Next Year’s Left Fielder

jermaine-dyeAccording to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (thanks to a link via MLBTradeRumors), Jermaine Dye does not have a future with the White Sox.

Dye and the ChiSox have a mutual $12M option for 2010, and there is no way the Sox pick that up — not with the 35-year-old having the worst half-season of his career — he’s hitting .168 since the All-Star Break.

There were rumors of a White Sox – Mets trade last winter, with Dye the coveted piece from Omar Minaya’s perspective. Even with his bad second half, this smells a lot like a typical Minaya roll of the band-aid dice. Can you say “Moises Alou” ?

Before you go complaining that “the Mets need to get younger and more athletic”, remember that they have absolutely NO outfielders in their minor league system who are ready to step in and play left field on an everyday basis for a championship team. We saw that Fernando Martinez is at least two years away from being a contributor, much less a star. We’ve seen that Dan Murphy can’t play the position well enough as an everyday player. We are seeing that Angel Pagan has a tremendous physical package but a disconnect between his body and his head. We have been told that Chris Carter is just as bad as Murphy in the outfield. We are not seeing Nick Evans for reasons unknown — but if he’s not playing now, he certainly isn’t being seriously considered as an everyday player in 2010.

So left field will most likely be filled by someone currently outside the organization. It will have to be someone who can be signed cheaply and on a short-term contract, as the Mets will want to keep the position available for when F-Mart is ready. Forget about Matt Holliday / Jason Bay — it ain’t happening. Enter Jermaine Dye, whose stock has fallen drastically in the last two months and therefore could be signed to a favorable, one-year, incentive-laden deal.

“I’ve never struggled like this before, never had a whole half that has been nothing. Over the course of a career, I think that’s pretty good. The five years I’ve been here I’ve had five pretty good years, and it just so happened that I struggled here at the end, we were fighting to get into the playoffs, and it’s just the way it is.”

The struggling Dye was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday, unable to change the .168 second half he’s had with just five homers and 19 RBI. A second half he has no explanation for.

“I have no clue,” Dye said. “I put in the work and sometimes it doesn’t work out. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics. When you struggle, the pitches you should hit you foul off. The pitches you take normally when you feel good they’re balls, they’re strikes now. When you struggle everything goes wrong. This second half it just didn’t happen.”

Signing Dye goes against the plan of rebuilding the club with youth. But the truth is, the Mets don’t have a plan. They like to talk about plans and then change them on the fly as the circumstances around them change. Omar Minaya and the Wilpons will likely spout about youth, athleticism, etc., but we’ve heard it all before, on several occasions, for the past 15 years. In the end it’s about “the brand”, and signing Dye gives the Mets a known entity who can step right in to the season-ticket sales campaign lineup and provide hope. Another patch to keep the dream alive.

We have plenty of time to discuss whether or not signing Dye would be a good move for the Mets. But you know Minaya is already thinking about it.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. gary s. September 23, 2009 at 9:40 am
    joe, he’s hitting too much..if he was batting .068 he’d be a perfect fit..
  2. mic September 23, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Let me open the dialog;
    1. No to Jermaine Dye. I am not against the idea but not as your opening day LF. He’d be a nice Gary Sheffield replacement.

    2. Why not Jason Bay. In my view Delgado’s money should be spent on LF. The yanks lost out last yr so they bought an MVP 1st baseman and two Cy young candidates. The Mets MUST maintain they ARE players in the FA market.

    3. I like your F-mart analysis. (sounds like one of my recent posts). I like him particularly as a young Carlios Beltran and his heir apparent. BUT in order for that to happen see #1 above.

    4. Your previous post addresses the main problem PITCHING but I am sure we will revisit that later.

  3. joejanish September 23, 2009 at 10:21 am
    Mic – Dye makes too much sense in Omar’s mind, it’s like Alou all over again. Veteran bat, leader in the clubhouse, former WS champion. You count on him for 100-120 games, fill in the rest with some combination of Murphy / Carter / FMart / etc.

    Your view is plausible re: Delgado’s dollars, but the Wilpons see that as “found money” they can keep in 2010, not money they can re-spend.

    Watch, they will NOT be a big FA player because in November they’ll say “we’re rebuilding with youth, we see free agency isn’t the answer, blah blah blah” … then, in January, they sign Dye as “insurance” in case their Nick Evans / Chris Carter / FMart / Pagan / fill in a name plan doesn’t work out. They’ll invoke the name Gary Sheffield, and talk about Dye’s leadership qualities, and how he can be an example for the youngsters.

    It’s a show we’ve seen before and a script that keeps getting re-used.

    As for pitching we have all winter to talk about it.

  4. Andy September 23, 2009 at 10:26 am
    Does anyone have any more detail on the Gary Sheffield situation? Is he injured, or is he being benched because of a contract dispute?
  5. joejanish September 23, 2009 at 10:48 am
    To my knowledge Sheff has a balky back that is keeping him out of games. Between his back, his leg, and the Mets’ need to see Francoeur and Pagan, Sheffield won’t be playing much.

    I think the Mets are satisfied that they know what Sheff can do, and have already made a decision one way or the other. Frenchy and Pagan are two big decisions still unclear to them.

  6. […] Joe Janish of Mets Today takes a look at likely-to-be free-agent OF Jermaine Dye, and whether he fits in with the 2010 […]
  7. TheDZA September 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm
    I can really see nothing being done: open 2010 with everyone healthy, let Delgado/Sheff etc. go and hit spring training with almost the same 2009 squad, with Wilpons spending virtually nothing on FA’s.
    Not sure what scares me more: the status quo, or going back to, as you say the same old script, and dredging the 40+ market…
    How long will it take to shed this tired old off-season gameplan?
  8. MattG September 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm
    Dye reminds me of Richard Hidalgo. He may be a more cost-effective option for the OF, but I’d like to see the Mets make a push for Jason Bay. The suggestion that Carlos Delgado’s $$$ could be redirected to Bay makes good sense in my mind. But I hasten to add it’s not my money, so it’s easy to make this decision.

    Overally, I’d like to see the Mets sign Orlando Hudson for 2B. Find a trade partner for Luis Castillo. Look into acquiring Nick Johnson for 1B. And find creative, bold solutions to address the pitching and defense. Unlike many Mets fans, I’m not concerned with HR potential from the team’s offense. I’d rather see them develop a 1980s St. Louis Cardinals-type team based on pitching, speed and defense.

  9. John Fitzgerald September 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm
    I REALLY like Dye as a player. But I also really like Cliff Floyd.

    And neither should be counted on for more than 120 games next season (or 120 AB for Floyd).

    The Mets can’t sign a guy who is that big of an injury risk. The fan base’s collective head would explode if the new LF was nursing a bum leg in April.

  10. mic September 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm
    Before the team tries to get get players they need to get the front office straightened out. And owner interference seems to be a tumor that keeps growing back.