Well its the start of a new month and a new year the New York Mets. Before the year ended they added a much needed power bat to the middle of their line-up in Jason Bay. This filled a major need, but what else do they need to do? Lets take a look at the Mets main concerns going into the off season:
- Power hitting left fielder
- Number 2 starting pitcher
- Set-up man
- First baseman
- Another starting pitcher
- Trading Luis Castillo, signing a new second baseman
So lets take a look at each of these point one at a time.
Power hitting left fielder: Well the Mets filled this void a few days before the new year started signing Jason Bay to a 4 year $66M deal with an option that would bring the deal to 5 years with a salary of more than $80M. This was a great move by the Mets and it certainly fills the spot for a power hitting left fielder.
Number 2 starting pitcher: The name John Lackey was thrown around a lot this off season and the Mets were pursuing him. Unfortunately for the Mets, Lackey had no desire to come and play for them. However, there are still pitchers out there that could be their number 2 starter. Names like Ben Sheets and Erik Bedard come to mind but they could also get creative with some trades. But this is a hole the Mets must fill to be successful in 2010 and they haven’t done so yet.
Set-up man: This one is sort of half and half. The Mets have already signed two new arms to the bullpen in Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi, who could both end up being set-up men, but it really depends on who else the Mets acquire this off season. If the Mets decide to go out and sign two new starting pitchers for the rotation, they could just move John Maine to the bullpen and they wouldn’t need a set-up man. If they only go out and get one starter, they would need to sign a pitcher like Octavio Dotel, Mike MacDougal or trade for a set-up man.
Catcher: Now we get into the things that the Mets don’t desperately need, but they are looking to improve upon. Right now I’m fine with there being a platoon with Omir Santos and Henry Blanco. However, the Mets are looking to add another catcher and their main focus seems to be Bengie Molina. Right now he is crying about getting 3 years because all the other catchers are getting 2 years. Molina has to realize he won’t get 3 years because he isn’t that much better than all the catchers. I think eventually the Mets and Molina will come to terms on a 2 year contract but the Mets don’t need to bend over backwards for him, so they are in a good negotiation position.
First baseman: The starting job at first base belongs to Daniel Murphy at the moment but the Mets don’t seem satisfied with him there. The thing about first base is they don’t need a long term fix there because Ike Davis, the highly touted first baseman prospect, should be ready to come up and take over the starting job in 2011. The best option out there for first base at the moment is Adam LaRoche, but I don’t think he is going to want to sign a one or even two year deal and I don’t think the Mets want to give him the money he wants. Mets could explore bringing back Carlos Delgado on a one year deal, Ryan Garko on a one year deal or my personal favorite, Jack Cust. There are options out there but the Mets don’t need to go crazy trying to find a guy.
Another starting pitcher: This goes along with what I said about the set-up man role. If the Mets fail to acquire a set-up man they need to go out sign a guy for the latter part of the rotation. Names like Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Brett Myers, Vicente Padilla and even Pedro Martinez come to mind. I think signing any of these guys, along with Ben Sheets or Erik Bedard, would be a great move for the Mets.
Trading Luis Castillo, signing a new second baseman: This is something I don’t believe the Mets should concentrate on at all. If they are able to trade Luis Castillo to a team and they can get back a number 2 starter like Gil Meche or even Carlos Zambrano (who isn’t going anywhere), the Mets should look into it. Other then that, there really isn’t any reason to focus on trading Castillo. He is a solid player to have at second base and there are many more important options to think about before trading him.