With the news late last night that George Springer and the Blue Jays had reached an agreement on a six-year, $150 million deal, the 31-year-old who had been one of the Mets targets this offseason is officially going elsewhere. The Mets have actually still improved significantly because the offseason started, in big part due to the fact that they traded for one of the best gamers in baseball in Francisco Lindor.
In the short term, though, not landing Springer– who the Mets were reported to have actually offered in the $120-125 million variety over the course of six years– indicates the Mets arent filling their need in center field with the very best possible choice. Springer had actually currently invested more time in right field in center during his career, but the Astros used him as their primary center fielder as recently as in 2015, when he logged the vast bulk of his defensive innings there. Sometime throughout the next 6 years, hell presumably invest less time in center and more in right, however he would have been playable in center on a daily basis– something that can not be said for Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo.
Mentioning Conforto and Nimmo, the former is eligible for complimentary company following the 2021 season, while the latter has another year of arbitration eligibility left in 2022 prior to he, too, is eligible to end up being a free representative. Whether they retain one or both of those outfielders long term, however, the requirement in center field today is clear. On top of the defensive issues presented by playing either Nimmo or Conforto in center every day, the Mets would have J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, or current addition Jose Martinez in left field alongside them, creating a major protective issue in two-thirds of the outfield. And that brings us to the center field options remaining in complimentary agency.
Among the totally free agents listed as center fielders over at MLB Trade Rumors, long time Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner leads the pack since the start of the 2019 season with 4.2 fWAR thanks to an above-average bat. In 708 plate looks over that period, he struck.245/.322/.480 with 33 crowning achievement, 13 stolen bases, and a 114 wRC+. Like any left-handed Yankees player, it definitely didnt injured to play half of his game in a stadium with an incredibly brief porch in ideal field. And while the 37-year-old has experience in center, the Yankees have actually utilized him far more often in left field throughout his profession.
Jack Bradley Jr. ranks 2nd amongst that group with 2.8 fWAR given that the start of the 2019 season, and hes the player who will get the most attention amongst Mets writers and fans covering the team. Whereas Gardner has experience in center field, Bradley is undoubtedly a center fielder right now, having actually played the position nearly solely in his big league career with just a little bit of time in each of the corners. By wRC+, hes just been above average as a hitter in 3 seasons of his career, among which was the shortened 2020 project. And considering that the beginning of the 2019 season, he struck.241/.330/.429 with 28 crowning achievement, 13 stolen bases, and a 98 WRC+. Hes set to turn 31 in April, and there should not be any doubt that he can play center– and play it well– for the foreseeable future.
From there, its Kevin Pillar, who has struck.266/.300/.440 over that exact same period with 27 house runs, 19 taken bases, a 90 wRC+, and 2.5 fWAR. The Mets passed on Pillar in totally free firm last winter season, deciding to trade for Jake Marisnick instead, however the right-handed-hitting 32-year-old has quite mainly played center field– other than for the time he spent with the Red Sox in 2015 playing ideal field with Bradley in center.
Hes played center for a decent portion of his major league profession, which hes spent with the Nationals, Royals, Angels, and Reds. Danny Santana, who had a good season as the plate for the Rangers in 2019, is on the list, however hes barely a daily center fielder, having actually played far more at other positions– including very first base.
As for the rest of the group, it starts with Marisnick, who hit well in a very, extremely small quantity of playing time with the Mets in 2020, however is still a center fielder. The 36-year-old Jarrod Dyson is comparable to DeShields when it comes to being able to play center and take bases, but hes been even worse at the plate.
Albert Almora Jr., who is still just 26 and got off to a solid start in his significant league profession with the Cubs in 2016 and 2017 before his production declined substantially in each season that followed, is available. Chicago non-tendered him earlier this offseason, and he was worth -0.8 fWAR given that the 2019 season began. And Jon Jay, who has a 58 wRC+ since the start of the 2019 season, ranks last in the group at -1.3 fWAR over that span.
Clearly, there was a huge space in between George Springer and the rest of the free agent market. But even among the players who are still available, there are clear tiers. Possibly the Mets prevent all of these gamers and make a trade rather, but if not, they d certainly be better off generating someone to assist in center– preferably one of the great protectors with a performance history of being an average-ish significant league hitter.
In the brief term, though, not landing Springer– who the Mets were reported to have used in the $120-125 million variety over the course of six years– means the Mets arent filling their requirement in center field with the finest possible option. Springer had actually currently invested more time in right field in center throughout his profession, however the Astros utilized him as their main center fielder as recently as last year, when he logged the huge majority of his defensive innings there. At some point throughout the next 6 years, hell probably spend less time in center and more in right, however he would have been playable in center on an everyday basis– something that can not be stated for Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo.
On top of the protective issues presented by playing either Nimmo or Conforto in center every day, the Mets would have J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, or recent addition Jose Martinez in left field along with them, creating a significant protective problem in two-thirds of the outfield. Whereas Gardner has experience in center field, Bradley is unquestionably a center fielder right now, having played the position practically exclusively in his significant league career with simply a little bit of time in each of the corners.