The New York Mets have a long to-do list this offseason. They need to assemble a new front office, find a new manager and coaching staff, and acquire several players as well.
Free agency is the best route for the Mets to take this winter. With the richest owner in sports at the helm, the Mets can sign players without further depleting the farm system.
Naturally, when people think about free agency, they think about the “A” tier guys. How would Max Scherzer look in orange and blue? What about Nick Castellanos? Marcus Semien’s sweet swing would work in the middle of our lineup. Craig Kimbrel would add some heat to the back end of the bullpen.
Unfortunately, no team can sign all of those guys. It’s not a sustainable model, especially since there might be a salary cap or a lower luxury tax threshold in the upcoming CBA. Winning teams need a couple of those “A” tier guys, but they must be complemented with some “B” and “C” tier guys who can make meaningful contributions and play every day.
Let’s take a look at some of those “B” and “C” tier guys who can contribute every day, but don’t come with the price tag of the “A” level free agents.
Avisail Garcia quietly had the best season of his career this year. The Mets should buy-in.
The 30-year-old outfielder posted a slash line of .262/.330/.490/.820 in Milwaukee. He hit 29 homers, 18 doubles, drove in 86 runs, and scored 68. He had an OPS+ of 117, a wRC+ of 115, and a WAR of 2.9.
His Baseball Savant page looks good as well. He finished in the top 30% of average exit velocity (73rd percentile), max exit velocity (98th percentile), hard hit percentage (78th percentile), xwoba (85th percentile), xBA (83rd percentile), xSLG (87th percentile), barrel percentage (80th percentile), and sprint speed (88th percentile). While he does not walk very much (29th percentile BB%) and does strikeout (36th percentile K%), he does hit the ball very hard, very often.
Defensively, Garcia is primarily a right fielder, but he logged a few innings in center as well. He racked up eight defensive runs saved in 1,016 innings in right field. Garcia is not going to win a gold glove anytime soon, but he does have an elite arm, tallying 6.5 Arm Runs Saved (ARM).
Garcia has a player option for $12,000,000 in 2022, but that should be a swift rejection with the season he had. He’s also a candidate for a qualifying offer. Let’s say that Michael Conforto doesn’t accept the inevitable qualifying offer, Kahlil Lee needs more time to develop, and the Mets don’t go after Nick Castellanos. Avisail Garcia would be a good right fielder for the Mets in 2022 and beyond.