Sunday, March 3, 2013
The Mets' outfield mess
By Jason Catania
The New York Mets are in a rebuilding phase, a direction that was cemented this winter when the club traded away NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of high-ceiling prospects in Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. But even a team playing for the future needs to have a better outfield than the Mets' current arrangement.
The trio looks to be -- drum roll, please -- Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter from left to right. The primary backups? Jordany Valdespin, who's spent most of his time in the minors as a middle infielder; Collin Cowgill, a 26-year-old with fewer than 200 big league at-bats who was acquired from the Oakland A's in December; and Andrew Brown, who owns some impressive stats in his career as a minor league veteran with a mere 148 big league plate appearances at the age of 28.
The club also added free agent Marlon Byrd on a minor league deal. The veteran, now 35, is coming off a lost season in 2012, which he split between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox before being released than suspended for testing positive in June for a performance-enhancing drug. Byrd has already served a 50-game suspension.
No wonder the Mets were hoping to hang onto veteran Scott Hairston, who left for the Chicago Cubs.
Thing is, this is nothing new for the Mets, according to Marty Noble of MLB.com, who explains that the club has often lacked quality outfielders throughout its history. So while it's possible that GM Sandy Alderson could look to make a minor trade or signing during spring training to help solidify the position, it may just turn out that the Mets decide to rough it with the bunch that's currently on the roster.
As Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider discusses in the Future Power Rankings, the Mets really need an outfielder or two -- and here are two possibilities:
Jim BowdenWho could the Mets target for outfield help?
"The Mets' outfield is currently comprised of guys who should be fourth outfielders, and they must acquire a passable outfield to support Davis, d'Arnaud and Wright when the team is ready to compete in a couple of years. Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo could be free-agent targets next winter. -- Jim Bowden"