Mets should target slugging outfielder in free agency

adam duvall, mets
Jul 15, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Adam Duvall (14) hits a single against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets could use a fourth outfielder going into the 2023 regular season. Currently, their starters are Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha. Their primary backup at the moment is Khalil Lee.

They do have some versatility at their disposal with Jeff McNeil, who could play in left or right field. But may ultimately just choose to keep him at second base.

Some depth and roster competition was recently added with the signing of Tim Locastro. The Mets signed him to a minor league contract but with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

With the current construction of this outfield, the Mets would be smart to play it safe and add some insurance with a more proven fourth outfielder. Marte is getting up there in age, as he recently turned 34 and missed time down the stretch last year. Having depth behind Marte if he misses time should be a must for the Mets to address.

With Lee’s lack of experience (13 MLB games), the Mets could also use a fourth outfielder who is capable of reliably filling in for Canha whenever needed or even splitting some time.

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Adam Duvall makes sense for the New York Mets:

When reviewing the remaining free agent outfielders, Adam Duvall, in particular, fits what the Mets need at this point in the offseason.

The best trait Duvall offers, his power, is something the Mets offense desperately needs more of to get over the top in 2023.

In 2022, the Mets finished tied for 15th with 171 home runs. They were fairly average by season’s end relative to the entire league. But, compared to basically every other playoff team, the Yankees (254 HRs), Braves (243), Astros (214), Dodgers (212), Phillies (205), Blue Jays (200), Mariners (197), and Cardinals (197), the Mets power was nowhere near good enough.

Duvall had a bit of a down year in 2022, hitting 12 homers in 86 games. However, he has a large enough body of work over his career to believe he can bounce back.

He had monstrous home run totals in 2021 (38), 2016 (33), and 2017 (31). In 2019 and 2020, he had some terrific home run production as well. In just 41 games played in 2019, Duvall hit 10 homers. Even better, the next year, Duvall had 16 home runs in only 57 games.

The power production is there from Duvall in 2016-17 and 2019-21 to feel comfortable that he can give the Mets some help in the home run department.

While his power is fairly proven, a lack of hitting for contact does come along with Duvall. He is a career .230 hitter. His best batting average throughout his nine-year career is just .267 in 2019.

Aside from power, Duvall also gives this Mets lineup something it needs at the moment, a right-handed designated hitter. With the Mets recently set to sign Carlos Correa to play third base, it put Eduardo Escobar in that role as long as he was not traded. But now, without Correa, Escobar will be at third, and the Mets need an upgrade.

Lastly, after his power and ability to be the right-handed DH, Duvall provides positional flexibility for the Mets across the outfield. Most of his career has been spent in left, where he has 513 career starts. He has 93 starts in right. Over the last two seasons, Duvall has also gained time in center, starting 68 games with 43 last year.

At this later point in free agency, Duvall is a quality free-agent option who helps address a few clear needs the Mets still have. His power, ability to fill in as a primary right-handed designated hitter and his versatility across the outfield would all help the Mets. When just going over the depth chart, it is clear that the Mets need a viable fourth outfielder. Most importantly, Duvall could give a spark with some home runs to this Mets offense.