The Mets have traded for two lefty bats in the last week – Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin – and remain in the market for a veteran righty hitter. But they feel they have an internal fallback if they fail to acquire a Trey Mancini or JD Martinez type.
However, it is not Francisco Alvarez.
The Mets have been using Mark Vientos more regularly as their designated hitter at Triple-A to familiarize him with the role, just in case he is the post-trade deadline option.
Vientos was not used as a DH before June this season, but has been since 17 in that position 10 times. That includes six of his last 11 starts through Thursday. In the other five games, Vientos started at first base three times and third twice. And while the Mets would like his versatility if he were summoned to the majors, they have other players at those positions they are more likely to use.
Pete Alonso, obviously, is the primary first baseman. With the acquisition of Naquin, Jeff McNeil is about to have his outfield playing time reduced and become a much more regular second baseman. Luis Guillorme will gain even more time at third base, especially vs. righty starters, in conjunction with Eduardo Escobar. Vientos would essentially be assuming the role of JD Davis, who could be used as a trade chip before the Tuesday 6 pm trade deadline.
Vientos is the Mets’ fifth-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com. At Triple-A this year, the 22-year-old righty swinger entered the weekend hitting .261 with 18 homers and an .855 OPS. If he was summoned by the Mets, Vientos would receive much of his playing time against lefties, vs. whom he was hitting .322 for Syracuse with 10 homers and 1,090 OPS.
Alvarez is the Mets’ top-rated prospect, but in his first 13 games since being promoted to Triple-A, he was hitting just .146, though he did have two homers and nearly as many walks (13) as strikeouts (17) . The Mets have been keen about speeding up Alvarez’s progression due to his age (20) and concern about inserting him into the middle of a pennant race with all the hype that would come with that.