I might have discussed this back when the New York Mets waived former top prospect Fernando Marintez, but I need to talk about it again. After discussing the New York Mets’ lack of success in pursuing a left-handed outfield bat, it is hard not to think about Fernando Martinez and contributions that he could have made in Queens.
I can’t deny that Martinez is looking like a bust at this point, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to roll the dice on a young, cost-controlled player who at least has some potential instead of spending more money on an older player who could easily post the same poor numbers? In identical roles, Damon and Ibanez would probably outproduce Martinez in 2012, but both of them are damn-near 40. Actually, Ibanez IS 40. The chance that one of them will crash and burn due to injury or age-related decline is fairly large. Even if you want to talk about Fukudome or Ankiel, you’re still talking about guys who are not going to have a significant impact on the Mets in the present or future.
I think the Mets should have given Martinez at least one more season. There is the slight chance that something finally clicks for Martinez and he ends up being a contributor. In the Miracle Mets world you might have a Nelson Cruz-type. Not necessarily the same level of production, but similar in that Fernandez could emerge as a late-bloomer and become worthy of a starting role. He certainly has the raw talent. In a worst-case scenario, Martinez continues to under perform as a part-time player. So what? What do the Mets have to lose in 2012? Or even 2013 for that matter?
I realize there are only a small number of guaranteed roster spots for Major League teams and that they need to utilize them wisely. I just think the New York Mets may have given up too early on Fernando Martinez and the current search for a left-handed bat seems to underscore this.