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Where will Mets find their DH in 2024? 5 early options to consider

Hunter Renfroe Mets DH options
Los Angeles Angels’ Hunter Renfroe (12) doubles during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The Mets’ current wave of wins remains still seems like nothing more than a consolation prize in a lost season. All eyes are firmly set on the future and while Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler are adamant that they’ll be World Series contenders in 2025 or 2026, there is little excuse to put together a playoff contender next year.

Amongst the team’s largest needs outside of an uncertain rotation is the designated hitter spot after two years of underwhelming production from experiments gone wrong. Darin Ruf never cut it and while he was shown the door early in the year, Daniel Vogelbach got most of this season and couldn’t find a groove when it mattered most. 

Vogelbach will likely be gone next season and the Mets are going to allocate most of their funds toward beefing up the starting pitching staff that only has two reliable arms in Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana. They’ll have to be resourceful and try to catch lightning in a bottle with a veteran bat on a short-term deal. It also wouldn’t hurt if that came with corner outfield spot to provide some depth there.

Potential 2024 Mets DH options

Teoscar Hernandez
Seattle Mariners’ Teoscar Hernandez, right, celebrates with first base coach Kristopher Negrón after hitting a two-run single during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Teoscar Hernandez: The 30-year-old’s power has dipped during his first season with the Seattle Mariners with 19 home runs in 124 games after hitting 25 round-trippers last year in 131 games. But Hernandez has been a consistent 20-plus home-run threat for the last six years including a 32-home-run, 116-RBI 2021 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays. His 162-game averages since 2018 are promising at 32 home runs and 96 RBI.

Joc Pederson: After falling out of favor with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pederson appeared to rediscover himself last season with the San Francisco Giants, posting 23 home runs, 70 RBI, and an .874 OPS in 134 games. A hand injury has limited him to just 89 games this season where he’s hit just 12 home runs with a .774 OPS. If the Mets think he could come back healthy next season and put similar numbers to his 162-game averages from 2015-2022 (28 HR, 70 RBI), there could be interest.

Hunter Renfroe: In his five full seasons from 2017-2022 (not counting the COVID-shortened 2020), Renfroe averaged 29 home runs per season. There are on-base concerns, though, as his OPS topped .800 just three times during that stretch while he has struck out in 28.7% of his at-bats. With the underachieving Angels in 2023, his .740 OPS is a career-low outside of 2020 to go with 18 home runs and 52 RBI.

JD Martinez: Taking a one-year, $10 million deal to join the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martinez has reminded the baseball world that he can still hit at 36 years old. In a lineup that provides an abundance of protection, he’s slashing .256/.309/.547 (.856 OPS) with 25 home runs and 78 RBI in 92 games. 

Ronny Mauricio: The Mets have worked on expanding Mauricio’s defensive versatility considering the natural shortstop doesn’t have a path to the majors with Francisco Lindor holding things down in Queens for the better part of the next decade. He has gotten looks at second base, left field, and third base, but the question marks about his defense still remain while posting a second-consecutive 20/20 season and an .822 OPS in Triple-A. If the bat continues to trend upward and his defense doesn’t, there’s an internal option to at least experiment with.

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