The Mets could be in the market for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder, such as free-agents Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick, who could play in right or left field when Michael Cuddyer starts at first against lefties in place of Lucas Duda (Rubin, Nov. 20).
“I bet the Mets look to do something similar to what they did last winter, signing one player to a more substantial deal, while making a bet along the lines of a last year’s one-year, $7 million deal with Chris Young.,” MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone said in early October (MetsBlog, Oct. 190). “I think we’ll see one of, say, Alex Rios, Nick Markakis, Nori Aoiki or Cuddyer, followed by gambling on a Gomes, Colby Rasmus, Chris Denorifa, Ludwick-type talent, to get a combination of players to meet their needs, while maybe even finding a platoon-partner for Duda.”
Maggie Wiggin: For a one-year, low-risk signing, the Mets should consider Gomes. His 2014 was bad, but he still managed an OBP above league average and he was a solid part-time player in 2012 and 2013. He’s always hit well against lefties, so he’s a good platoon candidate and can give 10 or so home runs in half a season of plate appearances. He got just $5 million last year and he should get less coming off a bad season, so he would be one of the less expensive options for a right-handed hitter in a market where they’re highly valued.
Brian P. Mangan: I’m not sure that the Mets need to pursue a corner outfielder at all. Granted, it would be nice to have someone formidable out there on days when Cuddyer takes over for Duda at first base. However, given the their limited resources, I’d rather they retain their existing arbitration-eligible talent than go after someone else’s retreads at the same price. If Gomes or Scott Hairston or Josh Willingham could be had for less than a million dollars and if they’d be happy hardly playing, then sure.
But, Eric Young has a career OPS of .654 against lefties, which, combined with his stellar defense, surprisingly made him an above-average player last year. The Mets could also look into getting another platoon partner for Duda at first and leaving Cuddyer in the outfield against left-handers, such as maybe Triple-A C Kevin Plawecki if he’s ready.
Ben Berkon: Since 2012, only two outfielders have posted a superior wRC+ versus left-handed pitching than Gomes. In 590 plate appearances spanning three seasons, Gomes has owned a 133 wRC+, 13.2 percent walk rate, and hit 23 home runs against southpaws. The 33-year-old is certainly not as intriguing as Yasmany Tomas, but it’s likely the Mets could sign the veteran to a one or two-year deal. And, for whatever it’s worth, Gomes is a particularly celebrated clubhouse leader as well.