NEW YORK -- A Mets team in need of outfield depth acquired one potential solution on Wednesday, inking prospect Nick Plummer to a Major League contract.
Plummer, 25, was a first-round Draft pick of the Cardinals in 2015, but he struggled to produce amidst multiple wrist surgeries early in his professional career. That changed this summer, when a healthy Plummer hit .280/.415/.479 in 117 games split between the Cardinals’ Double- and Triple-A affiliates. His breakout year included 15 homers and 13 steals. After the season, Plummer elected free agency when the Cardinals chose not to add him to their 40-man roster.
The Mets jumped on a player who still possesses plenty of potential. (When the Cardinals selected Plummer in the 2015 Draft, he became the highest-drafted Michigan high school position player since Derek Jeter.) Plummer immediately slotted in as the Mets’ ninth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He will earn the Major League minimum if he makes the team, according to a source.
“It’s kind of been cool, honestly, to come back after five, six years of being in the Minor Leagues and being written off and through all of that, through the hard seasons, seasons that haven’t gone my way,” Plummer told Pipeline in June. “I’ve continued to keep faith in myself and my ability and knowing that I’m capable of being a big league player. … I’ve always bet on myself to be successful and have success, so it’s been cool to come out swinging really well this year and reestablish myself a little bit.”
Opportunity figures to await Plummer in the Mets’ outfield, which includes just one established regular in Brandon Nimmo. Others on the 40-man roster include Khalil Lee and Mark Payton, as well as natural infielders Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil. The Mets also figure to acquire at least one additional Major League free agent outfielder this winter.
But there should still be a role for Plummer if he performs in Spring Training, particularly as an outfielder capable of manning all three positions. The Mets currently possess no outfield bench depth outside of Lee and Payton, who are not locks to make the team. At the least, Plummer will have a real chance to break camp with his new club.
The situation is similar to when the Mets signed Minor League pitcher Sam McWilliams to a guaranteed big league deal last winter despite his never having appeared in the Majors. That contract didn’t work out for the Mets, who ultimately designated McWilliams for assignment amidst control issues. But team officials hope Plummer will be a more permanent solution.
Canó on the mend
Second baseman Robinson Canó left his Dominican Winter League team due to lower back discomfort, the Mets announced. Canó has been prescribed a regimen of physical therapy and is considered week to week.
Canó has not played in the Majors since violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy last winter. He is still due $48 million over the next two seasons, which will take him almost to his 41st birthday. The Mets expect Canó to report to Spring Training in February, though his role for the upcoming season remains unclear.
The Mets made one additional roster move on Tuesday, claiming right-handed pitcher Antonio Santos off waivers from the Rockies.
Santos, 25, appeared in 10 games for Colorado over the past two seasons. He throws in the mid-90s with a four-pitch mix, and had mostly been a starter until this year. Serving almost exclusively as a reliever in Triple-A and the Majors in 2021, Santos struggled with his control but continued to flash plus stuff throughout the summer.
With the Mets, he figures to battle for a bullpen job in Spring Training.