I've made comments before about adding more strikeouts to a team that already had way too many strikeouts. Adding a guy like Delgado would just add another 100+ K strikeout guy to a team a full of them. But that is not really the picture.
Jose Reyes has only K'd 67 times in 122 major league games and if you average his numbers out play out in all 162 games in 656 at-bats, he is on pace to take a seat via strike three only 89 times. Basically he strikeouts out once every 7.4 at bats and that is not bad. David Wright only K'd 40 times in 263 at-bats and over the course of normal season and playing 150 games would be on pace to strikeout roughly 87 times. Mike Piazza has only struck out over 87 times once in his career back in 1996. While his strikeouts have increased slightly over the years, he will most likely continue that trend of not striking out over 100 times with his decreased playing time. He did not even top 80 in 129 games in 2004. Cliff Floyd is a guy that generally gives you about 100 K's if he was healthy an entire season. In 2004 he was striking out well above his career average as he was going down once every 3.8 at bats per K as opposed to his career mark of 4.9 at bats per K. Not really a guy I would consider a high strikeout guy, but very acceptable for a guy that could knock about 30 out when he's healthy and in the lineup for a full season. Now Kaz is a bit of a strange character. Back in Japan, he K'd once every 6.17 at-bats which would average out to 97 in a 162 game season. Not great for a speedy contact hitter, but not horrible either. In the States, he struck out once every 4.7 at-bats which would average out to 128 for an entire season. His K's had been steadily going up in Japan as his power went up like a lot of hitters when they are swinging for the fences, but in the Majors, it seemed he was more overmatched than swinging for the fences. His stance and his follow through seemed out of whack at times if not helter skelter, but that would seem to improve with being over one year in the States. Couple that with him trying to make more contact as opposed to trying to knock homers as he did Japan, I think it is not unreasonable to think of 110 K's out of Kaz. Once again, not ideal for a table setter, but not the worst. His AB/K were 4.6 in the 1st half and 5.2 in what he played in the 2nd half. That is a trend I like and I think it is fair to assume he'll continue to get better as he adjusts. That leaves Cammy. Not much you can say about Cammy except that he'll take his fair share of hacks. He has never K'd less than 101 times in any full season he has played in. He is the only current Met with a huge hole in his swing. His 3.4 AB/K ratio is by far the worst on the team with no other starter under 4.7 for their major league career. The Mets were 4th worst in the NL with AB/K and strikeouts overall. They did however, have a lot of health issues and lot of second stringers attributing to that horrible K rate, but the current core of starters in place are by in large a pretty good contact group. They are no San Francisco Giants or San Diego Padres who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in least total team K's, but they are not the 2001 Brewers who struck out 1399 times and had four guys over 120 K's, three guys over 150 K's, and two guys over 178k's.
Kaz should cut down on the K's and even if they add Carlos Delgado and his 130+ K's the Mets will not have a significant strikeout problem. If their starters garner most of the playing time as opposed to 2004 when too many reserve players were taking hacks then the Mets should put the bat on the ball more than enough times. As much as I thought K's were a problem and it is always nice to cut down on some K's, the biggest issue is that Mike Piazza led the team in walks with 68 in 2004 while their leadoff hitter Jose Reyes walked five times in 220 at-bats. Basically he was on pace to walk fifteen times in 660 at-bats. Cliff Floyd led the team in 2003 with 51 walks, in 2000 Robin Ventura led the team with 88, and in 2001 Edgardo Alfonso lead the team with 95. Another horrible stat is that only one player walked over 100 times while wearing a Met uniform. In 1999 John Olerud walked 125 times and that eclipses the 2nd place spot by 28 walks. A Met player has only registered 70 walks or above 51 times. Mike Piazza who has been the Mets' potent bat since Darryl Strawberry has a Met high of 68 walks in a season. Mike Cameron who was the only Met regular to see over 4 pitches per at-bat walks with the most frequency. I think David Wright can step into that role in a year or two of OBP monster and he's shown how he can work a count and has a good track record in the minors. However, it imperative that the Mets address this problem with one of the Carloses. The Mets need someone that can get on base with the stick and get close to, or over 100 walks. I'm not a big Moneyball guy, but there is something to be said for getting on base with some walks. In no way can you have a potent offense with the Mets current lineup and put significant runs up without getting some walks. They need to have people on the team get a free pass more and bring in a guy or two that can work the count and get some walks to balance out this lineup. When your team BA is in the .240s and you are one of the worst teams in getting on base with a walk, the end result will be towards to the bottom of the League in runs scored. It would be a shame to squander such a good rotation with an anemic offense.
Still, officials who have dealt with the Mets cannot imagine them going beyond six years or $100 million, especially because the Wilpons are concerned about making a major effort to sign Beltran and being upstaged in the end by the Yankees.
Not going all out in negotiations because you are afraid to lose? That is a truly scary thought from the people that are running our favorite baseball team. Omar's intensity and drive to do what he wants to do is a blessing for this front office that is scared to make certain moves for fear of media backlash. Minaya wants the team to get behind him and let him make a drive for this deal and I certainly hope the green light is given to him to go all out and make a concerted effort to bring Beltran in.
1. LASTINGS MILLEDGE, of Age: 19 Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185 B-T: R-R
Drafted: HS—Palmetto, Fla., 2003 (1st round) Signed by: Joe Salermo
The Future: Milledge’s first full season was everything the Mets had hoped for. He’ll return to high Class A to start 2005 but should reach Double-A Binghamton before too long. In an organization that promoted one potential all-star (David Wright) and traded another away (Scott Kazmir) in the second half of the 2004 season, Milledge could move quickly. There isn’t another player in the system whose ceiling approaches his.
2. YUSMEIRO PETIT, rhp Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-0 Wt.: 230
Signed: Venezuela, 2001 Signed by: Gregorio Machado
The Future: The trade of Scott Kazmir left Petit as the Mets’ best pitching prospect. He’ll likely begin 2005 in Double-A.
3. GABY HERNANDEZ, rhp Age: 18 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt: 215
Drafted: HS—Miami, 2003 (3rd round) Signed by: Joe Salermo
The Future: Hernandez aced his first exam. The Mets place an emphasis on winning at short-season Brooklyn, so they could send him there in 2005 even though he probably could handle an assignment to their new low Class A Hagerstown affiliate.
4. IAN BLADERGROEN, 1b Age: 22 B-T: L-L Ht: 6-4 Wt: 210
Drafted: Lamar (Colo.) CC, D/F 2002 (44th round) Signed by: Marlon Jones
The Future: The Mets are anxiously awaiting Bladergroen’s recovery. If he’s fully healthy when spring training begins, he could hit his way to high Class A. Wrist injuries often take a while to heal, so he could need time to regain his power stroke.
5. AMBIORIX CONCEPCION, of Age: 21 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2000 Signed by: Eddy Toledo
The Future: Concepcion will be the marquee player at Hagerstown in 2005. With a successful first half, he could earn a promotion to high Class A.
6. ALAY SOLER, rhp Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-3 Wt: 230
Signed: Cuba, 2004 Signed by: Rafael Bournigal
The Future: Several Cubans were sent straight to the majors, but the Mets will take a more pragmatic approach. Soler will start at high Class A or Double-A.
7. SHAWN BOWMAN, 3b Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-2 Wt: 206
Drafted: HS—Coquitlam, B.C., 2002 (12th round) Signed by: Claude Pelletier
The Future: Bowman is ready for high Class A. David Wright seemingly has third base to himself with the Mets, but there are no immediate plans to play Bowman at a different position because he’s above-average at third base.
8. VICTOR DIAZ, of Age: 23 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-0 Wt: 220
Drafted: Grayson County (Texas) CC, D/F 2000 (37th round)
Signed by: Mike Leuzinger/Bob Szymkowski (Dodgers)
The Future: The Mets still don’t know if Diaz is a future big league regular or just a useful reserve. Their pursuit of several veteran outfielders probably means he’ll have to come off the bench in 2005.
9. JESUS FLORES, c Age: 20 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-1 Wt: 180
Signed: Venezuela, 2002 Signed by: Junior Roman/Gregorio Machado
The Future: Flores could be the all-around catcher the Mets have been searching for. He’s ticketed for Brooklyn in 2005.
10. MATT LINDSTROM, rhp Age: 25 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-4 Wt: 205
Drafted: Ricks (Idaho) JC, 2002 (10th round) Signed by: Jim Reeves
The Future: At some point Lindstrom has to turn projection into production, but his arm will buy him time. He’ll probably return to high Class A to begin 2005. His long-term role could be in relief.