With so many items on the Mets to-do list this offseason, their longest such list in nearly a decade, you’ll get few arguments that improving the outfield would be paramount after addressing the R.A. Dickey and David Wright situations. The Mets will not be the only team spanning the terrain for available outfielders. Division rivals like Philadelphia have made their intentions well known and usually when Ruben Amaro says he’s going to do something – he actually means it.
Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury took a solid accounting of what outfielders would be a good fit with the Phillies, and I thought I’d do the same for our Amazin’s.
Many of these outfielders – check that – all of these outfielders, would be an upgrade over anything the Mets have now on their active roster or in the minors. But that doesn’t mean any of them could be donning a Mets uniform come Opening Day. However for the sake of a lively debate we can still discuss the pros and cons of some of these players.
Free-agent Outfield Possibilities
B.J. Upton – A toolsy outfielder who has never lived up to the hype, but runs well, hits for power and plays a solid center field. At 28, there’s still a chance he can put it all together but he might be too rich for the Mets taste.
Michael Bourn – There’s no doubt that Bourn would fit like a glove for the Mets, but he’s looking for a sizable deal that will put the Mets on the outside looking in. Too bad because not only would he have filled a void at the top of the lineup and in center field, but he would have added some much needed speed, defense and on-base ability to a Mets wasteland.
Cody Ross – He bats right-handed, is a great clubhouse guy, and has plenty of pop in his bat. He can play all three outfield positions, but is better suited at one of the corners. Keep an eye on Ross, he could be someone they might take a look at. I hate this guy because he always killed us in the past and whenever we get these Mets-killers they never work out for us like they did for the other team. Right?
Angel Pagan – The upgrade over Angel Pagan never happened and the impact of his loss hung over the Mets outfield for the entire season like the plague. Pagan had the best season of his career leading the league with 13 triples, but also collecting 38 doubles and eight home runs while swiping 29 bases. Only Buster Posey had more extra-base hits (63 to 61) than Pagan for the Giants this season. I normally hate reunions, but this one I wouldn’t mind at all.
Shane Victorino – I’m fearful that Victorino will be exactly the the kind of hitter Sandy Alderson will be looking at. It concerns me because Victorino is on the downward slope of his career, but his low strikeout numbers will have the front office drooling.
Torii Hunter – He’s not the gold glove outfielder he once was and his offensive game is eroding, but on a one year deal he could be a good stop-gap for the Mets, and he is still producing at an above average rate. Problem is that we’ll be back to the drawing board again after next season so it feels like treading water and I’m sick of treading water.
Melky Cabrera – You can bet the Melk-Man will be on Alderson’s radar with the hope he can cop a below market deal after Cabrera got caught cheating and was suspended for PED use. He also concocted a twisted and bizarre lie to cover it all up which to me was worse than the PED use itself. If he comes it will be with plenty of luggage ala K-Rod.
Delmon Young – He’s slow-footed which might not play well in the vast expanses of Citi Field, but he did hit 18 homers and drive in 74. His low OBP may not make him a candidate for Sandy, but he’s only 26 and only two years ago he slashed at .298/.333/ .493/.826. Hard to ignore this one.
Outfield Trade Possibilities
Justin Upton – He’s signed through 2015 at $38.5 million and he just turned 25. He would instantly become the Mets top outfielder and considering his age their highest upside player too. If the Mets trade Ike Davis as I suspect they will, Upton might fill the void and scouts still say his potential is unlimited.
Josh Willingham - Seems like Willingham is always on the block. He had his best season at 33 clubbing 35 homers and driving in 110 runs for the Twins. Throw in 30 doubles and a .890 OPS and he instantly fills a huge void in the Mets lineup – a right-handed power bat that can pick’em in the outfield.
Shin-Soo Choo - A poor man’s Willingham who won’t cost as much to get, but can fill a need at right field. He smacked 43 doubles and 16 homers while stealing 21 bases. Seems like a Citi Field type of player and while he has good range defensively, he’s known for frequent mental gaffes.
Michael Cuddyer - He’s 34 and he;’s becoming a frequent visitor to the DL, but is a solid bat when he’s in the lineup and produces at a .800+ OPS clip. Had 30 doubles and 16 homers in just 358 at-bats this season. He might get a long look. I always like Cuddyer, but he’s risky now and the Mets can’t afford anymore risks.
That’s what I got, I ignored the dream scenario players like Josh Hamilton for obvious reasons.