Even though we’re already more than a week into March and more than two weeks into spring training, is it too late for the New York Mets to trade for an outfielder? After failing to trade for or sign an established big league outfielder this offseason, there have been whispers of the Mets making a move for an outfielder before the end of spring training, so there is some hope that the Mets can make an upgrade before the start of the regular season.
In a way, there’s more of a need in the outfield for the Mets now than there was during the offseason, as two of the players that were penciled into the opening day lineup have been disappointing thus far in spring. Both Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis have failed to live up to the meager expectations they had entering 2013. Duda has struggled to adjust to a new swing while Nieuwenhuis had just one hit in close to 20 at bats before suffering an injury that has kept him off the field ever since. Those are two guys the Mets were relying on, and without much surprise they have shown to be unreliable thus far.
If Duda and Nieuwenhuis continue to be unfulfilling in the Mets outfield, the team will need to get more out of players like Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd, who are expected to play part-time roles and shouldn’t be expected to produce more than they were heading into spring training. That puts the Mets in a position where a trade for a reliable every-day outfielder has become a pressing need. They can’t afford to enter the regular season without confidence in the players their putting in the outfield, and so they should not rule out a trade for an outfielder that they know will be a consistent and reliable player for them.