Option(s) on Carlos Delgado

Carlos Delgado of the New York MetsSome sources have reported that the Mets picked up their option on Carlos Delgado. However, the generally reliable Associated Press is not among those sources, and there has been no official word from the Mets. What we have is this quote from Brand Manager Omar Minaya:

“I’ve spoken with his agent and just let him know that we are probably looking at having Carlos Delgado, we’re picking up the option,” Minaya said on a conference call. “We have made contact with his agent and notified him that we are going towards picking up his option.”

Of course, the Mets would be silly not to pick up the option — one look at the potential free agent market for first basemen tells you that one year of Delgado at $12M is a bargain. This winter, Mark Teixeira will presumably command an insanely overpriced contract that could reach 7-year, $100M+ proportions. After Teixeira, the next-best first sackers on the market are Jason Giambi, Rich Aurilia, Kevin Millar, Eric Hinske, and Sean Casey. Further, there aren’t too many slugging first basemen expected to be available via trade this winter. Which brings up an interesting idea …

Do the Mets sign Delgado, and then flip him to fill another need?

It all depends on whether the Mets think Delgado has another banner year in him, and whether they think Nick Evans, Dan Murphy, Mike Carp, or a combination of them, can take over the position in 2009.

But then, it’s also possible that a Delgado trade, or another deal, can both address a hole AND net a potential first baseman. I’m thinking along the lines of a Chad Tracy or Garrett Atkins.

Why consider trading Delgado at all? Because his value may be higher now than it will ever be again, and it might be high enough to bring back a sorely needed young starting pitcher or reliever / potential closer. There are a few teams out there who desperately need a slugger for 2009 — the Diamondbacks, for example. Possibly the Giants, the Mariners, or the Blue Jays. Perhaps a team that loses the bidding for Teixeira — i.e., the Angels.

I was of the opinion that Delgado was the main key to the Mets’ success in 2008, and I stand by that — he WAS the single biggest reason the Mets finished as high as second place. But I’m wary of counting on him to carry the team again in 2009. It might be more intelligent to use him as a chip to bring back reinforcements, and find another way to replace his offensive production.

What do you think?

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. isuzudude October 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm
    Certainly, the Mets should be considering the possibility of dealing Delgado if they re-sign him. Even for as strong as he finished 2008, it’s very hard to imagine Delgado repeating, or even coming close, to his awesome stats of 2008. However, that’s not to stop some other team desperate for offense in thinking Delgado can keep it up.

    I refuse to buy into the mentality that the Mets need to rebuild. With Pedro and Ollie likely signing elsewhere this offseason, there are draft picks the Mets can recoup for when they sign a SP and RP off the free agent heap this winter. I also believe Johan, Pelf, Maine, and Niese have us set up pretty well for the longterm as far as the rotation is concerned, and Wright, Reyes, Beltran, FMart, Church, and Murphy provide the core on offense. I just don’t see the necessity in planning solely for the longterm when we already have ample young talent signed longterm. And that’s not counting the dozen or so prospects who figure to be a few years away but still major players in the Mets future (think Kunz, Parnell, Flores, Holt, Pena, Havens, Rustisch, Owen, Dillon, Antonini, et al).

    To get back on topic and tie up the loose strings, I would encourage the Mets only to sign-and-trade Delgado if A) they believe they have a better option at 1B, and B) it helps them in both the short and longterm. For example, I would not trade Delgado for crapshoot prospects (those that are “can’t miss”) if it leaves the team vulnerable at 1B in 2009. And to me, vulnerable is an Evans/Carp platoon, or signing someone like Kevin Millar to be a stopgap. But I would have no problem trading Delgado for a younger version of himself who has yet to prove himself on the big stage. What’s for sure is that the Mets have a lot of options, but you are correct Joe: it all starts with Delgado.

  2. joe October 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm
    The Mets didn’t want to trade away Evans, Carp, Murphy, etc. for Manny Ramirez or Jason Bay. If those three are that good, why not give them a crack at 1B in 2009?

    Murphy will be 24 years old, Evans and Carp 23 — one of them has to be at least close to being MLB ready, and most people think Murphy is already there. I don’t think it’s necessary (nor possible) to get a younger version of Delgado if you fortify the club with a solid starter or solid reliever — I’m talking a Huston Street kind of guy (I know the A’s won’t make the deal, it’s an example). The reason the Mets need Delgado is because they needed to score more runs to make up for their lack of pitching quality.

  3. Timo October 3, 2008 at 9:24 pm
    I couldn’t agree more with you Joey. I think we should sell high with CD. Our youngsters impressed me. We could definitely get some value back.
  4. Schmidtxc October 6, 2008 at 8:42 am
    I don’t think it’s time to ship delgado out quite yet. Picking up his option to trade him will probably be seen negatively by potential free agents. At this point, carlos would probably be able to get a multi-year deal somewhere, I’m sure players would rather be released than signed and traded against their wishes. In a place like florida where you aren’t recruiting free agents, this wouldn’t be a factor, but the mets are always going to have money to spend on free agency. I think you do need to take this into account, espescially if you’re looking to sign guys this offseason. He had a strong season this year, and should still get the team a few draft choices when he leaves at the end of next season, so I don’t see the down side of keeping him around. That also lets you keep evans and carp working in the minors (their defense could definately use it). If at mid-season we are struggling, trade carlos then…I’m sure there will be someone who needs a 1st baseman/dh. Even if he is struggling, his 2nd half bounceback after the willie firing should convince someone that a change of scenery will get him back on track. If we’re going to have aging vets on the roster, I’d rather have them on 1 year deals than bloated multi year ones…for once one of these looks like a great deal for the mets.
  5. joe October 6, 2008 at 8:55 am
    Good points Schmidt. Though I like Branch Rickey’s old credo — it’s better to trade a guy one year too early than one year too late.

    Realistically, the Mets aren’t sending Delgado anywhere. It’ll be much easier to bring him back and not have to worry about first base next year. Omar has a hard enough time trying to “find a match”; he doesn’t need any extra trades to make.

  6. isuzudude October 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm
    This is coming from Ken Rosenthal’s column on foxsports.com, so take it for whatever it’s worth:
    “The Yankees shouldn’t be confident of landing right-hander Derek Lowe. Lowe, like any dutiful free agent, will entertain bids from both New York teams, but teammates say he has little interest in playing for the Mets or Yankees. Some rival clubs believe that Lowe wants to stay on the west coast.”
    Lowe would be an ideal addition to the rotation (durable, innings eater, successful, a part of many winning teams, etc), but Omar will likely have to look elsewhere. On a sidenote, it appears the Padres are putting Jake Peavy on the trade block (again). I wonder what it would take to pry him away from San Diego…