As spring training is about to start, we take a look at Alejandro De Aza, who was signed as a free agent in December to a one-year deal.
The Dodgers originally drafted De Aza in 2001. After being selected by the Marlins in the 2004 Rule 5 Draft, he made his major league debut with Florida in 2007. De Aza has 7 years of Major League experience, playing for Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Red Sox and Giants.
2015 Season Highlights:
In 2015, De Aza posted numbers of .262/.333/.422 with 7 HR’s. Against right-handed pitching, De Aza hit .278/.351/.448 and all 7 of his home runs in 281 At-Bats. However, he hit only .159/.220/.250 in 44 At-Bats against left-handers. De Aza’s defense over his career has been his major asset. De Aza posted a .987 fielding percentage in 2015, while only committing 2 errors.
De Aza was signed by the Mets to a one-year $5.75 million contract. Along with Asdrubal Cabrera at short, and Neil Walker at second, De Aza was the third key player in improving the defense up the middle. At the time of De Aza’s signing the Mets were preparing to move forward without Yoenis Cespedes, who had been a key member of the 2015 team after being acquired at the trading deadline.
On January 26, Cespedes was re-signed to be the Mets’ primary centerfielder.
At this point, it would make sense for the Mets to explore a trade with De Aza. In return, they could look for a backup for Wright or Duda or bullpen relief. A trade would also benefit De Aza, since his contract calls for bonuses based on plate appearances in 2016, which will be almost impossible to achieve given his current role with the Mets.It is more likely possible that De Aza remains on the team for most of the season, and he would be used as a trading chip at this year’s deadline, but I wonder if a first or third base backup would better use his spot on the roster.
2016 Season Outlook:
De Aza’s 2016 role was to be a fourth outfielder behind Conforto, Lagares and Granderson. With the signing of Cespedes, his role is now diminished, since Cespedes will be the starting centerfielder, but will also see time at both corner positions in the outfield. Lagares goes from the starting centerfielder to the backup role that De Aza was originally signed for. De Aza is now relegated to pinch hitting and injury relief duties.