Harrison Bader bats during the American League Championship Series, Oct. 2022
Harrison Bader bats during the American League Championship Series, Oct. 2022Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

(New York Jewish Week) — Outfielder Harrison Bader is headed back to New York, this time as a member of the New York Mets.

The 29-year-old Bronxville native agreed to a one-year, $10.5 million contract with the Mets Thursday, becoming the team’s first Jewish player since Kevin Pillar and Robert Stock donned the blue and orange in 2021, according to data compiled by the Jewish Baseball News site.

Bader’s father, who is Jewish, told the Forward last year that his son is considering formally converting to Judaism. The outfielder had initially planned to play for Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic but ultimately dropped out due to injury.

Last April, Bader was featured on an episode of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s “Home Plate: New York” series, during which the pair visited Liebman’s Deli, the last Jewish deli in the Bronx. Bader and Samuelsson dined on matzah ball soup, pastrami sandwiches and other Jewish delicacies while talking baseball and growing up in New York.

Bader spent the first five and a half seasons of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he solidified himself as an elite defender in center field, winning a Gold Glove in 2021. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 2022, where he briefly became a postseason hero. Despite his stellar defense, Bader struggled at the plate and the Yankees cut him late in the 2023 season. Bader played his final 14 games with the Cincinnati Reds before becoming a free agent this winter.

Bader joins a Mets squad that drastically underperformed in 2023, finishing fourth in the National League East despite entering the year with the highest payroll in baseball history. Now the Mets have a new manager, a new president of baseball operations — Jewish Manhattan native David Stearns — and a new center fielder.