Left field remains a vacant position for the New York Mets. Maybe only the DH spot has a more glaring absence of answers with equally as many solutions. As many have predicted or wished for, left field is a spot where the Mets could theoretically answer with someone who can help fill both spots.
There's no shortage of left fielders available in free agency. We can even mix in many of the right fielders who might be a better match in left. Many have undesirable defensive skills to go with some warts in their offense. Joc Pederson? Jorge Soler? Teoscar Hernandez? There are players to buy. Imperfect in some ways, it shouldn’t mean the Mets avoid them altogether.
Meanwhile, the Mets have internal candidates that don't quite cut the mustard. Could we see them actually pass on remaining external options and stick with someone they already have?
Do the Mets already have their primary left fielder?
Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte are left field candidates. Marte has already won a Gold Glove at the position. If the Mets landed a right fielder, could he go back to a familiar position? While technically a bit of a cop out, Marte in left field and DJ Stewart in right field is a cheap way to go. Tyrone Taylor out in center field with Nimmo in left? That’s equally as eyebrow raising.
The Mets also have Jeff McNeil who in the absence of Ronny Mauricio probably won't venture into the outfield to start the year. You may see him on a lot of Mets depth charts as the starting left fielder. It's because until they make a transaction, he's the best they have.
There are no clear answers on the farm. Drew Gilbert could be someone we see later on this year. Jett Williams, a little further behind in terms of MLB ETA, is another player who can mess around with the outfield alignment. Gilbert is more of a right field option that could push Marte over to left field. Williams would take over for Nimmo in center field and allow him to take on the left field starts.
It’s becoming clearer that whatever the Mets decide to do in left field, it won’t be a long-term answer. Anyone they can sign for one year would be ideal. Eddie Rosario? Adam Duvall? Those types would be affordable upgrades over what the club currently has without a long-term commitment.
The Opening Day left fielder for the Mets might technically already be here, but the team needs another outfielder. Stewart and Taylor are far too unproven in a starting role. Taylor as the team’s fourth outfielder is perfect. Stewart as corner depth they can either stash on the bench or in the minors works, too.
Mets fans have patiently waited around and accepted a lot this offseason already. A half-hearted plan in left field won’t fly.