Told You So

Sometimes I hate when I’m right.

It doesn’t happen that often, which makes it doubly frustrating. But since I’m wrong so often, I have to occasionally point out the times I”m right, so you don’t think I’m completely full of manure.

For example, almost TWO YEARS AGO, I said the Mets Need a Gamer (and followed it up with examples). They never obtained one. Now they need more than just a scrappy ballplayer — they need an unquestionable leader. Those are hard to come by. Jim Edmonds might have been a decent choice, if his skills weren’t so eroded and he wasn’t injured as often as Moises Alou. And I wouldn’t care about him batting from the left side — some things are more important than matchups (personalities, for instance).

The sabermetricians disagree — most are still wondering why the Mets haven’t signed Barry Bonds (ha) — but having actually played the game on real fields, with real people, I can say without question that a winning team requires certain personalities, in addition to the people who can accumulate numbers. And the Mets are missing one or two of those personalities.

Early this spring, I made another outlandish claim: that Johan Santana was NOT the key to the Mets’ success in 2008. If you read that article, you’d know the key is actually Carlos Delgado. Maybe I was slightly off — after all, I can’t imagine where the Mets would be right now without Santana. However, I still stand by my opinion that the Mets’ offense is extremely reliant on Carlos Delgado being a 30-HR, 100-RBI, .275 hitter. Right now, it looks like Delgado would be lucky to meet any of those targets — and as a result the lineup has a hole the size of the Grand Canyon. To make matters worse, it appears that Delgado is the de facto leader of the team. Where he can lead them is anybody’s guess — but it certainly won’t be to the postseason.

For every two times I’m right, I’m wrong five or six. For example, I thought keeping Joe Smith on the roster over Stephen Register and Ricardo Rincon was preposterous … though in the same article suggested that Mike Pelfrey be left back in AAA. I didn’t think much of the Angel Pagan move, and that turned out pretty well until he injured himself. On the other hand, I really wanted the Mets to go after Mike Sweeney — who is now hitting .307 as a regular with the A’s.

Of all my dumb predictions and opinions, though, I never once suggested — nor thought — that the Mets would be fighting to stay out of last place at the end of May. Having Johan on board, and all those arms in the bullpen, it appeared that the Mets would have one of the stronger pitching staffs in the NL — and good pitching beats good hitting, right?

Except, of course, when bad pitching beats your bad hitting.

One more prediction: the Mets WILL turn their season around, and provide us an entertaining summer. I’m not sold on the idea that this is a championship team, but I’d at least like to look forward to watching the games every evening. Is that so much to ask?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. debmc May 28, 2008 at 1:49 pm
    Joe, you know I have the utmost respect and admiration for you, but JIM EDMONDS????? If I had to look at that pouty whiney face every day, I think I’d feel worse watching this team than I do now, lol.

    I think DW will be the leader of this team, and sooner rather than later. I still have my doubts as to whether he can fill those shoes on his own, and I think he might have to team up with one or two of the other guys, but I think once CDone is gone, or undermined, that DW will likely try to fill the vacated role.

  2. joe May 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm
    Hey Deb, you managed to watch Tom Glavine for five years … you’d get over seeing Edmonds. Not that it matters; like I said, his skills are gone.

    Do you have a plan to rid this team of CDone? If so please get to Shea asap and speak to Omar. I’ll help you bang down the door.

  3. debmc May 28, 2008 at 2:59 pm
    Yeah, but here’s the thing, Joe — I would still have to look at CDone & His Drones in addition to Edmonds! LOL

    I think, if you’re asking me, that CDone won’t be CGone until his contract expires at the end of the year. In the unlikely event the Mets can find a taker for him, even if they have to pay some of his contract, who would we bring in to replace him? I don’t think they’re going to trust CD’s lineup spot to an unproven rookie like Evans or Carp or someone like that. And right now, I don’t know of any option for 1B that is readily available.

    Much as I hate to say it, odds are we’re stuck with Done until the end of the year.

    I have to say I’m a little surprised at him. He’s in his walk year, and considering the numbers he’s putting up, and put up last year, he’s slowly but surely taking the path to being out of baseball after this year, unless he signs with someone for a short term deal at far less money, just so he can keep playing, which I think he’s said he wants to do. Keep playing, that is, not for less money, particularly *titter.*

    I just hope the Mets aren’t that team.

  4. joe May 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm
    I don’t care who the Mets would bring in to replace CDone. Anyone is better than what we have now. Put Tatis or Evans at 1B. Jose Valentin. Bring in Scott Hatteberg. Dan Johnson. Jason Botts. Keith Hernandez. Anyone.

    If CDone stays with the Mets through the end of the year, and doesn’t go on the 60-day DL, the Mets likely don’t go to the postseason. I think it’s that critical an issue.

  5. debmc May 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm
    I’m tempted to say that it was the benching of Delgado and the orange coat (lol) that did the trick last night, but I also think last night’s win had a lot to do with who was pitching.

    I just think this team has so many issues right now, that just ridding itself of CDone, without making other necessary changes, including but not limited to management structure, attitude adjustment, etc. will only put a hole in the pockets and still leave us short.

    We don’t exactly have the kind of lineup where we can “hide” CDone. But for now, I’d bat him down in the lineup and give him some pine to ride as often as I could. But remember, Joe, benching him isn’t going to make him get hot, unless it’s done in a smart and judicious way, and CDone wants to improve, which, well, he HAS to want to. There’s a lot at stake, if not for the team, but for him personally. Like I said, this surprises me, and only makes me think that he is next year’s Andruw Jones.

  6. sincekindergarten May 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm
    Oooh boy, Joe–I’ve been thinking about stuff like this all day, as I traversed the wilds of the southern Adirondacks for my job. I really think that, not only are the Mets going to turn it around, but I’m sticking to my preseason prediction of “the Mets win the NL East by 2-3 games, but not until the last week of the season.”

    As for CDel, once Wright really takes off, the opposition pitchers stop throwing sliders to him, and give him a steady diet of fastballs. He’s going to miss a lot–but when he gets hold of them (and it will be more often than you think), they will go a long way. 30 HRs, 90 RBIs.

  7. Micalpalyn May 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm
    1. where’s Isuzu?

    2. I dont think Del is done. But possibly with this team. I have mentioned Sea but I think an AL team (Tampa) with a DH would fit nicely for him. Hatteberg i think fits as that ‘gamer’ persona you indicate. But i think the loss of our present ‘gamer’ (ryan Church) has cost us ball games in the past road trip.

    3. The del issue needs to be re-structured. Its not Del as much (as Willie and) the whole in the middle of the line up. Isuzu brings sabermetrics/stats as an arguement, but as Metsblog points out CB is castrated by being asked to ‘clean up’. WE all saw him chastized when he lays down the improvised bunt but thats his game. That is no different fronm Del bunting when confronted with the Delgado shift. CB has a speed game that is currently negated. I think he’d be fun again (occasionally hitting 3rd or even 2nd again some tougher opponents while DW hits 3rd/4th, and Ryan Church clean up.

    4. Here’s another (left field) idea: Let Castillo lead off occassionally and drop Reyes to 7th…idea slow the game down for him. Let him watch from the bench how the game unfolds or how Luis does before he steps in. Did not someone say..reyes woul eventually be a #3 type hitter?

    5. I’d like to see Tatis playing at 1st…(oh I said that before).

  8. isuzudude May 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm
    Here I am!

    I wasn’t going to comment on the Delgado issue, since I pretty much agree with the consensus, but Mic has drawn me out of my hibernation.

    From my point of view, I don’t see any team in baseball who wants to take Delgado off the Mets’ hands…even if all they had to give up was a used tissue and knew Delgado was off the books come the offseason. I think he’s the Mets’ problem until they can buy him out. I also don’t think Delgado will be DFA’d, because that’s too much of an ego blow to Omar (who gave up a pricey package to Florida to get very little in the way of success in return), and because it’s too much money to swallow to give him up for nothing, even for the MET$. I’d much rather focus on trying to get as much production out of Delgado as possible for the remainder of this season, and finding a replacement at 1B for 2009. The biggest FA this offseason is going to be Mark Teixeira, and because I think a dozen teams are going to be vying for his services, the Mets are going to lose that lottery. The other FA options aren’t very attractive – Raul Ibanez (who will turn 37 next year), Jose Vidro, Jeff Kent, Kevin Millar, Richie Sexson. And before you say to move Wright to 1B and sign a 3B, there aren’t any of those available either. So either Omar’s going to have to get on the horn and work out a trade, or the solution is going to be in-house. Nick Evans is a nice story, but he’s not going to be a serious power threat anytime soon. Mike Carp and Lucas Duda still need more seasoning, and Michel Abreu is a bum. Or, perhaps if the Mets continue to fall further under .500, maybe they’ll deal Oliver Perez (who will be a free agent this winter and would make a lovely trade-deadline acquisition for some starting pitching deprived ballclub in contention) and get a legitamite 1B prospect who will be ready for next year. However, none of those options are all too great, and because the Mets don’t really have a lot of chips to trade for a quality starting position player these days, perhaps the replacement will come from inside the organization by default. And if that’s the case, I’d have to give Evans the inside track, simply due to his pre-emptive major league experience.

    As for these lineup alterations: I’d rather Willie (or whoever the desired replacement is these days) stay consistent with the order. That’s easier said than done when Alou, Church, and Castillo have been in and out of the lineup with such frequency, but some kind of consistency needs to be achieved. Beltran did a fine job hitting cleanup last year, and I think he’s far too much of a swing-and-miss hitter to bat second. Castillo’s numbers show he is the team’s best #2 option, and I wouldn’t want anyone else on the team hitting 3rd but Wright. That leaves the rest of the lineup (when healthy) to be filled out by Beltran, Church, Alou, Delgado, and Schneider/Castro, the most logical progression you can derive at. I wouldn’t be against batting Castillo lead-off every now and again for a change of pace, but that would only be on the days Reyes’ is off, or if Reyes is hitting directly behind him. For as much as he makes us shake our heads from time to time, there is perhaps no one more dangerous at the plate than Reyes on the Mets. To have him batting anywhere in the bottom of the order would be like putting sandbags in the pants of the Mets’ lineup.