Thursday was a busy day for New York Mets rumors. In a slow offseason for relatively every MLB team, we got a double dose of players the Mets are reportedly looking into signing.
J.D. Martinez as the DH and Gio Urshela as a third base/infield addition would normally be welcomed. Martinez remains a bit iffy possibly due to the scars left by Daniel Vogelbach and his limitations of not being able to play the field. Urshela, whom I campaigned for before Joey Wendle signed with the Mets, no longer makes quite as much sense. Would he really join the Mets to play behind Brett Baty?
Still out there is Justin Turner. Conceivably, Turner would be the combo solution both Martinez and Urshela would provide for them. It’s not bad to see these Mets rumors linking them to other players. However, it furthers the argument of how much of a greater fit Turner is than either of those two players.
It feels a little late for the Mets to sign J.D. Martinez and more so Gio Urshela
What the Mets need most right now is a starting pitcher, left fielder, and DH. Only the latter is solved with the signing of Martinez and Urshela. Frankly, as time goes on, the Mets might be better off going into Turner or bust as a third base backup plan.
Because of how limited roster space is, the addition of Martinez as a DH-exclusive player always comes with that negative. It means 162 games of Pete Alonso at first base. If Francisco Lindor slams his finger in a door, he will either have to sit or play defense. The Mets are still equipped to handle a DH-only player of Martinez’s abilities. What makes him unattractive is how likely it is that the Mets would need to move on of their other regulars there at some point in 2024. Leaving the DH spot open for Starling Marte can help keep him healthy.
It’s hard to picture what kind of sell the Mets could have for Urshela to get him to come to New York. Before Wendle, it made all of the sense in the world. Urshela could get regular starts around the infield. He’d be the backup shortstop and second baseman. He’d even get the occasional opportunity at first base if needed. Now, what purpose does Wendle really serve?
No, David Stearns will realize this. Urshela isn’t a good enough hitter to ever justify putting in the DH spot. With as many options as there are out there to fill it, including a whole bunch of corner outfielders who can help solve that need as well, it would be unacceptable for the Mets to sign Urshela for such a major role.
The only way it does work is if their plans for Baty have changed in which case, what are those plans? They didn’t move him to left field in the majors at all last season. He’s not a proven enough player for regular DH at-bats either.
At least these latest Mets rumors continue to show they are shopping on the upper shelves and not just looking for bargains as they have with the bullpen. As we wait for their first truly big splash of the offseason, we can make it through another day assured there will eventually be some sort of a signing worthy of a press conference.