Who's in the Rearview Mirror in 2009?

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Who's in the Rearview Mirror in 2009?

Can the most loyal Mets fan go through another September and listen to all the noise traveling north on the New Jersey Turnpike?

I sure hope not.

However, if the Wilpons are not ready to take the necessary steps to fix the problems of the past, it's going to be a long next 10 years. I, for one, may not last that long.

Realize this fans: The Phillies are really good, whether you like it or not, and they are a young and extremely talented team. What's scary is that Hammels, Utley, and Howard are going to get better. Although the same may be said about Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and Santana, the Phillies have a better depth chart.

Every Mets fan has a solution, so here comes mine: The Wilpons and Omar should take notes.

First and foremost, we have to take cash out of the equation. The Yankees are prepared to spend a gazillion dollars this offseason to get back to guaranteeing a fight to the finish in September and beyond. They have a new revenue generating stadium. So do we. They have a gigantic network. So do we.

We have to spend. No. 1: K-Rod. Other teams will not offer him as much as he wants, and we don't have to either. But we can offer him the best deal, and he wants to be in New York. I say $80M for six years. 

I think K-Rod has a better upside considering he's younger and look who he has had to close against compared to other free agents like Brian Fuentes.

Next, and most obvious, it the total dismantling of the bullpen. The only survivor, Joe Smith, and maybe Bobby Parnell if he can't make it as a starter. He throws 96 MPH, and if he develops the secondary arsenal, he still may be an excellent four or five. I believe Brian Stokes (again a possibility for the pen but here, too) is best suited as a starter.

Let's not make the same mistake we made with Aaron Heilman, who wanted to start, looked good when he did, but wasn't given the same opportunity that Mike Pelfrey was given. He must go. If Tampa or Colorado is interested, then let him start there.

Bobby Jenk's name has popped up recently, and I would love to have him pitching in the eighth. Wouldn't you? Don't trade the farm away. It is finally starting to look considerably better than it did just a few years ago.

One more relief thought. I just saw a Japanese reliever who pitched in the WBC that is "Coming to America." His stuff is nasty and he would be an amazing addition.

Next, get Orlando Hudson for second base. It's temporary fix until Brian Murphy is ready. Everybody knows when a player wants to be with a team, he will usually play a little harder, and it's no secret Hudson want's to be a Met.

Before I hit you all with my biggest play, let's get some other things settled: Tatis and Church will make an decent right-field platoon, and I think Brian Schneider handled the pitchers just fine.

With that said, how about Jason Varitek for a two-year deal, with a team option for a third and the two of them splitting the catching duties. You think with that combination we could get 20 HR and 80 RBI? I do.

Starting pitching. How's this for your 2009 rotation? Santana, Pelfrey, Sabathia, Maine, and you'll have to wait a bit for this. Let's first talk CC. Important points. He's a winner and wants to play for a winner. Money to him isn't the deciding factor. He wants at-bats, and in a Mets uniform, he will have the opportunity to hit.

Having to go one-two with Johan takes all the pressure off him, and between the two of them, it's 17 to 25 wins for the next five to seven years.

For the No. 5 starter, how about Pedro Martinez? "Oh, no!" they yell. "Is this guy nuts?" No, I'm not. Forget the past two seasons. Injuries are part of the game. If you really understood Pedro, he does not want to end his Hall of Fame career on a bad note. He has said often enough that he will leave when he can not perform at this MLB level.

If you're going to quit, you don't file for free agency. Pedro is a class act both on and off the field. His presence is only dwarfed by his work ethic and his personality. Plus think this: Can you really find a better No. 5 starter in the MLB? I would give him $14M for two years with team option for a third year. 

Now, the final piece of the puzzle. Do you want to be in the rearview mirror, or do you want to be the one who looks into it? The answer to that is just one name: MANNY.

$70M for three years with my favorite team option for year four. By the way, Pedro will keep Manny in line, as he did while they were in Boston. It wasn't until Pedro left Beantown that Manny became Manny. Besides you think the SAHXS would give back their two championships? I don't, and neither does Russell (an inside joke).

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