The Mets signed free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on Saturday evening, per a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Terms of the deal have yet to be publicized, but the club is only on the hook for the league minimum in 2018 as the bulk of Gonzalez’s salary will still be paid by the Braves. The Mets are expected to officially confirm the deal pending the completion of a physical.
After polishing off a six-year track with the Dodgers in 2017, Gonzalez was dealt to the Braves during a five-player swap in December. He was released by Atlanta shortly after the trade, however, and has reportedly been engaged in discussions with the Mets since he entered free agency.
The 35-year-old first baseman is coming off of a down year, during which he struggled to remain healthy and produced a meager .242/.287/.355 batting line with three home runs in 252 plate appearances. He missed nearly three months with a herniated disc in his lower back and even toyed around with the idea of an early retirement, though his deal with the Mets suggests that he’s good to go for another season, if not more than that.
While the club already has an established first baseman in 22-year-old Dominic Smith, there’s no question that they could use the veteran leadership and career .288 bat Gonzalez brings to the table. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the club may have some lingering reservations about Smith, who sunk to sub-Mendoza Line levels of production in his debut last season and would likely benefit from another go-round in Triple-A Las Vegas.