Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have extended David DeJesus for two years the Rays could look to flip reserve outfielder Matt Joyce. Joyce and DeJesus are similar on offense, with both holding firm platoon splits that favor their sitting against left-handed pitching. However, it looks like the Rays have made their decision and it doesn’t look like the 29-year-old outfielder will fit into the Rays’ plans.
If the Rays do shop Joyce the New York Mets would be a perfect destination. The Mets outfield last year was pretty awful, especially after Marlon Byrd was traded. Adding Joyce would give the Mets an outfield bat with some pop, even if it is in a platoon role. Last season, Joyce hit .235/.328/.419 with 18 home runs, 47 RBI, 22 doubles and scored 61 runs in 413 at-bats. The 18 homers would have been good to place second on the Mets, tied with David Wright behind Byrd who had 21.
Joyce is just two years removed from a .277/.347/.478 line with 19 homers and 75 RBI and 69 runs scored. While he probably won’t approach those numbers again he should be able to easily replicate a season like last year or 2012 when he hit .241/.341/.429 with 17 home runs and 55 runs scored.
Joyce wouldn’t cost much in terms of prospects even though he doesn’t hit the free agent market until after the 2015 season. He is arbitration eligible and power pays in this system. The Rays and Joyce avoided arbitration prior to 2013 by agreeing to a one-year, $2.45 million deal. He could see a fairly nice increase this season as he becomes eligible for the second time.
The Mets need pop and Joyce is an inexpensive bat that should only cost a B-level prospect and some money for Joyce’s pocket. He could easily slide in at either corner outfield spot and be a nice platoon bat and pinch-hitter for the Mets.