HomeTeamsMetsThe 2024 Met Bench

The 2024 Met Bench

It’s March and the 2024 season begins in less than three weeks (in Korea). A new manager, new coaching staff (with a couple of holdovers), and with the Mets standing pat on bringing in big-name free agents or trading for top level players, you’d think at least the bench players would be much like what they were in 2023. Think again.

Gone is fan favorite Luis Guillorme. Tommy Pham, still unsigned, is not a Met. Mark Vientos is looking to shift to a starting role at DH. The released Daniel Vogelbach was a both a starting DH and a bench player. There are new players in town looking to add punch and defense to the mix. Only one player is a bench holdover from 2023.

Joey Wendle – A versatile veteran infielder and ‘plus’ defender much like Guillorme, Joey Wendle has a career OPS+ of 93, last year it was 50.  OPS+ of 100 is considered average. Coming over from the winning culture of the Rays will hopefully rub off onto his teammates to some degree. 

D.J. Stewart – A Buck Showalter favorite, Stewart had a terrific stretch last season after being promoted from Syracuse. An August 20-66 stretch (.303) with 8 homers and 16 RBIs opened some eyes. He’s less than a great defender which is something that new POBO David Stearns and manager Carlos Mendoza will be watching. 

Tyron Taylor – Another versatile and plus defensive outfielder, Taylor came over from Milwaukee in the trade that brought starting pitcher Adrian Houser. Stearns clearly has seen Taylor play for years and wanted him in New York. Taylor’s career OPS+ is 102. He did hit 17 home runs in 2022 and the Mets could surely use that kind of pop off the bench.

Omar Narvaez – Yet another player the Mets obtained from Milwaukee but that was last year before Stearns arrived. He was brought to the team to tutor Francisco Alvarez, Narvaez was injured for much of 2023 and the Mets hope he can contribute on the field more in 2024 as the backup catcher. At his best Narvaez was a good defensive catcher with some extra base and home run power. His All-Star 2021 season would be hoping for too much but something more in-between that and his 2022 and 2023 seasons would be welcome.

Ji-Man Choi – Brought into camp just ahead of spring training, Choi who’s a first baseman only, has a career OPS+ of 112. But he hasn’t hit more than .233 since 2019 when he also slammed 19 home runs for the Rays. Last season Choi split time between Pittsburgh and San Diego not distinguishing himself at either stop. He played for Milwaukee in 2018 (12 games) when David Stearns was there. It was Stearns that moved Choi to Tampa. He might be a longshot to make the roster, but the Mets have nobody else in the organization close to being MLB-ready that is a bona fide first baseman. If the Stearns did get an offer he could not refuse for Pete Alonso (unlikely as that is) he’s got a major leaguer ready within the organization.

There is an apparent method to the madness from the standpoint of bringing in bench players who’ve contributed to winning teams. This is a nod to helping foster an overall change to a winning culture after last season’s debacle. It’s a smart approach to change what was not working.

The main thing about bench players is that you don’t want them to play too much as that would remind you why they were bench players in the first place.

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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