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Mets 2010 Roster Holes

By Bryan Zarpentine

For the third consecutive off-season, Omar Minaya and the New York Mets front office must find the pieces necessary to bring the Mets back to the playoffs. Unlike the past two years, there is far more ground to make up than the one win the team fell short by in 2007 and 2008. So while the cross-town rival Yankees and the hated division foe Phillies play for a championship, the Mets go back to the drawing board. There is no doubt that there is a laundry list of issues to be addressed, but here are the three biggest questions that need to be answered.

Starting Pitching

The Mets already have one of the top pitchers in baseball in Johan Santana, and they believe he will be healthy by spring training after elbow surgery that left the rotation without him for all of September. But the team needs another front-line starter to be paired with Santana at the top of the rotation. There are plenty of options to fill out the rotation, but nobody that can be relied on to be a number two starter behind Santana. Mike Pelfrey took a step backwards after a promising 2008. Oliver Perez and John Maine struggled with inconsistency and injuries. Jon Neise missed his opportunity to gain experience by suffering a hamstring injury. Pat Misch made a few promising starts, he is not a proven commodity. Any of these guys could be assets in a good starting rotation, but right now none can be counted on to fill the spot behind Santana in the rotation.

John Lackey is widely considered to be the top starting-pitcher in this year’s free agency class, but his price could be too steep, especially with several teams competing for his services. Ben Sheets and Rich Harden would fit what the Mets need, but both carry with them a history of injuries, a risk the Mets may not be willing to make. Other candidates that would help solidify a rotation in need of stability and consistency are Erik Bedard, Jason Marquis, and Randy Wolf. Whichever direction Omar Minaya’s staff chooses to go in, it is critical to provide support for Johan Santana and take pressure off the young guys in the back end of the rotation.

Left Field

Left field was suppose to belong to Daniel Murphy in 2009, but turned into a constant state of flux when it became apparent Murphy did not have the defensive prowess to man the position, and injuries followed a number of the candidates who tried to fill in. All of this has left the position a question mark for 2010. With the team’s lack of power a glaring weakness the solution to the vacancy in left could come in the form of either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, two of the premiere free agents of this off-season. Both could assume and every-day role in left field and give a power boost to the middle of the lineup. Neither boasts great defensive skills, but the Mets may easily forgive that given the offensive they would add, and knowing that they have two great defensive outfielders in Carlos Beltran and Jeff Francoeur sharing the outfield, with Angel Pagan available as a late-inning defensive replacement.

The Mets may also choose to covet speed and defense in left field, playing more to the dimensions of Citi Field. If this is the case, they may be willing to stick with Pagan in left field, or pursue a guy like Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, who may be available through trade or free agency. However, even if the Mets are able to gain the services of a player like Crawford to play left field, they will need to add a power bat at another position.

First Base

Ever since Daniel Murphy got his first start at first base in 2009, questions arose regarding whether he could be the first basemen of the future for the Mets. Although he showed improvement with his bat and glove throughout the course of his first full season in the big leagues, and ended the season as the team leader in home runs, the Mets have not committed to Daniel Murphy as their first basement in 2010. First base is an area in which the Mets may be able to add a big-time power hitter to their lineup. Trading for a young power-hitter like Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez would be a dream scenario, but would come at too high of a price. The free agent’s available at first base are not the caliber of hitters that are available in left field, meaning the Mets may be wise to get their power from left field, if they can’t trade for a top flight first basemen.

An added element to the first base situation is Ike Davis, the Mets first selection in the 2008 draft who has become one of their top prospects, who finished 2009 in AA Binghamton. Davis is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League so that the Mets can further his development and better project his big league readiness. It’s unlikely Davis will be ready for the start of 2010, but opening day 2011 is a possibility, meaning the Mets may not want to commit to a first basemen past 2010. This increases the likelihood that Murphy could be the guy for 2010. Perhaps a solution to this could be to package Murphy and prospects in a deal for Cubs veteran Derek Lee, who has one year left on his contract and who the Cubs may be willing to trade for a fair price if they decide to cut pay-roll.

While it will take more than addressing these three positions to bring the Mets back to the playoffs, these spots need to be at the forefront of their off-season agenda. Omar Minaya and his staff will need to formulate a plan on how they will approach their need for each position. Then of course they will need to use the resources they have to execute that plan if the Mets are to return to competitive form and return to the playoffs in 2010.

2 comments:

  1. Don't make another mistake!! Don't be stupid, keep Carlos Delgalo in First
    Base, give him at lease one more year . He deserved that at lease!! What you need is a Left Fielder and a Second Basement and One great starting Pitcher to help Santana!! Why don't you teach Murphy playing Second Base and leave Pagon in Left Field . You'll save money for your Starting Pitcher
    (Hope is Lackey) and that will solved your problem. Try it out what you have to lose? Cause if you get rid of Pagon and Murphy that's getting "HOT" at the Bat, your CRAZY.
    Your Line up should be

    Rayes-Pagon-Beltran-Delgado-Wright- Francour-Murphy-Who ever is the Catcher- and the Pitcher!!!!!!!!

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  2. THE METS SHOULD SIGN BAY. THEN FIND OUT WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO LAND ADRIAN GONZALEZ!!PACKAGE IKE DAVIS,DAN MURPHY,JOHN MAINE,AND PROSPECTS.THEN GET RID OF CASTILLO!!EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO EAT MOST OF THE MONEY!!THEN SIGN ORLANDO HUDSON(2 YR DEAL)!!YOUR OPENING DAY LINE-UP
    1-REYES
    2-HUDSON
    3-BELTRAN
    4-GONZALEZ
    5-WRIGHT
    6-BAY
    7-FRANCOUR
    8-SANTOS/THOLE/
    9-PITCHER
    NOT TO SHABBY!!!NOW SIGN A BRONSON ARROYO OR JASON MARQUIS AND LETS GO TO WAR!!! PICK UP AN ACE AT TRADING DEADLINE.BUT IF ITS POSSIBLE TO GET GONZO YOU GOTTA DO IT!!!A 27 YR OLD GOLD GLOVE FIRST BASEMAN THAT HITS 35-40 HR'S AND KNOCKS IN 120+ RBI'S AND HITS 300 AVG.!!!COME ON GUYS!!! THATS HOW YOU WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

    ReplyDelete