One day after the R.A. Dickey megadeal was finalized, the Mets made another move, acquiring outfielder Collin Cowgill from Oakland by trading away minor league infielder Jefry Marte.
One astute observation from Twitter today:
The Mets have a fever for fourth outfielders and the only prescription is more Cowgill
— Phil Kaminski (@Phil_Kaminski) December 18, 2012
Cowgill brings the Mets’ outfielder count to seven on the 40-man roster. He joins Mike Baxter, Jodany Valdespin, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Lagares and Cesar Puello.
Cowgill, who hit .269 with two doubles and one home run in 104 at-bats with the A’s last season, hit .254 with 17 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 37 RBI in 61 games at Triple-A Sacramento. He’s a lefty-throwing, righty-hitting corner outfielder.
With David Wright signing a long-term extension, the Mets no longer had a need for Marte, a third baseman. In five minor league seasons in the Mets’ system, Marte had hit .254 with 32 home runs in 2,119 plate appearances.
Is Cowgill the end to the Mets’ outfield reshuffling this offseason? Mets fans are certainly hoping it’s just the beginning. Right now, it looks like Lucas Duda will start in left, but that’s about all we know. Nieuwenhuis could certainly win the center field job in spring training, as he did get off to a hot start in 2012 before being sent down to Triple-A. Right field remains a huge question mark.
Lagares (23) and Puello (21) still have some time left in the minors. Lagares did hit .283 with 21 steals in 130 games with Double-A Binghamton last year. Puello has yet to play above Single-A.
Could the Mets use some sort of platoon between Baxter, Cowgill and Valdespin to fill out the outfield? Unless the Mets make a push to re-sign Scott Hairston or make another trade, that’s what it looks like right now.
That might not be as bad a move as it would appear on the surface.
Mets fans never saw that much from Mike Baxter after he hurt himself making a catch along the wall to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter. What can Baxter do in an injury-free year with more opportunities?
Valdespin has played some middle infield in his career, but he’s currently playing the corner outfield spots in the Dominican Winter League. I’d imagine the Mets are trying really hard to make him a serviceable option in the corners in 2013. He is hitting .291 with three homers and seven RBI and more walks than strikeouts through 28 DWL games. Perhaps Valdespin could be an on-base threat in the Mets’ lineup, but he’s not going to last long putting up center field numbers in a corner position.
The Mets outfield was a huge disappointment in 2012. Despite the Cowgill acquisition, so far, the Mets haven’t done much to make 2013 look any more promising.
Who patrols the Citi Field outfield if you’re the Mets’ GM? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.