With 16 days before pitchers and Molinas report, let’s consider Mets question #16 for the spring: who will handle centerfield?
Last year’s regular centerfielder Angel Pagan was dealt to San Francisco for a package of players that included another centerfielder in Andres Torres. However, I don’t see Torres as an everyday player – rather, as a fourth (some say fifth) outfielder who could see time in a platoon situation. Of course, what I see is not necessarily what the Mets brass and Terry Collins see – maybe they are confident Torres can be “the guy” patrolling the middle of the Mets outfield.
But if Torres is not the full-time answer in center, then what is? Is it a platoon between Torres and, say, Scott Hairston? Like Pagan, Torres is a switch-hitter who tends to hit better from the left side. If not Hairston, would prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis have a chance to make the club if he has a hot spring? Alternatively, will we see Jason Bay get reps in center during ST games, with the idea that he’ll be used there in the regular season? It’s not completely crazy, since Bay played the position frequently while in Pittsburgh. And of course, there is still time for the Mets to add a free-agent centerfielder – names such as Rick Ankiel and Kosuke Fukudome are still on the market (has Gary Matthews, Jr., officially retired yet?).
What do you think? Is center field up for audition in the spring? Or is it Andres Torres’ job to lose? Who do you see challenging for the position? How do you think it will shake out? Answer in the comments.
About the Author
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.