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Mets Should Move Amed Rosario To Center Field

As the Mets look to improve their roster, the one gaping hole is center field. It has been a problem for years with the Mets looking at stop gap options like Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto partially due to Juan Lagares inability to stay on the field and his inconsistent production at the plate, and last year, in the field.

Brodie Van Wagenen has said the team is looking for a right-handed bat at the position. On that note, the free agent center field options are quite poor. In fact, some of the more viable options are Aaron Altherr, Keon Broxton, and Carlos Gomez, three players whom the Mets realized were not real options.

When looking past the right-hand side, the options aren’t exactly great. The best option of the entire group is likely Shogo Akiyama, and he’s a 32 year old who has never played in the Majors. Further compounding that, Akiyama is said to have slipped defensively meaning he should probably move to a corner spot in 2020.

Fact is, there is no real good option. Looking at the trade route, the best known option is Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley hasn’t been a league average hitter since 2016, and he has had consecutive negative DRS seasons. While he can still handle the position defensively, his defense is not at the point where he can justify his bat or a raise from his 2018 $8.55 million arbitration salary.

To that point, Brodie Van Wagenen has said the Mets need to be creative this offseason, so perhaps they should be creative and move Amed Rosario to center.

The impulse to make that move has subsided with Rosario posting a 0 DRS in the second half. That was a significant improvement from his -16 DRS in the first half and the -16 DRS he posted at the position in 2018. With his only being 23, we can expect him to improve, but considering the level he is at now, it is debatable he can ever reach the lofty Gold Glove expectations we all once had for him.

He might be that if he moved to center.

Baseball Savant noted Rosario had a 29.2 ft/sec sprint speed last year. That is essentially the same speed as Victor Robles and Kevin Kiermaier, and it is quicker than Lorenzo Cain and Manuel Margot. Those of four of the top five center fielders in DRS last year. If nothing else, that tells us Rosario has the speed to cover the position.

Looking at last year, Jeff McNeil worked with Luis Rojas during Spring Training to get up to speed quickly on being an outfielder. During the 2019 season, McNeil proved to be a good outfielder with a 2 DRS with his time split between left and right.

Looking at Rosasrio, he has the speed, and he has the coaching. With his tools and drive, he has all he needs to succeed as center fielder. That goes double with him having an offseason and Spring Training to work on it. The only question is why would the Mets do it. Well, there are two reasons.

First and foremost, there are no real center field options available to the Mets. This leaves them having to hope for magic with a retread or for their getting creative with a solution like Rosario. Now, moving Rosario to center would create a hole at short. On that note, there are better options available like Didi Gregorius and Jose Iglesias.

Those two short term options are much more appealing than any of the center field options available this offseason. On the subject of the short term, the Mets also have to take some consideration of Andres Gimenez. While Gimenez struggled in 2019, he did deal with hand injuries, and he did rebound with an excellent stint in the Arizona Fall League.

Ultimately, the Mets may have to find space for Rosario and Gimenez on the same roster. The Mets could faciliate that by moving Rosario to center. It is a good long term solution, and really, considering the options available at both center and short this offseason, it is the best short term solution as well.

13 thoughts on “Mets Should Move Amed Rosario To Center Field”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    No.

    Plenty of OFers.

    Rosario was one of our few defense positives in the second half, why screw that up?

    Would Beltran be able to tutor Rosario when he is suspended?

  2. Angelo T says:

    Keep Rosario at SS and acquire a CF via trade.. Think Dom Smith to MIA for Lewis Brinson. Young, cheap and controllable talent that maybe needs a change of scenery and to be inserted into a lineup where he’ll only be expected to hit 7th or 8th..

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Lewis Brinson is terrible.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      SS is the on look y position where we hff ave one proven option. Conforto, Nimmo, Cespedes all have at least played center. How many freaking OFers do we need? SS is literally the only position you can write somebody in with confidence and without controversy.

      And he wants him to try the OF……

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Yes, I want to improve this Mets roster.

    3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      @Angelo T – How about aiming for someone with a little better track record, say Dom and JD Davis for somebody’s cost-controlled CFer? We won’t get a lot for those two, who’ve only combined for all of one respectable season between them, but add in the necessary minor league talent and picking a cheap, 2 win CFer (we have to face that we don’t have the talent or money to do more than that this offseason) lets the Mets push Nimmo, Conforto et al back to the corners–where, really, they belong–significantly improves the overall defense by playing those two at their natural positions, and frees up McNeil for 3B duties, which is where the real hole will probably be.

      –I’m skeptical too that between them Cano and Lowrie will man 2B and 3B successfully in 2020, so freeing up McNeil to play in the IF feels like the right idea.

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    The Mets might want to find out if Rosario has anything like the depth perception and ability to get a good jump needed to play CF before we get to ‘they should.’

    Not that the Mets’ minor league decisions are much to go by, but it’s interesting to see that in 5 seasons in the minors they never tried Rosario in the OF even once, never mind CF–despite having a paucity of homegrown OFers while he was coming up.

    —On another subject, I had the Mets slightly overperforming on the field in 2019, and with losing Wheeler, Frazier, Vargas, and odds and ends, and only adding Stroman, have the team right around .500 for now. Anyone else?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      In the minors, there was no need to try Rosario in the OF. His issues didn’t really surface until he reached the majors, and there were a number of reasons why.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Serious question–Why do you think that is, wrt his issues?

        Fwiw, if you know a guy has plus plus speed, and your OF is in tatters, in an era where versatility is prized then not seeing if your fastest runner can handle CF seems… unwise. Of course, this would be so Mets. Every year they seem to roll the dice and say to themselves, in-season, “Huh, we’ve had this guy in our system for something like 5 years. Let’s wait until he’s in the majors then throw him into the OF.” They did it with Dom in 2018 and McNeil in 2019. Imagine the carnage if McNeil had turned out to be unable to handle the OF, if he was on par with what we saw from Dom in 2018?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          He had issues because the Mets gave been outright terrible positioning infielders since Disarcina took Teufel’s job.

          He’s also had some players, namely Jose Reyes, outright gunning for his job.

          Overall, the level of coaching and positioning has been quite poor the last few years. Mix in a struggling offensive player taking his problems onto the field, and you get consecutive years of a -16 DRS.

          Looking forward, Luis Rojas is a great coach, and I trust him getting Rosario up to speed in short order in center.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            Thanks.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      Yeah, they have to add upgrades to go over 86 wins, it would seem.

      Of course, a full season of the best of Cespedes, Lowrie and JD would be a big burst too. Others have room for bumps in performance….Thor, Diaz, Cano.

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