3 Mets free agent signings who’ve rebounded nicely after their disastrous 2023 season

These three have done much better with the Mets than they did with the clubs they played for in 2023.
San Francisco Giants v New York Mets
San Francisco Giants v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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3) Harrison Bader

Ah, Harrison Bader. A sneaky good pickup by the Mets, it wasn’t always going this well for him. The year is young but we hold our breath in hopes that what he has offered the Amazins thus far in 2024 is not the result of a small sample size.

Bader has appeared in 49 games for the Mets and totaled up 167 plate appearances. Slashing .273/.329/.351 along the way, he has hit lightly but often. His .680 OPS remains unimpressive but a lot of it has to do with the lack of power he has shown. Only 6 doubles and 2 home runs have contributed to increasing a slugging percentage that is 40 points below his career total. On the 2024 Mets, we still accept these numbers.

The output is a bit atypical of Bader who had some ups and downs with the St. Louis Cardinals in his half-decade there. The 2023 season was his first not wearing Cardinals red at all. It would turn out to be one of his weaker seasons. The .622 OPS he’d finish with was a career low.

But there were more troubling stats. He slashed .232/.274/.348 for the year—each is below his career total. He suffered a complete outage in his 34 plate appearances with the Cincinnati Reds, batting .161/.235/.194 for the playoff hopeful club. He was one of a large number of players who passed through waivers last season late as MLB teams scrambled to knock whatever salary they could off the books. The poor conclusion for Bader with the Reds added with the constant injuries with the New York Yankees and overall poor numbers made him an afterthought in free agency.

It turns out he is having one of the better seasons among center field free agents. There might not be a huge contract coming his way next offseason, but Bader has undoubtedly proven he belongs in a major league starting lineup.