Mets 2014: The left field debate

The other day, Joel Sherman of the New York Post gave his ideas regarding a revamped starting lineup for the 2014 New York Mets.

Nori AokiIt included Norichika Aoki in left field (obtained through a proposed deal sending Ike Davis to the Milwaukee Brewers), Andre Ethier in right field (obtained through a proposed deal for Rafael Montero et al), and Jhonny Peralta at shortstop (signed as a free agent).

The concept here is that the acquisition of Aoki would allow Eric Young, Jr. to become a bench player. How does Aoki compare to Young?

Aoki is 31 and played 149 games in right field last year for the Brewers. He led the National League in AB per SO average (with an average of 14.9 at-bats for every strike out). In fact, he struck out only 40 times in 597 at-bats. His final 2013 slash line was .286/.347/.370. He had 171 hits and walked 56 times last year. He scored 80 runs and stole 20 bases. His walk total increased and his strikeout total decreased from 2012. On defense, Aoki earned an overall positive defensive (UZR) rating of 3.2.

Young is 28 and he struck out 100 times in 539 at-bats. His final slash line was .249/.308/.336. He had 134 hits and walked 46 times last year. He scored 70 runs and stole a league-leading 46 bases. The Mets gave him his first chance at playing every day. Prior to this season, Young had just over 600 at-bats in four seasons with the Colorado Rockies. Young, of course, has some positional flexibility and is able to play all three outfield spots along with second base. He is also a switch-hitter.

As a left fielder, Young earned a positive defensive (UZR) rating of 3.9 and at second base, he earned a positive defensive (UZR) rating of 0.4.

So, based on the above, it does appear the Aoki would be a good addition to the team’s outfield. He brings value to both offense and defense. He is not a super-star but he is a good player. He brings a discerning eye, plate discipline and speed. He could be a lead-off hitter. The question is, if the Mets acquired him, what does the team do with Young? Do they then trade Daniel Murphy and install Young as the starter at second base or do they retain Murphy and move Young to the bench. Young, off the bench could be a valuable weapon as a pinch runner, late-inning replacement, fourth outfielder. The other question, of course, is what does the team do about right field? That’s another article though.

17 comments for “Mets 2014: The left field debate

  1. Robby
    November 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I like the idea but not sure why Milwaukee would be looking to trade him. Especially for the uncertain Ike Davis.

    • Name
      November 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Milwaukee has a glut of OF’s.

      They have Gomez in Center, Braun in Left.
      They also have 2 up and comers in Khris Davis (.949 OPS, 11 HR’s in just 153 PA’s) and
      Caleb Gindl (.779 OPS).

      Aoki with his 1 year left of control is the easiest to move. They also have uncertainty at 1b and could take a chance at Ike. We would likely have to add a prospect piece to get it done though.

      • Herb
        November 10, 2013 at 12:05 am

        Aoki for Ike straight up would be a fair trade. Ike has a much higher upside than Aoki, but Aoki is more certain to be an effectiive piece. We would not have to add a prospect to get it done.

        I would personally prefer to see them move Duda in a trade like this, but the FO seems to be valuing Duda over Ike these days.

        • Name
          November 10, 2013 at 2:59 am

          Ike’s floor is almost much much lower. Also, for the cost-conscious team like the Brewers, spending nearly 4 million for an unknown commodity may be an unwise gamble. Personally, if i’m the GM of the Brewers, i’d ask for a prospect(a low-med level one that is probably in A)

          Of course, our difference is on the outlook of Ike. From the Duda comment, I can tell you still love him and think he can rebound while I think we should dump him for whatever we can get or non-tender him if no one is stupid enough to bite.

    • Yazzy
      November 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      We all know Ike is a goner so the Mets need to take the best offer for him. If they get Aoki I feel he would be a decent lead off hitter. Keep Murphy and let him bat 2nd, let Wright bat 3rd, Sign Grady Sizemore or Corey Hart or possibly both of them for the outfield as they could be a decent-to-vast improvement over last year’s outfield debacle. The Mets would have Lagares in center with Den Decker as his backup, Aoki in left with Sizemore or Young, Jr as his backups, and Hart in right with Young, Jr. Den Decker or Sizemore as his backups. If they cannot sign Peralta then see if Furcal is interested in signing with the Mets? Leave both Drew and Granderson alone because they will be too expensive, and cost us 2nd round draft picks. We need to keep those picks and strengthen the farm system.

  2. Name
    November 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Aoki has primarily played in RF during his tenure in Milwaukee, but I would think that he is good enough to play at the other OF positions too.

  3. Robby
    November 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Its just that I don’t think Ike has a ton of trade value at the moment. I actually still want to see him back with the Mets this year. He has showed signs of success. I just think if they put some better hitters around him he probably could get his act together.

    • Name
      November 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Yea. Ok. So IKE’s failures at the plate are because he doesn’t have “better hitters around him”?

      • Robby
        November 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        I never said anything of the sort. People have expected him to break out and without so much focus on him he may be able to relax a little bit more without having to worry about being the lead dog.

  4. Jim OMalley
    November 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    All of these are valid points. it does appear though that the Brewers will trade an outfielder and the Mets will trade Ike.

  5. Les Gomez
    November 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I would love to give Ike another shot. Everyone knows he’s capable of .260-35hr with above average defense, and those players don’t grow on trees. That said, I’d move him as a piece in a deal for a Profar or a CarGo, no problem.

  6. Jim OMalley
    November 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    If the Mets obtain an outfielder by trade, look for discussions between them and the Angels, the Brewers, and/or the Rockies.

  7. Metsense
    November 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Can I buy a vowel. Ike for Aoki sounds good to me. Presently we don’t have a RF. If the Mets sign another FA outfielder then Young , in all likelihood,would be a utility player. Aoki is a better player than Young and cheaper than Davis so there will be slightly more money to spend elsewhere. Adding Aoki gives the Mets more options this winter.

    • Name
      November 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Is Young good enough to be in the majors? Yes
      Does Young potentially have a role with the Mets next season? Probably.
      Can Sandy better spend the 2m that it will likely cost to keep Young? In my opinion, Yes.

      We all know Sandy has a budget to work with and a lot of areas that could be upgraded. The one place where i’d want him to skimp on is the bench. The difference between Young and a min-cost player like Andrew Brown is next to nothing, and some might even say it would be an upgrade! Same would apply to Justin Turner in this case. Both are good enough to be on Major league squads, but at the pricetag they will likely cost, are not very good fits with the Mets next year.

  8. brian
    November 9, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Ike does have value as reclamation project. He may have another 30 home run season in him, it just will not happen as a Met. This deal has too many upsides not to do. It solves one outfield spot, saves money to be spent on a big bat, and we don’t have to watch Ike look completely lost at the plate.

  9. John Zakour
    November 10, 2013 at 7:24 am

    A trade of Davis could work if a team thinks Ike has the potential to be the next Chris Davis and that same team needs a first baseman. As for Young, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him at second for the Mets next year since Murphy is their hottest trading chip that’s not a young pitcher.

  10. Jim OMalley
    November 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

    You have to retain Eric Young in some fashion. Lack of team speed was a huge problem heading into last season and he is a major contributor to resolving that flaw.

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