Posted by Mack Ade at 12:07 AM
Cement The Foundation:
We talked yesterday about the “big five” current on the team: David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriquez, and Johan Santana. It seems like yesterday that Beltran was signed, as well as contract extensions given to both Wright and Reyes, but the fact is a couple of these key players are scheduled to hit the free agency list soon.
Beltran’s contract runs through 2011, Rodriquez has a team option for 2012, Wright’s is done after the 2012 season, and Jose Reyes has a team option for 2011. Johan Santana’s current contract has a team option at the end of the 2014 season.
Beltran will play 2010 as a 33-year old and there doesn’t seem to be any reason, other than the possibility of an injury, for him slowing down soon. In addition, Jose Reyes, regardless of his 2009 injury, is still one of the most talented and exciting infielders in the business and it would be suicide to take a team option after the 2010 season and let this guy go the route of free agency. Forget the kids in the minors. We’re talking Jose Reyes.
The Mets need a constructive 5-year plan, but, in my opinion, all of this is more easily accomplishable if you lock up these five superstars, possibly as long as through the 2015 season.
And, if I’m wrong, and some of these guys slow down a step by then, what’s the worst thing the Mets have on their hands? An aging David Wright? A slower Carlos Beltran? I’ll take this any day while the five year plan continues.
What’s Available Down On The Farm?:
Before we go anywhere on this subject, let me make a strong point.
The Mets have not depleted their depth or talent in the minor leagues by trading key prospects to other teams for established players. Everyone turns to the Santana deal as some kind of device that sucked the air out of the Mets minor league affiliate operation. Feel free to find some decent major league stats on the four players traded to the Twins that day.
No, the only reason the Mets minor league’s talent level and depth is in question is because the Mets suck at signing international free agents and drafting talented players in the MLB draft.
There’s has been only one international player that has been signed since Omar Minaya took over to make the New York Mets. That would be OF Fernando Martinez, who still has to prove his worth.
But the draft has been the bizarre world of the Minaya era. Can we possibly forget the first five picks in 2006 after Omar & Co. had a full year to figure out who to sign? Let’s see… Kevin Mulvey, Joe Smith, John Holdzkom, Steve Holmes, and Scott Schafer.
But it was last year when the Mets actually came up with a list of draftees that no one had on their hit list. Talk about a “mock” draft… don’t get me started.
Is There Anyone Out There?
We’ll talk about the lower levels of the minors down the road, but you can’t build a good 5-year plan unless you put the time, expertise, and money into your minor league system. There’s nothing any of us can do about who already is part of this organization. But we can recognize where our strengths lie in this system.
There is no one in the current system that will crash the team come spring. Catcher Josh Thole and pitcher Tobi Stoner should return to AAA to get some more work done, and I’m sure we’ll see both of them soon. Jon Niese should be back if he heals correctly, and there’s a good chance that Fernando Martinez will be asked to grow up in Queens, rather than Buffalo, especially if no stud left fielder is signed.
Frankly, my dark horse here is Stoner. He and I have been oil and water since the day we met, but this young man has the confidence and bravado to make a big difference in the Mets bullpen and even possible as the 2011 SP5.
No one thought that Ike Davis was a bigger shit pick than I. I was wrong. Davis will take over first base in the spring of 2011 and he needs to send the 2010 season in Buffalo, freezing his ass off, learning everything he still need to learn. This is a future 20-25 home run a year guy who will also win some golden gloves down the road. Daniel Murphy and Chris Carter will do just fine in 2010. We can wait.
But, that’s about it for now. The good news is no one thought Stoner or Thole would have made the team last year, so there could be others that crash Queens in the next two seasons. Lots of prospect lists still has F-Mart up there, but I want to first see him do 400+ at bats in one minors season, before I project him out in Queens.
Right now, sadly put, Ike Davis may be the only projectable star.
Tomorrow: Here come the kiddies, a restructuring of the scouting system, and back to Wilpon pocketbook.