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Mets sign back Matt den Dekker to minor league contract

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He has returned!

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at New York Mets Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have signed their former draft pick and outfielder Matt den Dekker to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training. The lefty was drafted by the Mets in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, and during his time in the Mets system, he was touted for his glove in the outfield.

In 2011, den Dekker was rated the best defensive outfielder in the Florida State League. He made his major league debut for the Mets in 2013 and played a total of 80 games with the team in 2013 and 2014. After being a respectable bench player for the Mets in 2014, he was traded to the Nationals for Jerry Blevins just before the 2015 season began.

During his time away from Queens, den Dekker was a solid bench player for the Nationals in 2015, putting up a 116 wRC+ in 110 plate appearances and playing strong center field defense, as advertised. Last year, however, he split time between the Marlins and Tigers minor league systems, only breaking into the major leagues for a couple of weeks for the Tigers before being designated for assignment July.

It’s certainly not a sexy move, but given the fact that the Mets are utterly devoid of outfield talent in the high minors, it’s a somewhat necessary one. It seems likely that den Dekker will be manning center field for the Las Vegas 51s to start the 2018 season.