PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Alejandro De Aza might be traded by Opening Day. But the Mets feel no urgency to deal the outfielder, who became redundant after the unexpected signing of Yoenis Cespedes.
For now, the Mets are covered in the outfield with Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, along with Juan Lagares. But an injury could thrust De Aza into a more prominent role, making him a useful insurance policy, one the Mets can afford.
Until this winter, the Mets kept payroll at about $90 million. But according to a source, the Mets have no pressing financial reason to move De Aza and his $5.75-million salary. Also, they are confident that they would receive some value in a trade even if it came closer to the end of spring training.
Last summer, De Aza was hitting .214 with the Orioles. Nevertheless, they struck a deal with the Red Sox that brought back a pitching prospect.
A similar return would benefit the Mets, especially after they traded away a slew of minor-league arms during a flurry of moves leading up to last year’s trade deadline.
General manager Sandy Alderson has acknowledged that De Aza’s playing-time situation is murky.
Last season, De Aza posted a .278/.351/.448 slash line against righthanders. But the Mets don’t have a glaring need in that department, given that Cespedes, Conforto and Granderson generally have enjoyed better success against righties.
Nevertheless, barring an injury or an aggressive trade offer from another club between now and Opening Day, the Mets appear content to keep De Aza, who hit .262 with seven homers and 35 RBIs last season with the Giants, Red Sox and Orioles.