Just about everybody who follows the Mets agreed that their top priority is getting another starting pitcher. Well guess what? Everybody was wrong. It’s now official. The Mets’ rotation is fine, thank you, but the offense … just stinks.
Jason Bay stinks. Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas stink. Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo are back, but their return has disrupted the clubhouse, especially team leader Francouer, who still stinks and now wants traded. In addition, Mets nation has determined that David Wright and Jose Reyes aren’t winning players, and Ike Davis strikes out too much and is slump prone. That just leaves Angel Pagan. Oh what the heck, he stinks too.
New York fans are fed up, but I can offer a solution. Let’s clear them all out – every last one of them that swings a bat for a living. We’ll bring in a new player at every position, and if GM Omar Minaya hurries he can have this new lineup in place by tonight’s crucial opener of a six-game homestand. After series with St. Louis and Arizona, New York has big visits to Atlanta and Philadelphia. This is the time to pull the trigger. We’ll be back in the race in no time.
What exactly will we do? We’re going to call up a few prospects. We’ll sign a few veteran minor leaguers who have outs on their deals if a big league club comes calling, and even bring back a former Met. So this won’t cost the Mets much at all.
Let’s get started. No time to waste. Below is my proposed lineup:
Esteban German, 2B – The one-time Oakland top prospect is second in the PCL with 32 steals. He’s batting just .267 in Class AAA, but the 32-year-old has a .397 career OBP in the minors and once stole 161 bases over two seasons. He’s hit .278 in parts of eight big league seasons. Mets fans won’t even notice the difference at the top of the lineup. Trust me on this.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF – The 22-year-old Mets farmhand has hit .298 with 32 doubles, 16 homers and 58 RBI in 86 games at Class AA Binghamton His .876 OPS fits perfectly in the No. 2 hole for this power-packed lineup. Can you say so long Beltran?
Ruben Rivera, LF – That’s right. Ruben Rivera, once a better Yankees prospect than his cousin Mariano. Rivera was a bust both in the field and the clubhouse, but he’s torn it up in Mexico the last four years, and if you can hit in the Mexican League you can hit for the Mets. The 36-year-old hasn’t sniffed the major leagues since 2003, but he’ll replace Bay just fine.
Dan Johnson, 3B – We’re not fooling around here. Johnson, 30, is the top power hitter in the minors this season and we’re putting him right in David Wright’s spot. The lefthanded hitter has 28 homers and 88 RBI in 92 games for Durham and he’s hot, blasting 10 long balls this month. A one-time 18-homer man for the A’s, Johnson was the MVP of the Pacific Coast League in 2004 and is likely to garner the same award in the International League this year. That’s good enough for me.
Mike Hessman, 1B – The 32-year-old Mets farmhand is the consummate AAAA player. He’s homered 20 times in a season in 11 of his 15 years, but has also fanned 100 times in 11 campaigns – easily fitting in where Davis left off. Hessman has 329 minor league homers and has gone deep 13 times in 168 major league at-bats. He is batting .279 with 18 homers and 58 RBI in 63 games for Buffalo.
Jay Gibbons, RF – Gibbons once sent a letter to every major league club looking for a job. Well, we just found him one. The 33-year-old may be challenged defensively these days, but who needs defense when you’re batting .335 with 17 homers and 75 RBI in 83 games at Class AAA.
Hector Gimenez, C – This 27-year-old Pirates farmhand has found his stroke this season, batting .306 with 13 homers and 52 RBI in 68 games at Altoona. He’s also batting a much-needed .343 with runners in scoring position. But the Mets better hurry. The Pirates need catchers and may promote him soon.
Chris Woodward, SS – It’s not easy to find a quality shortstop on quick notice. I passed on a few others to bring back the veteran who has 10 years in the major leagues, including two with the Mets. The 34-year-old is batting just .234 with five homers and 30 RBI in Class AAA, but the former 54th-round draft pick has grit and determination, something Reyes will never have.
This plan will work; power, speed, clutch hitting, defense and veteran experience. Combining this lineup with the Mets starting pitching is the plan for the postseason. At least these guys will be able to score one stinking run.
See you in the postseason. If not, we may never again see Jerry Manuel or Minaya again.