New York Mets Offseason Checklist Part Two: Priorities 6-10
Welcome back friends.
As promised, I'm back with part two of my best general manager impersonation as I rundown my checklist as head of the Amazin's.
Miss part one of this baby? Click here to check it out.
Alright people, it's time to get this party started with priority number six.
Priority Number Six: Find a permanent solution at second base. This spot has basically been a revolving door for this club the past few years. We thought we had solidified the position by signing Louis Castillo to a four-year deal. Based on Mr. Castillo's production this season, it's safe to say we can chalk this move up as a monumental brain fart.
What we need is a player who's solid in the box and on the field, and can stay in the lineup for more than three minutes.
The Move: Trade Louis Castillo at all costs, and sign Orlando Hudson. The O Dog is the player we need to sure up second base. He is a productive player who would fit well in the clubhouse, and is rumored to be extremely interested in playing for the Mets.
In terms of Castillo, I'm looking for 20, even 15 cents on the dollar for him if it gets him out of here. Unlike the real Mets G.M., I can admit my mistakes, and this move was clearly a monumental one. If I can get even a marginal reliever for him, I pull the trigger in a heartbeat, and I'll even eat most of what's left on his contract. Anything to get this guy out of my clubhouse. He's clearly not the same player we traded for, and he needs to be elsewhere.
Now that we've got the O Dog at second base, and no backup, we can move on to the most intriguing priority of the winter...
Priority Number Seven: Find as many ways to get Daniel Murphy on the field as possible. Murph's extended stay with the big club showed me this is a player that will be part of our core by 2010. His discipline at the plate, clutch hitting and pinch-hitting ability are attributes I simply have to have on my squad for 2009.
Unfortunately, as I stated in Part One of this bad boy, I understand this franchise is in "Win Now" mode, and that's even an understatement. Murphy can't play his natural position for the 2009 team (you'll see why in a little), and with Man-Ram in left, there will be no platoon. We've sent Murphy on his way into the off-season with the assignment of learning second base, so here's my thinking...
The Move: Say hello to Joe McEwing, the sequel. For this year and this year only, Murphy will be our "Supersub", and our left-handed bat off the bench (goodbye, Marlon Anderson). By learning second base this winter, Murphy can now be a backup at three positions - first base, left field, and second. Seeing how he played left this season, it's not a stretch to think he could even play right field in a pinch.
This will put Murphy in the lineup on average once a week, with an extended stay if someone goes down with an injury. His pinch-hitting skills will make him my best contact hitter off the bench, so he'll be used almost nightly in that roll as well. All in all, I feel this is the best way to maximise this guy's ability for this season, and next year he can assume the starting role at first base.
Priority Number Eight: Round out the bench. The bench players are what saved the season for the Amazin's in 2008. Where would this team have been without Fernando Tatis, and Damion Easley? Endy Chavez comes back as our defensive outfielder, so we have Chavez and Murphy so far coming off the bench.
The Moves: Resign Tatis and Easley. Now. As general manager I like versatility coming off the bench, and these two are two are of the best when it comes to the number of different things they can do.
Since I have Murphy backing up at second base, Easley can backup at every infield position if need be. Tatis can provide me with power off the bench, and he can also play both corner outfield spots. By having such versatility off the bench, we can carry one less bench player, and carry an extra arm for the bullpen, something we may need if the rookies stumble.
Priority Number Nine: Solidify First Base. This is the easiest move we make this winter. I've made my "Statement Move" of the winter by getting Manny, I've sured up closer and second base, found a role for Murphy, and worked some magic getting this team a bullpen that can hold leads of under five runs.
We're not going after Mark Texiera. With Murphy coming along and eventually assuming the position in 2010, Texiera just doesn't make sense for us at this point. While he's a great defender and just as good at the dish, he's going to command $20 million a year over 7 years, at least. We already have two hundred-million dollar players in Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran, so right now it's not financially responsible to go after a player who will command another 150 million.
The Move: Pick up Carlos Delgado's 2009 option. Once thought to be legally dead at the beginning of the season, Delgado's resurrection makes him the no-brainer. The option is worth $12 million, or about half of what Texiera will make next year.
He'll be going for a new contract this year, something you can't completely discount in a situation like this. He's also going to be shooting for 500 career home runs, but needs another great year to get there. With Varitek now assuming a leadership role, the voice of the clubhouse has changed, so Delgado doesn't have to be as much of an outspoken figure in the locker room. The move makes sense any way you slice it.
Priority Number Ten: Assure our cornerstones, and our fans, that they're not going anywhere. All these trade rumors about Mr. Reyes, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Beltran need to be stopped. Not only are they ludicrous, but the have to be affecting these guys. I know it would effect me to hear any time I got in my car how I might be/should be traded this off-season.
Are we really going to trade one of two guys who are multiple-time All-Stars at 25 years of age? Are we really going to trade a Gold-Glove, All-Star centerfielder who is only 31 and still in his prime? We'd have to be out of our minds.
The Move: Tell Anyone who will listen that these three players aren't going anywhere, and they will be part of this Mets team when we win a championship.
By doing this, it gives these guys the confidence to not listen to the rumors, and to know we're behind them. They are the cornerstones of this team, and a little reassurance never hurt anybody. This will help ease their minds, and prepare for the coming season.
So there you have it boys and girls. That's what I'd do if I were the general manager of the Amazin' Mets.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.
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