Carlos Beltran is expected to miss the start of the season and probably not game ready at least until May, could the Mets turn their attention toward Johnny Damon? Ron Hart of Associated Content thinks it’s possible.
What Hart had to say:
“On paper, Johnny Damon to the Mets would make sense. When healthy, Beltran is one of the best all around center fielders in the game. But with his knee surgery this off-season, there is a good chance that he will not be ready until June, if at all. Damon is still a good offensive player, and while his defense would be more than a little suspect at Citifield, neither party has better options at this point.
But sometimes arrangements are most quickly made between two desperate parties. Both the Mets and Damon are desperate in a sense and both have needs that are roughly congruent. Damon is a defensive liability, to be sure, but his offense, charisma and big game ability will play well in New York.”
The fatal flaw of this idea is that Damon is a long-term solution to a short-term problem for the Mets. Hart seems to be expecting Beltran to be out until June which seems excessive. Typically arthroscopic surgery takes around 8-12 weeks to recover from and including rehab and time to make up for missing spring training it is realistic that he comes back by May, not June. It is possible, as with any surgery, that there can be complications, but in this situation it is unlikely.
The point is, the Mets will have a glut of outfielders by May if they sign Damon. Jeff Francour is in right and Jason Bay in left, the Mets just won’t have any at bats for Damon.
The fatal flaw might be overcome if Damon would be open to a position change, particularly to first base, but if that were to occur it would change the entire market for Damon and his options would expand beyond the reaches of Flushing.