I think this picture says it best, huh?
I am certain we are firmly entrenched in hopes for 2011. We are not bound by magic numbers, wild card chases, and playoff rosters. We don’t have such burdens as our Amazins’ fate was sealed long before now. So what’s next? The Mets are getting ready to do what many of us would like to do in our lives: Hit the reset button.
1. Get a GM – Fans can say what they want but this offseason may, in fact, be the most important this team has seen in years. A return to relevance is and should be the first item on Flushing’s shopping list. All indications are that GM Jon Daniels is not leaving Texas. Ouch! That was a young mind that we could’ve profited from right away. Ricco, although talented and bright also, is the equivalent to a hand puppet. Sorry. Dipoto and Byrnes are names that are picking up steam on the rumor mill. Rather than regurgitate my previous best choices for GM (you know who they are—-the law firm of Gillick & Beane), I will introduce another name or two. Since a tough guy type that can handle the NY Zoo and is unafraid to speak his mind is needed here, along with preferably having New York roots, how about Gerry Hunsicker and Sandy Alderson? If none of the six names mentioned work out, we have a great option in-house in Wayne Krivsky. We could do a lot worse.
2. Get a Manager – I think this goes without saying. I can’t even elaborate on the options at this point as the identity of this team rests more on #1 than on #2. There really isn’t anybody better for the team than Bobby Valentine. Names speculated that I haven’t heard much lately are broadcaster Ron Darling, Terry Collins, and Tony Larussa. The thought in the back of my mind is the best manager for this team is the one that makes the Wilpons uncomfortable and keeps them from complacency. Bobby V does that instantly. This team needs to be on its toes at all times in every facet. It’s high time for a new day in Flushing.
3. Be more than window shoppers – Right now, there are reports that names like K-Rod (not the most tradeable commodity right now), Beltran (not much better), Castillo (trade him for a Klondike bar), and Perez (trade him for a Bob Uecker baseball card and a Subway 6-inch) are impediments to the Mets spending any money on free agents esp. Cliff Lee. Nonsense. We may be seeing the first two on the field in ’11 and I know the Mets had to have considered that. They’re clearly not as strapped as we thought. Not spending big is the same thing as saying the season is a watch. Not one of our prospects and most of the guys on the field are enough of a difference maker to take us from 4th place to 1st place, especially without an ace. I can’t say I know where the money’s going to come from but they better spend big or we’ll be back here again next September. Guaranteed. They can’t afford not to.
4. Tie up loose ends –
- Now that we know Nick Evans is out of options, a decision has to be made with him. Do you audition him like everyone else in ST, earmark him for a bench spot or a shot at right field so he doesn’t fall on waivers, or trade him for a meager return?
- Mike Pelfrey and Jose Reyes (’11 club option) both would like extensions. K-Rod is dangling. Scott Boras will have a hand in one of these. (Beltran, Castillo, Perez, and Igarashi have expiring contracts in ’11)
- Whatever the problem/perception is with the Mets team physicians, fix it.
- Establish depth at every position and who definitively will coach on this team. Chip Hale? Bob Melvin? Dan Warthen? Sever the head of any controversy. We have enough of that already. Our team has been likened to a circus and this is no longer acceptable. (Buffalo’s pitching coach, Ricky Bones, claimed a while back to be able to do what Rick Peterson also said he could but failed to do: Turn Oliver Perez around. There are whispers that he might get that chance.) If so, expect another season of the ‘Mexican Job’ starring Oliver Perez. It’s clear if anybody’s getting jobbed, it’s us.
- Strengthen the farm and strengthen the big league team by extension. Determine what guys like Kelvim Escobar, Eddie Kunz, Jason Pridie, Omir Santos, Jesus Feliciano, and Val Pascucci will contribute here if anything. The minors can’t be full of champs but it wouldn’t hurt to limit the chumps. No more holding out for potential that may never come. (See Oliver Perez)
- Give Los Mets a break and get the best players available.
We live and breathe the Mets. They have a chance to turn from the slow death of passivity and be swift and proactive in turning around this beleaguered franchise. I hate to say it but any fan that thinks we’re close with just a few changes is not seeing things very clearly. I believe this can all be fixed in one season, maybe two, but it will take an unprecedented effort. A real, determined, concerted effort to bring home a championship and become again relevant to a league and a city that doesn’t sleep.