Chicks Dig the Long Ball
In 2004, the Mets hit 185 homeruns, which was good for 8th in the league. However, that was the 3rd highest total in the history of the Mets and the apple has not been worked that hard in while. Not bad for a team that blew and completely folded in the second half. Their 185 homeruns were up 61 homeruns from 2003 when the knocked only 124 homeruns, which was good for 2nd to last in the NL and good for one of the most painfully boring Met seasons to watch. The most homers a Met team has ever hit in one year in franchise history was 198 in 2000 (6th in the NL) and the second highest total was 192 back in 1987 (3rd in the NL). The only other time the Mets topped 180 homeruns was in 1999 when they hit 181 homeruns and finished 9th in the NL.
Not only were the 2004 Mets 3rd in team history in homeruns but they were 2nd in team history in doubles with 289. With all of that, they were only 12th in runs scored in team history. One would think more runs would have come out of having one of the best XBH seasons as a team in Met history. It was feast or famine for them. They were completely ineffective with runners in scoring position. Every game, they seemingly had one big scoring chance and if they did not convert, the game was basically over. The Mets were 2nd to last in terms of batting average and they were 3rd to last in on base percentage with .317 when compared to the rest of the majors in 2004. I could not find the stats with runners in scoring position, but I know they were close to last in that too if not dead last. When you do not get many scoring chances and you are horrible at converting those rare chances into runs, then you have issues. Despite being 15th in the majors in homeruns, they were 26th in runs scored.
The Mets were seemingly one hit away from countless games this past season. I'm going to state the obvious and say that the Mets need to add one big bat and one capable one this off season. They need to get a player to plug into the #3 slot to drive runners home and get one base. By trading for Zambrano and Benson the Mets made a statement that they were going to be competitive in 2005 and they can be. However, if they go through this off season again without getting someone that can drive in runs, then it is just another failure this off season. A stop gap guy like Jermaine Dye with John Olerud at first will not cut it. If Met fans are subject to another anemic offense for another year, they will not have much steam heading into 2006 to debut their new channel. They need to try and make a splash and generate some excitement. In 2004 the team was still eighth in the majors in ERA and was just incredibly unlucky when it came to keeping key players on the field and healthy. As Omar likes to say, at then end of the day either Beltran, Drew, Ordonez, or Sexson needs to be in a Met uniform next year. Walking away empty handed is a huge mistake. If affordability is a concern then they must at least land Sexson and work out a deal for Guillen for left and that may provide the most bang for the least amount of buck.
The only Mets to have led the league in homeruns were Dave Kingman in 1982 with 37, Darryl Strawberry in 1988 with 39, and Howard Johnson in 1991 with 38.
-- Orange County Register
Adrian Beltre has not exactly been the model of consistency over the years. He had his second best year at the age of 20 and followed that up with three disappointing years before his monster year in 2004. He was completely frustrating to the Dodgers, so much so they almost traded him this spring. Does anyone remember how close he was to becoming a Yankee? Tremendous numbers or not, anyone that pays Boras' ransom for this player has to be a bit scared. The numbers he put up in that pitcher's park are astounding, but it is hard to ignore the few years before.
The Yankees know that Leiter can handle New York, given the lefthander's success with the Mets the past seven years. Leiter, who will become a full free agent once the Mets decline his $10-million option (the deadline is Monday), could strike back at the Mets by joining his original team, the Yankees.
Strike back by joining the Yankees Al, be my guest.
If the trading deadline last season had been on Aug. 15, the Mets would probably still have Scott Kazmir in their organization. They would probably be boasting one of the top minor league systems in baseball. And their executives would not have spent the past three months defending their ability to evaluate players.