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The Beltran Injury Fallout

So Beltran had arthroscopic surgery his knee which will keep him out for a minimum of 8 weeks and perhaps 12 weeks or from resuming baseball activities. This places his return at least just after the start of the season. If he is slow to heal, it could be May. Missing Beltran for any period of time places a major impact on both the Mets' offense and defense. Francoeur and certainly not Bay are centerfield candidates, so the Mets will have to seek other options. It is also particularly alarming from an offensive standpoint when you consider Beltran's OBP skills and the fact that they already have Francoeur's lack of skills in that department in the lineup combined with the Mets considering signing another out machine in Bengie Molina and the possibility of those two players hitting back to back.

So what are the Mets options to replace Beltran? The most likely, and cheapest solution, is to utilize switching hitting Angel Pagan who hit .306 in 373 plate appearances for the Mets. Pagan is a fair contact hitter, doing so over 83|PERCENT| of the time, but is not going to remind anyone of Beltran in terms of patience, walking just 7.5|PERCENT| of the time over his career and just 6.8|PERCENT| of the time last season. His batting average was driven by a .352 BABIP, but is at least backed up by plus speed (7.1 speed score which itself was driven by 11 triples), a 20.6|PERCENT| line drive percentage, and decent ability to leg out infield singles at nearly 8|PERCENT| of his hits. Despite his speed, however, he has never been a  high percentage base stealer at 72|PERCENT| of the time for both his MLB and minor league career. His power, while clearly nowhere near Beltran's class, is not bad with 39 extra base hits and a .181 ISO. He simply is just not a home run hitter.  So while Pagan does have some skills and talents, I remain more than a bit skeptical of his ability to maintain his batting average, especially considering he is a .281 BA .331 OBP guy over his minor league career, but at this time one has to upgrade his projection in playing time for 2010 given Beltran's status.
The other in-house option for the Mets is Fernando Martinez, but all odds point to the 21-year old getting more, much needed, development time in AAA, especially considering he did seem to finally make strides in the power-hitting department.

If the Mets decide to get a bit saucy and pursue veterans they might find some bargains, especially when you consider what Adam LaRoche had to agree to today. Randy Winn, Rick Ankiel , and Rocco Baldelli. Granted these are not players necessarily suited to handling center field, but are options never the less, and possibly ones that could push Francoeur to the bench or at least into a platoon role if the Mets would come to their senses. They could also knock on the ill-suited to outfield play Johnny Damon's door, but that would likely be an excessively expensive multi-year contract consideration.