Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bizarro World: Mets and Marlins

When the schedule-makers put Marlins-Mets on the slate for late May, they imagined two teams in different positions. Surely the Mets would lead the NL East by 2.5 games, soar with confidence, and start thinking about playoff possibilities. The Marlins? 5-6 games back seems about right, maybe even more than expected.

So how did these teams find themselves on the opposite sides of the fence? When in doubt, you need look no further than the NY media. I give, for your immense satisfaction, this NY Post story highlighting this very theme. Here are a few good excerpts:

"The Mets and Marlins are perfect foils, and the series which begins tonight should demonstrate that. The Mets are primarily a group of expensive, underachieving veterans. The upstart Marlins have the lowest payroll in the majors ($21.8 million) and are the biggest surprise of the first two months."

Not to mention that much of the above paragraph is due to trades with each other. The Marlins acquired Mike Jacobs+ for Delgado. In the separate Paul Lo Duca deal, Mr. Lo Duca isn't even with the Mets anymore, while Gaby Hernandez looks poised for a promising career. Larry Beinfest played a significant role in wrecking Omar Minaya and the Mets.

"It didn't help Reyes that the player to whom he is often compared, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, got off to an MVP-caliber start. Ramirez is batting .305 with nine home runs and 13 stolen bases despite a recent 6-for-39 slump that dropped his batting average almost 40 points and seemed to coincide with being moved from his customary leadoff spot to No. 3."

It's probably not the best time to rave about Hanley, considering he's in a terrible slump, but the Reyes-Hanley contest is a dead argument right now. Even Hanley's defense is better these days.

"Perhaps the bigger culprits in the Mets' demise have been Delgado and Beltran. They are paid handsomely to produce runs but have combined for 12 homers and 53 RBIs. Compare that to the combined 27 home runs and 65 RBIs of Marlins Dan Uggla and Mike Jacobs.

To further illustrate the futility of Beltran and Delgado, compare their numbers to those of Cantu and Jeremy Hermida, the fourth and fifth most productive hitters in the Marlins lineup. They've combined for 13 home runs and 48 RBIs."

And to make matters worse, the Marlins' hitters are on the way up, while some of these Mets are declining rapidly. Finally:

"The Mets are built to win now. That's why they traded talented outfielder Carlos Gomez and three young pitchers for Santana. It also played a part in the trade of controversial prospect Lastings Milledge for catcher Brian Schneider and Church, who has been a revelation in right field.

The Marlins are built for the future, which is why they traded slugger Miguel Cabrera and workhorse lefty Dontrelle Willis for a package of prospects. But as June approaches, it's the Marlins who appear to have most of the pieces in place while the Mets scramble for answers."

That last part tickles the throat like the gooey warmth of a chocolate souffle.


Luis77 said...

For a completely different view of the Marlins from a member of the NYC area media, check out this clown's column at the NJ Star Ledger:

DSponge said...

...especially your chocolate souffle.