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Yasiel Puig May Be Perfect Fit For Mets

Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has said one of the areas the team is going to look to address this offseason is center field, and the team would prefer to obtain a right-handed hitting center fielder. Looking at the free agent market, that player doesn’t exist, and with the Pittsburgh Pirates purportedly not willing to trade Starling Marte, that player may not exist on the trade market either.

One potential solution would be to put Amed Rosario in center, but the Mets seem reticent to do that even with Andres Gimenez not too far away from the majors.

So with poor options on the free agent and trade market, and the Mets being unwilling to move Rosario to center, the Mets are in a position where they need to “think creative” like they always preach. Of course, that is code for finding a cheaper option.

For starters, let’s assume Brandon Nimmo can play center. At a 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed, he was faster than Juan Lagares, Kevin Pillar, and Lorenzo Cain. Nimmo also had a -0.7 JUMP, which was the same as Pillar and better than Ketel Marte. All in all, Nimmo has the ability to play a good center, and with better positioning, he could be a positive defender.

That leaves Michael Conforto to play left field or right field. In terms of right, he showed himself to be a good right fielder, he is arguably better in left field. Certainly, having Conforto in his natural left would allow the Mets to play Nimmo in center. Having a very good right fielder would make Nimmo in center all the more viable.

From a defensive standpoint, Yasiel Puig is arguably the best defensive player available. That is not the only thing which would make Puig an enticing option for the Mets.

According to most reports, Puig is going to accept a one year deal to rebuild his value. On that front, his 1.3 WAR as the lowest it’s been since 2016. He didn’t pull the ball as much, hit the ball in the air more frequently, and his HR/FB rate dropped. His 0 DRS was the worst of his career.

Despite all of that, Puig is still in the prime years of his career, and his metrics look much like the player Puig has always been. Notably, his sprint speed and JUMP were on par with the last few seasons putting him where he was when he was a Gold Glove finalist in 2017.

According to Baseball Savant, he was above his career averages in hard hit percentage and exit velocity last year. He would also make some improvements in terms of his walk and strikeout rates. Putting it all together, even though the results weren’t quite where they had been the two previous years, it appeared Puig was the same player he has always been. For some reason, the numbers just weren’t there.

Realistically speaking, in 2019, Puig can be the roughly 3-4 win player he had been in his last few years before being traded from the Dodgers. You could also make the case he is a player born to play on the big stage, and there is no bigger stage than New York.

You could also surmise playing in a larger ballpark like Citi Field could have him return to his approach with the Dodgers which had led to him being more successful than when he was trying to hit more homers in the bandbox than is the Great American Ballpark. Then again, the danger for any team interested in him is the Dodgers were able to get the most out of him because they are so far beyond any other team in terms of analytics. Put another way, we saw the type of player Puig is without a smart front office putting him in the best position to succeed.

The best case scenario is Puig could be the team’s next Yoenis Cespedes. With them both hailing from Cuba and their having similar reputations, this at least seems plausible. The worst case is he’s a disappointing player who is still an upgrade over what the Mets already have.

For a team like the Mets who are operating on a shoestring budget and need players who could well outperform their contracts to contend, Puig is exactly the type of player they should acquire. If nothing else, he should help the Mets defensively, which should also be a boon to their pitching staff. All told, for a team looking to improve in center, they are likely going to need to sign a right fielder to do it.

53 thoughts on “Yasiel Puig May Be Perfect Fit For Mets”

  1. Pal88 says:

    Oh great Puig and Cespedes…what could go wrong

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Nimmo’s biggest problem defensively is flawed throwing mechanics, related footwork and body positioning. He’s made improvements but needs more. Am hopeful Beltran will be big help including teaching him the crow hop which I’ve never seen Nimmo do.

    Conforto also needs to improve his throwing mechanics.

    As for Puig, I like the talent and passion, and big time arm, athleticism, but am concerned he could become clubhouse issue on a roster with really good chemistry and unselfishness. Puig could be a cancer – or continue to mature via the good influence around him.

    There’s also Cespedes who could return in 2020 which would create corner outfield logjam of players who should start.

    One 4th outfield option is right hand hitting Cameron Maybin, a complementary signing as part time player if he’s willing to sign in that role. He had solid 2019.

  3. Longtimefan1 says:

    Just noticed that Maybin K’d a lot in 2019, so am rethinking him.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      As a 4th OF, I think Maybin is worth a gamble.

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    Could someone with more patience than me list all the players we have signed for 2020 who have played at least 50 games at corner OF positions?

    I’m starting to await these articles with interest. What is next? Dom Smith at shortstop, because he has bigger feet than Cal Ripken? Ahmed Rosario to catcher, because Thor likes him? Barton Colon signed for CF, because of the accuracy of his of arm and his power bat?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The Mets have exactly four OF on their 40 man roster. Five if you want to include McNeil as an OF now.

    2. Longtimefan1 says:

      JD Davis – 84.

      He’s said he’s working this offseason to improve his outfield quickness and agility.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Davis is not a LF.

  5. Joseph P says:

    I would respectfully have to pass. Puig is a disrupting force. I would rather J.D. Davis, Cespedes (One crazy is enough), or a bag of baseballs. In that order. I wouldn’t want him on my team even for free. I would be afraid he would disrupt a good clubhouse.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Puig was so much of a disruptive force the Dodgers were in the postseason every year he was there.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Since his All Star year in 2014 he has an OPS under .800. He had a negative dWAR last year. For the last four years you reference he was the constant subject of trade rumors, with the disgusted Dodgers demoting him to the minors in 2016.

        You want to say Nimmo is okay for center? Fine, I’m with you. We have Conforto, Cespedes, McNeil, JD and Smith. With Cespedes taking swings here in November, four months before opening day, you cant just decide to ignore his 29 million and replace him with a 10+ mil FA.

        We need pitching. We need to see what the commish is going to do with our new manager if he is sticking with omerta while the rest of the Astros flip.

        We don’t want to add a guy with a mediocre OPS, coming off a negative dWAR year, whose most outstanding career impression is unprofessional immaturity.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Yes, let’s judge Puig by his actions before the demotion and not after when he was a very good player who two teams acquired to help them make the postseason.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            …and who two teams traded. You understand that being discarded as a major league player is much more telling than some one of the other 29 giving you a try?

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Trades are not discarding players

    2. metsdaddy says:

      If that’s the case, were you against firing Callaway?

  6. Joe P says:

    I said respectfully disagree. Even though they made the playoffs he has been benched several times for disciplinary reasons. He is not someone I would want on my team.

  7. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    On a team with a glut of corner OFers (McNeil, Conforto, Nimmo, JD Davis, Dom Smith, and not inconceivably, Yoenis) the last thing the Mets need is a 29 year old (so, post-prime, not “still in the prime years of his career”) who has been average to below defensively for the last 2 years by nearly every metric (below by UZR, UZR 150, ErrR, RngR) and whose glove and bat betray a player who peaked a little earlier than the average.

    Compared with Mets corner OFers in 2019 Puig would also have been tied for 5th best hitter, with the badly injured Nimmo.

    Puig is not only not a perfect fit, he’s not even remotely any kind of fit at all.
    This is a team with little money to spend, and the Mets can already cobble together a platoon in LF from Dom and JD–a platoon that scored better by WAR than Puig did in 2019. They’re also not in their decline phases, as Puig is. Making those 2 strictly bench players reduces their value (in order to get a worse player into the lineup) in a year where the Mets can ill-afford to lessen the value of the contributing players they already do have on the 25-man roster.

    Perhaps distilling this down to “The Mets already have 5 or 6 corner OFers on their roster–should they get another?” would have steered you right.

    1. Oldbackstop says:

      What Blair said.

      Anyway, this whole article was just a troll so MD could inject his two usual points: Cespedes doesn’t exist, and JD has no future.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        I forgot. Wanting the Mets to improve means someone is trolling

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      Another way to spoon feed this to the blogdaddy: if you want to rely on the somewhat marginal, definitely injury-risk Nimmo to start in center, and you also want to bring in an OF, you bring one in that can handle CF if need be. Puig can’t.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Yes, please spoon feed nonsense and unsubstantiated narratives.

    3. metsdaddy says:

      Puig is not post his prime, and if he were on the Mets, he’d become their best defensive OF

      1. LongTimeFan1 says:

        He’d have the best arm and second best outfield speed.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          He’s extremely talented and loves the big stage.

      2. Oldbackstop says:

        Puig stole all of 5 bases last year. He had his lowest dWAR. His OPS was .785. His strikeouts, at 133, were by far the highest of his career. He is entering his 29 year and six years removed from his sole All Star appearance.

        He has, indisputably, been a clubhouse disruption.

        Everybody agrees it would be great to get a real centerfielder. Adding an expensive OFer who can NOT play center would be stupid.

        Who feeds you these ideas? Jesus.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          On the one hand, we can look at the data provided and have an honest discussion.

          On the other, you can bring up stolen bases, smear a person’s reputation (following a pattern of yours), and just outright troll.

          Why? Well, I presume it’s because, as usual, you have nothing.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            So…I “smear a person’s reputation” “a pattern of mine” by merely saying, which I purposely did quite carefully, that he had merely been “a clubhouse disruption” at times?

            Did you google before writing this piece? Are you totally blind to this guys constant snail trail of team disruption? Are you curious why he is on his third team in a year and none of them locked him up for 2020?

            Let me put it like this….you wrote this piece, do you think Puig does NOT have a disturbing pattern of disruptive behavior? You managed to write an entire advocacy piece without even passingly referencing — not a word– the FIRST AND FOREMOST issue any baseball professional or casual fan would immediately raise upon a mention of Puig.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            There is a disturbing pattern of behavior from you, not Puig.

        2. Oldbackstop says:

          McNeil, Smith, JD, and Conforto all had higher OPS last year then did Puig, and Nimmo would in a normal full year.

          All of them are younger than Puig and would be expected to have their best years in front of them.

          You can keep howling about defense (Puig was a negative dWAR last year), but a corner OFer gets less than three chances per game on average. When people talk about improving defense, those are the least two positions of concern.

          You don’t improve the team by adding an expensive corner OF who will be the oldest and weakest offensive option, and leave younger and stronger offensive players sitting. All because, maybe, he might handle three chances better than them….although he was negative dWAR last year.

          It is not 2014.

  8. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Oldbackstop,

    Puig stole 19 this season, not 5.

    While I agree he comes with poor clubhous/behavioral e reputation which should hugely factor in determining his fit, it’s worth ascertaining to what degree he’s grown. .

    I also think he’s a very talented player on both sides of the ball who hasn’t reached his ceiling. At 29, he’s still plenty young.

    Given the projected corner outfield log jam in the 2020 Mets outfield, I agree there’s no spot for him, at least in 2020 even if he passed the behavior test in an emerging maturity. but if he became a Met, I think Belltran would have huge positive impact on him.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t get how there’s a corner OF jam when Nimmo and Conforto are the only two everyday caliber outfielders, and Nimmo can play some center, especially between two good corner outfielders

      1. LongTimeFan1 says:

        Cespedes, Puig, Conforto, plus Nimmo if Mets acquire another CF.

        JD Davis and Dom Smith.

        McNeil when Lowrie or Davis plays third.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Davis and Smith aren’t outfielders, and you can’t count on Cespedes for anything

          1. LongTimeFan1 says:

            As long as Davis and Smith are Mets, they’re going to get playing time.

            Smith off the bench and occasional starts.

            In the case of Davis who had fine 2019, batting .307 with .895 OPS and 22 homers in 453 PA’s, he’ll get plenty playing time. He rakes.

            He also has the highest average Exit Velocity on the team at 91.5, MLB average is 88.7.

            As he’s already said, he’ll be working hard this offseason on his quickness and agility to be better outfielder. That effort probably raises his foot speed to MLB average, and with continued work, he’ll improve his jumps, routes, glove work, and throwing positioning. That training will speed him up out of the box, on the basepaths, and help him at third base.

            Speaking of which, Mets also believe that with the proper work at third, he could become central figure there and competently perform. If he plays third, McNeil’s back in outfield.

            The Mets have to consider Cespedes’s return. It’s November and he’s taking batting. practice on his own. Whether he returns in April, May, June, July is not known, but it’s clear that terrible break has healed and he’s well passed the healing from double heel surgery.

            Mets will also need to add another outfielder – a defensive CF who can also play the corners. That player could be acquired to start or play part time.

            And so, in the absence of trades, the Mets do indeed have a corner outfield logjam. Adding Puig adds to that. I’m not at all against adding Puig if his behavioral issues are finally under control and he’s team player, but there has to be spot for him even if Nimmo’s primary CF. At the present time, Mets are indeed looking for primary CF to move Nimmo to corner.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Davis can’t play third, and I HIGHLY doubt he can add the sort of speed he would need to add to even make him passable in the field.

            Add in the likely regression at the plate, and he’s no more than a bench bat.

            As for Cespedes, you can’t count on him for anything, especially when we saw Tulo’s 2019 season.

      2. Oldbackstop says:

        We know you don’t get it, metsdaddy. You display that daily. You said Davis would fail last spring. Now you have egg on your face, and you don’t have the character to admit you were wrong.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I wasn’t remotely wrong on Davis. He needed a superball and historically unrepeatable peripherals to have a successful season at the plate.

  9. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Davis can definitely add speed via the right kind of training just like Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso did.

    Alonso was a 30/80 runner, who worked hard last offseason to improve his foot speed to what averaged 26.5 ft/second in 2019.

    MLB average is 27.0.

    Michael Conforto was 40/80 and now averages 27.5. That improvement wasn’t by accident. He worked hard to become better trained and dynamic.

    Davis was 30/80 and averages 26.3 without any speed specific training.

    Geraldo Parra averaged same.

    Joc Pederson 26.2

    Nick Markakis, 26.1

    One of Davis’s stated offseason goals is getting faster.

    Given his drive and work ethic, as well as the science, there’s no reason he couldn’t raise his speed to big league average or close to that with similar speed as Charlie Blackmon, Odubel Herrera, Josh Reddick, Alex Dickerson, Reyes, Franmil who average 26.6 and 26.7.

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sprint_speed_leaderboard

    As for Davis at the plate, he rakes, a product of smarts, approach, preparation, swing, discipline, strength and mechanics. That he hit like he did in 2019, is not particularly surprising. He’s a very cerebral guy, a student of hitting with a minor league track record who works on his craft searching for ways to improve.

    The next step in his development is defense and improved speed, quickness, and agility.

    Regarding Cespedes, he is in the picture and Mets have to construct the roster with that in mind whether or not he plays in 2020. And that plan includes built in depth and mix and match.

    If Nimmo’s the CF and is flanked by Conforto in left and Puig, in right, Cespedes’s return to left would have major impact on both corners.

    There’s no evidence the Mets are looking to sign or trade for corner outfielder. But there’s lots of evidence they’re seeking CF including Brodie saying so.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t see Davis being able to add the type of speed necessary to be even passable in left. When you combine that with his lack of natural defensive instincts in the outfield as well as the likely regression at the plate, he cannot be anything more than a utility player.

      In fact, if the Mets were smart, they’d sell high on him.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      Good post on JD. If he is given more than 50 games to learn a position, he has the brains, work ethic and athleticism to complement what is looking like a .300 BA, 30 HR elite bat.

      Let’s see what Alonso, who hit 40 points lower, would look like in left or at 3b? Lol….never happen, because he doesn’t have the athleticism to even dream of playing those challenging positions.

      This may go down as one of the biggest steals in Mets history.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        No, Davis does not have the athleticism, nor does he have an elite bat.

  10. Oldbackstop says:

    Remember this hysterical article in July?

    ===========

    Give Dominic Smith A Break
    Last night, Dominic Smith had two errors in the third inning which led to what would prove to be the Padres game winning rally. Later in the game, Smith would have a misplay which would not be charged as an error. When you add in his letting a ball drop with Amed Rosario running towards him, a play which happened to both of them last year, Smith has not been good in left field recently.

    As a result, Mets fans have begun again talking about how he is not a left fielder and that the team needs to trade him this offseason. The calls to get him out of the outfield and off the team are partially the result of Smith having a down July hitting just .170/.188/.340 albeit with a .171 BABIP.

    Calls to remove him from the outfield and to get Smith off the team are a complete and utter overreaction to a rough stretch, and they need to stop.

    ===============

    Lol…..classic MD

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Yes, I remember it well, and I thank you for reminding me of yet another time where I was proven right in the long run.

    2. LongTimeFan1 says:

      Oldbackstop, I remember that MD’s post about Smith which so contradicts his outfield comments about Davis.

      MetsDaddy has been against JD from the moment he got here, and continues to look for ways to dismiss him. He derided his offense, insisted he’d never amount to anything at the plate.

      First it was GB rate. Then when that proved to be weak argument, he flipped to BABIP. Now he insists on regression for 2020.

      Now that the offense has proven steady and quite good, MD insists Davis will never improve defensively or on basepaths. If I’m a betting person, I’m betting on Davis and my 50 years of watching MLB baseball to recognize a student of the game such as Davis with the drive and work ethic to identify flaws and improve, to get the most out of his mind and body, by doing so in smart, step by step process. I think Beltran will help him.

      I have a lot more confidence in Davis than Smith to improve defensively in outfield. Smith perpetually carries too much weight for his 6’0″ frame even when shows up in spring training in better shape than he finished the prior season. Every season he gains some back.

      Fortunately, MetsDaddy doesn’t make the roster and playing time decisions.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        +1

        JD is a flat out athlete, and grew up that way. His brother is a D-1 football player. He works, I have seen said several times, as hard or harder than anyone on the team.

        Here is an article about his prep routine:
        https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/mlb/mets/2019/08/23/ny-mets-jd-davis-routine-and-study-habits-before-game/2090649001/

        MD just has an hysterical prejudice against outsiders.. JD, Vargas, Cano, Ramos

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Good for him. Still doesn’t mean he showed any range or agility in the field.

      2. metsdaddy says:

        Nothing I said about Smith is contradictory with Davis.

        1. Oldbackstop says:

          Smith looks like he is wearing fishing waders out there. Your advocacy of him over JD, who had some highlight reel plays, is perhaps your stupidest moment. Maybe not, tho, it is a target rich environment, ain’t it?

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Yes, it’s definitely dumb to advocate for Smith, who is a younger and better player.

          2. Oldbackstop says:

            This is the sad part– it isn’t even close. You couldn’t get a bag of balls for Dom, who can only play first. He will likely be a toss in with some deal. JD would bring back major talent straight up in a deal.

            But it doesn’t matter, Dom could bat .100 and get sent down, and JD could won a Gold Glove and a batting title, and you would still be pulling for his failure, because it is all about you.

          3. metsdaddy says:

            I think you are showing your bias there much in the same way you laud guys like Vargas while trashing deGrom.

  11. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Oldbackstop –

    That was great article on Davis, one I hadn’t read. Thanks for linking. I’ve read other articles on Davis’s prep and mentality, have listened to some first person interviews and comments by teammates, front office, managers, coaches on Mets and Houston.

    Hpuston was so happy to sign him after the draft, they held a formal press conference introducing him. I watched that video several months ago. Their comments were spot on.

    What’s not to like about JD? The guy’s in love with the game, eats and sleeps it, plays with passion, is team player, loves the orange and blue, recognizes weaknesses and strives to improve. He says if he doesn’t dirty his uniform, he feels he could have contributed more. He also has a cannon, and I think there’s more there to unlock through better footwork and upper and lower body timing, arm action and mechanics which should differ for the outfield and infield.

    His stated mission this offseason is to get quicker, faster and more agile, to improve defensively. It’s going to take some time, but I think Davis could become 4-tool player with average foot speed and mental make up that’s off the charts.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      In terms of drive and likeability, there’s a lot to like about David.

      In terms of defense and ability to repeat historically unrepeatable stats, not so much.

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