Mets prefer to acquire a left-handed hitting outfielder
Over the weekend, assistant GM John Ricco told Mike Vorkunov the Mets are very much considering acquiring an outfielder ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
But while they have been reportedly connected to marquee names such as Justin Upton and Carlos Gomez in recent days, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets actually prefer adding a left-handed hitting outfielder, should they decide to upgrade that area.
Having said that, it stands to reason why the Mets have also been connected to Brewers OF Gerardo Parra, who is an outstanding fit for the Mets right now.
People in the Mets organization have always liked Parra, especially his defense which has earned him three Gold Gloves. He’s had an excellent season with the Brewers this season, posting an .848 OPS this season with nine home runs and 48 RBI in 90 games. He’s a left-handed hitter but has held his own extremely well against southpaws, hitting .298 with an .836 OPS.
But while it may have seemed obvious the Mets needed to acquire an upgrade in the outfield before (their outfield has produced the fourth-worst OPS at .673), their hand may soon be forced based on how Michael Cuddyer’s knee responds to a last-ditch effort to keep him on the field and off the disabled list.
If they in fact disable Cuddyer, the club is going to be in dire need for a replacement. Short of either Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo (which the club would rather avoid), the Mets do not have any internal options to promote. Someone like Parra should come at a lower cost in trade than someone like Upton or Gomez, yet could provide a big boost and a good value to the outfield while leaving them some available assets to deal for an infielder and/or bench piece.
In addition to a primary outfielder, the Mets must also consider upgrading their bench, as their pinch hitters have posted a .162/.277/.216 line. Sherman opines Indians OF Ryan Raburn would be a good fit against left-handed pitching off the bench.
Raburn has crushed left-handed pitching this season, posting a .940 OPS in 120 plate appearances with the Indians in 2015. He’s earning $2.5 million and has a $3 million option for next season with a $100,000 buyout, making him a very good value for their bench.
Such a move would conceivably mark the end of John Mayberry Jr.’s time with the club, but Sherman says it’s worth watching considering the Mets had interest in him as a free agent several seasons ago.