Tag: grady sizemore

Mets Fan Window Shopping: Centerfield

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 …

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The Pros and Cons of Grady Sizemore

Is Sizemore worth the risk?

Despite their reportedly limited budget, the Mets will not be completely inactive in the free agent market this offseason.  Whether or not they re-sign Jose Reyes, the Mets will have needs to fill.  And while it seems they don’t have the kind of money to be competitive in the Albert Pujols/Prince Fielder sweepstakes, there are bargains to be had.  As with most bargains, however, caveat emptor applies.

Once such bargain is Grady Sizemore.  The 2-time Gold Glove winner became a free agent after the Indians declined his $9MM option for 2012.  Sizemore is beloved in Cleveland, and has been one of the game’s best all-around outfielders since his first full season in 2005.  His 162 game averages are 39 2B, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 24 SB, and an .830 OPS.  And, he’s only 29 years old.  So why did Cleveland decline his option?

Over the past three years, he’s lost 276 games to injury, and has undergone 5 surgeries.

Sizemore, who made $7.7MM last year, played in only 71 games for the Indians.  As a result, he can be had at a bargain price, and if he stays healthy, he will produce on the baseball field.  Wait…that last sentence sounds familiar.  Oh right, I think I read that about Moises Alou, Chris Young, Pedro Martinez, J.J. Putz, Gary Sheffield, and other recent Mets acquisitions.  Do the Mets really need to take another chance on yet another broken down ballplayer?

While in past years, the chances they took were based on poor decision making, this year, they may not have a choice, given their financial situation.  A healthy Sizemore could upgrade their defense in center field, or even right field, if the Mets lose faith in Lucas Duda, and fill the spot at the top of the order if Reyes leaves.

The Mets have an existing option for both of those roles: Angel Pagan.  After an encouraging 2010, Pagan had a rough year all around, highlighted by mental mistakes in the field and on the bases.  But despite some nagging injuries, he has given the Mets over 1,100 plate appearances over the past two seasons.  He will likely win approximately $5MM in arbitration this year, should the Mets choose to grant it.

The general feeling is any current outfield prospect (i.e. Kirk Niewenhuis) in the organization will not be ready for prime time when Spring Training rolls around.  And there are other free agent options, such as Cody Ross and Nate McLouth, but neither of them have the production potential of Sizemore.

If it doesn’t break the bank, it’s worth signing Sizemore – he has enough upside to justify the risk.  In addition, the Mets probably won’t have to pay much more for him than they would pay Pagan.  But they’d better have a backup plan in place in case the risk doesn’t result in reward.

 

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How Bad is Mets Power Outage?

Quick, what do Miguel Olivo, Garret Jones, David Wright, Gary Sheffield, and Grady Sizemore all have in common?

All four players lead their respective teams in homeruns, but have hit less than 20.

power-outageHere’s where it gets scary — the season totals for these four:

Olivo (Royals), 19
Jones (Pirates), 19
Sizemore (Indian), 18
Wright and Sheffield (Mets), 10

Now, homeruns aren’t everything, but they do have a significant place in today’s game of watered-down pitching and emphasis on offense. And 20 is just a number — though most would agree it is something of a benchmark. A player who knocks at least 20 balls over the fence is generally considered to be a “power threat” — the type of hitter one needs to pitch carefully to in tight situations.

Yes, the injuries to Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran had something to do with the Mets not having a 20-HR hitter this year (though the pace of each suggested barely hitting 20 through 600 ABs). But Wright’s 15-day stint on the DL wasn’t the reason he is unlikely to reach that milestone. Further, the only other players on the Opening Day roster who had hit as many as 20 in a season were the 40-year-old Sheffield and Fernando Tatis (whose 34 in 1999 smell mysterious).

And before you point to vast expanse of Citi Field, consider that opponents have hit 75 homeruns in Flushing — or, a dozen more than visiting teams have hit in Coors Field. Chew on that one for a moment.

In fact, the Mets have hit 46 of their dingers in their home stadium, compared to 39 on the road. So Citi Field may have stolen a few fly balls, but that doesn’t explain the lack of power when visiting other parks.

Now consider this: there are currently 71 in MLB right now with at least 20 homeruns. In fact, 19 of them have 30 or more. Not one is a New York Met.

With a shade less than 20 games left in the season, there’s a very real possibility that the Mets finish the year as the only team in MLB without a 20-HR hitter. I’m not sure of the last time that has happened to an MLB team, but I know it hasn’t happened to the Mets since 2003, when Cliff Floyd and Jeromy Burnitz hit 18 apiece. You have to back another ten years, to 1993, to find a sub-20-HR guy lead the team (Bobby Bonilla, with 19, if you care).

Can a Major League team make it to the postseason in this day and age without at least one power threat? Some may argue a playoff-bound team requires at least three. Going into this offseason, the Mets are likely to let Delgado go, leaving Wright and Beltran as the only players under contract with the potential to hit 20 homers in a season — though they have an arbitration / non-tender decision to make with Jeff Francoeur, who has hit as many as 20 HR once in his five-year career. Assuming Francoeur returns, will those three “sluggers” be enough power to contend in 2010?

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