Teoscar Hernandez isn't enough of a lineup difference-maker for the Mets

The Mets need much more than Teoscar Hernandez to turn their lineup around.
Aug 30, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (35)
Aug 30, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Teoscar Hernandez (35) / Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Teoscar Hernandez has emerged as a favorite, or at least a highly-discussed, option for the New York Mets this offseason. He’s kind of like J.D. Martinez from earlier in his career when he was cast-off by the Houston Astros early on only to find his power stroke with a new team.

Hernandez began to make a name for himself in 2018 when he hit 22 bombs and drove in 57 for the Toronto Blue Jays. He steadily got better with a peak season coming in 2021 when he made his first All-Star team as a 32 homer, 116 RBI guy who just happened to hit .296 as well.

The 2021 season was the peak. He hasn’t been nearly as good these last two years. His lone season with the Seattle Mariners in 2023 had some major red flags including a career-high 211 strikeouts and just a .305 OBP. While still a match for the Mets in free agency, Hernandez is a tough sell as the difference maker in the lineup.

The Mets will need more than Teoscar Hernandez to turn their lineup around

On the Mets roster, Hernandez would fit in as a part-time corner outfielder and DH. They already have one player trending that way with Starling Marte. The two are very different with Hernandez making his bones as a power hitter and Marte doing so with his speed. One could potentially make up for the weaknesses of the other. It still seems like the Mets will feel a bit empty.

A corner outfielder and a DH seems like a must for the Mets. The DH doesn’t necessarily need to be a guy plugged in there all of the time. Someone with flexibility or just a second outfielder works, too.

It does seem like the Mets are setting themselves up to trust in their young bats to grow into major league roles next season. David Stearns has made it clear that pitching is the priority. This doesn’t come close to eliminating Hernandez from the equation as he’s far more mid-tier than top among all of the free agent bats the Mets could potentially add to their roster.

Mammoth strikeout totals throughout his MLB career but some good power to make up for it already make Hernandez a classic “boom or bust” type of player. He’s not quite Kyle Schwarber in this department. Hernandez does, however, come up well shy in the OBP department. He reached base at a clip of only .305 last year which isn’t all that far below his career .316 OBP. The man doesn’t have much patience at the plate and it’s a quality that is sure to test the patience of Mets fans.

In their search for an improved lineup, finding the right pair to add could end up being just as important as adding the best ones. Hernandez brings the power to the lineup. Could his former Blue Jays teammate Lourdes Gurriel Jr. bring some more stable defense and athleticism? The two together could be a nice mix for the Mets despite both having poor career OBP numbers. Getting on base isn’t a huge weakness for the Mets. It’s driving in the runs.

Hernandez will be one of several sluggers looking for a new job this offseason. Is he the right one for the Mets?