Aug 29, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) walks back to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Up Next: The Outfield

As the Mets and Blue Jays work to finalize a deal that will send R.A. Dickey north of the border, let’s take a look at where that deal leaves the Mets (assuming the deal is finalized). The Mets will have a hole in their rotation, but should begin 2013 with five respectable starters in Johan SantanaJonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, and either Jenrry Mejia, Zack Wheeler, or someone acquired this off season. The Dickey trade should also begin to address the team’s weakness at catcher, with stud prospect Travis d’Arnaud and veteran John Buck coming to Flushing. That leaves the bullpen and outfield as primary targets for upgrade before April 1, 2013.

A key component of any upgrade strategy is the availability of financial resources. According to Adam Rubin, the Mets current payroll commitment can be estimated at around $90.3 million for 2013. Factoring in projections that payroll may be at around $100 million this year, that leaves Sandy Alderson about $10 million to spend. The question now facing the Mets GM is, how does one go about doing the work that needs to be done with limited dollars to spend?

Looking at the free-agent market, Cody Ross and/or Michael Bourn would be

ideal for the Mets. Ross is more of a corner outfielder (who can play CF), and Bourn is a natural center fielder, with outstanding speed and a great glove. Bourn would also fill a need at leadoff, and allow the Mets to drop Ruben Tejada in the order. The Phillies are very interested in Ross, so assuming he signs with Philadelphia, let’s take a closer look at Bourn. Bourn will be 30 in 11 days, so he’s very much in his prime. Last year, Bourn hit .274 in Atlanta’s leadoff spot, while stealing 42 bases and being caught 13 times. Bourn also hit 9 HRs for the Braves. The issue with Bourn is that he’s represented by Scott Boras, and several teams (Reds, Cubs, Mariners) are said to be interested. It’s unlikely Bourn would accpet a shorter-term deal to sign with the Mets, who are generally reluctant to dole out long-term contracts.

All of this said, where does Sandy Alderson turn to populate his outfield, currently staffed by Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Mike Baxter? The trade market is certainly a possibility, but with Dickey likely gone, Alderson may not have the chips to play in that high-stakes game. Alderson seems to take a methodical approach to building a team, one move, one player at a time. If he pulls off the rumored deal with Toronto, it would be a major coup for the Mets. However, it would be one major coup. Alderson may need to have a few more tricks up his sleeve to put a competitive outfield on the Citi Field grass in 2013.

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Tags: Cody Ross Michael Bourn R.A. Dickey

  • Tom K

    Reportedly the Cubs are willing to pay all but $5M/year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract in exchange for a good prospect. The man can still hit and his defense is better than Duda’s (if marginally). Would you consider this? It’s a 2-year obligation as opposed to multiple years and more dollars for Ross and Bourn (which I don’t see the Mets doing).

    • Rich S

      I’d look at other options first, but if those don’t pan out and Soriano is available with the terms you describe, yes, I’d take a shot. He is a better bet than Duda in my opinion.

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  • Donald Obrien

    The answer is right in front of you. Scotty Hairston had the same numbers as Cody Ross. Actually Hairston had a higher SLG, 504 to Ross’ 481. Scotty stole 8 of 10 attempts. Ross was 2 for 3.

    • Donald Obrien

      John Buck is owed 6 million for 2013. The Jays better cover half of that. Otherwise that’s a salary dump the Mets can’t afford to absorb.

    • Tom K

      Buck 12HR 41RBI .192BA .297OBP .347SLG
      Thole 1HR 21RBI .234BA .294OBP .290SLG
      D’Arnaud 16HR 52RBI .333BA .380OBP .595SLG (AAA 67G)

    • Joe_JP

      I think Hairston is something to seriously consider.

  • Reese Kaplan

    Would you deal Flores for Soriano?

    • Rich S

      Yes, I don’t see a role for Flores with Ike, Wright, and Tejada in place for the long term.