With pitchers and catchers officially underway, it’s beginning to feel a lot like baseball season.
While it seems unlikely the Mets will make a play for any of those names, there are still a ton of free agents who would be valuable to bring into camp to compete for a roster spot.
Here are four players that would be nice fits for New York.
Adeiny Hechavarria, IF
However, most of those players fit best as second base or third base. New York could benefit from bringing in some shortstop depth, and that’s where Adeiny Hechavarria comes in.
The 29-year-old bounced around last season, spending time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees. Cumulatively, he appeared in 94 games, and hit .247/.279/.345 with six homers and 31 RBI.
However, it’s in the field where Hechavarria’s game is important. In 717.1 innings at short last year, he was worth three defensive runs saved (DRS) and had a 1.7 UZR. Since 2015, he has 26 DRS at the position as well.
If Hechavarria can be had on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, it’d be a shrewd move for the Mets, who would have a solid defensive candidate to backup Amed Rosario.
Cameron Maybin, OF
The 31-year-old split last year between the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, where he hit .249/.326/.336 with four homers and 28 RBI.
He played all three outfield positions last year as well. In left, he recorded six DRS and had a UZR of 3.9 in 316 innings, while he had zero DRS and a -2.9 UZR in central. He only played over 100 innings in right, where he was overall neutral (zero DRS, 0.2 UZR).
Maybin is not a flashy name by any means, but would be a good depth piece to help reinforce the outfield corps.
EDIT: After this article was posted, the San Francisco Giants signed Maybin to a deal as a non-roster invitee.
Clay Buchholz, RHP
Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway all but guaranteed that left-hander Jason Vargas has the No. 5 rotation spot locked down, but with the rotation depth thin and some good starters still out there, the Mets should think about signing one or two to bring to camp.
A really appealing name is right-hander Clay Buchholz, who had a career resurgence last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In 16 games, Buchholz recorded a 2.01 ERA, went 7-2 and was worth 1.9 bWAR. Going into his age 34 season, there is no guarantee he can replicate what he did last year, but he’s an appealing name who, at the right place, would be an interesting candidate to round out New York’s rotation.
Nick Vincent, RHP
You can never have too much pitching.
The Mets have truly turned around their bullpen this winter and have a lot of appealing names out there, even if there are one or two injuries.
However, like I said in the first sentence, it’s shrewd to always have ample arms.
Nick Vincent is a seven year veteran who has spent the last three with the Seattle Mariners. He had an average campaign last year (3.99 ERA, 3.75 FIP), but is one year removed from having a solid 2.82 FIP in 69 appearances.
Other than Vincent, there are several relievers still out there New York could try and snag on inexpensive contracts.