Should the Mets bring back Carlos Delgado?

Carlos Delgado is probably sitting at home enjoying the off-season with his family.

But that won’t last for long. News reports surfaced today that Delgado will be playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, a sign that the veteran first baseman assumes he has something more to prove. After playing in only 26 games in 2009 before hitting the disabled list for good, Delgado had worked his way back into shape in hopes of returning in 2010. In his career with the Mets, Delgado has hit 104 home runs.

As Delgado’s 38th birthday looms, the Mets’ front office has decisions to make. Do they go with the experienced veteran, or do they take the recently-common Moneyball approach in an attempt to save money while getting younger? These are all questions that the Mets are asking right now. To give a better understanding of what each option entails, read on:

Option #1: Do not re-sign Delgado?

Delgado was injured for most of 2009 and the Mets are worried that they will end up in a financial mess if they re-sign him and end up with the same result. His age could be a factor at this point in his career, perhaps limiting him when it comes to playing day games after night games, etc. At his age, it would make a lot of sense for him to play in the American League as a designated hitter. However, the DH position can be very competitive. Among other weaknesses, Delgado is known for being very streaky at the plate and occasionally struggles with strikeouts. This option doesn’t look to appealing to me.

Option #2: Re-sign Delgado? Yep.

Ah, this is where I stand. The Mets need to keep his leadership in the clubhouse and his presence on the field. Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel had repeatedly stated that Delgado was the leader of his team. Delgado could also supply the Mets with their desperate need for a true power hitter. When healthy, Delgado is an RBI machine and a clutch home run hitter. Keeping Delgado will buy the Mets more time to find a legitimate first baseman for 2010, since Delgado will most certainly walk after this season. I simply cannot see him coming back.

The 2009 Mets were horrible at first base in Delgado’s absence, a clear indication of their lack of depth. Above anything, Daniel Murphy does not belong at first. If anywhere, he belongs on the bench or at the plate. He is too much of a disappointment on the field. How could you predict the Mets having anywhere close to the same or better record in 2010 if they are unable to field a position that needs to be addressed?

According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, Mets General Manager Omar Minaya will be traveling to watch Delgado in Puerto Rico next month. It will give the Mets a clue as far as what to expect from Delgado and what kind of money to offer him. Recent teammates of Delgado have also expressed their desire for the club to re-sign him.

Minaya’s decision will most likely be based on Delgado’s performance this winter and his physical health leading into Spring Training. Also, the pool of free-agents that are still available at the time of the decision will be a major factor. It would be a smart idea for Minaya to offer Delgado a smaller incentive-based deal that could be worth quite a bit depending on Delgado’s performance in 2010.

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