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Outfielders Curtis Granderson (left) and Yoenis Cespedes.
Starting LF: Yoenis Cespedes (RHB)
The Mets couldn’t afford to lose Yoenis Cespedes to free agency, so they paid dearly to keep him. Specifically, New York shelled out $110 million over four years, the only nine-figure deal awarded this winter.
Cespedes will turn 35 at the back end of the contract, but for now, he’s a 30-plus-homer masher with legitimate defensive skills in left field who’s capable of anchoring/carrying this offense.
Starting CF: Curtis Granderson (LHB)
Curtis Granderson, who turns 36 in March, is no one’s idea of a prototypical center fielder. He might not even be anyone’s idea of a passable center fielder. He can still hit, however, as his 30-homer 2016 performance proves. New York just needs to figure out a way to move him to a corner outfield spot.
Starting RF: Jay Bruce (LHB)
Jay Bruce is the most obvious trade candidate. He’s been tough to trade, though, since New York picked up his $13 million option, a mistake in hindsight as Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal noted.
Bruce hit 33 home runs with 99 RBI between the Cincinnati Reds and Mets last season, so he’s not devoid of value. The Mets, however, may have to eat some cash and accept a minimal return to get him out of Queens.
Fourth OF: Michael Conforto (LHB)
The 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Michael Conforto posted an .841 OPS in his 2015 rookie season. He took a step backward in 2016, as he hit .220 with a .725 OPS in 109 games. Still, the 23-year-old boasts undeniable potential.
In November, Alderson told reporters Conforto would feature “prominently” in the team’s 2017 plans and even suggested he could enter the center field mix.
Fifth OF: Juan Lagares (RHB)
Speaking of center field, Juan Lagares grades well defensively at the position but owns an anemic .633 career OPS against right-handed pitching. He’s probably best suited for a platoon role, though that’s up in the air at this point, as are most things related to the Mets outfield.
Next in Line
Brandon Nimmo (LHB)
Things are complicated enough as it is, but 23-year-old Brandon Nimmo made a case for himself last season, hitting .274 in 32 games. The 2011 first-round pick saw big league action at all three outfield positions, adding versatility to the “special skills” section on his resume.