Mets taking 'serious look' at Citi Field changes
Alterations to outfield fences club's most likely course of action
ST. LOUIS -- With nearly three full seasons of data at his disposal, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson offered his strongest indication yet on Tuesday that the team will make alterations to Citi Field's dimensions next season.
"We're looking at it," Alderson said. "We're taking a very serious look at it."
Though Alderson would not delve into specifics of any proposed changes, he did say that the team will make a final decision no later than October. Changes could include something as complex as restructuring the outfield fence in both left and right field, or as simple as halving the height of Citi's 16-foot left-field wall.
Given that any alterations would be "subtle," it stands to reason that halving the left-field wall represents the most likely course of action.
"We're not looking necessarily to gain an advantage," Alderson said. "But at the same time, I think there is some sense that the park is a little more overwhelming to a team that spends half its time there."
Though some have attributed Citi Field's lack of offense to the Mets' own struggles over the past three seasons, Alderson said that his data has confirmed the obvious: that Citi Field, regardless of its tenant, is an extreme pitcher's park.
Careful to note that the Mets are not deferring to any particular players, such as right-handed sluggers David Wright and Jason Bay, Alderson admitted that the Mets want to see more offense at their home park. They and their opponents have combined for 99 home runs through 75 games at Citi Field this season, down from 111 combined home runs in 2010 and 130 in '09.
"To some extent, it's a question of entertainment," Alderson said. "I think offense is appealing. Offense sells."
The team's studies, Alderson said, revealed that the proposed alterations would result in more home runs and fewer doubles, but a similar number of triples -- perhaps a selling point for the changes. In contrast to Wright and Bay, the Mets do have one player uniquely suited to Citi Field's expansive outfield gaps: shortstop Jose Reyes, who was on pace this season to finish with more triples than any player since the deadball era until injuries interfered.
Asked if the changes might negatively affect Reyes should he choose to re-sign with the Mets as a free agent, Alderson quipped: "He might have to slide at third a little more often."