Marcel Ozuna Very Poor Fit For Mets
In what has been the complete polar opposite of Wilpon driven offseasons, the New York Mets are getting linked to nearly every free agent. The latest name to surface is Marcell Ozuna.
This is one which should stay a rumor because Ozuna is a very poor fit for the Mets.
That’s not to say Ozuna isn’t a good player. In his career, Ozuna has shown himself to be a good baseball player who has shown flashes of brilliance. That includes this past season with the Atlanta Braves where he led the league in homers while having the third best OPS+.
This was his best ever season at the plate. There are reasons to buy in on him producing at this level next year. Those reasons include his barrel percentage as well as his hard hit and whiff rates.
There are also reasons to believe he’ll regress. That includes this being a shortened season as well as his .396 BABIP, which was higher than his .319 career mark.
Regardless of which direction he’ll trend, the ultimate question for the Mets is how can they use him.
In his time with the Marlins, Ozuna was a great defensive outfielder. That includes his winning the 2017 Gold Glove. Since winning that award, it’s been a steep decline.
Ozuna went from a 7 DRS that year to a 0 this year. He had a -8 OAA last year and a -1 this year. This is indicative of a now over 30 outfielder who was primarily used at DH.
Simply put, a -8 OAA is unplayable out there. It’s even worse when shoulder injuries have cost him the ability to make strong or even poor throws. It’s a poor combination. With him having below average spring speed and his turning 30, the days of him being an even semi-regular outfielder have passed.
Of course, that’s not an issue with the Mets. With Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, they are well set at the corner outfield position. They have good depth there with Jeff McNeil able to play out there quite well.
The problem with the Mets is they are also overly stacked at the DH position. That includes their right-handed hitting options.
As we saw last year, if there is going to be a DH, it should be Pete Alonso. Statistically, he’s been just about the worst defender at first, and his moving there allows Dominic Smith and his bat and glove to get into the lineup everyday.
There’s also the Robinson Cano issue. While he was quite good defensively at second last year, his playing second everyday at the age of 38 would be fairly unprecedented.
Ideally, Cano would be the everyday DH. This would keep him and his bat in the lineup everyday. It would also open up second for McNeil which is his best position.
Looking at it, the Mets have two bats in Alonso and Cano who ideally need to DH. They need to DH due to their own skill sets in addition to getting other very talented players in the lineup. Adding Ozuna to this mix only unnecessarily muddies the waters.
When you break it down, the Mets really could use right-handed balance in their lineup. However, with Alonso at DH, Ozuna is not a fit. As such, the Mets are better off pursuing that bat in the form of James McCann/J.T. Realmuto and/or George Springer.