(yes yes, I know, I’ve been awful at keeping this thing up. September 13th! An abomination. Okay, I’m going to catch up some today, some more tomorrow, and lots more after the election…)
First; it was another disappointing finish for my Mets, with an eerily similar final weekend to last season that left us out in the cold, watching the hated Phillies (who are now in the fucking World Series! @$I@$) and Brewers claim playoff spots instead. Unlike 2007, though, I think we won about the right amount of games for our talent level, especially once Jerry Manuel took over. The bullpen was just in tatters, injuries to Billy Wagner and John Maine really hurt our pitching depth, and Ryan Church never really found his post-concussion stroke. Pedro Martinez also looks DONE – he’s going to have a tough time latching on anywhere as more than a 5th starter, I’d imagine (though when Carlos Silva is getting nearly 50m, one never knows)…
At any rate, the pain wore off much quicker than last time around. The core is in place for a superb future, as Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey look like a dynamite 1-2 punch for the next five years. Upgrading the bullpen, seeing if Daniel Murphy can handle second base, and improving our organizational depth should be the major priorities. I’m mixed on pursuing Francisco Rodriguez…he’s a dominant closer, but he’s going to make a killing in the FA market, and I’m very hesitant to pony up 75 million bucks for a 9th inning guy, especially one with so much wear & tear on his arm. I’d rather go after Brian Fuentes of Colorado.
The infield looks set, as I assume we’ll pick up Carlos Delgado’s 8m option for 2009 (though a run at Mark Teixeira can’t be completely ruled out), and I’m hopeful Murphy – who was extremely impressive in the final two months of ’08 – can be an adequate defensive second baseman; his bat would be a huge boost from that position. Reyes and Wright are, of course, cornerstones.
If Murphy slides to second base, a LF will be needed; options include Fernando Martinez, who probably needs another year in the minors, a makeshift platoon of Nick Evans and a FA pickup, or a stopgap free agent to play every day. I think option #3 is most likely. Beltran and Church are locks in CF and RF respectively, assuming Church regains his form from the first two months of ’08.
Oliver Perez is a FA, and while I’d love him back – he’s a perfect complement to Santana & Pelfrey in the 3/4 hole with Maine – I have a sneaking suspicion someone will ante up 5-80 for him. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone gave him six years. Though he’s made serious strides as a Met, I’ve long since given up hope that he’ll put it all together and develop into a consistent ace…which makes me very reluctant to pay top dollar for him. Call it 50/50 if he comes back. Jon Niese impressed me enough with his curve to let him compete for the #5 job. If Perez leaves, we’ll need a P to fill his spot. Derek Lowe’s consistency would be a good fit.
Once the WS ends (hopefully with Tampa Bay victorious, though I’m not holding my breath), Omar can get to work. I am, BTW, supportive of giving Minaya an extension – he’s mostly done great work with the squad, and I don’t consider him one of the problems.