First Base Quandry
After the comment section from yesterday's post, I got to thinking. For most of the year I was just assuming that Mike Piazza would man first base with Phillips or Valent sneaking in there when he gets behind the dish or is taking a day off. However, in light of the recent hoopla surrounding his assumed migration back to full time catcher, I decided to look at the options for next year. There are definitely a few directions that the Mets may take.
Now it is not a foregone conclusion that Mike will be a full time catcher, but one thing is becoming apparent, he will not be splitting a substantial amount of time between the two positions. He is most likely going to catcher or first base with smidge of the other one thrown in. It is clear to me, he is less of a liability behind the dish than 1B. As Peter Gammons pointed out in his chat rap and something most of us already knew, the team's ERA is lower when he is behind the plate than any other catcher for the Mets over the past few years. His catcher ERA over the years was 3.87 in 2000, 4.05 in 2001, 3.84 in 2002, 3.97 in 2003 and 4.02 in 2004. His CERA was lower than the team ERA in every year but this year. Even with his low CS% he is still a more effective catcher than people give him credit for. He can always sit against teams like the Marlins or he can play first and hope nothing gets hit to him or no infielder bounces a throw over to him over to him.
Before I get into who is available, it must be taken into account what areas the Mets need to lay some cash out for. The Mets need to sign an outfielder or two (they may choose to bring back Hidalgo, dump Floyd, and sign someone else, just sign Hidaglo and keep Floyd, or keep Floyd and sign a someone besides Hidalgo), find someone to man first base, re-sign Benson, bring back Leiter or find another starter to replace him, and do an overhaul in the pen by bringing in 2 to 3 players. Now for who will be out there and who may be out there: (x = team option)
Eric Karros (I'm surprised he is not in Norfolk right now)
So as you can see, the pickings are very slim. There is only one really good decision out of the entire lot of them in Richie Sexson, and I gave my opinions on his situation yesterday. Delgado's risk is too large and the only name that I really like on the list in terms of return on the investment is J.T. Snow. He will not give you the power you would like from a corner infield position, but he will give you and OK bat with an excellent glove. However, the chances of J.T. Snow's option not being picked up is slim to none. He is a relative bargain and I know he is old, but it is not a permanent solution and would be a one or two year stopgap until something can be figured out. I have no idea what his option is for 2005, but if it is an exorbitant amount, it may be declined. It also may be declined if they are looking to snag one of the big time free agent first baseman in Delgado and Sexson, but he looks like he will be back in San Francisco. First base is not a position of strength in the off-season and the Mets are going to have a difficult time finding out who to plug there on a full time basis. If the Mets fail to bring in one of the big time guys, it may very well end up being a Valent or Brazell platoon much to the chagrin of many Met fans. The reality is there just is not the plethora of first baseman out there like there are outfielders, which clearly is a deep talent pool this year. Jim certainly has his work cut our for him this off-season to fill the many holes that he has and the shortage of available talent to do it will not help the situation.
"It's about respect," Payton told the Press-Enterprise. "[The Lakers] didn't respect me. Why should I respect them? They used me so they could get other players," Payton said, adding that "Boston is going to lose out on this. They ain't going to get nothing."
Raise your hand if you feel bad for him. No one? I didn't think so. You should have signed a no trade clause if you did not want to be traded. Just because someone does not want you, does not mean they do not respect you. They just think you lost a step and suck now. I just have hard time giving this guy any pity after the Lakers loaded up with geriatric stars to make a run an win the title. I just see no fun in that.
Since Jose Reyes made his major-league debut with the Mets on June 10, 2003, he has had a lengthy medical history:
Aug. 31, 2003 - Injured left ankle sliding into second base.
Sept. 5 - Placed on disabled list.
March 14, 2004 - Strained right hamstring during spring training.
April 4 - Placed on DL retroactive to March 26.
April 30 - MRI revealed hamstring had not yet healed. Recovery also slowed by back pain.
June 19 - Activated from 60-day DL.
July 5-8 - Strained left shin.
Aug. 10 - Aggravated the injury running out a triple.
Aug. 13 - Placed on DL with a stress fracture of the left fibula.