With the free agent market slow to develop, ESPN senior writer David Schoenfield highlighted the best remaining free agents and where he believes they will end up.
He predicts that the best bets for outfielder Lorenzo Cain and infielder Todd Frazier are to land with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees, respectively, but says to not be surprised if they end up with the Mets.
Cain, 31, hit .300/.363/.440 with 15 home runs, 49 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases in 2017 for the Kansas City Royals. He also posted a 5.3 bWAR, but his dWAR declined for the fourth straight season and he will turn 32 on April 13.
Back in November it was reported that the Mets had reached out to Cain despite signing him being an extreme long shot.
“The Mets have an elite defender in Juan Lagares, but his career OPS+ (on-base plus slugging percentage adjusted for league and park factors) is an anemic 84, and if the Mets actually operated like a big-money team, adding Cain and receiving better health in the rotation would make them wild-card contenders,” Schoenfield wrote.
As for Frazier, bringing him into the fold would help fill more holes than one.
With the Mets having some question marks about Dominic Smith at first base, Frazier could serve as either a platoon partner or even an insurance policy for Smith. In Smith’s young career, he has not hit left-handed pitchers well, and that has been something that followed him to the majors with Smith hitting .129/.243/.194 in 37 plate appearances.
Frazier’s presence could also permit the Mets to move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base or use him as a utility player pending what the team can do in the offseason to address the keystone. The one concern about Cabrera at second is his defense. In 274.1 innings there last year, he had -6 defensive runs saved. This is not particularly an outlier with him posting -10 DRS at second base in 2014 with the Nationals.
Frazier is an accomplished defender at third base with a 10 DRS there last year. The number was a career best for him. However, it should be noted in five of the six seasons he has logged at least a thousand innings at third, he has had a 5 DRS or higher at the position.
Offensively in 2017, Frazier hit .213/.344/.428 with 19 doubles, a triple, 27 homers and 76 RBI. With those numbers, he had a 108 wRC+ and a 107 OPS+.
Overall, Frazier would add an interesting dynamic to the Mets by giving them an insurance policy at two different infield positions, and he would significantly upgrade the third base position defensively, a spot where the Mets posted a National League worst -17 DRS last year.
“If Frazier is willing to take a one- or two-year deal to return to the Yankees, that makes a lot of sense,” Schoenfield wrote. “The Mets currently have Asdrubal Cabrera at third base on their depth chart, but Cabrera could slide over to second to make room for Frazier.”
To see the complete list of the top remaining free agents and where Schoenfield has them going, click here.