I received a great question via an email from one of our readers last night and thought it was interesting enough to post it on the site this morning. Please feel free to offer your alternative answers or opinions in what I feel is a legitimate concern going into the 2008 season.
Q – Last year we had Shawn Green on the roster who proved to very valuable as a replacement at first base when Carlos Delgado went down with injuries. Considering that he is coming off yet another surgery this off-season, one can assume the probability of further time on the DL next season. Who exactly is our backup first baseman?
With regard to Carlos Delgado’s backup, your concern is very justified. It was once believed that Mets minor leaguer Mike Carp would one day be the future of first base for the New York Mets. However, he has seen his stock tumble and is no longer considered a Top 10 prospect for the Mets. Many scouts have questioned whether he will ever be able to contribute at the major league level.
Last season, Mike Carp batted .251 for Binghamton with 11 homeruns and 48 RBI’s, hitting in the middle of the order. He struck out 75 times in only 359 at-bats. The year before he played for Port St. Lucie and in 491 at-bats he hit .287 with 17 homeruns and struck out 107 times. In September, the Mets sent him to the Arizona Fall League to see how he would perform against some of baseball’s best prospects and he underwhelmed with a .243 batting average and no homeruns in 107 at-bats. Not exactly what you would expect from someone who was once considered a prodigious power hitter and corner infielder when he was first drafted by the Mets in 2004.
It’s strange that if you were to click on the depth chart for the team on Mets.com, the organization does not even list anyone behind Carlos Delgado.
Damion Easley is 39-years old and only played two games at first base in 2007, and three games in 2006. That is the extent of his experience at the position. Obviously because of his age and inexperience at the position, he would not be the answer as even a short term replacement.
Marlon Anderson has played the position five times in the last two years, and also seems like an odd choice as someone who can fill in for a 15-20 game stretch.
As it stands right now, Easley and Anderson are the only players the Mets have on their 25-man roster who can even play the position. Ironically, it would seem that the team has already filled out their bench spots with Marlon Anderson, Ruben Gotay, Damion Easley, Endy Chavez, Angel Pagan and Ramon Castro.
The bottom line is that the Mets do not currently have a contingency plan should Carlos Delgado not be ready to start the season, or if he lands on the DL at some point in 2008.
If the Mets were to sign a back-up first baseman, they can choose from the likes of Sean Casey, Ryan Klesko, Eric Hinske, Tony Clark or Brad Wilkerson. I would take a shot on Wilkerson or Casey if it were up to me. Of course signing any of those players would create a new dilemma that would probably mean newly acquired Angel Pagan would start the season in AAA.
This certainly could have been planned better by the Mets…