David Dahl Not Good Fit For Mets Right Now
There were some surprising non-tenders this year with David Dahl perhaps being the most surprising. After mashing his first two full seasons with the Colorado Rockies, the organization was perhaps too reactionary to his having one poor season at the plate which was by and large due to Dahl’s dealing with a shoulder injury which would need surgery.
Now, if Dahl’s shoulder is more serious than many anticipated, you could understand the non-tender. That said, it’s difficult to imagine a more severe shoulder injury than the one Michael Conforto suffered, and he re-emerged to play at an All-Star, near MVP level in 2020. So, for all intents and purposes, we should reasonably anticipate Dahl returning to form at some point in 2021.
That form was very impressive. From 2018 – 2019, Dahl hit .291/.342/.528. Sure, that was partially driven by his playing in Coors Field. That said, Dahl did have an 111 OPS+ meaning he is a well above average hitter. As we have seen, the Coors Field effect is more home/away splits during the course of a season, and it is not something which should translate to moving to a new team.
That said, there are some splits which are at least moderately concerning with Dahl. The left-handed hitter has been neutralized by left-handed pitching in his career. While Dahl has a strong .289/.342/.515 batting line against right-handed pitching, he has only hit .277/.312/.438 against left-handed pitching. That right there is an indication he is a poor fit for the New York Mets.
Right now, the Mets corner outfielders are Brandon Nimmo and Conforto. While Dahl has been a strong hitter, he has not been the caliber of hitter either Nimmo or Conforto has been. Moreover, Nimmo and Conforto are left-handed hitters who have handled left-handed pitching better than Dahl. Taking that into account, Dahl would not be coming to the Mets to supplant either one of those players in the everyday lineup.
That is somewhat important because it would seem Dahl at least has the talent to be considered a starting outfielder by any number of teams. Even if he were to shirk a starting job elsewhere to consider the Mets, he probably still isn’t a fit as a fourth outfielder. He can’t be used to platoon with either Nimmo or Conforto as they are all left-handed hitters. He also should not be used as a defensive replacement.
In his career, Dahl has not been a particularly good defensive outfielder. In his career, he has a a -1 OAA and a -7 DRS in left field. Now, to be fair, with the thin air and large outfield, Rockies outfielders usually rate poorly in defensive metrics. Looking at his defense, he does have good sprint speed of roughly 28.1 feet/sec. That would put him roughly as fast as Nimmo and faster than Conforto.
Realistically speaking, with Nimmo and Conforto in the way, the Mets do not have a starting outfield spot to offer Dahl, and realistically speaking, he is a poor fit as a complement to those two. Now, you could argue the Mets could sign Dahl to be their primary DH. However, there are two significant obstacles.
First and foremost, the NL will not have a DH in 2021. As per the agreement, the universal DH sunsetted at the expiration of the 2020 season. Even if it were to be re-adopted, the Mets have Pete Alonso already slated to be the DH with Dominic Smith taking over first base duties.
All told, every which angle you look at this, the Mets simply do not have a position to offer Dahl. At best, they can offer him a bench role for a very left-handed hitting team. Unless there is a trade or two, the Mets are better suited to setting their sights to one of the other available non-tendered players or other free agents.