Carlos Delgado Will Determine The Mets' Success in 2009

Eric BrennerAnalyst IFebruary 3, 2009

Maybe you will call me greedy, but I think I'm just thinking smart.

While this offseason began with a bang for the Mets with the signing of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, the remainder has been a disappointment. I say this because while these additions have improved our bullpen, I feel the team is not any better overall.

GM Omar Minaya has shown he is fully capable of landing the big star, and he's proven it over the years. But, recently, his game plan for improving the club has been merely plugging the holes rather than planning ahead. 

Here's why:

Let's go back to last offseason. The Mets clearly lacked a No. 1 starter, as Pedro Martinez had fallen off quite a bit and was battling multiple injuries. The addition of Johan Santana quickly filled that hole. But every Mets fan knew the offense was going to be a problem.

The previous year (the first collapse), the Mets could not score a run down the stretch. Carlos Delgado had disappeared and the other run producers, namely David Wright and Carlos Beltran, were not performing. Oh, and Moises Alou was hurt as well.

Despite Alou never staying healthy, Minaya tried to convince us that he would be a major contributor in 2008.

So while the rotation added a key member, there was still uncertainty regarding the rest of the rotation, as well as the lineup. Minaya assured us that he was confident Delgado would rebound and the other pitchers in the rotation would step up. In hindsight, he was right about the pitching, as Mike Pelfrey truly took some major strides and had a great year.

But, at the time, this was a significant gamble. Instead of taking measures to remedy any problems with pitching or offense that could have arisen, he decided to trust the team he already had.

The result was an injured Pedro Martinez in the second game of the season with no significant replacement lined up, as well as an injured John Maine later in the season. Also, Alou's playing time was minimal due to injury.

This offseason, Minaya has filled the holes in the rotation, signing Freddy Garcia and Tim Redding as fallback options as well as competitors for the fifth rotation spot. But, essentially, the Mets have the same rotation as last year.


Maybe we can make up for it with the bullpen additions. While Billy Wagner drove us crazy at times, he was a decent closer and I came to appreciate his skills more after he was injured and the bullpen circus act ensued. Wagner is expected miss all of 2008 after undergoing Tommy-John surgery last September.

This offseason, Minaya filled the closer hole with two additions (K-Rod and Putz), so essentially we are back to where we were when Wagner was healthy and effective. I'm assuming the effectiveness of all the closers is equal at this point.

But remember, the Mets need to be winning for these guys to save the game in the ninth. Let's look at the additions to the offense...that's right, there are none. We have the same team.

Once again, like last offseason, while Minaya is plugging a major hole, he is assuming the team will play equally as well as they did last year, if not better.

That's a lot to ask from this team. Maybe not so much from the Phillies, but when you are banking on Delgado to have the same production as last year when we know how poorly he has played at other times, that's a large gamble.

Luis Castillo is nowhere to be found, Ryan Church is a very big question mark, and Minaya is assuming Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy will produce like last year. So if Delgado returns to his can't-hit-the-broad-side-of-a-barn hitting style, the Mets are, once again, relying on Wright and Beltran to carry the team. 

Personally, I am not convinced. This team will not score enough runs.

I refuse to believe that this team will be good enough offensively to outscore the Phillies on a nightly basis. At this point, the pitching staffs are essentially equal and it's possible the bullpens have also come to the same level.

I know it's not my money to spend, but Manny Ramirez would change the whole team. A cheaper option is Orlando Hudson, who plays a Gold-Glove second base, can hit, and has publicly stated he wants to play in New York (last night on the MLB network).

So Omar and Fred Wilpon, I beg you, do something to make this team better, not just the same as last year.