As the calendar flipped from 2022 to 2023, the focus for many Mets fans remains on one man: Carlos Correa. Reports of New York having an issue with his physical/medicals popped up on December 24th, and we’ve been waiting for a resolution ever since.
Even though it’s taking a while, it’s still OK to be optimistic that a deal eventually gets done with Correa. If that does happen, then why the heck would the Mets still be looking for yet another bat? Well, mostly because that was the rumor in the immediate aftermath of agreeing to terms with Correa.
This hypothetically left the door open for a Michael Conforto reunion. He’s now going to play for the San Francisco Giants, though. We can assume New York would be looking for a fourth-outfielder type of player in its quest for another hitter.
I kept that in mind when scouring what’s left of the free-agent market for position players. So, yes — that’s why hitters like Nelson Cruz and Luke Voit aren’t on this list.
Duvall was limited to 86 games in 2022 with the Atlanta Braves because of a wrist injury. However, he’s also just one season removed from a 38-homer, 113-RBI campaign. Duvall has shown above-average power at times throughout his career. This includes surpassing the 30-homer plateau two other times early in his career for the Cincinnati Reds.
A rough 2022 (87 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR) will likely make him an inexpensive addition. He could also provide the Mets with what they might be looking for: power at the plate and versatility in the field.
Duvall owns a career fly-ball rate of 49.9% and a career hard-hit rate of 35.4%. And between 2021 and 2022, he’s racked up at least 200 innings at each of the three outfield positions.
In New York’s quest for offense at the 2022 trade deadline, Trey Mancini was one of the club’s targets. Nothing came to fruition, and Mancini instead landed with the Houston Astros. That worked out well for him since it resulted in a World Series ring.
However, the soon-to-be 31-year-old struggled with his new club. In 186 plate appearances, he slashed .176/.258/.364 with eight homers and 22 RBI. It resulted in a 77 wRC+ and -0.9 fWAR. Still more productive than Darin Ruf, but pretty much everyone was down the stretch.
Because of those second-half struggles, it’s possible Mancini could be had on a one-year deal. He may want to rebuild some value and hit the open market again next winter.
The right-handed hitter is another guy with 20-homer potential and experience in the outfield. Duvall has him beat by playing all three positions, but Mancini has at least played both corners throughout his career.
Jurickson Profar would be an intriguing option for a number of reasons. He’s the youngest of these three (he’ll be 30 in February). While he doesn’t provide the same kind of power as Duvall or Mancini, the former top prospect is easily the most versatile.
Profar’s 2.5 fWAR in 2022 with the San Diego Padres was a career-high mark. He played 1,237.2 innings in left field this past season but has also appeared in right field, center field, second base, and first base within the past two years. Profar is also a switch hitter, which adds yet another layer to his versatility for interested teams. His hypothetical presence on New York’s roster could mean Eduardo Escobar and/or Luis Guillorme could be redundant, though.
Any of these three hitters would give the Mets what they’re looking for to round out the position player side of the roster. That’s especially the case once the Correa agreement becomes official. The power he’d bring to the lineup may make going after someone like Profar a little more feasible. But when push comes to shove, I think New York would prefer someone along the lines of Duvall or Mancini to fill this specific role.