My Thoughts on the Mets Going Forward: The Outfield
December 18th, 2010 by slangon

As of now, it seems as though the starting outfield for the Mets 2011 season will be Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan. That is unless they end up trading Carlos before the off-season ends. Really it seems like the only question is who will be patrolling center and who will be in right. Personally, I think I’m okay with that set up.

I don’t think that anyone would disagree with you if you said that Jason Bay’s 2010 season was a bust, least of all Jason Bay. I’m sort of at a loss to explain it. How does a guy who averages 30 home runs a year suddenly hit 6? Granted, he missed roughly a third of the season after colliding with a chain link fence in Los Angeles (I still get a little nauseous thinking about that), but even if you were to estimate how many he would’ve hit had he finished the season, what do get? Nine? Ten? Maybe he went on a home run tear at some point and finished with 15. I don’t think you can blame it on Citi Field either. Out of the 6 homers he did manage, it was evenly split 3 in Queens, 3 on the road. If anything, he did hit a few more doubles at Citi Field that maybe you could argue would’ve went out somewhere else, but I think that might be a bit of a stretch. Either way, that’s still nowhere near what the team, or I’m sure Jason himself, was envisioning when they inked that 4 year/$66M deal. I’m fairly certain, and judging by other things I’ve read around the web concerning Bay heading forward, he’ll bounce back to something resembling his 30 homer / 105 RBI average. After last year, I’d be happy with 20 homers / 70 RBI.

Beltran to me is the biggest question mark going into 2011, at least as far as the outfielders go. As a Mets fan, I love Beltran. His 2005 season with the team left a little to be desired, but he bounced back with 3 incredible seasons in ’06, ’07 and ’08, both offensively and defensively. 2009 was where he got derailed with the injuries which lasted into 2010. By all accounts he seems to be pain free now and poised to have a nice come back season in 2011. One of my biggest flaws as a fan, though, and I’ll be the first to admit this, is that when I like a player because of things he’s done in the past, I tend to stick up for them when I probably shouldn’t. That being said, I really believe that Beltran will come back and have a good season. Is he going to hit 30-40 homers and drive in 100-115 runs? Even I’m not so optimistic as that, but I think he will return to at least a closer version of his old self at the plate. I’m more worried about his performance in the field. For many years now, I’ve considered Carlos one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and that is not a product of my being a fan. I think that’s just a fact. Even if he bounces back offensively, I can’t imagine he’ll be able to play center the way he did with that knee and that brace (which I’m not even sure if he’ll be wearing next season). Will he accept a move to right field, which I’m sure he sees as a demotion? He’s said he’ll do whatever is best for the team, but how much of that is just lip service?

This guy is the biggest reason that I really hope Beltran accepts that he’s probably not the same fielder he once was and moves to right. I mean, it’s not like you’re throwing some shlub into center. Pagan I feel has proved that he’s more than capable of performing at a very high level in center (any of the outfield spots really). He also really came into his own last year offensively. In 2009, he hit well enough while filling in various outfield spots after Beltran got hurt and it became painfully obvious that Danny Murphy was not a left fielder and they figured out Gary Sheffield shouldn’t be playing the outfield anymore. His problem was a gaggle of bonehead base running mistakes that according to my possible faulty memory, took them out of innumerable rallies and potential big innings. Whatever happened during the 2009-2010 off season, all those mistakes went away. as a matter of fact, I feel like Angel was one of the most clutch Mets last year. He was hitting .339 with runners in scoring position, as opposed to his not-too-shabby .290 overall average. Pagan is certainly one of the guys I’m most excited to watch going into 2011. I guess that says something about the player when someone is still excited to watch despite knowing that the team will not be competing.

So that’s some (rambling) thoughts on the state of the Mets probable starting outfield heading into 2011. Overall, I think that the outfield is the least of the Mets worries. All 3 are average to above average fielders, which considering the dimensions of the Citi Field outfield, they’ll need to be. All 3 can hit, provided they’re healthy (I’m looking at you Beltran). I’m not particularly worried about any of them.

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