The Mets need a right-handed power hitter. There’s no doubt about that. The Mets ranked 22nd in baseball in home runs and 23rd in slugging percentage, and that’s with Scott Hairston, who will likely not return next year, in the lineup. Finding (and acquiring) these players will be a difficult task, especially with the Mets budget already limited. Sandy Alderson will likely re-sign David Wright, which will bring the payroll to or even over the $100 million budget, so unless the Mets somehow dump Jason Bay or Johan Santana, they will have to search the free agent bargain bin for what they need.
This season was a major disappointment when it comes to the Mets outfield. Jason Bay didn’t bounce back (if anyone expected him to), Kirk Nieuwenhuis showed promise early but faded towards mid-season, and Lucas Duda made us think about whether he really is an everyday player.At minimum, two new outfielders have to be brought in to right the ship.
One player who would fit perfectly into the Met roster is Jonny Gomes. Gomes, who will be 32 at the end of the month, had a great season in a platoon role for the Oakland A’s this season. In 99 games (333 plate appearances) Gomes hit 18 home runs and had a .262/.377/.491 slash line. He has been a part-time outfielder for most of his career, but has averaged 17 home runs per season since 2005.
Gomes would bring pop to the lineup, as well as the ability to hit left-handed pitching. The Mets as a team had a meager .675 OPS against lefties last season, 26th in the majors. This season, Gomes had a .299/.413/.561 batting line in 196 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. He and Mike Baxter could combine for a very effective platoon role in left field. Combined, they could probably hit close to 25 home runs. They also both have high walk rates and high on-base percentages.
The only concern about Gomes is his range in the field. He has never put up great numbers in either left or right field. However, having the fleet-footed Andres Torres could make Gomes’ defense bearable, like Carlos Beltran did when he was a Met.
Gomes would definitely be in the Mets price range. Last offseason, he signed a one-year deal worth about $1 million coming off a down season. He will be looking for a multi-year deal this winter, but will be much cheaper than most of the other options out there. If I were Sandy Alderson, I’d get on the phone right now with Gomes because there’s no better fit in the free agent market than him.