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Happy Delgado Day

Mike SteffanosTuesday, February 19, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

In the familiar process of early spring training, each day seems to select one player for the lion's share of features. Today it's Carlos Delgado. Much has been written about Carlos' struggles for most of last season, which certainly made the Mets offense much less formidable -- particularly when Moises Alou was hurt.

There's been plenty of speculation on both sides, with some opining that Delgado is in the midst of a steep career decline and others convinced he will bounce back. I feel somewhat optimistic, particularly after reading on Mets.com that he had spent the whole winter rebuilding his swing mechanics.

While it seems certain that some of Delgado's struggles are related to getting older, baseball history is full of ballplayers who were able to make adjustments later on in their career and continue to be effective. Delgado hasn't been battling serious injuries, so there is no reason why he couldn't bounce back and give the Mets something like .270/25/90. While those aren't the elite numbers he put up earlier in his career, those would be fairly solid in this lineup. And who know, maybe he'll really surprise us and come a lot closer to his old numbers.

What worries me more is OF production when Alou is out or even being rested. If Church puts up the numbers they're hoping for that would certainly help, as would Carlos Beltran keeping relatively healthy. We all love Endy, but we don't want to see him get 450 ABs. With Milledge and Carlos Gomez gone there aren't many RH outfield bats in reserve. I guess Damion Easley gets some starts in LF, and Angel Pagan is a possibility, too. I'd feel more comfortable if the Mets picked up a solid right-handed bat with some pop to spell both Church and Delgado, but that doesn't seem to be much of a possibility anymore.

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I don't spend a lot of time here writing about non-Mets. I did take some shots at Roger Clemens recently, as regular readers know. I also made the following point in last Friday's post about Roger:

I believe that someday, someone who is a star player will come clean on his steroid usage. He will discuss honestly the pressures that caused him to make that unfortunate decision, and he will ask the public to forgive him. Given all of the prevarication and disingenuousness that others have resorted to, I will no choice but to grudgingly respect the courage of someone who actually has something to lose and is still willing to be honest.

I was asked if Andy Petit fills the bill for me as the hypothetical courageous former PED user. Although I always kind of admired Petit as one of baseball's good guys, his silly insistence that he didn't use HGH to cheat is just hair-splitting to me. The idea that he was taking it only to return and help his teammates was disingenuous at best. Maybe he needs to rationalize things to live with himself, or perhaps the $16 million he signed for (knowing he was in the Mitchell Report) will assuage his conscience. I don't know -- I still think he's a decent guy, but he doesn't fit my qualifications for that truly honest player who can make a difference.

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Pics galore: our friend Gary Sparber, who so often shares pictures with us, offers galleries on both Jose Reyes and David Wright to get us into the spirit of the spring:

Jose Reyes

The Wright Stuff


About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Would a .270/25/90 from Delgado really be considered a bounce back? He practically did that in 2007: .258/24/87. Sure a 12 point jump in batting average would be nice, but just 1 more home run and 3 more RBI's? I would say he'd at least have to reach .270/30/100 to be considered a bounce back. Based on his career numbers, that should be attainable.

You're my first visit from a rock star...

I guess I don't expect Delgado to start 150 games at 1B. I like your numbers fine, mostly what I want to see is a return to some consistency.

Yes, I agree - consistency would be nice more than anything else. If he at least shows some more patience and takes some walks instead of striking out on those pitches that graze his shoetops and the ones that bounce behind his kneecaps, I'd be somewhat satisfied.

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