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If you’re a fan of the New York Mets, you might have checked out my recent article on five keys to the Amazins’ 2013 contention. One of them, you might recall, was making Jordany Valdespin and Mike Baxter the centerpieces of the outfield … I still believe this is true, but you know what else would be great? A center fielder with ridiculous speed and proven base-stealing and fly-shagging ability, covering ground next to Luca Duda and either Valdespin or Baxter (the other of whom would make a heck of a strong bench player). For example, Jacoby Ellsbury. But that’s absurd, you might say; the Sox wouldn’t give him up just yet, would they?
What’s that? He’s on waivers? Hmm.
Let’s review another of the five key moves from my first article: trading Ike Davis, and grooming Duda as a cleanup hitter. If I might be so immodest as to quote myself:
“Basically, Ike seems on his way to becoming Carlos Pena: threatening, potentially valuable, but more suited to a hitter’s park or an AL lineup. Ike’s also got a nice glove at first base, which could add to his market value and maybe get us another top-of-the-rotation starter.”
Or, say, a speed merchant in CF?
Davis’ big-swinging tendencies would net him a bunch of home runs in Fenway, wrapped around the right-field pole over that knee-high fence. His warning-track fly balls would either rattle around that screwy arrangement of angles in center, or bounce off the Green Monster before a left fielder could run them down. He’d be in the same division as the Yankees and Orioles, who play in two of the smallest, most homer-friendly bandboxes in the major leagues, and his defensive prowess would make him a great option to split 1B and DH with Adrian Gonzalez (if he doesn’t get shipped to the Dodgers first). In other words, he could flourish in Boston … we could throw in a minor-leaguer or a draft pick, and maybe the Sox would make the switch.
Back to the Amazins, we could bat Ellsbury leadoff. Baxter or Valdespin, whichever one took over in left field, would hit second, and Wright third. Duda could be groomed at cleanup, and then we’d just have to get the aforementioned (here) veteran at first base and the Mets lineup would be really formidable.
Say it with me again, Met fans: Ya Gotta Believe …