How the Mets Opening Day Lineup is Like Thriller

I woke up in a cold sweat from a nightmare … I heard the Mets 2010 Opening Day lineup, announced by Vincent Price:

Angel Pagan CF
Luis Castillo 2B
David Wright 3B
Jason Bay LF
Daniel Murphy 1B (… darkness falls across the land)
Jeff Francoeur RF (… creatures crawl in search of blood)
Henry Blanco C (… the foulest stench is in the air)
Alex Cora SS (… grizzly ghouls from every tomb)
Johan Santana P (… body starts to shiver)

eeeeeeeeeeek !!!!!!!!

OK … the first four spots aren’t scary; they’re perfectly acceptable in fact. But beyond Bay in the cleanup spot things do get a bit creepy, don’t you agree?

Murphy in the five-hole is disturbing, unless you are of the ilk that the “serious” young man will continue to develop as a hitter, and particularly as a power hitter. If you have faith that Murphy will turn into someone who hits .285 with 20+ homers, then OK, maybe the lineup is not so scary for you yet. And perhaps you also believe that Francoeur will return to his 2006-2007 form. You know what, I’ll give you both those possibilities; let’s pretend that Murphy and Francoeur will be surprisingly effective offensively in 2010.

That still doesn’t make up for the frightening final third of the lineup.

It seems completely plausible that Henry Blanco will be Santana’s “personal catcher” in 2010, given that Santana specifically recommended his fellow countryman to the Mets brass during the winter. And you can’t argue the point that Blanco is a strong defensive catcher who pitchers enjoy working with. But can an NL lineup compete with three automatic outs at the bottom of the order?

Maybe you are ultra optimistic, and believe that Blanco – Cora – Santana will hit better than .220 combined. Glad you are resting peacefully, and not being terrorized by the THRILLER!

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 March 19, 2010 at 10:01 am
    Mic: Because the Mets lost 92 games last year. If it’s “the same group as last year,” there’s not much reason to be hopeful of improvement, is there?

    Regarding your link, preparing Murphy to be a Ty Wigginton type player is ridiculous because Murphy is not “versatile,” as Joel Sherman suggests. He flopped in LF, has never played 3B in the majors, and is so-so at best at 1B. Eyewitness accounts of Murphy’s defense suggest he has no versatility at all, and the only reason to continue to play him now would be in the hopes that he reaches that Dave Magadan/Mike Hargrove/John Olerud/Casey Kotchman/Sid Bream/Wade Boggs/insert whatever player Murphy has been compared to, while continuing to improve defensively at 1B. If he fails at 1B, whether it be with the glove or the bat, why continue to play him at all? He doesn’t have the power Wigginton has, and if he can’t handle the responsibilities at 1B, what would behoove the Mets to put him at harder positions, like 2B, 3B, or LF, which Wigginton has played and Murphy has already failed at. I view 2010 as a last ditch effort to get something out of Murphy. If he proves to be nothing more than a .260-.270 hitter, with no more than 15-HR power, .340ish OBP, and a weak glove in the field, then there’s no need to keep him around at all. Ike Davis will be ready at 1B, David Wright will be entrenched at 3B, and Jason Bay will be in LF. Murphy’s out of eligible positions and serves no further purpose. His bat simply isn’t valuable enough to make up for his defensive shortfalls.

  2. Mic March 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm
    Dude; That was a long answer. BUT you did (as usual) exactly what I often cannot…that is get to the point. Murphy has not earned a job at 1st base for the Mets…PERIOD. AND if not at 1st Murphy is excess to requirements.

    In a previous post I said that this Spring beats the last two in which Omar, either by direction, apathy, or payroll constraint had NO competition at virtually any position.

    All over the sportsspyder are stories annoiting ‘Jake’ as the leader in that race. And I am not against that scenario…but with Chris Carter splitting time with him, not (so much )Fernie Tatis. Add to your point there a place at AAA for Dan Murphy? I think (ala Nick Evans) if he falls it could be all the way to AA. Its not that I am against him either fact I can see that very scenario where he is traded and becomes….Greg Jeffries, Dave Magadan or Ty Wiggington.