How about the Mets? Two weeks ago today, they scored 15 runs against the New York Yankees with a batting order that featured the following offensive powerhouses hitting 6 thru 9 ; Trot Nixon, Marlon Anderson, Fernando Tatis and Brian Schnieder. While praising the Metropolitans for their recent resurgence (“if their young pitchers keep on trusting their stuff, this is a different team, and new pitching coach Dan Warthen will take the credit”), the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman warns we cannot realistically expect continued offensive improvement.
With yesterday’s wholly unsurprising news that Moises Alou will most likely miss the rest of the season to his torn hamstring, and Ryan Church’s continued neurological problems leaving his career at risk, the Mets have Fernando Tatis and Endy Chavez in the outfield corners. No matter how many clutch hits Tatis has come through with recently, this isn’t going to get it done over the second half. With reserve-class players starting at hitter’s positions in the outfield, with Luis Castillo on the disabled list (say what you will about his contract, but he gets on base), and with Brian Schneider starting behind the plate, the Mets are totally reliant on four hitters ” Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.
Delgado, of course, is not a player to rely on at all. He’s slugged .617 since Randolph’s firing and in a recent stretch scored in eight of nine games, which is all to the good, but counting on him to continue this sort of hitting would be the same kind of basic error that has left a $140 million team with half a lineup. The evidence of the last 18 months is that Delgado is, at 36, an average hitter who’s a threat to go long and has the odd hot streak in him. A winning team can carry a first baseman like that, but it’s a lot harder with players such as Schneider and Chavez in the lineup every day.
As readers like to remind me, the easiest solution would probably just be to sign disgraced slugger Barry Bonds. Even in diminished form, he’d fill the left field hole nicely, leaving the Mets to platoon Tatis and Chavez in right while enjoying whatever they happen to get out of Delgado. It’s not going to happen for any number of reasons, which is a shame.
“Fill the left field hole” is not a bad way to put it given Wayne Hagin’s emphasis on Bonds’ changing physique earlier this week. Presumably, the broadcaster would find a way to praise the Sultan’s work habits were he donning a Mets uniform.