Even before we get to the meat of the necessary remedies to get the New York Mets back onto the competitive track, the first item that needs to be clarified is that the Wilpons—both Fred and Jeff—are going nowhere. While they claim to love the Mets, the bottom line with the franchise is still the finances.
Yes, they did spend money—not wisely—but they did spend money. Additionally, all the fingers could point at Omar Minaya, but Fred and Jeff had to sign off on the contracts given to Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Carlos Beltran. So, just like in any business or military organization, and as the last greatest president of the United States said, namely Harry S. Truman, "The Buck Stops Here!" The ultimate responsibility falls on the Wilpons.
One side note before I continue; I would be willing to make a wager that Fred Wilpon, if presented with the opportunity, would trade the Mets' name for the Dodgers' name in a heartbeat. Just take a look at Citi Field. It is a clear replica of Ebbets Field, with Jackie Robinson commemorated all over the place. While I may be going over an old pet peeve, and while Robinson is a Hall of Fame player, what did he have to do with the Mets?
If Fred wanted to connect the Mets and Dodgers, statues and photos of Gil Hodges would have been a far better connection. Lastly, where is there anything about the New York Baseball Giants? They were also part of NYC baseball. I guess a selective memory helps.
Now, as far the remedying the Mets...
If I go position by position, there are definitely strengths and weaknesses.
As I start with the infield, the only question is second base. Castillo cannot fit into any kind of equation in this matter. Of the current players on the roster, Joaquin Arias, Luis Hernandez, and Reuben Tejada do not send shivers of fear. It is possible that Tejada shows the most potential, but he is only 20 and has to hit. If a starting player is hitting at the Mendoza line, it is rare for a team to carry such a light stick.
The remedy is Orlando Hudson, who has expressed the desire to play for the Mets.
How rare is it for someone who wants to play for the Mets? I wonder if Ken Boswell or Felix Millan is available? As for Ike Davis, Jose Reyes, and David Wright...they are keepers. Wright needs to tweak his stance and close the Grand Canyon at the plate, and Reyes needs to stay on the field. Additionally, the bench needs to be fortified. The infield is doable.
The outfield situation can be interesting.
Jason Bay's 2010, no doubt, was an eye opener for the fans, management, and Bay himself. I think he will be fine for the 2011 season. Things have a funny way of balancing out. Angel Pagan proved himself, so nothing further needs to be said about the 2010 Mets' MVP. He was fun to watch.
Carlos Beltran is approaching the walk year on his contract. Professional athletes in every sport usually have monster years as their contract ends. "Cupcake" has to do a complete 180 degree turnaround, in order to prove himself to Mets management, any possible future employer, and to the fans. Any actions involving Beltran will be a tough call. At this point, I would say to the new Mets' GM is keep him, just for the fact that he has to show he is healthy and productive, then let him walk.
Chris Carter is my fourth outfielder. Jesus Feliciano is a "4A" player and Luca Duda, well, who knows. Finally, as far as Fernando Martinez is concerned, your guess is as good as mine. It's possible he will be a never was, as was Carlos Gomez. One last thought about David Wright is since he is the "face" of the franchise, name him captain. BUT, do not place a "C" on the front of his jersey. That is for hockey and only for hockey.
Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. The 2010 staff exceeded all expectations.
Each player will be listed with a brief comment:
Johan Santana: three years, three surgeries, breaking down?; but still a valuable leader—keeper
Mike Pelfrey: showed his onions and work ethic after a horrible two months; still a keeper
Jon Niese: still has some rough spots, but is a battler; will grow and prosper—keeper
R.A. Dickey: some athletes are late bloomers; is a competitor and very much needed; two-year contract
Jenrry Mejia: 20-year-old fireballer; will grow into skills—keeper
Dillon Gee: for one major league start showed skill; should be a keeper
Perpetual Pedro Feliciano—keeper, Elmer Dessens—keeper for now, Manny Acosta—keeper for now, Ryota Igarashi—?, Raul Valdes—?, Hisanori Takahashi—fair starter;good in the pen, Pat Misch—fair long man.
My guy for closer is Bobby Parnell and 102 mph heater. Sadly, Francisco Rodriguez is currently out of any equation. His future is not known and do we want him back? I do not know.
While I like Jerry Manuel as a person, from what I hear and see, he is a goner. Do the Mets bring back Bobby V. or promote Wally Backman? Moreover, there are a plethora of candidates to replace Omar. The new manager should be the new GM's choice. As for the coaching staff, I want two of them to return—Dan Warthen and Chip Hale. They know their stuff. Warthen did a great job with the pitching staff, and Hale is real good at third.
Finally, I may be totally wrong on some or all of my suggestions. However, the attitude and direction of the franchise must drastically be altered. Please do not tell me that the Mets need to do what the Yankees do. We are not the Yankees and never will be. It is enough to be the Mets. The Wilpons, the "baseball people," the future GM, and field manager must exercise their judgement and get this team back on track.
The last few years have driven away the fans, and I can tell you, as a longtime Mets' fan, and I do mean long, that you can fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, and continue to fool me, well, that makes me and all Mets' fans similar situation idiots. Get it right. It would be a nice change.