Mets need hitting more than pitching

We saw it against Atlanta all last weekend. We saw it Thursday night against Tim Lincecum. We’ve generally seen it all year when Johan Santana pitches.

The Mets don’t need a fifth starter. They need another bat.

There was hopeful talk about getting Cliff Lee before Seattle traded him to Texas. There is vague talk about getting Ted Lilly from the Cubs.

The thing is, the Mets starters from No. 1 through No. 4 are about as good as you’re going to get for a contending team apart from the upper, upper echelon of the leagues in terms of pitching — the Yankees and the Padres.

What the Mets need, after another futile night at the plate, is another bat.

Carlos Beltran is back, yes. How will his right knee hold up, and how long will he need to get back into real playing shape, remains to be seen. Jose Reyes’ lingering injury is more of a concern every day. Without Reyes, the Mets’ engine is essentially at a stand-still.  Buster Olney at ESPN ranked Reyes the Majors’ sixth most irreplaceable player for his team, and that sounds about right. Olney was discussing Dustin Pedroia and how his injury would impact the Red Sox. Olney ranked Reyes right behind Albert Puljos, Adrian Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Cabrera, and Joe Mauer, saying of Reyes: “When he started hitting, they started winning.” Olney might as well have added, without him, it gets a lot tougher for the Mets to win.

David Wright and Angel Pagan have had amazing years at the plate. But beyond them, and with an injured Reyes, the Mets’ lineup is lacking. Ike Davis had an inspiring stretch after he was called up, but has cooled off. Jason Bay appears to be a lost cause this year, but you need to start him nearly every day because of what you’re paying him. The catching — both behind the plate and at bat — is about as solid you’re going to get outside of Mauer.

Basically, with the personnel the Mets have around the field, there is only one spot that you can target: second base.

That’s why the Mets need to Target Baltimore’s Ty Wiggington, an infielder who can play second base and add some pop. He’s had a surprising All-Star year. Sure, he could cool off, but what are your options? Alex Cora may have a great baseball mind, but you can’t have a .222 hitter batting second. Luis Castillo is hurt, and is often ailing when he’s back on the roster. Ruben Tejada is a decent back-up option in the middle infield, but with Reyes’ lingering woes, Tejada may need to play more at shortstop.

The Mets need to get Ty Wigginton. They can get by with a committee at fifth starter. Hisanori Takahashi is much better suited in the bullpen, but he can spot-start at No. 5 every once in a while. Pat Misch, an All-Star at Triple-A, could be worth a look. Once his rehab is done, so could (shudder) John Maine (though not, please not, Oliver Perez). This is the fifth starter slot we’re talking about, remember. The one who can get skipped if the rotation and the days off align. The one that is, by definition, the worst of the five starting pitchers.

With the Mets’ lacking at the plate right now, you almost say they need to afford putting a bum out there in No. 5, if it means upgrading their lineup. The Braves upgraded, and may be the team to beat in the NL East.

Forget Lilly. Go get Wiggington for second base.

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2 Responses to Mets need hitting more than pitching

  1. Angel Pagan says:

    “The catching — both behind the plate and at bat — is about as solid you’re going to get outside of Mauer.”

    Angel Pagan just threw up a little in Angel Pagan’s mouth… before Angel Pagan realized this makes perfect sense—because you watch 1 out of every 5 games, when your bandwagon boytoy DICKEY is pitching to Josh Thole.

    No, Angel Pagan is not bitter.

    Hey—look—it’s a Ba-Ha-Has Homer! These only happen every few months, you know, outside of April. We should commemorate this somehow in your blog for your 3 readers.

    • Bryan says:

      I actually had to re-read the blog post, because I didn’t believe I actually wrote that.

      What, you have no faith in the BTB catching trio?

      Three readers? I think it it is negative-3 readers, and shrinking by the post. Pero, muchas gracias por leer mi blog.

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