Inbox: Power, backstop needed in 2010
Beat reporter Marty Noble answers fans' questions
I think this would be a strong starting lineup for the Mets -- if they're all healthy. And I want to know what you think of it: shortstop -- Jose Reyes, second base --
Luis Castillo, third base -- David Wright, center field -- Carlos Beltran, first base -- Daniel Murphy, right field -- Jeff Francoeur, left field -- Nick Evans, catcher -- Omir Santos and P for a DH. Maybe they pick up a free agent that is not great in the field, but a great hitter. Kind of like what the Phillies are doing with Matt Stairs.
-- Logan S., Easton, Conn.
Logan, my friend, I can't say I catch your drift. "P for DH" means what? At last look, the Mets didn't need a DH, but a P, as in pitcher, and a left fielder who hits like a DH would be a good fit. And with the eight position players you listed, they still would have a serious lack of power.
I am truly fascinated by the constant debate about Daniel Murphy. Here was a rookie who batted .265, with 54 extra-base hits. He even showed more maturity in the second half of the season, adjusting to the inside pitch. Yet so many refuse to give him a chance for next season and beyond. He needs work on his defense, that is obvious. However, he can hit and has shown that.
Murphy is a low-cost option at first, freeing up cash to spend on a left fielder and No. 2 starter. It's amazing in this town and this day and age that we refuse to let players develop before calling for their heads. I wonder if Mets fans today would have traded Sandy Koufax away after his first couple of miserable years with Brooklyn and L.A. Why don't we allow players who are not instant impact players time to develop?
-- Jeremy I., Smithtown, N.Y.
What's this, another reader advocating patience? Two in two days. Next thing we'll have people doing things in a New York hour.
All you have written is well taken (even though Murphy's rookie status was gone after his 131st and final at-bat in 2008). The Mets see quality in him. I suspect what the ever-demanding public sees is an aggressive and improving, but nonetheless ordinary defensive first baseman with ordinary power playing for a team that, last season, lacked power. If the Mets 2010 left fielder were going to be the 1989 version of Kevin Mitchell, I believe the public would be more patient with Murphy.
As much as I believe in doubles as a critical element in sustaining offense, home runs are necessary, more home runs, at least, than the Mets hit in 2009.
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As I've noted you've written already, the Mets think highly of Ike Davis and don't want to import an expensive first basemen who would interfere with Davis' coming to the big leagues within two years. That being said, what are the chances that the Mets get a cheap alternative at catcher who can platoon with Santos? Someone like Rod Barajas. He is not an injury risk, he hits better against left-handed pitching and he could leave keep the position warm for Joe Mauer when he becomes a free agent after next season.
-- Morgan E., Boston, Mass.
The Mets have targeted three catchers -- Barajas, Bengi Molina and Yorvit Torrealba. I have listed them in the Mets' preference and, they suspect, in the order of likelihood. Barajas and Molina are eligible for free agency. The Rockies have an option on Torrealba's contract.
I was stunned when the Mets found a way to trade for Johan Santana. I can't imagine the Twins allowing Mauer to get within six months of free agency.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.