Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lineup By Shakespeare

To be, or not to be: that is the question...

'Tis nobler in the mind to bat Paul Lo Duca second?

As the potential lineups are tossed around and those smarter than me discuss, the first thought to my mind is..."not this again". We went through it all last season, and now the lineup question rages when there is an easy solution that exists. After a half a season of waiting for David Wright to hit fifth, now the question how to get Wright to hit third...of which the simple answer is to move Carlos Beltran to the two hole in the lineup.

But there seems to be a hesitance to put The Merchant of Houston, the man making $119 million in anything other than the third hole. And while I'm not necessarily against Paul Lo Duca (the correct spelling having a space between the LO and the DUCA, it was confirmed), there are many reasons to move Beltran up. The obvious reason is that Beltran has better stats in the two hole...but the key thing is to realize why this is. Beltran, to me, has been quiet with his bat in hostile situations...such as when he returned to Houston for the first time as a Met (prompting a gutless blogger to call him a scaredy cat). Now call me spoiled, but your number three hitter has to be your leader...someone who is willing to grab the rest of the team by the neck and spit in the face of hostility with a simple "f*** you!" That was Keith Hernandez. Carlos Beltran, personality wise, is no Keith Hernandez. And that precludes him from being a three hole hitter.

Is there a prototypical Keith Hernandez/alpha male type personality on the 2006 version of the Mets? Probably not, but Wright is quickly emerging as the face of the franchise...with the talent to match. And when you have a special talent like Wright emerging as the corner stone of your club, not to mention its best hitter during 2005, you let him grow. And I believe in giving employees a chance to grow based on performance in all walks of life, not just baseball. So why not David Wright in the three hole?

And there is another thing at play here. If Willie sets the front half of the lineup as Reyes, Lo Duca, Beltran, Delgado, and Wright, do you risk alienating Cliff Floyd this season by batting him sixth? Yes, Floyd has responded to adversity positively in his Met career...channeling his energy into baseball, and not into sulking, which he easily could have done after last off-season's trade rumors. Now while I don't think the Mets dangled him for Sammy Sosa (talk about the best deals being the ones you don't make) to motivate him, they're very lucky that Floyd responded with, in his word, fury. So instead of cracking the whip again and risking a "lame duck" type response from Floyd who very well might be entering his last season in Queens, it's time to dangle the carrot and keep Floyd in the five hole instead of dropping him two slots to six. (It's one thing to drop him behind Carlos Delgado, it's another thing to drop him behind Paul Lo Duca). It's time to reward him for playing the last half of 2003 on one leg, and reward him for being as close as any Met to being the rock of the team in '05. And it's time to cut Floyd some slack after trading his close friend Mike Cameron.

The fault lies not in our stars, but in our lineup cards. But will the fault ultimately lie with Willie Randolph?


Anonymous said...

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erik love said...

Hey Met$tra, i need a prediction and some of your legendary advice.

Sports best owner, Arthur Blank, wants to buy the Braves.

Me being a Falcons fan, i love Mr. Blank as my main homie 50 cent said

Like a fat kid loves cake

My question to you is, can I really like the man that signs Chipper Jones pay check or will i be forced to change my football team and become a....a... A J-E-T-S FAN!!!!

What should i do?


Didn't that Jose Reyes-David Wright story in Newsday just warm your heart?

Schuyla' said...


Could you possibly link to our new Mets/Yankees blog in your sidebar? its called crosstown rivals Crosstown Rivals and it might be ugly, but who knows...


jdon said...

Lo Duca is overrated. An average (at best) defensive catcher and a decent hitter. He doesn't strike out a ton but he isn't that selective either. He hits into DPs a lot too. Also add to the mix the fact that if he gets on base he slows Beltran down. I want Beltran number 2.

Metstradamus said...

Erik, I wouldn't suggest being a Jets fan to my worst enemy right now.

Sports is so incestous right now, there really isn't a way to get around conflicts such as that.

You'll need a selective memory my friend.

fredstradamus said...

Erik ... what my brother said. The cap problems alone are enough to make me wear Orange in my new(ish) city of Cincinnati.

Brother M -- I was just kidding ... no way this boy roots for pumpkin-heads, but we gotta save guys like Erik when we can!