Ex-Yankees fan-favorite outfielder signs deal with Mets

harrison bader, yankees, mets
May 23, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader (22) reacts to hitting a home run as he rounds the bases against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have reinforced their outfield this off-season, adding Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo to the mix. That is not even mentioning the addition of Trent Grisham, a two-time Gold Glove winner that should bolster the team’s depth.

However, one former fan favorite is headed across town to the New York Mets in Queens. Harrison Bader, coming off an inconsistency season with the Bombers at 29 years old, will take his talents to their hometown rival on a one-year, $10.5 million deal, according to Andy Martino SNY.

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The Yankees Love Bader But Not His Bat

Bader spent 14 games with the Yanks during the 2022 regular season after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals to help in the postseason. Bader showcased elite qualities in the playoffs, hitting five homers across nine games with a 253 wRC+.

However, Bader played 84 games with the Yankees in 2023 before being waived and landing with the Cincinnati Reds. Over those 84 appearances, Bader hit .240/.278/.365, including seven homers and 37 RBIs with 17 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his offensive shortcomings hurt the Yankees’ outfield production, which supported the idea of letting him walk and pursuing elite bats to replace his value.

The Mets, on the other hand, now have an elite defensive player in the outfield and an inconsistent bat to work with. The two teams seem to be going in different directions, with the Yankees looking to make a run at a World Series in 2024 and the Mets thinking long-term, developing some talent, and waiting patiently to reengage in the championship conversation.