2021 New York Mets Centerfield Options

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New York Mets centerfield options create a tough decision
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after hitting a home run in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs during game five of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 19, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

For the 2021 New York Mets centerfield appears to be a bit of a question mark at the moment. The top option on the roster as currently constructed is Brandon Nimmo.

Offensively, Nimmo is an on-base machine and a real good all-around ball-player. Defensively, however, Nimmo is one of the worst everyday center fielders in the game.

After missing out on top free agent George Springer earlier this week to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Mets need to pivot and find a viable replacement, allowing the 27-year old to shift over to left.

Let’s take a look at some of the top options both in free agency and on the trade market leftover for the Mets pickings.

New York Mets Centerfield Options – Free Agency

Obviously, Springer was the all-around best option on the free-agent market this off-season. I personally thought his personality and game would’ve thrived here, but the Mets choose to pass on the high-price with an eye towards their future.

While there is no-one nearly as talented as Springer left over, there are still some interesting names on the free-agent market.

The top option currently is former Red Sox Gold Glove outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley, most known for his highlight-reel catches, is an absolute star in the field.

JBJ ranks third amongst qualified center fielders with 48 DRS and a 30.8 UZR over his career.

There is no denying the addition of Bradley to go along with Francisco Lindor and James McCann this off-season would significantly improve the Mets defense up-the-middle.

Offensively, however, Bradley leaves much to be desired. Bradley has always been an extremely streaky hitter and has posted just a .732 OPS over his eight big-league seasons.

JBJ is also a lefty, the Mets are already very lefty-heavy, and is likely looking for a multi-year deal. For these reasons, the Mets may pass on Bradley and look for a cheaper right-handed platoon outfielder.

If the Mets do decide to go this route, they should look no further than former Los Angeles Dodger super utility-man Enrique Hernandez.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Mets were actually in ‘pretty hard’ on Hernandez prior to firing former GM Jared Porter.

Hernandez would be a very intriguing option here for the Mets. He has the ability to fill-in and provides solid defense at almost every position. For his career, he has actually graded out as a pretty solid center fielder, posting 4 DRS and an 8.4 UZR at the position over his career.

His offense is a bit shaky as well, as he has posted marks of .313 OBP and .738 OPS over his seven-year big league career. Hernandez has enjoyed plenty of success against lefties, however, to the tune of a .345 OBP and .820 OPS.

Hernandez plays with the energy and has the personality to fit in perfectly and thrive with this Mets ball-club.

Some other options the Mets could consider that should be able to be had for relatively cheap on the market are Albert Almora Jr., Kevin Pillar, or a reunion with Jake Marisnick.

New York Mets Centerfield Options – Trade Market

The trade-market also has some interesting names for the New York Mets centerfield opening.

With the Brewers looking to shed salary, the Mets could put in a call and see what they’re looking for for Lorenzo Cain. ‘Lo-Cain’ is on the older side but is still a very good-to elite defensive center fielder, let’s not forget he took home a Gold Glove during his last full season in 2019.

While he isn’t the star he once was at the plate, ‘Cainer’ also put together a solid offensive season in 2019. He could jump in nicely towards the bottom of the Mets order and just do his job and keep the line moving.

With two-years and $35 million left on his deal, Cain shouldn’t cost all the much in a trade. The Mets could send over reliever Jeurys Familia to equal out some of the money plus something like a mid-range prospect.

Another intriguing name to keep an eye on in the trade-front is Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader. The 26-year old hasn’t really panned out in St. Louis and should be able to be had for very cheap if he is indeed available.

Bader hasn’t been all that good offensively thus far, but has terrific speed and is an elite defender in center. On top of that, Bader grew up in Bronxville NY and was teammates with Mets star first baseman Pete Alonso at the University of Florida.

Perhaps a change of scenery and a return home could spark some fire under Bader, and help him find another gear at the plate.

Some other names to keep an eye on could be Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot, or maybe even buying low on young Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

Those were just some of the New York Mets centerfield options. No matter what direction they decide to go, Sandy Alderson and company will certainly address the hole prior to the beginning of the 2021 season.

Keep it peeled to OTH for the latest Mets moves and rumors as they round out the roster and close out the offseason.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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