Contrasting Mets tenures return to Citi Field for the Tigers series

We remember these two Mets for very different reasons.
Mar 30, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Mark Canha (21) celebrates
Mar 30, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Mark Canha (21) celebrates / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Could there be two more contrasting tenures with the New York Mets in the last three seasons than what we saw with Javier Baez and Mark Canha? One came in the middle of the season with plenty of fanfare and an electric style of play. The other was a free agent signing that flew somewhat under the radar and turned out to be an effective member of a team that won over 100 games.

In terms of connectedness with the fans, Baez is remembered most for getting involved with teammates who gave the fans the “thumbs down” as the wheels sputtered late in 2021. The only thumbing Canha ever did was a thumbs up during a food review.

Two ex-Mets are back this week and their legacies couldn’t be much more different

The odd thing is both of these players were terrific on the field. The Baez trade is routinely roasted by anyone looking for their LOLMets moment when in actuality he was a brilliant pickup for the team. Baez was able to play shortstop for the Mets while Francisco Lindor was out. Once back from the IL, he shifted over to second base and Jeff McNeil took over mostly in the outfield thereafter.

Baez’s 47 game stint with the Mets was one of his best albeit the sample was small. He hit .299/.371/.515 with 9 home runs. For those keeping score, he hit 9 home runs in all of last season despite playing in 136 games for the Tigers.

Every word to describe Baez’s time with the Tigers would be too profane. He comes into this series batting a lovely .154/.154/.154 with a pair of singles and amazingly only 4 strikeouts. Give him time.

Canha, on the other hand, fully embraced New York and the fans even with some looking for the team to upgrade their left field situation after one solid year with the Mets. He’s doing the exact opposite for the Tigers this year. His contributions to their 3-0 start include a .364/.462/.727 slash line and his first home run out of the way.

In what ended up as a 229 game tenure with the Mets, Canha was a .259/.359/.395 hitter. Only the power was down from his career totals which could be one of the reasons why he received mild criticism. Among all of the players the Mets did trade away at last year’s deadline, Canha remains the one who would’ve made sense to keep around, especially with the return being Justin Jarvis. 

Canha was an important part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ success late last season but with an $11.5 million club option, they looked to capitalize on ownership of his deal and swiftly traded him to Detroit.

Clutch hits, particularly against the Philadelphia Phillies it seems, helped highlight Canha’s time in Queens. For Baez, it was a poor relationship with the fans and a lack of understanding of why the team was being booed. Canha is one of those guys who’ll always “get it” wherever he ends up. He didn’t make excuses. He told the truth as it is.