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25 Games In

Mike SteffanosWednesday, May 6, 2009
By Mike Steffanos

Now that we're caught up on all the games, I thought I'd take a few moments to share some random thoughts on the first 25 games of the season.

The Backup Catcher
Remember how popular Ramon Castro was here a couple of years ago? Now his propensity for going on the DL if asked to play more than a game a week has seemingly worn out his welcome. It's a legit concern, but you'll forgive me if I don't join in all of the love for Omir Santos.

Don't get me wrong, I respect the effort Santos is making, and he's a fundamentally sound backup catcher. Still, we need to keep in mind we're talking about a guy who in over 2,200 minor league AB has a batting line of .258/.304/.348. In contrast, Castro's major league totals are .237/.312/.419 in 11 seasons.

I don't blame the Mets if they elect to let Castro go after this season, but as long as he is healthy (I know, I know...) he should be playing over Santos. Santos got off to a nice start, but he has a significant track record arguing that it won't last. Moreover, it's not like Castro won't make at least a couple of trips to the DL and give him his chances.

Daniel Murphy
Yes, he's looked bad in the OF several times, including some key errors. Still, to read some of the blogs and traditional media you would think this work in progress is a huge failure. We still have more than 5/6 of the schedule to play.

As long as Murphy continues to produce as he has offensively and continues to work at the defense, I don't see any reason to change things. I love the way Murphy attacks every AB -- the Mets need more of that, not less.

David Wright
He's gotten off to bad starts before. Maybe this one will convince him to return to the approach that he came to the majors with rather than the more pull-happy uppercutting style of the last couple of years.

Delgado's Hip
I like Delgado more than many fans, but this is a guy who needs to finish his career in the AL. Even if he manages to put up the solid numbers this year it's time to move on for the Mets.

With Delgado's and Billy Wagner's salaries coming off the books there should be money to spend for the Mets to pursue a younger middle of the order type bat for next year.

Luis Castillo
He's giving the Mets solid production out of the eight hole, but I'd still probably like to see him batting second -- provided he keeps hitting. If Murphy keeps producing I could see him moving to a middle of the order spot. Indeed, Manuel has batted him third when Delgado was out.

Fernando Tatis
I'd love to see him get into some more games. I love what he brings to the table in terms of playing intensity. Delgado will likely need time off regularly to manage that hip, so there should be more opportunities for Tatis.

Gary Sheffield
The numbers aren't really there in very limited opportunities, but he's still a guy who takes very tough ABs. You'd hope some of the other Mets are paying attention. Still, I do wonder if he can hit enough in this limited role.

Oliver Perez
To borrow from Joyce: Oy.

I've always liked Perez, but I advocated signing Derek Lowe in the off-season because I felt the Mets needed a consistent starter behind Santana. I thought that would lessen the pressure on Maine and Pelfrey and slot them more where they belonged in the rotation currently.

I didn't expect Perez to be this bad, but I felt that he was more of a good gamble for a team which already had that solid second guy in the rotation.

Omar looks bad on this one, although things certainly could change. Again, the point isn't just how badly Ollie performed -- now there is more pressure on Maine and Pelfrey to get it together and for at least one of them to fill that number two role in the rotation.

Not only are they paying Perez $12 million to pitch from the bullpen, but if neither Pelfrey or Maine is up to being the number two guy they might have to try to trade for one. In the long run, it would have been cheaper to go with Lowe.

J.J. Putz
He's done a pretty good job so far, but if 93mph is top speed for the heater he's not going to be "automatic" in that eighth inning role. Then again, maybe if he's not pitching in 15 of the first 25 he'd have a little more velocity. Manuel has to find a way to give all of his key bullpen guys more days off.

I have a few more things to talk about, but I'm out of time. We'll hold off until tomorrow.

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.

Comments (1)

Agreed, agreed, and agreed. I'd just like to add that, in watching Manuel overwork the 'pen, I can't help but to fully expect a slow motion train wreck beginning sometime in August.

C'mon, no one in baseball has a deep staff, why is it that everyone in our damn pen is in the top ten in appearances? It's not like needing three to four innings per night from the pen is a surprise. You just can't be pulling these guys and putting someone else in every time someone gets on base.

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