Mets release veteran infielder after disappointing showing

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Detroit Tigers
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After a solid start, the Mets 2024 campaign has taken a sharp turn; the blue and orange are sitting nine games under .500 (24-33) as the calendar flips to June.

Despite the struggles, there are still some log jams in certain positional areas and late Friday night, the blue and orange released one of those logs from the jam.

The Mets have released Ji-Man Choi

According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, the Mets have released veteran infielder Ji-Man Choi; the 33-year-old had a June 1 opt-out in his contract.

Choi came to the Mets this offseason on a split contract as a depth option who could compete for designated hitter reps and potentially make the opening-day roster with a good spring.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Mets
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The South Korean native ultimately struggled in spring training after a solid start, slashing .189/.318/.324 with one home run and five RBIs.

Despite the struggles, Choi had proven himself to be a valuable everyday hitter in the past; during his four-year stretch with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2018-22, he never had a season with less than an OPS+ of 108 and hit double-digit dingers in every season except for the Covid-19-shortened 2020, so president of baseball operations David Stearns sent him to Triple-A Syracuse, hoping to recapture that magic.

Choi couldn’t quite do that as the 33-year-old slashed .191/.317/.357 across 26 games with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

What does this mean for the Mets

When the blue and orange originally signed Choi, there was a clear path to designated hitter reps, but then the Mets signed J.D. Martinez, which eliminated that pathway to the major leagues for the South Korean native.

After that, a pathway never really opened up for Choi, and with him having an opt-out anyway, it was time to cut bait and allow the 33-year-old to see if he could make a different big-league roster.

With Choi now gone, it will open up some at-bats in Triple-A Syracuse for some younger talent who could impact the organization in the coming seasons.

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