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Hello All - As a long time reader, I'm slightly proud to make my first fanshot. Already, the...

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Hello All - As a long time reader, I'm slightly proud to make my first fanshot. Already, the topic of awful Met defense has been posted today. The eyes say it's been bad, and so do the numbers. I would say that there is some room for improvement. Lucas Duda can't possibly be this bad (or can he? if he is, he'll pretty much have to be an elite-level hitter to compensate of his poor glove). Ike Davis has done poorly by the numbers this year, history shows that can improve. Andres Torres has been disappointing in center field, both by eye and by statistics. According to fangraphs, after being a defensive standout for the last three years with the Giants, Torres is having problems this year. After posting UZR/150s of 33.0, 25.9 and 18.0 for 2009-11, he's at -3.7 for this year. Small sample size to be sure, and perhaps injuries have something to do with it, but he looks slower on the bases and in the field, and it seems like Terry Collins is noticing, too, given that Torres has been virtually benched - including last night, he's started three times in the last nine games. His awful hitting, which was unfortunately predictable, surely has something to do with that. With the surprisingly bad performance of Ramon Ramirez, that trade is looking worse than I anticipated. Torres was critiqued for his poor positioning last night on Schneider's seventh inning double by Keith Hernandez and Mike Nichols of Metsblog - it was argued that given the Mets' two-run lead at the time, a more conservative strategy of extra-base prevention (and thus playing a deeper outfield) is warranted. I would agree that a conservative strategy is called for in that situation, but much like playing the infield in, playing the lines, or playing the outfield deep is, in theory, an aggressive strategy, especially with no baserunners (although I'd like to see some analysis of whether it's just a dumb strategy, but that's admittedly too complicated for me). These strategies sacrifice the defensive alignment most likely to prevent an out and therefore a big inning, to increase the chances of preventing an extra base hit, which can help to create a run with only two hits rather than three, and therefore theoretically is a viable strategy when the relative value of a run to an out is increased (late inning, tie game, etc.). I would argue that seventh inning with two out, no runners, and a two run lead is probably one of the least appropriate times to play a "no-doubles" defense. I appreciate Torres' shallow positioning in that situation, the problem was that a bad hitter hit the ball further than expected; a ball that was high enough that I expected it to be caught. The fact that Ruiz hit a tying homerun in the following at bat shows, in this instance the value in that situation of preventing an out vs. preventing an extra base. Playing shallow is the equivalent of playing the infield back with a runner on 3rd base - it is a conservative move, yet is incorrectly identified as aggressive defense. More structurally for the Mets, it brings us back to Torres who I believe, subjectively, should have made the catch in question. At an advanced age, and with a high (but not too high) salary, his performance is hurting the team and there seems to be a limited upside for a team that is ostensibly rebuilding. With the return of Jason Bay and Ruben Tejada seemingly imminent, is it possible that Torres is a candidate for release?

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