The underachieving Mets are heading for another down year (understatement). You want to know how bad it’s looking; last week, Josh Bolan was prompted to ask the question,“Are the Mets just going to forfeit the 2011 season?”
Sorry Mets fans, but it looks as if it’s going to be like this for a while and you can thank general manager Omar Minaya and the supporting cast he put together. But will the new regime be any better? Let’s start by taking a look at their new manager, Terry Collins.
Terry has the experience; he previously managed the Houston Astros from 1994 to 1996 and the Anaheim Angels from 1997 to 1999. During his head coaching tenure, he has compiled a .564 winning percentage with a record of 444-434. But can he lead a team that has had four consecutive down seasons? If you look even deeper into his record you will find a major red flag. In the years he managed those teams, he might have had a winning record, but he never led his teams to the playoffs. During his time as manager of the Astros and the Angels, he didn’t finish better then second, which is alarming for a team looking to get over that hump. The most alarming, not to throw salt on the wound, is Collins 1996 season with the Astros. They were 1.5 games out of first place 14 games to play, they then lost nine straight and were out of playoff contention. Does that not sound familiar? Just check out the Mets 2007 and 2008 seasons.
But the problems don’t stop there; new General Manager Sandy Alderson inherited a payroll that is one of the highest in the league at $119 million for this season and his hands are tied as he isn’t allowed to spend anymore because of “budget constraints” otherwise known as fallout from the Madoff scheme Fred Wilpon invested in. Alderson will have his work cut out for him as he hasn’t been and won’t be able to add any highly touted free agents. So far, Alderson has been able to only add fillers, players like starting pitcher Chris Capuano, reliever Taylor Buchholz, shortstop Chin-lung Hu, and catcher Ronnie Paulino etc.
The tool that Alderson does have at his disposal is addition by subtraction, a trade. They have plenty of talent out on the field, which means they have plenty of pieces that they could use in a trade. When Alderson took over he vowed to shake up the roster, so don’t be surprised by trade deadline when the Mets are out of it the Mets have a new look. But also, don’t be surprised if the Mets disappoint and don’t do anything either because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the end of the 2011 season. More than anything the Mets are just biding time until the contracts of Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Beltran all come off the books after the 2011 season so that they will have the flexibility to bring in some new free agents, fresh faces and fresh start.
As for the 2011 season, here is a look into what the New York Mets need:
1) Starting Pitching: Besides Johan Santana (who is out until the All Star break) and the inconsistent Mike Pelfrey, who do the Mets have that can compete against the four Philadelphia Phillies aces - Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. Knuckle baller R.A. Dickey? Jon Niese? Chris Capuano? It’s obvious that the Mets need starting pitching and it will be their number one need coming into this season.
2) Second Base: With Luis Castillo being owed $6 million in his final season, what will the Mets do with him? WIll they eat the money and release him? If they do, that leaves the position for Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy. Would they platoon? Tejada received most of the starts last year, but it has been said the he will end up in the minor leagues to further his development. As for Murphy, he has been all over the place, an outfielder, first basemen, and now a second basemen. He was a liability in the outfield and he really doesn’t hit with enough pop to play first, so what are we to expect at second? To be honest, neither of their current options seems like a good solution and perhaps they should consider making a trade to get one.
3) Relief Pitching - With their workhorse, Pedro Feliciano in the Bronx, the Mets are in need of a lefty that can get out the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Heyward and Brian Mcann. This was Feliciano’s specialty. As of right now, the bullpen will include K-Rod, Bobby Parnell, Taylor Buchholz, Manny Acosta, Oliver Perez, to name a few. When you see Perez as a relief pitcher, you know the Mets have problems. Who’s going to fill Feliciano’s shoes? Are they planning on letting Perez pitch in a big spot? Expect to see some names added here over time, because it’s just not going to work as is.
It’s obvious the Mets have problems. They have a bunch of underachieving players, a manager who has never led a first place team, and an organization that has no money to improve the team. But hey, this is just the offseason. There is plenty of time for the Mets to make some trades. Be patient Mets fans, “You Gotta Believe!” - Jared Levine
Jared is a Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football and Major League Baseball.
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