The Mets have a lot to work on this coming off season, and like most winters, transactions should be a constant priority.
Here is my list of what I think are the most pressing items for management to consider:
1) Do not issue long term, high dollar contracts to any player. In this time of financial difficulty, no player is worth acquiring if that goes with the demand of being locked in for a long term deal.
2) Make sure that players are mentally and physically ready for the season in Spring Training and condition their minds and bodies accordingly. I realize that this past season the WBC wreaked havoc on the schedule and on the players, but team-first needs to be stressed from the top down.
3) Acquire an everyday left fielder, no insult to Corey Sullivan or anyone else who has been filling in this season, but this is a priority.
I know that I am setting myself up for Manny mania by making this list, and that is fine, but as a fan, i do not have realistic expectations that he will be a Met in 2010.
Marlon Anderson is an outfielder who was missed this year, he could also have made significant contributions to both the outfield and the bench but he was released.
4) Appoint David Wright as Captain, even though the official title means very little to the team itself, I do think it is important that the leadership be official and not implied or de-facto, that has gone on way too long in my opinion.
Being the "face of the franchise" has its perks no doubt but without the captain title in these modern days and times can be a double edged sword as Wright has the responsibility without the recognition.
Even though he has had his struggles this year, Wright's leadership has been stronger than ever and for that he should be commended. Even after he was beaned and placed on the DL, instead of staying home and resting, he was in the dugout and clubhouse cheering everyone on and providing guidance.
5) Do not overstate or understate the condition of a player when they are injured, it does not help the player, team or fans to do so, be honest about it so there can be little room for doubt or mistrust of the medical staff.
Injuries are a part of the game, the players and fans both accept and understand that, but if communication is not there, everyone loses. Much has been said about players being "soft" or "milking", fair or unfair, fans draw their own conclusions when the media makes more known about the injuries than the team itself.
6) Utitility infielders are no doubt important as we have found out with the injuries to our infielders, especially to Jose Reyes.
The Mets were foolish to let Damian Easley go, even though he was often injured himself, he could have made a big difference to this 2009 team.
Alex Cora did admirably filling in for Reyes most of the season but was forced to end his season with thumb surgery. Fernando Tatis also filled in for David Wright admirably during the two weeks after Wright's concussion.
7) Pitching has been an issue yet again in 2009, even though no one could have predicted the injuries to the starting pitchers, more needs to be done especially in the farm system to make development of pitchers a priority.
John Maine, Oliver Perez and Johan Santana all missing time with injuries hurt the Mets tremendously and even their replacements suffered injuries, most notably Fernando Nieve and Jonathan Niese.
8) If Carlos Delgado is not rehabilitated, do not resign him with the hope that he goes back to late 2008 form, it is not fair to Daniel Murphy or any other player with every day first baseman aspirations.
Delgado is one of the core players, with good reason, he has earned it, but keeping him on the roster when he cannot play 90% of the season is nothing more than a distraction.
9) Acquire a starting catcher even though Josh Thole appears to be on his way to becoming an everyday catcher. Thole is not ready and Brian Schneider has made peace with his days as a Met being numbered. The pitching staff needs a reliable catcher and the merits of Omir Santos dropped in value as the season progressed.
10) Carlos Beltran is another player whose health is questionable at this point, and if he cannot play in centerfield on a consistent basis with his knee bruise, then an acquisition needs to be made, because honestly I am not sure that Angel Pagan fits into the Mets plans.