Since the beginning of the season, the New York Mets have taken fans on a roller coaster ride, hovering around .500 most of the first half, firing the beleaguered Willie Randolph in a strange fashion and making a turnaround that some are calling the biggest surprise of the 2008 season.
Let’s start with the resurgence of much-maligned first baseman Carlos Delgado. Who has a .372 average with nine homers and 24 RBI this month. Those are his highest totals in each of those categories in a month ever as a Met. Plus he has an active 10-game hitting streak. What’s your take on the comeback, and his importance for the Mets now, and in the future?
Last month, I would have personally piggy-backed this guy to Puerto Rico if it meant not seeing him in a Mets uniform ever again. Today, I want to pick him up and HUG the graying bastard. It is no coincidence that the Mets are hot during Delgado’s hitting spree. Plus add the red hot Tatis, who has been a flat out super hero, but you’d have to be a backalley crack addict to think he’ll sustain this level of play.
He was the easy target and I thought he was headed to his next career in Just for Men commercials. I still think it’s sad that a former pitcher, Rick Ankiel, has better power numbers (22 homers, .547 SLG) than anyone in the Mets lineup, but without Delgado’s recent production the Mets would be still be floating in the .500 sea of mediocrity.
Do I think he’ll keep it up all summer? No. But his newfound ability to take pitches the other way is making a lot of teams reconsider the shift.
Okay, let’s discuss the upcoming trade deadline. With so many prospects being shipped off to Minnesota for Johan Santana, what are the Mets’ chances of making an impact move come the deadline?
I have some great moves for the Mets to make, but the only catch is that other teams have to agree to them. But that’s usually how it works! Honestly, I’m not sold on Matt Holliday, but would love to have him. The fact that we were talking about how great it would have been to get Xavier Nady is just mind boggling to me given the fact that we had him two seasons ago and nobody really cared. I actually wouldn’t mind a deal for Ken Griffey, Jr. if it didn’t involve top prospects. He’s struggling and aging, but I think a pennant race could revitalize his swing.
No question, the Mets need to take care of their needs in the corner outfield positions. If Church remains a non-factor, then they have to get someone – Ibanez, Bay. I would not trade F-Mart for either, so Omar will have to be creative. One outfielder I’d like them to target is Randy Winn. He’s a solid fielder, hits .300 with RISP and would be a perfect #2 hitter – which could be just as valuable as a power bat. Not sure what he would cost – could be a salary dump for the Giants so maybe two mid-level prospects? Maybe a disgruntle Jose Guillen (3yrs $36m) for bum Luis Castillo (4yrs $25m) deal can be pulled off.
On the other hand we’ve donated enough talent for player rentals in the past. Everyone keeps saying that they can’t win with Tatis and Easley, but no one gave those guys the memo.
Last week, the Mets’ bullpen got a scare with Billy Wagner’s arm, and subsequently gave up six runs in a disasterous ninth against the Phillies. Who picks up the slack in the bullpen, if Wagner is out?
Aaron Heilman might be our next best option. He’s been throwing some serious gas lately and when you mix that with his changeup that’s a nasty combination to adjust to in the ninth inning.
Duaner Sanchez, he’s one notch below a reliable stopper. Problem here is that you weaken the middle relief.
There is some word that the Mets are interested in Huston Street, whom I would like to have, but we all know he will come with a hefty price tag. Having said that, he would be perfect to take the closer role from Wagner after he vomits from the pressure in September.
An offseason where the Mets committed a large sum of cash to often injured second baseman, Luis Castillo, the replacements have come in and seemingly tripled the production out of that position. Who gets the job when Castillo returns?
Luis Castillo is still on the Mets? I have zero faith in Luis Castillo. Does anyone really care if this guy returns or not? Nope. Man, am I glad we have him locked up for another 3 seasons. Sooooo worth it. Damion Easley has been doing a fine job, and he’s a consummate professional. I’d platoon A. Reyes and Easley unless someone can name one thing special Luis Castillo brings to this team. I know you can’t.
All Mets trade talk begins and ends with F-Mart. Is Fernando Martinez the real deal, or is he worth dealing now for more proven talent?
I’d only trade F-Mart in a deal for Holliday. I’d be tempted to do this straight up for Bay, but not sure. Bay is a good player and would immediately upgrade this lineup. With him, the Mets would be (dare I say), NL East favorites. And I think he has another year on his contract so he’s not just a rental. Bottom line the Mets should not only keep F-Mart, but promote him the instant we get a concrete verdict on Church’s health. He’s a legit hitter, and even if he’s not the stud everyone predicts, he’s going to be productive.
Who on the Mets is the team MVP thus far?
This is tough. You look at the team and you want to say David Wright. His numbers are great, but I just don’t get the feeling that he’s the MVP yet. I’m going with Jose Reyes. He’s gone from batting in the .240’s to an average over .300. His OBP and OPS are higher than they’ve ever been in his career, and there’s no denying when he gets on base, the Mets win games. All that and the guy is the first in MLB history to have 10 homers, 10 triples, 20 doubles and 30 stolen bases before the All Star break.
Any time someone does something that no one has ever done in the history of the game – as Reyes had at the All Star break – he has to be team MVP. His fielding has been a concern for sure, but let’s face it, Reyes is an offensive animal. Love him or hate him or fight him, this guy is the catalyst. Bottom line: If he doesn’t produce, the Mets can’t win.