It’s a non-existent DH competition taking place in Mets spring training

There should be no question who the Mets DH should be.

New York Mets Workout
New York Mets Workout / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The New York Mets open up Grapefruit League action on Saturday with Tylor Megill on the mound. A candidate to replace Kodai Senga on the roster to begin the year like he did for Jacob deGrom in 2022 and again with Justin Verlander in 2023, it’s familiar territory for the righty whose American Spork will look to carve up some victims for the first time—if he’s willing to unleash it this soon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the spring training battles will resume around him. Included to some degree is the one for the Opening Day DH spot. There are certain candidates for those at-bats, but exactly how much of a competition is there really?

In a lot of ways, whatever happens this spring won’t matter much at all. Dead-set on not spending large on a DH this offseason, the Mets will need to see someone look completely lost or ready to win a home run title this spring in order to sway the direction they go at this spot in the lineup.

Is there any sort of spring training battle for the Mets DH spot?

Until recently, the DH spot looked like one that would be shared primarily between right-handed corner infielder Mark Vientos and left-handed hitting outfielder DJ Stewart without a second thought. A platoon of sorts, it’s imperfect because of the handedness each hits from. If, for instance, we swapped the two and the younger player was swinging from the left side, then maybe we’d see more of a straight platoon between them.

This doesn’t quite work out as the expectation is for Vientos to play more. He seems like a virtual lock for the Opening Day roster. What about Stewart? A strong August and a complete opposite turn in September of last season was enough for the Mets to add some reinforcements.

The recent minor league signings of Ji-Man Choi and Luke Voit have upped the ante for Vientos and Stewart to perform as soon as possible. Both Vientos and Stewart are optional to the minor leagues if they fail. Their one advantage, Stewart in particular, is the ability to play a position in the field that isn’t first base. Carrying two first basemen on the roster isn’t the preferred choice. The Mets would be taking away an infielder and a corner outfielder from the roster by choosing either Choi or Voit to begin the year with the team. Survivable as it may be, it doesn’t seem like the outcome to wager on unless there’s an injury.

What any of these guys do in spring training seems almost irrelevant. The Mets committed to Vientos winning the DH spot in the Opening Day lineup. They’ve also made a much milder commitment to Stewart by foregoing the addition of any other outfielders to the roster. While Stewart doesn’t necessarily fit as a requirement for the Opening Day roster, he seems to carry some value on a bench that’ll include a backup catcher plus Tyrone Taylor and light-hitting lefty Joey Wendle.

The real battle for those DH spots will need to take place in actual games that matter. It’s Vientos’ job to lose, Stewart’s to win, and Choi and Voit’s to steal.