Mets may not add a big league outfielder to the roster this winter

Kirk Nieuwenhuis polaroidA team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York the Mets may not sign an outfielder to a Major League contract this winter.

As such, Rubin says Lucas Duda would be the primary left fielder, Kirk Nieuwenhuis would be the starting center fielder, and Mike Baxter would be the starting right fielder, all of whom are left-handed hitters.

Collin Cowgill, Brian Bixler, and Justin Turner will get consideration as right-handed platoon options in the outfield, which would allow both Brandon Hicks and Omar Quintanilla to compete as backup infielders.

If Turner is ultimately to be a backup infielder, the Mets would then consider either Bixler or Andrew Brown as second options for the right-handed hitting outfield spot.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Seriously? Simply put, the Mets have fewer Major League outfielders on the roster than they had at the end of last year, and their outfield last year was just awful. I understand the options on the free agent market aren’t that compelling, but the Mets are paper thin out there – they need to add more outfielders, even if it’s just Scott Hairston.

In the scenario Rubin lays out, the Mets would pretty much be banking on huge growth from both Duda and Nieuwenhuis, they would simply hope Baxter can handle a starting job, and they can get something out of two of Cowgill, Brown, Bixler, or Turner. None of the three starting options proved they are capable of hitting left-handed pitching consistently, and they struck out way too much last season in general. I mean, they all have to prove they are everyday players to begin with. Needless to say, that’s a lot to ask and is very difficult to digest after last season.

Speaking of Duda, he told Rubin his surgically repaired wrist is healthy, has already started throwing, and expects to begin hitting next week.

Statistics and information Duda, Nieuwenhuis, and Baxter...

Stats: Duda, Nieuwenhuis, and Baxter combined to hit .248 with 41 doubles, four triples, 25 home runs and 102 RBI with 101 walks and 263 strikeouts in 862 at-bats.

They combined to hit just .206 with four doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI with 22 walks and 75 strikeouts in 214 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

Contracts: Baxter is eligible for arbitration after the 2013 season, Duda after the 2014 season, Nieuwenhuis after the 2015 season.