Bryan Heyman of the Journal News had an interesting take on his five fixes for the New York Mets. Let me show you what he had and then I will add a couple of my own to his list.
1. Revamp the poison pen: Trade for a veteran closer, although the Mets appear wary of handing Francisco Rodriguez too many years in a free-agent deal. Keep Brian Stokes, Joe Smith and Bobby Parnell as the main righty set-up guys and find three other new arms. Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis and Duaner Sanchez could use a change of address.
2. Inject youth: Memo to Omar Minaya: Stop bringing in older guys for key roles. They break down too often and you’re left scrambling. Learn from the Moises Alou and Pedro Martinez experiences. Find a righty-hitting left fielder under retirement age and platoon him with Daniel Murphy. Then let Carlos Delgado walk after next season and move Murphy to first.
3. Find a second baseman: Re-signing Luis Castillo for so many years (four) and so much money ($25 million) would have been a mistake even if he had a good season, which he did not. He’s 33 and always seems hobbled. The fans are in his head as well. Try to find a new address for him even if the Mets must pick up a lot of the salary. Arizona’s Orlando Hudson has won three straight Gold Gloves and he’ll be just 31 in December. Dip into the free-agent market: three guaranteed years max or pass.
4. Let Pedro move on: Re-sign Oliver Perez if Scott Boras sets a somewhat reasonable price tag. Too much talent to let go. If Boras wants too much for him, then consider Derek Lowe as a free agent. After pitching in Boston and L.A., he can handle New York. Then give Jon Niese a chance to win the No. 5 job. Hopefully the soon-to-be 22-year-old lefty is up to it like he was vs. the Braves.
5. Find pressure performers: The Mets have become good at melting in the heat of late-September races. Keep looking for players who have been to October, winners who won’t melt in pressure games. And if Minaya wants to change a big piece of the team’s fabric, he should do it. Remember, 1986 was a long time ago.
I agree with most of Bryan’s assessment… Especially number five. However, I disagree with going after Derek Lowe, I don’t think he’s the answer, and I believe there will be better options available like Sheets, Sabathia, Burnett, etc.
I also disagree that we need a right handed platoon partner for Dan Murphy. If the Mets could get a full-time right handed outfielder with power this off season, by all means go for it. It won’t hurt the Mets to have Dan Murphy coming off the bench or spelling the outfielders from time to time. Murphy has shown that he can excel as a pinch hitter and would be a great weapon on the bench.
I would add a couple of more things to this list.
6. Let Manuel choose his coaching staff: I wasn’t thrilled with Luis Aguayo as the third base coach. It may seem like nitpicking, but I can think of three games in which his bad call on sending or holding the runner at third, led directly to a Mets loss. When you consider the fact that we lost the season by just one game, you begin to see how important it is to get it right at third base. I also advocate letting Jerry Manuel choose his won coaches rather than having to work with Omar’s hand picked staff.
7. Get rid of Castro: My apologies to all of you Star Wars fans, but whenever I heard the Darth Vader theme blaring at Shea I cringed. While I loved Ramon Castro’s occasional right handed power, his lack of speed and free swinging ways killed many a rally. The last time he was on the DL, he actually had to be threatened at knife point by Jerry Manuel to get back and on the field. He is constantly sitting out for the most ridiculous injuries, and has way too many trips to the DL to be counted on. We can do better than Ramon Castro.
There you have it… Fire away Mets fans.