5.11.05

The Mets And The Quest For the Successful Off Season

There are many different prisms through which to view the Mets offseason potential. Mine happens to be very far away yet I can feel the blemishes of the Mets as if they were my own.

Priority One would be to keep Pedro from pitching either in the Dominican Winter League or in the World Baseball Classic. His arm is hanging by a thread as it is with a very nearing ceiling on the number of pitches he has left in it before it’s left lying in one of the backrooms of the Hall of Fame and really, the Mets should insist that for their investment he save Dominican ball and any other pitching cameos for after his contract with the Mets run out. He’s too valuable to the Mets chances to allow his whim to do otherwise. Do Our Business, not Yours.

That said there are more than enough holes in the Mets every day roster to spend months speculating on how they might be plugged.

Power Bat V. Bullpen Stopper: The two sorest points of the Mets season last year were arguably the lack of a big bat in the middle of the order and the lack of a reliable bullpen closer.

Finding a power bat won’t be difficult. They have arguable holes at first base and in right field. Forget looking for a power hitting catcher to replace the no-longer-vintage Piazza. Personally, I don’t even think they should waste free agent bills on the available free agent catchers. None of them has a real gun and frankly, that’s the only business anyone has to overpay a catcher for unless they are Mike Piazza three or four years ago. Spend the money elsewhere.

The closer is tricky business – there aren’t many out there tried and true and even those that are, are capable of unseemly meltdowns at any moment. You cannot guarantee a definitive closer, regardless of if the Mets were to sign Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan but they’d be hard-pressed to find a more inept replacement than Bradon Looper, who blew the season’s opportunities from Opening Day and was a liability waiting to happen which happened with the frequency of bus stops.

Without a solid closer however, the Mets can forget about getting anywhere near the postseason. Otherwise it’ll be all ass and stink. No shit.

It would be nice to speculate that Aaron Heilman, who performed so admirably in his late-season role of closer despite not wanting to, could fill the hole. Filling the hole from within would be preferable but even though you could make Heilman the closer whether he liked it or not, there’s no guarantee he’d be capable over the course of an entire season. The closing role isn’t really a place for experiments so more than likely, the Mets are going to have to find help from the outside.

Rating the closers Hoffman, Wagner, BJ Ryan all have their up and downsides. Hoffman is old, Wagner is only a season removed from a rotten performance but he’s had the pressure of a city of angry baseball fans to contend with already and Ryan is unproven. Ryan is the gamble for the future, Hoffman the gamble of a career-stopping injury of age and Wagner…well, it’s the pussy on a poster in a bikini that you keep on your wall when you are a kid.

So where are we for a closer, Wagner or bust? Ryan or Dyin?

I’d take Wagner and hope for the best. No one else outside of Philly will pursue him as hard and it seems apparent in a way that he is THE goal of the off season before anything else can fall into place.

No Wagner No Cry

I dunno, score more runs than your replacement closer gives up?

Power Not Manny

Please don’t give us Manny Ramirez, no matter if he came from NYC. He’s a product of seen it, done it, got the tee-shirt. He doesn’t care enough to merit his money nor do his RBIs. Let him go to the Angels with the other Met that never happened: Vlad. I didn’t see the Angels making the World Series either this year.

Personally, I don’t think the Mets need a power bat.

They need a lead off hitter and several hitters thereafter. The White Sox proved you don’t need Frank Thomas to win the World Series.

IF Omar is as smart as I’ve always thought he was, he will find the Lenny Dyskstra Ouch of today’s lineup in baseball.

It doesn’t matter if there is no Nails in the free agent market. It matters that the Mets find the equivalent – soon.

Pedro’s arm has another 35 starts in it, in my mumblehumble opinion – quality starts, before it all starts to go pear-shaped. We can’t waste them and frankly, I think if it were emphasised that NOW and only now is the time and anything less is a stupid, pitiful excuse, one more ring for Tio Pedro, the Mets are in fact quite capable of making a few trading splashes, adding the Wagner made in heaven, sending Cameron and hopefully Cousin Cliffy packing, finding a solid bat to plug right field, a crafty, speedy leftfielder and a few low level free agents to fill in the rest of the pen, the backstop and an insurance first baseman in case Jacobs or his equivilent doesn't pan out.

I’ve got no advices for the Mets or Omar other than:

As our auld friend Al Davis used to moan, Just Win, Baby time is running out.

Earn your keep.

1 comment:

Kyle in Newport News said...

You make no mention of the position of manager, which Mets fans were plenty sore on last season. If 2006 is the Mets' last campaign con Pedro fantastico, can Willie be the man to lead them to a World Series title?