In recent Memory Right field has been a position that the Mets have been searching to solidify, but continue to come up empty. Guys towards the end of the careers such as Shawn Green, Derek Bell, Gary Sheffield and Jeromy Burnitz have manned the position over the last decade. While the Mets have also tried their hand at some younger players such as Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Church and Roger Cedeno.
The Position has been a revolving door since Darryl Strawberry exited stage right in 1990. A lot of memories come to mind when I think of Right Field, most of them with odd twists to them. I remember the switch of gold glover Mike Cameron from center to right make room for Carlos Beltran, which resulted in a face to face collision. I also think about every time someone takes over the spot in right, how they mysteriously lose their stroke like Bobby Bonilla and Jeromy Burnitz. Or how they are hit with some freak injury like Ryan Church's concussion. Xavier Nady comes to mind as he had to be traded during a very good season, when setup man Duaner Sanchez was injured in a car accident at 2AM and was lost for the season. I also think about all of the young prospects who came up and never lived up to expectations once they were penciled in Right field. Guys like Alex Ochoa, Victor Diaz and Lasting Milledge were young promising players who seemed to fall prey to the curse.
Darryl Strawberry's last season as the Mets opening day right fielder was in 1990. Entering 2011, 21 seasons later The Mets have had 14 different players start in right on opening day. Players such as Karim Garcia, Butch Huskey, Carl Everett and Eric Valent to name a few. Going into the 2011 season things seem to be no different. Beltran will be the new right fielder if he is ready for opening day, if not, a new player such as Scott Hairston, Willie Harris or Fernando Martinez will get the nod. I can't seem to decide whether it is just bad luck, poor scouting or just really bad decision makers filling this position year after year. If I had to lean towards one of those it would probably be the decision makers. Going by the list of players that have played right over the years, most of them have been journeyman or players nearing the end of their careers. A lot of times the players become fan favorites because they are overachieving, but are never good enough to stick around. Other times they are just aging and unproductive or too young and inexperienced.
What is clear is that the Mets have not had an All-Star right fielder in over twenty years. Not to mention since Darryl left, they have not had a player start in right more than two years in a row. The corner outfield spots are supposed to be positions that provide power, something the Mets have lacked in right more often than not. For Whatever reason there seems to be a black hole in right field. I just hope that as we embark on a new decade, this new regime can bring some stability to the position that has been looking for it for 21 seasons.