By Dave Mills
The New York Mets signed two more outfielders today, but neither was named Michael Bourn and neither is likely to have an impact on the major league roster.
The potential effect Bourn can have on the Mets 2013 roster is another story, as acquiring the 30-year-old center fielder would certainly reshape the state of the Mets outfield and bench.
No matter what, the outfield will conceivably end up with two platoons and the backups at catcher and around the horn become quite important. If the Mets pick up Bourn, it is likely that a platoon in LF with Lucas Duda and either Marlon Byrd or Andrew Brown will be in place. RF will be manned by either Mike Baxter or Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the left and from the right—Collin Cowgill, who will also backup Bourn in CF.
Without Bourn, the platoon will shift a bit, perhaps with Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill or Byrd in CF and some permutation in RF. Duda will likely play most of the time in LF with regular late-inning defensive relief.
The outfield scenarios dictate a remaining bench of three players, one of which is a catcher (Anthony Recker, Landon Powell or Juan Centeno as placemat for Travis d’Arnaud’s appearance in May), and two of which cover the infield (Justin Turner, Brandon Hicks and Brian Bixler from the right side, and Jordany Valdespin and Omar Quintanila from the left). Still available from the free agent pool is an intriguing player who is a very good middle infielder and decent hitter—Ryan Theriot. Should the Mets find a trade partner for Turner’s services, picking up Theriot would do much to solidify the bench. Valdespin should start the season with Wally Backman in Vegas as a super utility guy. Hicks is likely to be a cog in the Vegas infield.
For now, the Mets seem genuinely interested in signing Bourn (even if his price tag is beyond what they’ve proven willing to take on in recent years), but when you look at the flexibility it would give them across the board, it’s not hard to see why such a signing could be very positive indeed.
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