Alotta people are calling for a star left fielder, but I think before we do we have to evaluate how that would impact our outfield as a whole. It seems a near consensus that mclouth will be with the club next year, if we get a left fielder he will be in centerfield. If this happens, and if mclouth can get back to his 2008-2009 form, then we still only have a an average defender with a weak arm that doesnt produce against lefties.
If, however, we push for a star center fielder, then we can move mclouth to left where he would be a plus defender, where his arm wouldnt hurt us, and where platooning against lefties is an option.
If mclouth is in center, we dont have a platoon option for him unless we want to keep melky(no)--ankiel hits lefties worse, and infante shouldnt have any kind of regular role in center.
The quality of left fielder would have to soooo extremely outweigh the quality of centerfielder we bring in to make the outfield, as a whole, better.
I think its also important to consider the fact that Diaz and Mclouth have the potential to be an incredible platoon. It is only questionable because of two extremely erratic seasons from them both last year that were largely related to injuries--especially Diaz who seems the bigger question mark (not in performance but as far as his role or roster spot goes)
If they can play like they did in '09 and get back to their career numbers then they would be a pretty amazing duo. Mclouth has over a 350 obp against righties and 20 stolen bases, and 20 homers (mostly against righties anyway).. Diaz, if given a chance to start a fresh season without a major hand injury is very likely to get his feet back under him and return to raking lefties and hitting for power. Again, Mclouth will be a plus left fielder where his arm wont hurt us, and diaz will give his life to catch a meaningful flyball. I would also say he has a plus arm from left field.
These are the reasons why I believe a regular center fielder is far more valuable to the team then a LF
I know some poeple are saying, :"enough platoon! I'm over the platoon!" but let's face it, whether we keep mclouth or ankiel, we will have someone on our bench that hits lefties better.. I just assume keep diaz and give him that shot.. the only reason we dont is if we get a new left fielder and put mclouth in center where he doesnt get platooned (but we really do not want him to hit regularly against lefties)
The alternate plan is to move Heyward to center, platoon diaz and mclouth in left and get a star right fielder (mclouth definitely shouldnt play right, and we would want our other corner outfielder to have a regular role)..I probably think this is more legit than most other people do, but I think there is a sort of leadership presence and tone setting in centerfield that I would love to see Heyward take charge of.