Inbox: Will Mets bring back Delgado?
Beat reporter Marty Noble answers fans' questions
Is there anything definitive about the Mets' plans for Carlos Delgado? I heard that the Brewers would have interest in him if they planned to trade Prince Fielder.
-- Matthew J., Racine, Wis.
I'd advise you to dismiss what you heard. I can't see the Brewers moving Fielder and, in the off chance they would be so foolish, I can't see them adding Delgado, especially if they consult with their coach, Willie Randolph.
Now, about Delgado: The Mets have discussed bringing him back, but those in favor are in the minority, perhaps a minority of one -- Omar Minaya. And I don't believe Minaya would do more than offer him a low-base salary with significant incentives, if that. From what I've been told, Delgado is considering playing in winter ball to provide some evidence that he is healthy, fit and able to produce. I'd imagine many teams would be interested in him if they became convinced he again can produce as he did in the second half of 2008 and the early weeks of '09.
But the Mets seem quite committed to Daniel Murphy at this point. And neither Murphy nor Delgado plays a position other than first base.
At this point, I'm not sure the Mets have determined a course of action involving Delgado.
I am not a person who automatically demands one's scalp, but I do believe Minaya has done a poor job. I can name one good move -- getting John Maine as a throw-in in the Kris Benson trade -- and one good non-move -- keeping Carlos Delgado in 2007 and early '08. Otherwise, his legacy is filled with missteps, including overpaying for Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo and not going after the likes of Raul Ibanez and Jason Marquis. How can you justify Minaya having any job security at all?
-- Jack K., Riverside, Calif.
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As far as I know, I don't have to justify anything. I have no role in any of what he has done other than reporting it. I agree with your assessment on the Maine deal, but Maine hardly was a throw-in. The Mets had an inkling about him. Re-signing Perez -- at any price -- was, to me, a mistake. And Castillo was overcompensated for what he is -- a second baseman with diminished range and a batting average and slugging average that are almost identical.
But putting aside the free-agent signings, I believe you have omitted some positive moves -- trading for Xavier Nady (offset by trading him for Roberto Hernandez and Perez), trading away Lastings Milledge, bringing in Fernando Nieve, acquiring Jeff Francoeur and, of course, acquiring Johan Santana.
I suspect your mention of Ibanez and Marquis was done with 20-20 hindsight. No one foresaw the injuries that beset the Mets and the resulting lack of power and offense. Who knew Maine would miss so much time and Pelfrey wouldn't progress?
I'm sure Minaya didn't do as well as he might have, and the talent in the Minor Leagues doesn't help his resume. But he is not so ineffective as you suggest.
Watching Game 5 of the World Series, I'm sure I heard that Johnny Damon is eligible for free agency this year. Did I hear that correctly? And if so, why hasn't he been mentioned in the Mets' plans? He's a power hitter -- 24 home runs and 82 RBIs in 2009. His aggression in left field -- he actually reminds me of a cricketer in that he will actually dive for a ball -- would add another dimension to the Mets' outfield defense and his leadership in the clubhouse would be invaluable. I don't proclaim to be omniscient when it comes to baseball, but Damon seems to be the perfect fit. Your thoughts please.
-- Dane L., Sydney, Australia
Damon turns 36 years old Thursday. He is closer to the end of his career than he is to the peak. And though he hit 24 home runs twice in the four most recent seasons, he is a Yankee Stadium slugger. Thirty of the 48 home runs he hit in 2006 and '09 were hit at home. Home runs to right field at Citi Field must be pulled straight down the line or crushed. The Mo Zone at Citi hardly would favor Damon. I also believe he benefited from being in the Yankees' batting order.
Moreover, his throwing is quite suspect. I'm reminded of the line in a Boston newspaper that described Damon when his hair was long and he was bearded: "Looks like Jesus, throws like Mary." The Mets intend to emphasize outfield defense, and they wouldn't be if their left fielder was Damon.
He's terrific in the clubhouse, a real gentleman and still a pretty good hitter. His steals of second and third in Game 4 were testaments to his aggressive and savvy play. The Mets would benefit from both. But Damon would have been a much better fit for the Mets four years ago when the Yankees took him away from the Red Sox.
It is very unusual that an injury that promoted an initial prognosis of "day-to-day" wound up costing Jose Reyes his season. What's to say that this injury isn't something that will keep him out for the beginning of next season or even longer? If he can't go, what's the contingency plan for shortstop? We saw that Alex Cora is not an everyday shortstop and neither is Anderson Hernandez. It's just amazing how many question marks the Mets have going into next year and the future.
-- Scott M., Huntington Station, N.Y.
You're right. But understand please that the initial diagnosis and prognosis for Reyes were provided by someone other than the Mets doctors. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said Oct. 5 that the hamstring injury first was diagnosed as a strained calf in Los Angeles. And the day-to-day prognosis was based on invalid information.
The contingency plan is not one I have heard addressed. The Mets appreciated all Cora provided but also realized they had asked more from him than they had expected to and more than he could provide. Moreover, there are indications the Red Sox might want Cora back. You're right on Anderson Hernandez as well. Wilson Valdez is a preferable understudy because defense is the primary component of any shortstop.
What you said about the many uncertainties is consistent with what I see. Think of it, every potential starting pitcher -- even Santana -- has issues. The Mets need another starter, power, a catcher, someone to play left field and a set-up reliever. And they have little help coming from the Minor Leagues.
I read your comments every time you respond to questions from fans like me, and I like your responses. My question is as follows: Do you believe that because Manny Acta took the job to manage the Indians, Bobby Valentine will become the Mets' next manager and replace Jerry Manuel?
-- Roberto D., Jacksonville, Fla.
I wouldn't count on it.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.