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Mets DFA reliever Jorge López after ejection, glove toss into crowd

Even by New York Mets standards, this year's team is hitting some significant lows. On Wednesday, those lows were most visible through Mets reliever Jorge López.

Or should we say former Mets reliever Jorge López after the team designated him for assignment on Thursday afternoon.

Granted, it wasn't going great for the Mets when López entered the game. Adam Ottavino had just allowed an RBI single in the eighth inning to put the Los Angeles Dodgers up 5-3 in a game that was tied entering the frame. López took the ball and allowed a double to rookie Miguel Vargas, got Mookie Betts to fly out, then allowed an opposite-field, two-run homer to Shohei Ohtani, pushing Los Angeles' lead to 9-3.

Then things got weird.

López threw a 2-1 slider to Freddie Freeman that was low and inside, but drew a checked swing from the former MVP. López believed Freeman had swung, and argued his case forcefully enough that he was ejected by third base umpire Ramon De Jesus.

The right-hander had a few more words for De Jesus, then walked off the mound, tossed his glove into the stands in apparent frustration and exited to the clubhouse, leaving his team to bring Josh Walker in for a mid-at-bat replacement.

Freeman proceeded to walk and the Dodgers went on to finish off a 10-3 win over the Mets, completing a road sweep after winning both games of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Jorge López headshot
Jorge López
RP - CHC - #52
2024 - false season
26.1
IP
3.76
ERA
1.37
WHIP
19
K
11
BB

Many people believed that was already a bad look for López. Mets manager Carlos Mendoza concurred, telling reporters after the game that López's glove toss was "not acceptable" and promised to address the matter internally.

Reporters proceeded to interview López, who had some wild things to say about the state of the Mets and his place on the team.

López's answer on if he regretted the glove toss:

"No. I don't regret it. I think I've been on the worst team in probably the whole f***ing MLB. Whatever happened happens, so whatever they want do. I'll be here tomorrow if they want me. I'm going to keep doing this thing. I'm healthy. I'm ready to come back tomorrow if they want me to be here."

It should be noted that some people didn't hear López saying "the worst team in probably the whole f***ing MLB." They heard "the worst teammate probably in the whole f***ing MLB." MLB.com's Anthony DiComo asked for clarification on that point and was told López meant to say he was the worst teammate on the worst team in MLB.

López took to Instagram on Thursday morning to state he said "teammate" and not "team" in his comments.

Jorge López / Instagram
Jorge López / Instagram

Either way, those are not the words of a man expecting to be at the clubhouse the next day. That soon came to pass.

As López's words spread across the internet, multiple members of the Mets media contingent, including the New York Post's Joel Sherman, reported that the team was planning to designate the pitcher for assignment, ending his tenure with the team.

But what an ending it was.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 29: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Jorge Lopez #52 of the New York Mets in action against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on March 29, 2024 in New York City. The Brewers defeated the Mets 3-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jorge López got his money's worth, with both the ump and the Mets. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It can be plainly stated this is not what the Mets needed right now.

Few expected the team to be competitive for the NL East after going 75-87 last year and only improving on the margins. And yet, New York has failed to meet those expectations, holding a 22-33 record after Wednesday and sitting in fourth place in the division.

They have been particularly bad as of late, with a 7-18 record in May and losses in eight of their past nine games. Just a day earlier, Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns was conceding to reporters they weren't playing like a playoff team, but held off on saying they would sell at the trade deadline.

As a matter of perspective, here are the five biggest 40-man payrolls in MLB, via Cot's Contracts, and their current records:

1. New York Mets ($344.6 million): 22-33
2. Los Angeles Dodgers ($329 million): 36-22
3. New York Yankees ($312.6 million): 37-19
4. Atlanta Braves ($265.2 million): 31-21
5. Philadelphia Phillies ($258.6 million): 39-18

The Mets are bad and expensive. They are in their fourth season under billionaire owner Steve Cohen with little to show for it beyond a 101-win season in 2022, which fell short of the division title and culminated in a loss in the wild-card round. They have some decent prospects thanks to last year's fire sale, but still rank only 13th among MLB farm systems per MLB Pipeline.

Again, few expected big things from the Mets this season, but it's just not normal for a team this financially loaded to outright languish. There are teams doing worse than them on the field right now, but when it comes to where you are against where you should be, it's hard to deny López had a point.