New York Mets Best Outfield Options On The Free Agent Market

New York Yankees, Kevin Pillar

The New York Mets desperately need a center fielder, and George Springer perfectly fits the mold. If the Mets strike out on Springer, what are their other options to fill a huge need in the outfield?

1. George Springer

There is no more convincing for the Mets to sign Springer. He is an improvement defensively and brings a proven postseason bat for a roster that lacks postseason experience. Springer is also a much needed right-handed power bat in the Mets lineup that perfectly balances their offense.

2. Kevin Pillar

Kevin Pillar is a significant downgrade from Springer, but his offensive production has improved over the last two seasons. Pillar has 27 home runs and a .440 slugging over the last two seasons. While Pillar’s defense has declined over the last few seasons, he is still an update from Brandon Nimmo. No disrespect to Pillar, but anyone not named George Springer would be a complete failure for center field.

3. Jackie Bradley Jr. 

Jackie Bradley Jr. is still a good defensive center fielder, but his offense is filled with inconsistency. 2020 was Bradley’s first season with an average over .270. His power numbers have also fluctuated over his career, which does not project him to be a major upgrade in center field. Bradley would be a lower walk rate, better defending version of Nimmo.

4. Joc Pederson

Joc Pederson is always a tremendous power threat but his center field days might be far behind him. Pederson only hit .190 in 2020 but came alive in the postseason with 15 hits. If the Mets choose to move J.D. Davis or the DH is implemented in the NL, Pederson is very much worth a look.

5. Michael Brantley

Michael Brantley is a huge shot in the dark for the Mets. But if you are going to have a horrible defense, why not try to win with overwhelming offense. The Mets offense would become the best in baseball with a .470+ sugging percentage hitter at every position. Signing Brantley would all but end Davis’s tenure in New York. Nimmo would remain in center while Brantley man’s left (if there is a DH). But you have got a better chance of landing a Play Station 5 than the Mets signing Brantley.

The Mets and Blue Jays are the favorites to land George Springer, per report

New York Mets

The New York Mets have already had a successful offseason and could field a very competitive team if they choose not to add more players to their existing roster. However, new owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson, with the help of the recently hired general manager Jared Porter, are eager to keep improving the club.

One of the Mets’ targets ever since the offseason started is former Houston Astros center fielder George Springer. The 31-year old has a potent bat (.265/.359/.540, 146 wRC+ and 14 home runs in 51 games in 2020) and is a very good fielder (6 Defensive Runs Saved and 1 Out Above Average.)

However, the Mets know that Springer would command a very lucrative deal well north of $100 million. Despite signing reliever Trevor May and catcher James McCann to multiyear pacts, the team is still in the race to land the former Astro.

Not only are they still in the running, but according to Jeff Passan of ESPN, MLB executives believe the Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays are the favorites to sign the top free agent outfielder.

The Mets aren’t afraid to spend

In a rather uncertain reality when it comes to finances, teams haven’t been overly eager to bring talent via free agency. Only a handful of deals have been announced, and some of the best free agents are still in the market, most notably Springer, Trevor Bauer, Jake Odorizzi, Corey Kluber, Kirby Yates, Liam Hendriks, and DJ LeMahieu.

The Mets and Blue Jays, however, have been connected with just about any free agent and have been among the few clubs that expressed any interest in spending substantial amounts of money to improve the roster.

There is a sense that the Mets prefer to prioritize Springer rather than another top or mid-rotation arm, so it will be an interesting race to see who lands the two-way star.

New York Mets Opinion: Offseason Free Agent Targets Going Forward

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

The New York Mets have a good start to their offseason, but as always, fans want more. They secured Trevor May and James McCann and found themselves a highly regarded general manager in Jared Porter. With plenty of big names still on the market, where should the Mets look next?

1. George Springer

Obviously, the top spot is between George Springer and Trevor Bauer, but Springer is needed more. Partnering Springer along with Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis gives the Mets lineup a perfect balance from both sides of the plate. Both of them will complement the outstanding left-handed power very well, and Springer is a proven clutch hitter. His versatility to hit in the top and middle of the lineup provides plenty of options for manager Luis Rojas.

The Mets also need a center fielder who is capable defensively. Springer is, at worst, is average defensively in center field. It will be a major upgrade from Brandon Nimmo‘s defense. Signing Springer would create a log jam in the outfield, but only if there is no designated hitter. If there is no DH, it makes Nimmo the odd-man-out between Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith

2. Trevor Bauer

Much like J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Bauer is likely to drag out the offseason to get the perfect deal. He will likely be as expensive but differ in the number of years needed. Bauer’s biggest question is whether he is the Cy Young caliber pitcher from 2020 or the career 3.90 ERA pitcher. Any team would be happy to have either in their rotation, but each commands different contracts.

Put all the social media and on-field antics to the side, and the Mets need Bauer. His demeanor and hard-working personality are shown in an unorthodox way, but Bauer’s focus is on success. Bauer’s 4.55 ERA in his worst full season would have made him the third-best starter in the 2020 Mets rotation. The biggest question is if he wants to be a number second fiddle behind Jacob deGrom?

3. D.J. LeMahieu

D.J. LeMahieu is the signing that would open up trade options for the Mets. It would guarantee Jeff McNeil as the every day second baseman and leave Davis without a spot. The Mets could stock their depth or deal Davis, Amed Rosario, and a mid-level prospect for Francisco Lindor. With Andres Gimenez almost big league ready, they may not want to waste three players on a one-year rental.

This is not overlooking what LeMahieu brings to the Mets. He is a gold glove caliber defender at second and third base. LeMahieu has a rare combination of contact, power, and clutch hitting; the latter is what the Mets lacked throughout 2020. He will be 32 on Opening Day, and signing him may force the Mets to keep him through his age-37 season. As they look to go younger, LeMahieu’s length request may be a deal-breaker.

4. Liam Hendriks

Just the fact the Mets can be in on every free agent on the market is a luxury on its own. Signing Liam Hendriks gives the Mets the best bullpen in baseball. It potentially eliminates the typical closer role but in a good way. By no means is this a shot at Edwin Diaz; it allows the Mets to use their bullpen similarly to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Seth Lugo and Trevor May would join Diaz and Hendriks at the high-leverage relievers. If healthy, Dellin Betances potentially fits into the same category. Instead of putting relievers in situations where they pitch in back-to-back days or four times in a week, they can pick and choose easier. With four, potentially five dominant relievers in the bullpen, they can have the firepower to end games after five innings.

5. Jake Odorizzi

What if I told you Jake Odorizzi might be just as good as Trevor Bauer? Odorizzi has made 192 starts, thrown 1042.1 innings, has a 1.24 WHIP and a 3.92 ERA in nine seasons. Bauer has made 195 starts, thrown 1190 innings, has a 1.27 WHIP and a 3.90 ERA in nine seasons. The biggest difference? One is coming off an injury-plagued season, while one is coming off a dominant Cy Young award-winning season.

If both were free agents last offseason, Odorizzi would have the upper hand. Unfortunately for Odorizzi, baseball has a major recency bias. The Mets need a reliable starter to round out their rotation, and missing out on Bauer does not stop them from doing so. Odorizzi likely will not have the Cy Young outburst like Bauer but is a quality, mid-rotation starter. If the Mets pass on Bauer, combining Odorizzi with someone like Masahiro Tanaka gives the Mets a strong rotation. They will have Noah Syndergaard returning by mid-season and potentially allows them to sign at least one of the other three names above.

MLB insider is ‘ready to bet the family farm’ that Mets sign George Springer

Ever since New York Mets‘ owner Steve Cohen took over the team a few weeks ago, fans and media have speculated about his spending potential. They have had dreams about the team signing all the top free agents and becoming a powerhouse from day one, even if Cohen himself (and president Sandy Alderson) have said that won’t necessarily be the case.

However, for Mets’ fans hungry for glory, it’s hard not to envision the scenario. After all, they have the wealthiest owner in MLB, several needs to fill, and some star players available in the market for nothing but money.

Tempering expectations has been particularly difficult as of late, since the Mets already signed a top reliever in Trevor May. Since Brandon Nimmo’s defense in center fielder was subpar, there is an increasing belief that the New York Mets will end up with 31-year-old center fielder George Springer.

Springer would bring some stellar production at the plate (.265/.359/.540, .899 OPS, 14 homers, 32 RBI in 2020) and on the field (69th percentile in outs above average and 62nd percentile in outfield jump.) He has a phenomenal track record of success with the Houston Astros, and is still in his prime.

Olney loves the Mets’ chances

Speaking on ESPN Radio with Chris Carlin, ESPN’s baseball analyst and writer Buster Olney likes the Mets’ chances of landing Springer in a multi-year deal and he even seems so conviced that he made a hilarious bet.

“I think they’re going to aggressive, and that’s based on the conversation with the agents,” Olney said. “I’m just about ready to bet the family farm in Vermont that they’re going to wind up with Springer.”

“It just feels like such a natural fit. He, of course, is one of the prime guys, he could play center field for at least a year, he can help to balance out their lineup.”

According to Olney, the deal to sign Springer could be “in the $125-$150 million range.”