As the Yankees completed their dominant season last night, the Mets’ front office got to work.
The Mets wisely sent their ineffective, failed setup reliever/closer J.J. Putz packing this morning. Opting to buy out his contract for $1 million rather than risking another injury and paying him $9 million dollars in the proposed option, the Mets realized that they needed to go in another direction. The domino effect killed the Mets in the injury category last year, and this year their number one priority has to be to revamp and improve their training staff with more competence.
The offense needs to be addressed this off-season above anything else, and I’ll be the first to tell you that Daniel Murphy is not the answer at first base. Although I believe Carlos Delgado is far too expensive to experiment with at first base, I think he would be a much better option than the young and clumsy Murphy. With that said, the Mets should shop around a little bit for another first baseman that can play at least 145 games in a season and hit for average. I emphasize little bit here because this team needs to remember that the team that nearly missed the playoffs in 2008 was vastly improved in 2009 prior to the storm of injuries that swirled around CitiField. As long as the front office and repair the damage by filling in the blanks with more durable options, they should be set. Manager Jerry Manuel, as well as the players, saw Delgado as a leader in the clubhouse and it would be wise to retain a player who has the experience and was a part of the 2006 Mets team that went all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS.
Depth needs to be emphasized in 2010. Only a few months into the 2009 season, what the Mets were doing was simply throwing out a mixture of scrubs and double-a failures who were only there to finish out the already-lost season. On a more serious note, it is important that moves be made to ensure that a handful of injurie
s will not decide the season. I’d like to see the Mets bring back outfielder Endy Chavez to this team. He was very useful and proved that he is one of the best outfielders in all of baseball.
The return of Jose Reyes will be a factor in the revival of this team, and his performance will be a hinge as well a reflection of how his team will fare. If Reyes will be able to return to this team with a bang, it will reflect in the standings. If not, the rest of the team will sink with him. As much potential as he has, another injury for Reyes in 2010 would begin to signal the end of his tenure in New York.
As far as on-field operations go, the team needs to review the job Jerry Manuel has done with this franchise and reconsider their options. Manuel was simply an interim manager who lacks the knowledge to be a manager in the National League and failed as a manager in the easier-to-manage American League. The Mets never should have fired Willie Randolph, and the negative side-effects have shown in the past year and a half. Have you listened to a press conference involving Manuel? He mumbles over every question and has no clue what to say. Bobby Valentine seemed to have been a nice re-acquisition this off-season, but I would be worried that he spent too much time in Japan and distanced him from the American game today as a whole a bit too much.
What the Mets ultimately need to do in the coming years is to slowly evolve into a Moneyball franchise. I am not so sure I see Omar Minaya taking an approach similar to this, because his “win now” approach he has taken from 2005 to now has been a reflection of how the Yankees operate. The old players from 2006 have disappeared, and the attempt to assimilate the young players into the top of this organization has failed miserably as a result of a horribly-designed minor league system. All the Mets need to do is take a look at how the Red Sox operate their team. The Red Sox are a large-market franchise operating as if they are very poor. Just take a look at how well the Red Sox have done in the past several years.