As we approach the start of the 2013 baseball season, it’s becoming crystal clear that the Mets will be starting the season with perhaps the worst outfield in the league – maybe the worst in team history. This was a glaring need which Sandy Alderson failed to address. Yes, I’m sure he tried, but like Carlo had to answer for Santino in the Godfather, someone needs to take the fall for this. It’s come to the point where even the worst Mets outfielders from the recent past that the team couldn’t wait to get rid of would make for a better options than what we’ll see on opening day.
Take Jeff Francoeur for instance. I remember a time when people never thought he’d see another day in a major league baseball uniform. He was that bad at the plate. Who could forget his frustrating strikeouts with runners on third, or his inability to get any semblance of a big hit? Francoeur, clearly, was not a major league player. Then again, it sure would be nice to have the 36 homeruns he has hit for the Royals over the past two years. If you took his career averages of 19 homeruns, 85 rbis, and .266 batting average, you could only hope that incumbent Lucas Duda even approaches those numbers in rightfield – and remember, Frenchy was GREAT defensively. In fact, Duda has no shot at those numbers at all. Francoeur in general was so bad the Mets couldn’t give the guy away! But I bet you can’t find a Met fan out there that would rather see Duda in rightfield!
Then there’s the troubling matter with Angel Pagan. You know, World Series Champion Angel Pagan. After being considered just another Mets overrated bust of a prospect, Angel had a decent 2010 season to make the skeptics (including us) believe he may actually be the real deal. Then he sulked, complained, whimpered, seemed disinterested and generally played a lifeless center field in 2011 when the Mets saw fit to give him away for the ridiculous return of Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres. At the time, no one criticized the deal because no one saw Pagan as a future piece of the puzzle (and correctly so). But he went on to have a solid season with the Giants and signed a monster contract as a reward. Sure the Mets just gave him away, but in hindsight, how much better does he look than what we presently have in centerfield with Kirk Nieuwenhuis?
Finally, I’m about to get a little controversial here, but is there anyone who thinks the Mets will actually get better production from Jordany Valdespin, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill, Juan Lagares, or whoever will be playing leftfield than the Mariners will get from Jason Bay? The Mets literally paid to get rid of him. But yes, we’re calling for a comeback year from Bay nonetheless! The man who made “Bay Watch” famous for a different reason (players hitting .150 are said to be on “Bay Watch”) will outperform all Mets leftfielders this season. There was obviously something wrong with Bay right from the start (why else would the Boston Red Sox not even try to sign a guy who filled in for Manny Ramirez with Ramirez-type numbers?) as the checker-playing Omar Minaya was being fleeced by the Chess-playing other GM’s. And while I don’t see Bay reverting to superstar numbers, I can certainly see him hitting .240 with 20 homers and 70 rbis, something you won’t see from any Met leftfielder this year.
Now I’m not saying the Mets were wrong to get rid of any of the players mentioned above. In fact, I whole-hardheartedly agreed with every one of those moves. I’m merely pointing out the sad state of affairs of the current outfield as composed today. Francoeur, Pagan, Bay. How we long for the days!
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