Anderson Has Earned His Tenure with the Mets

March 24, 2009

When you take a look at the Mets current roster you’ll notice that 34-year-old Marlon Anderson is listed as an outfielder. Funny thing is, he’s not much of one. When Anderson broke in with the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 1995, he was drafted as a second baseman. Then in 1999, the Phillies gave Anderson the role that led him to start at second base for three of the following four seasons, including one with the Tampa Bay Devils Rays in 2003.

During those four seasons, he averaged 142 games and about 499 at-bats. Anderson, who bats left-handed, is predominantly considered a contact hitter. He makes his living by pulling the ball down the first base line in hopes of getting an extra-base hit. With that type of ability, he went on to average 134 hits and 28 doubles in that time. Unfortunately for the Alabama native, the opportunity to start everyday began to expose him as a liability in the field. As his offensive production grew more consistent, his ability to play his position began to suffer. He averaged almost 15 errors a season which prompted teams to label him as a utility infielder.

For the next four years, he bounced around the National League playing full seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets respectively. After accumulating seventeen pinch hits with the Cardinals in 2004, Marlon began to embrace the art of pinch hitting. As part of the 2005 New York Mets under manager Willie Randolph, he was the go-to-guy in the clutch. One memorable highlight that season occurred during an interleague game with the Los Angeles Angels, when he tied the score in the ninth inning with an inside-the-park homerun.

Now, with a little more than nine years of major league experience under his belt, Anderson has gone through various transformations that have allowed him to settle into his role as a left-handed hitter coming off the bench. Last season, he was sidelined with a hamstring injury and this upcoming season, he is expected to finish out the final year of a two-year contract. With less than two weeks until opening day, Anderson seems as if he will definitely be there on April 6th. The question is, how long?

“That’s the most fun part of putting a team together — the bench,” Mets GM Omar Minaya has said.

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