Buster Olney of ESPN, took a look at the recent rash of injuries to beset the Mets, but says their is room for hope as the Mets can still overtake the Phillies with just one good week. He’s right by the way, and he lists some options the Mets could go with at first base.
- Nick Johnson, Nationals: Johnson is hitting .315 with a .417 on-base percentage, and although he is not a thumper like Delgado, he would add to the drumbeat of tough hitters that the Mets roll out every night. Scouts say Johnson’s defense is much worse than what it was five years ago, and there is always the risk of injury; a nightmare scenario for the Mets would be for him to break down a few days after joining the team. Keep in mind that Mets GM Omar Minaya has traded for Johnson before, when he was general manager of the Montreal Expos.
Another factor that makes Johnson attractive to the Mets is that, presumably, because he is not a major run producer and because of his injury history, the asking price won’t be off the charts. The Nationals, facing a summer of negotiations for top MLB draft pick Stephen Strasburg, might like to clear some payroll. They could save about $3 million if they shed Johnson in the next few weeks.
- Aubrey Huff, Orioles: He had one of the most unnoticed and underrated seasons in baseball last year, when he mashed 32 homers among 82 extra-base hits and drove in 108 runs. This year, he’s hitting .261 with 41 RBIs. He would fit the Mets in a lot of ways, but again, a potential trade might come down to price. Some other guys who have played first base are listed here.
- Jorge Cantu, Marlins: Florida would have to roll up the white flag before trading the veteran first baseman, who is hitting .271 with nine homers.
- Dan Uggla, Marlins: It’s an outside-the-box thought — the Mets could add him and ask him to play first base, and that would give them some flexibility moving forward. They could then think about moving him to another position next year.
- Mark DeRosa, Indians: He can play a whole lot of positions, so if Delgado were to make it back, DeRosa could shift to another spot of need for the Mets. In the big picture, adding DeRosa would make the most sense, but would the price be too high? Keep in mind that Minaya, well-liked by his peers, has made trades with Indians GM Mark Shapiro in the past.
I have my own opinions on who I prefer, but let me first say that Nick Johnson would do little to help the Mets with their current power void. The Nationals want a ton for him, his defense is shaky, and he is one of the most injury prone players in the game.
Although Olney has DeRosa ranked at number five, he would be very high on my list simply because he has the power we desperately need right now, and if Delgado ever gets back, DeRosa can simply shift to another position like left field. He would also be able to give David Wright a day off and fill in at third base if necessary.
As for the others, I like Uggla’s power but he is a defensive nightmare and there’s no room for bad defense on a team that sometimes struggles to score runs. I’m not quite sold on all the Aubrey Huff fascination either.
I know that some on this site have preached patience, but think we could definitely use some pop in this lineup and first base would be the best place to add a bat. Besides, I think we can all agree that Daniel Murphy needs to spend some time in the minors for more seasoning… make that a lot more seasoning.