The New York Mets have been in need of a center fielder for several years. Or so that was the thought until this most recent season.
Brandon Nimmo has established himself as a reliable center fielder for New York’s National League club. However, the Mets could still benefit themselves from moving him to a corner outfield spot and finding a Gold Glove-caliber player at the position.
As much as he could improve the Mets roster, steering clear of Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton is an absolute must.
A Mets trade for Byron Buxton is all sizzle, no substance
The last thing the Mets need to spend any trade pieces on this offseason is an injury-prone outfielder. Since debuting in 2015, Buxton has one year with 100+ games played. One! You know—the loneliest number. Twice as many as the number of nostrils the average human has. One fewer than the number of days my last diet lasted. Do I need to go on?
Back at the trade deadline, there was some thought that the Twins might make Buxton available. They went into full sell mode but never dealt away the second overall draft pick from 2012. Approaching his final year before free agency, Minnesota might be more enticed to deal the star outfielder that never fully arrived.
It’s a little amazing to see Buxton actually has received some minor MVP consideration in his career. Back in 2017 and again in 2020, he finished 18th and 16th respectively. Compared to Michael Conforto who has put up far superior numbers in his career and has never once received even so much as a favor or sympathy vote for the MVP, I don’t really read much into Buxton receiving the distant finishes.
Buxton’s career has been defined by his brilliant defense, inconsistent offense, and inability to stay on the field. It’s truly the last part that should have the Mets staying far, far away from any possible trade with the Twins for Buxton—even if the price feels like a discount.
I recently shared my thoughts on a potential trade for Buxton with FanSided’s Twins site, Puckett’s Pond. I went through the entire Mets organization and couldn’t really find any truly understandable package that would have me on board with a move.
The type of players the Mets should look to add
The Mets shouldn’t avoid signing a player just because he has a history of landing on the IL. Buxton is an extreme example of someone who regularly misses half the year or more. Even in 2020, when there were 60 games on the schedule, he made his way into 39 of them.
If there’s an outfielder the Mets are seeking, the ideal candidate would be someone who fits with whatever they lost. If Conforto leaves, they’re going to need power. If he stays and they’re looking for a new left fielder or someone to play center field, the whole roster can be assessed to see where their weaknesses lie.
Based on what we saw in 2021, offensive prowess should be at the top of this list.
The Mets only have so many moves up their sleeve to make this offseason. Using trade chips to land a rental with such a massive injury history is not one of the cards to play. As dead as every flyball to center field will be when he’s out there, it just isn’t the risk to take when the team needs something sure.