Continuing from our season preview of the Mets earlier today…
Can the Mets possibly go forward with this patchwork outfield?
To say that the Mets outfield is unsettled is an understatement. If the season were to start today, the outfield would be manned by a rotating cast of five different men, possibly six if a proper right-handed complement to Lucas Duda emerges. Alas, this isn't because of an overwhelming amount of talent that the Mets are struggling to find playing time for but rather a dearth of talent that the Mets are hoping to solve by just throwing as many warm bodies as possible at it. I mean, there's a reason that Marlon Byrd is in camp with a legitimate shot earning a significant role.
While the Mets can't possibly have realistic designs on being a contender, they still have to be aiming for a respectable season that they can build on going forward. That's going to be awfully hard to pull off with this motley crew roaming the outfield, but if you believe management, that is exactly what they intend to do.
To that I say: Really?
Taken at face value, we already know that the Mets are lying through their teeth about being OK with their current outfield. After all, they did just recently make a serious run at Michael Bourn, only to lose out because they tried to pinch pennies at the end of negotiations because Wilpons gonna Wilpon.
Nobody can blame the Mets for trying to be opportunistic with a free agent who was going to sign for below market value, but the fact remains that you don't consider dropping that kind of coin if you really are perfectly happy with what you currently have. But with training camp now well under way, there is nary a quality outfielder to be found on the free agent or trade market.
The flip side of their failed pursuit of Bourn though is that it indicates that the Mets, for the first time in years, actually have a little bit of spending cash. Ownership has even made public statements to that effect, assuming anything the Wilpons say can actually be trusted. What that could mean is that the Mets will be major players in the mid-season trade market. They aren't going to be pursuing rental players like a contender, instead they could put themselves in the mix for any outfielder that comes on the market with a contract that runs through at least 2014.
Could that make them players for Josh Willingham? Or maybe Alfonso Soriano? Heck, they might even go hog wild and make a serious run at prying Giancarlo Stanton loose from the Marlins?
Really any of those options are just as likely as the other, including the Mets completely standing pat. Nobody really knows that they Mets rebuilding plan is at this point. They are fresh from selling off R.A. Dickey but they also just gave David Wright the kind of contract you only hand out if you are serious about making a World Series run but the Wilpons are also only just getting out from under the financial mess they and Bernie Madoff created for themselves, so they may not be too anxious to start throwing cash around.
Whatever their plan is, their outfield will serve bellwether.
Mets on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Hope for the Hopeless
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I’m a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question
This Is My Nightmare (2:00 PM)
X-Factor (3:15 PM)
Top Ten Prospects (4:30 PM)