This season, I started out with skeptical optimism regarding left field. I was very high on Daniel Murphy as a player, and thought he could do a decent job playing the outfield every day.
Apparently, I was wrong.
Murphy’s blunders in left, while not daily, were frequent, and costly enough for him to lose his spot. He’s since been replaced by a platoon of outfielders including Gary Sheffield, Jeremy Reed, Angel Pagan, Fernando (6-4-3) Tatis, Nick Evans, Fernando Martinez, and Corey Sullivan.
A few of those guys, specifically Reed and Pagan, would make great fourth outfielders, and I hope they are both in the future plans of the organization, but they are not every day guys by any means.
None of the players on that list are what I would like to consider a starting outfielder with a contender. I think the Mets may, again, need to look toward free agency to fill a void.
There are a few big name left fielders coming into free agency in the offseason. This position, with the exception of starting pitching, is the one hole I feel is the most important for the Mets to fill.
The Mets have solid offense and defense at the other two outfield spots lined up for next year with Carlos Beltran (assuming he’s able to return healthy) and Jeff Francoeur.
Adding a power bat with some speed would round out the outfield, and make up for the power outage at other key positions like first base.
The player I’d love to see more than any other become a Met is Carl Crawford.
The 27-year-old lefty is having an incredible season for the Rays. He’s batting .312 with 12 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 55 stolen bases already.
The Rays have a $10 million option to resign him for next season, but I’m sure Crawford will be able to make more as a free agent, and he’s sure to do so. The only question for the Mets is, will they be willing to spend what it will take to lock him up?
What I like best about Crawford is that he can also play center field if Carlos Beltran’s mobility is so limited that he can no longer do so. He’s got 20 HR/80 RBI potential which is much more than the Mets have gotten from a left fielder in a while.
Crawford is not the only option I like.
Jason Bay will be a free agent at the end of this season as well, and I think he’s someone that should be strongly considered for a spot on the Mets. He’s a guy that can give you a 30 HR/100 RBI season with some solid defense to back it up.
His career batting average is just under .280, and he always draws a lot of walks. He’d be a great addition to the middle of any batting order, and he may come with a more affordable price tag than a guy like Crawford.
Another option that the Mets should consider, and should have considered at the trade deadline, is Matt Holliday.
He was a 35 HR/120+ RBI guy in Colorado. He’s a professional hitter, and a professional run producer. He finished second to Jimmy Rollins for the MVP Award in 2007, when he put together a .340 BA with a .405 OBP, 36 HRs and 137 RBI.
His power numbers dropped off considerably after leaving the friendly confines of Coors Field. In little more than half a season with Oakland this year, Holliday was batting .286 with 11 HRs, but he still knocked in 53 RBIs and had 12 stolen bases.
The thing I like best about Holliday is the way he carries himself on the field. He’s one of the “character” guys I think the Mets need to stock their clubhouse with in order to become successful enough to be champions.
I’m not sure there’s a bad option with any of these three players, although I’d like to see Crawford come to the Mets most because of his speed. Speed in a stadium as big as Citi Field may be the best attribute to possess if you’re going to succeed.
Unfortunately, I don’t make the decisions. Omar does.
We all know how well that’s worked so far.