Mets plan to give kids chance to stick at third base

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Mets are still looking for positional help this offseason, but they probably won’t be getting it at third base.

Brett Batty, Ronnie Mauricio, and to some extent Mark Vientos, that opportunity is yours.

Third base is for more than one child.

New president of baseball operations David Stearns said in a GM meeting last month that he felt comfortable with Batty, Mauricio and Vientos as potential third basemen heading into next season.

At Monday’s winter meeting, he was more resolute, saying he had no intention of pursuing outside options for the position.

“I think it’s important as an organization to learn about our young players and provide them with opportunities at the major league level,” Stearns said. “It doesn’t have to be just Opening Day, but we have to learn about them all year long.”

Such an announcement would eliminate the possibility of trading available players like Alex Bregman or Willie Adames or signing Matt Chapman.

Brett Batty USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

Stearns has refrained from naming his top choice for third base, saying there may be competition for the position in spring training.

Joey Wendle, who signed a one-year deal worth $2 million last week, could play third base, but Stearns said the veteran infielder would be in a utility role rather than a starting candidate.

Batty became a regular third baseman at the beginning of last season, but struggled and the Mets demoted him to Triple-A Syracuse in August.

The 24-year-old hit .212/.275/.323 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 108 games.

Mauricio is playing third base in the Dominican Winter League after having limited opportunities last season.

The Mets also believe the 22-year-old could play second base.

Vientos, who turns 24 next week, has struggled defensively, but his raw power is interesting enough for the Mets to keep him in the third base lineup.

“Going into the season, you’re going to see a big change in performance and health,” Stearns said. “I don’t want to freeze them out during the offseason and I always know I have to learn about them.

“When you look at the composition of winning baseball teams, there’s generally a very good mix of established veterans and young players that can give energy and spontaneity to the group, and we have a good chance of getting that.” I think there is.”

Ronnie Mauricio Getty Images

Stearns said he plans to keep Jeff McNeil in a super-utility role, moving between second base and the outfield.

That leaves the Mets looking for another outfielder to provide coverage — industry insiders say Michael A. Taylor is among the free agents the Mets are looking to sign.

The Mets could use another bat, with the DH slot in question, and could target names like Jorge Soler or Teoscar Hernandez.

Wendle, 33, played for the Marlins last season, hitting .212/.248/.306 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 112 games.

david starnes Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Joey fits a lot of what we’ve talked about in terms of being a very good defender, a very good base runner and bringing a winning player to our clubhouse. I think there are,” Stearns said.

“He brings a cultural element that I think is important, especially for some roles that you don’t start every day. You have a player who understands what that’s like. It’s very important to have them and when they’re not in the lineup it can have a very positive impact on the rest of the team, and Joey certainly checks those boxes.”



Sign up to stay informed to breaking news