Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan Sign Elsewhere

About a year ago, it didn’t make sense to me that the Mets were collecting light-hitting, slick-fielding, lefthanded-hitting centerfielders. After all, Carlos Beltran was entrenched in center, Angel Pagan appeared to be a capable backup, and the front office was hyping up Fernando Martinez as the centerfielder of the future.

Today, though, it doesn’t make sense to me that the Mets have turned their back on two light-hitting, slick-fielding, lefthanded-hitting centerfielders. After all, Carlos Beltran is out until at least May (likely longer), Angel Pagan’s holes became more glaring the more he played, and Fernando Martinez is clearly not yet ready to be a Major League regular.

Two of the top candidates to back up Pagan in center (and serve as late-inning defensive replacements to Jason Bay in left) have signed elsewhere — Jeremy Reed with the Blue Jays and Cory Sullivan with the Astros. Both, by the way, signed non-guaranteed, inexpensive, minor-league deals.

Mind you, allowing both Reed and Sullivan to walk away will not be the reason the Mets miss the postseason in 2010. But looking at the current Mets outfield situation, you have to wonder if the powers-that-be are seeing the same depth chart we see — and if they were watching the same games we were last season.

Reed and Sullivan are essentially the same player, providing strong defense, solid fundamentals, good baserunning, and hustle off the bench. Reed additionally displayed above-average acumen as a pinch-hitter and the versatility to play 1B. Of course, any casual Met fan who watched Reed throw that ball away against the Dodgers would disagree, but I thought Reed was better equipped to handle the position than Daniel Murphy. It wasn’t his fault that he hadn’t played first in ten years. His timing was much worse than his skillset. But that argument is moot at this point.

The issue now is, who will be the fourth outfielder? It’s supposed to be Angel Pagan, but he’s now the starting centerfielder. The next person on the depth chart is Fernando Martinez, who should not be on the 25-man roster on Opening Day — he should be getting regular reps in AAA. Let’s not forget that F-Mart underwent season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, so who knows if he’ll return with the same speed and agility?

After Martinez, the next outfielder is Chris Carter — a first baseman who happens to own an outfielder’s glove. Then there is Nick Evans, who is the righthanded version of Carter, and after that? Jesus Feliciano?

Clearly, the Mets are in need of someone who can play the outfield. Due to the vast expanse of Citi Field, it’s a younger-ish, defensive-minded fly-catcher with solid fundamentals who is accustomed to a bench role. Considering the Mets are righty-heavy in the OF currently, a lefthanded hitter would be best. Ideally, that player would also be inexpensive, and someone who wouldn’t require a guaranteed MLB contract.

Someone like Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan.

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. Harry Chiti January 21, 2010 at 9:10 am
    After the public humiliation the Met organization attempted to hoist on Beltran about his surgery, nobody’s coming to Queens unless he is very much overpaid or the Mets are the only team that makes any offer at all.