The Mets have traded for two lefty hitters in the last week—Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin—and they 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.
It is not, however, 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 option following the trade deadline.
Vientos was not used as a DH before June 17 this season, but has been deployed at that position 10 times since. 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 versus 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 trade deadline at 6 pm Tuesday.
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 were summoned by the Mets, Vientos would receive much of his playing time against lefties, versus 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 cautious 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.