With Jay Bruce traded to the Cleveland Indians and Curtis Granderson set to be a free agent at season's end, that allows the Mets to move Michael Conforto to right field in 2018.
So where do team officials turn for a center fielder next season? After all, a platoon of Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares in that position (with Yoenis Cespedes and Conforto in the corners) really does not seem like the best-case scenario.
The right-handed hitting Lagares has significantly better career splits against lefties (.276/.323/.414) compared to righties (.252/.288/.349) and is under contract for $6.5 million next season and $9 million in 2019. As a result, the Mets would ideally bring in a lefty-hitting primary center fielder who would start against right-handed pitching.
At first blush, lefty-hitting Jarrod Dyson would seem a potential option. His American League-leading 27 steals with the Seattle Mariners this season would give the Mets a speed dynamic they currently lack. Dyson is hitting .266 against right-handed pitching (as opposed to .146 against left-handed pitching), seemingly making him a viable platoon option with Lagares.
Free-agent-to-be Jon Jay also hits from the left side. Playing for the Chicago Cubs this season, Jay is hitting .292 and has a .380 on-base percentage, which Sandy Alderson presumably would appreciate.
Colby Rasmus and Ben Revere also are lefty hitters. Rasmus is hitting .281 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs through 121 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays this season. Revere is at .258 with 16 steals with the Los Angeles Angels.
But would it just be better to go with Nimmo as Lagares' complement if that's what is available?
The remainder of the center fielders bat from the right side, like Lagares. They include Lorenzo Cain, Carlos Gomez, Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson and Craig Gentry.
The Mets wanted to land Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers for Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler two years ago, so clearly they like something about him.
Of course, Alderson has suggested he is happy with Conforto's play in center field. So perhaps the Mets would be better served signing a short-term deal with a right fielder and leaving Conforto in center field through 2018.
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.