Like most Mets fans, I hate Mr. Minaya and can't wait until his reign of terror is done. I hate Omar so much, even if the Mets win the World Series in 2010 I will still hate that man. But that doesn't take away the fact that he has my dream job, being the general manager of the New York Mets.
This will be a slideshow that will focus on every position, who should start that position, what the Mets have done so far, and what they need to do. Every position will end with a verdict which will be who is going to play that position.
I hope you enjoy my slideshow.
Since the last game of the season, the Mets have been chasing after former San Francisco Giants catcher Bengie Molina.
Molina had a fantastic 2009, hitting a career high 20 homers while batting in 80 runs with a workable .265 average. Bengie has averaged 18 home runs during his three year stint with the Giants, hitting 22 homers per 162 games. In 2008, Molina drove in 95 runs, which is a career high; he also hit 16 homers with a .292 average that year.
Molina is a very obvious answer for a very big problem. The Mets lost two catchers in 2009—backup Ramon Castro who was traded for a minor league pitcher in May and Brian Schneider who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on December 1.
This leaves Omir Santos, Josh Thole, and newly acquired Henry Blanco and Chris Coste as the only catchers on the club.
Omir Santos needs more time before he can ever be a regular catcher. Henry Blanco and Chris Coste are career backups. And Josh Thole only played 17 games last year.
Another catcher who would be a nice option is Rod Barajas, who had a solid '09 campaign with 19 homers and 71 RBI. If all talk with Molina drops and he signs with another team, the Mets would have to go after Barajas hard.
VERDICT: The Mets need Molina more then any other catcher. He's a veteran and he can hit for power as well as average. Molina under a two year contract isn't bad at all.
Carlos Delgado's four year stint with the Mets has ended. After injury shortened 2009, Delgado should not be signed by the Mets. His career is almost over, and for him to be effective he has to become a full time DH. There isn't a good argument to keep Carlos, but there is a good one to keep the other first baseman, Fernando Tatis.
Tatis has put together two very solid years with the Mets and can play more then just one position. He would be a solid utility man as well as a secondary first baseman.
This would lead to the Mets trying to find a starting first baseman, and looking at all the current free agents there are a few that could easily take Delgado's place.
Russell Branyan catches the eye. He's coming off a career year, hitting 31 homers with 76 RBI and a .251 average. There hasn't been much talk about Branyan besides that he wants a multi-year contract. Branyan would bring power to the Mets, and he would be cheaper then Delgado.
Another eye catcher is Hank Blalock, a proven veteran who has pop. Hank batted a messily .234 but with 25 homers with 66 RBI. I don't think Blalock would be a good fit with the Mets, but he could be a last minute option.
The last and my favorite option is Adam LaRoche, who put together a fantastic 2009 with 25 homers, 83 runs driven in, and a .277 average. LaRoche is a very solid player. He averages 22 homers a season with 77 runs batted in along with a .274 lifetime average. LaRoche signing with the Mets would never happen, at least not now, so I'll just leave this as a dream.
VERDICT: I would go after Branyan but not very hard. Tatis is the only real choice on the list of free agents. He's a solid player and a first base platoon of Murphy, and Tatis for a year isn't at all a bad thing.
Luis Castillo isn't going to be traded. And that isn't such a bad thing. When I look at the free agent second basemen, Castillo is better then all but one—Orlando Hudson. Hudson, to me, is the third, maybe second, best second baseman in baseball, and he being on the Mets would be awesome. That's the only bad thing about not trading Castillo.
Luis had a comeback 2009. He batted .302 and stole 20 bases, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did that again in 2010. His problem is he isn't a great fielder; he doesn't charge grounders or use two hands for the average pop fly, as we all know. There's an easy way to fix that, just make sure he takes his grounders and pops before every game, but do it for an hour, really pound the importance of fielding into his head.
VERDICT: Castillo stays with the Amazins', and he can spend an hour before every game with David Wright and Jose Reyes learning how to handle the average grounder and pop fly.
I was thinking about pulling a joke on you guys and explaining why the Mets need to trade David Wright and sign Adrian Beltre. But there's no way I could convince you readers that I was serious, so let me make my few points on how Wright could put together a comeback year instead of writing a very unbelievable slide.
David Wright will never hit 30 homers again if he has to play half his season in CitiField, that is a fact. That doesn't mean he won't drive in 100 to 130 runs or bat .300 to .330 every year because he will become a great doubles hitter in that stadium. Wright needs to get over last year. He needs to forget about the beaning he took; if he does that, he is already on his way to having another one of those MVP years.
VERDICT: Wright will have a year like 2007, just take 10 of those homers and turn them into doubles.
Jose Reyes has to stay with the Mets. I get sick every time I hear someone wanting to trade Reyes. He's a great batter and fielder. He needs to learn base running; he's fast but doesn't know how to properly do a hit and run or move from second to third on a pop fly. This is a simple problem to fix—get one of the greatest base runners in Mets history to teach him, Mookie Wilson.
I wanted the Mets to sign Omar Vizquel before the White Sox did because he would be a great assist for Reyes. But that's in the past.
VERDICT: There's not much to say. Reyes plays the whole year, leads the league in triples and steals a bunch of bases, and if things go right, scores a bunch of times.
The Mets need to sign Jason Bay. I don't care if he wants a six year contract, I would sign him.
Bay has had an amazing career. He's 162 game average is 33 homers, 107 RBI, 34 doubles and 102 runs with a career .280 average. That's an MVP year in any league.
If Bay did sign with the Mets, which looks like will happen but who knows, his power would drop, but his doubles would skyrocket and his average would grow a few points.
Other very eye catching free agents in this position are Matt Holliday, Johnny Damon, Scott Podsednik, Garret Anderson, and Endy Chavez.
Holliday isn't in the picture, and I think Bay is better.
Anderson is at the end of his career, but he could be a backup plan. Every Mets fans cries over leadership; Anderson would bring that leadership, but it would have to be cheap.
Damon would be a good fit in that ballpark, and if Bay signs with another team and Damon is still on the market, I would like to see an offer out there from the Mets.
Podsednik would be great with the Mets. His style of play is perfect for CitiField, but just like Damon, I would only sign him if Bay went with another team.
Then there's Endy Chavez, the perfect fourth outfielder. I would sign him now; if Bay signs later on, Chavez is what he was in '06. If Bay doesn't sign, Chavez could be in the running for a full time job in left. He's like Podsednik, a very fast guy who wouldn't be hurt by that stadium.
VERDICT: Bay signs five year contract and is a success; Chavez becomes fourth outfielder. On a side note, Holliday signs with the Cards.
This is a no issue position. Beltran is one of the best center fielders in baseball and will have a very good 2010 if he can stay healthy, unlike '09.
But Beltran coming off an injury year gives the Chavez signing some thought. If the worst happens, which is Beltran returning to the DL, Chavez could easily fill that gap with Pagan.
VERDICT: Beltran has his first full season in CitiField; Pagan becomes a backup outfielder.
Jeff Francoeur was an amazing pick up for the Amazins' in 2009. He had a fantastic time in New York, batting .311 with 10 homers and 41 RBI. Hopefully Jeff can put a good full year with the Mets together.
While looking at the right field free agents, a name that I think would fit with the Mets is Jermaine Dye.
Dye would be a good option if Bay signs with a different team. Jermaine has put together a great career and had a good '09, collecting 27 home runs and 81 runs batted in. Dye can still field and switching from right to left field wouldn't be a big deal.
VERDICT: Francoeur has a solid 2010. Dye never signs with the Mets.
CitiField is a pitching ballpark, and the Mets only have one good starting pitcher, Johan Santana. No offense to John Maine, but he gets injured all the time, and Pelfrey is just bad.
The Mets need a number two and three pitcher, and now that Lackey is with Boston, the choices are getting less and less.
If I was GM, I would go after Jon Garland. He's no Lackey, but he is a proven veteran with success. He had a bad 2009 but ended up with the Dodgers. In six games he had a 2.72 ERA. Garland would be a great number two guy.
Right now, the biggest pitching name on the market is probably 15 game winner Joel Pineiro. Joel had his best year in '09, collecting 105 strikeouts with a 3.49 ERA and a league leading two shutouts. He wouldn't put together a huge year, but I can see Pineiro winning 12 to 16 games every year with the Mets.
The last pitcher who I think would round out that rotation is Vicente Padilla. He has had some very good years with the Phillies and Rangers and pitched great down the stretch with the Dodgers, going four and nothing in eight games with a 3.20 ERA.
A big plus for all three of these free agents is that they are veterans with stuff left in the tank, unlike Livan Hernandez or Kelvim Escobar.
One last thing, I think John Smoltz would do good in CitiField. I know he is pretty much done, but if he is willing to take a cheap contract for one year I would sign him. And if he stinks as a starter, beg him to go to the bullpen.
VERDICT: Knowing the Mets, they will sign none of the three pitchers mentioned. Knowing the Mets, they will sign Jarrod Washburn.
The Mets have done a few moves involving the bullpen. They signed Ryota Igarashi, a Japanese ballplayer, a move that I like a lot. They also just signed Kelvim Escobar hoping for a long reliever, which I can live with.
The Mets bullpen doesn't look that bad. Igarashi could turn out to be a Kazuhiro Sasaki—please God, let him be like Sasaki. Sean Green ended '09 on a solid note, and Francisco Rodriquez is a great closer.
But the Mets need a lights out set up man, and Scott Eyre is on the market. Eyre had a fantastic '09, playing in 42 games with an earned run average of 1.50 and 22 strikeouts. He has some gas left in the tank and would help that young bullpen.
And another option is Mike MacDougal. He is a closer, but he has been a set up guy before. Mike had a great year with the Nationals in '09, collecting 20 saves with a 3.60 ERA.
VERDICT: I have no idea who the Mets will sign for the pen, but I assure you Rodriquez will have another 30 save season, Green will be better, and Rypta will do good.
Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Bengie Molina, C
Johan Santana, LHP
Jon Garland, RHP
Vicente Padilla, RHP
John Maine, RHP
Mike Pelfrey, RHP