The New York Mets haven’t even had time to fully process the sting of how they let Michael Bourn, their coveted center fielder, slip away to the Cleveland Indians. But, with Spring Training just about ready to start up, there’s no time for dwell on missed opportunities.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, they should immediately move to plan B in trying to acquire a center fielder for the future. And guess what? An opportunity just opened up:
Though it might be rubbing a bit if salt in a fresh wound to have to approach the team that snatched up the guy the Mets wanted all season, 28-year old Drew Stubbs is not a bad fit for what New York could be planning for the future.
No, Stubb’s swing-happy ways means that the team will still have to find a lead-off hitter, but the Indians center fielder has good pop in his bat (51 homers over last three years), and likes to run when he does manage to get on base – only four center fielders have stolen more bases than Stubb’s 100 since 2010.
Better yet, he’s cheap ($2.85 million in 2013), and is under team control through 2015.
He’s no Michael Bourn, but the kind of power/speed combo, combined with plus defense, made Stubbs a 3.9 fWAR player over the last two seasons; that’s saying a lot, considering that he was batting dangerously close to the Mendoza line when he got to the plate in 2012.
And for the Mets, what’s to lose here? They could try to go after Michael Brantley, although he’s likely to be more expensive. And as much as Stubbs struggled in 2012, he’s still a whole lot better in center field than Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
That is, if the Indians will want to move one of their outfielders anyway:
The Indians have been stocking reclamation projects for their starting rotation, and the Mets will likely have to part with one of their starters, like Dillon Gee, to make a deal happen. But with players like Zack Wheeler on the way, that’s an area from which they can deal from.
That the Mets missed out on Bourn doesn’t really reflect too well on the organization, but what’s the best way to make up for it? Having a decisive plan B that doesn’t involve playing minor-league players in center when Opening day comes around.
Stubbs, now fresh out of a starting job, might just be the best plan B available.