The New York Mets in September: Figueroa Fails and Murphy Shines

Joe FiorelloCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Nelson Figueroa #27 of the New York Mets delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

For New York Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, the season can’t end fast enough.

In his last start in August, Figueroa had one of the best outings of his career when he threw eight innings of one run ball while striking out ten.  Speculations were made about Figueroa’s spot in the rotation next season, as he seemed to be passing with flying colors in his 2010 audition.

September has been an unkind month to the journeyman pitcher.  He’s 0-4 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts this month, only making one “quality start”, last night against the Braves.

He hasn’t gotten much run support behind him, with the team only scoring nine runs in his four starts, but he hasn’t pitched well enough to win aside from last night.

Looking at Figueroa’s numbers, it seems his problem is a lack of a swing and miss pitch.  Even in the game where he struck out 10 he only had 10 swing and misses for the entire game.  Compare that to a guy like Johan Santana, who has a swing and miss change up and has produced as many as twenty swings and misses in a game.

Developing a new pitch may not be the easiest task for a 35-year-old starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. Figueroa may be destined to continue his role as spot starter/minor leaguer for the rest of his career.

Analyzing the pitching of a guy like Nelson Figueroa really shows what kind of season this has been so far…  I’m running out of things to talk about.

Someone that’s not failing miserably in their audition for the 2010 roster is Daniel Murphy.

Sure his glove has been somewhat laughable at times playing his new position at first base, but his bat has come alive.

Murphy is hitting just under .300 since August, is leading the team in home runs with an embarrassing 11, and has 14 extra base hits in September alone which is good enough to be tied with Albert Pujols for the league lead.

A lot of speculation has been made about where Murphy will fit on this teams roster next season.  Whether the team decides to bring back Carlos Delgado will weigh in a lot on what happens with Murphy.

If the Mets do decide to bring back Delgado, they may want to keep Murphy as a bench player that can help give Delgado some days off while providing an insurance policy if Delgado goes down with another injury.

If the Mets decide not to bring back Delgado, keeping Murphy as the full time first baseman will mean a power position, first base, will not have a power bat.  The lack of a true clean up hitter will mean the Mets need to address the issue signing a power hitting left fielder.

Spending money on a top tier left fielder will take away from the Mets limited budget, which will result in less money to spend on a legitimate No.2 starter, which I believe should be top priority in the off season.

The one place I know we won’t see Daniel Murphy next season is in left field…