Going into 2017, the Mets’ outfield is already a logjam. Currently, the Mets have Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Juan Lagares all theoretically under contract for next season. Cespedes can opt out of his contract, but if he’s somehow on the team next season, or if the Mets were to bring in another outfielder, then they would need to figure something out with their glut of outfielders.
The Mets can also decline Jay Bruce’s option, but don’t appear inclined to do so. Another option would be to move one of their outfielders to first base. Recently, Michael Conforto acknowledged the possibility of being asked to play first base, saying that he believes it’s plausible that he could move positions.
Conforto may not be the only option in the outfield to make the move to first base, however. It could also make sense to move the defensively challenged Jay Bruce to the position, which may fit him better at this point in his career.
Of course, the Mets already have a first baseman in Lucas Duda. The 30-year-old missed most of this past season with a stress fracture in his back, but was able to return in limited duty before the season ended. If Duda is healthy, he is a very good first baseman himself, and, given his accomplishments in 2014 and 2015, could be a much safer option to contribute than either Conforto or Bruce, both of whom struggled significantly with the Mets in 2016.
A return by Cespedes would likely necessitate a trade of one of the other outfielders, or of Duda. Whom the Mets would choose to keep in this scenario is anyone’s guess, and may very well depend on the ability of Conforto or Bruce to play first base competently.
This whole situation may be riding entirely on Yoenis Cespedes, and what he decides to do for next season.