he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Beltran, do what's best for the teamh

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beltran, do what's best for the team

After the Mets lost the weekend series to the Yankees 2-1 Met fans across NY were not asking why El Duque got destroyed by the Yanks, or why Wang was so nasty. Instead they were asking "why is Carlos Beltran playing so poorly?" Beltran has not been the same since his collision with Giants first baseman, Rich Aurilla, and it came out earlier this week that Beltran's quad was still bothering him. With the injured quad Beltran can't create as much power from the left side of the plate, thus effecting his stronger side. Beltran has been awful since April ended. In May and June combined Beltran has hit just .204 with only 14 rbi in 40 games (147 at bats). The poor numbers after a hot start (.356 avg with 23 rbi in April) are strikingly similar to Beltran's disastrous first season in NY, in 2005.

In Beltran's injury plagued 2005 he hit a combined average of .293 after April and May, but once June came he once again was awful. Beltran hit .198 in June 2005. One of the differences from 2005 and 2007 is that in 2005 Beltran wasn't even drawing walks (he had only 23 after June, and only 4 in May and 9 in June), and this year Beltran has 32 walks in total, but only 1 in June. Even free swinger Carlos Gomez has one walk in June. After Beltran's awful June 2005 he went on to hit for respectable averages the rest of the months (.268 being the worst). Beltran did not have two months in which his average was below .250. Beltran is on pace to do so this year, which is disturbing. So now the argument comes, what do the Mets do with Beltran?

If Beltran is indeed hurting too much to be himself should the Mets DL him until he gets better? We've all seen Beltran isn't productive at the plate when he is playing through pain like he clearly is. However, even if Beltran is DL'd who takes his place? Ben Johnson? The same Ben Johnson who hit .185 in his brief time with the Mets a couple of weeks ago? While Johnson is a good athlete, he has never hit at the major league level, and he seemed lost when he was hitting two weeks ago. So then the question you ask yourself is would you rather have Beltran making outs at the top of the lineup or Johnson getting out at the bottom? With Beltran on the team the Mets are a better defensive team, but also Beltran's name value still makes most pitchers nervous. Even if he is struggling opposing pitchers still have to be careful not to make a mistake to Beltran, because he could put it over the fence. You also have to consider that if Beltran continues to struggle like this for another week or two suddenly half of New York is going to start booing him. As we saw in 2005, that doesn't help anyone.

So the question remains what do you do with Beltran? Personally, I DL him. with Johnson on the team the Mets can put Gomez in centerfield, which is a downgrade from Beltran, but Gomez can certainly hold his own out there. Also, and most importantly the Mets can't afford to have the Mets fans booing Beltran consistently again. The fans may already be over the edge, but we'll see tonight when Beltran comes to bat. Hopefully the Mets make the right decision, but I think the ball is in Beltran's court.

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