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 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."
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.
"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.
Labels: spring training 2008