Given the Mets' abundance of outfielders with above-average range and the team's dearth of consistent offensive threats, it should come as little surprise that the Mets are willing to sacrifice a bit of range in a left fielder in exchange for offensive production. It appears the Mets plan to take this to its logical extreme, with Terry Collins planning to use Bobby Abreu in the outfield on an occasional basis when the Mets are not playing interleague games. Collins told ESPN New York that Abreu has to get some at-bats to stay sharp.
Abreu brings with him the potential for an offensive boost, hitting a gaudy .395/.489/.579 at Triple-A so far this season. While the Mets could certainly use that sort of offensive production, it will be difficult to slot Abreu into the lineup regularly in non-DH situations because of his reputation as a defensive liability. Abreu has not posted a positive outfield UZR since 2003 and did not look particularly agile in the field during spring training with the Phillies this year, Many speculated that was the reason they let him walk despite a .404 on-base percentage in spring games. There is some cause for optimism, as Abreu has been reported to have lost a considerable of weight—he's currently listed at 210 pounds—while sitting out the 2013 season, which may help to at least keep his mobility at a tolerable level if his bat stays hot.
The Mets are no strangers to attempting to hide a bat in the outfield to get it into the lineup, with players like Lucas Duda (career outfield UZR of -34.4) and Daniel Murphy (career outfield UZR of -9.7) having spent some very memorable time in the outfield in the past. The Mets currently have the advantage of having a number of very talented defensive outfielders to pick up the slack in the the form of Chris Young, Juan Lagares, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. For now, Mets fans can hope these outfield appearances remain few and far between and uneventful when they happen.