The Need for One Outweighs the Need for Many

I've noticed some recent articles about our collective Mets love affair with Rangers prospect, Mike Olt, who the Mets could presumably get for R.A. Dickey, but plays a position that Enter Sand(y)man recently locked up for the next 8 years with $138 million of the Wilpons' buckaroos.

Zzzzzzzz; Yikes! Another press conference by Enter Sand(y)man punctuated with legalistic hedging like "possibly," "perhaps," "maybe," "could be," or "in theory," and I might jump off the Shea Bridge.

Now, call me cynical, but are we really going to go down this road again?  Are we actually going to trade a proven commodity that has not only won the Cy Young, but has one of the best overall records in baseball for the past three years (by the way, did anyone in the Mets front office bother to mention that to the Royals before they dealt Myers for an overworked Jamie Shields and an over-hyped Wade Davis?) for a top prospect who plays the hot corner but will be moved to a position that is about as "hot" as watching the grass grow between pitches on a hot, humid, dog day afternoon.

Now, you might say: "Rey, you ignorant putz... perhaps there's a three- or four-way that's in the works here!"  

Ok... so who is it starring in it, and when does it come out on PPV?  

C'mon folks! To say that a three way deal is being discussed is pure speculation, and feeding further into the press' dangling of that carrot they love to call "increased revenue from a target audience."  Frankly, I'll believe it when I see Enter Sand(y)man crack a good joke during his next conference call without relying on his dog, Buddy, as the straightman.  Or, to (mis)quote Jerry Maguire: "SHOW ME THE THREE WAY; SHOW ME THE THREE WAY!"

Let's instead deal with reality.  We have been presented with more than a legitimate rumor, and by some accounts, a verifiable offer by the Rangers.  And the seemingly knee-jerk reaction by many Mets fans is to go with the trade flow, failing to explain away this one, nagging, question:  Can Olt "play" another position?  No less a corner OF spot?  And do so well without adversely affecting the primary reason we got him?  

For the record, Mike Olt has played 144 games at 3B over the past two years, and only 3 -- yes, 3 -- in the OF.  And shoot, I can "play" the the OF.  I'm sure many of you can "play" that position too.  But we need Mr. Olt to "play" that position well enough to justify what we anticipate will be solid power numbers (though not a strong OBP); put another way, Olt needs to put up better numbers than anyone who played the Mets OF last year, which I admit is not saying much. 

But I digress... let's examine some facts:

I checked into the common belief among some of us that a player moved out of his regular position can do so without negatively affecting his offensive performance. Then, I examined this small sample of former, and at the time youthful, Mets who stick out like a sore thumb in my memory banks: Daniel Murphy (comes up as a 3B, but gets sent to play practically every position but), Jose Reyes (who came up as a SS, but was eventually forced to play 2b for a season), and yes... Gregg Jefferies (who came up primarily as a 3B/SS, but was sent to second) (NOTE: I'm not even going to mention the "Joba Rules" afflicted pitchers of recent Mets history, such as Jenrry Mejia)

Let's look at their combined statistical averages (as opposed to cumulative numbers) at their primary position (i.e., the positions they played nearly all the time before being called up to the majors) vis a vis their averages at other positions played during the first 3 seasons of MLB:

Daniel Murphy
Playing his Primary Position: 3B
BA:     .327
OBP:   .343
SLG:   .481

Combined Other Positions:
BA:    .287
OBP:  .328
SLG:  .424

Jose Reyes
Playing his Primary Position: SS
BA:     .280
OBA:   .350
SLG:   .405

Combined Other Positions:
BA:    .264
OBA:  .280
OPS:  .379

Gregg Jefferies:  According to our friends over at MinorLeagueBall.com, "he hit .321/.364/.596 in 109 major league at-bats for the Mets down the stretch of his rookie campaign, seeing most of his action at third base." But the following were his numbers for the next 3 seasons at other positions:

BA:    .271
OBA:  .332
OPS:  .400

So, do we all see the problem now? Sure, you can tell me all you want it's a ridiculously small sample, but these stats don't lie.  In truth, we didn't even need the stats to make this point, did we?  Heck, I started writing this post based solely on my gut feeling, and what I saw with my own eyes over the years.  And be honest... your eyes didn't deceive you either, did they?

So let's get a collective grip here, and hope that if they Mets do make this deal for Olt, that it IS indeed part of a bigger deal so he can fulfill his true potential playing 3B elsewhere.  And why Olt playing RF, LF, or any other position other than 3B for that matter, is not worth the risk for a Cy Young award winner?

Otherwise, it's back to hearing the same old excuses and justifications about how Olt's bat will "eventually" come around; how he's "working hid butt off" on cutting off balls in the gap; "getting a better bead" on judging balls headed towards the MoZone; and, how Enter Sand(y)man's "Teaching his young rookies new tricks" video is the latest training regimen this spring...

for Olt and Buddy too. 

Until next time...



Reese said...

While everyone is on the prospect bandwagon, would you take Olt plus reserve Centerfielder Craig Gentry? He's not a "sexy" name, but he gets on base regularly and in 400+ big league ABs has stolen 32 bases. Plus he bats right handed. As I see it he solves three problems -- leadoff, CF and speed. In addition, although he's no superstar in the making, he has proven the ability to do so at the ML level.

Greg b said...

If dickey was a few yrs younger i would agree with u but his going to be 38. If u can get a top prospect who will be on the team hopefully for quite a few years u have to trade him.

Rey P said...

Reese, I'd have to say no even with Gentry, if it still means Olt is going to be moved to the OF. After all, it's not like Olt is a superstud hitter in the first place; so take his MLEs as a 3B, then downgrade them because he'll be playing somewhere he has to learn how to play on a ML level, and you get essentially Lucas Duda all over again. So I ask you: would you deal R.A. for Duda and Gentry? I wouldn't.

Greg b, while R.A. is 38, what does that actually mean? It's not Tom Seaver here. In fact, what makes R.A. dominant is the fact he throws a knuckler in the low 80s. Well, at 38, he will likely still throw in the low 80s into his early 40s, just like Joe Niekro, Mike Mussina, Jason Isringhausen and by anecdotal accounts, Hoyt Wilhelm, all of whom threw a low 80s knuckler or knuckle-curve, did. So I just don't buy this "one year wonder" moniker they are placing on R.A. It's inaccurate and unfair.

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