Could the Mets actually keep DJ Stewart around even after J.D. Martinez arrives?

DJ Stewart's bat has finally come to life, but is there room for him when the team's real DH arrives?
Kansas City Royals v New York Mets
Kansas City Royals v New York Mets / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

DJ Stewart, like a lot of his New York Mets teammates, got off to a bad start. A couple of recent home runs against the Atlanta Braves have helped any case there was to keep him around even after J.D. Martinez is ready for big league action.

The Mets have a strange roster. The bench, if we have Stewart in the starting lineup at DH, is a group of four guys without options. The ball club has used Joey Wendle sparingly and we’ve seen Zack Short in even fewer innings albeit more games to make use of his defense, running, and ability to get down a bunt.

Keeping Stewart around upon Martinez’s arrival could work, but with the team refraining from giving him too many games in the field, it’s hard to see how he can ever get in much playing time at all.

DJ Stewart is finally trying to hit his way into a permanent stay on the Mets roster

As redundant as Wendle and Short are, executing one from the ball club seems quick this early in the year. There should be a little more of a leash on Wendle whose defense will hopefully look sharper and whose bat might liven up eventually. As for Short, don’t set expectations all too high for him to hit much at all. His legs and the ability to get down a sacrifice bunt are what make him useful.

Stewart is, to paraphrase Billy Eppler, one of those “big hairy guys at the end of the bench.” Attractive to have on any roster, it’s not so necessary for this Mets ball club with the way they’re constructed.

Tyrone Taylor has been getting used regularly as more than a fourth outfielder. He has proven his value. Some of his playing time should diminish with Martinez healthy and in the lineup. There will be far fewer games where he’s in the outfield and one of the regulars takes on the DH duties.

Taylor getting pushed down the depth chart despite some success only makes Stewart less important for the ball club. The team has a built-in corner outfielder already starting at second base in Jeff McNeil. Being the noted last man to make the team out of camp, we already know how the front office feels about Stewart.

To put it in terms of someone going through a breakup trying to spare a soon-to-be ex’s feelings might understand: they love him but they’re not in love with him.

Stewart’s remaining minor league option benefits the Mets and its usefulness shouldn’t get overlooked. The moment the Mets choose to DFA one of the light-hitting infielders and keep Stewart around for even less playing time is a week before they land with another team and take off.

There is enough of a resume for Stewart to know what he can and cannot do. All 5 of his runs batted in and all 3 hits have come this week in what originally would’ve been a time he’d serve in Syracuse. Instead, he’s finally livening up as the team waits for Martinez to return. Too little too late or enough to chain himself to the rest of the 26 for at least a little longer?