The Mets’ outfield situation for next season begins and ends in left field. Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francouer will likely be back to start in center field and right field, respectively. Angel Pagan has played well enough to replace Jeremy Reed as the team’s primary backup outfielder. I’d like to think that they aren’t bringing back Cory Sullivan, but I’ve been wrong before. And Gary Sheffield is unlikely to return as the team’s starting left fielder, as it’s doubtful he can handle playing a full season in the field. Let’s take a look at what’s out there and what the Mets can do to try to add a few wins next year.
Second part in a series. For my plan for the catcher’s spot, go here.
There aren’t as many decisions to make in the infield as there are at catcher. The team is set at shortstop and third base, and likely second base as well. First base is a different story, as they will not have a starting first baseman under contract for 2010. I do think they have good options for the bench already under team control, but it remains to be seen if they view those options the same way I do. Let’s take a look at what they have.
While the regular season is not yet over, meaning we are about two months away from the kickoff of the official hot stove season, in actuality the Mets season has been over for so long, our hot stove started in July. Most Mets fans have had plenty of time to think about directions for next season, as that has been the only thing getting them through this disaster. Other Mets blogs are getting ready to post their plans for next season, and I thought I’d try to get a jump on things by posting my own wild and crazy plans. This will run in several parts.
I have probably complained about Jerry Manuel enough this season. Anybody who reads this blog should already know I don’t like him, and think he’s a terrible manager. I probably should move on. But here’s an example of why I don’t, involving one of my other causes since the All Star break:
You’re Jerry Manuel. You are manager of the New York Mets, and you probably aren’t feeling too much pressure to win at this point. After all, the team has clinched 4th place, it is one loss away from 90 for the season, and next year’s first round draft pick will be protected from free agency. These last few games, there is literally nothing to play for, other than development of players for next year and perhaps a few moral victories from players who have struggled in some way, be it with a lack of power (David Wright) or injuries (Carlos Beltran). Plus, you can assume that management will not fire you because they will not want to pay two managers in 2010.
Coming into the 2009 season, I felt pretty good about Jerry Manuel as manager of the Mets. He had an impossible job to handle at the end of 2008, handling the disastrous Mets bullpen, and seemed to do as good a job as one man can do handling that pit. He tried to minimize platoon situations as much as possible. He went with the hot hand at closer. He tried to piece together the best with what he was given, and he seemed to do as good a job as anybody could do in that situation.
I would also be lying if I didn’t say that the man was an engaging post-game interview. Following the days of Willie Randolph monotonously saying one tired cliche after another, Jerry seemed like a welcome change, with his infectious chuckle and animated, lively presence in trying to piece together what went wrong that night. He also proved himself to be a leader who wouldn’t be bullied, when he benched Jose Reyes during his first day in the job after Reyes came up lame running out a grounder. He seemed to be the answer the Mets were looking for, and I was actually happy to have him around.
Nothing better sums up the 2009 Mets season than this picture. Brilliant.
Thirteen months ago, the Mets found themselves noticably thin in the outfield corner spots. Moises Alou had appeared in a mere 15 games, and would not play again this season (and perhaps ever; he has not played in the majors since). Ryan Church was still battling the effects of post-concussion syndrome. Endy Chavez had been an absolutely dreadful hitter, and his all-world defense was not appreciated by the front office (full disclosure: after every single Endy Chavez at-bat, I wished to never see him bat as a Met again, so I didn’t appreciate him at the time either). Even Marlon Anderson was hurt, robbing the Mets of their worst possible choice to play left field regularly.
Well, more accurately, I have been on Twitter for months, but I’m actually going to start using it for things other than writing to ESPN.com columnists. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, probably bitching about the Mets in many fewer words than I do on here, and plugging the website. But if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can do so at http://www.twitter.com/cox813.
And sadly, I don’t mean GOB Bluth, although somehow that would be appropriate too. But with all of the pratfalls that have befallen the Mets this year, from the Tony Bernazard situation and the Adam Rubin situation that grew from it, to the injuries on the field, to the ridiculous poor play, to the downright agonizing ways that this team has lost games, only an absolute masochist could truly enjoy this year’s Mets.
Here is a look at exactly what has gone wrong for this team:
I don’t want to hear about a lack of work or anything…right now, he is getting rocked out there, he just isn’t very good. Too many walks, too many extra base hits, not enough strikeouts. Frankie (he’s not K-Rod anymore) isn’t getting the job done, and he’s not worth a quarter of what he is making this season. Prediction: the Mets will find some way to shut him down to keep from paying that ludicrous option.