Over the next few months we will be hearing plenty of talk about how Alex Rios and Nick Markakis, both recently made free agents by their respective teams, would be good fits for the Mets. The Mets should just say no.
The argument against Rios is an easy one — he is next year’s Chris Young; a player who has had some success in the past but struggled recently. Last season Rios managed just four home runs in 131 games. And that was in Texas, where hitting home runs is not difficult. Imagine him in Citi Field, even with the unknown shorter fences? And he’ll be 34 when the season starts. There is no reason to think he will ever be the type of productive player the Mets need.
Now to Markakis. He turns 31 next month but his numbers have been falling steadily since his big years in the late aughts. And these are his last two seasons:
It is quite remarkable how consistent baseball players are. It certainly happens, but it is unusual to have wild swings in performance from year to year. So these numbers are what can be expected of Nick Markakis in 2015. And you could make a case for even more diminished stats because he will be a year older and will be moving from hitter-friendly Camden Yards to our house of horrors.
Now, Nick Markakis is not a terrible player and is better than anyone the Mets currently have penciled in for left field. But the Mets need power, and they will not get it from him, or Rios, for that matter.
No, the Mets will have to look elsewhere for the answer to their outfield problem. Exactly where remains a mystery right now.