Sports

5 free agent outfielders the Mets should have at the top of their wishlist in the 2022-23 MLB offseason

Processed image of Michael Conforto, running with batting helmet, orange tinted background

Whether or not the Mets are aggressive this offseason at the top of the free field player market could depend on the situation with free agents. Brandon Nimmo.

If Nimmo re-signs, he will be back in center field with Starling Marte To the right. This would give the Mets the opportunity to have Jeff McNeil and Marc Canha time-share in left field, potentially preventing them from signing a big outfielder.

But if Nimmo leaves, the Mets’ outfield situation will be a little messy.

GM Billy Epler recently said the Mets were comfortable bringing Marte back to center if that were to happen, but what else was he supposed to say? Bringing Marte back to the center, his defense having regressed there since 2019 and him only playing on the right field in 2022, would be sub-optimal. And there’s really only one attractive outfield free agent who’s a solid defensive center back.

Back to Nimmo’s situation…

Even if the Mets re-sign him, they could decide to use McNeil primarily on the inside court and perhaps consider using Canha in a reduced role. That would open up a starting spot in the outfield.

Nimmo or no Nimmo, here are five outside free agent outfielders it might make sense for the Mets to pursue…

You can’t have a list with the best open fielders and not include Judge, who is likely to sign the biggest contract this offseason and is coming off of one of the best offensive seasons in sports history.

But as SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Thursday and as we dig into here, Judge’s move to the Mets seems unlikely.

And while Judge is a serious option to move from the Bronx to Queens, it’s fair to wonder if the Mets better split their money instead of throwing such a huge chunk (and many years) at a 31-year-old. -former judge.

Still, the idea of ​​adding Judge to the Mets must be enticing for the owner Steve Cohen and reception. But if he’s leaving the Yankees — who somehow have to roll out the red carpet and the money bags for him — maybe it means he did so to return to his home state of California and play for the Giants. from San Francisco or Los Dodgers from Angeles.

ANDREW BENINTENDI

Benintendi isn’t a big power threat, but his career .351 OBP and contact-heavy southpaw bat would be a welcome addition to the Mets roster in case they lose Nimmo.

Benintendi, who enters the season at 28, has cut .304/.373/.399 in 126 games this season for the Kansas City Royals and Yankees but has only five home runs.

August 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at Yankee Stadium.

The down year in terms of power could be a one-season hit, however, as Benintendi has averaged 16 homers per 162 games over the course of his career – nearly identical to the 17 per 162 games Nimmo has averaged during.

Benintendi, who has some experience in center field, has only played in left field since 2020 and has been a plus there for all three seasons. He was just a little above average there in 2022 in Outs Above Average, outfielder jump and sprint speed.

TREY MANCINI

Mancini, who hit 20 or more home runs in four straight seasons from 2017-2021 (he didn’t play in 2020 while recovering from cancer) will likely offer more power than Benintendi.

Mancini, 30, hasn’t had the best season in 2022, struggling after being acquired by the Houston Astros at the trade deadline and down 0.239/0.319/0.391 in 143 games for the Astros and Baltimore Orioles .

But Mancini’s attacking record is solid. He is a career .265/.330/.457 hitter who has averaged 27 homers and 31 doubles in 162 games.

As for his defense, Mancini is capable of playing both outfield and first base, and was about average in all three places in 2022.

MICHEL COMFORT

We’ll start by saying that it’s probably unlikely, for several reasons.

Sep 30, 2021;  New York, New York, United States;  New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Sep 30, 2021; New York, New York, United States; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

The first is that the Mets made no significant effort to retain Conforto last offseason after extending the qualifying offer (which Conforto rejected). The second is that Conforto, who has never signed with a new team and missed the entire 2022 season following shoulder surgery in April following his injury during off-season training, is a point. questions about his health.

But if Conforto now has a clean bill of health and teams are confident he’ll be ready for next season without restrictions, he could be one of the best low-cost candidates out there. And even if Scott Boras ask for the moon, he won’t get it. Frankly, it would be surprising if Conforto got a contract for more than a year.

And if the Mets lose Nimmo, replacing him with Conforto — a career .255/.356/.468 hitter who hits from the left side of the plate — might make sense.

JOC PEDERSON

Pederson was essentially a final offseason afterthought, signing with the Giants in mid-March to a one-year contract worth $6 million. And then Pederson had a terrific year, earning his second All-Star nod.

In 134 games for the Giants, Pederson cut .274/.353/.521 with 23 homers, 19 doubles and three triples in 134 games — and his leading numbers match the good results. Pederson’s .521 hitting percentage was the third-best of his nine-year career and the highest since hitting .538 for the Dodgers in 2019.

Southpaw Pederson played mostly in left field in 2022, but also started 12 games in right field. But while Pederson is capable of playing both corner outfield spots, he was among the worst outfielders in baseball in 2022 and was in the 2nd percentile in Outs Above Average. That could give the Mets and other teams pause.

Pederson, entering his season at 31, crushed right-handers in 2022 and defended against left-handers, so he could be an answer for the Mets to DH (and provide some much-needed pop) if Nimmo returns and they fill the left field with McNeil and Canha.

Source : WORLD NEWS

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