In 2009 as we all know the Mets were last in MLB in HR, the only team with fewer than 100, hitting 95.
As a team they got 11 HR overall from 3B, 3 from SS, 17 from CF and 13 from RF.Â The in house options they have on hand right now at those positions for their careers average 25 (Wright), 14 (Reyes), 26 (Beltran) and 18 (Francoeur) HR per season.
Those are not outliers, those are career averages.Â So it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect average output from those guys.Â If you get that, the Mets have 39 more HR as a team than last year.
The team got 12 HR from C last year.Â 38 Major League catchers hit 6 or more HR last season, surely the Mets can find two guys to put behind the plate to replicate the 12 HR of 2009.Â 1B provided 16 HR last year.Â Murphy hit 12 last year, is asking 16 of him too much?Â I don’t think so.Â The Mets got 3 HR from 2B last year, so to be fair we probably need to subtract 2 if Castillo is out there everyday.Â Either Castillo or whoever spells him on a day off will probably hit 1.
So that’s a 37 HR improvement over 2009 without considering LF (or a back up at any of the other positions hitting a HR while spelling someone).Â That would put the Mets at a total of 132 HR.Â Still fewer than any 2009 playoff team.Â The Dodgers had the fewest HR of any playoff team with 145.Â National League team average was 155.
So without a LF, the Mets would be 13 HR short of the lowest HR hitting 2009 playoff team, and 23 short of league average.Â For 2008, National League average was 163, and the only playoff team lower was again the Dodgers at 137.Â For 2007, the NL average was 169, and the only playoff team lower than average was the Cubs with 151.
Over the last 3 seasons, the National League average for team HR was 162 and the average total HR for the teams with the least HR to make the playoffs was 144.
To make themselves a comparable team to league average for the last 3 years, the Mets need to add 30 HR.Â To make themselves comparable to the average HR output of the lowest HR hitting team to make the playoffs the last 3 years, they need to add 12 HR.Â The average of those two figures is 21.Â Below is an alphabetical list of the available FA OF who have averaged 21 HR for the last 3 years:
- Jason Bay – 29
- Mike Cameron – 23
- Jermaine Dye – 30
- Vladimir Guerrero – 23
- Matt Holliday – 28
- Hideki Matsui – 21
Garret Anderson and Johnny Damon fell just short at 19 and 18 respectively.Â To me Cameron really stands out as the right combination of power, defense and reasonable contract.Â Will he come to Queens to play LF?Â That remains to be seen.
What I take from this exercise is this.Â The choices are not many, and are not good.Â All any of these guys would do was bring the Mets closer to league average HR output, and put them roughly on par with the least powerful NL playoff teams of the last few years.Â That is without any defensive consideration at all.
The more I try to quickly manufacture the 2010 Mets into a playoff team, the more I think the team needs to re-think any perceived need for “a slugging LF,” and re-invent itself over the course of the next few years as a team built on pitching, speed and defense.Â To compete with the power big boys, the Mets will need more home runs from a number of positions, not just LF.Â Any free agent power grab the Mets make for LF for 2010 is likely to be a stop gap at best, and a detriment to future finances and player moves at worst.
I say pass on all these guys, concentrate on upgrading the pitching staff and overall defense, and get better for the long haul.