Mets OF options besides Scott Hairston

The Mets have been linked to free agent outfielder Scott Hairston all off-season and so far, the two sides have been unable to agree to a deal.

The Mets could use the offensive punch Hairston provided the team last season. The outfielder smacked 20 home runs – which was good for third best on the team – and knocked in 57 runs – which was good for a fourth place tie.

It would be in the team’s best interest to sign the outfielder to a deal because the Mets currently project to start Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter in the outfield. Combined the threesome drove in 102 runs, a total that seventeen MLB players accomplished on their own last season.

The Mets are certainly interested in Hairston, but what if the outfielder doesn’t re-sign with his team from a season ago. Where could the Mets potentially turn?

The squad could stick with Duda, Nieuwenhuis and Baxter, but the offensive numbers I mentioned above do not look very impressive.

The biggest free agent left on the market – Michael Bourn – falls into the outfield category, but he’s a big ticket item, one the Mets probably won’t pay for.

They could, however; afford a player like Ben Francisco.

Francisco split time between the Blue Jays, Astros and Rays last season and didn’t produce much (.234/.282/.402), but the veteran showed pop in his days with Cleveland (15HR in 2008 and 2009) before becoming a bat off of the Phillies’ bench for several seasons.

When given at-bats Francisco has the potential to drive in 50+ runs and hit close to 20 home runs, similar to what Hairston did last season. He could certainly be had for cheaper than Hairston since he’s coming off of a down year. Francisco earned $1.537 million last season and getting him for something similar or even cheaper is a viable option for New York.

If the Mets were willing to take a chance and roll the dice on an older player, they could give Scott Podsednik a try. Podsednik has interest from the Twins so the Mets would have competition.

Podesednik looked pretty good in 63 games with the Red Sox last season, hitting .302/.322/.352. He’s still good for a steal here and there (eight stolen bases in ten attempts in 2012) even at age 36. He did have some issues with his groin last season, but he looked his best since his 2010 season split between the Royals and Dodgers.

He may not be interested in signing a minor league deal, but the Mets could go after him if Hairston walks. Like Francisco, Podesednik should be inexpensive on a one-year deal, maybe around the $1 million mark.

Other options available on the free agent market include Grady Sizemore, Rick Ankiel, Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Sweeney. All of these players come with warning flags. Sizemore and Ankiel have suffered with multiple injury problems in their careers. Morgan has a history of being a loose cannon on and off the baseball field and had a miserable season with Milwaukee last year (.239/.302/.308) and Sweeney has never been known for his offensive game (career .280/.338/.378). Could the Mets think about one of these gentlemen as well?

Maybe lightning could strike twice for the Mets and they’ll find another gem, similar to the way they did with R.A. Dickey back in 2010, although I foresee an agreement with between Hairston and the Mets happening first.

7 comments for “Mets OF options besides Scott Hairston

  1. DaMetsman in Washington State
    January 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    It seems pretty clear that Alderson & Company have several OF options, which is a good thing. They can go after Justin Upton or Giancarlo Stanton and pay the piper with four high-level prospects, one of whom would likely have to be Harvey, Wheeler or d’Arnaud, since both right-handed sluggers would be under Mets control for at least three seasons. Another corner outfield option would be Michael Morse. With only one ($7 million) year remaining on his deal, he would come at a much more palatable price even in terms of prospects rendered. The Mets may more desperately need a speedy, switch-hitting CF. Three desirable options may be Dexter Fowler, his teammate Eric Young Jr. or Coco Crisp. While Fowler will take three or four significant prospects of a slightly lesser value than Upton and Stanton, Young and Crisp may be well within reach. In fact, the Mets could easily acquire Young or Crisp and still afford to ink Hairston to a one or two year deal with Hairston platooning with Duda in left (the only position either should really play) and Baxter platooning in RF with Colin Cowgill or Andrew Brown. The slick-fielding Crisp for two campaigns at about $7 million per may be the best match, as the Mets have Nieuwenhuis, Den Dekker, Ceciliani and Nimmo down on the farm (although one would likely be moved in any deal). I’d be surprised if the Mets don’t end up with one of these creative options.

    • Metsense
      January 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      “the Mets could easily acquire Young or Crisp and still afford to ink Hairston to a one or two year deal with Hairston platooning with Duda in left (the only position either should really play) and Baxter platooning in RF with Colin Cowgill or Andrew Brown.” is the most realistic scenario for the Mets at this point in time for the 2013 season. I just don’t see them trading any of their top tier prospects for a premier right handed bat because it would not make enough of a difference in 2013. I shudder at the thought of Morse and Duda in the same outfield.

      • jerrygrote
        January 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm

        The “premier right handed bat” I could trade some pretty good prospects for would be Upton. I’m not talking D’Arnaud/Wheeler, but any combination after that.

        Other people will tell you Wheeler has to be included in that trade. Maybe the case, but Tower is looking hard at Olt. Might take some creativity (three way? possibly include an AL team needed a left handed 1b and move Duda?) but Flores would be the key piece there.

        Upton is two years older than our new catcher, our new ace, and three years older than the phenom in the minors. He’s the right handed power bat you want.

  2. January 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Sorry Brian. There’s a reason why the remaining outfield free agents you mentioned are still available. To go out and sign a player with a history of injuries is just asking for trouble. We have three young healthy kids who are still learning and maturing. It would appear every team in the major leagues has passed on them. There is a reason why they are still out there. Only way would be with a minor league contract.

    • Name
      January 12, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      “There is a reason why they are still out there”

      Just because players aren’t signed yet doesn’t mean that they are unproductive players. Waiting is a strategy. Last year, Prince Fielder had to wait until Jan 27th to get his money.

  3. Joe A.
    January 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    The problem with Bourn isn’t what he will cost, it’s the draft pick the Mets would have to give up. Francisco is ok as a back-up, maybe as a platoon player, but I wouldn’t touch any of the other FAs you mentioned.

    I’m still hoping they can pull off a trade for a RF; Upton, Morse, Hart, Cuddyer, Willingham…

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