Questions in outfield corners

CHURCH: Can he stay healthy?

CHURCH: Can he stay healthy?

All winter I trumpeted the need for pitching over adding a bat in the outfield as a priority. I still think pitching is more important. HOWEVER, since the Mets have basically the same rotation as last year, it has given me pause.

I’m not convinced the Mets will have a flawless season with their outfield corners.

I like Ryan Church, but we have to accept that he had two good months before the second concussion did in his season. We don’t know, had he stayed healthy, what kind of year he would have had. So, it stands to reason he’s a question.

Then there is the left field platoon of Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis. The Mets caught lightning in a bottle with them last year. Will they have duplicate seasons? I don’t know.

38 thoughts on “Questions in outfield corners

  1. If healthy and given 550 ABs, I think Church can go .280 20 85…assuming the Mets big-guns batting in front of him do their thing.

    Murphy/Tatis is more of a question mark. I think Tatis could still supply some pop but I’d expect his average to drop quite a bit. I think Murphy’s style at the plate will ultimately lead him to success. Good eye, patience, works the count.

    Still, you can’t expect either of them to produce at the rate they did last year, which makes Church being a contributor that much more important.

  2. (1) Church is 30 years old; certainly well past the age of raw development. He has never had 550 ABs in the bigs, never hit 20HRs, never had 80 RBIs. You can say well he had injuries. Well, he has proven he can’t bounce back from them. There is no reason to expect these numbers from a guy this age who never produced them before.
    He is lucky he got off to a good start and there is a little love affair with the fans. Other than the love, there is nothing in his resume to think the end result will be more than average at best.

  3. (2) He’s never been given a full-time chance before and he went .272 15 70 plus 43 doubles in 470 ABs in ’07.

    I don’t think he’s suddenly going to become a star player, but based on what he did for a horrible offensive team like Washington, if he can stay healthy I think my projected nos. for him are reachable.

  4. Its still the same ole story. the Church apologists said the same thing last year. Another year older and still the same ole story.

  5. i agree mrmet. i have hope that church can rebound and play like he did in the first 2 months but i do have 2 major concerns.
    #1 Church appeared last yr to be pull happy…he almost never went the other way
    #2 I know he was coming back from injury but he looked atrocious late in the yr vs lefties.

    even with those things being said i am hoping a fully healthy church can produce like he did in the first two months of last yr when he was the mets best player for a stretch

  6. harry do you see the mets having to acquire another OF..if church does struggle the team doesnt have the players to run out two platoons in the OF

  7. Who is a Church apologist? I think the guy can hit 20 homers with 85 RBI.

    I’m asking the guy to actually put up a below average year no. wise for a RF. It really shouldn’t be that hard if he stays healthy.

  8. anyone else see the mets looking at marcus thames from the tigers..they expressed interest last yr…schoenweis for thames was discussed from what i remember but now considering we have only 1 lefty who knows what they would even be interested in from us but he would be a good RH bat off the bench i think but i have the feeling the mets are hoping tatis fills that role and maybe murphy takes off in LF

  9. Chiti, Are you still saying the Milledge deal was a bad one by Omar? Would you do a return ala the not so great one?

  10. Ray
    Harry was right the Milledge deal was bad.
    I thought it was ok at the time but now I believe it was a very bad deal.
    Milledge warts and all would have better balance the lineup and the Mets would not be so desperate for a righty bat.
    It would have taken more guts to keep him and let him develop than making the trade.

  11. i dont think it is possible to judge the milledge deal yet…give the deal another yr. i dont agree it has alreayd proven to be awful bc if the mets had kept milledge last yr its not like with him they would have gone to the playoffs. we would have had a lot more of cancel and castro and milledge/church numbers were not that far apart..i hope to see church rebound this yr and play well

  12. (10): Time will tell Sadecki if it was a bad trade or not. All i see is a catcher who was supposed to be a defensive wiz that wasn’t, and an OF who played good like he did in DC until he had an in jury and then stunk. I would never trade prospect for an outfielder in the Winter unless its for a superstar. If you need one there are always plenty of average Joe’s on the FA market. Would I do a return. Actually I think I would. I see no upside to either Church or Schneider.
    (7) I really hope they don’t need to pluck an outfielder in a trade, because if they do its probably a very bad indicator. I never liked that trade from day 1. I had no trouble trading Milledge but trade him for what you really needed at the time which was a bullpen. One year later the GM gets it? The real question is Is he one year too late about the outfield now.
    (8) If your asking Church to be below average than why do so many talk about how important he is?

  13. (13)Harry- IMO, if he puts up numbers like I said and the rest of the offense does what it should, that would make the offense more than formidable.

    He doesn’t need to be a superstar in this lineup.

  14. living near DC i saw plenty of nats games last yr…milledge was less than impressive..he was bad in CF. he was atrociously deep bc he has trouble reading the ball off the bat. in one of the corner OF spots he would be better.

  15. Call me nuts but I’m not worried about Murphy. Dude’s plate approach was just so sound that I’m less afraid he’ll regress.

    My hope is that the Mets will pretty quickly realize that Murphy can handle the position himself and…

    Push Tatis over into a platoon with Church. I just see no evidence that Church is a long-term everyday player. In streaks or as a platoon player, he seems useful, but… over 162 games and against left-handed pitching, I just don’t see it.

    In all, I’m a lot more concerned at first, second and catcher than I am at the OF corners, regardless.

  16. The Milledge trade was a bust, insofar as, you traded a developing full-time corner outfielder for a platoon corner outfielder and a catcher worse than any number of rather terrible free agents available for a couple of million a year.

    Even if Milledge only develops into an above-average supporting bat in, say, right field… all you got a part-time right fielder and a below-replacement-value catcher in his place.

    Horrible choice that could only have been driven by the hysterical and slightly racist NYC media.

    Absolutely awful.

  17. Milledge

    Interesting that Jim is saying what I said 2 years ago. I guess he hasnt improved.

    I think the trade was a good one. I like what I saw of Church in attitude and ability until he lost his head.

    Either way. Milledge may end up being a better player and I really do not care. His attitude sucked. He never thought he did anything wrong and has all the answers even though he can’t field a lick and has trouble with the breaking pitch.

    He has enthusiasm, but in my mind the wrong kind. In the end I do not think he would have helped in getting a ring and find his head to be in the wrong place.

    Therefore I like the trade. I think we could have gone a different way for catcher. There were free agents out there that could have plugged a hole and last year as it turns out the old guys brought up played as well as any of the catchers on the roster for us.

    I hope Church is over his dizziness for I like what he brings to the plate and the field.

  18. “Attitude” and a buck-ninety-five will get you a large coffee at Starbucks. Not a single damn extra win, though.

    If a guy’s roiding or beating up fans, man, okay, maybe we’ll talk about attitude and chemistry and “old-school” and blah blah blah blah.

    If a guy happens to like rap music and has an enthusiasm for the game, you’re an idiot for disliking that more than you like your team winning games.

    How many wholly ineffective “good team veteran leader” duds do we have to go through because this club commits to winning as opposed to placating the hysterical halfwits in the NYC press?

  19. milledge hasnt proved himself fully yet and church cant be pigeonholed as a platoon OF just yet

  20. The logic wherein you’re judging Milledge for not having proved himself at 23 and yet telling us to not judge Church at 29 is… kind of insane.

    No offense but that kind of logic strikes me as trying to argue from a pre-established point of view as opposed to building up a point of view from facts.

    Is having dreadlocks so offensive that you’d rather have a worse team than have a guy who wore dreadlocks until he was asked to cut them and then promptly did?

    I’m trying to get my head around this and I can’t.

    At least we’re admitting that The Schnide is awful and needs to be completely kept out of the conversation. That’s a little progress and I’ll take it.

  21. It wasn’t the greatest trade simply because of positions involved and the age of Milledge.

    Someone (Harry?) said above how easy it is to get quality OF…and that’s 100% correct. I like Church and think he can be a serviceable player if he can stay healthy, and while I don’t think Milledge will ever be anything more than a slightly above-average player…the overall deal is still probably not the smartest in recent memory.

    But it’s hardly something the Mets will regret down the line. I highly doubt Milledge is the next Jeff Kent or Amos Otis.

  22. (16) I can’t call you nuts. I agree with you completely. While Murphy could regress, the same could be said for anyone. However,having such good patience and eye makes it easier to prevent major regression.
    (15) jim, you sure have Milledge play last year pegged. I was at one game down there and we were under the score board and if Milledge wouldhave been any deeper he could have joined us for around! That being agreed to you must remember at the time he had sometrade value, and getting an average at best right fielder and a below average catcher was a waste of a prospect.
    (23): Yes, me. I have always conteneded that you don’t trade prospects in the Winter for an outfielder unless its a superstar. That’s what the FA market is for.

  23. Heres something to talk about, Who has a better outfield, the Mets or Bankees? Mets have Murphy/Tatis LF Beltran CF and Church RF
    Yankees have Damon LF Melk Dud/Gardner CF Nady RF
    I would take the Mets, but then again I am biased.

  24. And that’s the thing, really.

    Church and The Schnide were guys where you could easily get their equiv or better by sifting through the FA dregs and paying end-of-winter money for them WITHOUT giving up a rather good prospect.

    Agreed, he could certainly bottom out at his talent floor as “above-average right fielder”… especially in the no-one-cares atmosphere of the Washington Expos clubhouse but… considering that you could get spare parts like Ryan and Brian without trading anything at all, it’s just a bad bad move.

  25. although i like church, i do see your logic on the ability to get a league average OF and C without giving up a good prospect. Milledge’s “bottom floor” is certainly not an above average OF. IF he doesnt improve he is worse than that but I do see where you are coming from…i guess my hope is that church has the ability to put together a season like the first two months of last yr where he was the mets best player…i dont think a .280 17 hr 85 rbi season is out of the question but i cant argue that its probable because it has yet to happen but i personally feel church has the tools to do that and be a well above average RF.
    i am not a huge fun of milledge and it has nothing to do with him being black/liking rap music or having dreads. bringin up dreadlocks and saying that may have affected m feeling son him or the mets reason for getting rid of him is “kind of insane”

  26. by the end of last season church was pull happy and looked awful vs. lefties..hopefully after a full recovery he will hit like he did early on because if he doesnt no matter how milledge pans out the mets lose that trade becasue you guys said before milledge did have some trade value

  27. I wasn’t talking to you in your opinion toward Milledge, Jim, I was more talking to the ridiculous attitude in the New York City press that contributed to dumping Milledge for functionally-nothing from the Washington Expos.

    To the approach toward Milledge that was largely and regrettably rife throughout the City tabloids and Mr. Delcos’s previous site, for example.

    Apologies if I phrased my direction incorrectly.

  28. littlefallsmets

    I disagree.

    Attitude does count as does team chemistry. Milledge is not a superstar so the way he goes about his business does affect the team and himself personally.

    Look at Manny. I know this is an extreme example, but here is a superstar player who has an attitude problem. Does he have a job?

    I could care less what music a player listens to. But be aware that these are not athletes, they are athletes/entertainers/role models. Because of their status they are role models. They are paid as entertainers not athletes. Milledge is presumably aware of this and has said so as a producer, the packaging of the product matters.

    At the end of the day he is a young player who at this stage of his career is far from a fixture. As such he has no power and is subject to the whims of those who can have an effect good or bad on his chosen career.

    He sucks as a fielder and his bat can be replaced. I am fine with the trade because for many reasons he was a distraction. Presumably the boss had issues with his behavior which is never a good thing.

  29. I think a lot of people have short memories here. Before Church got hurt nobody was missing Milledge. There is not one thing that milledge does that Church doesnt do better, except hes a little faster. Getting a catcher who can control the other teams running game is just a bonus.

  30. dave : You may not like Manny’s attitude but he was with playoff teams in Cleveland, Boston and LA. 5 playoffs years in Cleveland! 4 in Boston and 1 in LA…… Gee I wish he had guys with bad attitudes who brought us to the playoffs 10 times. Have we been there 10 times in history?
    Milladge ain’t the best but really poor team leaders like Wagner made the situation much worse. I’d rather have Milledge than Wagner on my team any day. I’ve never heard of any player bad mouthing team mates like that overrated choking closer did.

  31. harry

    i was saying recently that i would sign manny to a one year deal to get to the dance no problem.

    I brought him up because he was arguably the best hitter on the market this year and is still not signed.

    as for milledge vs wags, i would take billy. he is one of the better relievers in the game for all his warts and can be controlled. milledge has a swelled head and under duress apologized but when he went south to his new team took his apologies back. that shows me he knows all the answers and never made a mistake here.

    manny can do that because of his play on the field. milledge cannot because of his play on the field. at the end of the day, i want players i can root for. i cannot root for milledge. dont like him.

    i dont like people with his attitude as players or people.

    that said i much rather have krod than wags as my closer, but the choice was a marginal player vs a top tier closer.

  32. (34) I’ll have to disagree strongly about poison, or Wags as you call him. He can’t be controlled. He poisoned lockers in Houston Philadelphia and New York. He calls put players directly to the press and never never is at fault for the lousy pitching he did in the clutch for all these teams. or the collapse in 07. He was so special he couldn’t pitch more than three outs, couldn’t come in with guys on base. In my mind he is the ultimate anti-team guy. He single handedly blew that last game in Philly in ’07 when the team made a great comeback. Milledge certainly had his warts but when did he knock his own mates?

  33. no problem little falls…i just hope we see a solid yr from church and he can stay healthy to have a chance to prove himself

  34. harry

    I too was frustrated by this 3 out rule with billy. it is a major fault in his game. i also thought he gave up too many hr’s. but he was a competitor and always took the ball.

    I did see him in the last year or too say on more than one occasion that he sucked. so i dont think you can say he never pointed the finger at himself because he did. not that there were not better closers than he was, but he is way better than what we have had recently.

    we shall see about fransisco. from a distance he looks great. now we get to see how good he really is.

  35. (37) dave, I missed the statement. I’ll trust you that he did say it. He’s still a rotten clubhouse guy, and a horrbile pitcher when you need him the most. I for one hope he never steps foot in a Met clubhouse again.