Canha becomes second big addition of the day for the Mets, who also agreed to terms with the infielder Eduardo Escobar on a two year warranty this afternoon. Canha will enter the club’s outfield mix, with most of that time likely coming in the corners. Although he has experience in all three outfield positions, he has never been rated highly as a center fielder and has recorded the plurality of his career innings in left field.
Public metrics such as Statcast’s above-average outings and recorded defensive runs have been mixed on Canha’s corner fieldwork over the past few seasons. There is little doubt about his bat, however, as Canha has been an above-average hitter in each of the past four years in terms of wRC +.
As of the start of the 2019 season, the Berkeley product has a .249 / 0.377 / 0.438 range out of 1365 plate appearances. Although he doesn’t have a gripping batting average, the right-handed hitter made a fantastic 13.3% of his moves to the flat. This is the 14th highest rate among 159 players with more than 1,000 home plate appearances during this period. As a result, Canha’s base percentage is almost sixty points above the league mark over this period.
This ability to reach base may be Canha’s only remarkable skill, but it’s invaluable for a Mets club that placed sixteenth with a .321 rating last season (excluding pitchers). And while Canha might not be part of the elite at anything else, he’s a generally solid all-rounder. His strikeout rates over the past few years have generally been a bit below league marks. He has an ISO of 0.189 (slugging percentage minus batting average) since the start of 2019, which is slightly above average. Canha has done all of this in one of the game’s friendliest home environments, and his overall offense over the past three seasons is 29 percentage points above the league average after factoring in park effects. .
Canha has had a particularly promising start in 2021. In 325 home plate appearances through June 25, he has reached 0.255 / 0.375 / 0.450 with 11 home runs. He suffered a left hip injury which put him on the injured list at that time, an injury from which he did not appear to fully recover. As Canha returned in mid-July, he has dropped to a 0.206 / 0.340 / 0.319 line in his last 300 home plate appearances. A glance at his batting ball metrics seems to support this narrative. Canha’s average egress speed before it went into IL was solid at 89 MPH; in its final months, that mark has fallen to 85.5 MPH.
The Mets are clearly confident that Canha’s potency and overall offensive power will return to peak levels after an offseason to recover. Its reported average annual value of $ 13.25 million is slightly higher than MLBTR’s projected two-year guarantee of $ 24 million. Still, that’s a reasonable price for a player of Canha’s caliber and the Mets aren’t taking much long-term risk. Canha turns 33 in February, capping the length of deals the teams were prepared to make.
Canha joins Brandon Nimmo as locks for regular playing time in the New York outfield next season. The Mets have several more that could play their part in the mix. Jeff McNeil and Jd davis could go from overcrowded mix to field work, while Dominique Smith, Khalil Lee and recent signatory of the big league Nick Plummer could also see the action. Still, there are enough moving parts for new GM Billy Eppler and his staff to keep looking for improvements. Jon Heyman of the MLB Network tweets that New York is still not excluding itself from the free field market March starling, for example.
The specific breakdown of the Canha deal has yet to be reported, but it will likely be another fairly large addition to Mets 2022 books. If both Escobar and Canha contracts were paid evenly over the two Next seasons, New York’s payroll in 2022 would increase by $ 207 million according to the estimate by Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. The Mets’ estimated luxury tax liabilities, meanwhile, are now up around $ 210 million (both figures include projected salaries for players eligible for arbitration).
It’s not entirely clear how far owner Steve Cohen is ready to push the payroll, but it seems very likely that they’ll be at least above last season’s $ 195 million mark. . Cohen and Eppler have both talked about having great financial flexibility, and the Mets remain on the lookout for additions to a rotation that has already lost. Noah Syndergaard and could see Marcus Stroman go. Eppler’s early days have already been active in Queens, and it looks likely the Mets will continue to be busy as they try to end a five-year playoff drought.
As for the former club Canha, the A’s have never looked particularly likely to have a good run to bring him back. Oakland is set to do a major overhaul to its roster this winter, with the property apparently imposing a drastic payroll cut. The A’s didn’t make Canha a qualifying offer of $ 18.4 million, and closing a multi-year deal with an eight-figure annual salary would have been a major surprise.
Jeff Passan of ESPN initially reported that the Mets and Canha were on the verge of a deal. Joel Sherman du New York Post reported that a two-year, $ 26.5 million guarantee had been agreed. Sherman also reported the presence of a 2024 option, which Jon Heyman of the MLB Network specified was a club option.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.