A similar situation, but in spring training, could be an option with Ruf. The obvious roster replacement for him could be Brett Baty. Mark Vientos isn’t quite as flexible in the field as Baty. And while they hit from opposite sides of the plate, the Mets have enough right-handed hitters to pair with Daniel Vogelbach. Tommy Pham, after all, signed for some of those at-bats.
It’s hard to make such a drastic decision due to spring training results. But what if Baty is tearing the cover off the ball and Ruf is repeating his 2022 struggles? Every game counts. You can’t lose a series in April and expect it to not matter later on.
Ruf will be permanently on the roster bubble from the start of the season. A serious injury on another roster could give the Mets the means to eat some of his salary and trade him elsewhere. Of course, in that situation, they’ll be looking for a little bit more in return than they could’ve asked for in November or December.
There are no excuses for Ruf this year. Hit or go.