2006-08-25 / Sports

Patience Allows Mets To Wear Green For Playoff Postseason

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

Shawn Green will be swinging for the fences at a new home at Shea Stadium. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)
Shawn Green will be swinging for the fences at a new home at Shea Stadium. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner) Patience. That's what a 13 1/2 game lead afforded Mets general manager Omar Minaya as he pursued an outfield upgrade for his club.

And yesterday that fortitude paid off as Minaya acquired right fielder Shawn Green and a boatload of cash for minor league pitcher Evan MacLane.

Now Green may not be the same player he was a few years ago, but the 33 year-old can still hit a little [.283, 11 home runs with 51 RBI] and adds protection behind David Wright, who has struggled since the All-Star break, which may be in part due to not getting good pitches to hit after Cliff Floyd went down with an Achilles injury. Because Green won't be the focal point of the Met offense - actually he will probably the fifth or sixth best offensive option in the lineup - the lefthanded bat will fit into the Amazin' fabric. Unassuming in nature, the good natured Green slots easily into the Mets clubhouse and because of his giving personality will be a favorite among fans.

"[Green] improves our club offensively," Minaya told reporters at Shea. "He's the kind of player that I think will fit in to what we're trying to accomplish here. I get excited because for a week or two, he's really expressed interest in coming to New York. I think he's going to help us this year. I think he's going to help us next year."

Also, Green is an accomplished outfielder, who will not embarrass the Mets in the field. After the trade of Xavier Nady and the loss of Floyd to an injury, the outfield - outside of Carlos Beltran - didn't scare anyone. Yes, it's nice to see Lastings Milledge get a chance to play, but he hasn't hit and his fielding at times has been an embarrassment. At least Endy Chavez shows professionalism every time he takes the field, although his talents are better suited as a role player. Michael Tucker and Ricky Ledee are bench players at best.

"I'm definitely excited for the opportunity," Green said to Associated Press. "I really like the Mets' chances. They're one of the teams that have a chance to get to the World Series, and at this stage in my career that was a big factor why I waived the no-trade. There are not that many more chances left for me. I have a chance for the playoffs and the World Series, and having friends I played with in the past with the Mets."

If he hit's a little bit - especially in October - the Mets can build a marketing campaign around him in 2007. Being probably the highest profile Jewish player in the game makes Green an easy Met liaison to the Jewish community in New York City. The outfielder will probably be called upon for speaking engagements and appearances during the off-season.

As for Green's belief of taking off the High Holy Days, Yom Kippur is on October 1 this year, which is right when the regular season ends, so it will not have an effect on the Mets postseason.

And the Mets only had to surrender MacLane to get Green. Don't let his record [9-8 3.86 ERA in AAA Norfolk] fool you. If the 23 year-old lefthander was any type of a prospect, the Mets would have called him up already this year instead of using frauds like Jose Lima to fill in for injured pitchers. MacLane is a soft tossing control pitcher, whose trade causes no great loss to the organization.

With all the outfielders the Mets went though the past few weeks, Minaya patiently waited for the price to become right for Green and unlike the Nady move, where he was forced into the situation because of the loss to Duaner Sanchez and the trade deadline looming, getting Green shows that good things happen to those who wait.

But that's what a 13 1/2 game lead affords you.

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