The Mets have added to their outfield depth by signing Harrison Bader to a one-year contract, worth $10.5 million, according to multiple sources. Bader, a seven year veteran, has played for the Cardinals, Yankees, and Reds before signing in Queens.
Bader, a defense-first center fielder, split time between the Yankees and Reds last season, and didn’t do much for either club, offensively, putting up a pedestrian .232/.274/.348 line across the 2023 season.
Bader’s best offensive season came in 2021 for St. Louis, where he slugged .460 with 16 home runs and 21 doubles. Since then, his power has dropped consistently, as has his walk rate. However, Bader did record a career high 20 stolen bases in 2023, which is an area where the Mets have certainly lacked in recent memory.
The Mets likely needed a backup center fielder and some insurance in the ‘is Starling Marte toast?’ category. Taken in a vacuum, this is a fine signing for a depth piece, or even as a starting center fielder if offensive improvements were made elsewhere. However, given the Mets’ relative silence this offseason, this move seems to portend an uninspiring season ahead, unless the team starts making some moves in the near future.