As it currently stands, the Mets outfield situation can be accurately described as a logjam. Yoenis Cespedes is a lock to start every day in left field. After him, though, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson will be fighting for playing time. There are four of them and only two other outfield positions, so Terry has an interesting dilemma on his hands.
Conforto is swinging a hot bat in spring training, going 15-for-42 (.357) with two home runs, four RBI’s, and a stolen base. The Mets administration has made it abundantly clear that they want him playing every day, and if he continues to hit at this rate, it will have to be in Flushing and probably in right field. Jay Bruce will play center field just as soon as the Mets stop paying Bobby Bonilla, so that leaves Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson.
Because Lagares will start against left-handed pitching only, Granderson will be roaming center field for a vast majority of the time and owns the title of “starting center fielder.” He showed he can play a solid center field last season, and after having that recent experience under his belt, as well as continued exposure this spring training, I believe he will rise to the occasion in what could end up being his last year in a Mets uniform.
Granderson, 36, hit 30 home runs last season while slashing .237/.335/.464 and driving in 59 runs. With David Wright‘s injuries and the presence of Jose Reyes, Granderson will be able to be moved down to the middle of the lineup where he thrives and will be able to drive in more runs. However, his offense isn’t what Mets fans are currently worried about.
He is not a defensive liability by any means, but at the same time, he isn’t a Gold Glover like Cespedes or Lagares. The only two Mets outfielders in danger of being traded are Lagares and Bruce. If either one of them were to be traded before Opening Day, Granderson’s status as the starting center fielder would not change.
He might not be the best defensive center fielder in the league, or even on the Mets, but he certainly is willing to do whatever’s necessary for the team and work as hard as anybody to make sure he is ready. Curtis Granderson will rise to the occasion in 2017 and remove any doubt from Mets fans’ minds that he can succeed in center field every day.