Is Carlos Delgado the next Frank Thomas? Or worse yet, is he the next Mike Piazza? Sammy Sosa? Barry Bonds? (steroid implications aside). So asks Joel Sherman of the NY Post who’s headline – always in that in-your-face extra-bold verdana – reads "DELGADO ON HIS WAY OUT AT FIRST". With aging veterans out of work, and a rash of young talent being locked up, 2008 really feels like the end of one era and the marked beginning of the next.
An arbitrary fun-fact from Sherman, "In the past 25 years, just one champion has had a regular first baseman older than 32 (the 2001 Diamondbacks with 37-year-old Mark Grace)." Delgado’s making $16MM this season, and although 35 is often a notorious age at which batters decline, this cliff fall is not the norm. Still, a contract of that magnitude will keep Delgado in New York for at least a short while longer.
In Buster Olney’s latest, he speculated Delgado’s release, which seems to be slightly more than speculation at this point. Olney cited Xavier Nady or Scott Hatteberg as potential replacements should the Mets want to trade for a replacement. Nady, however, might not be available until the Pirates say "uncle."
Should the 35-yr old Delgado reenter free agent land, what kind of interest will there be? Most likely less than there was for Frank Thomas, but someone would throw him a bone as he’d be low risk, high reward. Not unlike Thomas, PECOTA projects a .265-20-80 season from the veteran and while that’s not a $16MM season, it’s still adequate production for many teams from a corner infielder or DH.
By Nat Boyle