Markakis, Gonzalez Safer Bets For Mets Than Pollock

As good of a fit as A.J. Pollock might be position and talent wise, the Mets don’t need to overpay for another injury prone player.

Despite posting an impressive 2.5 WAR .257/.316/.484 with 21 home runs and 65 RBI a season ago, the 31-year-old center fielder hasn’t played more than 113 games since 2015. He has also only appeared in 150+ games one time in his career.

While there’s no denying Pollock’s talent, given his career line of .281/.338/.467 in seven seasons, he is too much of a health risk to be relied upon as an impact player for the Mets in 2019, especially with the injury history of newly acquired catcher, Wilson Ramos.

The safer and more reliable route would be to go with slightly lower ranking free agent outfielders, Nick Markakis or Marwin Gonzalez.

Nick Markakis

Markakis is coming off an All-Star season in 2018, where he posted a 2.6 WAR and produced a slash line of .297/.366/.440, with 14 homers and 93 RBI.

The 35-year-old is a more than solid defensive outfielder posting a UZR of 1.4 with 2 defensive runs saved (DRS) last season, and provides durability playing in all 162 games. He has also appeared in 155+ games every year since 2012 (104), which was the only year he ever played less than 147.

To further prove his consistency, his average career line is an impressive .288/.358/.424. Markakis brings durability, consistency, and veteran leadership, which would eliminate one major question mark the Mets currently have in the outfield.

Contract:

Due to his age and arguably coming off the best year of his career, Markakis will most likely be looking for a 2-3 year deal worth $8-11 million per season, but if the Mets wait out the market a bit they could possibly grab him around the two-year $18-20 million range total, which would be more than fair.

Marwin Gonzalez

Gonzalez adds versatility in the infield and corner outfield spots and is coming off a year where he produced a .247/.324/.409 stat line and slugged 16 home runs, knocking in 68 RBI for the Houston Astros.

The 29-year-old played all over the diamond in 2018, where he saw action in games in left field (73), shortstop (39), first base (24), second base (32), and third base (3). Gonzalez fills a need for the Mets in the outfield and provides insurance at first base in case rookie top prospect, Peter Alonso struggles.

If Gonzalez joins the metropolitans it is assumed he will start in left field and figures to shift Conforto over to right, and Nimmo to center. He can also start at first base to begin the year until Alonso serves some time in the minors, so the Mets gain an additional year of control over him.

Contract:

Heading into his age 30 season, it can be assumed that Gonzalez will be seeking a multi-year deal valued slightly higher than Markakis, estimated around $10-15 million per season.

Brodie and the Mets could try and lock him up for either 3 years $36 million or continue to wait out the market until his price drops. Maybe somewhere around 2 years $28 million would seem fair, as well, if his asking price doesn’t fall. Signing Gonzalez would arguably save the Mets money due to the fact that he could serve as a backup infielder as well as starting in the outfield, ultimately “killing two birds with one stone,” in the wake of a future injury elsewhere on the roster.

By going out and adding a consistent veteran such as Markakis, or Gonzalez the Mets would ultimately solidify their outfield situation, which would fill a large hole heading into the 2019 season, instead of creating an additional question mark by listening to the fan base and signing another injury prone player. It is now up to Brodie to finish his promise of “going for it” this offseason by putting a perennial winner out on the field.

About Pat Ragazzo 8 Articles
NJ kid, recent college graduate, die hard Mets Fan since the age of 10. Studied Communications at Salisbury University and currently pursuing a career in sports media and TV/Radio Production. Worked as a Production Assistant on several WFAN broadcasts live from New York Giants Training Camp last summer. Please check out my sports Twitter page @ragazzoreport for advanced and unique insight around the NFL & MLB.