The New York Times’ Murray Chass has some cogent points to make about the flirting-with-respectability/mediocrity Mets in Tuesday’s paper (“Martínez and Beltran filled two holes, but they don’t pitch in relief and they don’t bat cleanup”), but with all due respect, the Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan knocks this one out of the park :

They’re not going to win the division, they’re not going to win the wild card. What’s left is hopefully learning some lessons about not being stubborn about your personnel. I don’t care how fast or exciting he is, Jose Reyes (above) has been more problem than solution at the top of the lineup. His .301 OBP is awful, and has helped to keep the Mets from scoring enough to win. Having Miguel Cairo and his .291 OBP in the #2 spot makes the situation even worse. The loss of Mike Cameron was going to hurt, but it didn’t have to hurt this badly. The opprobrium of Mets fans and local media will likely fall on the higher-priced–and certainly disappointing–Carlos Beltran and Mike Piazza, but there’s virtually no way to maintain an offense when you top the lineup with two .300 OBPs.

I’m predicting, right now, that the stories you read about the ’05 White Sox will be regurgitated for the ’06 Mets. They’ll have a better offense next year just by boosting OBP in the top two lineup spots, be just as reliant on their power core for runs, and the improved results will be laid at the feet of “aggressiveness” and “little ball.” The Sox added 30 points of OBP in the #1 and #2 spots, helping a highly dysfunctional lineup that remains an OBP nightmare score enough runs to support a vastly improved pitching staff, largely because the homers came with runners on base this year.

OBP is Life. Life is OBP.