Mets Holiday Shopping - Part 3 - Starting Rotation
Mets Holiday Shopping - Part 5 - Team Chemistry

Mets Holiday Shopping - Part 4 - Offense

In Part 4 of the series on the Mets, I look at revamping the offense and you might be surprised at how you hear I might accomplish that...
When you look at the final offensive numbers of the 2009 Mets, it is clear that the team lacked punch when you consider they led the National League in Batting Average but they also were dead last in Home Runs. In fact, they were the only team in baseball to fail to reach the 100 home run plateau and when you consider the Phillies cranked out 224 home runs, you can quickly see the Mets need more offensive sizzle.

The problem in identifying a solution is quantifying home much of that lack of power was due to injuries, how much was due to the spacious confines of CitiField, and how much was due to a lack of power. The answer is likely a combination of the three but there were other factors at work as well.

David Wright and Carlos Beltran were hitting the ball well in the first 2 months of the season with both of them in the .330 batting average range but when Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado went down in late May, it became painfully obvious scoring runs would be difficult without the team catalyst AND the team's big home run hitter. Beltran and Wright were able to hold the fort for about a month until Beltran wenf down in late June. In fact, the Mets actually pulled to within one game of the first place Phils by the first week of July before the roof fell in.

Injuries are only part of the story as the dimensions of CitiField should illustrate to Omar Minaya that the priority should be speed and athleticism rather than power. Now do not get me wrong--you need some power in the lineup but the most important thing this Met lineup needs is a player that can field his position, run the bases, and hit in the clutch. In Part 1 of this series, I suggested Bengie Molina at the catcher position which would give the Mets more offense from that position.

I would follow that up with re upping Carlos Delgado for one year provided he looks good enough in winter ball which will enhance the team's power numbers. Then I would work out a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for Carl Crawford whom I think would be a better left fielder fit for the team than Matt Hoilliday or Jason Bay.

This will also improve the outfield defense as well as provide the team with an incredibly lethal base stealing combination in Reyes and Crawford. With either or both of them on base, it will give Beltran, Wright, Delgado, and Francoeur plenty of RBI chances and will force teams to throw fastballs to 4 incredibly good fastball power hitters. What this will also accomplish is returning the Mets to their 2006 style offense where first inning runs put immediate pressure on the other team both at home and on the road.

These changes will allow the Mets to tailor a team to their ball park and at the same time, give the lineup a much needed balance of power and speed that will help the Mets grind through tough one-run games. These changes will also improve the overall team defense as an outfield of Crawford, Beltran, and Francoeur might be the best in team history with Molina, Reyes, and Castillo providing the great middle defense that all championship caliber teams need. If you can move Castillo and rope in free agent Orlando Hudson, it might even make the defense better but Castillo is still a very serviceable defensive player if you can not swing that deal.

These are not the flashy changes Met fans are hoping for but dollar for dollar gives the Mets the most bang for their buck and will allow Omar Minaya to spend big money on a starting pitcher. For that reason, these moves may not spike season ticket sales but I guarantee they will spike win totals for the Mets and that will be the true barometer of the team's success. And to paraphrase a line from the movie Field of Dreams, "Build the team this way and they will come."
And if you are beginning to think about Christmas gifts, why not something from your favorite team? For Mets fans out there, check out these New York Mets Holiday Gift Ideas


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