It’s No Joke. This Is Actually the Outfield for the 2013 Mets and We All Have to Live With It.

Mike:

All fall and winter the prevailing sentiment has been that eventually the outfield would be addressed by Sandy Alderson. At the least most everyone figured Scott Hairston was some type of backup plan. Well, it is getting very close to the start of spring training and so far, what you see is what you get. The rules say you must play nine, so I’m starting to think about how I would like to see our current roster employed.

10088363-largeMy first move if I was Terry Collins would be to stick Matt Den Dekker in centerfield and see what happens. He has a big time glove and he is not that young anymore. The argument against this would be he just won’t hit enough to be an everyday centerfielder. That might be true, but 2013 is starting to look like a very good year to make sure. And high quality centerfield defense will help ease Harvey and Wheeler’s big league transitions. Considering the other options I like the idea of giving Den Dekker a full look at the major league level in 2013. This way, if he craters with the bat it is a known fact by the deadline. If Terry needs to play Cowgill against tough lefties, fine, but otherwise I want to see Den Dekker play.

Jimmy:

Sure, shrug, who cares. Wait! Sorry, Mike, these are difficult days — and the season hasn’t even started. I’ll try to snap out of it. Looking at the gaping maw that is the Mets outfield, this is why we have spring training, as I think it’s legitimate to say, “Somebody, please, earn a job. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?”

Let's bring Den Dekker up to the majors even though the bat isn't ready. What can possibly go wrong?

Let’s bring Den Dekker up to the majors even though the bat isn’t ready. What can possibly go wrong?

Yet we discussed Den Dekker before. The glove is major league ready. But in 295 career AAA at-bats, he struck out 90 times with a .220 BA. True, his AA numbers were pretty good, but is it time to throw this kid to the lions? I don’t think so. I see him in Vegas, where hopefully he can compile some numbers, build some confidence. I’m okay with Kirk in CF for the short-term. However, I really believe that the Mets need to significantly improve outfield defense across the board. If you are going to build with pitching, it’s counter-productive to put out a weak defensive team. Maybe Cowgill becomes our main glove out there, short-term (as I don’t believe he can hit), and Kirk becomes the 4th guy/defensive replacement in the corners. And maybe Den Dekker hits his way out of Vegas by June.

Lucas Duda has to play all the time. Terry shouldn’t over-think that.

One player I have no faith in is poor Mike Baxter. You want to love him, he’s a Queens kid, he plays hard, seems like a quality individual. But he’s got no pop, no speed, no glove, nothing. I know some fans really like him — I saw one guy on another board comment that he led the league in pinch-hit doubles! — but I just don’t see what he gives this team.

Mike:

Don’t forget, the whole Christians versus the lions used to pack them in for the Romans. There are still some good seats to fill at Citi Field. But seriously, Den Dekker turns 26 in August and if this is the group I’d rather see the experiment. I’m not betting the ranch he works out, but I think it is a better use of the playing time.

I say that because I agree on Baxter. He’s from Queens and he gave up his body to preserve our no-hitter, but sorry, he is roster filler. Maybe he can have some sort of Matt Franco career, maybe not. But the guy should not get starts in a major league outfield.

Matt goes high.

Matt goes high.

So I would start Nieuwenhuis in right for now. This gets both him and Den Dekker in the lineup as we sort things out. I view Spring Training as a good time to get in shape, and not much else. With no one of any note blocking either Kirk or Matt I would begin the year playing both. And again, it helps the defense. I think we already know what Nieuwenhuis is defensively in center, and that is average. To be an everyday player he probably needs to slide back over there, but not if the guy in front of him in right field is Mike Baxter.

As for Duda, I guess I am over-thinking it. I want to see Duda platooned with anyone not named Justin Turner or Zach Lutz. I do not think Duda can hit lefties and he is such a sensitive brooding guy that I don’t want to keep banging his head against the wall trying. I would settle for some real pop against right handed pitchers. I guess Andrew Brown platoons with him. My turn to shrug.

Jimmy:

If it's any consolation, Mike, judging from this autograph, I don't even think Kirk can spell it.

If it’s any consolation, Mike, judging from this autograph, I don’t even think Kirk can spell it.

Maybe he could platoon with a cardboard cutout of Ron Swoboda? I’m sorry. These days, it’s hard to analyze the team or, frankly, to talk about Terry’s outfield options with any seriousness. What options? Where? So my first instinct is to crack a joke, you know, laughing through the pain. The other option is just to get angry and post a rant. But that gets old quickly.

By the way, I seriously have to correct your spelling every single time you attempt to type Nieuwenhuis. You’d be better off typing in the letter “N” followed by the five vowels, a-e-i-o-u.

It’s enough to make you miss Jeff Francoeur.

Maybe next year we can do the Mets “2 Guys” All-Time Tough-to-Spell Team. Kirk Nieuwenhuis in CF, Jeff Francoeur in RF, Doug Mientkiewicz at 1B, Omar Quintanilla at 2B, Rick Herrscher at SS, Bobby Pfeil at 3B . . .

Oh well.

Sigh.

Almost forgot, belated congratulations to David Wright on his engagement to model Molly Beers. I guess the Hot Stove season hasn’t been a total loss.

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See what I did there? It was either that or bring up Marlon Byrd, and really, there’s nothing worth saying about Marlon Byrd — except that if he gets ABs out there, we’re worse than bad, we’re misguided.

 

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. Eric says:

    Lutz gets a mention… as long as we’re there, I’ll throw our Eric Campbell’s name as well. There is some possibility that one of these guys may get an opportunity to be “better than Justin Turner”…….. or an addition to JT…..If either can carry an OF Mitt, play some back-up 3rd and 1st.

    That would provide some much needed RH power off the Bench, and for Days when Ike or David need a blow. Omar Quantanilla would become a middle IF back up.

    As for the OF—– Newee should get the 1st 250-400 ab’s in CF—or SOMEWHERE. He’s either Ready or Not. I believe he’s at least USEABLE—much more so than Baxter. Lefty, Pop, Speed, CF—–that spells a career as back up—at least.

  2. And, of course, not mentioned in this piece is a certain free agent CF. My take very early on, before the draft pick hoopla, was that Sandy was hoping to wait and steal him at a low, low, low price. That usually doesn’t work, since when the price gets low, the competitive bidders come out. Plus, Boras usually finds a way to pit one team against another and the prices goes up. On the plus side, I do believe that Alderson is truly chastened by the outfield debacle, embarrassed, and might feel some new urgency to address it. Signing Bourn at 4/$60 without losing a 1st Round Pick (and slot money) would be a real coup. All the stars would have to be aligned for that to happen, so I’m not counting on it.

  3. Don P says:

    I’m looking at the Seattle offseason and I think it may present some options for the OF if Sandy is paying attention. They just traded for 1B/OF Mike Morse (they have Kendry Morales and Justin Smoak at 1B) who I think will be a fixture in the OF. They signed Bay (good luck with that) and have Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Mike Carp, Eric Thames and Casper Wells, all of whom I think are an upgrade(scary to think of this group as an upgrade). I don’t think it would take much to pry one of these loose and it fits with Alderson’s theory of garbage in, garbage in.

  4. Alan K. says:

    The fact that we have to have a serious discussion about Den Dekker as a starting OF is disconcerting to say the least. I’ve been following the Mets since the Wes Westrum days and this might be the worst Mets starting OF. Not only is this possibly the worst starting OF in the major leagues but there are probably a good number of AAA outfields that may be better. And we’re discussing using players who would not get anywhere near the 40 man roster of a decent major league team. I think I miss football already!

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