PORT ST. LUCIE – Mark Canha is still adjusting to all the attention he’s been getting this spring with the Mets.
It’s not just the veteran outfielder getting the star treatment. With all the extra personnel the team has added under Steve Cohen’s ownership, there’s certainly a noticeable difference between playing for the Athletics — Canha’s former employer — and the Mets.
“I feel like someone always asks me if I need help,” Canha said on Friday. “It’s just that there are so many resources here, the staff has been amazing. I’m not used to so many people asking me if I need something all the time.
Canha accepted the Mets’ two-year, $26.5 million offer in November, keeping in mind the benefits of a major market. After seven seasons in Oakland, he says he was ready for a bigger stage. A self-proclaimed “food guy,” he anticipates a dive into the city’s restaurant scene.
Any type of cuisine works great for Canha, 33.
“I like everything,” he said.
Canha had a .231/.358/.387 slant line with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs in 161 games last season. His most positive attribute might be his discipline at the plate: Canha ranked in the 91st percentile in MLB in terms of chase rate, according to a baseball scholar. Canha also walked 77 times last season and tied for the major league lead with 27 throwing touchdowns.
“It’s not my best work,” Canha said of his stat line. “But I think I’ve done what I do, and that’s go to the base and put together good batsmen, and I think a lot of the things I do at home plate don’t necessarily show up in the stat book. , like work matters and making pitchers throw pitches. I think I’ve perfected that part of the game, and if I sharpen up the other tools a bit, I’ll be back where I want to be.
He will join Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte in a revamped Mets outfield that does not include Michael Conforto, who declined the team’s $18.4 million qualifying offer after the season and remains a free agent.
Canha can play all three outfield positions and first base. Last year, he started 81 games in left field, 16 in center and 11 in right. He played left field in Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Clover Park.
Team president Sandy Alderson and general manager Billy Eppler recruited Canha, visiting him at his home in Arizona during the offseason. Alderson spent 2018-19 as a consultant with Oakland and got to know Canha, who attended Cal-Berkeley.
And Canha quickly became one of manager Buck Showalter’s favorites.
“He’s a trustworthy guy,” Showalter said. “I said to him yesterday, ‘I’m so glad you’re here.’ He’s a guy who’s engaged. He doesn’t have a day [off] mentally or emotionally. He is very disciplined and attentive to his body and the competition. He’s just a guy you know what you’re going to take away from every day when it comes to the approach to games.
Canha was at the airport last weekend, on his way to spring training, when he got a call from Eppler, about to make a deal with Oakland for pitcher Chris Bassitt.
“It was a last minute check [from Eppler]and I gave Chris a glowing review because he’s the best,” Canha said.
In Oakland, Canha played for a highly regarded manager in Bob Melvin [who departed for the Padres after the season]and he now receives another one at Showalter.
“I respect Buck tremendously, and I was really happy it was him when that decision process was completed,” Canha said. “I was thrilled to play for a guy who’s been in the game for so long and has the reputation he has. That’s what you want when you have a team like this, so it’s been great .
New York Post