Josh Hamilton, Andres Torres Head to Left Coast

The latest news boiling on the Hot Stove: two of the preeminent outfielders in all of baseball have left their 2012 teams to join clubs in California.

First, and most importantly, defensive wizard and on-base machine Andres Torres has gone completely across country, leaving the New York Mets to return to the San Francisco Giants. He signs a one-year, $2M deal with SF to back up Angel Pagan. Isn’t that ironic?

In less exciting news, Josh Hamilton leaves Texas in the dust, choosing instead to graze the greener pastures of Anaheim, to play for the Los Angeles Angels of California-Anaheim (or is it California Angels of LA? or Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles? oh, whatever!).

The Angels give Hamilton a 5-year, $125M contract — a little less than what I predicted a few weeks ago on the ESPN SweetSpot Blog (mine is the second-to-last prediction). Even though I predicted he’d go to the Angels in late November, I have to say I’m fairly surprised Hamilton left the comfort of Texas — and that Texas let him go.

With Hamilton signed, I’m not sure what the Mets are going to do about center field in 2013 (and beyond). Hamilton was at the very top of their wish list, which I assume they sent to Santa Claus. Unfortunately, Santa can’t deliver a gift that already belongs to someone else, so now the Mets must go to “Plan B” (of course, no one is even sure that Hamilton would have accepted a one-year, $1.5M offer from the Mets, so perhaps the point is moot). Except, I think Plan B might have been Andres Torres. What a quandary!

Looking back at our Center Field Window Shopping post of late November, there are two options left: Michael Bourn and Grady Sizemore. However, Sizemore had microfracture surgery on his knee last week, and is expected to miss the start of the season as a result. (By “start of the season” his agent means, April, May, June, July, and most of August.) That said, Bourn appears to be the last one standing. Will the Mets open their wallet and make an offer? My gut says no. Further, with Hamilton gone, will Texas turn their eye toward Bourn? If not, I’m guessing they’d consider an in-house option, such as Leonys Martin, a player who the Mets may be interested in receiving in return for R.A. Dickey. On the other hand, adding Hamilton means the Angels have yet another outfielder to add to the dozens already on their roster — and maybe they’d be interested in sending one of the excess OFs to the Mets for Dickey. The plot thickens.

What’s your thought? Should the Mets make a pitch for Bourn? Does Hamilton’s signing with the Angels make the Rangers — or the Angels — a more or less likely trading partner for the Mets? And just what the heck are the Mets going to do about center field in 2013? Is it Kirk Nieuwehuis or bust?

Answer in the comments.

12-13 Offseason

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.

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