The Mets are thinking outside the box to potentially address their center field problem. Entering Sunday, the club’s aggregate .598 OPS from its center fielders ranked fourth-worst in baseball behind the Orioles (.594), Padres (.583), and Royals (.564). Juan Lagares and Carlos Gómez simply haven’t cut it with Brandon Nimmo out indefinitely due to a bulging disk in his neck.
Newsday’s Tim Healey reports that the Mets have broached the idea of moving shortstop Amed Rosario to center field. While Rosario has hit decently, bringing a .715 OPS into Sunday’s action, his defense has left much to desired whether one judges him by the eye test or by the various defensive metrics available. In a sense, moving Rosario off of shortstop and into center could address two issues at once.
If the Mets were to make such a change, Adeiny Hechavarría would become the everyday shortstop. Despite a reputation for having a light bat, Hechavarría held an OPS only 23 points lower than Rosario’s coming into Sunday. Though the recent sample sizes have been small, Hechavarría is still believed to be a solidly above-average defensive shortstop.
Manager Mickey Callaway said of Rosario, “He’s still our starting shortstop. It’s nothing imminent. So it’s just something we’re thinking about and maybe preparing for.”
Rosario said he would be willing to make the transition if it would help the team. After losing Sunday’s contest to the Cubs, the Mets are 37-41, good for fourth place and nine games out of first place.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.