Yasiel Puig May Be Good Fit For Mets
In his introductory press conference, new New York Mets GM Jared Porter spoke about building depth across the 40 man roster. One area which desperately needs attention is the outfield.
Assuming the Mets sign a center fielder like George Springer, the team will still need a viable fourth outfielder who can step up and start on an extended basis if needed.
And no, Dominic Smith (-2 OAA) and J.D. Davis (-2 OAA) are not outfielders. Smith is a good defensive first baseman, and Davis is a DH. Instead of a first baseman in left, the Mets need an actual outfielder.
Looking at the free agents, there is one name which stands out – Yasiel Puig.
Puig is looking to return to baseball after missing the 2020 season. He had missed out for a variety of mostly inexplicable reasons.
First, he wasn’t signed during the original Spring Training. Then, he would sign a deal with the Atlanta Braves in July. However, that deal fell through when Puig tested positive for COVID19.
Likely, that leaves Puig looking for a one year deal to rebuild value. In the event there are no starting jobs available, the Mets would be a good fit.
When Puig last played, he still had very good speed. He also had improved defensive numbers in right after an unexpected one year drop off in 2018.
In 2019, he struggled offensively by his standards. His 101 wRC+ was tied for a career worst. That was surprising partially because he posted a career best exit velocity. Whatever the case, at worst, Puig can be anticipated provide league average offense. He has a much higher ceiling than that too.
Puig also has some defensive versatility. While he’s spent most of his career in right, he has played center and left. On that point, Puig has been playing center in the Winter Leagues.
Yasiel Puig, playing for the first time since last September, made this athletic play to rob #Angels Luis Rengifo of a hit in LIDOM tonight.
Puig’s initial read wasn’t great but the correction worked out
— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) December 11, 2020
That work helps him be more versatile. Having a bench player who can play all three outfield positions would be of an enormous benefit to the Mets.
Puig does seem well suited to play in New York as he thrives in the spotlight. He possesses all the tools to be successful with good speed as well as a history of playing good defense and posting strong offensive numbers.
All told, this would make him a great bench option and insurance policy against a Nimmo or Conforto injury. If MLB refuses to acknowledge reason and instead implemented the universal DH, Puig can help be part of that rotation.
There’s a lot of ways Puig can help the Mets, and he’s the best option available for this role. The only issue is whether he’s willing to accept this role. Given his year away from baseball, he might. If so, the Mets should push to sign him.