While the Mets may in fact be done for the winter, they are still open to the possibility of adding to the major league roster, although on minor league deals. So now that we’ve got that straight…
The list of FAs we’ve seen recently has done nothing to excite Mets fans, but someone has just entered the fray that really piques my interest. After a Chris Schwinden-like off season, Russ Canzler has landed with the Yankees, and to make room, the Bombers designated Chris Dickerson for assignment. The former Milwaukee Brewer legend meets the initial criteria as being cheap and could be had on a minor league contract. But he played well for the Yankees in limited duty, and I think he can really offer the Mets something.
Dickerson is most certainly not a game-changer, he does strike out a lot and bats lefty with little power, but that’s the end of his negatives. He’s a career .266/.352/.407 hitter, and despite hitting from the left side, he has no platoon splits, hitting .269/.354/.424 against right-handed pitching and .253/.344/.316 against lefties. He hits almost the same in the first half of the year as he does in the second. And despite playing in three hitter’s parks in his career (Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Yankee Stadium as a lefty), he has no problematic home/road splits, either.
Dickerson plays all three outfield positions, including a very good centerfield. He’s a great base stealer, successful in 27 of 33 career attempts, for an 82% success rate. As a leadoff hitter in his career, he sports a .286/.363/.464 slash line, and the Mets certainly need a leadoff hitter that can steal bases. And even in the smallest of sample sizes, thirteen plate appearances, he’s hit .364/.462/.455 at Citi Field.
To summarize, a good defensive outfielder with the tools to lead off, a previous track record that suggests success in that role, no platoon splits to offset any of his abilities and a possible minor league deal. I’d love to see him in Port St. Lucie and given a shot to win a role on the Mets.
Some ideas were exchanged about the value of the qualifying offers (and the value of Clerics in a futuristic society…or something) in an e-mail chain and in it, I opined that Nick Swisher took the deal from the 94-loss Cleveland Indians because teams without a protected pick weren’t going to make him an offer for fear of losing that pick. What does that mean for the Mets? Well, if Nick Swisher and Sandy Alderson were on Match.com, they’d be 100% compatible. Swisher is an on-base machine with consistently good power. He plays decent enough defense and supposedly every teammate he’s ever had loves him. His salary of $56 million guaranteed might be a bit much for a 32-year-old, especially since he’ll average $15 million a year from age 33 on, but if Swisher were to be traded, one would assume the Indians would eat some salary, especially since his $14 million vesting option for 2017 is easily very easily attainable. He just needs 550 plate appearances in 2016 and to pass a physical.
If the Mets plan all goes…to…plan (sorry) and the Mets are competitive in 2014, a power-hitting corner outfielder celebrated for his plate discipline could be in the cards, especially one that could come at a reduced rate because of the salary Cleveland eats.
This is speculation at it’s earliest. The only aspect I’m relatively comfortable with is that the Indians are far from winning and paying for Swisher is essentially paying for other team’s prospects, since their 94 losses and farm system ranked near the bottom doesn’t spell “contender.” It was actually a pretty smart move by Cleveland. They knew their first round pick was protected, so they spent some money to acquire someone who can return multiple prospects a year or two down the line when they might hope to be competitive.
Now of course it may not be the Mets. They may not be competitive or their prospects could bust and have no value. It could be another team a piece or two away. Or, and Cleveland is taking this gamble, Swisher could bust and not be desirable to anyone. But I’ll go on record here and predict Swisher will not finish his contract in Cleveland. And the Mets plan (I know how everyone loves that word) is to need a player like Swisher sometime in the near future, but not right now.