Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
The departure of Andres Torres to the Giants leaves Kirk Nieuwenhuis with the inside track on the 2013 Opening Day centerfield job.
Former Mets CF Andres Torres has returned to San Francisco, signing a one-year deal for $2 million, according to Jon Heyman.Torres hit .230/.327/.337 in 132 games for the Mets last year, and New York chose to non-tender him rather than go to arbitration. He made $2.7 million as a Met last year and likely would have made around that again in his third year of arbitration eligibility. Torres will serve as a fourth outfielder for the Giants, and his defense is still a bit above-average in center, according to the defensive metrics.
This leaves Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the likely Opening Day center fielder for the Mets, barring any further moves. Nieuwenhuis batted .252/.315/.376 in 91 games for the Mets last year, but his general struggles against lefties and a 4-38 slump in July led to his demotion to AAA where he suffered a season ending bout of plantar faciitis. Outfield help continues to be the biggest area of need for the 2013 Mets as they have just six outfielders on the current 40-man roster, and the only two right-handed options — Cesar Puello and Juan Lagares — are nearly assured to open 2013 in the minors.