The Mets need to make a few moves in order to contend for the postseason next year. These are four major moves that will aid greatly in that endeavor:
1. Trade Daniel Murphy
I know—Mets fans are all high on the kid who can hit for average and demonstrates patience at the plate. Unfortunately, there is no room for a slow-footed, subpar fielding outfielder or second-baseman in the National League.
If the Mets trade him to the American League, he could thrive as a DH, and the Mets should get something decent in return. The kid had a .313 average and an on-base percentage near .400 in his rookie season. Those are solid numbers.
A potential trade could bring in a decent draft pick (which could be then used for leverage in another trade), or a solid utility player, which, with the slow but inevitable decline of Damion Easley, is a necessary move.
2. Wave goodbye to Pedro, Castillo, El Duque, and Alou
Two of these players will be thanked as they are let go by the organization. The other two (Luis Castillo and Orlando Hernandez) will be shoved out the door. Although losing Moises Alou and Pedro Martinez will be a somber experience, neither will be sorely missed.
Pedro has been hurt or ineffective during his tenure as a Mets pitcher, and Alou's body will not allow him to be more than a role player.
The Mets will presumably have to eat Castillo's contract, unless another team is willing to depart with some cash and baseball cards to add an aging second baseman whose greatest strength, defense, is now barely evident.
3. Sign a younger, defensive-minded second baseman
If Orlando Hudson comes over to the Mets, I will be pissed off. He has nice offensive skills, but is very injury prone, which is the last thing the Mets need from an everyday second baseman.
If they can find one, the Mets should find a lighter hitting, but above average fielder who has nice range. I'll take a .260 hitter who can cover the field between an older Carlos Delgado and second base. Nick Punto, or even Jamey Carroll could be signed for cheap, and both have above average fielding percentages. There aren't any dazzling second basemen in the free agent market this year, so signing a player to a two-year contract would be ideal.
4. Bullpen (like you didn't know)
If the Mets want to go after K-Rod, fine, but I wouldn't be too sure with a guy who had seven blown saves and a WHIP of 1.29.
I understand the guy just crushed the all time saves record, but check this stat out: Of the next 16 closers ranked by the number of saves, only three had a higher WHIP than Francisco Rodriguez.
WHIP can be a nice indicator of what I like to call the "Benitez" factor, which is essentially how worried you get when watching your closer in the final inning of the game. How many men does the closer put on base before getting the final out? How often do you watch the inning between your fingers? If it's too often, than that pitcher has a high Benitez factor.
Both Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood, free agents this year, have significantly lower WHIP than K-Rod, and will cost much, much less. Even Dan Wheeler, who closed with 13 saves for the Rays and has closer stuff, had a WHIP of .99, about 30 points lower than K-Rod.
And with the extra cash not used on K-Rod, the Mets can go out and revamp their middle relief and spend money on an outfielder like Carl Crawford or Raul Ibanez, or a starting pitcher like AJ Burnett, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, or Braden Looper...the list is lengthy.
Before you start calling for K-Rod and my head, let this information swirl around a bit...
OK, now you can call for my head.