11/19/09

12:01 AM Friday - Stay Thirsty, My Friends

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Okay, here we go...

It's that time most of us Mets bloggers wait for. No, it's not spring training, or the start of the regular season. And it's defintely not draft day.

It's the official opening of the Hot Stove League, and, boy are we ready for this.

No one is quite sure what is going to start happening around 24 hours from now, but I'm willing to give it a guess.

1. I expect the Mets to try and come out of the box, like they did a year ago with the J.J. Putz deal.

2. the interesting part of this Hot Stove season is the economy, or lack of it, factor. Agents like Scott Boras like to dangle their top players and are usually in no rush to close a deal until well into the season, but don't be surprsed that some teams run out of free agent money pretty soon in the season.

3. The first Mets signee will be pitcher John Lackey. Yes, the Mets would have loved to bid on Roy Halladay, but they will pass on that game and secure one of the next top pitchers out there.

4. Everyone will expect the Mets to move to left field, but they will sign another starting pitcher for the SP3 slot. There is very little confidnece in Queens right now for John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and the rest of the Mets starters past Santana, and there is no one ready in the wings. My guess is Jason Marquis, but it could be one of many available.

5. The Mets will be unsuccessful in pulling off a blockbluster trade, thus leaving them with Luis Castillo at second base. A lot of teams love trading with the Mets because they love to blow up their minor league for one player, and some teams want to find the next hidden gem in the Mets organization, like Ezequiel Carrera, a throw-in in the Putz deal. Zeke led his AA league in hitting this year and was named to the Topps all-star team. However, in the long run, no deal will be made.

6. Catcher Benji Molina will turn back in his AARP card and join up for a 2-year deal with the Mets. This won't solve anything long range here, but it will allow the Mets to send Josh Thole to Buffalo for a whole year of training, while Molina and Omir Santos split duries behind the plate.

7. Left field will never be solved. Jason Bay will stay in Boston while another team puts a better package together for Matt Holliday. The Mets will find no takers for the often-injured Fernando Martinez, so it will their decision whether to send him back to Buffalo for, hopefully, his first full season without an injury, or play him in Queens until he gets hurt again.
No big bat wants to play half their game for a team in question, in an oversized ballpark. There is one chance here and that is Mike Cameron. If he doesn't find a suitor elsewhere, he will come back to Queens, but only for a 2-year deal.

8. First base will not be affected by the Hot Stove season. Fernando Tatis and Carlos Delgado will go away, and Chris Carter will platoon with Daniel Murphy, until Ike Davis is ready to take over. Remember, Carter can also play the outfield, especially left field.

9. Jeff Francouer will be back, but without a 3-year deal. The Mets are scared shitless of signing another Oliver Perez-Luis Castillo kind of deal. No more old buddies of Omar contracts.

10. And, in my opinion, that's about it. My guess for opening day lineup:

SS Jose Reyes
1B Daniel Murphy
CF Carlos Beltran
3B David Wright
RF Jeff Francouer
LF Mike Cameron
2B Luis Castillo
C Benji Molina

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