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Mets to ink $10.5 million agreement with Harrison Bader as former Yankee joins outfield reserves, according to a report

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According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Mets and free-agent outfielder Harrison Bader have come to terms on a one-year contract worth $10.5 million.

In the previous season, Bader, 29, divided his time between the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds. He posted a .232/.274/.348 batting line (69 OPS+) with seven home runs and 20 stolen bases (on 23 attempts) in 98 games. Baseball Reference’s calculations suggest his contributions amounted to an estimated 0.6 Wins Above Replacement.

These statistics fell below Bader’s usual performance levels. Even considering the 2023 season, he goes into the new year with a 92 OPS+ in 635 major league games.

At the beginning of the offseason, CBS Sports ranked Bader as the 18th best free agent available this winter. Here’s the excerpt from their initial assessment:

Bader’s thievery is more substantial than any generative artificial intelligence pattern. His pilfering takes place in two ways: 1) stolen bases, where he reached a new career peak in 2023, and 2) hits that he robbed from the opposition. Bader is a force in center field due to his significantly above average speed and arm strength. His batting performance is not as compelling, as he hits the ball at a similar angle to Jorge Soler, Matt Chapman, J.D. Martinez, and numerous other sluggers who make considerably more impactful contact. Bader would probably benefit from leveling his swing plane and utilizing his speed. An unimpressive center-field class should still keep him in demand.

Bader joins the Mets’ outfield alongside Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, D.J. Stewart, and the recently acquired Tyrone Taylor. It remains to be seen how the Mets will distribute playing time, though it is possible Stewart may spend most of his time as a designated hitter, and Bader’s defensive capabilities make him suitable for any of the three positions.

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