One of the more prominent movies of the new year stars Brad Pitt, and is about an old man who gets younger through the years instead of older.
Sort of like what happened to Carlos Delgado right around the All Star break last season.
Even before the injuries took their toll on Carlos Delgado, the decline began after the 2005 season when he hit .301 for The Marlins, followed by .265 in ’06, .258 in ’07 and finally .248 in the first half of 2008.
Then something remarkable happened…
He started surging in the second half of the 2008 season and hit .303 to put his complete season average at .271.
They say it was one of three things or a combination of all of them.
1. He hated playing for Willie Randolph.
2. His agent called him in July and told him he better start hitting if he wanted the Mets to pick up his option.
3. He manned up and started playing through the aches and pains.
The real question now is, which Carlos Delgado will show up in 2009?
Most players are already in their decline at age 34-35, and Delgado turns 37 in June.
The Mets are banking on a monster season that resembles last year’s second half multiplied by two. That would put his numbers at .303 AVG – 42 HR - 126 RBI.
The last time he had a season that resembled anything like that was in 2003.
The Mets desperately need Delgado to come up huge because they are rolling the dice in three critical areas.
1. Second Base – Will the Mets get any meaningful offense from Luis Castillo?
2. Left Field – Nobody knows what to expect from a platoon of Tatis and Murphy, and they already expect it to be their weakest defensive position.
3. Catcher – If the Mets don’t get any power at 2B, and the half baked experiment in LF flops, can the Mets afford the anemic hitting of Brian Schneider for 125 games?
A lot is riding on Carlos Delgado this season, but even in a best case scenario where you take both halves of last season and split the difference, it still seems a little short in the power department. (.250 – 30 – 85).
Those numbers wouldn’t be so bad coming from a guy like Ryan Church, but shouldn’t we expect much more from second highest paid hitter on the team after Carlos Beltran?
I hope Carlos Delgado goes out there and gives us one of his vintage MVP type seasons like he’s done so many times in the past, however this could be a case where the spirit is willing but the wear and tear is too much.
I’d feel a whole lot better if the Mets reconsidered bringing Manny on board for the next two or three seasons.
If Delgado proves all the skeptics wrong and has an explosive season, the Mets could write their own ticket to the World Series. But if Delgado continues his decline and his numbers take a big hit, having Manny around will still keep us in the fight.