I like the way Gangsta (Jerry Manuel) is showing the Mets and the media that he is willing to make changes for the good of the team.
He has made it clear that this is a "team" sport. You will win as a team and lose as a team. Plain and simple. No more individual accomplishments when you fail to win your division two years in row.
Gangsta is thinking of putting Castillo to lead off and move Reyes in the two or three slot in the lineup. Reyes has demonstrated he is capable of hitting for average and power. Reyes is not needed to steal as many bases with this lineup but it is always good to know the threat is still there when he's on base.
In order for Castillo to be forgiven for his poor performance in 2008, he needs to show the fans he wants to be in New York. Last year he was negligent in not taking care of his body. At the end of the season, Castillo was a shell of himself and did not belong on the field. He needs to play hard and start hot and all will be forgiven.
Gangsta mentioned putting Beltran in the two spot of the order. Beltran is more of a line drive hitter capable of hitting home runs. Having him on base will allow him to be more aggressive for Delgado, Wright, Church. He should see better pitches to hit if either Reyes or Castillo is leading off.
Gangsta has a full year to run spring training his way and teach his system to a team that is desperate for sound leadership. The Mets have a nice blend of youth and experience. If Gangsta can get the veterans on board with his "team first" concept, the younger players will follow.
This is where Willie Randolph failed and it cost him his job. At times, Willie seemed lost and not willing to seek advice from his coaches. To be a good leader, you need to rely on the perspectives of the men you hired on your staff.
Gangsta will have a much stronger bullpen with the additions of K-Rod and J.J. Putz. Gone is the one stopper mentality that cost the Mets the division once Billy Wagner went down. K-Rod will be the stopper but J.J. Putz is more than capable of closing games out and give K-Rod a few nights off. Again, Gangsta's "team first" concept will make this work.
Jerry Manuel is the Gangsta. As a leader of the gang, he will show them that wearing the blue, orange, and black of the Mets in 2009 will be colors that every player and coach will be proud to wear. The gang's all back and much stronger. These players will be more prepared to face the challenges that Gangsta has for them.