Wow, deal is for much more than initially reported. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza will get a guaranteed $5.75 million plus incentives that could make the total deal worth $7 million.
That some believe De Aza is getting that kind of money to replace Kirk Nieuwenhuis is way off base. This is your Opening Day center fielder.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mets have signed free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a one-year deal. The amount of the deal has yet to be announced but sources told Buster Olney of ESPN that the deal is worth $4.5 million.
De Aza, 32, has played for five teams over his eight-year career, most of which was spent manning the outfield for the White Sox. He is a left-handed hitter who has spent time at all three outfield positions in his career. He owns a .267/.331/.401 batting line, amounting to a career 101 wRC+. He has also shown a bit of speed, compiling 30 triples and 86 stolen bases (although he’s been caught 41 times) over his career.
However, the Mets will presumably use him as the platoon partner for Juan Lagares in center field. De Aza had an impressive .278/.351/.448 (117 wRC+) against right-handed this past season, and has historically hit them pretty well. That will go well with Lagares’ 112 career wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
De Aza does not come without some significant concerns, however. Although he used to play center field full-time in Chicago, he was pushed out of his position by Adam Eaton and hasn’t been able to play much there over the last two seasons. Meanwhile, defensive metrics are decidedly inconclusive on him.
All that said, if De Aza can just provide average defense in center field, the platoon with Lagares will likely be quite productive.
Thoughts from Joe D.
As I reported last week, the Mets became less interested in Gerardo Parra when it became clear he wanted a 3-4 year deal, and the Mets reportedly balked when Scott Boras told them he was looking for a two-year deal for Denard Span.
De Aza began to emerge as a candidate about a week ago once they cooled on Parra and Span, and yesterday we reported the news from Jerry Crasnick that the two sides had talked. So today’s news should come as no surprise. And as Connor pointed out, as far as a platoon goes, it could end up being quite productive. The Mets will be De Aza’s sixth different team.
This could pretty much signal the end of the Mets offseason for adding position players. They could still add a right-handed 1B/OF type, but I’m also hearing they could just stick with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and use Wilmer Flores to backup first base, Whether this offseason adequately replaces the thump lost by former Mets Yoenis Cespedes, Daniel Murphy, Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, I guess we’ll soon find out.