CHICAGO — Moving infielders to the outfield has worked so well for the Mets this season that they just might do it with their starting shortstop.
Manager Mickey Callaway talked with Amed Rosario on Saturday about learning centerfield, which has been a weak spot for the Mets all year. Rosario said he is open to such a move, part-time or otherwise. The project could evolve from mere conversations about the possibility to concerted practice reps in centerfield in the coming days.
“He’s still our starting shortstop,” Callaway said Sunday. “It’s nothing imminent. So it’s just something we’re thinking about and maybe preparing for.”
Said Rosario, “I’d be willing to do it. I’m a natural shortstop, that’s what I’ve done my whole life. But if playing centerfield is something the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
Rosario, 23, is tied for the National League lead with 11 errors and rates terribly in advanced defensive metrics. He said he played some outfield as a kid, and he routinely shags fly balls during batting practice. Because center is an up-the-middle position like shortstop, Rosario said he doesn’t know that it necessarily would be that big of a change.
Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ starting centerfielder to begin the year, is out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his neck. In his stead, Carlos Gomez and Juan Lagares have provided minimal defensive and offensive production. The Mets recently put Michael Conforto back in center for one game, though that is not ideal.
Already in 2019, the Mets have had Jeff McNeil learn the corner outfield spots and third baseman J.D. Davis and first baseman Dominic Smith learn leftfield.
“Diversity is big,” Callaway said. “Our players being able to move around as much as possible has made us a better team. We’re not going to rule anything out that may help us be the team we want to be.”