There are six clubs interested in Mets outfielder Alejandro De Aza, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin (via Twitter). But New York is apparently waiting for an offer to take on all of the $5.75MM he is owed for the coming season.
It’s an unusual situation, of course, because De Aza signed on with the Mets before the team dramatically re-united with Yoenis Cespedes. While he had been expected to platoon with Juan Lagares in center, De Aza now looks to be be an expensive fifth outfielder — with two other left-handed hitters (Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson) in front of him in the corners.
De Aza, who’ll soon turn 32, is a solid outfield option who can play all three positions on the grass (though he’s hardly a premium defender up the middle). He handles right-handed pitching while struggling against lefties, so there are limits to his usefulness, but on the whole he’s a nice piece in the right situation. For what it’s worth, De Aza has seven hits (including two doubles) and two walks in his 16 spring plate appearances to date, so he’s off to a nice start.
There aren’t very many teams with glaring outfield needs at this stage of the winter, so finding a taker for all of De Aza’s salary may prove difficult (and he’ll also need to approve any spring trade). The Indians remain the expected contender in most obvious need of an outfield addition, though it’s not clear that the club would be willing to take on that much cash. The Angels have also been hesitant to add any more salary, but could surely justify such an addition. If the Royals are more concerned with Jarrod Dyson’s health than is publicly known, they too could conceivably match. And arguments might possibly be made for a few other organizations, including the Blue Jays (who pursued Jay Bruce previously) and the Cardinals — who could use the depth in center and whose top left-handed-hitting outfield options are Brandon Moss, who hasn’t spent all that much time in the grass, and minor league signee Carlos Peguero.