The New York Mets have agreed to terms with veteran left-handed outfielder Alejandra De Aza on a one-year, $5.75 million deal, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday.
In addition to the base salary, De Aza can earn up to $1.25 million in incentives next season, Rosenthal added. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post also reported that De Aza’s deal “includes $250,000 bonuses for reaching each of 400, 450, 500, 550 and 690 plate appearances.”
The Mets confirmed the signing on Wednesday.
— New York Mets (@Mets) December 23, 2015
The 31-year-old outfielder has not been a superstar player but has definitely been a productive asset during his eight-year career. Last season, De Aza was well-traveled, spending time with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants.
With Baltimore, De Aza struggled as he hit just .214 with three HR and 7 RBI in 30 games. He was traded to Boston in early June, which is where he found most of his success. In 60 games with Boston, De Aza hit .292 with 4 HR and 25 RBI. Speaking to the Boston Globe as his name was again in trade talks, De Aza expressed his desire to just play the game — no matter what team he was on.
“Like you said, I’ve been traded before, but the game is still the same no matter where you go. It doesn’t matter where you play it, here or wherever you are. It’s the same, baseball. You just have to try and focus on the job at hand and on the moment, you have to do the job.”
De Aza was traded once again, this time to the Giants just before the waiver deadline as the Inquisitr reported. But De Aza’s playing was limited as he accrued just 61 at-bats for the Giants, batting .262 with zero HR and three RBI in 24 games.
Combined, De Aza finished 2015 a .261 hitter with seven HR and 32 RBI in 112 games.
With the right-handed Juan Lagares already on board, it’s likely that De Aza will get at-bats in a platoon role with his left-handed bat getting a shot against right-handed pitching. De Aza handled right-handed pitchers well last summer, hitting them to a .278 clip. However, he had virtually no success against left-handed pitchers as he hit just .159 against southpaws — albeit in a small sample size of 44 at-bats.
— Newsday Sports (@NewsdaySports) December 10, 2015
It’s interesting to note that the Mets’ confirmation on Twitter said the team was “adding depth” by signing De Aza. The team was reportedly interested in fellow left-handed outfielder Denard Span, but signing De Aza may take the Mets out of those discussions.
With the Mets trying to improve their defense, De Aza may be a bit of a head-scratching signing. FanGraphs rated De Aza’s defense poorly at all three outfield positions last year. The Dominican-born De Aza registered a negative UZR/150 (-2.0) and a negative total in Defensive Runs Saved (-4).
But De Aza is not too far removed from the best offensive season of his career with the 2013 Chicago White Sox. In 153 games that year, De Aza hit .264 with a career-high 17 HR and 62 RBI.
Not only will signing De Aza likely take the Mets out of the running for Span, it may also take the team out of the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes. The team has publicly acknowledged that re-signing the superstar outfielder is unlikely, and with a capable platoon option on board, the need for Cespedes decreases.
Also, with De Aza a Met, the team saw longtime outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. That clears room on the roster for De Aza.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]