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Hilar Delgado
2005-01-26 12:58
by Mike Carminati

[That's "splitting hairs" in Spanish.]

The Carlos Delgado derby was won by the Marlins yesterday to the tune of four years and $52 M. Delgado is coming off his worst offensive season since 1997 and is 32, but even so I expect a big year from himóno reason, I just do. He'll be 37 when his contract ends, and I'll leave it to others to argue the merits of the contract length.

He's sure to be an upgrade over Jeff Conine, to whom the first base job fell after Hee Seop Choi was traded to the Dodgers. If Delgado matches his home run total for 2004 (32), a seven-year low that he accumulated while missing the entire month of June with injuries, he will establish a new high for Marlin left-handed batters, 31 set by Cliff Floyd in 2001.

Here are all the Marlins lefties to hit at least ten homers in a season:

Cliff Floyd312001
Cliff Floyd221998
Cliff Floyd222000
Cliff Floyd182002
Hee Seop Choi152004
Mark Kotsay122000
Cliff Floyd111999
Mark Kotsay111998

Also, here are their switch-hitters who matched the feat. I donít have left/right splits for each:

Orestes Destrade201993
Bobby Bonilla171997
Devon White171996
Terry Pendleton141995

Some will say that this proves that a left-handed hitter cannot succeed in Pro Player. They point to Choi's eight homers at home last year.

Well, I think that's pure bunkum or maybe eyewash. Could be prattle. Choi hit just seven homers on the road and none in his last 31 games with the Dodgers. Besides, Floyd became an established player under the burden of Pro Player. In his two seasons since leaving the Marlins, it's not at as his home run totals went through the roof.

The Delgado signing, I think, goes a long way to making the NL East a four-team race, with no one team looking all that powerful going into 2005.

The Mets settled on Doug "Retirement Ball" Mientkiewicz after the lost the Delgado round robin. That's a rather large dropoff in talent. It may put the Mets behind the other three in many preseason picks. I think they will all end up in the 85- to 92-win range. If the Marlins can get their young starters to gel, they are the clear-cut favorites.

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