The Mets have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Tim Locastro, reports Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation (Twitter link). The Warner Sports Management client will be invited to Major League Spring Training.
Locastro, 30, has spent the past season-plus with the Yankees, appearing in 47 games but logging just 69 plate appearances in that time. He’s given the Yankees some vital speed off the bench late in games, swiping eight bases in ten attempts while displaying sprint speed that’s ranked in the 99th percentile of MLB players, per Statcast.
Of course, Locastro’s opportunities at the plate have been limited because he’s struggled so considerably with the bat over the past two seasons. After a decent two-year stretch in Arizona that saw him bat .260/.367/.370 in 332 plate appearances (thanks in no small part to being plunked by pitches a whopping 26 times), Locastro has combined to slash .181/.257/.275 in his past 202 trips to the plate.
Despite his blistering speed, Locastro has a sub-par throwing arm that has contributed to below-average marks from both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast’s Outs Above Average thinks he’s been a bit better than average in 1046 innings, but the consensus among publicly available metrics is that Locastro isn’t the lights-out defender some might expect for a player with his wheels.
The Mets are slated to start Mark Canha, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte in left, center and right, respectively, but Locastro could push for a backup role during Spring Training. Khalil Lee is the only other pure outfielder on the 40-man roster, although Darin Ruf has plenty of corner outfield experience. Locastro will join veteran Abraham Almonte as an outfield hopeful on a non-roster deal this spring, and he’ll give the Mets some speed to stash in Triple-A if he doesn’t make the roster out of camp.