Good Luck Alejandro De Aza
Sometimes deals were not a good idea at their inception. At other times, deals don’t just work out as planned. Then there was Alejandro De Aza‘s tenure with the New York Mets.
Back when De Aza signed with the Mets, he was supposed to be the left-handed platoon option to go along with Juan Lagares in center field. It was an extremely unpopular signing at the time beacause it was a clear indication the Mets were not going to sign Yoenis Cespedes. Except the Mets, due to a combination of sheer luck and the depth of top end outfielders on the market, did actually re-sign Cespedes.
Just like that De Aza went from the platoon partner getting the bulk of the at-bats to being the team’s fifth outfielder. Considering the talent level ahead of him, he seemed like he was going to be the team’s seldom used fifth outfielder. Anyone would struggle under those circumstances, and De Aza did.
In the beginning of July, he was only batting .158 with just five extra base hits. Keep in mind, both of those extra base hits came in the same game. Essentially, the irregular to lack of playing time was wrecking havoc with his ability to produce, and it was affecting him mentally. It got to the point where Terry Collins began to question his work ethic.
With all that in mind, De Aza deserves a lot of credit. De Aza went on a tear in July hitting .375/.487/.531 in 21 games and six games started. The tear came at the right time too because it was a Mets team seemingly falling apart. Lagares had a thumb issue. Cespedes would deal with a quad injury. Both Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto were struggling as well. In fact, the entire Mets offense including Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera was struggling. The Mets needed this boost from him, and they go it.
De Aza would also step up as the Mets were making a push for the Wild Card. In a crucial late August series against the Cardinals, with Seth Lugo making his second ever major league start, De Aza came up huge not only robbing Matt Carpenter of a home run in the first at-bat in the bottom of the first, but also by hitting his own three run home run. It was all part of how De Aza came up big when the Mets needed in most. In fact, over the final month of the season, he would hit .265/.366/.353 in 25 games.
Overall, De Aza’s tenure with the Mets was a disappointing one with all involved. However, he made significant contributions to the Mets when they needed them most. That should never be overlooked even if ultimately he was usually the outfielder overlooked when Collins was filling out the lineup card.
De Aza’s struggles are a large reason why he was only able to muster a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics. With that said, he is in a much better situation than he was in 2016. This should allow him to return to being the player he never really got the chance to be with the Mets. Hopefully, he gets back to that point.