The Mets need a “real” major league centerfielder. A marquee name is out there and can be had. But in this case, the Mets are right if they settle lower…
Hopefully, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is getting acquainted with Brian O’Halloran, the newly appointed general manager of the Boston Red Sox at this year’s Winter Meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.
O’Halloran’s edict from Boston’s principal owner, John Henry, is – to be generous – challenging. Henry is furious at the ever-expanding Red Sox payroll, and he wants it cut enough to take the Red Sox out of paying a luxury tax fine again in 2020.
Oh, and he also demands that his team doesn’t suffer another embarrassing season like 2019.
The Red Sox may have secretly been hoping J.D. Martinez would opt out of his contract to become a free agent, but he snookered the team, and they owe him $23,750,000 for his services in 2020.
See for yourself, but this leaves the Red Sox and O’Halloran little room to trim payroll – except to trade a player who consumes nearly 13 percent of the team’s total payroll.
Who isn’t smitten with Mookie…
Which is why All Star – All World outfielder Mookie Betts is on the block, and probably at a discount price in a trade. “Discount,” in this case, does NOT mean Noah Syndergaard as the rumor mill has indicated.
Instead, discount means the Red Sox get to be relieved of a good chunk of the payroll, and therefore, receiving a player of equal value for Betts goes out the window – or at least it should.
The Mets, and particularly Brodie Van Vanwagen, should consider Mookie Betts as a costly luxury. Think Giancarlo Stanton and the Yankees.
Except the Mets are not the Yankees, and the $28 million Betts will earn next year puts an unneeded dent in the Mets budget – when alternatives are available.
It’s all upside down, but…
It rarely makes sense for the Mets not to spend money. But let’s take a minute to realize what the team (really) needs.
It’s enough to say the Mets projected lineup for 2020 is already more than good enough. Pete Alonso, Conforto, J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and Wilson Ramos can and will produce runs. Is Giancarlo Betts (sic) really needed?
Juan Lagares, if he could hit a lick, would still be the Met’s primary centerfielder. Rightly, the Mets released him, and he is now a free agent. Michael Conforto was shifted to center out of necessity in 2019. He did the best he can, but he is primarily a right fielder.
Brandon Nimmo was used in centerfield as well, but his valuable role as the team’s Energy Bunny is relegated to the 24th or 25th man on the team.
The Mets can pass and still score…
So, if it isn’t Betts, then who is it? There are two players, and they’re already in the mix, and both are “talked about” as a fit for the Mets.
Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jackie Bradley Jr. of those same Red Sox fit the bill for what the Mets need. Catch everything a major league centerfielder should catch – and occasionally put the Mets on ESPN’s Sports Center with one of those unbelievable catches that even Mike Trout will admire.
This time, it’s door number three for the Mets that works best for the team as currently constructed. I know – I’m sleeping with the Wilpons as a fiscal conservative. I can’t believe it either, but in this case, less is more…