So far this off-season, the Mets have prioritized adding hitting and relief pitching with the acquisitions of Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, and Anthony Swarzak. However, none of those pieces addresses one of the biggest weaknesses on this team for the past few years.
Even when this team went to the World Series in 2015, the Mets did not have this. In fact, they re-acquired Eric Young Jr. from the Atlanta Braves just for the month of September that season because they were that deficient in the area.
Last season as they were one of the slowest teams in the league. Outside of Jose Reyes who stole 24 bases, the next highest players stole seven bases, which was a tie between Amed Rosario and Juan Lagares. In fact, the Mets only had nine players on the team that recorded at least one stolen base.
While Rosario is probably destined to improve upon that total over the course of his first full season in the league, Jose Reyes is not a guarantee to return and Juan Lagares has been pushed out of the lineup.
As a result, the team is left without any regular speed in the lineup. This leaves the Mets with the need to find some on the free agent market.
The Mets could look in a few areas to find this.
For starters, the Mets should look to inject a speedy player into the lineup, though. My pitch for that player is Josh Harrison.
Harrison stole 12 bases last season, and while that might not a be a lot, the number still eclipsed the rest of the roster last season, outside of Reyes.
In terms of the rest of his numbers, the 30-year-old hit .272/.339/.432 this past season with a career-high of 16 home runs with 47 RBIs that gave him a wRC+ of 104. For his career, he has hit a similar .281/.321/.414 with a wRC+ of 101.
At second base, Harrison recorded six defensive runs saved last season and has 22 for his career at the keystone. He also recorded two defensive runs saved at third base last season and 19 for his career.
He also hit in the lead-off spot often for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season while the Mets lack a true lead-off hitter in their lineup at the moment.
If they cannot get their hands on Harrison in a trade, though, my suggestion would be to turn to Eduardo Nunez.
The 30-year old stole 24 bases last season which would fit perfectly at the top of the lineup for the Mets. He also can hit as he put up a .313/.341/.460 slash line while hitting 12 homers and recording 58 RBIs to give him a 112 wRC+.
While he is not known to be the best fielder, he has proven to be versatile and put up an even zero defensive runs saved at third base, while putting up -4 at the second.
Furthermore, the Mets should add someone to the bench with speed that could be a threat off the bench as a pinch-runner.
The Mets could bring back Jose Reyes. As mentioned before, Reyes led the team in stolen bases last season and could serve as a back-up at second, shortstop, and third base.
Despite having a dreadful first half last season, he managed to hit .246/.315/.413 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs with a 94 wRC+, which actually is only slightly below average.
However, his defense was pretty dreadful as he had -5 defensive runs saved at second and third base, while recording -15 at shortstop which gave him a net WAR of -0.6.
To be clear: Reyes should not be an everyday player if the team brings him back.
His ability to mentor Amed Rosario and bring an element of speed off the bench, though, is valuable and does make him a viable option for the roster in 2018.
If the Mets choose to go in a different direction, they could sign Jarrod Dyson, who actually offers a little more speed than Reyes as he stole 28 bases in 2017.
Dyson hit .251/.324/.350 with five homers and 30 RBIs this past season with an 85 wRC+.
Defense is his calling card, though, as he put up 15 defensive runs saved in which 10 of those came in center field. That helped give him a 2.1 WAR, despite his hitting woes.
This makes the 33-year old a perfect replacement for Lagares if they need to trade him, or could make him a fit as the fifth outfielder on this team.
Whatever the case may be, the Mets need to find a way to inject some speed into the roster, or they will struggle to come up with offense on nights where they are not hitting home runs.