Coming to the Majors from his native Japan in 2012, Aoki finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting that season, batting .288 with 10 home runs, 30 stolen bases and a .787 OPS. But he never again replicated that success, hitting just 23 homers over his next five seasons with six teams.
With the Mets, Aoki figures to play mostly right field, which Brandon Nimmo and Travis Taijeron have handled since the team traded Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson last month. Starting outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto are both out for the season, offering plenty of chances for Aoki to contribute. The Mets’ need for outfield help has been so strong, they recently started career infielder Jose Reyes in left.
Aoki will be arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, keeping him under team control for 2018. But the Mets could choose to non-tender him rather than pay a raise over the $5.5 million he is making this season.