MMO Mailbag: Is Kirk The Answer In CF?

BTF asks…

Maybe you could clear something up for me. Can somebody please tell me what the heck we are doing about the outfield now that Bay is gone? Is Kirk Nieuwenhuis really the answer at center field? What can we expect from him? Is Den Dekker even in the team photo anymore?

Sean replies…

The 2013 Mets outfield is more of a mystery now that Bay has “parted ways” with the Mets. But it will probably be comprised of some inexpensive pieces that can hit for some power or at least play respectable defense. Lucas Duda will not be the answer defensively, but shifting him to left field will hide his lead glove, and give the team hope for a .270 – 20 – 75 season makes him a decent option in the Mets eyes.

In regards to Kirk – his fielding, instincts or arm have never been the question. The biggest problem with Kirk was after bursting out of the gate offensively, the concerns over his weak plate discipline resurfaced. He was striking out in over 33% of his at-bats. If Kirk can curb the strikeouts, he has shown he can make positive contact and might be the best all-around option the Mets have that is MLB ready.

Matt Den Dekker is the best defensive option in the Mets upper minors. But after a strong season in Binghamton, he really struggled in 317 AB’s at Buffalo. Den Dekker has a bit more pop than Kirk, but until he can show an ability to hit AAA pitching, he won’t be seeing Flushing anytime soon. It doesn’t help his case that he is also a lefty, and every outfielder the Mets have hits from the left side.

As far as right field goes, it looks like it will be shared between Jordany Valdespin and Mike Baxter unless the Mets add a better option this Winter. At this point, the front office needs to sign or trade for at least one, if not two productive and reliable outfielders to the mix, otherwise it could be a very long summer.