Mets ink former Yankees OF Harrison Bader to one-year deal

mlb: washington nationals at new york yankees, harrison bader, mets
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The Mets entered this offseason with a couple of significant needs, but an outfielder was one of the more glaring ones.

At the trade deadline, the blue and orange traded away starters Mark Canha and Tommy Pham, while another starter, Starling Marte, is entering his age 35 season and has been riddled with injuries during his Mets tenure.

The new President of Baseball Operations, David Stearns, appears to have filled that hole.

According to Jeff Pasan of ESPN, the Mets have signed Harrison Bader to a one-year contract worth $10.5 million.

A look at Bader’s baseball journey

Baders’s major league journey started in 2015 when the St. Louis Cardinals selected him 100th overall in the Major League Baseball Draft. He quickly rose through the minor leagues, becoming a top prospect before making his major league debut on July 25, 2017.

The New York native slashed .235/.283/.376 with three home runs and 10 RBIs across 32 games in 2017.

Bader maintained his rookie status in 2018 and performed quite nicely. The right-hander slashed .264/.334/.422 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs across 138 games while finishing sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year race.

The New York native began 2019 as the Cardinals starting center fielder but struggled at the dish and was eventually sent back down to Triple-A Memphis before returning to St. Louis and finishing the regular season for the red and white.

The right-hander finished 2019 slashing .205/.314/.366 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs across 128 games.

Bader returned as the Cardinals’ starting outfielder for the 2020 Covid-19 shortened campaign and improved at the plate, slashing .226/.336/.443 with four home runs and 11 RBIs across 50 games while playing stellar defense.

The New York native struggled to stay healthy in 2021, appearing in just 103 games, but when he was on the field, he excelled.

Bader slashed .267/.324/.460 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs while winning his first career Gold Glove Award.

The right-hander struggled to replicate that success and stay healthy in 2022 before being dealt alongside a player to be named later to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline in exchange for Jordan Montgomery.

Bader appeared in 72 games between the Yankees and Cardinals, slashing .250/.294/.356 with five home runs and 21 RBIs.

The New York native struggled again to stay healthy in 2023 and was eventually placed on waivers by the Yankees before being picked up by the Cincinnati Reds.

Bader appeared in 98 total games between the Yankees and Reds, slashing .232/.274/.348 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.

Bader became a free agent following the season.

What does this mean for the Mets?

Signing Bader is a low-risk, high-reward situation for the blue and orange. The Mets hope Bader can revitalize his career in Queens and become an adequate everyday outfielder.

The 29-year-old is known as a defensive wizard and should improve a lackluster Mets defense in 2023.

Bader also gives the Mets defensive flexibility, as he can play all three outfield positions.

The one-year contract will also allow the Mets to easily trade him at the deadline if he has a massive first half, which is excellent for an organization that wants to improve its farm system.

However, signing Bader does mean they are likely out of the Cody Bellinger sweepstakes.