Welcome to One Last Move, where our writers pitch a move to the Mets that would close out their off-season and make the team better in 2019.
Although the Mets have greatly improved this offseason, no team is ever complete. In trading for Keon Broxton, the Mets added some depth to their outfield. However, even with the addition of Broxton, the Mets could still benefit from the addition of a more experienced outfielder. Therefore, the Mets should execute one last transaction by signing veteran free agent Adam Jones. Drafted in 2003, the 33-year-old center fielder is a San Diego native and has spent the last eleven seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
Over a thirteen year career, Jones hit .278, collecting 266 home runs and 1,813 hits. In 2018, he hit .281 with 15 home runs. Although he is no longer the all-star caliber player who hit 30 home runs and drove in close to 100 runs a season, Jones has proven that he still has the ability to make a contribution to a club.
His value is highlighted by his ability to collect extra base hits and avoid striking out. Jones compiled 50 extra base hits, which were comprised of 35 doubles and 15 home runs. Additionally, he struck out only 16.9% of the time and recorded 93 strikeouts in 2018.
According to Statcast, Jones was especially effective hitting offspeed pitches, such as splitters and changeups. Last season, he batted an impressive .353 against those types of pitches. Furthermore, he struck out just 12 times against offspeed pitches and converted 8 of them into doubles. He hit fastballs at an average of .288, recording 85 hits, nine of them being home runs. However, he struggled more against breaking pitches, hitting just .237. Although he does not strike out often, 24.5% of his strikeouts were a result of a breaking ball.
Jones struggled defensively last season. After recording 1192.1 innings in the field over 139 games played, he had a fielding percentage of .987. Through 106 games as a center fielder, he had a -18 defensive runs saved. However, after moving to right field, he had a -6 defensive runs saved over 33 games. In addition, he committed four errors on the year.
Although Jones had a difficult year defensively, he would still be valuable addition to the Mets. The primary reason being that Jones, as a right handed hitter, could serve as an effective platoon option for an outfield that is primarily comprised of left-handed hitters. In the event that Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, or Jeff McNeil have difficulty hitting against left-handed pitching, a Jones platoon could strengthen the lineup and create advantageous matchups for the Mets.
This scenario is not entirely unrealistic either. Last season, Nimmo hit just .234 against left-handed pitching, while batting .275 against righties. Additionally, Conforto hit .249 versus lefties, while Jeff McNeil hit .281. However, Jones hit .291 against left-handers with 48 hits, and nine of them being doubles. It is not hard to see how the addition of Jones could create some extra roster flexibility by giving Mickey Callaway another option to put the Mets in the best position to win.