3 outfielders the Mets should have signed instead of Harrison Bader

The Mets were better off pursuing a different outfielder than Harrison Bader.

Sep 9, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Harrison Bader (4) reacts after a
Sep 9, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Harrison Bader (4) reacts after a / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets continued their themes of prioritizing defense, one-year deals, and former Yankees, by signing Harrison Bader to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. Bader on that kind of contract makes sense as he's proven to be a worthy starting center fielder with unbelievable defensive attributes, but for this Mets team, it's hard to see the fit making much sense.

To start, Bader has major durability concerns. He's played 100+ games just three times in his seven-year career, and hasn't done so since 2021. He barely did it that season, appearing in 103 games for St. Louis. Considering the Mets have Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte as their other starting outfielders who both come with injury concerns of their own, that's concerning.

Additionally, while Bader is a wizard defensively, he doesn't do much with the bat. Granted, we've seen him show up offensively in spurts like in the 2022 postseason with the Yankees, but he has a .706 OPS in his career and had a .622 OPS with the Yankees this past season. For a team that needs offense, signing Bader isn't the most ideal. While Bader is far from a bad player, he doesn't feel like the best fit on the 2024 Mets. These three outfielders would've made more sense.

1) Teoscar Hernandez

Cody Bellinger is pretty clearly the best outfielder available, but Teoscar Hernandez probably ranks second. His contract demands are likely why the Mets were never rumored to be in on him, but he would've made more sense on this Mets team in need of offense.

Hernandez had a bit of a down year with Seattle in 2023, slashing .258/.305/.435 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI. He had a down year by hitting 26 home runs. Bader has never hit more than 16 in a season, and has just three years with double digit home runs.

Hernandez has hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last four full seasons (excluding 2020), hitting as many as 32 in a season. He's won a pair of Silver Slugger Awards and has an .863 OPS with RISP in his career. He would've been a legitimate run producer on this Mets team that they really need in their middle of the order. He could've given the Mets legitimate Pete Alonso protection for the first time in years.

The 31-year-old isn't known for his glove, but still ranked in the 58th percentile in outs above average according to baseball savant and in the 88th percentile in arm value. He enjoyed one of, if not his best defensive season in 2023. Not close to Gold Glove level by any means, but average defense combined with a major offensive boost feels like a better fit for this Mets team than Bader's Gold Glove defense and limited offensive ability.