Skip to main content


Bader, Mets finalize $10.5M, one-year contract

Harrison Bader Cincinnati Reds Harrison Bader - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Center fielder Harrison Bader and the New York Mets finalized a $10.5 million, one-year contract on Friday.

Bader gets a $9.5 million salary and a $1 million signing bonus, payable within 60 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office.

A Gold Glove winner with St. Louis in 2021, Bader returns home to New York after spending a little more than a year across town with the Yankees. He was acquired from the Cardinals in an August 2022 trade for pitcher Jordan Montgomery and then claimed off waivers by Cincinnati on Aug. 31 last year.

The 29-year-old Bader batted .232 with seven homers and 40 RBIs during an injury-plagued season with the Yankees and Reds. He had a .622 OPS in 98 games and a career-best 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts.

He became a free agent in November after completing a $10.4 million, two-year contract he signed with St. Louis.

Bader is a .243 career hitter with 59 home runs and a .706 OPS in seven big league seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees and Reds. Injuries have hampered him, but he offers speed and elite defense in center when healthy, along with an .824 career OPS against left-handed pitching.

With the Mets’ pitching staff a major question mark, new president of baseball operations David Stearns has emphasized defense when building depth this offseason. The team signed utility infielder Joey Wendle to a one-year contract and obtained athletic outfielder Tyrone Taylor in a trade with Milwaukee that also netted right-hander Adrian Houser.

Bader’s arrival could shift Brandon Nimmo from center field to a corner spot, at least part-time. All-Star right fielder Starling Marte, who is 35, played only 86 games last season following double groin surgery and posted a measly .625 OPS, so New York is not exactly sure what to expect from him in 2024.

Bader was born just north of New York City and went to high school in the Bronx. After joining the Reds for their playoff push late last season, he expressed a desire to return to his hometown Yankees someday.

Maybe the Mets were the next-best thing.

Bader strained a left oblique muscle in spring training last year and didn’t make his season debut until May 2. He was sidelined between May 29 and June 20 with a strained right hamstring, then went back on the injured list Sept. 18 with Cincinnati due to a right groin strain.

Bader was out with a foot injury when the Cardinals traded him in early August 2022 and didn’t make his Yankees debut until Sept. 20 that year, batting just .217 with nine RBIs in 14 regular-season games for New York.

But he had a huge 2022 postseason, hitting .333 (10 for 30) with five home runs, six RBIs and four walks in nine games against Cleveland and Houston.