The New York Mets are looking to rebound from an abysmal 2023 season. They had such lofty expectations after a 101-win season and setting the record for highest payroll only to fall flat on their faces and finish with a 75-87 record.
Unlike recent years, the Mets will not look to rebound by spending boatloads of money in free agency. They'll spend on the right players, but won't go out of their way to spend for the sake of spending. One way to do that is finding value with certain players who might not be high priorities for other teams.
The Mets won't only be bargain hunters, but betting on established players coming off years in which they were either injured or unproductive isn't the worst idea in the world. These five players lost some of their mojo in 2023 but will look to gain it back with a prove-it deal this offseason.
1) Rhys Hoskins
From the second half in 2017 through the Phillies 2022 playoff run, Rhys Hoskins was a staple in their starting lineup. He was a guy who'd consistently provide tons of power while also walking at a high clip.
Hoskins was expected to play a huge role once again for Philadelphia in 2023, but tore his ACL in Spring Training and wound up missing the entire regular season. It's possible he returns for the World Series if the Phillies get there, but that's hard to bank on. The most unfortunate part about the injury for Hoskins, outside of missing this playoff run, is the fact that it occurred in his walk year.
Hoskins is set to hit free agency for the first time this offseason, and will do it with a grand total of zero plate appearances in 2023. He'll still be worth something on the open market because of his track record, but the chances of him signing the long-term deal he had hoped for are slim to none.
With Hoskins looking to re-establish himself, the Mets should absolutely come calling. First base is taken, of course, but the DH spot is far from set in stone. There's a good chance Daniel Vogelbach is non-tendered leaving Mark Vientos as the presumed DH. Vientos showed flashes in the final month of the season, but has proven next to nothing at the big league level.
The Mets could obviously choose to start Vientos at the DH spot in 2024 and I don't think that'd be the worst decision in the world. However, if they either decide Vientos isn't ready or opt to trade him, Hoskins makes all the sense in the world. In 2022 he hit 30 home runs and had a 122 OPS+. He'd be a major upgrade at a position of weakness for the Mets, while also having the chance to do some damage against the Phillies.