Jerry Manuel has stated this week that his core players will likely not recognize many of their teammates next year, and I'm sure that is the case, but you do have to wonder how many of the core players will be prominent members of the team this spring.
Carlos Delgado is coming off hip surgery and has had several setbacks, so his return to everyday lineup is not at all guaranteed. The coming months will determine his readiness.
If Delgado cannot play every day, he will most likely opt to retire or search for an American League team where he can be a designated hitter.
Delgado did have a strong presence in the clubhouse, both for better and for worse, and time will tell how his absence has affected this team.
Jose Reyes only played 36 games in 2009 and is probably undergoing surgery this fall or winter to repair his torn hamstring suffered earlier in the week. Reyes missed most of the season due to torn hamstring tendon which did not respond to treatment and rest.
Reyes is the spark of the lineup and the unequaled energy source, if he is not able to run and wreak havoc on the bases, his use on the team is greatly limited, by his own admission and those sentiments have been stated by most members of the Mets.
Carlos Beltran missed over two months of the season with a bone bruise and it has yet to be determined whether surgery will be necessary this winter.
Much has been said about Beltran's durability and toughness, and to be honest, he will need to prove that he can play every day in order to still be considered a core member of this team.
David Wright had a very disappointing 2009 season, with career low home runs (10) and RBI (71) but more upsetting was the unusually high strikeouts which total 140, which is a career high and a number that Wright has no intention of matching or exceeding the rest of his career.
As disappointing as Wright's numbers have been, his leadership role has increased more than ever with the absence of the other core players for most of the season.
Mike Pelfrey and Daniel Murphy in particular have been Wright's main responsibilities and he has been visibly tough on both of them when he felt that a push was needed to help their game and keep them focused the game at hand.
Even an unexpected two-week stint on the disabled list after being beaned by a Matt Cain fastball on Aug. 15 did not deter Wright from being in the dugout and clubhouse during that time to offer moral support and encouragement to his teammates.
Johan Santana is considered another core member, but mainly from a pitching standpoint, but as he is not an everyday player, he cannot possibly have the same influence on the team that a position player has during a 162-game season.
The Mets have a lot of decisions to make, but the core members will be watched closely to define their role in a winter that will surely see a lot of changes in the organization.
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