5 Bold Predictions for the New York Mets' Offseason
Coming off another disappointing season, general manager Sandy Alderson and the rest of the New York Mets front office need to hold on to the small amount of fan interest that remains.
While there won't be much money to be shelled out by the time winter meetings roll around, Alderson has more financial flexibility than he did at this time one year ago.
The main issue is whether Alderson can ink a contract extension with David Wright before the offseason is up. If both parties fail to reach an agreement, Wright may test the waters of free agency following the 2013 season—a situation that the Mets cannot afford.
Don't make the mistake of believing that Wright is the only task on the agenda for the front office. Terry Collins certainly needs some outfield help and the bullpen must be bolstered if the Mets are to have a chance at succeeding in 2013.
Bold moves—moves that may be questioned—need to be made this offseason, or 2013 won't be much better than this season's debacle.
Here are five bold moves for the Mets' offseason.
David Wright Will Sign a Contract Extension
All of the New York Mets community will be calling for Sandy Alderson's head if the general manager lets the franchise icon get away in free agency following the 2013 season.
Seeing as David Wright has repeatedly declined to engage in midseason contract extension talks, Alderson may have no choice but to put pen to paper sometime over the next five months.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Mets are expected to extend a $100 million offer to Wright and his agents when negotiations begin. While that may not be what the Mets' all-time hits leader may be looking for, it certainly won't be far off.
In a recent article by ESPN's Adam Rubin, Wright had this to say, among a few other things that would indicate he would like to stay in New York: "I've never considered myself that type of player where I'm going to go to wherever for the money."
The sooner the Mets and Wright come to an agreement the better. The chances of the Mets re-signing Wright decrease the longer Alderson dawdles.
R.A. Dickey Will Be Rewarded for His Dominant Season
R.A. Dickey's electric campaign was one of the few performances that New York Mets fans could reflect on with a sense of pride rather than embarrassment.
Sandy Alderson obviously knows this as well as anybody, and the general manager will reward the knuckleballer this offseason with an extension.
Like Wright, the Mets hold an option on Dickey for the 2013 season, but Alderson recently said (via ESPN's Matt Ehalt) that he wants to get negotiations out of the way.
As you all know, we have options on both those players and it's not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013. We're going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver.
The Mets are in the midst of an awkward process. It isn't quite a rebuilding period yet, as there are numerous core players who need to be retained, but there aren't enough quality players to keep the majority of the team intact.
There have been grumblings of Wright and Dickey being a package deal. That makes sense, as the organization can either spend big money on the two and look to them as the leaders, or let them leave the team and save money for a few years down the road.
This is a critical juncture for the organization, and Dickey is nearly as important as Wright to the future of the franchise.
Jason Bay Will Be Cut
Three seasons into his New York Mets career, it is safe to say that Jason Bay is definitively the worst signing in the organization's history.
Bay has served as a constant reminder of Omar Minaya. He is one of the only players on the roster whose salary is exponentially higher than the numbers would suggest.
The Wilpons don't seem too keen on cutting Bay this offseason due to the financial implications, but it needs to be done if the team is going to come close to a mediocre season.
It's obvious that Bay isn't going to return to the player that he was before he came to New York. It would be acceptable to keep him on the roster if his play was anywhere close to average, but a .165 average and a minus-1.1 WAR should spell the end of his baseball career.
You can commend his effort and work ethic all you want but there comes a time—especially in a big-market baseball city—when a player needs to be let go.
Bay's departure would open up a roster spot for minor league prospects who may not have an immediate impact, but they won't be as detrimental to the team's results as Bay has proved to be.
A Bullpen Makeover Will Take Place
The only two relief pitchers who should be considered locks to return in 2013 are Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco—Parnell due to his above-average second-half performance and high upside, and Francisco due to his two-year contract that was signed prior to last season.
Jon Rauch turned things around nicely thanks to a 3.08 ERA and .165 BAA throughout the second half of the season, but don't be surprised if Alderson lets him walk because of the documented inconsistencies of most relievers from year to year.
It seems like Parnell has been in the closer-grooming process for the last decade, and it's about time he takes the next step in his career. His fastball, 2.49 ERA and Francisco's ineffectiveness have opened the door wider than ever.
Ramon Ramirez, Sandy Alderson's prized possession in the Angel Pagan-Andres Torres swap with the San Francisco Giants, failed miserably in numerous instances.
We'll likely see Tim Byrdak and Josh Edgin next season, as well as young arms Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, but question marks still remain throughout the 'pen.
Daniel Murphy Will Be Traded
No matter how you look at the numbers, Daniel Murphy regressed this season. And if the New York Mets weren't completely convinced that he is the second baseman of the future already, Murph's 2012 campaign didn't help the cause.
Murphy's batting average fell from .320 to .291, his on-base percentage dropped 30 points, his slugging fell 45, and his OPS decreased by 75 points in 2012. While he has to take some of the blame for his diminished stats, the lack of quality hitters in the Mets lineup didn't do him any favors.
Teams inquired about Murphy's availability prior to the trade deadline, and we will soon find out whether there is a market for him this winter. Chances are, there will be teams looking to acquire Murphy this offseason.
Andy Martino previously revealed (via Twitter) that the Mets won't be trading Murphy for a reliever, but Alderson is always looking for new prospects, and Murphy could be the man to bring them in.
Watching Murphy in a different uniform would be strange, but his trade value might surpass his value as a Met.