Yesterday the winter meetings officially began in Indianapolis and as usual some trades were apparently made and then it turned out that there was no trade. In some cases the two teams involved in the trade had not even spoken to each other. This is the joys of covering the winter meetings. In the case of the Mets a Philadelphia paper reported that the Mets traded Luis Castillo as part of 3 team trade that had the Mets acquiring Pat Burrell. Thankfully, that trade was proven false and as of this writing it does not look like it’s even going to happen. Burrell is an overrated hitter and not much of defender in the outfield and the idea of him playing first base was not a good one as he hasn’t played that position in close to a decade. Burrell’s offensive numbers in the past were aided because he played at Citizens Bank Park - a hitter’s paradise. Playing half of his games at Citi Field, Burrell would be lucky to total 20 homeruns and that’s a stretch.
Edwin Jackson yesterday was also rumored to be joining the Mets, but that rumor was also shot down less than 20 minutes later. Unfortunately, we live in an age where the quest to break the news, outweighs the responsibility to accurately report the news, and it frequently leads to the kind of inaccurate reporting we saw on Day 1 of the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings.
Regardless, those rumors did get me to think about what I would like to see happen at the winter meetings for the Mets this year.
My wish list for the winter meetings begins with a starting catcher. I’m hoping that the Mets are done signing every backup catcher on the market, and will now focus on acquiring a starting catcher for the 2010 season. As we all know, the team is very high on Bengie Molina and would prefer to sign him, but the problem is that Molina is said to be wanting a 3 year deal. There’s no way that the Mets can give into him. Omar cannot cave into any of the pressure that Molina and his agent are putting on him regardless of how much he wants him. It’s very unlikely that any other team would give Molina a 3 year deal, and Omar cannot give in to the players demands as he did last year when he agreed to give Oliver Perez a 3 year deal.
It’s important to remember that the 2010 starting catcher would be a one year stop gap, and that Josh Thole, barring a major setback, will be the everyday catcher for the Mets in 2011. The Mets did sign a very good defensive catcher last week in Henry Blanco, and they also have Omir Santos and Chris Coste. Rod Barajas is still available and would be a good alternative to Molina, and Dioner Navarro could possibly be non-tendered and become available as well. The bottom line is that the Mets have options and are the ones sitting in the driver’s seat, not Molina.
The second item on my wish list is to get a starting pitcher. The Blue Jays are reportedly taking offers for their ace Roy Halladay, and besides the huge cash outlay that Halladay would require in an extension. it’s going to require a bunch of top prospects be sent to Toronto in exchange for Halladay’s arm. The Mets farm system is not very deep at all, and trading away our best prospects will set this organization back so far it could take years to recover.
It’s imperative that the Mets focus all of their attention toward signing free agent John Lackey. He will not cost as much per year as Halladay, and of course he won’t cost the Mets any of the prospects that Halladay will. The Mets need to sign Lackey and then go after a second tier pitcher like Joel Pineiro, Randy Wolf, and Staten Island’s own Jason Marquis, who wants desperately to be a Met.
Finally I want Matt Holliday. He will cost a ton of money, but his bat and power is much needed for this team next season and beyond. He is not exactly the best defensive player, but he is still an upgrade over what we had last season. Holliday would be a force in the lineup and provide much needed protection for David Wright.
I know my list is long and costly, but this is what I believe the Mets need to do for them to be competitive next season.