Now that the 2023 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of the season from A (Abraham Almonte) to W (Josh Walker). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at infielder Jonathan Arauz.
Player Review: Jonathan Arauz
Minor Leagues: 100 Games, 352 At Bats, .239 Batting Average, 84 Hits, 14 Doubles, 3 Triples, 14 Home Runs, 53 RBIs, 59 Runs Scored, 2 Stolen Bases, 55 Walks, .755 OPS
Major Leagues: 23 Games, 59 At Bats, .136 Batting Average, 8 Hits, 3 Home Runs, 9 RBIs, 3 Runs Scored, 5 Walks, .491 OPS, -0.3 WAR
Story: After spending last year in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, journeyman infielder Jonathan Arauz signed a minor league deal with the Mets in early February with an invite to spring training. The Mets viewed Arauz as primarily infield depth for AAA Syracuse, which is what he was for the first four months of the season. Things changed after the trade deadline, when the Mets needed bodies at the major league level after shipping out veterans like Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar. Arauz was promoted from AAA Syracuse on August 2nd and became the starting third baseman by mid-August after the Mets sent Brett Baty down to AAA for a boost in his confidence while Luis Guillorme and Mark Vientos landed on the injured list.
The Mets had to be happy with Arauz’s glove as he played well defensively wherever they put him on the infield. Offense was a different story as Arauz did little with the bat to bolster the lineup. The highlight of Arauz’s season came when he homered on back-to-back nights in mid-August against the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of which contributed to a win. Arauz’s playing time dried up in September when Baty and Vientos returned to the big league roster and he was sent back to AAA on September 18th to finish the season there.
Arauz was a good defender but didn’t offer much else to the Mets, who gave him far too much playing time in August due to a lack of better alternatives.
Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible
Odds Of Returning: 50%
2024 Role: Depth Infielder
The things working in the favor of Arauz being in the Mets’ organization in 2024 is his defensive versatility, remaining minor league option and the fact he isn’t eligible for salary arbitration yet. With Luis Guillorme and Danny Mendick both arbitration eligible, the Mets could theoretically free up some money by non-tendering both and keeping Arauz around as their backup infielder.
The thing that makes Arauz’s return a 50/50 proposition is his presence on the 40-man roster, which new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns could view as an expendable spot that could be used to house either a better player or rising prospect. The Mets could simply DFA Arauz and try to sneak him through waivers, which would appear to be the most likely scenario of how he fits onto the 2024 team as a depth player with Syracuse once again.
Check back next week as our Player Review Series continues with a look at third baseman Brett Baty!