Your Mets Hot Stove Season Has Come – Part 3 of 3

An article by posted on October 18, 2007

This week as I conclude this short series I wanted to focus on the pitching. This is probably the one area that Omar Minaya will have to concentrate most of his efforts this off-season. The Mets starting pitching and bullpen both failed to meet expectations in 2007 and barring some significant changes, it may be in for a repeat performance if things remain unchanged.

On the starting pitching side, don’t expect much help from free agency. Sure there may be one or two pitchers you might want to take a flier on, but the fact is that there are no top of the rotation candidates among them. Some fans have suggested signing guys like Carlos Silva, Bartolo Colon, Livan Hernandez, and even David Wells… you can keep them as far as I’m concerned. Truth be told, Tom Glavine is better than any of them and we cut him, so why would we want to tangle with any of those guys?

If we are going to improve our starting pitching than it will have to be via a trade. Now I know how great it would be to sign Johan Santana who the Twins are willing to trade, especially after overtures from Santana that he would waive his no trade clause for any team that gives him an extension… But realistically the Mets have nothing to offer that will not be beat by about another half dozen or so other clubs.

The Mets need to tone down the high expectations and revisit past negotiations for Dan Haren, Rich Harden and Joe Blanton. The A’s are loaded with top of the rotation starters, but they are not loaded with the cash necessary to sign and keep them all. It’s an opportunity the Mets can take full advantage of. Last season the Mets turned down the A’s offer of Dan Haren for Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey. I’m sure the Mets would do that in a heartbeat now, but I’m sure it would be the A’s turning down the offer this time around. Regardless, both teams have the resources to get something done that would benefit both teams. The Mets should make a big push for Blanton or Haren before one of them ends up in the hands of another NL East rival.

The bullpen needs some help too, but considering that almost all of them are under contract except for Jorge Sosa, it poses a bit of a dilemma. May I suggest that the Mets cut their losses and release Guillermo Mota for starters. We can then use that spot to sign a guy like Scott Linebrink who has long been considered one of the leagues top setup men until an off year in which he posted an ERA of 3.71, which still was infinitely better than half the guys on the Mets. All the Mets need to do is find one decent arm to join Heilman, Feliciano and Wagner, and they will then have a solid nucleus in the pen. If the Mets do add another starter and add El Duque to that nucleus, the bullpen becomes significantly better than last year. The Mets need to make some room on their 40 man roster to pull this off, and like I said they can start by cutting bait with Mota.

 

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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Your Mets Hot Stove Season Has Come – Part 2 of 3

An article by posted on October 8, 2007

On Friday I took a look at all of the weaknesses the Mets needed to address this off-season, and focused on why they should re-sign both Luis Castillo and Paul Lo Duca.

This morning I wanted to delve into the outfield situation.

Let’s start with left field which was handled quite well by Moises Alou last season… when he was healthy. He had a consistent season for the Mets and batted .341 to lead the Mets, and in only 328 at-bats he hit 13 homeruns, drove in 49, scored 51 times and had a .916 OPS, second only to David Wright. By all standards this was an exceptional season and even more remarkable given that Alou posted these numbers at the age of 41. The Mets hold a team option for about $7.5 million dollars in 2008, and even if he only played in 125 games it would still be the biggest bargain since Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island for $24 from the natives.

While everyone seems all to willing to get rid of Carlos Beltran, let me be the voice of reason. Carlos Beltran is among the most productive players at his position in the majors, and ranks in the top five in all major statistical categories. He can not only win a game with his rare blend of power and speed, but can also change the the outcome of a game with his gold glove caliber defense. Although the media likes to paint him as soft, he is the kind of player that usually guts it out when he is sore or in pain, and has proven that even when he is at less than 100%, he can still dominate the game like very few others. The Mets are set in center field for the next five years.

Again, I think I may be going against the grain when I say the Mets should trade Lastings Milledge in a package to obtain a starting pitcher. (Dan Haren maybe?) Let’s not be so quick to dismiss Shawn Green, and consider for one minute the possibility of keeping him and signing a right handed platoon partner. Although Green is clearly not an everyday player, he absolutely flourished as a platoon player and gave the Mets some dramatic hits during August and September, and led the Mets in several offensive categories during that stretch. He is also a capable first baseman that came in very handy when Delgado went down.

I would suggest the Mets look into signing Shannon Stewart to platoon with Green. I love Carlos Gomez, but lets face it… he is at least a full season away from being major league ready and was totally over-matched at the plate.  

The 34 year old Stewart is coming off of a season where he hit .290 and scored 79 runs while driving in 48 runs at the top of the order. He has some pop in his bat as evidenced by his 12 homers, and he still has sharp base running skills. He has had many stints on the DL, but they were all related to the artificial turf in Minnesota. Last season while playing on grass, he had 576 at-bats in 146 games which ranked second on the A’s. He is a career .298 hitter, with a .362 on-base, and .434 slugging pct. He can also step right in and play everyday in the event we were to lose Moises Alou, thus keeping Endy Chavez as the 4th outfielder where he clearly performs at his best. Shannon Stewart won’t cost a lot of money either.

Let me know what you think….

Later this week I will finish it off with a look at the pitching.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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Your Mets Hot Stove Season Has Come – Part 1 of 3

An article by posted on October 6, 2007

With the first two considerable moves of the off-season now out of the way, the Mets are in full hot stove mode.

With Tom Glavine declining his player option and Willie Randolph officially being retained, the Mets must now go about the business of filling some major flaws and in the process, resurrect the confidence of the fans which has been largely shattered.

When you consider the dearth of talent in this year’s free agent market, you can see how daunting a task this will be for general manager Omar Minaya.

To begin, the Mets have to consider whether Ruben Gotay is the full-time answer for them at second base, or try and re-sign the top free agent at the position, Luis Castillo (32). Among other free agent second baseman you have Mark Loretta (37), Tadahito Iguchi (33), Kaz Matsui (32), and former Mets Damion Easley and Jose Valentin. You can now see why the Mets have no other clear choice than to re-sign Castillo. The Mets could always trade for a second baseman, but in doing so it may cost them the bargaining chips they will certainly need to land a starting pitcher to replace Tom Glavine.

The Mets are faced with the same dilemma behind the plate at the catching position. Not only might they have to re-sign the outspoken Paul Lo Duca (36), but his backup Ramon Castro (32) has proven to be a valuable backup as well. The only alternatives at free agent are Brad Ausmus (39), Michael Barrett (31), Jason Kendall (34), and Jose Molina (33). Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada have been both mentioned as possible free agents, but there is a slim chance that both won’t be retained by their teams. The closest Met prospect is still years away from joining the major leagues.

The Mets don’t have much in the way of bargaining chips. Younger pitchers like Philip Humber and Mike Pelfrey have actually seen their own trade value take a hit. Neither of them busted out of the gate with solid performances, and rather than future aces, they looked more like middle or back-end rotation guys according to one National League scout.

Both Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez have shown flashes of their potential, but their attitudes and lack of baseball instincts, make them seem too raw and risky.

I’ll take a look at some of the other areas of concern, namely the outfield, the bullpen, and of course the rotation in the next couple of days. As you can see the Mets have a lot of work to do, and replacing Glavine is just one of a myriad of concerns.

But here at Mets Merized we fully stand by the slogan, "In Omar We Trust… Most Of The Time."

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

Comments are closed.