Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Josh Chapdelaine


Alejandro De Aza’s signing leaves Nieuwenhuis vulnerable

The New York Mets and outfielder Alejandro De Aza have agreed to a one-year, $5.75 million contract agreement, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

De Aza, 31, hit .262/.333/.422 in 2015 in 114 games with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants. The left-handed batter was primarily successful against right-handed pitching, against which he produced an .800 on-base plus slugging. He has produced a .756  on-base plus slugging against righties in his career.

The outfielder’s caveat is his defensive ability. Only thrice (2009, 2011, and 2014) has De Aza been a positive defender according to Ultimate Zone Rating, and not since 2011 has he rated above-average according to Defensive Runs Saved.

De Aza’s addition leaves longtime Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis in a vulnerable position. Nieuwenhuis, who is out of options, was the team’s primary left-handed outfield option off of the bench, but De Aza’s addition leaves his role in question.

Nieuwenhuis appeared to be a strong candidate to earn a supporting role in 2016 after the outfielder produced a .922 on-base plus slugging when he was re-acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for a second stint with the team in 2015. His career-best 40.5 hard hit percentage was hindered by a .280 batting average on balls in play, nearly 40 points below his career average, which supports that his first-half results may have been unlucky. Nieuwenhuis’ career-best six defensive runs saved also trump De Aza’s defensive output — for the last three seasons combined.

If the Mets add an additional outfielder on a Major League contract, Nieuwenhuis has no defined role on the team. With Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, and De Aza all possessing more certain guarantees — be it playing time or salary commitments — it would take an injury for Nieuwenhuis to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster.

Photo credit: Keith Allison

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About the Author

Josh Chapdelaine started Around Citi in Oct. 2010 as a high school senior looking to venture into new media. The original inception of the site ran through March 2011 before Chapdelaine looked to outside endeavors. He returned to his Around Citi roots in Jan. 2013.

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