The Mets are reportedly searching for more weapons in their lineup.
Once the season resumes, expect several of the current free agents to find a home relatively quick. The New York Mets, like several teams, still have some holes to fill.
Luckily, Jon Heyman of MLB Network gave some insight on what exactly the Mets may be looking for.
He explained in his tweet, “Mets would still like to add another hitter (preferably lefthanded but not necessarily) and also another starting pitcher.”
Why Further Address the Lineup?
It may be a tad surprising New York still wants to address the team’s lineup. Especially given the signings of Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha. Worth examining, the below is a projection on how the Mets’ lineup and bench currently stands:
Projecting the Lineup
- (L) Brandon Nimmo, LF
- (R) Starling Marte, CF
- (S) Francisco Lindor, SS
- (R) Pete Alonso, 1B
- (S) Eduardo Escobar, 3B
- (L) Robinson Cano, DH
- (R) Mark Canha, RF
- (R) James McCann, C
- (L) Jeff McNeil, 2B
Projecting the Bench
- (L) Dominic Smith, 1B/OF
- (R) J.D. Davis, 3B/OF
- (L) Luis Guillorme, 2B/3B
- (R) Tomás Nido, C
Of the above, seven hitters either bat left-handed or have the capabilities to do so. This makes it even more interesting why the Mets would covet a left-handed bat rather than a right-handed one. But, we digress.
At the end of the day, it appears the Mets have more pressing needs in the bullpen and rotation, as outlined here. Maybe the want to add another hitter is due to implementation of a universal designated hitter? Maybe a lack in trust in the previously suspended Robinson Cano? Nonetheless, let’s take a look at some possible left-handed (per Heyman’s report) specific bats the Mets may be intrigued by.
Best way for New York to avoid Schwarber from mashing nine home runs in ten games against them? Bring him to the Big Apple. He ended the season with a slash line of .266/.375/.554 and hit 32 home runs while driving in 71 runs. It was a terrific season overall.
Additionally, his 2021 Baseball Savant page is a beautiful sight. He ranked in the league’s 89th percentile or higher in the following categories: Avg. Exit Velocity, Max. Exit Velocity, Hard Hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel %, BB %, and Chase Rate.
Schwarber did a great job swinging at pitches inside the strike zone and when he made contact blistered the ball. His average did not suffer too much either, as his xBA ranked in the league’s 68th percentile. One of his better marks of his career.
There is inherent risk in bringing in the 29-year old slugger. He is only one year removed from a catastrophic 2020 season where he only hit .188 with 11 home runs across 191 at-bats. Expecting a floor of last season for his play would be silly, expecting a 2020 season would also be relatively harsh.
Going forward Schwarber is most likely a .250 hitter who should hit close to 30 home runs a year. He would fit a designated hitter role perfectly.
As for the contract, projecting post-lock out deals will be a bit difficult. Fangraph’s crowd-sourced projections list a four-year, $60,000,000 contract. While MLB Trade Rumors projected a four-year, $70,000,000 contract. It ultimately would not be surprising to see him sign a one or two-year deal in the $15,000,000 per year range.
The 10-year Chicago Cub was traded to the Bronx last year and now stands without a contract. He had a much improved 2021 season from his career-worst 2020 year but still was not vintage Rizzo. As a 32-year old, this decline can be expected.
Last year the numbers were not bad by any stretch. He slashed .248/.344/.440 and hit 22 home runs while driving in 61 runs. Additionally, he still excelled at making hard contact (67th percentile Avg. Exit Velocity) and did not strike out much (87th percentile in K%).
As mentioned, he did see declines from where he usually has been throughout his career. His defensive runs saved of minus-six was by far the worst of his career. Additionally, his home run and walk rates were each one of the worst they have been. Each were not terrible by any stretch, though.
Overall, at age 32 Rizzo should still have some more in his tank. At this point, a projection of 20-plus home runs and 60-plus runs batted in seems fair. He also should give you some good play in the infield, despite the down fielding year last season. So, he does not need to be confined to the designated hitter hole.
Like many of the other free agents, a one-year deal would not be surprising. Possibly in the range of $13,000,000.
The 30-year old outfielder won the NLCS MVP with the Atlanta Braves last season. After being acquired for close to nothing at last year’s trade deadline and rehabbing from injury, he played an extremely valuable role in Atlanta’s World Series title run.
Due to injuries, he only had 379 at-bats where he hit 14 home runs and drove in 62 runs. If this was pro-rated over a typical season (550 at-bats) he would have been on pace for 20 home runs and 90 runs batted in.
Rosario has full seasons of 27, 24, and 32 home runs under his belt. He also drove in 109 runs during the 2019 season. When healthy, he is a solid offensive presence. Rosario is also a decent fielder. As he has had a positive defensive runs saved rating in five of his seven MLB seasons.
Overall, Rosario does a good job not striking out and making contact (83rd percentile Whiff % and 88th percentile K% in 2021).
He can be a reliable defender and has the upside to hit 20 home runs and drive in 70-plus runs while hitting in the .260-.270 range. He’d also come much cheaper than the likes of Freddie Freeman, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Michael Conforto. If the Mets wish to go the cheaper route, Rosario should be at the top of their list.
Of course, there are more options on the market. One of the more prized remaining free agents is Freddie Freeman who is a left-handed hitter. However, his price tag would sky-rocket the Mets payroll to an even more astronomical level.
Michael Conforto is also still another higher-tier option. However, that ship may have already sailed. Jonathan Villar is another, but saw his production decline throughout last season and would most likely be only a bench option. Would the money sent bring him back be worth the perceived upgrade over Guillorme?
Former Phillies Odúbel Herrera, Corey Dickerson, and Brad Miller all also line the market. However, they all appear to be more depth options that are probably not upgrades over what the Mets have currently. Same goes for the likes of Joc Pederson, Gregory Polanco, Daniel Vogelbach, Travis Shaw, Matt Carpernter, among others.