Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mets Should Grab Sexson

With the news that the Mariners have finally cut Richie Sexson loose, one wonders whether he's going to catch on with another team. The AP article plays up the fact that Sexson is hitting just .218 in 2008, and struck out the second-most times in baseball since 2005 (behind Grady Sizemore, who's not getting released any time soon - and which shows that strikeouts are not necessarily the worst thing in the world for a batter).

The Mariners are on the hook for the remainder of Sexson's $14 million 2008 salary, so any team that picks him up will pay only the MLB minimum (~$500,000). It says here that this team should be the Mets.

What's that? you ask. Don't the Mets already have a weak first baseman "hitting" .246/.324/.448 (AVG/OBA/SLG)? Yes, Carlos Delgado has been awful this season. The Mets would not replace Delgado, only sit him when the opposing pitcher is a southpaw, against whom he's managed a Sexson-like 635 OPS this year (and only 739 over the last three seasons).

Right now, the Mets are carrying Chris Aguila and Nick Evans, two righty batters who are limited to first base or left field. Neither is much of a prospect. Aguila is 29 years old with a career 624 OPS. Evans is 22, and put up a nice 927 OPS in double-A Binghamton this year, but PECOTA predicted him to hit just .236/.302/.373 in the Show, so let's not get too excited. And neither has the elusive veteran goodness that could convince Mets brass to sit Delgado against lefties. That's where Sexson comes in.

Of course, about half the teams in baseball have a chance to pick Sexson off waivers before the Mets can, but few teams both have a need for the right side of a first base platoon and have such a weak bench that the signing makes sense.

The Mets are in win-now mode, so they should let Evans develop further in the minors and sign Sexson, who has hit.344/.423/.623 against lefties this season and .258/.374/.507 against southpaws over the last three seasons. Delgado is hitting.260/.353/.489 against righties this year, and.288/.386/.567 against righties over the last three seasons. Put those guys together, and you have a solid platoon that costs the Mets nothing.