Mets rework roster, send Scott, Baty to Triple-A

The reeling New York Mets sent right-handed starter Christian Scott and third baseman Brett Baty to Triple-A on Friday, further changing their roster a day after designating reliever Jorge Lopez for assignment following his ejection and subsequent glove-fling into the stands.

As Scott and Baty were sent to Triple-A, the Mets called up shortstop Jose Iglesias and right-hander Dedniel Núñez. The Mets also designated catcher Omar Narvaez for assignment and picked up catcher Luis Torrens in a trade with the New York Yankees for cash considerations.

Scott had been something of a bright spot for the 23-33 Mets, who are 15½ games behind first-place Philadelphia in the National League East. In five starts, the 24-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA and struck out 25 while walking six in 27⅔ innings. He is expected to return to the big leagues soon, as the stint in the minor leagues aligns with an upcoming stretch in which the Mets have extra days off due to their games in London and helps keep Scott’s season-long innings total in check.

Baty, 24, was sent down for the second consecutive season after struggling to stand out given full-time reps at third. The Mets recently called up slugging prospect Mark Vientos, who has taken a share of Baty’s at-bats at third base and made the most of them, hitting .295/.354/.591 with three home runs in 14 games. On the season, Baty is hitting .225/.304/.325, and he was pinch hit for by Pete Alonso in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after going 0-for-1 with a walk and a groundout into a double play.

Iglesias, who last played in the majors for the Colorado Rockies in 2022, is joining the Mets’ major league roster for the first time since signing a minor league contract with the team in December. Narvaez was hitting .154 with five RBIs in 28 games, combining with Tomás Nido to give New York some of the worst production from the catching position since Francisco Álvarez tore a ligament in his left thumb April 19. Narvaez is being replaced by Torrens, who has spent the season so far at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Núñez, 27, returns to New York for his fourth stint this season. He has given up three runs over 8⅓ innings across five outings with the Mets.

The victory over defending NL champion Arizona was at least some solace in the wake of a nightmare stretch for the Mets. On Wednesday morning, they placed struggling closer Edwin Diaz on the injured list with a shoulder impingement. During the game, Alonso was hit in the hand by a pitch, though later imaging showed no injury. Then came the Lopez incident that led to the Mets removing him from the roster.

After being ejected by third-base umpire Ramon De Jesus for objecting to a check-swing call, Lopez chucked his glove into the stands. Following a 45-minute players-only meeting, Lopez said he did not regret his actions. He later posted on Instagram that he had been misquoted by some media that reported he said the Mets were “looking [like] the worst team probably in the whole f—ing MLB.” Lopez confirmed that he had said he was “looking [like] the worst teammate probably in the whole f—ing MLB.”

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, fans and the front office,” Lopez said in a later Instagram post. “I felt I let them down [Wednesday], both on and off the field.”

The Mets designated Lopez for assignment Thursday, giving them seven days to trade or release him. Lopez, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Mets in December, is tied for the second-most appearances in Major League Baseball with 28 and has a 3.76 ERA in 26⅓ innings pitched.

“We have standards here,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza told reporters. “When you’re not playing well, guys will show emotions. There’s frustrations, but there’s a fine line, and [Wednesday] went over that line.”

The episode encapsulated the Mets’ season. While they entered 2024 aware of the difficulty of securing a playoff spot, they didn’t expect another $300 million mess like last season, when they went 75-87 after fielding the most expensive roster in MLB history. This incarnation of the Mets lost expected Opening Day starter Kodai Senga to an arm injury after dealing co-aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the trade deadline last year, saw young catcher Francisco Alvarez hit the injured list April 21 with a thumb injury, and went downhill from there.

The most recent stretch was the most brutal. Since starting 19-20, the Mets have gone 4-13 and been outscored 99-62. On the season, the Mets have allowed the 23rd-most runs in MLB and scored the 11th fewest.

Along with free agent signings Luis Severino and Sean Manaea, Scott had helped the Mets cobble together a rotation that had performed relatively well. Scott’s best start came in his debut, when he threw 6⅔ innings of one-run ball. He allowed three runs over six innings in his second start, four to the Miami Marlins in four innings of his third start and finished with a pair of two-run outings, the first for six innings and another Thursday for five.

Scott, a reliever at the University of Florida, had slowly been transitioned to a starter by the Mets. Last year, he set a career high with 87⅔ innings after throwing 58⅔ in his first full season in 2022. Scott is expected to work on his sweeper when he is at Triple-A and could stay fresh with short outings.

Baty, at one point a top-25 prospect in all of baseball, has struggled to square the ball up this season despite well-above-average bat speed. The power potential he showed in the minor leagues hasn’t translated at the major league level, as he hit .212/.275/.323 over 386 plate appearances last season. His third-base defense is considered superior to Vientos, who himself had been optioned at the end of April after hitting a home run. But Vientos’ power — with at-bats coming in an even split between left- and right-handed pitchers — won him the job for now.

“This is a tough one. There’s no easy solution here,” Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns said this week. “I do think we have two players who deserve to be in the big leagues, and that’s why they’re both here right now.

I’ve also been consistent that this present roster construction cannot last in perpetuity. At some point, we’re going to have to get slightly more conventional. But we have two guys who I think have demonstrated that they really deserve to be in the big leagues.”

Information from ESPN’s Jorge Castillo was used in this report.

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