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2015 Mets season review: Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Nieuwenhuis spent a couple weeks with the Angels in the spring but wound up on the Mets' postseason roster in the end.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Last year was something of a strange one for outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had spent his entire professional career in the Mets' organization. He began the regular season on the Mets' roster, but the team designated him for assignment in late May and traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for cash shortly thereafter. A couple of weeks later, the Angels put Nieuwenhuis on waivers, and the Mets claimed him.

The moves were understandable for both teams. In 40 plate appearances with the Mets before his DFA, Nieuwenhuis hit just .079/.125/.132. In 24 plate appearances with the Angels, he hit just .136/.208/.227. Both of those are tiny samples, of course, but teams don't always have patience with players who struggle that much.

Fortunately for the Mets, Nieuwenhuis was much better after his return than he had been before his departure. After a brief stint in Triple-A Las Vegas, he rejoined the Mets in early July. The highlight of his season was undoubtedly his three-home run game in the last game before the All-Star break. That game weighed heavily upon his performance that month, but Nieuwenhuis still hit .317/.404/.634 in 47 plate appearances before hitting the disabled list in early August.

Nieuwenhuis's injury left the door open for Michael Conforto to remain on the Mets' roster. At the time, the team had just traded for Yoenis Cespedes and optioned Conforto—who had only recently made his major league debut—to the minors. But Nieuwenhuis hit the disabled list, and Conforto never actually went back to the minors.

As for Niewenhuis himself, he didn't make his way back to the big leagues until September 1. He didn't play much the rest of the way, but Nieuwenhuis hit respectably, with a .222/.300/.444 line through the end of the regular season. In total, he hit .195/.270/.375 with an 81 wRC+ in the big leagues in 2015.

Nieuwenhuis made each of the Mets' postseason rosters as the team advanced to the NLCS and World Series. He went 0-for-4 in very limited playing time in the playoffs, but after a few seasons of bouncing back and forth between the Mets' roster and Triple-A, at least he got to play on baseball's biggest stage.

When the Mets signed Alejandro De Aza in December, they removed Nieuwenhuis from the 40-man roster to make space for him. The Brewers then claimed him on waivers. If last year's events were to repeat themselves, Nieuwenhuis would end up back with the Mets sometime early in the 2016 season, but given the state of the Brewers' roster, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise if Nieuwenhuis sticks there as a regular for a while. If Nieuwenhuis is really gone from the Mets' organization this time, at least we will always have this: