Mets DFA López after glove-tossing incident

Team holds meeting after dropping 11 games under .500

May 30th, 2024

NEW YORK -- Shortly after his team’s 10-3 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday, Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor made it known that he wanted to call a players-only meeting. Lindor and other veterans made sure players did not scatter to the food room, to the trainer’s table, to their cars. Instead, they remained in the central clubhouse room and talked.

For close to 40 minutes, Mets players discussed the issues that have led them to this spot: 11 games under .500 before the end of May, finding seemingly every way possible to lose a baseball game. According to another veteran, Brandon Nimmo, nearly the entire roster spoke.

“It just felt like a boiling-over point,” Nimmo said. “It felt like the right time to do it. You try and give space.”

For the Mets, words begot actions. Wednesday’s loss was punctuated by reliever Jorge López who, after being ejected by third-base umpire Ramon De Jesus, threw his glove high in the air and into the stands. Manager Carlos Mendoza called the action “unacceptable” and, along with president of baseball operations David Stearns, spoke to López about it after the game. A source with knowledge of that meeting said López was untruthful in his subsequent comment that he never spoke to Mendoza.

The same source added that team officials decided Wednesday night to designate López for assignment, a move that was made official Thursday afternoon.

Asked about the glove-throwing incident after the game, López said he did not regret throwing it, adding, “I don’t give a [expletive] to anything.” The native Spanish speaker then uttered a comment in English that those present interpreted as either López calling the Mets “the worst team in the whole [expletive] MLB,” or calling himself “the worst teammate in the whole [expletive] MLB.”

That comment has created confusion. Asked later in the interview if he indeed meant to call the Mets “the worst team” in baseball, López replied: “Yeah, probably, it looked like.” He subsequently told a team employee that he meant both “team” and “teammate,” but López retracted that notion the following morning in an Instagram post, writing that he meant “teammate” all along.

A screengrab of Jorge López's Instagram Story, which has been edited to remove an expletive.

Wording aside, the entire episode created a sideshow to what was, at its core, another disappointing loss. Tied in the middle innings, the Mets allowed six runs in the eighth inning and wound up losing by seven. They were swept in three games by the Dodgers and have lost eight of their past nine.

Until Wednesday, however, the Mets had been reticent to call a team meeting. Mendoza prefers to handle his business privately, in one-on-one conversations, while players have also been more focused on individual pursuits. But with the season spiraling before his eyes, Lindor said he felt “something in my gut” that this was the right time to gather the roster.

According to multiple players in the room, much of the message focused on process, and the idea that it may be time for some Mets -- even accomplished veterans -- to change habits that are no longer working.

“We’re just not getting it done,” said reliever Adam Ottavino, who allowed four runs in the eighth inning to take the loss. “We’re not throwing up zeroes when we need them, and we’re not getting the hits when we need them. And we’re not putting the at-bats together, we’re not playing the defense. It’s really all over the board. We stink right now.”

Although the Mets have seen significant turnover in recent years, much of their core -- from Lindor, Nimmo and Ottavino to Pete Alonso, Edwin Díaz and Jeff McNeil -- is the same one that won 101 games in 2022. But none of those players are enjoying similar results.

Until Wednesday, Mets officials had resisted dramatic action, such as firing coaches, jettisoning key players or even calling team meetings. Wednesday changed that. With 107 games left to play in the regular season, the fourth-place Mets spoke internally about their shortcomings, then parted ways with a reliever who had not only made critical comments, but embarrassed club officials with his actions.

It may not be enough to save their season, or even the prospect of another Trade Deadline selloff.

But it was, at the least, some action.

“Before the All-Star break and before the Trade Deadline, you’ve got to stay above the water,” Lindor said. “You can’t have the water nose-deep. I’m not a good swimmer. So we’ve got to find ways to get the water to at least our shoulders. Because then that’s when the decisions come in, and it’s the ones we don’t want.”