Is Gaby Sanchez the right-handed hitter the Mets are looking for?

By Ryan Punzalan

With Sean Rodriguez heading to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a PTBNL, the Pirates were forced to designate Gaby Sanchez for assignment. For those who don’t remember, Sanchez was the starting first baseman for the Marlins, from 2008 – 2012 and was an all-star for them in 2011.

That year, he had a hefty hitting line of .318/.403/.591 against the Mets, to go along with four home runs and 13 RBI, causing all Mets fans to groan and moan whenever he stepped up to the plate. Since his lone All-Star year, his numbers greatly diminished and he was traded to Pittsburgh where he ended up in a platoon with Ike Davis.

Signing Gaby Sanchez would help the Mets in two ways: hitting against lefties and defense at first. Sanchez has consistently struggled with right-handed pitching throughout his career, hitting a measly .238/.308/.383, but has crushed left-handed pitching, hitting .291/.382/.481 with 22 home runs and 95 RBI.

Lucas Duda is currently the starting first baseman for the Mets and has no competition whatsoever. Michael Cuddyer was brought in to be the starting right fielder, but could also play first base if Duda needs a day off, or whenever the Mets face a tough lefty.

Unless Duda greatly improves his approach against left-handed pitching this offseason, he should not face lefties next year since he hit a paltry .180/.264/.252 against them with 41 strikeouts in 111 at-bats this past season.

Additionally, Sanchez is a much better fielder than Michael Cuddyer at first and is, surprisingly, on par with Lucas Duda. If Duda has to sit versus a lefty, Sanchez could play first, keeping Cuddyer in right field, where he’s been playing for the majority of his career.

Bringing in Sanchez would also allow the Mets to focus their money and attention on more glaring needs this offseason, such as finding an everyday shortstop and dealing one of their starting pitchers.

Sanchez is only 31-years-old and has been an above average fielder at first base throughout his career. He may not be the All-Star hitter he was in 2011, but if he can provide solid numbers on the field and against left-handed pitching, the Mets may walk away with a steal of a signing this offseason.