When the Reds released former Tampa Bay Ray outfielder Desmond Jennings, I thought it was a remote possibility that the Mets would take a flier on him as a depth signing. Curtis Granderson is the oldest starting center fielder since Methuselah played 100 games with the Brooklyn Superbas in 1899, so why not give yourself an option with no real true center fielder close enough to the majors?
But then I thought, “naaaah, the Mets wouldn’t be that cruel to Michael Conforto, right?” He lost some weight, he raked in the spring, and he’s shown a good enough aptitude in center field to be the next man up just in case. Why would the Mets block their top prospect who has hit World Series home runs? Yet he’s been relegated to mop up duty to the point where columnists in other markets are trying to find ways to “rescue” Michael Conforto. Why would the Mets bring in somebody to make things even more complicated than they already are with Granderson and Bruce in the outfield?
It has happened.
The thing that we all, including Conforto, should separate in our heads is the ceiling that Jennings once had to the player that Jennings is now. He’s played 93 games in the last two seasons, and he hit .200 in 2016. He’s played three seasons where he’s been in over 100 games, and his OPS hasn’t been over .700 since 2013. Plus, he was released by the Reds!
Look, if the Mets give Jennings more playing time than Conforto this season, then they’re bigger lunatics than I thought. The Mets have pulled off some doozies along those lines but I can’t see Jennings in center field in Flushing unless both Granderson and Bruce are incapacitated with Conforto already sliding over to right field. If that’s the case, then this is a good depth signing. If Jennings is the two hole hitter in May while Conforto is in Texas, then we’ll riot together. BYOPAT (Bring Your Own Pitchfork And Torch).