3 free agent center fielders the Mets can look at if improving the defense is paramount

If the Mets want a defensive boost in center field, these are three free agents they can target.

Sep 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) makes a
Sep 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) makes a / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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3) Harrison Bader

Finally, there’s a third one-time Gold Glove winner. Harrison Bader won his in 2021 with the St. Louis Cardinals. It has been a long strange trip ever since, including a random August waiver claim away from the New York Yankees by the Cincinnati Reds last year.

Of these three options, Bader is the most impossible to predict if only because of the injuries. Staying at the 120 games played mark, he has only accomplished this twice in his career. When on the field, he has averaged out to slashing .243/.310/.396 for his career. Maybe more adept at stealing bases considering he had 20 last season in only 98 games, he’d be a choice to go with if it’s speed you want.

Bader does feel a little too fourth outfielder-ish when compared to Kiermaeier and Taylor. He certainly can grow out of it. Are the Mets willing to take a chance for a year to see what he can do?

His time with the Yankees was highlighted by a huge postseason where he went all Daniel Murphy. Bader clobbered 3 home runs against the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS and another pair in the ALCS before the Yankees bowed out to the Houston Astros.

The inability to stay on the field is definitely something to be afraid of with any of these three, but Bader more so than the other two due to how recent his constant injuries have been. He’s the lightest choice of all.

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