Torres Is Optimistic, Bay Backs Down, Valdespin Could Take Center Stage

An article by posted on March 22, 2012

I wanted to update this post with some new information on the center field front as follows:

Center fielder Andres Torres spoke to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York this morning and said his calf injury is improving.

“I feel better,” Torres said. “Just a few more days, I hope, I’ll go back to the field. It’s just a mild injury. At least I’m better. Today I feel a little better.”

If he’s okay, that would certainly alleviate some potential problems. This is the second time he’s been sidelined this spring, and he has a significant injury history in his career, nothing major, but he’s missed a lot of time over the years.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, read my post from yesterday evening on the situation:

The injuries keep piling up for the Mets this Spring. Most of them have been minor as in the cases of Lucas Duda (back) and Ruben Tejada (strained groin), while others have been more serious as evidenced by the injuries to David Wright (rib cage tear) and Scott Hairston (oblique), either of whom have yet to play in any Grapefruit League games.

The most recent Met to hit the sidelines is center fielder Andres Torres who is out with a strained calf. How bad that strain is has yet to be determined. As manager Terry Collins said yesterday, “If he’s out 2-3 days it’s not bad, but if it’s a week or more that’s not good.”

Unfortunately for the Mets, the player best equipped to handle center field duties if Andres Torres was to miss any significant time is none other than Hairston – and that presents quite the conundrum for the Mets right now.

Yesterday, Jason Bay stepped forward and made it known that he’d be happy to play center field if the Mets needed him to. But then a day later he balked somewhat and said he’d do it only on a fill in basis. Honestly? Bay should keep his day job in left field. He doesn’t pass my eye test and I couldn’t care less what his UZR or whatever is.

Forget Adam Loewen and Mike Baxter. Both are reserve type outfielders and that’s the way it should stay. Neither of them are solid options and should only be considered in the most direst of moments or if desperation sets in.

Centerfield prospects Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker are unable to help the team right now either. Nieuwenhuis is trying to come back from his own sore oblique, while den Dekker is simply not even close to being major league ready.

I wouldn’t be shocked if by this time tomorrow Sandy Alderson acquires a more legitimate option via a trade, or maybe he’s scouring the remaining flimsy free agents options as we speak – the options nobody wanted. Damn, I wish we had passed on Jon Rauch this offseason and signed Endy Chavez instead.

Anyway, that brings us to Plan V – Mets SS/2B prospect Jordany Valdespin – a very unique talent who is as athletic and versatile as they come – and cocky too.

Terry Collins is certainly up for the challenge of playing ‘Spin in centerfield for the time being, which might seem like an odd play for an infielder who has played only one game in the outfield in his entire professional career – and that was seven years ago. But this move may have some merits.

One glance at Valdespin and he certainly looks the part, so why not give it a shot? Of course Valdespin is all for the experiment because it could be an express-bus ticket to the majors. But more than that, he may just have the perfect skill set to actually pull this off.

Our Mets Minor League correspondent, Pete Shapiro, said recently of him, ”He is a gifted and “toolsy” athlete, he is still very raw, with a great many holes in his game. It’s just that you can’t ignore the natural talent, and his eye-popping abilities.”

This kid can hit as evidenced by this past season where he played at AA and AAA, and set many career highs with 69 runs, 150 hits, 32 doubles, 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 34 stolen bases and a .468 slugging percentage.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to to see if he can rise to the occasion.

Another career high for Valdespin last season was his 32 errors at shortstop and second base.

Hmm… Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Hey, what’s that old saying?

“In every adversity lies the seed of opportunity.”

I’ll roll with that…

Side Note – I just want to say thanks to all our readers. Our traffic is completely off the charts lately and I really appreciate all the support. We have a great group of writers who love the team and write with such passion. Thanks to them and thanks to you.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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