Free agency kicked off at 5 p.m. on Monday, and SNY Mets Contributor Jim Duquette lists the Mets among the interested teams for free agent first basemen Eric Hosmer, Yonser Alonso, Logan Morrison, and Carlos Santana.
Duquette, in a piece for MLB.com, ultimately predicts that Morrison -- who hit .246/.353/.516 with 38 HR this past season for the Rays -- will sign with the Mets.
Before his breakout season in 2017, the lefty-hitting Morrison had slugged .420, .383, and .414 respectively over his prior three seasons -- spending 2014 and 2015 with the Mariners and 2016 with the Rays.
It has been widely expected that the Mets would enter the 2018 season with Dominic Smith as their starting first baseman, making Duquette's prediction of a Morrison signing -- and the team being linked to multiple other free agent first basemen -- interesting.
Duquette believes the 28-year-old Hosmer will ultimately return to the Royals, inking a deal worth roughly $140 million for seven years.
The 30-year-old Alonso, who Duquette feels will land back with the Mariners on a three-year deal for around $38 million, hit .266/.365/.501 with 28 HR in 142 games for the A's and Mariners in 2017, slugging higher than .397 for the first time since 2014.
The switch-hitting Santana, 31, hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 HR in 154 games for the Indians in 2017. Duquette predicts Santana will sign with the Rays.
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
After seeing Duquette link the Mets to arguably the top-four free agent first basemen on the market, it's fair to infer that he believes one of two things to be true...
1. The Mets are not as high on Dominic Smith as we have been led to believe or 2. The Mets intend to use Smith as part of a trade to import help elsewhere.
The 22-year-old Smith hit .198/.262/.395 with nine HR and six doubles in 49 games (167 at-bats) for the Mets this past season in what was his first taste of the majors. He had hit .330/.386/.519 with 16 HR and 34 doubles in 114 games (457 at-bats) for Triple-A Las Vegas prior to his call-up.
The concern from many regarding Smith as he advanced through the minors was his perceived lack of power, which ticked up in 2016 and continued to translate both in the minors and majors this past season. Smith was always expected to hit for average -- he hit .302 with a .366 OBP during his minor league career -- so his poor showing in that regard in a small sample size during his rookie season shouldn't be held against him.
However, another thing that was supposed to be one of Smith's calling cards -- Gold Glove-quality defense -- was nowhere to be found after he got the call to the Mets.
Smith only made two errors in 46 games with the Mets, but his positioning was awful at times. And there were also instances where he seemed legitimately confused as to what was going on around him in the field. Overall, he was worth -7 DRS in 378 innings. Those defensive problems, and his continued issues with his weight, should give the Mets and any interested teams pause.
However, just as Smith's poor showing average and on-base wise in the majors is a tiny sample size, so is what we saw from him defensively.