Carl Crawford to New York? No, not *that* New York

Photo credit: Steve Nesius/Associated Press

I don’t claim to be an expert in anything having to do with the Mets. I don’t even like going to Queens because of the number of bridges involved.

But I can’t see why — other than that, granted, they already owe buckets of money to two aging outfielders — that the team from Flushing shouldn’t make a serious run at Rays left fielder Carl Crawford this winter.

Earlier this year — when the Yankees’ long-term left-field situation was anybody’s guess — conventional wisdom had it that the Yanks would be a major player for Crawford when he becomes a free agent after this season.

That still may be the case. Plenty of folks don’t think Brett Gardner is a credible, long-term solution.

Crawford, however, would seemingly be a great fit for the Mets’ outfield — a morose place at the moment in which Angel Pagan is currently the most promising player.

Jason Bay had an underwhelming 2010 campaign (as many triples — 6 — as homers) before being laid low for good by a concussion. Carlos Beltran missed more than half the season.

The Mets could try to trade Beltran — likely a heavy lift given that he’s turning 34 in April, is owed $18.5 million next year, has a full no-trade clause and hasn’t hit much in limited time this year since returning from knee surgery.

If you assume that the Mets are stuck paying Beltran and Jason Bay a combined $32.5 million next year, I could see why you’d argue they can’t also be a player for Crawford, who is going to make big boy bucks and probably want at least a five-year deal.

But I’ve long thought Crawford, 29, is a National League player trapped in the American League.

Over nine seasons, Crawford has batted .295, hit 100 home runs, sprayed 100 triples and stolen 403 bases — good enough for second among all active players. I reiterate: In the American League. He’s also amassed these stats on mostly terrible Rays teams.

Citi Field is what it is –  the stingiest home run ball park in the National League, stingier even than San Diego.

The Mets can’t undo the Bay signing, and I can understand why that — plus the whole Bernie Madoff thing — might make them reluctant to toss gobs more money at another outfield import.

But I think Crawford’s speed could so some serious damage in that ballpark and give the Mets a great two-or-three-hole bat — not to mention that he’s played the highest-rated left-field defense in the majors this year.

The Mets shouldn’t let the Bay debacle keep them from making a run at Crawford. Of course, it’s easy for me to spend Fred Wilpon’s money. And whether they can outbid the Yankees is another matter.

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