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Jose Bautista could be a decent find for the Mets

The Mets could use outfield help, and Bautista is out there.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have been rather quiet this offseason and it appears that Sandy Alderson won’t be allowed to go on a spending spree. If the Mets are looking for some cheap talent to recruit to the Big Apple, Jose Bautista could be an excellent fit. Bautista became a free agent in early November after the Blue Jays declined his team option for the 2018 season.

If you recall, the Mets have a history of bringing former Toronto Blue Jay sluggers to town. Remember Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent and Shawn Green? If Alderson chooses to sign Bautista to a one-year deal, he’d be acquiring a talented bat that twice has brought home the Hank Aaron Award. Bautista has also been an All-Star six times and has been awarded the Silver Slugger Award three times in his career.

But the last few seasons have been painful to watch, as Bautista hasn’t looked the same. In 2010 and 2011, he hit a combined 97 home runs. But his power has significantly slowed down and in the past three seasons, he’s seen his OPS, bWAR and WRC+ drop at a significant rate. In 2015, he had a .913 OPS, 5.1 bWAR and a 148 WRC+. But in 2016, he had an .818 OPS, 1.0 bWAR and a 122 WRC+. And in 2017, he put up just a .674 OPS, -1.7 bWAR and a 80 WRC+.

If Bautista joined the Mets, his power might continue to drop. According to an ESPN report, hitting home runs at Citi Field is tougher than at Rogers Centre. In 2017, Citi Field had a lower home run average per game than Rogers Centre. Citi Field’s home run average per game was at .798 while Rogers Centre had a home run average per game of .923.

However, the Mets wouldn’t necessarily be looking at Bautista for his power. The real value behind Bautista is that he’s an outfielder who can hit considerably well against left-handed pitching. In 1,650 career plate appearances against left handers, Bautista has an .OPS of .858. His OPS against left handers are considerably better than Michael Conforto’s and Yoenis Cespedes’s career OPS against southpaws.

Bautista would also bring veteran leadership to the Mets clubhouse. Several Jays including Marcus Stroman have mentioned that Bautista’s presence has not only impacted fellow outfielders but also pitchers. In a interview with Brandon Wile of The Score, Stroman talked about Bautista being one of his role models.

He's like a brother to me. He's been incredibly instrumental since day one. He's a guy that took me under his wing, has been a huge mentor to me. He's taught me the ins and outs. Not only just on the field, but away from it. How to go about certain things. He still mentors me now. He'll pull me over and say, 'Hey, try and do this.' This is in baseball or in life, so I'm very appreciative of Jose and I'll always be. Obviously, I hope to play with him a lot longer, but regardless of what happens, we're always going to stay in touch. He's always going to be a close friend of mine.