Should The Mets Pick Up Brennan Boesch?

Dave Reginek

The Mets will inevitably be linked to every outfielder to hit the market this year, but Boesch's track record is underwhelming.

The Detroit Tigers released outfielder Brennan Boesch yesterday, and, as has been and will be the case with outfielders with a pulse, there was immediate speculation that the Mets might have interest. The team's outfield, after all, is its biggest weakness entering the 2013 season. Jon Heyman tweeted a vague report that the Mets "appear to have interest" in the left-handed hitting Boesch, who will turn 28 in early April.

Boesch's main strength is that he hits for power — not a ton of it, but enough to make him an upgrade in the home run department over some of the outfielders in Mets camp. But he doesn't draw many walks and has had an awfully hard time getting on base in three seasons in Detroit, and the advanced defensive metrics strongly disapprove of his fielding work in right field, where he's played most of his big league innings.

For his career, Boesch is a .259/.315/.414 hitter, which translates to a .319 wOBA. That's a little below the major league average for outfielders over the past three seasons. He essentially had one pretty good year in 2011, posting a .348 wOBA and a modest 1.7 fWAR, but wasn't very good in 2010 or 2012. Remove those arbitrary endpoints, and Boesch's career thus far looks just barely above replacement level.

That said, the Mets wouldn't be risking much by signing him to a minor league deal. If there's one upside to Boesch, it's that he has actually been better against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching — the Justin Turner split, if you will — and wouldn't be much of a liability in typical platoon situations. He's not an everyday big leaguer at this point, but the Mets aren't exactly loaded with those in the outfield right now and may as well roll the dice on another player.

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