1 way Harrison Bader will surprise Mets fans and 1 way he won't

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

Last month the New York Mets added some much-needed outfield depth when they signed free agent Harrison Bader to the mix on a one-year $10.5 million deal. While some fans were left questioning the move, due to the Mets already having arguably the best center fielder in baseball in Brandon Nimmo, the addition of Bader gives Manager Carlos Mendoza some flexibility on a nightly basis with his outfield alignment.

I believe Bader may surprise most Mets fans by being productive in a platoon situation this season. While there has been no official word from Mendoza on how Bader will be deployed on a nightly basis, Bader has not played in over 100 games since 2021, and Bader has only played in over 100 games three times in his career since debuting back in 2017 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Mainly due to health concerns keeping Bader fresh throughout a 162-game season, could benefit the Mets in the long run.

Harrison Bader's bat may be a question mark, but in a platoon role with the Mets, he can potentially thrive.

Bader will have the opportunity to thrive by not being counted on as a full-time player, and Bader also has more favorable splits offensively against left-handed pitching (.262/.331/.494) than he does against right-handers (.237/.304/.364) in his career. I would anticipate Bader being in the starting lineup against southpaws more often than not during the regular season to capitalize on that success he has offensively.

Speaking of offense, Mets fans will not be surprised that Bader will not light the world up offensively. Bader's game is Gold Glove-caliber defense and speed, which is something the Mets desperately needed this offseason. Bader's career slash line of (.243/.310/.396) is not going to inspire fans to believe he can be a difference-maker offensively. Still, Bader is the type of role player playoff-caliber teams can deploy on a situational basis to play to their strengths.

The most home runs Bader has hit in a given season was 16 back in 2021, which won't solve the Mets lack of adding an additional power bat this winter, but given the right circumstances, Bader can be a difference maker in his own right with his glove and on the basepaths in 2024.