I found out as soon as the news broke last night. As I read the reports in stunned silence all of my hope for competing with the Phillies this season vanished. By now everyone’s got their Beltran posts up, but it took me a pretty long time to collect my thoughts, and since I’m not in the business of reporting, but rather editorializing, I thought it would be best to put together a coherent post rather than a rant.
The initial reports came over twitter and stated that microfracture surgery had been performed and Beltran was out for the season and the team had no idea. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! It felt like taking a Tyson fist to the jaw. Just put me out of my misery. That’s all folks. Then the reports came in that he had an arthroscopic cleaning procedure and would likely miss 8 – 12 weeks. Wait, what was that? He’ll be back like the Terminator? Well… not exactly.
You see, these are the Mets we’re talking about, here. Remember 2009’s medical malfeasance? Of course you do! Does anyone honestly believe anything the Mets medical staff says? Beltran could be gone for the season and that’s how I’d treat it if I were the Mets. After his recovery time, he would need to still go through an entire preseason conditioning while at the same time resuming “baseball activities.” We may not see him until June, and there’s a major possibility of him not making it out of rehab and needing the microfracture surgery Dr. Steadman provides, which puts him out something along the lines of another year.
Did he violate his contract by not receiving consent from the Mets before undergoing surgery? We’ll find out very soon. While right now I’m not concerned with getting some of Beltran’s contract money back, this could be the beginning of the end of Beltran’s career as a centerfielder, and the Mets are right in filing their grievance with MLB. The Mets expected to have a healthy Beltran in the lineup and they are rightly perturbed that Beltran did not receive their consent. You see, this wasn’t part of the Mets’ “plan,” and now that their plan is kaput, they need to find a way replace his offense, and pray they can replace his defense.
Here’s the probable “Mets solution” and why it sucks:
The Mets’ best option is to play Angel Pagan in CF and keep Fernando Martinez in AAA. F-Mart needs to stay in an everyday lineup situation in order to a) keep consistently swinging the bat and b) learn how to play everyday without injuring himself. If we can keep F-Mart down until the September call ups, he may be able to win a spot as a starter next season. Now that 4th outfielder Angel Pagan is playing an everyday CF role, who is the backup? The Mets would be wise to bring Endy Chavez back to play as the backup and also provide better defense than Bay, Pagan, and Francoeur. I’m actually very satisfied with that solution as a short term option. But the CF role must be addressed if Beltran’s knee problem becomes a chronic career defining thing.
Now comes the sucky part. How will they replace the offense? I hope and pray that they don’t get stuck bringing Delgado in as an all in one offensive replacement, because I’m sorry but that man will not play an entire season as a position player. The Mets need to look past Delgado and try to bring in more offense at other positions and possibly platoon Murphy at 1B. Signing Molina is inevitable, but not an offensive solution by any stretch of the imagination. My immediate solution looks to increase offense, defense, and pitching and is one of two options:
a) Try to trade with the Reds for Brandon Phillips(2B) and either Harang or Arroyo. This will be difficult, but the Mets do have a decent 2B prospect and a few pitching prospects to use in this trade situation.
b) Sign Orlando Hudson to play 2B and use Castillo off the bench. Hudson provides better defense and hits more than just singles so he can potentially drive more runs in. Next, sign one of the remaining free agent pitchers that don’t project long term injuries. I didn’t want to have to dip in the worst pitching free agent market of all time, but it may become necessary if the Mets can’t pull off a trade with the Reds.
How do we address first base? Well to begin, if we increase both the defense and offense at 2B and add another reliable arm in the rotation, then Murphy’s offense and defense should be satisfactory. If they prove to be unsatisfactory over the course of the season, then we can look to the trade market. Plus, the Mets could end up saving some of Beltran’s contract money depending how MLB’s desision turns out, and that money can be applied to free agency in 2011.
But what will the Mets end up doing? Signing Carlos “My hip just snapped” Delgado of course!
All in all, this Beltran thing is the worst possible news after an optimistic offseason.