Morning Grind: Changing Faces, Part 3

Happy Friday, Met Nation.

In this 3rd and final installment, we’re talking all things Mets and looking into an off season that may have the league buzzing unlike any other since Pedro came to the Amazins. There is a clear need from player to the front office to make aggressive, sweeping changes. What they will amount to is anybody’s guess but know this: Change is coming and it’s coming soon. I adamantly disagree with some of our fans and columnists who think that nothing much will change with the team. It has to. There really is no other choice.

Talent Pool

A memo to some of my friends out there: There is no way to increase the talent pool and still keep all the players that you value so much. The guys that most of us never speak of don’t carry enough value. It’s clear we all want the team to win but some of us want to do it without much alteration. Not. Gonna. Happen. Most of the really good players that would come over would not want to sit on the bench behind some of the team’s “favorites”. The cheap approach is to rely on your draft and your minors in hopes that a stud and a future star will emerge and carry your team to the promised land. Puhlease. I hear the fans that want to keep the team as is with a few “minor” (and I mean that figuratively) adjustments. We’ve done that for the past few years. Besides Bay (undetermined), Pagan, K-Rod, Pedro, and Johan, there haven’t been any major acquisitions within the past 4 years that have panned out long term. We don’t know if we still retain the services of Castillo, Perez, Feliciano, Blanco, Beltran, Dickey, or if we are showcasing prospects for an eventual trade. In my humble opinion, the only way to really be successful especially in this market is to spend and do it with frequency. We don’t have to copy the Bronx and Philly per se but we better keep pace with what brings success. Share some inventive ways to bring in real, game changing talent without trading your faves. I’m having a hard time seeing how you can but go ahead and give it a shot.

Slim Pickins

Well, here’s a red carpet invite for all the Met fans that believe this team’s composition will scarcely change and things will be strikingly similar in 2011 as they were in 2010. If that’s accurate, then you won’t have an ace, you will have a new catcher fresh out of the box, and a couple of new figureheads in the clubhouse and front office. The free agent class is looking very, very slim. Here are some names and estimated value ranges for ’11 free agency. Once you get past the big names such as Jayson Werth (5 yrs/$80-90M), Carl Crawford (6-7 yrs/$95-120M), and Cliff Lee (5-6 yrs/$100-125M), it all seems to go downhill from there according to some. I think that if you have a GM that is creative enough and understand what is at stake. Derek Jeter (too hard to figure but 2 yrs/$50M is easy, someone will go higher for sure.), Rafael Soriano (3 yr/30M or 4 yr/40M), Carl Pavano (?), Orlando Hudson (2 yrs/12M), Johnny Damon (?), A.J. Pierzynski (3 yrs/18M), Paul Konerko (3 yrs/36M), Juan Uribe (3 yrs/24M at the max), Andy Pettitte (1 yr/12M), Hideki Matsui (?), Magglio Ordonez (2 yrs/25M), Ted Lilly (2 yr/$20M), Manny Ramirez (?), Mariano Rivera (2 yrs/20-40M), Adrian Beltre (3-4 yrs/$30-45M), Adam Dunn (2-4 yrs/$30-60M), Derrek Lee (?), Victor Martinez (4 yrs/45-48M), and Carlos Pena (3 yrs/33-36M) are some others. 

Dr. Jeffy, Mr. Hide

In most of my posts about this team, I’ve neglected a clear reality: A lot of baseball executives and players may not want to come to Flushing. Why? The chance to possibly topple or, at least, match the crosstown Yankees in relevance is a pretty inviting way to spend your career. Playing against some of the best teams in the league in the NL East is also pretty tantalizing for the baseball guy who loves competition. So why not?

The Mets may have trouble convincing baseball’s top execs to sign on as the next GM. (Pat Gillick) According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, COO Jeff Wilpon has a reputation in baseball circles as “a tone deaf, credit-seeking, second-guessing micro-manager who isn’t accountable or self aware”. Sounds like a harsh assessment but probably true. That won’t make the Mets’ search easy but it seems clear they are ready to spend on him. Seems a few GMs are hesitant to work for Prince Jeffrey, Esq. (Two words: Pat Gillick.) AL and NL execs have been informally polled about Jeff and it’s almost unanimous that his reputation’s not good. Aside from my thoughts on Mr. Beane, I don’t think there’s a GM better than “you know who”. Jeff could come out smelling like a rose under another scenario. With all the hate that’s come his way lately, he’s at a crossroads just like this team is. He can either take the stance that he’ll run the team he wants or he can really have some extensive face time with the mirror and make aggressive moves to make this team better and lean to those more knowledgeable than him. (Insert joke here) A lot has to be taken into consideration especially public relations. Like it or not, Jeff is our best shot. (Insert joke here) He holds all the cards this time. He can either hide behind his daddy’s coattails and not take responsibility or he can possibly be the orchestrator of the biggest turnaround and change of culture in recent Mets history. Huge gamble. Huge reward. (Mancrush sidebar: If there is ANY scenario that brings Gillick to Flushing, you will be witness to a new era in Mets history, a winning era. For the sake of this franchise, that has to happen with or without a talent like Gillick.

Well, Met Nation, there you have it. Thank you for supporting the Grind. Have a great and safe weekend. LGM 4 Life!