Despite spending to the chagrin of 29 other owners, the Mets’ roster could still use a true fourth outfielder on their MLB roster. At the moment, Jeff McNeil is likely the fourth outfielder, but is also the starting second baseman, with Darin Ruf theoretically the fifth outfielder. Neither of these players really accomplish what the Mets are looking for, however, which is someone who can truly fill in at center field for more than a game or two in case of injury, and someone who can be a late-game pinch runner, especially with the cement-footed Daniel Vogelbach likely to get the bulk of the designated hitter at-bats.
So, let’s find the Mets a fourth outfielder!
If speed is what the Mets truly need, they only need to look across town to the recent Yankee bench player Tim Locastro. Locastro, as recently as 2021, had the fastest sprint time in the majors. He also holds the MLB record for most successful stolen bases to start a career with 29.
That’s where the highlights begin and end for Locastro, a career .227 hitter without a ton of power. On the field, he is an average outfielder who could likely cut it in center without too much trouble, defensively. The 30-year old Locastro made $900,000 last year as a Yankee, and could likely be brought in for a similar payday in 2023.
If injuries hadn’t been such a big part of Roman Quinn’s career, he may not be available this offseason. The fringiest of the four players highlighted here, Quinn was a part of four organizations in 2022 alone. Injuries to his achilles heel, wrist, and hip limited his playing time over the past decade.
Once the seventh best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com in 2016, Quinn has never been able to put it all together at the Major League level. Quinn’s speed is his major skill, as well as the ability to fill in at all three outfield positions. His career 0.8 bWAR isn’t exactly eye-popping, but he may be worth a Spring Training invite.
The biggest name, and potentially the biggest payday of the bunch, comes from Jackie Bradley Jr. Once a surefire star in Boston, Bradley’s star faded fast in Beantown. After being released by the Sox in August, Bradley resurfaced with the Blue Jays for the final month plus of the season.
The bloom has been off of Bradley for a few seasons now, never quite living up to his 2016-2018 peak, but his 17.3 career bWAR is still going to cost the most of the four players outlined here. Due to the extremely thin center field market, Bradley seems most likely to wind up with a starting job as well.
Rafael Ortega brings more power to the fourth outfielder position, but less natural speed than Locastro, his closest comp in this bunch. Ortega appeared in 118 games for the Cubs last season, and had a slightly down year compared to his 2021, offensively. However, Ortega stole 12 bases in each season, as well as saw time in all three outfield positions, with center field being his primary position.
Entering his age 32 season, Ortega is probably the most well-rounded of any of these options, and would represent the highest floor of the four. The fact that he’s never signed a major-league contract also means that he will likely be cheap, something the Mets don’t really need to consider, but is worth noting.
Who would you like as the fourth outfielder?
This poll is closed
Jackie Bradley Jr