Future role unclear for Mark Vientos after J.D. Martinez signing

PORT ST. LUCIE — Mark Vientos had a possible clear path to significant playing time removed and will now await the verdict on his roster status.

There is still a good chance the 24-year-old Vientos will be placed on the Mets’ Opening Day roster as the team awaits J.D. Martinez, who will need at-bats in extended spring training and the minor leagues before he is ready, after reaching agreement Thursday on a one-year contract with the club worth $12 million.

But whether there will be a spot in the major leagues for Vientos beyond that is unclear.

Mark Vientos will be on the Mets Opening Day roster while awaiting J.D. Martinez. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Vientos, after hitting his fifth homer of the Grapefruit League season in the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Yankees in Tampa on Friday, indicated he received a text message from his agent a night earlier informing him of the Martinez deal.

“Good pickup for the team,” Vientos told reporters, when asked what reaction he had to learning of the deal.

Was it hard for Vientos to accept?

“No, not really,” he said.

The Mets could decide they want to keep Vientos on the roster as somebody to play third base against left-handed pitching — with Brett Baty as the starter — and spell the 36-year-old Martinez at DH.

Martinez agreed to a one-year contract with the Mets worth $12 million. AP

But the Mets also could decide he’s better served receiving regular at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse.

“One thing about Vientos, he’s a huge part of our future here and present too,” manager Carlos Mendoza told reporters in Tampa. “He will get opportunities, and it’s one of those we’ll see what happens.”

Vientos began camp in a competition with Baty for the third base job.

But Vientos has played only six games at the position this spring, as Baty receives the majority of reps to prepare for the season.

A “bat-first” player, Vientos’ raw power is intriguing to the Mets.

“I still would tell Mark there’s nothing done yet,” Brandon Nimmo said at Clover Park, when asked if he might have a message for Vientos. “We’re still making decisions and it’s still going to take 40 guys to win and get to the playoffs. And just because we made this signing doesn’t mean he’s any less a part of this team and … I’m really happy to see the strides he is making.

“What I would tell him is that nothing has changed from his standpoint. It didn’t matter if he was going to be on the major league team or starting the year in Triple-A, he still needs to get the most of himself and work hard. Even when you are in the big leagues, the work never stops.”

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