Five Mets Elect Free Agency

The Mets announced this afternoon that five players — infielders Jonathan Araúz and Danny Mendick, outfielder Rafael Ortega, catcher Michael Pérez and right-hander Vinny Nittoli — went unclaimed on outright waivers. All five players declared minor league free agency. The Mets had waived that group along with left-hander Anthony Kay, claimed by Oakland, last week.

It’s not surprising to see any of the others go unclaimed. Only Mendick held a spot on the 40-man roster for the entire season. The righty-hitting utilityman had signed a $1MM free agent deal after being non-tendered by the White Sox. He spent the bulk of the season on optional assignment to Triple-A Syracuse, where he had a decent .282/.369/.424 batting line. Mendick didn’t produce much in a limited MLB look, hitting .185/.232/.277 in 35 games.

Ortega has the most MLB experience of the group. The lefty-swinging outfielder has appeared for six teams over a seven-season big league run. He topped 100 games with the Cubs in both 2021 and ’22, operating as their starting center fielder and leadoff man for a time. The 32-year-old played most of this past season in Triple-A, hitting .228/.352/.388. He got into 47 games for New York late in the year, running a .219/.341/.272 line over 136 trips.

Pérez has played in nine games for the Mets over the last two seasons. The depth catcher owns a .179/.248/.306 line in 599 career plate appearances between the Rays, Pirates and Mets. Araúz has played parts of four seasons between the Red Sox, Orioles and Mets. The switch-hitting infielder owns a .184/.253/.308 slash in 95 games, including a .136/.203/.288 showing this past season.

Nittoli made three MLB appearances after coming over from the Cubs in a minor trade. He turns 33 next month and has six big league outings between three teams. The Xavier product posted a 4.64 ERA over 42 2/3 innings in Triple-A this year.

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