Could Coco Crisp Solve Mets Center Field Problem?

An article by posted on January 16, 2013

coco_crispAs the Mets continue to ponder their outfield situation, one thing is apparent: they still need a right-handed bat. The free agency pool is starting to dry up as the offseason rolls into mid-January. The Mets are still talking to Scott Hairston, but have made it clear they are still searching for a “bigger name.” If Hairston isn’t a big enough name, it looks like the Mets are only going to get what they want via trade because Michael “Scott Boras” Bourn is simply not coming. Justin Upton has been one bigger name being thrown around in trade talks. Reports indicate that the asking price for Upton is too high for Sandy Alderson, who has already said that he’s in no position to be dealing the Mets’ top prospects at the moment

So if free agents are slim pickings, Hairston isn’t famous enough to play for the illustrious Mets and Upton’s out of the Mets’ price range, who can the Mets get? One guy that hasn’t been mentioned much, that I think would be a good fit for the Mets is Coco Crisp.

Crisp is going into the second year of his two-year, $14 million contract. He also has a club option for 2014 worth $7.5 million. Last year, Crisp expressed his discontent to the San Francisco Chronicle about Yoenis Cespedes taking over the center field job:

“I’m going to make all the plays. If someone feels there’s someone better than me, it’s hard for me to believe. Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.”

Needless to say, Crisp wants to play for a team where he can play his natural center field. The Mets definitely have room him. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is the Mets only true center fielder at this point and he’s a ways away from being what the franchise hopes he can be. Crisp would be a good interim center fielder until the Mets can figure out a more long-term solution.

Crisp can bat from both sides of the plate and can hit in the leadoff spot – a hole the Mets desperately need to fill. His numbers indicate more power from the left side, which is typical for most switch hitters, but there’s not too much of a batting average drop off from the right side (LHB = .265, RHB = .248). Crisp isn’t the sexiest option, but he can come in and be a significant improvement from Andres Torres. Then again, a lawn chair would have been a significant improvement from Torres last season. Crisp is a low-risk move for the Mets.

Another plus is that the Mets also acquired Collin Cowgill this offseason. Crisp and Cowgill will be somewhat familiar with each other having played in the outfield together on the A’s last year.

The Mets could give up Mike Baxter and Jeurys Familia for a guy like Crisp. The Mets have too many left-handed outfielders and I can see Billy Beane going for someone like Baxter. Familia’s stock is heading south so now would be a good time to get something for him. I think the Mets could justify making a trade like that.

What do you think?

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