I guess the New York Mets really wanted to do the Black Friday thing. (Or some other market movement behind the scenes set them loose on making other moves. Or they just wanted to be the team to jump the position player market.)
After reportedly inking infield utility man Eduardo Escobar to a two-year, $20 million deal earlier today, the Mets are also signing outfield utility man (sure, that’s a thing) Mark Canha:
Outfielder Mark Canha and the New York Mets are nearing a deal, league sources tell ESPN. Canha, 32, is a versatile, high-on-base guy who can play all three outfield positions and first base. When finalized as expected, the Mets will have gotten better.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 27, 2021
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 27, 2021
Canha, 33 in February, has been an exceptionally solid player for the A’s for a long time. Just one of those dudes who is quietly really good, and then he hits the market or goes elsewhere and you look back and think, oh wow, that guy was good.
What would concern me going forward on Canha, however, is that, in his age 32 season, every data point on his ability to make quality contact took a significant dip. His overall numbers stayed buoyed primarily by an uncharacteristically huge volume of HBPs. The guy can still contribute, clearly, but if you were just looking at the last few years of wRC+ (146, 127, 115) and thinking you were getting a sneaky stud, I think you’ll be in for a disappointment. His defensive metrics also took a big dip in 2021, which could be noise, or it could be decline.
Gut says that Canha, like Escobar, is a good player to have on your team. Almost any team would love to have these guys available. I’m not so sure I’d want to be paying them a combined $23 million AAV, but again, they will contribute, and these are short-term deals.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Mets sort out their positional group. They’ve now got every spot, including DH, pretty much sewn up with a starting caliber player, plus at least one odd man out on any given day. The positional flexibility allows you to rotate everyone around, but there’s no way they can also retain Javy Báez or Michael Conforto without trading someone away, right? It’ll be interesting to see.
Having added Escobar and Canha, one thing is sure: the Mets are clearly going to be adding to the starting rotation soon, and probably aggressively.