Questions continue to loom over who will be starting where in the outfield, especially in centerfield. And Matt den Dekker still isn’t the answer.
Tag: jeremy reed
The list of minor league free agents was published on Baseball America a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t celebrated with quite the pomp and circumstance of the beginning of MLB free agency.
Yet, there likely will be much more activity by the Mets with minor league free agents than with their Major League counterparts.
Generally, this list is made up of “AAAA” players; those who have mastered the AAA level but for whatever reason have not been able to make a career in the bigs. However, there are some mildly intriguing names here and there; read on to see a few highlights.
Remember when the Mets traded Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, Jason Vargas, Ezequiel Carrera, and Maikel Cleto in return for Sean Green and two other Seattle Mariners? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
Green was supposed to be Pedro Feliciano’s foil – a right-handed situational reliever with the ability to occasionally step in as a setup man. Fans who rejoiced at the arrival of Green and the departure of Heilman soon learned that you must be careful what you wish for. Sure, Green never had the opportunity to allow a postseason homerun; but at the same time, the Mets’ dependence on talents such as Green to fill key bullpen roles was at least part of the reason they’ve been watching the playoffs from home since 2006. For those who forgot, Green was penciled in as the backup to the backup setup man in early 2010 — the man who would step in if Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi didn’t work out.
Green’s time as a Met has been marked by inconsistency and injury. In an effort to salvage his career, he converted from sidearmer to submariner – a move that might’ve panned out had he given it enough time. But now that he’s back to being a sidewinder with sporadic control who turns 32 shortly after Opening Day, I’m not sure where he fits in to the Mets’ plans. He’s under the team’s control, but after earning $975K in 2010, does it make sense to renew or go the arbitration route? My guess is they’ll cut him loose and try to re-sign him on a minor-league deal.
In a bold move to bolster the roster, the Mets claimed Twins outfielder Jason Pridie off waivers; they DFA’d former Rutgers pitcher Jack Egbert to make room for Pridie on the 40-man roster.
Pridie was once a promising prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, who was dealt along with Brendan Harris and Delmon Young to Minnesota in the trade that sent Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett south.
For those unfamiliar with Pridie, he is a lefthanded-hitting outfielder with good speed and excellent defensive skills, but not much offense despite a sweet-looking swing. The 26-year-old has exactly 4 MLB at-bats and is a .276 hitter through over 3500 minor-league ABs. There was a brief point early in his career that the Rays moved him to the infield (third base), but ultimately his skillset was deemed more appropriate to the outfield.
Essentially, he is a slightly younger, inexperienced, free-swinging version of Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan (actually, he kind of looks like a mashup of the Reed and Sullivan, doesn’t he?). In 2008 he struck out 152 times in 603 AAA at-bats, while clubbing 16 triples and 13 HRs. Last year his strikeouts dropped to 85 (in 546 ABs), hitting .265 with 9 HRs and 5 triples, but walked only 19 times.
In related news, the Mets are considering bringing back fan favorite Endy Chavez — according to John Paul Morosi. Chavez is reportedly doing very well in his rehab from major knee surgery last year, and could be back on the field as early(?) as April or May. Of course, that’s what the agent of every player returning from surgery says.
From Morosi’s report:
At this point, Chavez and his agents must decide on one of two courses of action: Chavez could sign with a club soon and rehabilitate with the team’s medical staff throughout spring training, or continue his workouts individually and stage a showcase in late March.
Really? A “showcase”? Hey, I love Endy as much as any Mets fan, but he’s not Ben Sheets. Hopefully the knee doctor did as good a job on Endy’s surgery as the spin doctor did with this hype.
As we all know, Carlos Beltran has underwent knee surgery and is expected to be out for 12 weeks. No one is sure if “12 weeks” refers to the time before he can walk, run, or play ball. No one has made clear that it is “at least 12 weeks” or “a minimum of 12 weeks”. The recent history of communications from the Mets in regard to player injuries, though, tells us that the “12 weeks” means little or nothing.
That said, we’ll pretend that Carlos Beltran will NOT be in uniform, in centerfield, in April, and possibly not until May (which, in Metspeak, means, he most likely will be back in the lineup sometime in August).
Who will play centerfield for the Mets while we wait for Beltran’s return? Here are some of the possibilities.
The best free-agent centerfielder still available on the open market. He has no desire to play in NYC, and is coming off an injury-riddled season in which he hit .231.
The second-best free-agent centerfielder still available. Hits from both sides of the plate, has good speed, and can play every position on the diamond except catcher. He hit .217 last year and turned 32 a few days ago. In his prime years (27-29) he was a semi-regular super utlityman who hit in the .260s with no power.
Endy is coming off major knee surgery that ended his 2009 season. He turns 32 in a few weeks. His age and his surgery likely will affect his once excellent range. Neither issue should affect the fact he has no power, no plate discipline, and is a streak hitter.
There was a time that Damon was adequate in centerfield. That time has long past. Comically enough, there have been some pundits who suggest signing Damon for left field and shifting Jason Bay to center — many of the same pundits who previously insisted that Jason Bay’s defensive skills in left field would nullify his offensive production and ultimately doom the Mets.
Cory Sullivan / Jeremy Reed
Either of these choices would provide stellar defense, solid fundamentals, hustle, and good baserunning but only limited offensive production. The cost would be very affordable — likely under $1M.
This name is being bandied about more than Sullivan/Reed and I don’t understand why — Reed Johnson is essentially the righthanded, more expensive version of those two. I guess it’s a matter of people preferring change for the sake of change.
Is he healthy? Can he play every day? Does he want to play in NYC? If the answer is “yes” to all three it’s a no-brainer. But we don’t know the answers.
Winn has been coveted by the Mets for several years, as his name comes up in rumors every July. He hasn’t been an everyday centerfielder since 2004 because his range is limited. He might be an OK stopgap, providing solid if unspectacular all-around performance. Certainly he is a well-rounded, fundamentally sound ballplayer with extensive experience and has a good rep off the field / in the clubhouse.
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
This name has been suggested by various sources recently. Why, I have no idea. Hairston is essentially an older, more versatile, but otherwise less-talented version of Reed Johnson. His main value is the ability to stand in several different positions on the diamond, but, at none is he particularly stellar — centerfield included. In any case, it appears he’s about to sign with the Padres.
The price tag should be cheap, and if he’s healthy, he might be an OK option — if he’ll sign an MLB-minimum contract. The Crashtest Dummy last played CF regularly in 2006, and no one knows for sure if he’s healthy enough to walk out to center, much less play it.
Gerald “Ice” Williams
Gary Matthews, Jr.
The Angels are dying to rid themselves of Matthews and his contract — and will probably pay some or all of his salary to make him go away. He hasn’t performed anywhere close to his “enhanced” career year with the Rangers in 2006, and is now 35 years old.
The rumor mill was rife with Spilborghs’ name earlier in the winter, and he remains an extra outfielder on the Rockies’ depth chart. The Beaneheads love him for his OBP, and he can cover centerfield adequately enough to be a worthwhile stopgap. But at what cost, and is he any better than Angel Pagan?
The most likely and most sensible solution is Angel Pagan. He has the physical (if not mental) skills to handle center field more than adequately, and showed in 2009 that he can be an offensive force in spurts.
Do we really want to watch him be overmatched in MLB when he should be further developing his skills, confidence, and ability to stay on the field in the minors?
Jason Bay / Jeff Francoeur
Even if either of these players was capable of handling centerfield for more than a week, it would still create a hole in one of the corners. Not plausible.
I think we know the way the Mets will go — they’ll plug in Angel Pagan and hope for the best. And looking at the alternatives, it’s not a bad plan. Though, I’d prefer they also back him up with a solid, cheap defender such as Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan, AND have a “Plan B” in place — Randy Winn would appear to be the most logical choice in terms of availability and cost. Winn can fill in as a late-inning defender in center and left, and be a veteran bat off the bench — he can just as easily play every day, and/or split time in a platoon situation. Maybe if Ankiel were more interested in playing in New York I’d think differently, but that plus his history suggests he isn’t “built” to play in a big market.
What do you think?
Back in January, the Mets made a series of blockbuster moves to sate the hunger of disgruntled fans. First they picked up lights-out LOOGY Casey Fossum, then they brought back Argenis Reyes, before capping the excitement with the signing of Cory Sullivan.
At the time, the Mets were unaware that Jeremy Reed was part of the trade with Seattle — they were so excited and busy patting each other on the back after hoodwinking the Mariners into handing over J.J. Putz that Reed was an afterthought. Further, the person who inked Sullivan had not yet received the telegram from the department of the organization that drafted Carl Loadenthal in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft (perhaps the message was sent by Pony Express, which tends to be slower in the snowy winter months).
We assume these things because Sullivan, Reed, and Loadenthal are all essentially the same player:
When the Mets sent 7 players to Seattle and Cleveland last December in a three-team deal centered around J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed was an afterthought. As it turned out, Reed had more of an impact on the Mets than the closer-turned-setup man.
Though, that wasn’t a difficult feat, considering that
How do you evaluate a half-season of performance that was riddled with nagging injuries?
Carlos Beltran played in 81 ballgames — exactly one-half of a 162-game season. A good number of those games where played on an injured knee, so there’s some reason to believe that his numbers could have been even better.
Those numbers were pretty impressive by the way. He posted a .325 AVG, 22 doubles, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 11 SB, 47 BB, and 43 K, with a .415 OBP and .915 OPS. Had he been healthy, Beltran likely would have been among the top 10 NL hitters in most offensive categories and won another Gold Glove. But it was not to be.
Instead, the day Beltran was placed on the disabled list