Mets won’t play David Wright against Braves because Atlanta is fighting for home field advantage

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On Tuesday, the Mets activated third baseman David Wright from the 60-day disabled list. The 35-year-old hasn’t played in a big league game since May 27, 2016 as he has been dealing with shoulder, neck, and back issues.

The Mets’ plan was to activate Wright today then start him on September 29, the penultimate game of the season. He was reportedly available to play in the Mets’ current series against the Braves, but SNY’s Andy Martino reports that isn’t the case. Assistant GM John Ricco said that it is “pretty unlikely” Wright appears in a game over the next three days. The reason is because the Mets know the Braves are fighting for home field advantage and don’t want to use Wright in a meaningful game. Everyone knows playing Wright is more of a stunt, meant to give him a proper send-off and a last hurrah for the fans.

The only problem with this line of reasoning is that the Mets carried José Reyes on the roster for the entire season. He has been terrible from the moment the season began, currently holding a .190/.263/.321 batting line. The Mets willingly started Reyes 46 times this season, including seven times against the Braves. The Mets have gone 4-12 against the Braves this year.

At one point during the season, the Mets were hoping Reyes — charged with domestic violence in 2015 — would hold a retirement news conference. He didn’t. So the Mets still carried him on the roster for some reason, playing him in games that were, ultimately, meaningful in some fashion.

The 88-68 Braves are three games behind the Cubs (91-65) and one and a half behind the Brewers (90-67) for the best record in the National League. The team that finishes with the best record faces the winner of the NL Wild Card game and gets home field advantage through the NLCS. So, yes, the Mets’ series with the Braves is meaningful, so too were their games with the Braves (and other teams) earlier this season when they had already given up all pretense of winning and willingly started Reyes.

The Mets, by the way, plan to start Reyes at shortstop to Wright’s left in his farewell game on Saturday, per James Wagner of the New York Times. How fitting.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.