Tag: carlos delgado

What To Do Without Delgado

If you haven’t heard, Carlos Delgado is having hip surgery and will be out at least two months.

First of all, if his injury is so severe it requires surgery, what in the world was the thought process in keeping him off the disabled list for a week? How do you go from a day-to-day injury to requiring surgery in a matter of hours? Only the Mets …

More importantly, who will play first base in Delgado’s absence? Someone on the current 25-man roster? A player inside the farm system? Someone outside the organization?

Here is a short list of possibilities …

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When the Carloses Go Cold

The two Carloses
There is something really, really frightening about the Mets’ current struggles — the hot streaks of the Carloses.

Carlos Beltran is absolutely on fire, in one of those “zones” that he finds 2-3 times per year. Similarly, Carlos Delgado is blistering the ball to all fields, driving deep bombs over fences, and, for a while there, was looking like the guy who carried the Mets on his back for the second half of last year.

So why is this a problem?

Because despite both Carloses hitting the bejesus out of the ball, the Mets are still losing. Which begs the question: what happens when the Carloses cool off, which considering each’s past history as red-hot / ice-cold streak hitters, is a guarantee? Further, if the Mets can’t stay above .500 with their two most dangerous hitters on fire (and David Wright and Jose Reyes both over .300), how in the world can they win when the Carloses go cold?

Don’t look now, but Delgado is already cooling off — his average has dropped nearly a hundred points in the last eight days. Beltran looks like he can stay warm for at least a few more weeks, but will it matter?

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Mets Game 2: Win Over Reds

Mets 9 Reds 7

This one was reminiscent of a 2008 ballgame: Mets jump ahead, Mike Pelfrey has control issues, loses the lead, gets it back, and barely gets through five, and the bullpen keeps us on the edge of our seat through the final out. If this were 2008, we’d expect the offense to go to sleep after the fifth. But this is 2009, and the offense did something that was rarely seen last year: they tacked on runs in the later innings.

Carlos Delgado gave the Mets a two-run lead with a prodigious blast in the top of the first, but Joey Votto did one better with a not-so-prodigious but more productive fly ball.

It took Pelfrey 43 pitches to get through the initial inning, an early signal that the bullpen would play a key role in the contest.

However the Mets came back with three runs in the fifth, when Delgado grounded out with the bases loaded and Carlos Beltran followed with a two-run single. Delgado added another run in the seventh, singling in David Wright. The two Carloses combined for 6 of the Mets’ 9 runs on the night.

Brian Schneider broke the game open in the seventh with a three-run double to make it easy on the bullpen, which was less than perfect.

Notes

Luis Castillo made several key defensive plays throughout the game, including a throw to home to cut down Joey Votto attempting to steal home on a pickoff attempt.

Big Pelf was falling behind with his sinker, which was running too hard and far in on the righties / away from the lefties. My guess is he was having trouble getting a good grip on the ball in the cold weather, and/or his thumb was a little too high and to the side of the ball at the release. When the thumb slides up, the ball will go flying in the opposite direction. Cold, slightly humid weather can make the ball feel slick and cause that to happen.

Bobby Parnell started off the sixth with two quick outs, then walked the next two batters. He was saved by Darnell McDonald, who showed why he spent 11 years in the minors by swinging at the first pitch (out of the strike zone) following a four-pitch walk. McDonald fell behind 0-2 and grounded out weakly to end the almost-rally. Parnell was hitting 94-95 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball, but was unable to spot the slider in the strike zone.

Pedro Feliciano and J.J. Putz gave up a run each in the 7th and 8th, which was OK since the Mets had a significant lead. However, Francisco “Don’t Call Me K-Rod” Rodriguez made things interesting in the ninth, giving up another run(wow it sure felt like he did) loading the bases with one out before retiring the side on a strikeout and a long fly ball to the warning track. Get used to this, Mets fans — Frankie was famous for these thrillers in Hollywood.

Nine walks by Mets pitchers in this game. That’s too many, for those who aren’t sure.

K-Rod threw 30 pitches; is he available to close on Thursday afternoon?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Reds do it again in an early afternoon game tomorrow at 12:30 PM EST. Oliver Perez goes against Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo had been suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, but reportedly is OK after a cortisone shot. Too much guitar playing?

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2009 Fantasy Projections – First Base

Kingman was doing dual position eligibility before it was fashionable

Kingman was doing dual position eligibility before it was fashionable

My name is John and I regret nothing… Except for that last burrito.

When last we met, I was telling you that Ramon Castro was worth a buck and Ronny Paulino might be working in a car wash by mid-August. Only time will tell…

First Base Rankings

If you’re not getting Pujols, try to grab Gonzalez on the cheap. I think you’ll be overpaying for Howard, Berkman and Fielder, in most cases. Let me explain…

Albert Pujols (.320-35-120) – One of the few positions where there is no doubt about who is the best offensive player.

Ryan Howard (.250-40-120) – His BA leaves alot to be desired, but I think it may be higher. You can’t argue with his HR/RBI totals.

Adrian Gonzalez (.300-30-100) – The most underrated of this bunch. His HR/RBI totals have increased each of the past 3 seasons and he has hit around .279 or above in each of those years. If he brings his Petco numbers up (only .269 last season), he could challenge Howard for the #2 spot.

Lance Berkman (.310-25-95) – I’ve been waiting for Berkman to fall off for a couple of years – his HR totals have fallen three consecutive years but he’s still a solid pick. Houston’s lineup could hold down his RBI totals

Prince Fielder (.275-28-100) – People are still drafting Fielder with hopes that he will return to the 50 HR slugger he was in 2007. I think those numbers will prove to be a statistical outlier. You can count on Fielder for something in the .280-30-100 ballpark for years to come. In future drafts, he may be a steal at those numbers, but not this season.

Sleeper – James Loney (.310-18-100) – I absolutely love watching Loney hit. I’m not sure if he’ll ever be more than a 20HR guy, but he drives the ball well into the gaps and he is only 24. The Dodgers lineup could provide plenty of RBI opportunities, depending on Manny’s willingness to play and Torre’s willingness to put Loney into the #5 hole. If it all comes together for him, this could be his breakout season.

NL East

A much better crop of players than we saw in the NL East catcher rankings… However, two of my top five guys will start the season at different positions.

Ryan Howard (.250-40-120) – See above

Adam Dunn (.240-40-100) – I expect him to gain 1B eligibility in most leagues at some point. If you need another 1B to cover for him, take a shot on a guy like James Loney or even Nick Johnson.

Carlos Delgado (.260-30-100) – People were calling for Delgado to be cut in May 2008. By the end of the year, he was on fire. He’s still got some pop, but he’s old and he has lost batspeed. He could end up outperforming Ryan Howard or falling out of the top 5 in the NL East… I think his HR/RBI numbers will be fine, somewhere between ’07 and ’08. Get him if he falls on draft day.

Jorge Cantu (.275-25-90) – Another guy who should wind up playing 1B before too long. I’m not sold on him repeating last season’s numbers – and those numbers don’t make him a good choice at 1B, but if you get him late he could end up being a nice reserve player with dual position eligibility.

Sleeper: Nick Johnson (.280-10-65) – If Johnson stays healthy (unlikely), he could have a nice season, but he’s hardly worth considering in anything other than a deep NL-only league. He plays the game the right way and that should count for something, but it doesn’t. Oh well.

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Mets Spring Training Game 3

I’m not counting the game against the Italians, so game three is the one the Mets played against the Cardinals.

The final score was Cardinals 9, Mets 8, but we’re not concerned with the score prior to April. Once again, we’ll focus on specific players and other errata.

Livan Hernandez

I must admit I’m personally pulling hard for “Not-Duque” to make this club, so my analysis may be rose-colored. I liked the way his fastball was sinking and was inducing ground balls. His slow curve was a little scary, though, hanging up there like a balloon. Can he get a way with it? We’ll see. He had some command issues when he got lazy with his follow-through, but otherwise was hitting his spots — something he must do to be successful.

Freddy Garcia

Can I pull for two starters to take one rotation spot? Unfortunately for Freddy, he didn’t look so hot. His fastball was flat, at a very hittable velocity, and was all over the place. His curve — important to his success — had little bite and also was hard for him to spot. To me he looks like he’s not yet as strong as he needs to be — and a 100% healthy and strong shoulder is vitally important since he doesn’t use his legs or momentum at all to power the ball. Still, I like the Mets rolling the dice on him, provided he will accept a AAA demotion to build himself back up.

Carlos Delgado

Carlos is looking great at the plate, waiting long on pitches, and keeping the hands back the way he did when he was in Toronto. He does this nearly every spring, though … will he keep this approach once April arrives? I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: Delgado is key to the Mets’ success.

David Wright

The only reason David made an error was because Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez made a point to talk about his defense and Gold Gloves. Jinxed!

Reese Havens

He didn’t play, but we were able to see him do an interview with Kevin Burkhardt. I’m very high on this kid, and think he can climb the ladder quickly if he can stay healthy. He’s an all-around ballplayer, and appears as though he’s already comfortable in front of the camera — a key to succeeding in NYC. The “step program”, though, didn’t sound particularly intriguing. Not that it needs to be.

Casey Fossum

The little lefty was effective, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in his first frame and allowing no runs and one hit over two innings. However his stuff looked ordinary and his fastball didn’t have much movement. His curveballs — he throws them at several speeds and angles — were always his forte, and I only saw him throw a handful, which were mostly the flat, low-80s, sideways, sweeping breaker (though, he did mix in one super-slow roundhouse that conjured memories of Ross Baumgartner). Hard to make an analysis on him just yet. I do like the way he uses momentum to power the baseball — very old school.

Connor Robertson

Robertson, like Fossum, was effective in the boxscore but didn’t throw enough to help make much of an evaluation. He reminded me of Jon Adkins — a below-average, straight fastball, average breaking ball. But his 1-2-3 inning consisted of about five pitches, so it’s impossible to make a judgment.

Adam Bostick

You can see why scouts have salivated over Bostick for years despite his persistently underwhelming performances. He’s big, tall, lefty, and comes from a low 3/4 angle with decent velocity, reminiscent of John Candelaria or even Ollie Perez. But his command is below average and his fastball looks like it stays on one plane (no downward movement). He’ll need to do two things to make the big leagues: concentrate on placing the fastball in one specific spot consistently and mixing it up with an average slider. Even then, his ceiling is as a LOOGY.

Albert Pujols

Keith Hernandez mentioned that “El Hombre” looked like he might have dropped a few pounds, and looked a little thinner in the face. I thought the same thing. Maybe he’s no longer taking those “B12” shots. Hmm.

Jason Motte

The Cardinals righty reminds me of a combination of Eric Gagne, Derrick Turnbow, and Keith Foulke. He throws pretty hard, and looks scary. But he only throws one pitch, so nothing to be concerned about. If he ever develops a split-fingered fastball, the Cards may have something.

Mike Shannon

Nice to hear that the Cardinals broadcaster has a fine restaurant with a great wine list. He certainly is among the worst baseball broadcasters in history — Tim McCarver and Joe Buck included (funny, all the awful announcers come from St. Louis).

Royce Ring’s Beard

Hmm … hard to figure how much his beard truly affects his performance. He’s had it now for at least two years, and he’s still not come close to the early comparisons to Randy Myers.

The Mets travel to Lakeland, Florida, to play the Tigers on Saturday at 1:10 pm. However it does not appear that the game will be televised, so instead, get your fill by posting your comments below.

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Andruw Jones Available

As expected, the Los Angeles Dodgers released Andruw Jones, arranging to pay his salary over the course of several years.

All along, it was expected that Jones would return to the Braves, as he always felt very comfortable in Atlanta and enjoyed playing for Bobby Cox. In fact, over the past few days Jones has been seen practicing with Chipper Jones and wearing a Braves cap at basketball games.

However, the Braves are not exactly welcoming him back with open arms — and may not offer him a contract at all.

The issue is simple — the Braves have a full 40-man roster stocked with an abundance of young talent. If they sign Jones to a MLB contract, they’d have to drop someone off — and that someone would likely be a strong prospect, who would be picked up by another team. Further, the Braves do not currently have a need for Jones, as they have an abundance of outfielders led by Jeff Francoeur and youngsters Josh Anderson and Brandon Jones. To make room, the Braves would likely have to either waive or trade someone like Gregor Blanco, Martin Prado, or Omar Infante. None of those players are stars, but all three showed offensive promise in 2008, are fairly young, versatile, and can do a lot of things a team needs from role players. Bobby Cox’s formula for success has always included the flexibility of such players — guys who may not be sluggers, but can execute all the “little things” and help the team in many other ways. Andruw Jones would have to have a great spring training to push one of those guys off the roster.

Because of the Braves’ lukewarm interest, Andruw Jones has to look for other options, and according to MLB.com:

Jones has told friends that he believes the Reds and Mets could make a push to acquire him. Both of these teams reportedly talked to the Dodgers about acquiring him via trade earlier this offseason.

Personally, I hope that’s true. Say what you want about Jones being finished, being a lazy fat pig, being finished, etc. etc. etc. Bottom line is this: the Mets are in DIRE need of a power hitting, righthanded-hitting corner outfielder. The current free agent market offers exactly one person to fit that description — Manny Ramirez — and all indications are that the Mets refuse to go that route. After Manny, the market drops considerably for a RH-hitting outfielder: Kevin Millar, Jacque Jones, Jay Payton, Emil Brown, and Jonny Gomes. That’s it, folks! Now you tell me — would you prefer to bring in one of those underwhelming possibilities, or take a $400,000 gamble on Andruw Jones?

Earlier this winter, I make the argument that the Mets should try to swap Castillo for Jones — such a deal would have had the Mets paying $15M for Jones (but also shedding $18M of Castillo’s contract). It would have been nice for the Mets to be $3M ahead and have Jones, but the same arguments apply for bringing him in on the MLB minimum salary — it’s a low-risk gamble that has the chance of paying off big.

Here’s my feeling: either Andruw Jones is going to hit again, or he’s not, and everything is based on him being healthy and regaining his confidence. If he has a promising, injury-free spring training, there’s a very good chance he’ll come back and hit 20-25 HR, with game-changing ability. He’s that kind of player, and there aren’t many around. If he looks awful in spring training, no biggie — you release him outright, and eat $400K. Jones is exactly the right fit for the penny-pinching Mets: he’ll come dirt cheap, he’ll be a one-year rental to keep LF warm for F-Mart, he has a RH bat, and he has extensive postseason success.

Last year, the Mets waited three months for their $16M investment in Carlos Delgado to pay off. Eventually, their patience was rewarded — handsomely. Without Delgado, the Mets might have finished in third place in 2008. Similarly, the Mets once gambled millions on Mo Vaughn, though that didn’t turn out quite so well. But it’s worth it for a team to take such risks when the upside is so great — Delgado, Vaughn, and Jones all had the skillset to be a monster for stretches at a time, to put a team on its back and carry them. The difference with Jones is, at 31, younger than either of them were (Vaughn was 34, Delgado 36), and won’t cost anywhere near the millions gambled on a comeback.

Unless the Mets reconsider their feelings about Manny Ramirez, or have some blockbuster trade in the works, picking up Andruw Jones is a no-brainer.

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Hot Stove – First Moves

Wow … didn’t take long for the hot stove to heat up. Let’s quickly rake over the first coals.

Mets Pick Up Option on Carlos Delgado

No surprise here — after his second half, Delgado is a bargain at (gulp) $12M. There’s been speculation that he’d be traded, but I’m not seeing it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets flipped him, and I think it would be the right move, but it’s rare for this organization to sell high. It will be easier to leave him set at first base and spend the winter looking to fix other areas.


Mets Re-Sign Fernando Tatis

Tatis signed with the Mets for a paltry one-year, $1.7M contract. Great move to lock up a fine RH bat with plenty of versatility. While I doubt he’ll ever again hit like he did last July, he nonetheless proved he still has gas in the tank and fire in his belly. He’ll be a top man off the bench — taking the at-bats Damion Easley is likely to leave behind — and provide insurance in the OF corners in the event the Mets don’t find a legitimate slugger this offseason.

Damion Easley Files for Free Agency
Unfortunately, I think there is little chance of my favorite Met returning, particularly with the quick signing of Tatis. Why? Partially due to his age, and partially because I think the Mets are going to bring in a second sacker, one way or the other. That said, his main tool is as a RH bat off the bench, and that will be Tatis’ job. There are enough teams looking for a veteran second baseman this winter for him to find a job, though, so he should land on his feet. He may find himself in Chicago, with the White Sox, the Dodgers, or the Nationals (all of this is pure speculation — I have no inside track).

Oliver Perez Files for Free Agency

No surprise here. Ollie’s going to the highest bidder. If the Mets don’t sign him early, I don’t think they’ll sign him at all. Considering Scott Boras is his agent, an early signing seems unlikely. Bye bye Ollie, it was fun (regards to Mr. Hyde).

Matt Wise Files for Free Agency

Who woke him up and pulled him out of his cave? Wise never stayed healthy for a long enough time to determine his value. Too bad. Watch him move on to the Angels or Diamondbacks and become a decent 7th-inning guy.

Royals Trade Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs
The semi-annual fire sale is on in Miami! An interesting deal from KC’s point of view, as they flip a middle reliever for a starting first baseman — this deal would suggest that they’ve officially given up on Ryan Shealy. Nunez is only 25, and could step into a setup role for the Fish. Otherwise, it looks like the Royals are selling high, and the Marlins are selling out (yet again).

Chad Cordero is a Free Agent

The Nats cut ties with the reliever, and I can’t believe 24 hours passed without the Mets scheduling a press conference to put a flat-brimmed Mets cap on his head. Is there any other organization where he’ll be as welcome? My bet is on Omar Minaya plunging into the Cordero rehab project, and I like the idea. My guess is he won’t be helpful in 2009, and he may never regain the velocity needed to be a closer, but he has the mentality needed for a reliever and he has age on his side. He may be a valuable middle reliever for the second half.

Ken Macha Hired to be Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers

Ho-hum. The Brew Crew managed to find someone just as boring as Ned Yost. Should be a mildly entertaining puppet show.

65 Players Filed for Free Agency

See the “official” list here. We’ll discuss them here all winter.

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