The Mets go into the Winter Meeting in Vegas knowing what needs to be done. The Mets have to find a closer, a starting pitcher behind Johan, that can throw innings. Then after the Mets accomplish that task they can move on and look into maybe fulfilling someone in the outfield and a second base.
Closer: In the closer department, the Mets will look to revamp the pen and find a closer that can replace Billy Wagner. The Mets main targets will be free agents Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes. The Mets can look for other trading alternatives like Huston Street (COL), who the Mets see better suited as a setup guy. There is also Jose Valverde on the chopping block in Houston, J.J Putz who recently was made available to the trading public.
Starter: In the starting pitching market, it seems the Mets will Make a move on Derek Lowe, but Mets will have a lot competition with the Red Sox and Yankees. A.J. Burnett seems to much of a risk and the Mets might make moves on the second tier guys like Randy Wolf and Jon Garland, who I think will benefit from coming to the National League.
The Mets may think that Jon Niese is ready for the fifth spot, so I only expect the Mets to get one veteran. Oliver Perez could be a real possibility if his price drops. I could see the Mets offering him a four-year, $52 million contract. He is a lefty and there are not many available.
Left field: The Mets have two guys on their roster that can play left field next year. They have Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis. But if they feel they can upgrade from that, I would think that Raul Ibanez could be a serious candidate. The Mets can also make a smaller move and bring in Juan Rivera.
Trade-able commodities: There is no secret here that the Mets would like to dump Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, and Luis Castillo under the Jeff Wilpon "Addition by Subtraction Theory."
Aaron Heilman: Is going to be a big piece to this off-season. He is either going to go in a trade for a setup guy like Huston Street or a starter like Edwin Jackson. It would not surprise me if the Mets traded Ryan Church in a package with Heilman to get the young Jackson. This would open the door for Ibanez or Abreu to play right. Probably Abreu since he was not offered arbitration and the Mets would not give up draft picks to get him.
Scott Schoeneweis: Seems like the Mets don't think much of him anymore. The Mets will have to find a taker. Maybe the Tigers, Rays, Rockies, someone always needs a lefty in their pen.
Luis Castillo: After pleading his case to the Mets, will the Mets let him play second this year? There has already been a hoopla over Orlando Hudson wanting to play here with his friend Carlos Delgado. The Mets will have to eat his contract and ship him elsewhere to even think about Hudson. Someone is going to have to be pretty desperate to want him.
If I had it my way:
- Sign K-Rod
- Trade Church/Heilman for Edwin Jackson.
- Sign Bobby Abreu to play RF
- Sign Juan Cruz
- Trade Castillo for a bag of balls, Sign Hudson.
- Trade Kunz / Schoeneweis for Huston Street.
But it's not my call, good luck in Vegas Omar!