THE METS 2000 OUTFIELD: Some Perspective By Way of “The Ghost of Crummy Outfields Past”

Jimmy:

I’m frustrated, Mike.

Mike:

Well, that’s been well documented.

Jimmy:

No, this isn’t about my long-standing crush on Laura Dern.

Laura Dern in JURASSIC PARK

This is about the Mets. Our outfield is a joke. We can’t possibly win with those clowns out there — Benny Agbayani, Timo Perez, Jay Payton, Derek Bell — it’s a liability no team can overcome. We’ve got to give Bubba Trammell a shot! Maybe this Tyner kid could provide a spark! You think Darryl Hamilton has anything left?

Did you see that, Mike? Clever, huh? I entered a tardis and traveled back in time 13 years. That 2000 Mets team, of course, managed to reach the World Series despite that motley crew roaming the Flushing pastures.

Mike:

Yes they did. It’s a good point and a big reason we all love baseball. There are so many different ways that you can put a winning combination together.

Hey, I was there with the family the night they called Tyner up. He signed a ball for them before the game. That ball did not appreciate in value.

Jimmy:

To be clear: In no way am I suggesting that as a plan. “Okay, guys, first we start out with a really crappy outfield, and then . . .” No, no, no. It’s just that this year’s group reminds me of that oddball assortment that Bobby V. managed so well. Do you remember?

Mike:

Sure. We all know that the catcher and second baseman hit out of their minds for their respective positions. And the pitching was great, that 2000 team had a fantastic and deep bullpen. But I also remember we had a scrap heap outfielder that really came through for us that year, Benny Agbayani.

Jimmy:

bennyBenny and the Metssssssss! Oh, and they’re weird and they’re wonderful! The 30th Round Pick from the 1993 Amateur Draft, who played his final MLB game on September 29, 2002, Benny delivered a 122 OPS+ for the Mets in 2000 across 415 PA’s. He walked a LOT and hit for power. Check out the slash line — .289/.391/.477. Benny hit RHP better than LHP, but not markedly so, with an OPS above .800 against north and south alike. Even so, Bobby V seemed to rest Benny regularly, carefully picking his spots.

Mike:

Of all the Mets successful seasons, 2000 was the one where life events tended to get in the way of me being able to get to the stadium. I don’t think I was able to make it out to Shea more than ten times, and I didn’t attend any of the post-season games. Therefore with all the great things Agbayani did in 2000, I always remember him for an embarrassing moment.

I was sitting on the stands in the 4th inning on August 12, 2000. The Mets led the Giants 1-0 at the time, but the bases were loaded with only one out. Bobby Estalella hit a short fly ball toward the left field stands, short enough that all the runners would have to hold. Agbayani ran it down to catch it for the second out. Only Benny had lost track of the outs and flipped the ball into the stands. All runners were awarded two bases, and just like that the Giants led 2-1. Not to worry though, the Mets came back to win the game, 3-2, so no harm was done. That is how it goes when you are having a winning season.

Jimmy:

Likewise, Timo Perez has that one monumental blunder — slowing to a  showboat trot when he should have been running hard — that might have cost us the entire series. There are sad, pathetic, mean-spirited fans out there who have never seen it in their black hearts to forgive Timo for that critical lapse — I know, because I am one of them. He’ll forever be associated with that moment. And Timo, I’m sorry, but I’ll hate you to my grave.

timo+perez+(7)

Mike:

Armando Benetiz didn’t make any new fans that week either.

Jimmy:

The strange thing with Timo was that he even made the postseason roster. He made his pro debut on September 1st, only had 54 PA’s, but because of Derek Bell’s ankle sprain in Game One of the NLDS, Timo played in every postseason game. And he played quite poorly, culminating in a brutal World Series slash line of .125/.176/.125. In 54 postseason PA’s, including the NLDS and NLCS, Timo’s OPS was a sorry .560. Fortunately, the highly-touted prospect Jay Payton, no longer young at age 27, overcame a run of injuries to make it to the majors for more than a cup of coffee. Jay played well in 2000. I’m glad that Payton managed to carve out a respectable 10-year MLB career. For context, imagine Poor Reese Havens getting his 4,500 PA in the year 2025.

(Note: That’s official, btw. Here at “2 Guys,” he must forever be referred to as, “Poor Reese Havens.”)

derek+bell+(1)That’s about it, Mike. Ricky Henderson and Darryl Hamilton didn’t figure large in 2000 season. Derek Bell, though, he was a nut. I don’t know if you recall, but he got into situations all through his career. Most infamously, in Houston, he threw a fit when manager Larry Dierker dropped him to the 6th spot in the lineup. Bell’s timing wasn’t good, however. He chose to criticize Dierker on the night the former Astros star returned to the club after he’d undergone EMERGENCY BRAIN SURGERY! Thus, Bell’s days in Houston were numbered. The ‘stros told Mets GM Steve Phillips, in effect, “You want Mike Hampton, you’re going to have to take Derek Bell, too.”

Mike:

What I remember about Derek Bell was he was living on a boat behind the stadium, in Flushing Bay. And that after a great start, by the All-Star Break he was toast. Timo was the Bell takeout.

In general it was a revolving door, and by the postseason Payton, Benny, and a hot Timo were getting the job done. In Timo’s case the clock struck twelve a little too early.

Looking back, a motley but fun crew, which is how you always remember the winning squads.

Memories are not always fair.

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7 comments

  1. Wow, Laura Dern and Derek Bell in the same post. I’ll bet that never happens again!
    Mets getting to the World Series in 2000 is the reward some of us Mets fans have earned along the way.

  2. DD says:

    Want to get over a Laura Dern-inspired crush? Rent “Citizen Ruth.”

    I mean, she’s good in it and all, but you’ll be over your crush in a hurry.

  3. […] I’m not going to worry about the outfield, which could be really bad, just like the 2000 outfield was on paper.  Besides, if Lucas Duda can keep hitting the ball the way he has lately in ST, maybe he can make […]

    • DD says:

      Duda made outs in his first seven Spring At Bats; six of those AB’s were strikeouts. Since then he has hit about .290, with a slugging percentage of about .650.

      Ordinarily I wouldn’t indulge in cherry picking from a small sample as I have here’ but Duda was coming off a surgical proceedure on his wrist AND was trying to make adjustments to some bad habits picked up the previous year. I think his last 31 AB’s tell us more of what to expect from Duda than do those six K’s in his first seven At Bats.

      But since I’m cherry picking: extract his start on September 20th, when he gave up seven earned runs to the Phillies and didn’t get anybody out, and Jeremy Hefner’s earned run average for 2013 drops almost half a run, from 5.07 to 4.61. Yes, he really did pitch that poorly that day; most of the rest of the time he was a borderline 5th starter in his rookie year. Theworst of the damage he allowed happened in a single Glavinesque game.

      Just saying.

  4. Michael Geus says:

    I’m not convinced Duda needs to play every day. Considering the total package I would rather he sit against lefties. But other than that, yes, play him and let’s see what happens.

    In Lucas case I want to believe, I happen to really like Duda. Big sensitive kid, emotionally I’m in. I’m not convinced but April 2013 is the time to start to get answers.

  5. Eric says:

    Lucas Duda Can Hit—-does he believe it?

  6. The question is not can he hit, but can he hit ENOUGH to overcome the horrible, horrible defense and lousy baserunning.

    JP

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