The current leader for "most unexpected quote of spring training" has to be this line, courtesy of Whitestone's own Mike Baxter (via Adam Rubin):
"There will be no comment about the 'cannibal cop.'"
Note: For context, click here; Baxter played high-school ball with the so-called "cannibal cop."
Just slightly-less unexpected is that New York City tabloids haven't seized the opportunity to draw the Mets into the "cannibal cop" story. For instance:
Sandy Alderson Should Apologize For Cannibal Cop -- ESPNNY.com
Suspected Cannibal Cop Is A Lifelong Mets Fan -- Daily News
Biggest Loser In The Cannibal Cop Case Is The Mets -- New York Post
Hat tip to the tabloid sports sections for ignoring this non-story.
The 28-year-old Baxter has otherwise flown under the radar at Mets camp. He's currently alone on the official right-field depth chart. Marlon Byrd or Andrew Brown will probably join him in a right-field platoon this season, but Baxter is the likely Opening-Day starter at the position. It's not ideal, and a more established platoon partner would be preferable, but Baxter's package of patience, doubles power, and strong defense could mean that he will be the Mets' best outfielder in 2013.
Baxter's big-league success at the plate (111 OPS+) has come in a small sample (260 plate appearances), and I suppose that's my most significant area of concern. Will he be exposed with more playing time? However, his minor-league performance was in line with what he's produced in the majors, assuaging my worry of a Baxter collapse in 2013. The man has already built up a stockpile of goodwill following his heroics on 6/1/2012; a full season of usefulness as a platoon outfielder would help solidify his status as more than just a cult hero.
Post your Baxter projection in the comments in the same format as below. I'll compare our projections to actual results at season's end.
Replays of his no-hitter-preserving catch: Not nearly enough