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.

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. Izzy December 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm
    Make a pitch for Bourn? They should have upped that 1.5 mil offfer to Hamilton. With season ticket sales in the toilet, and the Yankees pissing off their fans with their new Old Timers team, signing Hamilton would have given the Mets more more more money than he would have cost. But alas, the Mets aren’t owned by businessmen. They are owned by rich people who made their dough off of ponzii schemes and don’t understand that people won’t pay for junk.
    As for Dickey to the halos. They aren’t in a position to have to overpay. They won’t deal with a clown like Alderson. They have the whole baseball world to play with for a pitcher or two or 4 if they want.
  2. Dan B December 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm
    With Trout, Pujols, and now Hamilton, the Angels will not be trading for a pitcher since they could have one of their coaches toss it underhand to the opposing team and still out slug anyone. As for the Mets, I think they will use two outfielders and bring up a minor league infielder and put him behind second base. Either that or use Harvey in the outfield since he could outhit our current outfield and it further proves how great our young starting pitchers are.
    • Joe Janish December 14, 2012 at 12:33 am
      I was thinking that the Angels might pull another Gary Matthews Jr. and send Vernon Wells to the Mets — agreeing to pay all but $1M of his contract. Doesn’t that sound about right?

      As for your ideas re: the Mets outfield — doesn’t Dan Murphy already play short field? So maybe they let Murphy stay out there, and have Justin Turner play ACTUAL second base. Then, let Jordany Valedspin stand wherever the heck he wants, hoping it’s somewhere behind the infield — since he’s pretty much encouraged to do whatever he wants, anyway.


      • Dan B December 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm
        I would take Vernon Wells in a heartbeat if the Mets only had to pay a $1 million. Torres went for $2 million to be the fifth outfielder! Do I think he has anything? Yeah, he has a heartbeat and an outfielder’s glove and would keep another undeveloped player in the minors where he belongs.
  3. Andy December 14, 2012 at 12:43 am
    Would the Angels be crazy to agree to Bourjos & Morales for Dickey?
    • Joe Janish December 14, 2012 at 12:49 am
      No way they do Morales – and he has no place on the Mets anyway, unless Ike Davis is sent westward.

      I think Bourjos and a minor leaguer or two is more realistic.

  4. argonbunnies December 14, 2012 at 12:55 am
    Is Trumbo better than Mike Olt?
    Is Bourjos better than Den Dekker?

    I think the answer in both cases is, “Probably, by a little bit.”

    The “Dickey for Trumbo & Bourjos” rumors do not excite me. Olt & Martin sounded better to me.

    If Boras can’t get anyone to overpay like crazy for Bourn, I assume he’ll sign a 1-year deal and try for a mega-contract again next year. I wouldn’t mind the Mets being that 1-year deal. But I’d hate to give the mega-contract.

    • Izzy December 14, 2012 at 1:12 am
      How funny how so many look at Olt’s minor league numbers and ignore a simple fact that he is a 3rd baseman. Yes, we need a 3rd baseman, but then again duda looks so good playing out of position just as murphy did, the great lord wants another guy to play out of position. Gee, think maybe he’ll catch, ’cause that Thole experiment sure was another success story. Maybe we’ll keep Dickey and make him catch or play centerfield.
      • DaveSchneck December 14, 2012 at 9:21 am
        This is an excellent point and it is the reason why the GM that you love so much hasn’t resolved the Dickey situation yet. Texas seems the most willing partner but Olt is not a good fit. As you say, while the Mets need a RH power bat (or in Olt’s case, a “projected RH power bat since he has yet to prove it in the majors), the last thing the need is another lumbering OF in Citifield. My guess is that what Alderson really wants is Toronto to cough up D’Arnaud and Gose, filling C and CF/leadoff, for a Cy Young level pticher. Or, he wants 3 players from Texas or the Angels. No way he is doing Dickey for Bourjos and one or two “maybe” minor leaguers. As I said before, worst case here is that he just signs RA at the midpoint of the current gap, which is probably the least risky move to make anyhow.
  5. argonbunnies December 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm
    Gose can steal bases, but he’s been rushed through the minors and never hit much at any level. Great upside, but he’s pretty much all tools at this point. A solid gamble for the Mets, but it’d be nice to get a more polished player back too.

    J.P. Arencibia gets on base about as often as a pitcher, but was good for 20 HRs in the Rogers center. Reports on his defense are mediocre. Better than Thole, but not great.

    This seems like a pretty short haul for an ace to me. If Sandy pulls the trigger, I will be very disappointed.

    Gose + D’Arnaud would be much better, but it’s been reported already that the Jays won’t do that.

    • DaveSchneck December 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm
      D”Arnaud + Gose and Izzy will send Alderson a box of chocolates.
  6. argonbunnies December 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    As for Trumbo, whoa, 36 BB and 153 K in his age 26 season. Yikes. Similar rates in the minors too.

    Bourjos is about the same. 53:208 career BB:K. He did manage to hit .314 with some pop in AAA 3 years ago, but those are PCL numbers.

    Man, I really just want to keep R.A. Dealing him now and signing him back next year would also be cool, but I think Sandy has burned that bridge with his insulting intro dollar offers.