A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Bug

The operative word for this Spring Training so far would have to be 'injury'. I disagreed with Marchman the other day, but this time, I would have to agree. We knew heading into the season the Mets had no depth whatsoever. It is a precipitous decline from their starters to their reserves and while they have the personnel to withstand an injury here and injury there, they might not be able to survive anything catastrophic like needing two outfielders for an extended period of time and having a revolving door of starters.

Compounding this is the roster's lack of depth. When a team is counting on players such as Martinez, Hernandez, and Alou — who are sure bets to miss a fair amount of time, even though superb when healthy — it's more than usually important to keep quality spares around. The Mets, though, have no solid sixth starter and no fourth outfielder who wouldn't be a bit stretched by playing full-time. It's one thing to not have a credible backup for Wright, who, barring freak calamity, is a lock to play 160 games. It's something else to not have one for Delgado.

All of this being so, the Mets, no matter their frailties, are still an excellent bet to win 95 games and be vastly better than any other team in the league. This isn't just because of the considerable strengths of their more youthful and vigorous players, such as Johan Santana, or because the older ones tend to be excellent when available. It's also because the old-timers aren't nearly as integral to the team's success as their fame would have it.

I would say Pelfrey qualifies as a great sixth starter, but after that, it goes downhill fast.

Delgado is a perfect example. While the Mets would certainly prefer to see him healthy, the truth is that they don't need him to do all that much. Baseball Prospectus projects that, following the career path blazed by such similar lead-footed sluggers as Boog Powell and Tino Martinez, Delgado will recapture nothing of his earlier form this year, hitting .265 AVG/.343 OBA/.471 SLG. Important to note here is that this line, which isn't even average for a first baseman — especially one who can't run or field — would actually represent improvement over last year's .258/.333/.448.

The Mets could certainly nab someone to capably fill in this spot and bat 7th or 8th should anything major happen. I would also not mind seeing Green back in the mix, but he is a lefty and with Church and Delgado being lefty, he would be superfluous and a righthander than can play right and first base would be a better choice.

In all, while it would be better if the Mets were younger and healthier and deeper, these problems are highly unlikely to sink their season. The reason they're expected to dominate is basically that there are no questions about their best players. Santana, Wright, Reyes, and Beltran are each arguably or clearly the best in the league at their positions, and the only one likely to miss any time at all is Beltran, who annually needs a couple of weeks off. With even a mediocre lot around them, those four would be enough to make the Mets strong contenders; what they have around them is better than that. It's only when one of them is hurt that the skeptics' song of impending doom will be really worth listening to.

That is very possible. However, I do think the injury bug can take this team out. They are good, but if they go through what they went through back in 2007, it will be another barn burner. If things go right for them in terms of health, they will run away from the division. Luckily, for the Mets, their core is young. Their major pieces are not major injury risks which gives them a fighting chance no matter what. So while injuries are getting all the ink these days, it is early and things are not as bad as some would like to portray.

* * *

  • The opposite of determination would be this story.

    "The Hell's Angels were so angered by Jagger's treatment of them that they decided to kill him," according to BBC Radio's Tom Mangold, who hosts the series on the FBI in which Young was interviewed.

    "A group of them took a boat and were all tooled up and planned to attack him from the sea. They planned the attack from the sea so they could enter his property from the garden and avoid security at the front.

    "The boat was hit by a storm and all of the men were thrown overboard. All survived and there was not said to have been any further attempt on Jagger's life."

  • By the beard of Zeus! I love the concept of nano technology and I am always down for a good read on the topic, but it is waaaaaay over my head.

  • Talk about a traumatic experience.

  • The injury roundup.

    Player Problem Status
    Carlos Beltran Surgery on both knees Unavailable to play
    Luis Castillo Surgery on both knees Unavailable to play
    Orlando Hernandez Surgery on toe Unavailable to play
    Damion Easley Severely sprained ankle Unavailable to play
    Endy Chavez Ankle/hamstring Unavailable to play
    Jose Valentin Knee surgery Unavailable to play
    Carlos Delgado Sore right hip MRI yesterday
    Ryan Church Concussion CT scan yesterday
    Marlon Anderson Bruised chest CT scan yesterday

    Of course Ruben Gotay has been added into the injury mix which is really a sad thing to see. I always felt like he had an uphill battle with crusty vets like Jose Valentin in the mix. With Marlon Anderson and Damion Easley around as well, Gotay would have had to have had a monster spring. This high ankle sprain could linger for a bit and effectively ruin any shot he has at making the big league roster.

  • Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa are being shopped. Not that Shoe is great against lefties, but if used properly, he can add value to the bullpen. I would think the Mets should keep both of these guys because Sosa could start for a bit and hold the fort down if necessary. I think trading either of them at this point would be mistake.

  • Not that I had high hopes for Delgado this season, but I'm downgrading whatever hope I did have.

  • Adam Rubin talks Fernando.

  • Jon Niese is hopefully primed for a big year. If he does well in AA, do not discount a call up if the Mets need someone for a few starts.

  • This is just getting annoying. I mean really annoying.

    "There are a lot of guys with the same amount of time I have who have done a lot less than me and are getting paid a lot more. But my time is going to come and it's coming quick, too."

    Fielder is getting $670,000 this year which is a 62% raise from $415,000, which he earned last year.

    Cole Hamels expressed his utter frustration yesterday that he could not come to an agreement with the team on his 2008 contract. Yesterday, the Phillies renewed his contract for $500,000, which is about $200,000 less than what Hamels had sought.

    "It was a low blow," Hamels said in the visitors' clubhouse at Legends Field, where he allowed four runs and two home runs in two innings of a 7-7 exhibition tie with the New York Yankees.

    I'm sorry. Can someone remind me when Cole Hamels threw 200 innings and made 30 starts? He may not like his 25% raise and maybe $600,000 would have been fair so they could meet in the middle, but can everyone get over themselves?

    The fact is that it is not just a few hundred thousand. Every dollar the teams give now has a residual effect because of the raises for subsequent seasons. I do agree that you have to treat your players right and especially your stars, but this is getting silly. I understand teams make tons of money off of these guys, but there has to be something said for track record. Let these guys prove they can do this for extended period of time before they start getting paid.

  • To Lohse or not Lohse?



    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Man, I think I have to take back what I said about liking the depthon this team. Now that there is actually reason to fear, looking at the "depth" it doesn't look soo hot anymore.
    Even Ryan Church, who I'm not a big fan of, going down hurts. I mean, Angel Pagan, Endy Chavez, as the replacements? I don't think I like that too much.
    Also that concussion is not good, I really hope it doesn't effect him the entire season. I mean Jim Edmonds suffered a concussion and he was not even close to the same after that.
    And the one that scares me the most is Carlos Delgado, Michel Abreu starting? Oh man... fuck that. As much as I would like to see unknown guys play first base and see some prospects play, I do not like the idea of Michel Abreu playing 1st base on a daily basis while Delgado is out.
    Although if something serious happens to Delgado that puts him out for a while I can see the Mets getting a Nick Johnson, Kevin Millar and take up all of Richie Sexson's salary, as well. Lets hope it doesn't get to that point.
    I would also love to have Scott Hatteberg and his near .400 OBP, its purty.

    I think its pretty clear that Mick Jagger has God on his side.

    If anyone has ever played Metal Gear Solid, nano technology has been on the radar for about 10 years now. The original idea for nanotechnology is to have it implanted in the ear. That's pretty scary.

    What Schoe does well is lefties don't hit with power against him. If I remember correctly he was the reliver with the lowest slugging percentage against in the entire majors or something like that. Willie's just dumb and hopefully he's learned his lesson.

    Niese had a nice litle curveball going the other day, very nice.

    I guess its becoming fashionable to complain about how much money its a privilage to make. I have no problem with A-Rod asking for $25 million per year or with Johan getting $20 million per year, but I do have a problem with Fielder, Hamels, and Papelbon complaining about thier money. I never hold anything against people trying to make as much money as they can but it's been getting REALLY annoying to read these reports about playing calling a raise of $200, 000 a low blow. Ridiculous.
    Also, they've played like 2 full seasons, can they relax?

    The league draft is this sunday, the 9th, be ready bitches!

    12:28 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    if you haven't seen it, there is an excellent article/graphic in today's new york times sports section on Johan's change up. Worth 5 bucks or whatever they charge nowadays. Learned me sumptin.

    Mike,what do you suppose the monthly charges on the Morph phone will be? first born child? sex with strangers? blood? If you guys didn't watch the nokia video presentation, you ought to.

    I hear nanotech could someday keep Carlos Beltran 100% healthy.

    there was that sit com a few years back about a band of comedic thieves planning to break into Mick's apartment. Wonder if they knew about this scheme to kill him?

    Let's not upset the hen house too much yet; maybe its good to get these injuries out of the way now.
    (though Delcos mentioned that Delgado said he had felt discomfort during the offseason too, and that is NOT good news). If an important regular goes down, I'll be moving my beach chair to the ledge.

    12:56 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The depth is not really great. They can withstand small injuries and get it done with a platoon, but anything serious is going to be rough. I wonder if they would seriously consider Fernando if things get really bad.

    Hattenberg would be find if Delgado went down for good. The Mets should have looked at TC a bit harder. I really would have preferred that one.

    Why would Willie learn his lesson? That would make him a dynamic manager. He does not like to stray much from his original decisions no matter what.

    itsmetsforme, sex with strangers? Interesting. Is that big fear of yours?

    I hear nanotech could someday keep Carlos Beltran 100% healthy.

    Ziiiiing!!! Oh, Carlos.

    Delgado is not a key cog on this team. I would still invite Green to Spring Training or something so he can keep healthy. I know he does not want to come back East, but the Mets did not treat him bad. Maybe he would keep his options open and see what happens.

    1:20 PM

    Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

    Look, if drugs, old age, wommanizing, drinking, or touring couldn't kill off Mick Jagger, then a group of Hells Angels fuckwits sure as shit aren't going to be able to either. The man is bulletproof. (Rickeys a big Stones fan btw).

    And how great a visual does that story set up? A group of ship wrecked leather clad bikers washing up on shore-- their beards damp and leather outfits shrunken by the water.

    2:50 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    It paints a very nice visual. I can just see them head to a bar right after that and cracking open some bud bottles. Where is the conviction? How do you want to kill someone and give up after one poorly planned try?

    2:58 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Rickey, you do have a point there.
    Maybe Mick Jagger IS God?

    2:58 PM

    Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

    Benny, in Rickey's book, Mick is a rock deity--the very personification of what it means to me a rock star. And it takes a whole helluva lot more than some leather clad misanthropes to keep him down.

    11:23 AM


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