Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Putting the pieces together…

Well, it looks like Carlos Delgado is going to be a Marlin after all, just as we predicted on this blog last week. Apparently the Marlins have agreed to pony up $52 million for 4 years for the national-anthem-challenged first baseman:

Free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado agreed Tuesday to a $52 million, four-year contract with the Florida Marlins, who added the left-handed power they've lacked.

Now this is very interesting since the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch is reporting (with a high degree of certainty it seems) that the Mets are intent on acquiring Sammy Sosa if they lose out on Delgado:

Indeed, after nearly a month of hot pursuit, the Mets still can't get a read on what Delgado truly seeks. Is it the fattest contract? The best chance to appear in the postseason? Proximity to his home in Puerto Rico? The only certainty at Shea is if Delgado picks the Marlins, or by some long shot chooses the Orioles, Plan B is Sammy Sosa. The Mets will fill first base with an inexpensive choice such as John Olerud or Travis Lee, and use their unspent millions on the troubled Cubs' outfielder. [emphasis added]

Doing so would be Minaya's gravest off-season mistake, and would put even more pressure on his rookie manager, Willie Randolph. But Minaya has long been obsessed with Sosa, whom he scouted and signed 20 years ago in the Dominican Republic and still regards as a personal friend.

The Mets' GM chooses to ignore the personal crises that practically swallowed up Sosa at Wrigley last year, not the least of which was the $87,000 he was fined for leaving the ballpark early on the final day of the regular season.

The Mets briefly distanced themselves from the slugger after it was learned that Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds both confessed to steroid use to the BALCO grand jury. Although no one has ever accused Sosa of juicing, Met officials overwhelmingly opposed taking any chances. Even Minaya saw the logic in that.

But two months later, as it appears there'll be no penalties handed down to either Giambi or Bonds - and that there'll be no retroactive investigation by Major League Baseball - the Mets have caught Sosa-fever again. Plan C is to chase Magglio Ordonez.

That is, if they can't get Delgado.

The good news for Mets fans who are dizzy with rumors is that Delgado's camp should have a decision by today. Of course, we've heard that all month. But even the Mets' patience has its limits.

We also speculated here on this blog last week that Sammy’s fate was tied to Delgado’s destination and that once the Delgado domino finally fell, the rest of the free agent landscape would clear up fairly quickly. If Klapisch can be relied upon and the Mets will now seriously consider making a move for Sosa, I am betting that Hendry will ship Sammy and then pick up Magg$. Then the plan will be to stick the Hollandsworth/Dubois platoon in left field.

So if any of this materializes, here’s what the opening day line-up could look like:

1) Todd Walker (a plague upon Dusty Baker if he sticks kkkorey here!)
2) Nomar Garciaparra
3) Magglio Ordonez
4) Aramis Ramirez
5) Derrek Lee
6) Michael Barrett
7) kkkorey Patterson
8) Hollandsworth/Dubois
9) Pitcher

Now, contrary to the pessimism I’ve been spreading on this blog the last few weeks – that’s not a bad line-up (assuming Magg$ is healthy of course). I’ve got to tell you, I like the look of that line-up – and apart from the fact that I’d really like to see Juan Pierre as our leadoff man in my ideal dream-world scenario – I think that line-up (coupled with the starting rotation) could make this team a divisional contender. The only real question marks hovering over this team would be the continuing uncertainty surrounding the bullpen.

In any event, all of this is still speculation. The ball is the in the Mets court so to speak, and we should know rather soon whether Bob Klapisch is a reliable source and commentator or whether he’s just the East Coast’s version of Jay Mariotti.