Mike: Some good indicators for the Mets coming out of yesterday's 1/162 slice of the Big League Pie. I liked the aggressiveness and even borderline recklessness on the bases, especially Carlos Beltran's stealing third to really set up that winning, ninth-inning rally. John Maine had another decent outing, and I'll take decent from Maine right now but ultimately demand a widening of that strikeout-to-walk ratio. It looks like our boy Daniel Murphy is on the outs. Why not sneak preview the future now and put Murphy at first with Carlos Delgado out and bring up the Fernanchise, Fernando Martinez, to man left?
Ted: Well, for a few reasons. I'm as excited to see Martinez as you are, but do you really think he offers the Mets any sort of upgrade anywhere at this point? He has a .315 on-base percentage and 26 strikeouts in 121 Triple-A at-bats this season. He's very young and it's great that he's finally living up to some of the hype, but in terms of a lefty corner-outfield bat, I doubt he's any better than Ryan Church or even Jeremy Reed right now. Even with Delgado on the shelf, Jerry Manuel's clearly laboring to get enough at-bats for his platoon guys. Calling up Martinez means fewer chances for the likes of Fernando Tatis, who's almost certainly a better hitter at present.
Mike: ESPN Radio is reporting that Delgado has a hip tear and "his career may be over." Perhaps they're just being alarmist. Maybe they meant to say "Mets career." I notice you didn't say "Gary Sheffield" on the list of guys Martinez may not be better than. If Murphy's the new first baseman (has to be, if these reports are true), Church plays anyway and then it's Martinez vs. Sheffield (whom he can platoon with) and Reed (please). Keith Law of ESPN gave the idea his approval in a chat this week. It's not crazy to jump-start the 2010 plan in the lazy glare of these late spring games, is all I'm saying. They did it with Jonathon Niese, and I approve there, too. What about Omar Minaya's year so far -- $50.4 million just this year for Delgado, Oliver Perez, Billy Wagner, Luis Castillo, J.J. Putz, and Brian Schnieder. Ouch, babe.
Ted: I didn't say Sheffield, mostly because of my inherent distaste for older players. But that said, Sheffield's .786 OPS in the bigs this season is barely lower than Martinez's .795 mark in Triple-A, so I'd probably add him to that list. I'm really not trying to stomp out the fun here, but I don't see Keith Law's -- or anyone's --- endorsement as gospel, and I definitely don't see the correlation to Niese. Niese had a terrible run of bad luck in his first few starts at Buffalo this year but came with a longer resume of Minor League success and filled a decided need. Martinez just murks up an already cloudy mix of uninspiring corner outfielders. Of course I want to see the future, but the future I want to see involves the 2009 Mets winning the NL East. And I don't think the best way to get there is with a 20-year-old outfielder who strikes out once every five at bats in Triple-A.
Mike: You are no fun today. I demand something new to write about! If you bump into Omar in the SNY hallways, throw it out there. Just don't utter the words "Derek Lowe." Law doesn't impress you? Well, Joe Benigno also endorses my plan, I'm certain. I will settle for Murphy at first with a short-leash Sheffield/Reed (late-inning defensive replacement) arrangement in left. Otherwise, Murphy is buried. Why am I convinced every decent Livan Hernandez start is going to cost the Mets two games down the road? (Or, in Benigno parlance, result in a "dis-aaaa-stah.") Give me an innings projections for Perez for the balance of the year. What are you hearing?
Ted: Don't forget about Tatis, who looks like the best hitter in the Delgado-less first base/corner outfield mix right now. But in either case, I'm glad you're acknowledging that the call-up-the-Fernanchise talk might be at least in part inspired by hype and radio gaga. As for Ollie, your guess is as good as mine; between the Mets' growing tendency to confound everyone with their injury reports and Perez's longstanding reputation for confounding everyone with everything, I'm at a loss. As far as I know, he's only been long-tossing and doesn't have any rehab starts scheduled. But since there's a lot of debate over whether he was actually hurt to begin with, I'll set the over/under at 100 more innings.