Gio Urshela’s market is heating up a week before pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training ahead of the 2024 season.
The veteran third baseman is reportedly being courted by two of his former teams, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels along with the Miami Marlins and New York Mets.
Urshela’s 2023 season with the Angels was limited to just 62 games after suffering a pelvic fracture, which had thrown a wrench into hopes of establishing a steady presence as a viable third baseman in the majors. The 32-year-old came out of nowhere to become an invaluable part of Yankees playoff pushes from 2019-2021, slashing .292/.335/.480 (.815 OPS)
He batted .285 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 144 games with the Minnesota Twins in 2022 after he was part of a package that brought Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Yankees.
There have been some question marks about his defense. Last year with the Angels, he made five in 86 total chances at third base for a feeding percentage of .942. His range (outs above average) was ranked in MLB’s 11th percentile while his arm strength was in the 32nd, per Baseball Savant.
That being said, a player of his caliber and expected role simply needs to be proficient at the hot corner — and that’s something the Mets should seriously consider bringing on.
Urshela could be a security blanket at third base in Queens should Brett Baty falter with the starting third-base job. It was initially forecasted upon Stearns’ arrival that the 24-year-old would have to compete for the bulk of the playing time at the hot corner alongside Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos. But Mauricio is going to miss most, if not all of, the 2024 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, and Vientos is projected to get the first crack at the designated hitter role.
The Mets brought in Joey Wendle as a utility infielder where he’ll attempt to be what Luis Guillorme was, but Wendle has played less than half of his career games at third base and using him as Baty’s immediate backup would be a risky move should he be thrust into the starting role.
Urshela has shown that he can produce in such a scenario across town in the Bronx.