By Ed Coleman
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Here’s a thought: Did anyone else notice how the Yankees of their final two weeks resembled the Mets of their final two months? You can easily look like a lost baseball team — one which doesn’t care or seems to have quit — when you don’t score runs, don’t hit with runners in scoring position and leave lots of men on base inning after inning.
Leave it to D-backs general manager Kevin Towers to get things started on the trade front this offseason. Towers is one of the more aggressive front-office people in the game. He doesn’t mince words or play around, and he identified early what his needs and wants were (bullpen, third base, etc.) and went after them with his surplus (outfield). Arizona ended up with Marlins reject Heath Bell and middle infielder Cliff Pennington after shipping center fielder Chris Young to the Oakland A’s. Athletics GM Billy Beane is an early bird as well. He said he phoned Towers about Young the day after Oakland was eliminated from the playoffs by Detroit.
Young certainly would have fit here in Flushing, although he’s a bit pricey for the Mets’ payroll as presently constituted.
Young is owed $8.5 million in 2013, with an $11 million club option for 2014 (and a $1.5 million buyout). Young had a down year in 2012, playing in just 100 games while battling injuries. But he’s a terrific defensive center fielder, and he went 20-20 (over 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases) the previous two seasons. While Bell is reunited with Towers in Arizona (he was an All-Star closer in San Diego during Towers’ tenure there), Oakland manager Bob Melvin pushed Beane to go after Young because of their relationship when Melvin managed the Diamondbacks.
So what might it mean for the Mets? Well, it certainly appears to create a logjam in the Athletics’ outfield, with Coco Crisp apparently the odd man out.
But not so fast, says Beane. Oakland now has Young, Crisp, young slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith. For now, Beane says he doesn’t intend on dealing any of the team’s outfielders, and he went out of his way to state how important he feels Crisp is to the team’s chemistry. Beane feels that playing time can be found for all the outfielders by rotating them and also using the DH spot.
Here’s something to keep in mind should the Mets lose Scott Hairston to another team. Veteran Jonny Gomes was in Oakland’s mix last season, and he appears to be out numbers-wise next year. After a down year in 2011 — which was split between Cincinnati and Washington — Gomes bounced back to hit 18 home runs and drive in 47 runs in 279 at-bats, along with his best-ever .377 on-base percentage for the A’s. Gomes strikes out too much for my liking (a Mets club-wide problem), but he’s a great clubhouse/character guy who’d fit should they lose Hairston.
And with Towers still looking to tweak his team (shortstop, lefty specialist, starting pitching are other needs), Arizona could still move another outfielder. It probably depends on how they view the readiness of their young studs Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock to go along with their now regulars of Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra.
Elsewhere, R.A. Dickey’s torn abdominal muscle has been surgically repaired. He’ll be walking fine when he accepts the National League Cy Young Award on November 20.
C U soon
What do you think, Mets fans? Any interest in Jonny Gomes? Let us know in the comments section below…