I read yesterday an interesting post on MetsBlog where he discussed the pros and cons of acquiring outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. While the 28 year old centerfield is in the throws of an injury-marred season, I do like his upside, but I’m not sure I’d want to give up any prospects to acquire a player who at this point is quite a risk.
If Alderson is planning to make wholesale changes to this team now that he’s had two years to figure out most of the roster is full of fringe MLB ballplayers, perhaps he can clear enough salary to add someone like a Michael Bourn who is a free agent this Winter.
Bourne, 29, would instantly fill the void in center field and give the Mets the speed they’ve lacked since Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan patrolled the grounds at Citi Field. Bourn leads the league in steals with 37 and has totaled 271 stolen bases in his six-year career. He’s as durable player as you’ll find and has led the league in plate appearances two years running. He has a a tad better on-base percentage than Reyes, and over both their careers the numbers are similar. He also has a couple of Gold Gloves in his showcase.
I thought I’d ask our staff what they their thoughts were on the 2012 All Star center fielder, and also how they felt overall about our outfield situation…
Should the Mets target an outfielder like Michael Bourn this offseason?
How would you describe the state of the Mets outfield right now?
Robert Patterson – In my opinion the Mets don’t really have an outfield right now, or at least any player who should start the season out there in 2013. I’d love to see them go after Bourn, as he would fill multiple voids on the current roster, but unless things change I’d expect Bourn’s price tag to be too high.
XtreemIcon – As far as I can see, the Mets outfield is in a holding pattern until we see a full month out of Duda/Valdespin/Kirk left to right. That’s the best in-house option right now. Before the Mets go and spend money to replace those guys who are supposed to be part of the future, let’s actually see them play the positions best suited for them instead of playing guys out of position because there’s a previous hole in that spot. If the team has no RF, you’re not going to solve that problem by putting Duda there. You’re just exacerbating it. Put the guys where they belong and see how they do. Then make the decision. I think Hairston and Torres are great options for the backup roles. Problem is, the complete and total lack of production and DL stints/demotions from Duda, Kirk and Bay have forced those two into a larger role and they’ve been exposed. As far as Bourn, he’s had a terrific season. But I’m wary of guys finally “figuring it out” at 29. The Mets recently had a CF like that and Alderson made the mistake of not dealing him when he could have gotten a real OF back and not a backup. Bourn will fetch something in the neighborhood of a Bay deal, and I’m not comfortable with a superstar contract from a guy with one superstar season at age 29 after being in the league since age 23. If the Mets were to acquire an OF, I’ve been vocal about my preference of Justin Upton, but as far as free agents, BJ Upton would be a good option, and I’d look at Cody Ross. I’ve said on multiple occasions that Nick Swisher is a great fit for this team and would prefer him over all FAs.
Clare Lafferty – I don’t necessarily believe that we need three sluggers in the outfield ( although it wouldn’t hurt ). But we need outfielders that can play good solid defense. Say what you want about Jason Bay – he can play the outfield and he hustles. Torres has played well in center and right field is by committee now. We need a real right fielder. Bourn has a lot going for him but what would it take to get him here? We need to be careful not to mortgage our future on one player.
Dan Valis – I would be all for the Mets targeting a player like Bourn. He would fill two needs we have both in Center and as a lead off hitter. He may be the best lead off hitter in the NL right now. My post from last week about the Mets needing to possibly add three starting outfielders says it all. This outfield needs a complete overhaul. It’s really pathetic when you have to say that a guy named Scott Hairtson who is a reserved outfielder, and can only really hit lefties, is our best outfielder. It’s just sad.
Mitch Petanick – The state of the Mets outfield is complete disarray. At this point I would be happy with any free agent that is available, but Michael Bourn is definitely that spark plug the offense needs since losing Jose Reyes. Bourn also brings a solid glove with him to center field. It seems like everyone wants Bourn, so there may be a bidding war for his services. I think that makes him a long shot to be in blue and orange next year.
Nick Campione – While I do not believe the Mets should go after Michael Bourn specifically because he is a lefty and we need some right handed bats in the lineup, they need 3 new outfielders. The Mets have to have if not thw worst production from their outfield this year I have seen in a long time. Not even one outfielder had a good season. I would look to non tender Torres, cut Jason Bay and trade Duda for a RP. With saying that I would then have Valdespin on the bench and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in AAA to begin season with Baxter and Hairston or Hairston hitter like on the bench, however I do not believe this happens. I would like Mets to sign BJ Upton for CF and Cody Ross for RF on the cheap and then I assume it will be a platoon in LF.
Mike Barrett – Absolutely Bourne should be a top target, right behind a reliable bullpen arm. He has the speed to cover all the ground necessary in CF and would be the ideal lead off hitter in his lineup. The only drawback is he is a left hand hitter but that is a small negative for all the positives he can bring. I would describe the Mets outfield as a disaster. Bay is done, Hairston is a nice player but not a starter, and Torres is as streaky as they come. The only outfielder I enjoy watching is Valdespin and he is a middle infielder by trade. Like I said, a disaster.
Jessep – I think they should look into Bourn, Hunter, and BJ Upton. My initial thought is that Bourn and even Upton will be too expensive. I think Upton’s got the last name, but he has not proven to be worth a big investment. To me, Torii Hunter is the guy I’d target for the short term. He’s a proven veteran, he’s a known leader and is a quality righty bat.
What are your thoughts on Bourn? Are you happy with the in-house options? Do you want to see Andres Torres and Scott Hairston brought back? Let us know what you think.