Denard Span will workout for interested teams in early January, including the Mets
Both Terry Collins and Mets officials have said they remain in the market for a left-handed complement to Juan Lagares in center field.
But the market for free agent outfielders has only started to become defined, thanks to Jason Heyward signing his long-term deal with the Cubs late last week.
The Mets have been linked to both Denard Span this winter, but he comes with certain risk given his age and his late-season hip surgery which cost him most of the 2015 season while with the Nationals.
But Span’s agent, Scott Boras, said during the Winter Meetings Span is indeed healthy and preparing for the 2016 season.
“He’s really been back to full speed,” Boras said during the Winter Meetings. “He’s running on a treadmill, doing ladder drills, he’s really doing baseball activities.”
Boras recently told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN Span will workout for interested teams in early January.
And one of those teams will be the Mets, Boras told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post on Friday.
Boras believes Span’s services will eventually be in high demand, specifically because his skill set is unique in the marketplace.
“Leadoff hitters are in demand, they’re hard to find, and a guy who plays center field on top of it,” the agent explained. “He offers teams a very unique skill set. And I think the only thing they need to see is just the fact that he’s back at 100 percent.”
The Mets seem reluctant to offer Span more than a two-year deal, presumably because of the injury concern. And Span’s willingness to workout for teams is an indication other interested parties are concerned about Span’s health as well, and are weary of meeting such demands.
If he is healthy, however, Span is a catalyst for the top of the lineup. He doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but he makes contact, has first-to-third speed, and when he’s healthy, can be counted on for 200-plus total bases thanks to his ability to take advantage of big ballparks with his triples speed.
Acquiring Span would go a long way towards improving the team’s on-base percentage, and it would allow Curtis Granderson to be moved towards the middle of the lineup as well where his power could be much more valuable, and could help account for the loss of Yoenis Cespedes.
Certainly, someone like Span doesn’t account for the power lost from Cespedes, but he provides a different kind of production with his speed, ability to create run scoring opportunities and ability to make contact. It’s something the Mets have strived to do this winter, evident by their pursuit of Ben Zobrist before he went to the Cubs.
And that skill set can only help the swing-and-miss bats in David Wright and Lucas Duda see more strikes and get more fastballs to hit. That along with growth from Michael Conforto, a full season of Travis d’Arnaud and utilizing Granderson’s bat in the middle of the lineup could all go a long way towards creating as much, if not more production out of that part of the lineup thanks to a greater ability to get on-base.
Original post: Dec. 17, 4:09 pm
Updated: Dec. 19, 9:20 am