When you examine the Mets lineup, and assume that Jose Reyes will be back, you soon realize there are four glaring holes in the everyday lineup.
Obviously, they need another starting pitcher. It doesn’t take a creative mind to figure out this team needs to either get Cliff Lee, or somebody of his caliber, or they won’t get another pitcher. My hope is that Minaya, in an effort to save his job realizes that Philadelphia is trying to get Lee cheaper than what they offered for Halladay, and he swoops in and offers them guys who can play next year like Jon Niese and Fernando Martinez etc.
J.J. Putz occupies the setup spot while remaining on the disabled list, and honestly, I know it sounds odd but while he’s injured, I’m still not worried about the Mets bullpen. If anything, I feel more confident about it than I have in a long time. Still, it’d be nice to have that 1 guy you constantly go to. Here’s to hoping that Billy Wagner and or J.J. Putz come back this season to give the Mets a bullpen that can be unmatched in the National League.
Then you have the catcher position. Brian Schneider and Omir Santos give the Mets a decent starting catcher 7 days a week. Schneider is a free agent after this season, and I can’t imagine he will be wearing a Mets uniform in 2010. That doesn’t mean Omir Santos gets the starting job. I’m not sold on Santos being a starting catcher, and who knows if Josh Thole will be ready next year. Still, for this year, I think the Mets will be good enough behind the dish.
That leaves left field. Look, if you think Gary Sheffield is going to come back 100% healthy, then you might as well stop reading. I don’t believe 40 year old players (in a post steroid era) come back 100% after a strained hamstring injury. Plus, part of me still doesn’t like him in the every day lineup. You also need to consider that he will not be the left fielder next year. With Fernando Martinez waiting for an outfield spot next year, a lot of questions need to be answered.
For now, I feel as though there is an outfielder who is not making a lot of money, and also is signed only through next year. That player is Brooklyn, NY native, Rutgers University graduate, David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals.
DeJesus is not a superstar by any means, but at 29 he has had a quiet yet solid career for the Kansas City Royals. For a while he was rumored to be joining the Yankees club when they were hunting for an outfielder. In 2008, DeJesus hit .307, with 12 HR and 73 RBI for the Royals in 135 games. A big negative is that he is an aggressive player which tends to lead to injury. Great, just what we needed. However, he can field his position pretty well in left field, and started the year very slowly but this month he is hitting .321.
A friend of mine out in the Kansas City area is a true Royals fan, and I asked him about DeJesus last night. He said, “As far as DeJesus goes, I want to say bad things about him, but can’t. Unfortunately, he’s a good player asked to do too much on a bad team. His defense is shaky, but he’s athletic and can hit with RISP. Started out this season rough, but again, he was asked to do too much. Opening day he was the number three batter and I think he pressed. Since he moved to the leadoff spot, he’s back to himself. Bottom line, he’s a good player. I’d hate to see him go.”
Now granted, my friend is no baseball expert, just a fan like all of us, but he is probably more familiar with DeJesus than anybody reading this article right now. DeJesus would give the Mets a true platoon in Left Field when/if Sheffield returns from his injury. He’s a local guy, he’s got the tools to play in New York, and he wouldn’t be as expensive as say an Adam Dunn who only hits homeruns or strikes out.
When making deals to improve a ball club, you don’t always have to get a superstar. Sometimes guys like DeJesus can just fit in with a new team’s dynamic. To me, DeJesus would do that for the Mets, and it would still allow them to go shopping for a starting arm with the bulk of their top prospects.