After focusing on their bullpen this offseason, the New York Mets and general manager Sandy Alderson have started to address another glaring weakness on their roster: the outfield. Jason Bay’s tenure with the Mets could not have gone worse, leading to his release in November.
Although Bay was a terrible pick up for the Mets with a 100 million dollar contract and nearly no production over three seasons, he was a legitimate Major League outfielder. With his release, the Mets were left with Lucas Duda and a group of unknown minor league level players. Duda has shown flashes of being a legitimate starter at times, but needs to be more consistent to stay in the starting lineup.
That being said, New York has signed former Chicago Cub outfielder Marlon Byrd to a minor league contract. Byrd is not a lock to make the final roster necessarily, but baring any injuries or lack of production, he has a good chance to be starting for New York on opening day.
Byrd only played 47 games last year, partially because of a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. While his production faltered a bit last season, his career batting average is .278 in 11 seasons.
He is far from the solution for the Mets’ weak outfield, but even at 35-years old, he is one of the best options that New York has. Alderson has continued his trend of picking up veterans for cheap contracts and still might make a few more similar moves going into Spring Training.