It’s been a brutal 4th of July weekend getting swept by the hated Phillies. The Mets now sit below .500 for the season. Clearly the team needs some help – either from the return of our injured stars or via trade – although it appears that the front office is still prudently waiting for the right opportunity and price.
Baseball analysts (notably ESPN) have been saying that it is a buyers market (for trades) this year – as teams out of contention look to unload salary for economic reasons – and that the Mets can take on one high priced salary – what would be the best way for them to address the current crisis?
Let’s examine that question by looking at the Mets performance so far position by position. We’ll break this post into two parts – and since it HAS been a depressing weekend – let’s start off with the good:
The sole surviving bright spot in the Mets lineup is David Wright. For all the statistical strangeness of his 2009 season – it’s hard to argue with his BA, run production, OBP and base stealing proclivity. We would obviously love to see his HR totals increase in the 2nd half – and to see a decrease in strikeouts (especially of the looking variety) – but really – David Wright has not been part of the problem this year.
Assuming Carlos Beltran‘s return in the 2nd half remains on schedule – he is on pace for one of his best offensive seasons except for his HR totals (and his SB totals of the past). He is the best defensive player on a bad fielding team as well as a reliable and productive bat in the middle of the lineup. While his return won’t solve all our problems – it would be a huge boost to get him back sooner rather than later.
K-Rod has had a few hiccups recently but by and large has been extremely reliable. His ability to throw any pitch any count has been incredibly impressive – and bodes well for his value remaining consistent over the life of his 3 year deal. Try to imagine this season without him – adding closing inconsistency on top of everything else…
Santana obviously is going through a rough patch – but I think we’ve seen the worst of it. He’s proven to be a staunch competitor in his short time as a Met and when (if?) we need him down the stretch – he will be there. ‘Nuff said.
Gary Sheffield‘s signing was to provide the Mets a right handed bat off the bench as a spot starter and pinch hitter. Instead injuries have forced him to be a key part of the lineup – and thankfully he’s been up to the challenge. Sheff’s been our biggest power bat (not saying much) – providing solid run production and OBP in Left Field. Imagine where we’d be without him? Of course it would be better to give him some rest from time to time that didn’t include Nick Evans or Fernando Tatis replacing him – but let’s appreciate what we’ve got.
Omir Santos has been a great find – providing a solid bat and defense that’s made Ramon Castro both forgettable and expendable. Schneider’s been better since coming back from the DL – even flashing some power with a couple of HRs at Citi in the last month. Overall – Mets catchers have combined to give them top 10 offensive production in the Majors. Who’d a thunk that?
JJ Putz looked great early in the season – but faltered and eventually succumbed to injury that will make him a minimal factor for the one year we have him. Thankfully Sean Green has stepped up – and aside from a few recent tough outings has displayed reliability over the past month that belies his overall 5.00 ERA. His K/BB rate now hovers around that key 2:1 ratio and he has earned his position as 8th inning reliever.
In addition – Pedro Feliciano has provided as always a solid and dependable lefty that can be used in key situations. His ability to pitch consistently and effectively over the last few years and especially in 2009 have been invaluable.
Begrudgingly we’re going to add Mike Pelfrey to this list. To date he has not performed in line with the 2nd half of 2008 when he seemed to be turning a corner performance wise. However Pelf is even more efficient this season in inducing ground balls – sporting a 2:1 GB/FB ratio. In addition he’s shown some flashes that may lead us to believe that the best is still ahead for the big sinkerballer.
Part II – the Bad to come later this week. Brace yourselves – will try to time it’s post with some good news (a win maybe?) to soften the blow.