With Antonio Bastardo now in the fold, what’s next for the Mets?
All the talk this week has been about free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a phenomenal player that deserves attention. However, I feel that the Mets should move on from the Cespedes circus. Plenty of outfielders remain unsigned that are not named Cespedes, and a former Mets fan favorite could be a good fit.
The infield is crowded and the Mets are in need of a right-handed outfield bat off the bench. Naturally, the objective is to sign that player at a team-friendly cost. Enter Marlon Byrd, who will turn 39 in August and has played well with the Reds and Giants recently. Byrd finished his contract last season, making $8 million, and will almost certainly make significantly less than last season.
With Byrd aboard, the Mets would also be able to slowly bring along prospect Brandon Nimmo, who otherwise might be called upon should an outfielder go down. Byrd provides a power threat off the bench, while possibly filling in at first base against tough left-handed pitchers. Michael Cuddyer was scheduled to fill this role, but decided to retire after an injury-riddled 2015 season.
The resurgence of Byrd’s career started in Queens, and the combination of Byrd’s proven success in New York and positive clubhouse presence makes him a perfect fit. The offseason will be a success if the Mets wind up adding this final piece.
The natural reaction with the fan base will be the disappointment of not re-signing Cespedes, but it is for the best in the long run. The payroll will have the flexibility for a repeat of a trade deadline acquisition to assist the offense and the Mets will be in better position to be able to pay their young starting pitchers when they become eligible for free agency.