Nick Johnson, Jorge Cantu Cited as Possible Replacements for Mets at First Base
Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com Astros-need-to-be-realistic-and-start-to-rebuild">reports that the Mets have expressed interest in Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, even though Daniel Murphy has proven himself capable of flashing the leather in the absence of Delgado.
In 43 games this season, Nick Johnson is hitting .338/.445/.471 with four home runs and 25 RBI. He is, however, very injury-prone and has played more games this season already than he played in all of 2007 and 2008. Still, he is thriving hitting in front of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn.
I stated a few days ago that I thought Nick Johnson was a perfect fit for the Mets, but I was wrong. Jorge Cantu is a perfect fit. While Johnson boasts a better average and OBP so far this season, Cantu is by far the better power hitter and is much more versatile on the field.
Here's another thought to chew on; Jorge Cantu batting second between Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Right now, Cantu is hitting cleanup for the Marlins, with Wes Helms and Dan Uggla following him while hitting .245 and .200, respectively. Basically, if there is an open base ahead of Cantu, he isn't getting anything to hit.
Turn the tables a bit, put Cantu in the Mets' lineup, and he will rarely be pitched around with Beltran, Sheffield/Delgado, and Wright following in the order. If Reyes is on base (which he frequently is when he is healthy), that just makes the Mets even more dangerous.
I'm telling you, this rumor (and that's all it is right now) has got me so excited that I'm actually smiling at work. Of course, the Mets probably won't make the Marlins an offer. Quite frankly, I'd give the Marlins a decent package for him, involving perhaps Niese, Kunz, and Murphy.
I think it's become pretty obvious that Daniel Murphy no longer fits into the Mets' long-term plans, especially if top prospect Fernando Martinez makes a splash in the big leagues when he is called up. With Cantu, the Mets will have a solid first baseman for years to come after Delgado is gone. Why not sell Murphy while his stock is still somewhat high?
Now, some of you may be asking yourselves "why would the Marlins take a defensively challenged Murphy?" I have two responses for that. First of all, I think Murphy is more than capable of becoming a decent fielding first baseman, even though we have a very small sample size to go off of right now.
For sake of keeping race out of this debate, I'm not going to discuss the fact that Omar Minaya seems to have a connection with Latin-American players such as Cantu. That's for others to discuss. Frankly, he's just a great player and would fit in with the Mets' lineup very well.
This could be a move that puts the Mets over the hump, especially now that their starting pitching seems to be holding its own and Maine and Pelfrey have really hit their strides.
I can hear Alex Anthony already: "Now batting for the Mets, first baseman, Jorge Cantu!"
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