Mets’ Mark Canha building towards offensive sustainability in reduced role

May 31, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets left fielder Mark Canha (19) hits a RBI single against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning at Citi Field.

When the Mets called up Mark Vientos earlier this month, manager Buck Showalter held a meeting with a few players to discuss what it would mean for their playing time.

Mark Canha was one of those players and his role on the team was about to change. The 34-year-old outfielder has struggled at the plate this season and has been platooning left field with Tommy Pham with the youngster about to split time at DH with Daniel Vogelbach.

Despite that, the veteran outfielder took it in stride.

“I had three or four guys in at once the other day when Vientos got here to give them a heads up on what we’re thinking and things can change,” Showalter explained after the team’s 4-1 win over the Phillies on Wednesday. “And Mark said, ‘I just want to win.’”

“[Showalter] explained that a lot of different things go into how lineups are constructed,” Canha said. “Everybody has opinions on who should play and should not play and just explained to us that it may be different, and a lot of thought goes into [making a lineup].”

Canha called the meeting positive and constructive, and that everyone there respected what was said.

“There was no egos about it,” Canha added. “[The organization is] really forward with the players and that’s all you can ask for.”

Entering Wednesday, the California native was hitting .233 with three home runs and just 12 RBI so him being the only source of runs in the Mets’ win on Wednesday was unlikely.

Canha had two hits including a home run and drove in all four Mets runs. It was Canha’s eighth career game with four or more RBI and the first time he did it since Sept. 10, 2022 at Miami.

“Mark is low maintenance because he does everything to stay ready,” Showalter said. “Night’s like tonight don’t surprise anybody.”

Showalter said that Canha’s preparation to stay ready can be seen just about everyday, whether he’s hitting in the batting cages after a game or showing up at the stadium at noon, the outfielder prides himself in being available for when the Mets call upon him.

“You work and work and a lot of games throughout the course of the season are ‘ok’ games. Some good, some bad,” Canha said of his preparation. “Those really good ones happen once in a while and that’s why you put in the work…. and it feels great.”

“Mark cares. He just wants to win,” Showalter said. “He says ‘I just want to be a part of something special and contribute any way I can.’ And he’s sincere about it, that’s why it’s easy to trust guys like that.”

Canha was one of the Mets’ many acquisitions during the 2021-22 offseason and established himself as an everyday outfielder for the team, playing in 140 games last year. He batted .266 and slugged 13 home runs and 61 RBI.

But those solid numbers have not translated to the early part of this season, and with the Mets hovering around .500 they continue to shake up the lineup to find consistency. The Mets are 6-4 in their last 10 games and sit at 29-27 and the offense has been better thanks to the youngsters like Vientos and Francisco Alvarez as well as contributions from role players like Canha.

In his last 15 games, including Wednesday, Canha is 13-for-42 (.310) with a home run and six RBI. While he’d like better results, Canha sees there’s something deeper he needs to figure out to really give the Mets a consistent contributor.

“When we chase results you can have a good night and it doesn’t show,” Canha explained. “I try to grab onto something that’s real and something that’s tangible that is sustainable throughout the course of the year and I feel like I’ve been building towards that.”

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