Norichika Aoki, OF
Player Data: Age: 35, B/T: L/R, Free Agency: 2018
2017 Primary Stats: .277/.335/.393, 5 HR, 48 RBI, 336 PA, 10 SB, 97 wRC+, .315 wOBA
Having traded Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, then losing Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes for the rest of the season due to injuries, the Mets signed veteran journeyman Norichika Aoki on Sept. 2. Aoki received plenty of playing time as he jumped into an outfield rotation with Juan Lagares, Brandon Nimmo and Travis Taijeron. He took full advantage of his limited time in New York.
Considering he was signed as just a plug in for the last month of the season, Aoki played better than expected. In 27 games with the Mets, the outfielder slashed .284/.371/.373 with seven doubles, one triple, five stolen bases and eight runs batted in.
Aoki has always been known as a on-base type of guy, as evidenced by his .350 career on-base percentage. He continued that with the Mets as he had one or more hits in 18 of the 27 games he appeared in and reached base at least once in all but three of those 27 games.
While the Mets cut him loose due to his projected salary in arbitration, Aoki is sure to catch on with another ball club, where he is sure to provide them with a knack to get on base with sustained durability.
The problem for Aoki with the Mets was ultimately that there wasn’t room on the 2018 roster for a 35-year-old outfielder with very little to no power. Guys like Lagares and Nimmo will certainly take priority over Aoki due to both age and ability. Like Aoki, Nimmo is the on-base type of guy, but has more pop and is younger. If you ask me, Aoki certainly at least earned himself a look in Spring Training. Obviously the Mets felt differently, but another team is sure to be interested.