Mets infielder Brett Baty during a spring training game against...

Mets infielder Brett Baty during a spring training game against the Marlins on March 1. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Neither Brett Baty nor Mark Vientos will make the Mets' Opening Day roster. 

The Mets demoted both prospects to Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday night. That was the expected outcome at the start of camp, and it never changed despite solid showings from both that made it tempting to consider altering that plan. 

Baty, a third baseman, and Vientos, a corner infielder, were predictably disappointed but handled it well, general manager Billy Eppler said. 

“We told both of them that they’re a phone call away should something come up,” Eppler said. “And they don’t need something to happen at the major-league level. They have the type of talent where they can push their way up here.

“It was the news [Baty] didn’t want to hear. When you’re a competitor and you have high standards, that’s completely natural,'' Eppler said. "But those guys both took it very professional. They know. They understand. They see the board and they see the bigger plan, the bigger vision. They’re aware of those things. Really happy with how they’ve approached everything in camp. They both have a very good future ahead of them.” 

Mets infielder Mark Vientos during a spring training workout on Feb....

Mets infielder Mark Vientos during a spring training workout on Feb. 18 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Sending out the young third basemen solidified the standing of Eduardo Escobar as the everyday option at the hot corner. 

Designated hitter, a spot at which the Mets have a platoon of Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf, isn’t necessarily as clear. Ruf struggled after joining the Mets in a trade last summer and has not performed well in Grapefruit League games in recent weeks. He also has been dealing with arthritis in his right wrist. 

Asked if the Mets have committed a roster spot to Ruf, Eppler said: “We haven’t announced the Opening Day roster yet. So we’ll announce that, I don’t know, 11:59 on Thursday. OK?” 

Among the other position players still healthy and in camp: outfielder Tim Locastro and infielder Danny Mendick. 

Regarding Baty, Eppler referenced a trio of top-tier third basemen who played several hundred games at the position in the minors: Nolan Arenado, Rafael Devers and Austin Riley. 

Baty is up to 206, including  four at Triple-A last year before the Mets promoted him in August because of injuries to other players. 

“One of the things we talked about with Brett was we think he’s got a chance to be an above-average regular player at the major-league level for a championship-caliber team,” Eppler said. “You learn by playing a lot. While he had a great camp and we’re really excited about his future, there’s just some more development markers left for him to reach. He’ll go down and probably carry a lot that he consumed here in Triple-A. We’re really excited about his future and the type of kid he is, what he does in the batter’s box and the strides he’s made defensively.” 

Buck Showalter added: “Master is too strong a word, but the level behind you — it should not still be an unknown if you can handle that one before you come to this one.” 

Eppler praised the defensive improvements made by Baty and Vientos, both 23, including the latter’s footwork and agility at first base, his second position.  

Baty hit .325 with an .885 OPS in 23 Grapefruit games. Vientos, who crushed Triple-A pitching before getting called up in September 2022, had a .278 average and .791 OPS in 23 camp contests. 

Both figure into the Mets’ 2023 plans, if not at the start. As Showalter said, “It bodes well for us down the line.” 

“You gotta think about the long game,” Eppler said. “We have to think about the 162 games we’re going to play over 183 days. We’re not positioning a roster for a three-game series only, a three-game win-or-go-home series . . . We’re positioning the roster to manage all the way through the end of September and, with our standards, into October.”

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