Well, the season is over and I guess it is time to start working on my 25-man squad for next season.
Oh, you think this is too early? Trust me, I’m probably far behind what the board already looks like in Flushing.
For me, these are the stone cold, locked down, mofo, members of next year’s team:
1B – Ike Davis – I’m approaching this article as if everyone in the system is healthy come April. The Mets have a bunch of problems to solve in the next couple of seasons and first base isn’t one of them. Davis is a legit star of the game and will be around for 5+ seasons. I only hope his decision not to have surgery was the correct one.
IF – Ruben Tejada – We have to keep Tejada’s position vague until the whole Reyes dram is done with. He is no longer a prospect and has nothing to prove to either me or Terry Collins. I worried over the years tat he was moved too fast, but he was just another of those young GCL kids that continue to be chosen mid-season to fill in at St. Lucie while someone else heals. Remember, these two teams share the same complex and it’s a lot cheaper just to scream across the diamond that fly someone in from Savannah. Sometimes, like OF Gilbert Gomez this season, prove they can hold their own at a level they shouldn’t be ready to play. That’s how Tejada’s Met career took off.
3B – David Wright – I believe we just witnessed the worst season David Wright will ever have as a professional baseball players. He’s not only this generation’s Tom Seaver, but he’s Chipper Jones as well. He can play on my team until he drops dead.
LF – Jason Bay – there’s no reason for any opinion here regarding whether or not he deserves this slot. The fact is he is being paid big bucks and the contract is unbreakable. Do not play him in centerfield and do not sit him on the bench. Right now, he’s the best outfielder in the system.
RF – Lucas Duda a surefire starter next year based on both his 2011 performance but also due to the current lack of quality outfielders in the pipeline. This was supposed to be the Fernando Martinez-Carlos Gomez-Lastings Milledge era. Duda will continue to make most of us hold our breath when a ball is hit his way, but we’ll all learn to live with that because of his bat. And, his bat is a big one. He’ll hold down right, allowing the Mets to work on solving centerfield.
Utility – Justin Turner – this generation’s Rod Kanehl, Justin was one of the league leaders in BA w/RISP. I can’t see him being a starter under any scenario, but what a great guy to have on your team. I can count on one hand how many times I thought he did something wrong this past season.
Utility – Nick Evans – I gave up on this guy a number of times, but, like Lucas Duda, he has proven this season that everyone deserves a season to prove their value. I know for a fact that Terry Collins loves him about as much as Jerry Manuel didn’t. TC thinks he’s potentially a 25/100 guy, but he’s going to have to wait until Bay’s contract runs out to prove that. Until then, he’s the perfect utility guy that can pay both corner outfield positions, third, and first.
SP – Johan Santana – like Jason Bay, I’m not going to go into whether Santana deserves to be the ace in 2012. He’s being paid an ungodly amount of money in 2012 to pitch for the Mets, and if you’re going to pitch him, make him your ace in an off year. The Mets have only one pitcher in the system, Akeel Morris, that projects out as an ace and he’s years away. There are better pitchers out there than the 2012 version of Santana, but the good news is he isn’t Ollie either.
SP – Jon Niese – I thought that Niese had one of the unluckiest years for a starter in 2011. I love this guys stuff and he deserves to be sandwiched between better pitchers than the 2011 Mets had. Jon is the one rotation pitcher that I think will still be around in 2014. He’s a big keeper on my team.
SP – R A Dickey – another player under contract for the 2012 season, even though he definitely earned a spot back regardless. What will be interesting will be if he keeps pitching this well into the following season. Technically, a screw-baller could be around for awhile. Wouldn’t you love to have the luxury to have him as your 7th reliever?
RP – Manny Acosta – It’s funny. I consider the Mets pen in a mess, yet I have three returning here. There’s a good chance that he will be the opening day closer, especially if the Mets chose to use Jenrry Mejia in this role later on in the season. This was a great pickup for basically nothing.
RP – Pedro Beato – Do not be concerned with the way Beato finished the season. This is another great decision by Sandy Alderson and is a perfect 7th or 8th inning guy.
RP – Tim Byrdak – the Mets recently resigned him for the 2012 season, which was a good move. One of the few relievers that did very little wrong.
That’s where I am right now. 13 players is a lot at this point in the off-season.
I know that two things have to happen before this team can be determined. One, Jose Reyes has to decide where he’s playing and, two, some judge has to rule on the Madoff lawsuit. Until then, I would roll the dice on a few things;
1. I would not offer arbitration to either Angel Pagan or Mike Pelfrey. I’m playing for 2013.
2. I’d shop Daniel Murphy to an AL team.
3. I’d also shop Bobby Parnell, who many teams keep calling about.
4. I’d try and sign OF Scott Hairston to a one-year deal.
5. I would make room for Tim Teufel on my coaching staff.
6. I’d offer P Chris Young a one-year contract with a second year with a team opt-out option.
7. I would put together a four player offer for one of Cincinnati’s prospect catchers. Players like Wilmer Flores, Dillon Gee, Chris Schwinden, Darin Gorski, Angel Cuan, Jordany Valdespin, Jefry Marte, Aderlin Rodriguez, Cesar Puello, Kirk Nieuwenhuis.