Mets non-roster invitee Ryan Cordell and his role with the 2020 team
By Tim Boyle
What kind of role will Ryan Cordell be able to fill with the New York Mets franchise this season?
Ryan Cordell has gotten plenty of playing time with the New York Mets this spring. The veteran outfielder who turns 28 at the end of March has been a professional baseball player since 2013 when he debuted in Single-A for the Texas Rangers. In the years since, he has hit for good power and put his speed on display.
As the case often is with professional athletes, there’s a ceiling. Unfortunately, Cordell may have reached his.
Over the last two years, Cordell mustered up 116 games and 287 plate appearances as a member of the Chicago White Sox. The results were uninspiring. The .205/.267/.335 batting line over the limited sample didn’t do much to award him a major league contract for 2020.
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Instead, Cordell ended up on a minor league deal with the Mets organization where he should lock himself in as a viable outfield depth piece for the coming year.
Cordell has bounced around baseball quite a bit. Already, he was involved in two trade deadline deals.
Back in 2016, he was one of several minor leagues sent from the Rangers to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy swap. One year later, he was traded by the Brewers to the White Sox for former Met, Anthony Swarzak.
This sums up Cordell’s career trajectory quite well even if at the time it didn’t seem like such a bad trade. Cordell is practically the equivalent to what Swarzak did during his time in Flushing.
This doesn’t mean he’s an unnecessary piece to the attempt to put a championship puzzle together in 2020. On the contrary.
Cordell is athletic and that’s something the Mets didn’t add much of this offseason as far as minor league depth goes. Matt Adams, Eduardo Nunez, and Jarrett Parker are all bat-first players. Cordell, although he can hit some against minor league pitching, can play the field far better than any of them.
For this reason, Cordell may get a jump ahead of others. Depending on the severity of any injury a Mets outfielder may suffer could ultimately determine which player the Mets promote to the big league roster. A short-term solution may call for the Mets to go with the best bat available. If the injury is a little more serious and whoever they promote will have to play the field a little more regularly, Cordell could be the guy.
In a nutshell, Cordell is playing the Carlos Gomez role in 2020. The major difference is he’s younger and not as recognizable across the league.
Cordell’s upside looks quite limited. However, unlike Gomez or even Rajai Davis last year, there’s always a chance he finds a niche with this club.
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After all, the Mets don’t have much minor league talent in the outfield especially near major league ready. With Jake Marisnick available for just one season before his contract is up, Cordell has an opportunity to advance his career as a reliable bench player. First, he’ll need to get the chance to do so.