The Mets are reportedly looking to pursue a left-handed outfielder to join the club with just three weeks away from spring training.
Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Kosuke Fukudome and Rick Ankiel are the players the Mets are seemingly interested in.
Last week, the Mets lost Willie Harris to the Reds and now must find a fourth outfielder.
Let's face it: if the Mets can get Johnny Damon to sign a contract, the Mets would not only have an even better option at center field, they would have a veteran that seems to make the playoffs every year.
The 38-year-old has a career batting average of .286 in his 16 years in the majors. Oddly, he is still going pretty strong after posting 16 home runs last season.
Like Damon, Raul Ibanez is creeping up in age too, but he still wants to have a starting role. Damon would probably be better fit for the Mets as he could start in center field for them.
However, Ibanez's power is too good to pass up. Although these two left-handers are seeking probably a larger salary then the Mets would want to give, they are the top two candidates for the Mets.
The player talk about most of the four listed has been Rick Ankiel, who played in Washington last season. He had a pretty subpar season last year, batting just .239 and nine home runs in 122 games.
With those numbers, he would be just another Jeff Francoeur for the Mets—but one that comes off the bench. If he started every day, there would be no question that he's too inconsistent and not worth the risk.
However, off the bench, he or Scott Hairston can provide the slugging the Mets need. Ankiel's glove is also very attractive to the Mets. Like Francoeur, Ankiel has a heck of an arm—he was a pitcher before moving to the outfield.
Ankiel will probably come cheaper then Damon or Ibanez, so he could be a very nice fit for the Mets if he doesn't have to start every game.
Kosuke Fukudome is arguably the worst candidate that the Mets are looking over. The Cubs signed Fukudome to a four year $48 million contract in 2008, and that was definitely undeserving looking at his play over those four years.
Appearing in 146 games, Fukudome hit just eight home runs and had 35 runs batted in. Although his on base percentage wasn't bad last year at .342, he still isn't worth a roster spot unless the Mets get a bargain on Fukudome. The only way the Mets will get a bargain, will be if Fukudome doesn't get much interest from anyone else.
All in all, I think the Mets will end up signing Rick Ankiel to be their left-handed bat off the bench. Not only does he have power, but his fielding ability is outstanding, as was one of the candidates for the Gold Glove Award last season.
Rick Ankiel fits in the Mets chaos very well. But getting a guy like Damon on your team screams "We want to make the playoffs" and Mets fans would enjoy that.
Any of these candidate will find a place within the Mets organization; I just think it's going to be Ankiel.
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