Posted in Baseball

A lump of coal from the Mets

During the Mets’ playoff run, we wondered if they would find a way to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes.

After the World Series, we started thinking about more “realistic” center field options for the Mets this off-season: Denard Span, Gerardo Parra, Dexter Fowler.

Silly us.

Today, the Mets officially signed 31-year-old outfielder Alejandro De Aza to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field.

Talk about a let down. I’ve got nothing against De Aza, who is a capable fourth or fifth outfielder for a team who needs a veteran to fill that role.

But honestly? I’m not sure De Aza even represents an upgrade from Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was removed from the 40-man roster and subsequently claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Sure, Steamer projections suggest De Aza will provide slightly more offense than Nieuwenhuis, but De Aza is not a true center fielder at this stage of his career. He has not played center as his primary position since 2013 and whatever defensive stats you choose to look at, De Aza is a below-average fielder.

Here’s hoping I’m wrong. After all, it still looks reasonable to pick the Mets to repeat as National Leauge East champs in 2016. But we’re going to have to hope for an awful lot of things to break in their favor when greater financial resources (and more judicious use of them) could have bought some cushion.