Going into tonight's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets have hit a combined 37 homers as a team. Some of it has to do with Citi Field, some has to do with injuries (Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes) and some just can't be explained (3 . . . make that 4 homers on the season by David Wright). For the Mets to contend, they're going to have to add a bat with some pop to this lineup. I was originally in the boat of those who said to just live with who's currently in the lineup. But with 2 of your top 4 players out of the lineup for an extended period of time, I've changed my mind. And there's no one in our minor league system that can supplement that kind of production. Here are some suggestions:
Adam Dunn (1B/OF), Washington Nationals - Strictly for power, he would be the most obvious choice, as he has exactly 40 HR a year for the past 5 years. He's already hit a shot at Citi Field that reached the (soon to be named) bridge in right center. He could play 1B until Delgado gets back from the DL then move to one of the corner outfield positions. Also, I don't see Washington demanding too much in return in a trade, possibly a current roster player and a low-level prospect. However, I see 2 problems with bringing Dunn here. First, he strikes out way too much!! He's got 1318 strikeouts in his 8+ year career and isn't even 30 yet. To put things in perspective, Reggie Jackson had 1129 K's through 9 full seasons and ended his career at the age of 41, holding the record for most K's in a career with 2597. Second, he's a defensive liability, whether he's at 1B or in the outfield. This team makes enough mistakes on the field the way it is. I don't want to add a guy that's going to contribute to this issue. Basically, he's a skinnier version of Mo Vaughn.
Nick Johnson (1B), Washington Nationals - Another possible player from the Nats that could help the Mets situation. He doesn't quite have the pop that Dunn has, but he replaces that with the ability to get on base. And when need be, he could knock a few out of the park. He's a smart hitter, bringing to the table just what is needed in every situation. Just like Dunn, he wouldn't demand much from the Nats. Unlike Dunn, he would be a great defensive 1B. The one huge knock on him is that when Delgado gets back, a logjam would be created at 1B, for neither of them can play another position. Another issue is that he is injury prone (I still cringe when I picture him breaking his femur on a slide in short right at Shea a couple of years back). In his 7 year career, he has only reached 500 plate appearances in a season twice. Basically, he's a better option than Dunn, but he'd only be really useful until August.
Victor Martinez (C/1B), Cleveland Indians - After an off year last year, Martinez has shown up again as one of the premier hitters in the league. He's among the league leaders in BA and has the ability to hit 20 HR a season. And he does have the flexibility to switch positions, so he can flip flop between catcher and 1B. Unfortunately, that's where the positives end. First, considering Cleveland considers him as part of their core (Grady Sizemore fits this category too) they would probably demand a lot for him (F-Mart?), too much in my opinion. Second, his defensive abilities aren't that good. Basically, he could be compared to Mike Piazza, just a less bit pop and a less bit glove.
Mark DeRosa (anywhere except P, C and CF), Cleveland Indians - During the offseason, DeRosa was one of the players that I strongly felt would be a great 2B addition to this team (Orlando Hudson was the other, but that's for another posting). Luis Castillo and others have played well enough for me to not go completely nuts on how we missed out. But DeRosa could still be very helpful for the Mets. He could take over at 1B until Delgado gets back, then play in one of the corner outfield spots. He could also play in any of the infield spots when someone would need a day off. Add to that he's a guy with decent pop with a decent career BA (.278), and he could be the perfect fit. My only negative about him isn't even about him! It's a feeling that I have that he might not show that pop at Citi Field. But it's just a feeling. Basically, he could be the best option.
Matt Holliday (OF), Oakland Athletics - Another one of those no-brainers on the surface. He's a +.300-+30-+100 type of guy and plays a good outfield. Here's my 2 big gripes with getting him. First, we'd be getting him from Oakland, which seems to demand a lot more than anyone else does put of a trade. Second, it's Holliday's walk year, so what makes you think he'd be nothing more than a rental player. Basically, unless there's either a sign and trade involved here or a guarantee that he stays past this season, he is someone I would stay away from . . . for now.
Those are the most popular names out there available. There are others (for example, Russell Branyan - poor man's Dunn, Jim Edmonds - free agent) out there. But I don't know if I can handle a third straight season of being so close. The Mets have to do something, hopefully sooner rather than later, before this season is going, going, . . . Gone!