Inbox: K-Rod deserving of criticism?
Beat reporter Marty Noble answers Mets fans' questions
Why is it that every baseball fan thinks he has the perfect solution to everything? Francisco Rodriguez obviously wasn't intending on firing up an already heated rivalry between the Mets and Phillies, but simply showing his excitement to play for a team that has made him the highest paid closer.
But certain fans are criticizing the poor guy before he even steps on the mound. Yes, I am a Mets fan, and I can't stand the Phillies. But like K-Rod, I give them the credit they deserve, and also think it could be the year. But it really makes me wonder if people are fans of the team or just enjoy criticizing players and wearing the team colors.
I mean, really, this is K-Rod, not Aaron Heilman or Scott Schoeneweis. Before you get on his case about being excited and making a statement that has been made before by others, I don't recall anybody complaining about Carlos Beltran saying it last year. Let him get the ball at least once in a Mets uniform.
And we honestly wonder why other fans hate New York fans, I absolutely would rather have a guy sign with the Mets and want to play with excitement and passion than go about being the quiet one. I think passion is one of the biggest problems with baseball in general. The passion just seems to be gone and those who have the uncontrollable passion and are said to be troublemakers and are blacklisted before even contributing to the team. So until I see K-Rod's name in the news for an off-the-field incident, I'll support him as well as Mets fans all should. It is very disappointing seeing people who consider themselves Mets fans just waiting to jump at the neck of the next player. With Heilman gone, I feel terrible for whoever fills his Boo Bird role.
-- Art B., Bloomfeld, N.J.
All that was left unsaid is "Go to your room."
You've written that if Luis Castillo bats eighth, the bottom part of the Mets' order will be a dead zone. I disagree very strongly. Even though Castillo had a bad year last year, he still drew 50 walks, with a .355 on-base percentage in only 359 plate appearances. Give him 600, which you can expect over a full season if he stays healthy, and you're looking at around 100 walks. Even if he still bats only .250, which is unlikely seeing as how he's a career .300 hitter, I'll take it. I'll take a .355 on-base percentage from my No. 8 hitter any day.
Have a question about the Mets?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Mets beat reporter Anthony DiComo for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
What that does, which is very important in the National League, is clear the pitcher's spot in the batting order one third of the time. What that also causes is the Mets to keep Jose Reyes in the leadoff spot. Now, Reyes might not be the ideal leadoff man, but he's improved very much in drawing walks (66 last year) and getting on base (a career high .358 OBP last year). Also, Reyes is probably the best for the Mets in the leadoff spot because he provides high energy, steals bases and he really gets the team going. I think it would be the best for the Mets to put Daniel Murphy in the second spot, because he has the ability to hit for average and he also has good gap power. What are your thoughts on this?
-- Mike G., Hawthorne, N.J.
Batting eighth is a tricky business. Even a veteran, such as Castillo, wouldn't necessarily prosper in that position. He is patient, and does have a good eye. And the pitches he'd see batting in front of the pitchers would be different and perhaps frustrating. Moreover, he will do more for the team hitting higher in the order. I'm not sure he should bat leadoff. I'm not an advocate of Reyes batting third. But I'd rather have Castillo bat second than anywhere else.
A manager's objective is to put a player in the role in which he will shine while not adversely affecting others. Castillo has to bat second.
Many people, including you, are advocating that Castillo bat leadoff; their reasoning being that the bottom of the lineup would include easy outs in the Nos. 7-8-9 spots if Castillo batted eighth. The problem that people don't see is what would happen with Castillo batting leadoff is the Mets would have a 8-9-1 sequence. The only place for Castillo is the No. 2 hole. I believe that his lack of production last year can be attributed to two factors -- Castillo didn't have his legs all season and he took a ton of pitches, waiting for Reyes to steal.
Castillo often found himself hitting from a two-strike count, which is difficult for any hitter. He and Reyes need to work together and develop a system so Castillo doesn't find himself hitting in a hole so often. If they can manage his counts a bit more efficiently, and he has his legs, I believe he is capable of a bounce back season and can be the No. 2 hitter the Mets desperately need him to be
-- Rich L.
You're preaching to the choir. I didn't advocate Castillo batting leadoff. I thought he's better suited to bat leadoff than Reyes is to bat third. Castillo as No. 2 hitter has merit, as does manager Jerry Manuel's plan to add depth to the lineup.
Do you think there is any chance that with the contracts Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn settled, the Mets can make a pitch for a one-year deal with Orlando Hudson that could still keep them within their budget? Of course, they still would have to deal with what to do with Castillo and his contract, but at least at today's going rates, the hit shouldn't be so severe.
-- John G., Maywood, N.J.
First of all, Dunn "settled" for $20 million. That's a fortune and more than the Mets owe Castillo. Secondly, as long as Castillo is on the payroll -- three more years for $18 million -- the club doesn't want to add another second baseman who will command some number of millions. No question, Hudson would be a significant asset and help the team offensively, defensively and in the clubhouse.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.