(This is Part II of a two part breakdown for the Mets offseason.)
Yesterday we talked about the pitchers that the Mets could and should be targeting this offseason. Today we look at the position players that the Mets could and should be targeting.
While the pitching for the Mets in 2017 was absolutely abysmal, the offense wasn’t too much better. Again, injuries played a role. Yoenis Cespedes was held to just 81 games and injuries to Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, and Michael Conforto hurt the Mets offense at different points in the season. With Duda being traded to Tampa, Walker being traded to Milwaukee, Granderson being shipped to L.A., and Jay Bruce being dealt to Cleveland, the Mets are definitely going to be in the market for some bats this offseason. Let’s take a look at who the Mets might be adding to their shopping cart:
Todd Frazier (3B/1B) – Frazier had an interesting 2017. After getting off to an absolutely dreadful start in Chicago, Frazier was ultimately traded to the Yankees and we all know how that worked out. Frazier became a locker room leader for the Yankees who advanced all the way to the ALCS before losing in 7 games to the World Champion Houston Astros. Frazier is an above average defender, an above average power hitter, and a great guy to have in the locker room. After losing guys like Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, and Jay Bruce and with David Wright’s situation up in the air, the Mets could really use a strong locker room presence like Frazier. Given his consistently low batting average and the fact that he’s on the wrong side of 30, he could fit right in to the Mets plans as far as money is concerned. Also, his ability to play both corner infield positions is huge.
Dee Gordon (2B) – Gordon isn’t a free agent but he might as well be due to the fact that he’s on a Marlins team that seems hell-bent on slashing payroll (again). Gordon won a batting title in 2015 before being suspended the following year for PED’s. He has lead the league in stolen bases in three of the past four years and the one year he didn’t lead the league in stolen bases, he was suspended for 80 games. Given the Mets need for an everyday second basemen, Gordon could fit in quite nicely at the top of the lineup. The Mets would have to give something of significance in return but I’m not sure the Marlins asking price would be too high considering their current situation. Gordon has three years remaining on his deal with a $1 million buyout option after the third year. He will be making upwards of $10 million per year over that span so he won’t come cheap. Then again, if you’re the Mets, sometimes contending doesn’t come cheap.
Lorenzo Cain (OF) – The Kansas City Royals are in a tough spot right now. They chose not to sell at the trade deadline and now arguably their three top players are on the free agent market. Cain is 31 years old coming off a year in which he hit .300 and had 26 stolen bases and he’s hit .285 or better in each of the past four seasons. He’s another guy who could add some much needed athleticism to this Mets team. Not to mention, he’s a phenomenal defensive outfielder and would easily fit in at center field for the Mets. He won’t come cheap but I’d argue that Frazier and Cain are the best fits for this Mets team.
Jay Bruce (OF/1B) – First Addison Reed and now Jay Bruce, is anyone noticing a trend here? Another former Met would be a solid option for the Mets this offseason. After playing terribly down the stretch in 2016, Bruce returned with a vengeance in 2017. In 103 games for the Mets, Bruce hit .256 with 29 home runs and 75 RBI’s. He then went on to be a very productive player for the Cleveland Indians, especially in the playoffs where he hit .278 with two home runs and four RBI’s in 21 plate appearances. Obviously Bruce’s defense leaves a lot to be desired but he is versatile. He played admirably at first base for the Mets last season and could slide back into right field with Conforto taking over in center when he is healthy.
Eduardo Nunez (3B,2B,LF) – This last one is interesting. Nunez has been a very good player for the past three seasons but yet, he keeps getting traded. He played for Minnesota in 2015 and hit .282 in 72 games for the Twins. In 2016, he was hitting .296 for Minnesota before being shipped to San Francisco where he hit .269 with 13 stolen bases in just 50 games for the Giants. In 2017, Nunez tore it up. He hit .308 with a .334 OBP and 18 stolen bases for the Giants before being traded to Boston where he played even better to the tune of a .321 batting average and .353 OBP. Nunez has a ton of versatility in the field where he played some second base, some third and even some outfield. His speed and athleticism could fit in perfectly with the Mets given their lack of both. With his ability to play all three positions that the Mets are looking for this offseason, Nunez would be an extremely intriguing piece and I’m surprised we’re not hearing his name come up more often when we talk about potential fits for the Mets in 2018.
Image from: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-alderson-eager-offseason-splash-article-1.1513784