New York Mets sign group of veterans including OF Melky Cabrera

The New York Mets have added a group of veteran players, including a possible DH option in Melky Cabrera.

The New York Mets were busy adding to their 2020 player pool on Monday, signing five veteran players to contracts, including 15-year MLB veteran Melky Cabrera.

Joining Cabrera are infielder Gordon Beckham, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, OF Ryan Cordell, and RHP Hunter Strickland. Monday’s signings will join New York’s initial 45-man roster pool released on Sunday afternoon.

Melky Cabrera certainly stands out among the depth signings, bringing with him a career .285 batting average and .334 on-base percentage across nearly 2,000 major league games with the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and most recently the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He slashed .280/.313/.399 with 30 extra-base hits and a wRC+ of 85 in 133 games as a Pirate in 2019.

Luckily for Cabrera, National League teams are in the hunt for reliable designated hitter options with the addition of the universal DH for the 2020 season and likely foreseeable future. The well-traveled outfielder will look to fight his way onto the roster as a DH option for the Mets, bringing with him a career strikeout rate of under 12%, a batting average no lower than .273 in each season since 2010 with Atlanta, and at least 30 doubles in four of his last six seasons.

While Cabrera isn’t a lock to make the initial 30-man roster out of summer camp, his consistency over the course of his career makes him an interesting option. It’s unlikely New York, a team general manager Brodie Van Wagenen says is built to win now, is interested in having Cabrera patrol their outfield.

With the Pirates in 2019, Cabrera was worth -15 Defensive Runs Saved and a -6.8 Ultimate Zone Rating, per Fangraphs. He also tied for the third-slowest sprint speed among right fielders, according to Baseball Savant.

If Cabrera can overcome his second-half dip in production (.231 average/1 HR in 56 games compared to a .312 average/21 extra-base hits in 77 first-half games) look for him to make a strong push for a roster spot.

New York Mets sign/re-sign four additional veteran options.

A former first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox, Gordon Beckham hit .215 with Tigers last year, but did chip in 21 extra-base hits in 83 games. He spent spring training with the San Diego Padres earlier this spring before being released.

Ramirez, 30, spent last season in Triple-A as a member of the Boston Red Sox organization, going 6-8 with a 4.74 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 27 appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox. It’s been a while since Ramirez went 11-6 with a 3.75 ERA for Tampa Bay in 2015, but the veteran brings with him many years of MLB experience in a season where pitching depth will be key to making a deep playoff run.

Hunter Strickland is coming off a lat injury in 2019, but did experience five successful seasons with the San Francisco Giants before pitching with the Mariners and Nationals last year. From 2014-2018, Strickland struck out 8.4/9 IP and owned a 2.91 ERA.

Cordell, 28, hasn’t found much success in the big leagues since making his debut in 2018, however, the outfielder does have experience playing all three outfield positions. He owns a .205 average and .267 OBP across 116 MLB games.