Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets are looking for an outfielder to pair with Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. As they search, Yasiel Puig is reportedly “disgruntled” in Los Angeles and could get traded during the Winter Meetings that kick off Sunday in Las Vegas.
Should the Mets deal for the enigmatic Puig, who they are expected to at least inquire about? Here are the pros and cons…
- The 27-year-old Puig is right in his prime and coming off a season where he hit .267/.327/.494 with 23 homers and 21 doubles in 125 games. That’s legitimate production. He would also bring the Mets some needed speed, having swiped 15 bags each of the last two seasons.
- The cost to acquire Puig is not expected to be high, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Hernandez notes that a Puig trade wouldn’t be a straight salary dump, but it doesn’t seem like the Mets would need to part with anything that would hurt badly.
- Puig would give the Mets above average defense in right field, where he was worth 6 DRS in 2018 after being worth 18 DRS in 2017. Except for 2014, where he was exactly average, Puig has been a plus in right field every year of his career.
- Acquiring Puig while also keeping Nimmo and Conforto would likely mean using Nimmo in center field, where he is below average. Brodie Van Wagenen‘s preference is to use Nimmo and Conforto in the corners. They could theoretically use Puig in center, where he was just about average in 2013, 2014, and 2016. But he didn’t play center at all in 2017 or 2018.
- While Puig would give the Mets the power right-handed bat they’re seeking, he actually struggled against lefties in 2018 — hitting just .209/.268/.360.
- Puig being mercurial is a bit overrated. If he produces, no one will care. Instead, it will be viewed as Puig simply being colorful. But the “Puig is a distraction” narrative still won’t die for some, and that could scare off some interested teams.
If the Mets feel that free agent A.J. Pollock (who they have interest in) can be relied on to stay relatively healthy, signing him to play center field and keeping Conforto and Nimmo in the corners is probably their best bet.
But if the Mets sign Pollock and then do something outside the box like trading Nimmo as part of a deal for J.T. Realmuto or one of the Indians’ starting pitchers, Puig would become a perfect target as someone who New York can stick in right field for one season.
Puig is in his final year of arbitration, expected to make roughly $11 million before hitting free agency. That makes him a low-risk, high-reward bet for a team in need of a jolt.