Michael Baron, ContributorJoel Sherman of the New York Post recently suggested the Mets trade Ike Davis for OF Norichika Aoki.
Aoki, 31, hit .286 with a .356 OBP, 20 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 37 RBI last year. He notched 20 steals, 55 walks and 40 strikeouts over 674 plate appearances in 155 games in 2013.
He will earn almost $2 million in 2014, after which he can become a free agent.
“It saves the Mets about $1.5 million in 2014 and provides a .350 on-base percentage leadoff man,” Sherman wrote. “That allows them to improve their depth by turning the on-base challenged Eric Young into a super sub/late-game runner/double-switch piece. But the Mets are going to use next week’s GM Meetings to better gauge Davis’ market.”
Aoki is a very intriguing player, and someone I came away particularly impressed with when the Brewers played the Mets during the final weekend of the season. He is small, which helps him create a small strike zone, he makes good contact and doesn’t strike out very much, and he’s a pretty good corner outfielder. I wonder how he might fare in a big outfield, such as the ones in the National League East, but his triples speed and ability to hit the ball to all fields would certainly play to the strengths off the ballpark from an offensive perspective.
Sandy Alderson was very open at the end of the season about looking for players who play to the strengths of Citi Field – Aoki could certainly be a part of that solution while opening up opportunities for the Mets to improve in other areas of need.
Ultimately, Aoki isn’t as good as someone like Shin-Soo Choo, and should therefore be considered a secondary target to fill this need. But, should the Mets be unable to acquire Choo, I’d be all for the Mets finding an effective way to acquire Aoki. He could be best classified as the poor man’s version of Choo, with better defensive skills and more in the mold of a Juan Pierre-in-his-prime offensively. That doesn’t mean he isn’t good and won’t succeed at Citi Field, and he certainly would come with more contractual flexibility than someone like Choo, who is represented by Scott Boras and is looking for a five- or six-year commitment on the open market.
Read more: NY Post (Sherman)