So, now that we know that Beltran will be cleared for baseball activities for at least three months, throw in some time for rehab and we are looking at a mid to late May return; perhaps early June.
So, without Beltran's bat or glove in CF for the first two months of the season there needs to be some kind of plan to foward and remain in the mix of things for those 2 months. Some people have mentioned Johnny Damon. This would be a bad idea as his power comes from the porch in Yankee Stadium and would make for a terrible CF defender.
Some suggest that we keep the job in-house and hand it to Angel Pagan. Over the past few seasons Pagan has showed us that he can play ball. He is okay in the field but is a decent overall hitter. The real trouble for Pagan is his ability to stay on the field. He has a tendency to get hurt and CF presents an injury risk by itself. So when he is healthy, Pagan is certainly capable as any but then you've got to hope he stays healthy. It could be worth the 2 month risk.
Another option would be to tentatively give it to Pagan or not, but allow Fernando Martinez to compete for the spot. If he does well in spring training and (and not or) the Mets like what they are seeing (ie: they think he is not just being lucky) they could hand the job over to him. This could be a rewarding option to try, but Martinez does present more obstacles than Pagan as an A) unproven talent, B) an Injury risk, and C) his probable need for further development.
That leaves the Mets one more pool of players to investigate; the free agents. Of the remaining players available there have got to be some players who they could make use of part time, while being comfortable starting them for 2 months while being affordable. Applying the criteria the names that stand out are Endy Chavez or perhaps Randy Winn. Chavez has always been a decent player; excellent in the field and a consistent .270 hitter in the box. The big selling point for me here is his fielding ability which would at least be similar to Beltran's, while still not providing the offensive spark that our injured All-Star CF'er did. However, he is not a bad hitter and we could do worse for 2 months. As for Randy Winn, I just dont know if I would use him that long, but he would be a nice player to have.
Ultimately, I don't have a problem with allowing Pagan to have the job, while keeping a close eye on the young Martinez. I mean I also like the Chavez option as well, it just depends on the kind of deal we could get.