A major focus of the Mets' offseason plans centered around the ability to add a run-producing outfielder and upgrading the shortstop position. General manager Sandy Alderson took care of the former by inking ex-Colorado Rockie Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal at the start of free agency.
The shortstop situation has yet to resolve itself, though certainly not for a lack of possibilities. With the winter meetings set to kick off next week in San Diego, Alderson will look to bolster the Mets' roster as they prepare for a very important 2015 season. If New York's GM is interested in rounding out his club in as complete a way as possible, he should seriously consider Gaby Sanchez, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 31-year-old was designated for assignment by the Bucs at the beginning of December and although he no longer resembles the All-Star he was in 2011, Sanchez would provide a viable platoon partner for Lucas Duda as well as a power bat off the bench, something the Mets don't currently have. Despite breaking out with 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 2014, Duda struggled mightily against left-handers, hitting just .180/.264/.252 with two home runs. For his career, the hulking first baseman has managed to bat just .212/.292/.317 with nine homers in 470 plate appearances against southpaws. Cuddyer has experience at first base and could spell Duda when a left-hander is on the mound, but that means the Mets would have to use an inferior hitter—like Matt den Dekker or Kirk Nieuwenhuis—in the outfield.
A player like Sanchez not only deepens the Mets' roster but gives manager Terry Collins the flexibility to field a formidable starting lineup regardless of who is on the mound. A native of South Florida, Sanchez has scorched lefties in his career, hitting .291/.382/.481 with an .863 OPS in more than 700 plate appearances. When not in the lineup, he becomes the primary power threat off New York's bench and can play the outfield in a pinch. Although Sanchez will never be confused with Keith Hernandez, he won't embarrass himself with a first baseman's glove either. If anything, New York would be wise to get Sanchez on their side after watching him hit .321/.389/.571 against them during his career.
Despite their financial limitations, Sanchez won't break the Mets' bank. After earning $2.3 million in 2014, his subpar year (.229/.293/.385) and the raise he would receive through arbitration persuaded the Pirates to cut him loose. He is now a free agent for the first time in his career, and Alderson would be wise to gauge his interest in coming to Queens.