Mark Canha explains in-person meeting led to signing with Mets: 'It’s nice to feel wanted'

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  • New York Mets
    New York Mets
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Mark Canha
    Mark Canha
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Sandy Alderson
    Major League Baseball general manager
Mark Canha Zoom
Mark Canha Zoom

Mark Canha has played in 645 games in the major leagues, but not one of those games was against the Mets.

The seven-year veteran has spent his entire big league career with the Oakland A’s, so he didn’t know much about the franchise prior to the Mets pursuing him in free agency.

So why sign a two-year deal with a team he knew next to nothing about? As it turns out, a meeting with team president Sandy Alderson and GM Billy Eppler changed everything and made Canha want to bring his talents to Queens.

“Sandy and Billy came out to see me in person,” Canha said on Wednesday, “and nobody else did that.”

Alderson and Eppler jumped on a plane to meet Canha out west on Nov. 22, which happens to be Alderson’s birthday.

“I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then after the meeting I was thinking ‘Man, I’m really glad they did that,’ because I don’t really know anything about the Mets,” Canha said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a game against the Mets in my career. … It gave me some really good insight and it just made an impression on me just how much they were talking to my wife just as much as they were talking to me.

“It very much felt like a family, and they really cared about my wife being there and reassuring her about everything the organization has to offer and all of that. I would say the Mets may not have been a favorite before that meeting, and then after that meeting, they were kind of one of the favorites. The fact that they were the only team that did that was pretty cool, made a big impression, and showed me a lot.”

Canha has a career slash line of .244/.344/.431 slash line with 89 homers, 294 RBI, and 346 runs scored. He can play all over the outfield, and when Eppler was asked about whether the Mets went after Canha with hopes of playing him in center or in a corner outfield spot, he spoke about the importance of lineup versatility.

That versatility made Canha a prime target for the Mets, and the outfielder is happy to feel appreciated by his new club.

“I’m very excited. Why the Mets? It’s the Mets because it’s nice to feel wanted and the Mets made it abundantly clear that they wanted me, and they demonstrated that in various ways,” Canha said. “I think I was ready for the big stage, and New York’s a big stage and I want that big stage to show the world what I can do. I kind of got the impression that the Mets were going to be going for it and I wanted to play for a competitor. I liked everything I was hearing from Billy and Sandy every time we talked.

“I’m very excited and my family is very excited to be in a place like New York as well. My wife and I are very much city people, and we’re looking forward to being in New York and playing for the Mets.”