Marte (groin) done for 2023, but Mets optimistic for '24

September 27th, 2023

NEW YORK -- Following weeks of unsteady progress and will-he-or-won’t-he updates, the Mets shut down Wednesday for the season due to a right groin strain.
“He’s due for some good luck,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m hoping next year, we’re going to be reminded what a splendid player he is when he’s out there.”
Marte, 34, spent the entire season dealing with groin issues following offseason surgeries on both sides of the muscle. He made it back in time for Opening Day but struggled to perform to his usual levels, before his health began betraying him again. On Aug. 6, the Mets placed Marte on the injured list with a groin strain that ultimately cost him the rest of the season.
“He’s in a good place,” Showalter said. “Is there something to be gained from it? The biggest thing was how much he wanted to play. He wants to get out there. He loves to play. This is a guy that went to the All-Star Game last year. He hit second in our lineup. We really haven’t had him it seems like all year.”
For the past several weeks, Marte had been ramping up in hopes of a return. But weather interfered with his plans to play in Minor League rehab games over the weekend and, without the benefit of those outings, Marte had no way of completing the final portion of his rehab. Even had rain not washed out Marte’s rehab, questions lingered regarding his readiness to play.
“The risk [to] reward just is not there,” Showalter said.

And so the Mets will head into the offseason not knowing quite what to expect from their second-highest-paid player. Coming off an All-Star season in 2022, Marte appeared in just 86 games for the Mets, batting .248/.301/.324 with five home runs and 24 stolen bases.
How much Marte will be able to give the Mets in future seasons is an open question. Under guaranteed contract for two more years and $41.5 million, Marte has said that he could still require another surgery on his groin. He had been hoping to get in at least a few games down the stretch to ease his mind; instead, Marte must hope his rehab program alone accomplished enough for him to avoid that operation.
The Mets did not make Marte available for comment on Wednesday.
“I wouldn’t sell him short,” Showalter said. “I think he’s got a little gleam in his eye about [how] a lot of people are talking about where he is in his career. I would not bet against him next year.”
Heading into next season, the Mets have only one obvious starting outfielder on their roster in Brandon Nimmo. Jeff McNeil is a candidate to play the outfield on a near-full-time basis, while DJ Stewart could return in a complementary role. Given the uncertainty surrounding Marte, corner outfield could be a position the Mets look to fortify this winter. But if healthy, Marte still projects as the club’s starting right fielder. Showalter said he expects that to be the case.
Mets trainers plan to track Marte’s progress this winter both in New York and the Dominican Republic, keeping tabs on him before he arrives at Spring Training next February.
“I feel comfortable we’re going to have a healthy player going forward,” Showalter said. “He’s just not fully built up to get into games the next week and take the risk. He wants to play. He wants to get back out there. But it just wasn’t there. So we ran it as far as we could, and we’re going to start fresh with him next year. We’ve missed him.”