New York Mets: 4 Things Team Must Do Before Spring Training Games Start Up
You have to possess a certain level of patience if you are a fan of the New York Mets these days.
They haven't had a winning season since 2008 and have actually taken a step back each of the past two years.
Better days are ahead, however, judging by their minor league system, which was recently ranked No. 14 overall in the major leagues.
General manager Sandy Alderson is not one to be persuaded by public opinion, as he has been slowly but surely improving the edges of the roster and, more importantly, the farm system.
Spring training begins on Monday with the mandatory report date for pitchers and catchers.
They still have a bit of work to do before games actually begin. Here are four of them.
Terry Collins Closed-Door Meeting with Frank Francisco
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It's not just that Frank Francisco was a bad closer last year—which he was.
The problem is that he has been awarded the largest contract during Sandy Alderson's tenure with his two-year deal worth $12 million.
At the time, not many people were crazy about it, considering he is a poor man's Armando Benitez, and he is certainly not worth the largest contract under any GM.
Last year, he was the primary reason there was zero stability in the bullpen.
For whatever reason, Terry Collins has announced that Francisco will remain the closer as long as he's healthy.
If I am Collins, I would let Francisco know that he is now pitching for his role, because his spot can easily be filled with the recently acquired Brandon Lyon or Bobby Parnell.
Last year's 1.61 WHIP or 5.53 ERA will not cut it if the Mets are to make any noise in the top-heavy NL East.
Sign Michael Bourn
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At first, I was hesitant to approve of the pursuit of Michael Bourn.
Given the Mets' options, however, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to add a proven base stealer and catalyst at the top of the order.
Bourn has harassed the Mets in the past, and it would be beneficial for them to add his ability to get on base and play solid defense to a team that does not possess what scouts call "major league-caliber" outfielders.
The 30-year-old is a lefty hitter—which the Mets have a bevy of—and does not hit for much power, but they can still win without having a slugger in the outfield.
Bourn has averaged 51 steals per 162 games in his career and has won two Gold Gloves.
They could definitely use the boost that he would provide, and as long as this draft pick situation is ruled in favor of the Mets, it could certainly come to fruition.
By signing Bourn, it sends the signal that Alderson is interested in competing in 2013, and that is just as important to the fans as it is to veterans such as David Wright and Johan Santana.
Name David Wright Captain
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This was already a topic in the past, but by signing an eight-year contract the title now seems like a mere formality.
Anybody that can put up with the constant bickering that has occurred within this organization should be named captain under those circumstances alone.
Factor in a tremendous work ethic, contributions off the field and possession of virtually every franchise offensive statistic, and Wright certainly qualifies to be named as the team captain.
For some reason, the organization has been hesitant to name captains, even with a bevy of worthy players within the past decade.
The last official captain was John Franco.
Wright has conducted himself professionally, and he will be with the team until he retires.
Jeff Wilpon stated that it will be up to the players to vote for the captain position. They should make the right move and give Wright his due.
Announce That Johan Santana Will Not Participate in the WBC
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First of all, it is hard to believe that Johan Santana would even consider pitching in a meaningless tournament given his injury history.
Granted, he is a very proud native of Venezuela, but that does not mean he should risk having another year cut short due to injury.
The Mets granted him his wish prior to the 2008 season with a tremendous contract extension that most teams would not feel comfortable giving to an undersized pitcher who is close to 30 years old.
He has stated his intentions to represent his country in the tournament.
Before this story gains any steam, GM Sandy Alderson should impose his authority and announce that the Mets do not believe it is in their best interests to allow Santana to play in the tournament.
He should be developing a relationship with their new catchers rather than throwing stressful innings.
If they do not, they risk mitigating his contributions to the team in the final year of his contract, negate his trade value and appear weak as an organization.