Is it time for the Mets to designate a 2023 second-half hero for assignment?

Jun 2, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder DJ Stewart (29) triples during the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets outfield has gotten quite crowded. Starling Marte has returned to health and, despite struggling defensively, continues to patrol right field on a nightly basis. While Brandon Nimmo and Harrison Bader have flip-flopped, playing left field and center field.

Tyrone Taylor has become the fourth outfielder, and J.D. Martinez, who played outfield earlier in his career, has taken over the designated hitter role.

However, one Met outfielder has underperformed, and it may be time to consider designating him for assignment.

The Mets should consider designating DJ Stewart for assignment

May 22, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Mets right fielder DJ Stewart (29) hits a single during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

DJ Stewart came to the blue and orange on a minor-league deal in 2023, and after playing well for Triple-A Syracuse, the 30-year-old got called up on July 4 and turned into a second-half hero for a depleted Mets squad.

Stewart slashed .244/.333/.506 with a 130 OPS+ across 58 games with 11 home runs and 26 RBIs. The 30-year-old struggled in spring training but still made the opening-day roster partially based on how well he played in 2023. However, Stewart has yet to replicate his 2023 success in 2024.

The Florida native has slashed .176/.338/.324 across 53 games with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Who would replace Stewart?

In a scenario where the Mets do DFA Stewart, the blue and orange would likely call up Ben Gamel from Triple-A Syracuse. Gamel has hit the cover off the ball, slashing .299/.417/.547 across 40 games with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.

In addition, Taylor would find himself getting some more consistent playing time in the outfield. The California native has been impressive this season, slashing .248/.285/.364 across 52 games with two home runs and 16 RBIs.

President of Baseball Operations David Stearns likely won’t be DFA’ing Stewart in the immediate future, but if the 30-year-old continues to struggle, it may be a conversation that needs to occur in the front office.

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