New York Mets’ supplemental free agent options

New York Mets’ supplemental free agent options

The Mets will look to add “depth and versatility” in lieu of pursuing high-profile free agent outfielders like Justin Upton and Yoénis Cespedes. After the team signed Alejandro De Aza to complement Juan Lagares in center field, it will now look to add a right-handed hitting outfielder to spell left-handed outfielders Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson. Here are some of the remaining free agents that could fit the Mets’ search…

Marlon Byrd
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Marlon Byrd looks on during an MLB game.2015 statistics (with CIN and SFG): .247/.290/.453,  23 HR, 1.0 fWAR

The 38-year-old outfielder struck out in nearly 27 percent of his plate appearances in 2015, but continues to provide home run power. If Byrd opts to continue his career, he best suits an American League team that can utilize his bat against left-handed pitching, against which he produced an .820 on-base plus slugging in 2015.

Chris Denorfia
Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia swings during an MLB game on Aug. 3, 2015.2015 statistics (with CHC): .269/.319/.373, 3 HR, 0.8 fWAR

Denorfia, 35, is a career .285/.353/.419 hitter against left-handed pitching, but hit only .211/.294/.303 in 76 at bats against lefties in 2015. He earned $2.6 million in 2015 and stands to earn a similar salary in 2016.

Ryan Raburn
Cleveland Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn looks on following a swing during an MLB game.2015 statistics (with CLE): .301/.393/.543, 8 HR, 1.4 fWAR

Raburn, who earlier this offseason was linked to the Mets, had a career year in 2015 — but 88 percent (176) of his plate appearances (201) came against left-handed pitching. He’s a below-average defender that had only twice previously batted .280 or greater with a minimum of 200 plate appearances, but provides valuable upside without long term risk.

Gerardo Parra
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Gerrardo Parra readies to swing during an MLB game at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Aug. 16, 2015.2015 statistics: .291/.328/.452

The Mets reportedly had interest in Parra before the team signed Alejandro De Aza to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field. The two-time Gold Glove award winner will seek more playing time than the Mets are willing to guarantee, but in a slow-developing free agent outfielder’s market he could stand to serve as the team’s fourth outfielder. Parra has experience playing all three outfield positions and will command $8-12 million annually.

Steve Pearce
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce readies to throw before an MLB game at Camden Yards.2015 statistics (with BAL): .218/.289/.422, 15 HR, 0.3 fWAR

Pearce’s 2015 struggles followed a breakout 2014 season in which he hit .293 with 21 home runs in 383 at bats. The free agent outfielder’s career .282 batting average on balls in play slumped to .232 in 2015 in correlation with a four percent decrease in hart-hit balls (34.6 percent in 2014 compared to  30.1 percent in 2015). To Pearce’s credit, his decrease in hard-hit balls translated to an increase in medium-hit balls as opposed to softly-hit, so to bet on a rebound season is not out of the question.

Shane Victorino
Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino high-fives teammate Dustin Pedroia as he scores during an MLB game.2015 statistics (with BOS and LAA): .230/.308/.292

Injuries have limited Victorino to 101 games from 2014-15, but he is a career .299/.369/.491 hitter against left-handed pitching. He’s an unlikely fit for a Mets team looking to add stability.

Chris Denorfia/Gerardo Parra/Ryan Raburn/Steve Pearce/Shane Victorino photo credit: Keith Allison
Marlon Byrd photo credit: Michael G. Baron