New York Mets: No Manny, No Problem!

Bill YadlonContributor IJanuary 25, 2009

Like any Red Blooded, sane New York Mets fan, I am all for signing Manny Ramirez. If they can get him at a slightly shortened deal of two years, maybe three if the price is good, I think its exactly what the Mets need.

He fills a need in the corner outfield spot, hitting fourth behind David Wright in a lineup where the Mets currently lack a bona fide cleanup hitter.

Also, at a time where he is on the market at a bargain in a year much more filled with talent than next year's free agent class, it makes all the sense in the world.

But I have essentially prepared myself for life without Manny. The penny-pinching Jeff Wilpon will instead count his cash and maybe add a fifth level to the his vacation house in Tahiti, while his baseball team continue to be second hand news in New York.

Putting aside the obvious big splash in Manny, I have devised a cost-feasible plan that even the Wilpons couldn't scoff at. 

Second base is currently a gaping, empty abyss. The Luis Castillo signing is one of the few poor decisions made by Omar Minaya, but it hurts nonetheless. If there is any way to move him, even if you have to eat some of his salary, it needs to be done.

The guy to get is Orlando Hudson. He hit .305 with 8 HRs and 41 RBI, .367 OBP, and .817 OPS,. Those are great numbers from your second baseman, and when you add that to his stellar defensive play, to me its a no-brainer.

A three-year $17 million-$18 million dollar deal should get this done. He also has been rumored to be in talks with Atlanta, so what's better than to address a need and stick it to a rival; sounds like killing two birds with one stone.

Obviously without Manny on board that leaves a bit of a hole in the LF spot. There are enough people to take up at-bats: Nick Evans, Angel Pagan, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Tatis, but none of these guys are really major league starting caliber outfielders, and certainly not acceptable for the New York Mets.

I say go after Adam Dunn. Sure he doesn't have a great batting average, but the guy draws walks (over 100 the past five years) to go along with a .381 OBP. He can also slug like few others. Chalk him up for 40 homeruns, which would add needed power to the latter part of the Mets lineup.

You hit him sixth and suddenly, the lineup is longer and the lack of a true cleanup hitter is less obvious. I am also not confident in Carlos Delgado's ability to continue his fantastic second half last season.

You give him a one-year deal with a team option, put up with his less than stellar defense in left. If he does well, you can let Delgado walk, and move him to first base next season and possibly give him a few more years. 

Catcher is a position I am shocked so few people have identified as a need for the Mets. Lets just be honest, but at his prime Brian Schneider was just barely a major league caliber starter on a horrible team, but that time has come and gone and he should do the same.

His one saving grace, his defense, has not even been that spectacular. I have also never heard anyone claim he calls a great game or benefit the pitching staff, so I have no problem letting him go.

A few options out there could be Miguel Montero of the Diamondbacks, the third D-Back on this list. The Red Sox have been eyeing him throughout the off-season and it makes sense, he is young for the position, 25, and has a good OBP with improving power for the position.

He has also improved his defense over the years, and seemingly wouldn't cost much with the Diamondbacks apparently committed to Chris Snyder in the long term.

Ideally, my choice would be Kelly Shoppach on the Indians. With Victor Martinez hurt last year, he played very well, showing great power and patience at the plate, posting an impressive .865 OPS for a catcher. He plays fantastic defense, considering his nickname, the SHOP-VAC.

With Martinez coming back, and top young Indians prospect Carlos Santana on the Horizon, Shoppach may become expendable, who who turn 29 early in the 2009 season, could still have three or four good years left in him. It might take a little more to get him, but it would be worth it considering his modest 400K+ salary last season.

So relax Mets fans, not getting Manny is not the end of the world, but there are still great, intelligent, need filling options out there to be had. If there is any time for the Mets to spend spend spend, it is now.

In a depleted market, a team with its own TV network,  and new stadium revenue, the Mets are in a financial position unlike many others where they can fill needs at bargain prices now in short-term deals, and let the extra payroll come off the books next off season.

The time is right, the players are right, its seems like a no-brainer to me.