MLB Rumors: Former Yankees fan favorite outfielder signs with Mets

Veteran outfielder Harrison Bader is headed back to New York, only this time, he's not going back to the Yankees. The Mets have taken a chance on the speedy outfielder.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

The New York Mets continued with their trend of frugal signings on Thursday.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets have inked Harrison Bader to a one-year deal.

Bader is a native of New York and spent most of 2023 with the Mets crosstown rivals in the New York Yankees. He was a favorite among Yankees fans. After being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jordan Montgomery in 2022, he put together a strong postseason performance and helped guide the Yankees to the ALCS.

Jeff Passan of ESPN provided an update consisting of the terms of Bader's deal. The speedy outfielder will earn $10.5 million this season.

Harrison Bader to join Mets

The Mets finished in fourth place in the NL East in 2023, falling well short of expectations, as they were projected to be a World Series contender. They came into the season with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander heading up their rotation.

Both were traded at the deadline, as the Mets decided to take a step back from contention. Expectations are not high for New York in 2024.

But Bader does bring a veteran presence to a young clubhouse. If he can remain healthy, he could prove to be a valuable signing for the Mets. He possesses elite speed and power from the right side of the plate. He also is an elite defender, having won a Gold Glove with the Cardinals in 2021. Bader was one of five Cardinals to earn the honor that year.

In August, the Yankees had fallen out of contention and placed Bader on waivers. The veteran outfielder was later claimed by the Cincinnati Reds, who fell just two games short of the third and final Wild Card spot in the National League.

In 98 games with the Yankees and Reds, Bader hit just .232 with seven home runs and 40 RBI. Over the past several years, Bader has struggled to remain healthy. He missed significant time due to injuries, landing on the IL three times in 2023.

Health will be the key for Bader as he tries to bounce back.