Mets Rumors & News
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Back-to-Back nights on the pine for Carlos Delgado, back-to-back victories for the Mets. Coincidence? I think not.

Not because Damion Easley‘s bat in the lineup and glove at first transforms the Amazin’s into a roaring juggernaut, but rather because manager Willie Randolph has sent a loud message to his clubhouse that losing won’t be tolerated, players are expected to perform, and the lineup card will be dictated by who gives the team the best chance to win, not by salary figures and name recognition.

Delgado was not even allowed to run for himself after drawing a pinch-hit walk in the ninth inning last night as John Maine instead entered the game as a pinch-runner. Embarrassing? For sure. Does anyone care? Not in the least. If there are any hard feelings, you’ll find little sympathy around these parts for the .215 hitter.

Incidentally, the Daily News’ Adam Rubin points out today that Delgado ranks 20th in average and dead last in OBP among the 22 MLB first baseman with at least 160 at-bats. Time for fewer at-bats, me thinks.

Delgado will be back in the lineup this evening when the Mets face their favorite punching bag, Dodgers righthander Brad Penny. Penny is the sort of staff ace that usually elicits fear from the opposing dugout, however the Mets have abused Penny throughout his career and have to like their chances of extending their modest winning streak to three tonight.

Individually, Delgado’s performance tonight could significantly impact whether or not the anemic slugger remains in the lineup on Friday with the Dodgers’ rookie southpaw Clayton Kershaw set to take the hill. As Rubin points out on his blog, were righties Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda set to pitch on Friday and Saturday rather than Saturday and Sunday, the decision to sit Delgado against Kershaw for the final game of the series would almost be a no-brainer. Instead, benching Delgado on Friday would mean that Willie had sat him three times in four games. I’m all for accountability, and Delgado’s been awful, but even I think that’s a bit harsh. My gut tells me that if Delgado’s able to muster even a few good at-bats tonight he’ll be in the lineup again tomorrow. But if the lefty veteran looks lost out there tonight, I could see him sitting again on Friday.

One thing that fans have to consider is that, while I’m sure everyone will be clamoring for Delgado to sit again on Friday regardless of what he does at the plate tonight, you run the danger of suddenly locking yourself into a strict platoon at first base. Such a move would be premature, in my mind, without first acquiring a competent righty first baseman (no offense, Damion).

As we wrote in this space during Spring Training, a guy like the Oriole’s Kevin Millar would be perfectly suited for the role. His defense, while subpar, is no worse than that of Delgado, and he can also play a little bit in the outfield. He still has some thump in his bat, particularly against left-handers, and most importantly, he would be an invaluable addition to a clubhouse that has appeared fractured at times this season and last. He is an up-beat and jovial loud-mouth whose affable personality endears him to teammates of all cultures and classes. During his tenure with the World Champion Red Sox he was embraced by guys like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez as well as guys like Curt Schilling and Jason Varitek. He was widely credited with pulling all corners of the clubhouse together.

So Cowboy Up, Omar! If it costs the team a hot-hitting prospect like Dan Murphy (who’s path at third base is blocked by David Wright anyway), so be it.

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