Mets’ top prospect goes down with torn ACL

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Mets
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are entering the offseason following one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history that saw the blue and orange go from World Series contenders to finishing 75-87.

The Mets entered this offseason with a couple of questions, but one of the bigger ones was who would be playing third base in 2024.

At the winter meetings, new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns said they planned to keep the third base job in-house.

“I think it is important for us as an organization to learn about our younger players and to provide them with opportunity at the major league level,” Stearns said.“That doesn’t have to be all on Opening Day, but over the course of the year, we’ve got to learn about these guys.”

The three top contenders for the position in-house would be prospects Brett Baty, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio

However, it now appears that it will be a two-horse race.

Ronny Mauricio has a torn ACL.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, Ronny Mauricio has a torn ACL and needs surgery.

Mauricio got injured Sunday night during a Dominican Winter League game when he stopped himself in his tracks during a steal attempt before proceeding to limp off the field.

The 22-year-old excelled for Licey before the injury, slashing .433/.452/.667 with one home run and four RBIs across seven games.

The Mets’ fourth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, debuted in September, appearing in 26 games while slashing .248/.296/.347, alongside two home runs and nine RBIs.

What does this mean for the Mets?

This is a significant blow to the Mets’ plan for 2024. Mauricio was the favorite to land the third base job ahead of Baty, Vientos, and the recently signed Joey Wendle

With Mauricio out for at least the first half of 2024, if not the whole campaign, the blue and orange may have to pivot from their plan to keep the job in-house.

If Stearns and company decide to look elsewhere, a potential option could be free agent Justin Turner.

Turner played for the Mets from 2011-14 before having nine successful seasons as a cornerstone for the Dodgers.

The 38-year-old spent 2023 in Boston, where he had another impressive campaign, slashing .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs across 146 games.

Turner declined his option and opted for free agency following the season.

Hopefully, for the Flushing Faithful, Mauricio will fully recover and be ready to contribute at the Major League level no later than 2025.