The Mets will look to see if the veteran outfielder has anything left in the tank this season
With outfielder Michael Conforto opting to undergo surgery to repair the torn posterior capsule in his shoulder, and Yoenis Cespedes being shut down following his latest hamstring injury, the Mets are in need of more outfield depth not only for the remainder of this season, but also for next year.
Conforto’s recovery from that surgery could take anywhere from four to six months, so his Opening Day availability will definitely be in question for 2018.
While the signing of outfielder Norichika Aoki won’t be nearly enough beyond the end of this year, it’ll be interesting to see what he can bring to the table for these last four weeks of the season.
Aoki was released by the Blue Jays earlier in the week after only 12 games with Toronto. In those 34 plate appearances, Aoki hit three home runs and drove in eight. Before being north of the border, Aoki spent time with the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, and the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his six-year career, Aoki has been really consistent, posting an average between .272 and .288 every single season in the bigs, with an OPS over .700 as well.
This latest signing for the Mets shows that they’re already thinking about 2018 even if it’s just with filler pieces for the moment. Aoki can’t, and shouldn’t, be looked at as a replacement for Conforto, or Curtis Granderson, or Jay Bruce. He could definitely serve as a veteran bat off the bench that can be subbed in, but he should not be a starter consistently on this team.
Aoki joined the Mets in Houston for the two-day series that started on Saturday, and is leading off and playing right field for Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.