Mets roster replacement for Starling Marte could take another player’s job

Ben Gamel has a chance to steal a different player's job.
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets / Luke Hales/GettyImages

Ben Gamel was the player the New York Mets opted to call up when they placed Starling Marte on the IL on Tuesday. The MLB veteran who was hitting well in Triple-A had the numbers to get promoted. If things go well, it might not be Marte’s job he actually takes.

The Mets roster has been redundant at times this season. Zack Short and Joey Wendle? Even Harrison Bader and Tyrone Taylor have too many similarities to necessarily want them both around.

Gamel isn’t an exact replica, but seems to offer a lot of the same qualities as DJ Stewart. Both left-handed hitting corner outfielders, it was a conservative choice to go with Gamel over someone like Luisangel Acuna. Gamel cannot be optioned back to Syracuse without having to clear waivers. Stewart, on the other hand, could get sent to the minors. Gamel performing well could be what it takes to rid the roster of Stewart for at least a little while.

The Mets roster has some added redundancy with Ben Gamel joining DJ Stewart

As soon as J.D. Martinez was ready for every DH at-bat possible, Stewart’s role with the Mets diminished. We’ve seen them get him into games as a corner outfielder and a regular pinch hitter. Unfortunately for Stewart, those early days of having a terrific OBP have completely disappeared. While still solid at .342, it’s hard to justify keeping him around when the batting average is at .189 and the slugging percentage sits at only .344.

Neither Stewart nor Gamel played in Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees against a right-handed pitcher. Instead, the Mets went with Tyrone Taylor in right field in place of Marte. An early RBI was what he offered them. Going forward, if they stick with Taylor as the mainstay in right field, it’ll be less understandable why Gamel and Stewart are on the team together.

Gamel doesn’t offer the Mets much speed. In 685 MLB games he has only 21 stolen bases and has been caught 15 times. A relatively good .332 OBP with a more mediocre .252 batting average, the only thing he seems to actually do much better than Stewart is hit for average.

Something the Mets should have in mind is sprinkling in a weapon they lost with the absence of Marte. Marte, even in his aging body, remains one of their better base thieves. This is exactly what will land Acuna on the MLB roster at some point in 2024. They’re missing this off the bench. On a night where it’s Gamel, Stewart, Jose Iglesias, and Luis Torrens, there is no real threat to rob an extra bag.

The Mets only recently seemed to become a more complete club. A reliable backup catcher. A middle infielder capable of starting regularly. Now they have two left-handed hitting corner outfielders who are probably more Four-A type players than big leaguers battling for a spot. A lack of speed isn’t something that’ll ruin the Mets’ season. However, with no true threat off the bench in this regard and a hot-hitting prospect in the minor leagues who’d undoubtedly run amuck in the majors, we can ponder if this was in fact the best move the Mets could make.

Is there a competition between Gamel and Stewart? Choosing the former to join the club seems to suggest the possibility.