Mets designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach returns to the dugout after...

Mets designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach returns to the dugout after he flied out against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In the dreamy visions of many Mets fans, Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty and Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio are scampering around the grass at Citi Field like a bunch of kids playing in the park.

And the Baby Mets lead the team to the World Series.

Those fans want the first three of those rookies in the lineup EVERY DAY. They want Mauricio called up from Triple-A Syracuse TODAY and inserted into the lineup, even if they don’t know which defensive position he should (or can) play.

They also want Daniel Vogelbach off the team — or, at least, to stop getting starts at the designated hitter spot over Vientos.

That all may end up being what eventually happens as this Mets season unfolds. But general manager Billy Eppler, in his first state-of-the-team address in almost a month, made it clear on Friday that the Mets are not giving up on Vogelbach just yet.

Vogelbach is the most obvious underperforming veteran Met who is going to have to go if you want the kids to play all the time. (There are two others.)

But that’s not happening. Not yet.

“He’s hitting the ball as hard as he ever has in his career,” Eppler said. “And it’s just a matter of the trajectory aspect. The plate discipline is still there. He’s aware of [the lack of power]. He knows and he cares.”

Vogelbach was not in the lineup Friday against righthander Chris Bassitt. Vientos was. The rookie went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as the Mets were held to four hits by Bassitt and two relievers in a 3-0 Fireworks Night loss before a sellout crowd of 42,637 at Citi Field.

(Yes, the only fireworks were from the Blue Jays. Let’s move on.)

Buck Showalter hinted that Vogelbach will be back in the lineup Saturday. And when Vogelbach plays, that means:

No Vientos.

No room for Alvarez to get DH at-bats, which will be more crucial when Omar Narvaez returns from the injured list next week.

And no Mauricio up from Triple-A.

How about this: Find another team for Vogelbach (and underperforming veteran No. 2 Tomas Nido, as the Mets don’t need a third catcher once Narvaez is healthy).

Play Vientos every day for a couple of weeks to see what you have. Remember, Vientos was red-hot at Triple-A, the Mets called him up, and Showalter iced him by playing him sporadically. That could be why he’s batting .172. Or maybe he’s not ready for this level. Don’t you want to find out?

Use Alvarez as the No. 1 catcher and occasional DH. Sprinkle in Narvaez behind the plate.

Vogelbach would be easy for the Mets to jettison. He is making only $1.5 million and is batting .215 with two home runs and a .667 OPS. He has struck out 33 times in 131 plate appearances.

Vogelbach’s penchant for looking at called third strikes has enraged Mets fans and even led to former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes calling him out on Twitter. On May 25, after Vogelbach struck out looking for the 15th time, Reyes wrote: “I’m not sure if Vogey understands this concept but .  .  . you have to SWING THE BAT to hit the ball.”

To be fair .  .  . wait, there’s no reason to be fair. The name of the game is to win, and it’s Eppler’s job to give Showalter the best 13 position players he can and Showalter’s job to make out the lineup that has the best chance to win on any given day.

On Friday, the lineup that was stymied by Bassitt & friends included Baty fifth, Vientos seventh and Alvarez ninth. Showalter has his reasons for batting Alvarez ninth, he really does, but whatever they are, there’s a place for them: a shredder.

As for Mauricio — who Eppler said has just started taking balls in leftfield — let’s give him a few weeks to become acclimated to his new positions. If he’s still raking, then get him up here (and say goodbye to underperforming veteran No. 3, Tommy Pham; there’s no point having him on the team if you already have Mark Canha).

Is all this a dream? Maybe. But it could end up being the Mets’ reality. All the way to October.

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