If Opening Day were tomorrow, I’d peg the Mets to finish 3rd in the NL East behind Philly and Atlanta. And it may not even be that close. They’d be trotting out Omir Santos at Catcher, Daniel Murphy at First, Luis Castillo at Second, Jeff Francoeur in Right, Angel Pagan in Left, and Johan Santana would be followed in the rotation by Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and (maybe) Jonathon Niese. On their own, each of these would not pose much of a problem. Collectively, it’s unacceptable for a team that routinely has one of the highest payrolls in baseball and claims to have playoff aspirations.
How did this happen? How did a team that averaged 91 wins from 2006-2008 fall to such mediocrity in the span of one season? Like most things of this nature, it wasn’t one mistake that caused it, but rather, a series of blunders over a long span of time. And at some point, the responsibility needs to fall on the shoulders of the man who’s supposed to be making the tough decisions. And that man is GM Omar Minaya.
The Mets are currently an organization with no apparent plan. They do not have the prospect pipeline of Texas or Tampa Bay. They don’t have the appreciation for defense exhibited by Seattle, or the pitching depth of Atlanta, nor do they have the offense of the Yankees, Red Sox, or Philadelphia. What the Mets do have, however, is the market cornered on replacement-level catchers. So that’s something.
I could sit here and tell you that the Mets should sign free agents Matt Holliday and Ben Sheets. I could argue that they need to continue rebuilding their farm system that’s beginning to show some promise. But first, what the Mets really need is someone who understands that paying $2M per year to a player like Alex Cora who can easily be replaced by a number of minor leaguers makes no sense. Or that giving Francisco Rodriguez $37M over 3 years when you have too many other holes to fill is insane. Until there is a change at the top, whomever they sign this offseason will merely be a stopgap until the next round of problems.