Growing up poor — and still today far from wealthy — I didn’t have the chance to indulge in many luxuries. So one of the things I did to deal was “window shop,” which is the exercise of checking out cool stuff you really want, but can’t afford. It’s sort of a daydream, and if you have a really good imagination, it makes you feel all warm inside for a few minutes — maybe even an hour.
Since the Mets are poor, and thus can’t afford any of the luxury items on the free-agent market, we’ll indulge ourselves by window shopping this winter.
In case you missed it, the Mets have a hole in centerfield, so we’ll start there. Unless you are of the ilk that Kirk Nieuwenhuis will become more than Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan (hey, I LOVED those guys — and still can’t figure out why either of them weren’t brought in last year to play for the MLB minimum, instead of Andres Torres … but, I digress …).
If the Mets were a big-market team with money to spend, they’d likely consider some of the free agent centerfielders available below. Since they play in the tiny Flushing market, the Mets obviously can’t make a pitch for any. But hey, on this blog, we can dream — if only for a few fleeting moments. So here goes …
The Mets could really use a power-hitting outfielder, preferably a righthanded one, ideally under 30 … and in a perfect world, one who plays centerfield and has the speed to cover the vast expanse of Citi Field. Huh — B.J. Upton fits all of those characteristics. To boot, he was a schoolboy teammate of David Wright — what a story that would be! Ah, but alas, the Mets don’t have the dollars to acquire a slick-fielding, speedy, 28-year-old centerfielder who is a potential 30-30 guy. Oh well. Not to worry, though, as there’s a really good chance we’ll get to see Upton play 18 times a year as a member of either the Phillies or Braves. So there’s that.
Our generation’s Mickey Mantle likely isn’t an ideal everyday centerfielder due to injury issues, likely isn’t a good fit under the microscope in NYC due to personal issues, likely is too old to be worth the contract he’ll command, and is too lefthanded to be a perfect fit for the Mets’ lineup. Thank goodness the Mets can’t afford him!
Like Hamilton, Bourn is a lefthanded hitter, so the Mets don’t want him. He’s also much too fleet afoot; he’d probably try to steal bases, which goes against the Mets’ station-to-station offensive strategy. Finally, the ground he can cover in centerfield would embarrass Lucas Duda. It’s probably best that the Mets won’t make an offer on the 29-year-old speedster.
I’m not sure Victorino is still a true everyday centerfielder. I’m positive there’s no Mets uniform that would fit him, even if it’s the right size — he has too much Phillies in him. If he attempted to put on a Mets uniform in front of a mirror, my guess is there would be no reflection.
This guy looks SO familiar, but why? He might be worth a three-year deal. Think of it this way: if he doesn’t work out, the Mets can always trade him for an overaged AAAA outfielder and a mop-up reliever. Two heads are better than one after all, right?
Like Victorino, I’m not sure McLouth is still a legit everyday MLB centerfielder. After his postseason performance, I don’t know that he’d be available for the one-year, under-$1M commitment the Mets are willing to offer. Truth is, McLouth is what Kirk Nieuwenhuis might see if Captain Kirk were visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future on December 24th.
Over the past few years, Sizemore has underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee, suffered multiple injuries to his right knee, had an operation for a hernia, and had back surgery. He hasn’t appeared in a Major League game since September 2011 and, at age 30, there are major questions as to whether he’ll ever play again. Hey, this sounds just like the type of high-risk, moderate-reward signing the Mets front office is known for! The Mets just might be able to offer Sizemore an incentive-laden deal, and foot the tab for all the physical therapy and rehab he’ll undergo in 2013, in preparation for a 2014 comeback. Heck, he already has a potential Port St. Lucie rehab roommate in Tim Byrdak.
This one I threw in just for fun. Jones hasn’t played centerfield regularly since 2007. Actually, he hasn’t played any position regularly since 2007. However, even at age 35, I’m confident that Jones would be a better overall option in centerfield than anyone else currently in the Mets organization.
Did I miss anyone? Who would you pick from above, if the Mets were owned by Daddy Warbucks and you were the GM? Post your notes 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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.