An honest look at the Mets ….

Even if you look at your glass being half full, it is still half empty. In that regard let’s take a look at the Mets’ questions, position by position:

Starting rotation: Have three quality starters, with one, John Maine coming off surgery. Still need to fill four and five. The fifth could be Jon Niese, who is unproven. That’s two questions out of five slots. They have marked, in order, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. It would be nice if they could land two, but I’m not betting on it. There’s been little mention of re-signing Pedro Martinez, but that could be a viable option as the fifth starter.

Bullpen: A tremendous job by GM Omar Minaya to land Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. The back end of the pen is solid. Duaner Sanchez’s health (shoulder) remains a concern, but with Putz, there should be less pressure. Pedro Feliciano is the lone situational lefty. The bullpen is greatly improved. Brian Stokes could be the long man.

Catcher: Sure, you’d like Brian Schneider to hit more, but this is not a weakness.

First base: Carlos Delgado returns, and if he hits as he did from June on, things will be fine. But, there’s always the chance he could hit as he did in 2007 and the beginning of last season. He was brought back in large part because of economics. The Mets are banking on him to continue as he did last year. Because his contract, injury history and running hot and cold the past two seasons, made him impossible to deal, his value to the Mets is in the hope of him staying hot.

Second base: The Mets would love, but won’t be able to, take a buyer for the remaining $18 million over the next three years on Luis Castillo’s contract. His value to the Mets, like Delgado’s, is in the hope of a bouncing back. Orlando Hudson’s name is on some’s wish list, but if Castillo stays, he plays.

Left field: Currently, we’re looking at a Daniel Murphy-Fernando Tatis platoon. Both overachieved last season. Things will be fine if they duplicate last season’s success, but Tatis came out of nowhere and Murphy wasn’t listed as one of the club’s top prospects. Yes, Manny Ramirez is out there, but I prefer Adam Dunn if the Mets are going to open their wallets for a slugger. Ramirez is a headache waiting to happen, although he might be on his best behavior if given a one-year deal. I like Dunn because he can buy time for Fernando Martinez and in 2010 can replace Delgado at first base.

Right field: Ryan Church wasn’t the same player after sustaining a concussion in May. If he plays like he did early last season, the Mets won’t have a problem in right.

17 thoughts on “An honest look at the Mets ….

  1. John, A good breakdown. Unfortunately, we have major concerns about starting pitcher, 2nd base, LR and RF. I think Delgado will be fine at first base. Its hs walk year, after all. Lowe would make the rotation much more certain. If not its back to old coin flip. I saw an interesting poll on another blog: would you trade Schneider and Church back for Milledge? 77% said no.

  2. Ray/JD

    I agree with your assessments.

    Next order of business is Starting Pitching which may take a while to work through.

    We need to strengthen the bench which would help with the issues raised above. I am not looking for Tatis to duplicate last year. I am hoping that Murphy builds on last year and gets to play OF/IF.

    I would not mind Pedro coming back on the cheap, but I would ask that he prove himself and not just be given a slot to disappoint, but we need more depth in the rotation to save the pen.

  3. JD/Sadecki/dave: No fair, nothing to argue about. I like the Dunn logic. A bad outfielder but in one year he is the first baseman who hits 40 HRs a year. And I agree with you mentioning Maine’s surgery. Any surgery even minor ones can be a problem longer than anyone would think. Castillo was supposed to have minor jobs done to his knees and he never was healthy. Beltran had minor job and had no power until well into the season. So there better be some depth.

  4. I HATE the Dunn idea. Except for his walks, he’s Dave Kingman reborn, with awful RISP #s over his career and terrible D at any position. People overlook the many times Carlos saved Wright and Reyes from errors with fine scoops and tags. A Dunn at 1B would put more pressure on them to make perfect throws, which won’t work.

    If Carlos is inspired by being in a walk year, and comes close to his ’08 #s, I’d give him another 1 year deal, plus Option, unless Evans has a great AAA season and looks ready to move up in ’10.

    Let Murphy/Tatis play LF, and if it’s not working by June, trade for another guy or bring up F-Mart.

    I’ve tried (with no success) to get info re: Castillo’s rehab. He’s supposed to be working out “intensively” this Winter, under supervision from the Mets’ trainer (or conditioning coach), and if it goes well I expect a much better season from him.

  5. The only way the rotation is a “major” concern is if they don’t get another legit starter. Randy Wolf would not be the most ideal choice, but with him, it’s a solid 1-4, so they’d have to not get any of their top three choices, IMO, for the rotation to be a major worry.

    I’ll worry about John Maine come the end of ST if he’s having trouble topping 90. Surgery is surgery, but when it’s just to “shave” down a spur and nothing structural, I can’t really worry about that yet.

    Everything else I agree with you on, JD.

    (4) Bill- I am not sure where the hope or excitement comes regarding Evans. He looks like an incredibly ordinary player who, if he is lucky, would hit 15 homers in a full season of work. That doesn’t really cut it at 1B nowadays.

  6. **and I only used Wolf as an example because to me, that is their LAST resort. I still expect Lowe to ultimately end up in Queens.

  7. If we are talking surgery we have 2 starters in the rotation of 3 that had surgery this year. Maine and Johan.

    So there are certainly legit worries there. Hopefully both are ‘routine’ and the recoveries are the same.

    It seems Lowe’s agent is floating rumors that Lowe is insulted by the Mets’ offer because he is a superior pitcher to Silva.

    Too bad. I expect the Mets to possibly come up on their offer a bit, but you become a free agent in the year you do. He has the bad luck to come free in a year where no one is spending. As a result he is ‘only’ being offered $36 MILLION USA DOLLARS to play a game.

    Oh yeah. It’s guaranteed money. In other words if he sucks you can’t just terminate the contract. If he gets hurt and cannot fullfill the same again he gets paid.

    In the real world if you get hurt and cannot do your job some weeks after vacation pay and sick days get used up you go on longterm disability which is a fraction of your salary. Then they terminate you.

    I must say baseball players really have a tough life. I realize they are really in the entertainment business rather than sports, but it’s the same. Their pay scale is higher, but their contracts are iron clad.

    This is more money than anyone here will see in their lifetime. My heart bleeds for him it really does.

  8. Chiti, I am deeply disappointed in you. I give you fresh meat with the Milledge poll. not even a nibble. About the pitching, Its Santana, a guy coming off surgury, and a young kid coming off a 200 IP year which was way more than he ever pitched before. Thats why getting Lowe is vital. He is the surest thing out there.

  9. big head: Do you really feel a need to respond to yourelf? HaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..
    PS: Dr big head, I hear all of Metdom is now relieved because your brilliance says not to worry about Maine. It must be tough being so freakin smart about everything in the world, knowing that you are alone… It must be lonely in Superman brain land mr big head…..
    PPS: mr big head…the real mr met on metsblog is more entertaining and a heck of lot smarter than you are. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  10. mrmet (5)–Where do you see “excitement” about Evans? What I said was that Carlos might be re-signed UNLESS Evans has a great season.

    Nothing there about “excitement”, but he was voted Best Defensive 1Bman in the EL in ’08, and scouting reports I’ve read project him to have 20+ HR power. He still has to show he can hit for average, though, and if he can, that’s enough power.

    If the glove is as good as promised, there are a lot of Overbays, Caseys, Minkys, who are solid without 35 HRs.

    But let’s wait and see.

  11. What a beat-up rag-tagged bunch. *sigh*
    1st and second base at the mercy of 2 unpredictable players. Everyone too injured to deal and no one not even the coaches can put humpty together?
    But we should have gotten fillers for 1st and second in case a rest is needed.

    Well time to chant the Met Mantras:
    You gotta believe.. you gotta believe..
    Lets Go Mets!

    With that being sad., until Spring we will not truly know the shape of the team.

  12. Catcher is a concern. Not only do they get no offense from the position (leaving a black hole in 3 spots, with Castillo, Schneider and the pitchers spot), Schneider’s defense left much to be desired last year. For a guy who we were sold on as being a top defensive catcher, he had a lot of passed balls and dropped throws.

    As for the rotation, we should be worried about Maine, since 2 yrs in a row now he has had injuries.
    Pelfrey had a large increase in innings, though his pitch count may not have been significantly higher (he was avg 16 pitches per inning towards the end of 08, down from nearly 19 per inning in 07).
    So that leaves Johan.

    Sign Lowe and sign Ollie. I prefer Ollie over Wolf simply because we know what to expect from Ollie. Wolf is simply not that good and has little upside. Ollie has upside still.

  13. Ed: Agree with you 100% about Schneider. His skills behind the plate were starting to slide in DC but it was like illegal to bad mouth his defense. As for the rotation I want Sadecki to be Pres of the Wolf pack so I vote for him.