FF: The reality is that the Mets are not contenders this year. They shouldn’t be looking for the quick fix but rather looking at 2011 (or maybe even 2012). The best way to do this is to look at it position by position …
General Manager – Omar Minaya must go and the sooner the better. The new GM should be given the reins to rebuild this club with a two-year window.
Manager – Bye Bye Jerry. Manuel has had almost two years to produce and has done nothing. Hiding behind Omar’s inability to put a squad together is no longer an excuse. Bobby V would be the ideal candidate but anyone not named Art Howe would be an improvement (Lou Pinella???). In typical Mets fashion, we probably end up with Howard Johnson and Wally Backman somewhere in the mix.
Catcher – There is nothing available in the 2010 free agent class that would be an improvement over Rod Barajas. Bring Josh Thole up after the All-Star Break and let him split time behind the plate with Rod. It will give us an idea whether he is ready for the bigs or whether we need to resign Barajas to an extension.
First Base – Lots of big names may be on the market but the Mets should focus their $$$ elsewhere. A combination of Ike Davis and Danny Murphy won’t hurt us here.
Second Base – Trade Luis Castillo now for whatever you can get for him. The Mets will need to fill this hole internally or accept another Alex Cora-type player going forward.
Shortstop – I know the consensus is to dump Jose Reyes, but he is the best option available. Take some of the pressure off him to carry the team and he will respond with an above-average glove and a spark at the top of the order. There are no better options available.
Third Base – David Wright needs to spend the offseason shackled to Lenny Dykstra. You're arguably the best player on the team … start acting like it and grow a pair.
Outfield – Give Carlos Beltran the rest of the season off to fully recover. Carl Crawford should be the Mets number one target during the offseason. Crawford, Beltran and Bay would be a nice outfield with Angel Pagan filling in where needed.
Starting Rotation – Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey stay. Bring up some of the younger arms to compete with Jon Niese down the stretch. There is a strong free agent class and the Mets need to land at least two stars regardless of the cost.
Bullpen – The one part of the team I wouldn’t change. Can it be improved? Yes, but the focus should be elsewhere unless something falls into our lap.
The Fans – The Wilpons should take out full page adds in every local paper apologizing to the Mets fan base, acknowledging that they have made mistakes and that the fans have been the biggest victim. They should do away with the current pricing plans, offer free parking days, and institute multiple fan appreciation days throughout the rest of the season. Season ticket holders should receive free seat upgrades to fill all those empty seats behind home plate that they could not sell because they were priced too high.
Omar's not going anywhere, especially with the draft coming up. He has until August 15 to make signings. By that time, the first trade deadline will have come and gone and the Mets should be far enough out of first place that the Wilpons will handcuff Minaya. Jerry will be fired mid-season, Bob Melvin will take over for the rest of the year and then there will be an open casting call in the off-season.
Thole is being exposed in Buffalo (.250/.312/.411). Barajas is the starter the rest of the season unless someone overpays. If he plays for $2 million next year, he's the 2011 starter as well. Davis and Wright aren't going anywhere and will remain the corner infielders. Reyes is your shortstop this year and next - if he doesn't produce then you look to trade him in July 2011. Second base is a black hole in the organization - trade Castillo yesterday and get a scrap heap veteran next year.
I'll say it again - Carlos Beltran's career is basically over. Bay is stuck in left field, so Crawford is not a viable option. The Mets need a CF and an RF (release Frenchie) so that Angel Pagan can go back to being a fourth outfielder. If Martinez ever learns to stay healthy, he'll be your right fielder.
Everyone knows what to do with the starters - let two journeymen fill it out after Santana-Pelfrey-Niese this season, sign someone else next season, have Mejia ready to be a starter in 2012. Send him down right now so he can work on secondary stuff.
As for Roy Oswalt (whose trade demand sparked the whole conversation): his contract is basically 2 years, $31 million, with a 2012 option for $16 million. The first major stumbling block is that the Mets simply will not take on that entire salary. My guess? The Astros would have to send the Mets at least $15 million in any deal. The Wilpons will pay for Oswalt at Joel Pineiro prices, but not at full price.
So now, you have to entice the Astros to move Oswalt AND $15 million. You have to start with Reyes now, add Niese, then add two cost-controlled, high ceiling minor league players. Would Houston consider Reyes, Niese, Jenrry Mejia and Fernando Martinez? I think so. I don't think the Mets can get Oswalt for anything less.