Mets could look a lot different with improved outfield depth

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Eric Espada/GettyImages

With their lead in the National League East dwindling, the New York Mets must turn to their resources to fix that - their farm system and trade options. There are plenty of options for New York to explore on the market. Another starter help to keep Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer healthy? A fourth outfielder with a bit more experience and centerfield flexibility in order to keep their older outfielders fresh? Absolutely. A shutdown closer to put in the set-up role behind Edwin Diaz? 

All are legitimate options for the Mets to explore, but the biggest need for the Mets is another bat in the middle of their order. But where? 

For all of New York’s success this season, the DH spot has been a blemish. Currently 26th in the league in wRC+ from the DH spot, Dominic Smith has struggled at the plate, while JD Davis has been league average. With Pete Alonso entrenched at first base, the Mets could add another big bat behind him, without harming their defense.  Finding another premier bat and placing him in the middle of the order would do wonders for their offense. 

But a pure DH is a tough find. Josh Bell is mashing with Washington, but do the Mets want to make a deal with a division rival? Jose Abreu is the most intriguing option, as a pending free agent with the Chicago White Sox. Sliding Abreu into the middle of the order behind Pete Alonso and letting him absorb the majority of DH reps would take this team to another level. Is Chicago willing to sell? Remains to be seen.

But adding another outfielder feels like the right area to address and a spot where the Mets can add another bat that both adds some pop to the lineup and maintain their ethos. 

New York’s outfield is, arguably, their best asset. Via Fangraphs, the Mets have the second-best fWAR from their outfield this season, only behind the Houston Astros. And yet, both Starling Marte and Mark Canha are over 30, Nimmo has a history of injuries and the fourth outfield spot has been questionable all season. Getting the right outfielder in trade could cover for both spots, while also shuffling in DH appearances here and there. 

I also don't want to count out the Mets bringing up one of their top prospects to add a potential boost. Francisco Alvarez is the popular name - the Mets could use a catcher, Alvarez has to be placed on the 40-man roster - but Mark Vientos is another name that could help. His Triple-A numbers - specifically, a 30.7% strikeout rate - has been good, but not great. However, giving Vientos an attempt to make his mark on the roster as a DH and first base option should be in the cards.

New York should honestly acquire two bats, as there’s no real high-level bat on the market, and an outfielder in a robust market should be one of them. 

One name of intrigue, though, is Arizona outfielder David Peralta. Currently batting .251/.320/.476, Peralta is an above-average hitter with some solid pop. His .225 ISO now rates higher than big names like Juan Soto, Matt Olsen, and Manny Machado. Andrew Benintendi for the Kansas City Royals is going to be a popular name for the trade deadline, including the Mets. Though Benintendi doesn’t mash like Peralta, he does fit New York’s ethos (10% walk rate, .360 OBP) and just adds another good talent in the order. 

Baltimore has a few guys. Austin Hays is an interesting option if the Orioles put him on the market, while Cedric Mullins is a shoe to drop if they want to add more prospects to their rebuild. Bryan Reynolds is probably not available in Pittsburgh, but Cincinnati's Tommy Pham could be a nice, inexpensive add for the back end of the roster. Mullins probably doesn't fit the Mets, and is very expensive, but the others would all be quality additions.

The best of both worlds might be Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ. While Chicago sits firmly in a rebuild, Happ is 27 years old and offers a bit of everything. He walks (12.6% walk rate, .382 OBP), he offers positional flexibility in the outfield and he can hit for power (.178 ISO). With an extra year of control, Happ won’t come cheap, but he could be the perfect hedge for the Mets to improve their order. 

The New York Mets could use another bat, but with the scarcity of pure-DH options, the Mets will have to dip into a position to add another bat. The outfield, a collective strength for the Mets this season, could be an area for improvement. Not only would it allow New York to use DH as more of a rotational spot. 

Whether it be a cheap add like David Peralta or Andrew Benintendi or a costly add like Ian Happ, the outfield market appears bountiful and the Mets could use that to fill their need for another quality bat. 

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