Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 15, 2008
BASEBALL: Outfield Depth

The Mets have a real issue with lack of depth in the outfield - Carlos Beltran in CF has averaged 627 plate appearances over the past two seasons, but the figures are 380 for Ryan Church in RF, 369 for 41-year-old Moises Alou in LF, and 278 for Endy Chavez as the fourth outfielder. Backups Ben Johnson and Angel Pagan are at best unproven as major-league caliber players, and super-prospect Fernando Martinez is 19, has played just 60 games above A ball and thus is unlikely to be ready this season except as an emergency fill-in. In short, the Mets will be holding their breath on Alou's health and Church's adjustment to truly full-time play to see if they can get 2100+ plate appearances and an equivalent number of innings in the field from this crowd without having to water down the quality.

With that as backdrop, their signing and invitation to camp of Brady Clark is a worthwhile gamble. Clark at 35 is a few years past being more than an emergency fill-in in CF, and his lack of power makes him a shaky corner outfielder, but a guy with a .358 career OBP at least offers the prospect of a solid pinch hitter and creditable fill-in here and there as holes open up. He certainly beats bringing back Ricky Ledee or David Newhan, both of whom (like Marlon Anderson) are only a year younger than Clark. (The downside of carrying Clark with Anderson is that their pinch hitting options would lean lefthanded, especially since two of the team's four switch-hitting second basemen - Jose Valentin and Ruben Gotay - are much better hitters against RHP).

PS - Looking at that list of lefty bats on the bench...that's why Damion Easley will make the roster.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:29 PM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

If the Mets biggest problem is who's going to be the 5th outfielder, I can live with that.

Posted by: A.S. at February 15, 2008 1:00 PM

Youre correct about the Mets depth problem, but I think youre overstating Brady Clark's skills. Also, Alou at some point has got to have a performance dip given his age, however admirably he's defied that so far. So, even when he is healthy his past rate production cannot be assumed as given. They still look strong with the Santana acquisition however.

Posted by: frank at February 15, 2008 1:58 PM

Is this the same Brady Clark who played for Milwaukee and LA? If so, I'm pretty sure he has no power and is right-handed. No speed either...

Posted by: Ryan at February 15, 2008 3:56 PM
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