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Bay, Delgado, Bats, Bullpen

By Mike Silva ~ December 16th, 2009. Filed under: Offseason Speculation.

As the dust settles from “Black Monday” perhaps we can take a more pragmatic view of the Mets offseason and where they need to go.

As much as John Lackey or Roy Halladay would have helped a dubious rotation, it should come as no surprise that neither player wound up in Queens. All along I thought the Mets best chance to revamp would to sign a big bat (preferably Matt Holliday) and upgrade the bullpen and starting rotation. Last I looked there are options still in play so, as I said yesterday, reports of the Mets demise are greatly exaggerated.

In 2006 the team won 97 games because of an outstanding offense, quality bullpen, and a rotation that did just enough. That could be the formula for the 2010 Mets if they focus on improving their offense and bullpen.

First, and I sound like a broken record, they need to get a deal with Jason Bay done. The fifth year is a concern, but you can’t lose the guy now that both Boston and the Yankees are out of the running. Sign Bay and leftfield is solved. Next, and this was a move I have wavered on, sign Carlos Delgado if his hip checks out fine in winter ball. A one year deal should get it done and if Delgado can produce 2007 level offense (24, 87, 102 OPS) he still is valuable. In a lineup with Bay you don’t need Delgado as the cleanup hitter anymore and he can settle into the five or six hold. Third, give Bengie Molina a “take it or leave it” option. If he holds firm on three years then get something done with Yorvit Torrealba who now appears unlikely to resign with Colorado. Here is your 2010 Mets lineup after those moves:

Molina or Torrealba

I think that lineup, if healthy, is on par with the 2006 bunch. You could bring in Ryan Garko to spell Delgado against LHP, and Daniel Murphy can be a defensive replacement at first and spell David Wright at third.

Next, get this bullpen straightened out and please someone talk to Jerry Manuel and educate him on the importance of bullpen roles. Assuming Ryota Igarashi will be signed I would round out the pen with a lefty specialist and perhaps a non tender like Matt Capps. The latter might be hard to import due to the demand and possibility someone offers him a closer job. A potential seven man bullpen could look something like this:

Sean Green
Matt Capps
Long Man ( Escobar if he signs, Parnell, Dessens, Stokes, or Figueroa)
Second Lefty (Niese, if he doesn’t make rotation, or sign someone like Joe Beimel)

Obviously there are a ton of unknowns about the bullpen in December, but you get my point.

As much as the rotation is a concern you do have pitchers with a benchmark of quality. John Maine was an above league average pitcher for a year and a half before his injury, Mike Pelfrey a developing #2 starter, and Oliver Perez is, well, Oliver Perez. We tend to forget 07 and 08 because of the contract and his wild 2009. He is a more than serviceable starter if he returns somewhere between the 07′ and 08′ levels. The last spot in the rotation can be filled with the best value of Marquis, Garland, Doug Davis, or another second tier veteran. I might even be inclined to endorse a Pineiro signing if it didn’t require four years. Don’t forget that Nelson Figueroa is a possibility if the Mets want to go the inexpensive route.

Is this team the “best in the National League” on paper? No, but that is where the unpredictability of baseball comes into play. None of us knows what is going to happen and titles aren’t handed out for “paper analysis”, although some probably wish they could in order to add another profit center to the statistical metric community.

The Mets can still improve their farm system and draft better with this type of team. There is no rule that says they have to scrap everything from top to bottom in order to accomplish that.

Bottom line: Not competing in 2010 wastes another prime year of Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana and, quite simply, with the prices they are charging at Citi Field is unacceptable.

Go for bats and bullpen and see how things turn out. It might be better than expected.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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6 Responses to Bay, Delgado, Bats, Bullpen

  1. RonOK

    Mike, I could go for most of this — where I disagree:

    - I have no confidence in Oliver Perez …. “… if he could ….” isn’t good enough for me … I am convinced he’s a fat-cat under-achiever with no real motivation now with that bloated contract.

    - I like Matt Capps a lot but cannot see wjere the Mets are going to get him …. I see Stokes in that spot and Nieve in the long man role.

    - Igarashi: you are taking an awful large leap of faith on a guy who has never thrown a pitch in MLB — and we know the Mets history with Jaanese pitching imports.

    - Did I read you correctly — bring Murphy in for DEFENSE?

    - There’s no way around it — the starting rotation with or without Perez is just awful after Johan — and even he is a qustion mark coming off surgery.

    I have resigned myself to the fact that this will be a another wasted “prime” year for both Johan and Beltran …..

    There are no band aids now …. they need a new GM and Bobby Valentine in the dugout to start the restructuring of this team and then go from there.

  2. hdarvick

    “Don’t forget that Nelson Figueroa is a possibility if the Mets want to go the inexpensive route.”

    And don’t forget that not only is Nelson Figueroa relatively inexpensive, he’s also good:

    * 4.1 shutout innings against the Cardinals in long relief when Niese got hurt. That was the game Figgy hit a 2-run triple.

    * After he took Santana’s spot in the starting rotation in mid-August he was only 2-6, but the Mets scored a total of 11 runs in his six losses. A pitcher in the rotation pitches differently than one who is spot starter:

    * His ERA was 3.38 in his 8 starts.

    * Take away his first start against Atlanta, in 7 of those 8 games Figgy had a 2.23 ERA.

    * Figgy averaged over 6 innings per start in those 8 games.

    * Figgy averaged over 105 pitches per start.

    * Figgy was the only Mets pitcher to throw a complete game shut out at Citi Field.

    * Figgy had more strikeouts in September than any Mets pitcher.

    * Figgy can start as well as pitch in long relief and short relief and has proven he can be an innings-eater.

    In his August-September postgame interviews, Nelson Figueroa made it clear thay he’d like to pitch for the Mets in 2010 and beyond.

    Jeff Wilpon should sign Figgy, who is on the 40-man roster, to a 2010 Mets contract with performance bonuses and an option for 2011 and let him try to make the starting rotation for the Mets. Let’s see who pitches better in Spring Training: Figueroa or Perez or Maine or Niese.

  3. kranepool

    Mike there are plenty of players and scenarios that a team like the Mets with their resources should be able to put a competitive and contending team on the field but I have zero confidence in ownership and the front office to put a plan in action.

    The team is flawed in the fundamentals of baseball and quite frkanly their lack in the guts department as well. The injuries last year became a crutch and sign of surrender.

    Nothing will change untill the team hires better coaches and instructors for it’s minor league system and finds players who actually get upset when they lose a baseball game.

  4. R U Kidding

    Well,at least Murphy isn’t starting but a defensive replacement? Seems to me he lost several games in the field last year. How about an 11 man pitching staff and a Sheffield or Cust on the bench?

  5. Mike Silva

    Murphy needs work, but you guys are really down on him defensively – I think he did ok for his first year on the job. He is a hard worker, I am confident he can get better.

  6. inventor frank

    Murphy was a butcher in the outfield but actually was one of the best defensive 1b in the league. Back-up corner infielder is exactly where he most helps the Mets. He and Nick Evans really ought to reprise their 2008 roles and be the first lefty and righty off the bench, respectively. The rest of the bench could be rounded out by Blanco, Cora, and whatever defensive-minded outfielder Omar pulls off the scrap heap.

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