Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Crowded Outfield with Plenty of Options

There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere and in the press about the reasoning behind the Mets addition of outfielder Corey Sullivan. Sullivan who appears to further crowd that Mets outfield in a group that already contains Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church, Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy, Angel Pagan, Nick Evans, Marlon Anderson, and newly acquired Jeremy Reed it leaves 9 players to fill 6 spots. Not to mention the possibility of Damion Easley possibly coming to spring training.

Now realistically Marlon Anderson is a pinch hitter that will see sometime at first base, and used very, very sparingly in the outfield. Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church are the obvious locks and when healthy are on the roster. Fernando Tatis baring an injury will make the team mostly because he hits right handed, in addition to the fact that he did a pretty good job in left last year.

So that leaves 2 spots for 4 guys. All 4, Evans, Sullivan, Reed, and Murphy have options so they can start the year in the minors and it won’t pose a problem. Evans produced the least last year for the Mets, and was awkward at best in the outfield, so he will be at Buffalo or Binghamton to start the year.

Now a lot has been made that Sullivan was signed to be traded, but there has been not talk what so ever about him actually being moved. Now in all truth these two guys are extremely similar players. They hit from the left side, play a decent center field, and will hit about .270 with no pop. The only defining difference is that Reed is two years younger. So, pretty much who ever performs better during the spring will make the team as the back up centerfielder. Don’t expect either of these guys to be as exciting as Endy Chavez, but as far as a back up goes they can play the field, just pray that Beltran won’t have any hamstring issues this year.

The last spot is Murphy’s to lose. As a late call up last year he proved that he can handle the bat, while showing a plate discipline for someone with 10 years experience. He’s a natural infielder so he gives you the most flexibility, whether that be giving Wright a day off at third, filling in for the inept Luis Castillo, or giving 38 year old Alex Cora a day off. Most likely he will be in the same roll as last year, a platoon with Tatis in left. Numerous teams reached out to Minaya about Murphy, and there is a reason he is still on the team.

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