The Harrison Bader contract will be an overpay
Harrison Bader is a fun player. Fun teams don’t always equal success. At $10.5 million, the Mets ignored a career where staying on the field has been his bigger deterrent. Bader has never had more than 427 plate appearances in a single season. As gifted of a defensive player as he is, we should have some doubts about this decision.
It’s certainly understandable why the Mets did what they did. Bader in center field and Brandon Nimmo in left field improves the outfield defense immensely. Offensively, the Mets are lacking. Bader is a career .243/.310/.396 hitter which if you’ve been paying attention is worse in two of the three numbers than Wendle. Even the slugging percentage is only ten points higher.
How much is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder worth? Apparently, $10.5 million. This contract will look like an overpay when the season is through. Guys like him don’t tend to even be worth much at the trade deadline either.
Bader is probably best used as a defensive replacement and everyday player versus left-handed pitchers. He can no doubt handle himself versus southpaws. The problem is the Mets aren’t going to platoon him—the center field gig is mostly his. What’s more, there are far more right-handed pitchers in the game anyway so thoughts of this benefitting him at all are out the window.
If you enjoyed Juan Lagares, you’ll like Bader. He’s going to hit about the same as Wendle at five times the price.