Everyone wants to know what the deal is with Carlos Delgado. It’s really plain to see if you ask me.
Carlos Delgado has just turned 35. Much like sluggers Jeff Bagwell, Glenn Davis, and Jack Clark to name a few, Delgado has experienced a very sharp decline like they did. The players I mentioned played the same position and were similar type sluggers, and each of them became shells of their former selves at age 35.
Delgado’s situation is compounded further more by two things…
1. He is trying to return from off season surgery. He insists it is not a problem, but has also been jockeying for the Mets to pickup his $16 million dollar team option for the 2009 season. Any player will tell you that returning from one surgery is difficult enough, two surgeries, well that may be asking for too much, especially at his age. There’s a difference huge between coming back from surgery when your 25 and when your 35.
2. He missed considerable time physically and mentally in the spring due to the birth of his child. At a time when Delgado should have been hard at work rehabbing, getting back into game shape, and getting his timing back, he spent too much time on personal matters for a player who had so much on the line.
Delgado takes things to heart and is a proud guy. You may remember his stance on standing for God Bless America, and the US vs Puerto Rico case. Guys like him are the last ones to admit that they are in decline.
Unfortunately for the Mets, he is not going to get any better than what we now see. He is what he is. It happens. Over 50% of major league baseball players are out of the game by their 35th birthday. That percentage is even higher in football and in hockey.
Carlos Delgado’s defense is also taking a major hit. He never was great defensively to begin with, but he was never as bad as he appears to be now.
The slump is beginning to weigh heavy on him, and pretty soon the boo birds at Shea Stadium will certainly bring him down even further. It is beginning to look much like some other Mets who broke down completely in their thirties. Players like Roberto Alomar(34), Mo Vaughn(35), Gary Carter(33), Howard Johnson(32), and Keith Hernandez(33). When you consider all of the facts it should come as no surprise that Carlos Delgado has come to the probable end of a long career.
Willie Randolph could probably help his cause somewhat by hitting him even lower in the lineup than 5th, but he is reluctant to do so.
So, we are all left with a situation that will only get worse and maybe even ugly, as time goes on.
Delgado is owed $14.5 million dollars for this year, and $16 million dollars for 2008. As I mentioned earlier, the Mets have a team option in 2009 for another $16 million. The Florida Marlins were very smart when they structured this deal. In the first year (2005) it paid $4 million, then escalated to $13.5 million in 2006. As soon as his first year was up, they moved him to the Mets.
All we can do is hope that we can some production out of him for the money. There is no team that will ever take him off of our hands unless he can drastically turn it around. But guys his age don’t ever drastically turn things around unless they’re juicing as the steroids generation has shown us. But that’s a story for another blog.