Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who's on First?

Carlos Delgado has a hip injury. He might say it's fine and he feels good, but I guarantee that this is going to come back to bite us at some point during the season.

So if Delgado becomes an issue or continues his slump from last year, who is our answer?

There isn't an official backup first baseman on the Mets roster. We've got Damion Easley, a makeshift all purpose guy who doesn't really excel at any individual position and is a decent hitter at the plate. He's good for filling in holes, but not a guy I want out there every day.

Marlon Anderson is choice number two. I love what he does for us as a pinch hitter and an off the bench kind of guy, but again he's not an every day player in my opinion. He had some success playing every day with the Nationals, but he's not going to give us the production we want from a regular first baseman.

After Anderson, there's Abreu and cast of other potential fill ins. Never before have I thought we should have held on to Shawn Green, but it's not like he's a heaven sent addition either.

What I would like to see is if Ruben Gotay can play first base. I know the kid is injured right now which effects this proposition, but spring training is a great time to test this out. With Luis Castillo as the starting second baseman and with Easley & Anderson both experienced and capable backups, Gotay may find himself on the outside looking in come opening day.

We've seen this before. Remember Jeff Keppinger? Got called up in mid-season, hit the cover off the ball and then was in the minors the following year never to be heard from again. Sure he got injured, but his moment to become an every day Met was gone. Now he's back in the majors and hitting the ball well.

I think Gotay is our modern day version of Jeff Keppinger. He just needs a chance. Believe me he is not an answer to our first base issues. I'd still like to see us get a guy like Texiera in the future, but the current free agent/trade options including Nick Johnson, Richies Sexson, et al aren't exactly exciting to me.

Gotay has got a good bat although he tends to hit better from the left side. He's a decent fielder, but at first base that can often be hid. Gotay would need some practice/experience to get comfortable there so that's why it's so disappointing to me that he's injured right now.

I like Gotay a lot and want to see him get another shot to prove that he deserves to be in the big leagues. Honestly, his production as an every day player may be on par, if not better than, what we'll get from Delgado this year, except for maybe home runs.

If Gotay can get off those crutches and field a few grounders, I'd love to see Willie Randolph give him some touches at first base. Could be a valuable option for us come May.

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