1 Mets free agent option who'd fix more roster holes than Justin Turner

The versatile free agent would provide the Mets with the flexibility to make another move, too.

Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies
Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

It was way back in the regular season when the name Whit Merrifield was first mentioned as a possible New York Mets free agent target. Not ideal in comparison to some of the other options out there, Merrifield may actually be a solution to a few Mets roster holes even more so than Justin Turner.

Essentially the right handed version of Jeff McNeil, Merrifield is someone the Mets could conceivably sign to play left field on a regular basis. Alternatively, he could be the second baseman with McNeil moving to the vacant corner outfield spot. 

The benefits go beyond filling left field. Merrifield's presence allows insurance elsewhere.

Free agent Whit Merrifield is suddenly a really good backup plan for the Mets

Signing Merrifield would allow the Mets to explore DH options beyond Turner with less fear. The obvious benefit of Turner is his experience at third base where the team is in a bit of scramble mode due to Ronny Mauricio’s injury. If the Mets are that concerned about Brett Baty, they can always turn to McNeil in an emergency to provide the offense and Joey Wendle for the defense. Whatever plan they end up going with to fill the Mauricio vacancy will either hurt them on offense or defense. And frankly, Mauricio was already going to provide them with some defensive doubts at the position.

Ideally the Mets could sign Merrifield plus any of the more offense-driven corner outfielders. Tesocar Hernandez, Joc Pederson, and Jorge Soler would be the top three. They could also consider Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario. Those two are better defenders. The Mets could even weigh moving Starling Marte to the DH spot regularly for freshness; he just has to hit.

Merrifield plus an outfielder that can hit will give them two good bats and some sort of a plan at third base. McNeil slides over. Merrifield replaces McNeil as the everyday second baseman. The DH/outfielder addition can grab a glove.

The one hitch in this plan is whether or not the Mets will sign anyone to a deal longer than a season. Merrifield didn’t have his greatest season in 2023, however, he’s probably worth more than a one-year commitment.

Free agency does offer Adam Frazier, one of the other well-known utility men of the sport. A left-handed hitter who has been on a bit of a decline since the Pittsburgh Pirates traded him, he’d be another guy who’d offer flexibility. The problem with him is that his skills don’t quite match up to Merrifield. He doesn’t have nearly the same speed on the base paths. Frazier isn’t as palatable as an everyday player either whereas Merrifield is a more than acceptable option if the Mets would like to go a different path than we’ve been drawing up.