Caught this quote on MetsBlog this afternoon and thought I’d pass it along.
The word is the Mets want a big bat in the outfield, someone who can clear the bases and give quick runs with one swing.
The quote by Matt Cerrone was in response to a question on if the Mets would go after Prince Fielder in the offseason. (My Answer = Hell No! Prince gives me Mo Vaughn flashbacks!)
So getting back to the Mets looking for big bat in the outfield, this breaking news leads us to a few questions:
Question #1 - Is Lucas Duda not assured of a starting job in right field, which goes against what Terry Collins intimated yesterday?
I think Lucas Duda has already forced the issue with his bat, and he has intrigued the Mets so much so that they will in fact give him ample time in right field next season to see what more he can do. From what I’ve seen and heard (Hey, I see and hear things too, lol), Lucas Duda is definitely a legit hitter with power, and I strongly doubt that the Mets will simply look past him to get this big bat they are looking for. If anyone is going to lose PT next season, it won’t be Duda unless he completely bombs from now until the end of the season, and I see no chance in that happening.
Question #2 - Is Angel Pagan out as far as regular playing time is concerned? Will he be non-tendered?
I’ve already mentioned Angel Pagan as a non-tender candidate about a dozen times this season along with Mike Pelfrey. Angel Pagan may have played himself into a regular center field position last season, but this season he has played himself out of that role. His defense has declined, his baseball IQ hasn’t improved, and his offense has fallen off a cliff. The only reason he is still getting regular playing time is because the Mets have nobody in the pipeline who is ready to take over in center field. Pagan, who has been mostly a 4th outfielder for most of his career, is in way over his head as a regular and still has durability issues.
Question #3 - Are the Mets willing to eat salary to get rid of Jason Bay?
Possibly. They’ve done it several times already this season when they cut Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, gave the Giants $6 million to take Beltran, and paid nearly all of K-Rod’s salary when they shipped him to Milwaukee. Bay seems like the perfect candidate for a change of scenery, but if he does go, don’t expect much in return except for the ability to free up some cash to sign a bigger and better thumper for the outfield. That said, I’m not so sure they will find any takers unless they are also willing to take on another bad contract in return.
Question #4 - Who exactly is out there that would give the Mets the big bat they are looking for?
The short answer is that there’s nothing attractive hitting the free agent market this offseason. Believe it or not, Carlos Beltran is probably one of the best available bats in a lot that includes Magglio Ordonez, J.D. Drew, Lance Berkman, Michael Cuddyer, Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick. You interested? Even if there was a bona fide 35+ HR outfielder available, why would he want to see his home run totals tank in Citi Field? One big outfielder that might be on the market is Matt Kemp, but is he the big bat that would fit the bill? He’s never topped 30 home runs and it was only a year ago that he batted .249 for the season, and lets not forget to add in the Citi Field effect.
The Mets could talk about acquiring a big outfielder all they want, but I simply don’t see that scenario playing out right now. They have a left fielder with a terrible contract that they probably can’t move, and they have a fourth outfielder logging too much playing time in center field because they have nothing better in their farm system. Neither of them have any trade value. There’s obviously nothing to speak of in the free agent market, so forget that idea, and the trade market has yet to develop, but so far it’s not looking too promising. The bottom line is that the Mets would be silly not to give Lucas Duda a full season to prove he belongs next season, especially after what he’s shown the team so far.
That said, Hot Stove season is fast approaching and you can bet the nuts running the rumor mill will be hitting us with storylines like the “Mets are considering at Albert Pujols”, or the “Mets are talking to Rangers about Josh Hamilton”. I bet you can’t wait for that to start!