Last week’s question was: Which first baseman who will be an eligible free agent in 2010 would you like to see on the team?
Russell Branyan: 8%
Eric Hinske: 0
Nick Johnson: 40%
Adam LaRoche: 10%
Chad Tracy: 8%
Dmitri Young: 0
Carlos Delgado: 18%
Ross Gload: 0
Nomar Garciaparra: 10%
Kevin Millar: 8%
The vast majority of you picked Nick Johnson with the runner-up being Carlos Delgado. Is Johnson really that much of an upgrade over Daniel Murphy?
Johnson only has seven home runs in his two stints this season with the Nationals and the Marlins and only five in 2008. He’s had only one season where he hit more than 20 homers. He does have a good batting average at .296 and .273 lifetime, and on-base percentage at .419 this year and .400 for his career.
Murphy has the same number of home runs and 10 fewer RBI in almost 50 fewer at-bats than Johnson. Batting average (.249) and on-base percentage (.312) is what hurts Murphy. After a solid shortened first season (.313 BA, .397 OBP in 131 at-bats), either the pitchers have figured out how to pitch to him or Murphy’s regressed offensively.
They both have made about the same amount of errors (nine for Johnson, eight for Murphy), but three of Murphy’s errors were as a left fielder. Granted Murphy’s played 400 fewer innings at first than Johnson has this year.
But Murphy is still young both as a Major League first baseman and as a hitter. He should only get better with time and experience. Murphy comes cheap. Johnson would likely command a fairly high salary and long-term contract. So, is it worth it?
Interestingly, 18 percent of you want Delgado back. If you could pick him up for another year at a fairly cheap price, then the Mets might take a gamble on him. He’d want to come back with a vengeance after having to sit out most of the season. Then again, he could injure himself again. There is also the thought that he needs to leave so David Wright can assert more leadership in the clubhouse and that he’s part of the “core” that needs to be broken up. There is merit there, too.
The Mets might be better off going with a veteran first baseman who has power and who is looking for only a year or two contract at a relatively low price. Then Murphy can be the backup if he gets injured or doesn’t produce.
For this week’s Mets poll question, let’s completely switch gears. We all know that Wright is out on the 15-day disabled list with post-concussion symptoms from getting beaned in the head by a fastball from Matt Cain in Saturday’s game against the Giants.
Instead of baseball, maybe it should be called beanball. No fewer than three people were hit in the head whether it was being thrown at or getting a line drive to the noggin. The Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda was the recipient of that line drive Saturday night, but he was none the worse for the wear, suffering just a slight headache. Ian Kinsler also got hit in the helmet by a pitch on Saturday. Unlike Wright and Kuroda, Kinsler was back in the lineup the next day.
Focusing more on Wright and Kinsler since pitchers don’t wear helmets when they’re on the mound, there has been a lot of talk recently about the protective power of the brain buckets.
This week’s poll question is: Should Major League Baseball require players to wear a new, better-padded helmet, even if it means making it more uncomfortable for the batter?