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Free-agent pitcher Cole Sulser has agreed to a minor-league deal with the New York Mets. The right-hander made just four MLB appearances in the 2023 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, yielding four earned runs across 5 1/3 innings in that time. He also struggled in the 2022 season when he posted a 5.29 ERA across 39 appearances with the Miami Marlins, but he is just two seasons removed from a 2.70 ERA across a hefty 60 appearances with the Baltimore Orioles. He also had a 3.86 ERA across 12 appearances with the Rays' Triple-A affiliate before a move into the D-backs organization last season.
New York Mets reliever Drew Smith is being discussed in trade talks by the club. The right-hander is in his final season of club control and can be retained via arbitration after earning $1.3 million last season. There is a Friday 7 pm Central Time deadline for clubs to tender arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2024 season, so the Mets are seeing what Smith's market is like before potentially tendering him another contract. Smith took a step back in the 2023 season, working to a 4.15 ERA across 62 appearances but he is still the owner of a rock-solid 3.53 ERA across 172 career big-league appearances, although his 33.7% career ground-ball rate has led to some home run issues as evidenced by his 1.36 HR/9 clip.
New York Mets rookies Ronny Mauricio and Brett Baty finished last year as the team's primary options at third base, and the new Mets regime is taking the approach that both players are in the mix for the position again in 2024. However, president of baseball operations David Stearns is challenging both Mauricio and Baty to improve defensively. Baty became the starting third baseman three weeks into the season but was sent to Triple-A Syracuse in August after struggling offensively and defensively. Mauricio moved from shortstop to second base to left field at Syracuse before debuting with the Mets in September. He played five games at the hot corner in the big leagues. The 22-year-old will see more time at third in the Dominican Winter League. Mauricio has more versatility and is the superior offensive player in the long term for the Mets.
New York Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns said this week that infielder/outfielder Jeff McNeil (elbow) isn't expected to need offseason surgery after he had an encouraging checkup on his left elbow recently. McNeil was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his left elbow and was forced to sit out the final week of the regular season. But the 31-year-old won't go under the knife this offseason and should be ready to go for the start of spring training in 2024, barring any setbacks. Instead of having surgery, McNeil is receiving platelet-rich plasma injections. The two-time All-Star had a disappointing batting average (.270) in 2023 given his .298 career average, and he also had 10 home runs, 25 doubles, four triples, 55 RBI, 10 stolen bases and 75 runs scored in 156 games in his sixth MLB campaign.
The New York Mets are confident that outfielder Starling Marte (groin) won't need offseason surgery on his groin, according to president of baseball operations David Stearns. In his second year in Queens, Marte played in only 86 games and didn't play in another game after landing on the injured list in early August with a right-groin strain. It's great news that the 35-year-old veteran won't need surgery this offseason, but fantasy managers have to be extremely concerned with his health moving forward and his production. Before his season-ending injury in 2023, Marte hit .248 (78-for-315) with only five home runs, seven doubles, a triple, 28 RBI, 24 stolen bases and 38 runs scored in 341 plate appearances. He stole a healthy 65 bases in 2021 and 2022, but one has to wonder how much he'll be running at this stage of his career given all the injuries he's dealt with recently.