Trade Target: Dexter Fowler

By Rich Sparago

Some reports have surfaced about outfielders who may be available via trade this off season. One outfielder who may be on the market is Colorado’s Dexter Fowler. Fowler is a speedy center fielder, who primarily batted leadoff for the Rockies in 2012. Fowler played in 143 games, and hit .300 with 13 HR and 12 SBs. Fowler is a dynamic defender, and uses his speed to run down balls in the gaps (he made some nice plays against the Mets last year). Obviously, if the Mets could add Fowler, he would provide some much-needed speed, and potentially solve the void the Mets had in the leadoff spot last year. Fowler has to work on his on-base-percentage, having walked 68 times and struck out 128 times in 2012.

August 14, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) hits a single during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Clearly, Fowler would be an upgrade over Andres Torres, who struggled badly in his first (and perhaps last) year as a Met. Fowler would also come at an affordable price, having earned $2.35 million in 2012. He’s arbitration-eligible in 2013, and would be under team control until 2016. So, what might it take to pry Fowler from Colorado?

The Rockies need pitching, having posted a 5.22 team ERA in 2012. The Mets have a surplus (albeit a small one) of starting pitching. It’s fair to assume that a young team like the Rockies may not be interested in RA Dickey, but one would think that they’d be willing to talk about either Jon Niese or Dillon Gee. Niese would be too much to give up for Fowler, so perhaps Gee and another player (Lucas Duda may enjoy the altitude in Colorado) can get the job done. There may be another angle here as well. If the Rockies were interested in Niese, how about a larger deal? Eric Young Jr. has been rumored to be on the block for the past few seasons. Imagine if the Mets could acquire Fowler and Young (for Niese and another player). In my opinion, they’d have their leadoff and second-hole hitters set with young, athletic players. Young could play second base, or the outfield. Neither player, however, fits into the Mets OBP mold, and neither would provide the power that Alderson seems intent on adding.

I’m an advocate of speed. Team speeds improves team defense, and also can alter the pitching style of opposing pitchers. This does not seem to be the primary focus of the Mets front office. The winter meetings are around the corner, so shortly we should have a good idea on the direction the team is heading in 2013. Just remember those Cardinal teams of the mid 1980s. They won two pennants in three years with Jack Clark as their only legitimate power hitter.