The Mets have reached out to free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who was recently traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves and promptly designated for assignment and released. A huge part of the appeal of Gonzalez would presumably be that he’d only need to be paid the league minimum, as his former teams would be on the hook for the rest of his $21.5 million salary in 2018.
Formerly one of the best first basemen in the game, Gonzalez struggled mightily in 2017 and spent time on the disabled list. The left-handed hitter made just 252 plate appearances for the Dodgers and hit .242/.287/.355 with a 69 wRC+ and -1.1 fWAR. All of those numbers, which came in his age-35 season, were the worst of his career since his first full season in the big leagues.
Gonzalez wasn’t spectacular in 2016, either, but he was passable overall with a .285/.349/.435 line, a 111 wRC+, and 1.2 fWAR. His dominant days as a player seem to be behind him, but there’s a non-zero chance that he could be a decent hitter in 2018. And while the Mets’ budget shouldn’t be as limited and mysterious and it is, per Marc Carig’s recent report, going into spring training with a virtually-free Adrian Gonzalez and youngster Dominic Smith seems preferable to going into it with just Smith.