The Winter Meetings are slated to begin on Dec. 3, which means MLB free agency should pick up speed. The New York Mets have already begun making moves, but president of baseball operations David Stearns will need to add another impact bat.
While a Shohei Ohtani pursuit can’t be ruled out due to owner Steve Cohen’s financial resources, here are four more realistic DH options the Mets should consider targeting this offseason.
Adam Duvall, free agent
After an underwhelming 2022 season, Duvall was one of the more intriguing bounce-back candidates on the market last winter and is someone the Mets probably regret not taking a flier on. Duvall signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, and while injuries limited him to 92 games, he had one of the better offensive seasons of his career. The one-time All-Star slashed .247/.303/.531 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI.
With the pressing need for a fourth outfielder — or possibly a full-time starter, given the uncertainty surrounding right fielder Starling Marte — Duvall’s glove and versatility make him an ideal acquisition. Signing outfielder Tommy Pham last offseason proved to be an excellent low-risk, high-reward move, perhaps Duvall could produce similar results for the Mets.
Teoscar Hernandez, free agent
Despite regressing since his 2021 All-Star season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Hernandez has been a reliable source of power over the years. In four of the last five seasons, Hernandez has hit at least 25 home runs, with the lone exception being the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
As mentioned, Hernandez’s play has declined as of late, but his 26 homers and 93 RBI from last season would’ve ranked third among Mets in those categories. Although he’ll strike out frequently, Hernandez could be a perfect complement to Pete Alonso in the middle of the order, as he hit the ball harder on average last season than the All-Star first baseman. Per Baseball Savant, Hernandez ranked in the 90th percentile in hard-hit percentage, whereas Alonso fell in the 46th percentile.
Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox
While the Mets might not want to part with some of their newly acquired prospects for a big name like OF Juan Soto or right-hander Tyler Glasnow, it doesn’t mean they won’t pursue any trades. Jimenez, who had a .758 OPS and 18 home runs in 2023 and has only played in 259 games over the last three seasons, comes with plenty of risk. However, the 27-year-old is one of the top DHs in baseball when healthy and may be readily available.
Last month, White Sox GM Chris Getz told Jesse Rogers of ESPN that “teams are interested” in Jimenez and a deal “just has to make sense for both sides.” Rogers later said during an MLB Network appearance that he’d “almost bet money” Chicago trades Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease this offseason. Jimenez is set to make $13.8 million in 2024 and has club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, which makes him worth taking a chance on if he can return to form.
Jorge Soler, free agent
The 2021 World Series MVP put together a bounce-back 2023 season with the Marlins, earning his first All-Star selection and leading the team in home runs (36) while contributing 75 RBI. Following Miami’s wild-card round loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Soler made it clear to reporters that he wants to compete for another World Series title. Even so, he appears to want a hefty payday since he declined his $9 million player option that included an additional $4 million in incentives.
For what it’s worth, Steamer’s 2024 pre-season projections anticipate Soler to enjoy another productive season, hitting 34 home runs, driving in 90 runs, and posting a 119 wRC+ (MLB average is 100). Additionally, Spotrac’s calculated market value projects Soler to sign a four-year, $55.7 million contract based on past comparable free-agent signings. That type of contract might not age gracefully, but Cohen has money to spend and probably wouldn’t mind the cost if Soler helps his team make a deep postseason run.