Rumors have it the Mets would be willing to sign Ryan Ludwick to a two-year deal, for whatever that’s worth. Ludwick hits right-handed, has power, and plays the outfield, so he’d fill a lot of the Mets’ most pressing needs. And he’s coming off a very nice year for the Reds.
But Ludwick is 34 and only one season removed from being essentially a replacement-level player. Twitter fellow and thinking baseball human Marc Normandin suggested Ludwick especially struggles in pitchers’ parks, which seems difficult to prove but would explain why he cratered upon joining the Padres and revived his career in Cincinnati. And it doesn’t speak well for the Mets’ pursuit of Ludwick unless they plan on bringing the walls in even further.
Moreover, Ludwick is the success story I typically trumpet when arguing on behalf of so-called Quad-A mashers, guys who always seem to destroy Minor League pitching but never get prolonged looks in the Majors. Ludwick didn’t settle into the Cardinals’ lineup until he was 28, and the Cardinals were the fifth organization for which he played.
So it seems to me that the Mets would be better served trying to identify the next Ryan Ludwick rather than committing two years’ worth of guaranteed money to the current Ryan Ludwick. Somewhere, almost certainly, there’s a guy the Mets can have for nearly nothing who can serve as an effective right-handed half of an outfield platoon in the Majors. Maybe he’s not likely to hit as well as Ludwick did in 2007, but it’s far from a safe bet Ludwick will, either.
With some quick searching, I found my horse: Andrew Brown. The 28-year-old Brown notched 112 unspectacular at-bats with the Rockies in 2012, then elected free agency last week after the Rockies removed him from their 40-man roster. Brown bats right-handed, has experience in all four corners, and has hit .296/.373/.551 over the last two seasons in Triple-A with a .314/.416/.564 line against lefties.
Brown’s presented here more as an archetype of what the Mets should be looking for than a specific guy the Mets should be signing, and for all I know there are 10 teams currently bidding for Andrew Brown’s services. But if Brown’s looking for Major League playing time, it’s hard to figure a better spot for an unproven righty-hitting corner outfielder than Queens right now.
Naturally, this all flies out the window if the Mets trade for Wil Myers and re-sign Scott Hairston.